In 1975 I did a 6 month course in Bricklaying at the government retraining Centre in Handsworth, Sheffield. I used to cycle there every day across the lower deck of the Tinsley Viaduct which carried the M1 motorway across the Don Valley with its belt of steelworks.
Mr Cox was a softly spoken man in a white coat, with a long career behind him. A patient teacher who gave us a sound grounding in the trade. The lads were varied and full of mischief. I knew a few women who were starting to venture into the building trades but they weren’t from a working class background. Those societal changes were yet to come.
A sketch from my pocket notebook captures the grip that the world of bricks took on my imagination. That world of building sites and masculine banter dominated the seventies for me. It helped to toughen me up and prepare me for the move to Africa that took me by surprise at the beginning of the 80s
This is a map I am working up in Revit. Hampshire churches. Churches within…