Jellicoe watercourse, including associated retaining wall, viewing platforms, railings and planters at former Cadbury factory

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1466624
Date first listed:
18-Aug-2020
Statutory Address:
Pasture Road, Moreton, Wirral, CH46 8SE

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Pasture Road, Moreton, Wirral, CH46 8SE

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District:
Wirral (Metropolitan Authority)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SJ2601190685

Summary

Cascade water feature with an associated retaining wall, viewing platforms, railings and planters, 1952, by Geoffrey Jellicoe.

Reasons for Designation

The Jellicoe watercourse, including retaining wall, railings and viewing platforms, at the former Cadbury factory, Moreton, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it has both a practical and aesthetic role as a decorative barrier designed to keep people out yet provide a source of visual pleasure, and is a modern interpretation of an C18 ha-ha; * it was designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, one of the leading landscape architects of the C20, and influenced his later work including the canal at the Grade II-registered Hemel Water Gardens; * its innovative design incorporates a series of weirs/cascade on a site with very flat topography and makes clever use of false perspectives to give the illusion of distance and a layer of mystery, as well as design tricks to draw the eye to views; * the watercourse survives well and is the principal, and key surviving, feature of Jellicoe's landscape design at the former Cadbury factory site.

Historic interest:

* it has a pivotal place in Jellicoe's career and thinking as his first large-scale concrete water feature and where he first explored the tenets of illusion, perspective and scale, that were developed further in his later works; * it is a rare survival of an early-1950s landscape feature on an industrial site that reflects the ideas of modern landscape design developed from the Festival of Britain in 1951, as appetite grew for landscaping industrial sites to create better environments and minimise harmful impact on surroundings.

History

In 1952 Cadbury Bros Ltd began construction of a new factory at Moreton on the Wirral; the purpose-built factory playing an important role in regenerating Merseyside, which had suffered the greatest level of enemy bombing outside London during the Second World War, and was subject to severe unemployment. The company's expansion had been restricted for a number of years after the Second World War by sweet rationing, controls over industrial construction in the Midlands, and the inability to stem production at the main factory at Bournville, near Birmingham, in order to carry out necessary redevelopment works (later carried out from 1957). A slightly cooler climate at Moreton, and the requisite availability of land, made it an ideal choice. However, work was required to address drainage and wind issues at the site.

Cadbury’s in-house architect, C J Wilkinson, assisted by J M Murtagh and J C Holt, designed the factory and an entrance gatehouse alongside Pasture Road, and Geoffrey Jellicoe was invited to design the landscape, which he described as ‘diabolical’ because of heavy clay soils and exposure to the Irish Sea half a mile away. In order to successfully exploit the site's high water table, and act as a point of interest for workers and visitors alike, as well as a deterrent to intruders, Jellicoe designed a water feature (a precursor for his later designs at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire) for the angled spur of Pasture Road that leads to Moreton railway station - a modern interpretation of an C18 ha-ha.

The factory and landscape were completed in 1954, and the site was formally opened on 17 September by Mrs Lawrence Cadbury. Jellicoe returned when the complex was extended in 1963-1964 and mounded earth from the factory construction to make a windbreak to the north, which is now in separate ownership and heavily overgrown. This he described as a ‘serpentine’ and he planned a separate mound to the south-east that was not realised.

The factory was taken over by Burton’s in 1986, which refined chocolate for Cadbury’s on site in addition to manufacturing its own brands including Waggon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers, but the company closed the main (western) part of the factory in 2011. In 2016 outline planning permission was granted for a housing development on the site of the western factory buildings, and an application for full planning permission was submitted in August 2019. The proposed scheme retains the access road to the railway station and the Jellicoe watercourse as part of landscaping between the housing and the main road. Demolition of the factory buildings on the west side of the site began in 2018, but Burton's remain in operation as a chocolate refinery on the eastern side of the site.

Sir Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe (1901-1996) was born in London and attended Cheltenham College as an exhibitioner, and subsequently the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. After competing his studies Jellicoe travelled to Italy with a fellow student Jock Shepherd, where the two men collected material for a book they co-wrote together entitled 'Italian Gardens of the Renaissance', which was published in 1925. In the same year, Jellicoe and Shepherd established an architectural practice together, which lasted until 1931 when Jellicoe started his own practice in Bloomsbury Square, where he met his wife Ursula (known as Susan) when she joined the office as secretary.

Jellicoe wrote a number of influential books during his lifetime, including 'The landscape of Man' (1975, co-written with Susan), and he also taught at the Architectural Association during the early stage of his career from 1929 to 1934 before becoming principal from 1939 to 1942. He was also a founder member of the Institute of Landscape Architects (later the Landscape Institute) in 1929, and president from 1939 to 1949. In 1948 Jellicoe chaired an international conference for landscape architects in London and Cambridge that led to the formation of the International Federation of Landscape Architects. Jellicoe was elected as the first president (1948-1954) and subsequently an honorary president for life.

