In the ninth instalment of Painting the North, Ant Cosgrove, the man behind The Northern Art Page on Facebook, shares striking works of art, sketches and drawings from around The North of England. As the weeks progress, Ant will bring you his image of the week from the popular social media page. This week it’s an exhibition which sees 10 former pupils of Manchester High School of Art reunite after 60 years to produce an exhibition of their work at Saddleworth Museum.

Ant says: “More than 60 years have gone by since 10 former pupils of Manchester High School of Art left school. They have now reunited and are set to launch an exhibition of their work at the Saddleworth Museum in Uppermill.

Ted Bates, Reg Calvert, Steve Capper, Neil Cochrane, David Edwards, Phil Hughes, John McCombs, Ron McSweeney, David Ralston and Harry Robertson are currently putting the finishing touches to what is hoped will be a highly successful show of their work.

Spokesperson and Uppermill resident Phil Hughes said: “We all met at art school in the mid-1950s. It’s amazing after all this time we still have so much in common both in our memories of the school and our desire and enthusiasm to paint.” He added: “Putting on this exhibition is a way of showing our fondness for the school while acknowledging the role it played in shaping our various careers.”

The Manchester High School of Art, founded in the early 1950s and later based in Manchester’s Strangeways, was unique among schools in the secondary education sector. Through its pioneering and charismatic headmaster Ernest Goodman and dedicated and inspirational teachers, the school provided a progressive academic curriculum with a strong emphasis on the visual and applied arts.

Following changes to education policy and amid much controversy at the time, the school finally closed in 1984 and the buildings demolished. “By then, the ten of us had gone onto various UK art colleges and eventually pursued careers in a variety of professions including advertising, publishing and teaching.”

(Main Image: John McCombs – Dale Lane, Delph, Winter)

John McCombs - Dale Lane, Delph, Winter

By Ant Cosgrove, The Northern Art Page


The exhibition runs from January 20 to February 18, 2018 at Saddleworth Museum in Uppermill. The preview will take place on January 20, 2018, 1:30pm – 4pm with the artists present to launch the exhibition.