Rochdale Sculptors Third Exhibition Flyer: July 1970

Photograph of Rochdale sculptors in Toad Lane. From left to right: Reid Wilford, Tony Smart, Stanley Ashworth, Chris Burnett, Christine Hanson, Ian Davidson, Walter Kershaw, Rod Bailey, Peter Wolstenholme, Robin Forrester

Whilst recently sorting through some old family documents and photographs, Mr Doodlher & I stumbled across this old leaflet. It shares information about the Rochdale Sculptor’s ‘Third Exhibition’ that was held on The Esplanade, Rochdale between 10-27 July 1970.

The cover image caught my eye as I immediately recognised the bay windows of The Pioneer’s Museum, Toad Lane in the background. I’m interested in anything historical, especially local stuff, so it was quite exciting to find an item relating to local art history.

Instead of filing the flyer in a box forever, I thought it may be of interest to others, so have posted photographs of it on here for safe digital keeping.

This flyer is the first time I’ve ever heard anything about the Rochdale Sculptors and this exhibition. If you have any further information about it, or even photographs, I would love to see them, and include them in this post. Please get in touch via my contact form or via Twitter.


Rochdale’s pioneers of sculpture confront you with their third annual outdoor exhibition. These vital visual arts are increasingly the products of contemporary life and may reflect or reject it. Some are humorous, others cool. Maybe they provoke thought as much as judgement: what is of greater importance to you, the people of Rochdale, is that they are made locally – not Rome, New York, or London. A sculptural renaissance has happened here.

We have more sculpture for you this year for three reasons.

First: In 1969 we felt the exhibition looked sparse.

Second: We have invited other artists in the region to exhibit with us: Ted Roocroft from Knutsford, Roy Grindrod from Manchester, Robert Nancollis from Northwich, Bryce Cooke from Stockport, Barry Hobson works at Turner Brothers Asbestos Research and Development and makes his sculpture in his spare time, a very commendable exhibit for a scientist!

Thirdly: We have had financial backing from The Arts Council in London through the N.W. Arts Association. Each of the ten members of the group has received £50 to meet the production costs involved in making sculpture. These grants were the direct result of contact with The Arts Council in London. In February members of the group attended a conference of sculpture exhibition organisers, what we said there established a precedent for this type of exhibition – personal contact between artist and public.

Copies of our report on past, present and future activities by the group, which we submitted to the arts council are available for loan on request. In March the group moved into a disused chapel in Durham Street, which is now being converted into a studio and workshop, exhibition area and store. Our future intention for the chapel is an ‘open art house’, with exhibitions and events of contemporary art. It is the first venture of its kind in this area; each group member pays a monthly subscription to cover running costs, we have since received a grant of £350 for conversion of the chapel from The Arts Council.

Members of the group are submitting sculptures to the open air exhibition at Haworth Park, Accrington, in August. We are also holding a group exhibition in Rochdale Art Gallery in January, 1971. We are full of ideas for Rochdale’s Art Festival in 1971, this exhibition is a pointer to that and a progressive future for the North West.

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