In around 1954 Jellicoe went into partnership with Francis Coleridge until 1973. The practice produced designs for buildings as well as landscapes, but Jellicoe's landscape works remained his focus and included a fifty-year vision for Hope Quarry in Derbyshire (1943), water gardens in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire (1959, registered at Grade II), a rooftop cafe and garden at Harvey's department store in Guildford, Surrey (1956-1957), and the Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede, Surrey (1964, currently - 2020 - being assessed for registration).

Jellicoe never fully retired and continued working up until his death aged 95, with his later works including gardens at Shute House, Dorset (1970-1980, currently being assessed for registration) and Sutton Place, Surrey (C18/C19 landscaped park with alterations made by Jellicoe in 1980-1986, registered at Grade II*), as well as commissions in the United States and Italy. He received gold medals from the American (1981), British (1985) and Australian (1990) Institutes of Landscape Architects, and the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour in 1995. He was honoured with a CBE in 1961 and received a knighthood in 1979.

Details

Cascade water feature with an associated retaining wall, viewing platforms, railings and planters, 1952, by Geoffrey Jellicoe.

MATERIALS: concrete, brick, and wrought iron.

PLAN: the watercourse is located on the western edge of the former Cadbury's factory site alongside a spur of Pasture Road accessing Moreton railway station. It has a linear plan aligned north-west to south-east and is approximately 190m in total length, including a short north-east arm at the north end. It consists of a series of ten pools stepping down from the railway station at the south-east end to the site entrance at the north-west end.

EXTERIOR: the watercourse consists of a series of ten pools linked by low concrete weirs that originally formed a cascade by the roadway (water used to be circulated by a pump in the gatehouse, but at the time of inspection in 2019 this was no longer in use and the lower pools clogged with bulrushes and reeds). The pools are constructed of concrete laid over puddled clay and each one has an angled eastern side that tapers towards the south, which tricks the eye by creating an increased sense of distance when the watercourse is viewed from each end. All but the northernmost pool adjacent to the gatehouse incorporate a square concrete planter to their north corners. Each pool, which originally had a water depth of around two feet, has its own standpipe that lies adjacent to each weir, and each weir has wave-shaped (cyma) moulding on the north-west side intended to create the illusion of a greater water flow as water passed over the low-lying feature. On the west side of the watercourse is a brick retaining wall that rises above the Pasture Road spur as a parapet with large concrete copings angled downward towards the road that are topped by a wrought-iron handrail. The wall, which steps down in places, incorporates four concrete viewing platforms that project out into the pools with angled sides that mirror those of the pools. The platforms have concrete pavers and wrought-iron balustrades; the balustrade to the southernmost platform had been removed at the time of inspection in 2019 for repairs and the platform protected by steel palisade fencing. At the southern end the watercourse and retaining wall curve around the eastern side of a turning circle by the railway station's Liverpool platform entrance. At the northern end the watercourse turns north-eastwards for approximately 13m towards the site's gatehouse. The brick retaining wall at this end has flat copings and incorporates a taller section immediately adjacent to the site entrance that acts as a wind break, and then a low section shaped to resemble rectangular bastions that connects to a gatehouse. The gatehouse is not of special interest and is not included within the listing.

Sources

Books and journals
Emanuel (Ed), M, Contemporary Architects, (2016), 395-397
Spens, M, The Complete Landscape Designs and Gardens of Geoffrey Jellicoe, (1994), 72
Jellicoe, G A, 'Water' in Weddle, A E, Techniques of Landscape Architecture, (1967), 127-142
'Factory at Moreton, Wirral, Cheshire' in The Architects' Journal, , Vol. Vol 120, no 3105, (2 September 1954), 287-289
'Factory at Moreton, Wallasey, Cheshire, for Cadbury Bros., Ltd' in The Builder, , Vol. Vol 187 no 5822, (17 September 1954), 456-460
'Cadbury's Rebuild. Extensive plans for urgent needs' in Industrial Architecture, , Vol. Vol 7 no 10, (October 1964), 693-699
Websites
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 'Jellicoe, Sir Geoffrey Alan (1900-1996)' by H Moggridge, 2005, accessed 4 November 2019 from https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-40519
Other
Cadbury's factory in a garden at Moreton. Promotional leaflet by Cadbury Bros, 1950s
Various early photos of the watercourse by Susan Jellicoe in around the 1950s. Available at the Landcspe Institute
Various plan drawings by Geoffrey Jellicoe, 1952. Available at the Landscape Institute
What Happened to British Modernism? (The Serpents of Moreton Marsh), E M Bennis, 2018

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.

End of official listing

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