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Cesspit containing medieval artefacts discovered beneath the Courtauld Institute

Plus: Arts Council England publishes 10-year strategy | Museum of Chinese in America seriously damaged in a fire | Architecture tutor dismissed from Glasgow School of Art | and Solent Flour Mills in Southampton to be demolished 

27 January 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Cesspit containing medieval artefacts discovered beneath the Courtauld Institute | Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) have discovered a medieval cesspit beneath the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, which was uncovered during the site’s redevelopment. The cesspit is four metres deep and contains the ruins of a 15th-century mansion, known as Chester Inn. Around 100 artefacts have been retrieved from the site, including vessels, tableware, pieces of metalwork,  and a rare ‘Penn’ floor tile. The objects mostly date from the 14th and 15th centuries; a selection will be exhibited at the Courtauld Gallery when it reopens in the spring of 2021. 

Arts Council England publishes 10-year strategy | Arts Council England (ACE) has today published a new 10-year strategy, in which it announces plans to improve access to culture nationwide by 2030. Entitled ‘Let’s Create’, the document includes a commitment by ACE to look beyond large cities, offering greater cultural opportunities and support for individuals in regional locations, with increased investment in local libraries among the promises given. A plan for delivery the strategy is set to be released in April. 

Museum of Chinese in America seriously damaged in a fire | The Museum of Chinese in America in Chinatown, New York was devastated by a fire last Thursday night (23 January). Up to 85,000 items in the collections and archives, which document the life of Chinese people in America, are thought to have been destroyed, although around 35,000 have been digitally backed up. The fire was tackled by some 200 firefighters, who also rescued one man from the building.

Architecture tutor dismissed from Glasgow School of Art | Gordon Gibb, an architect and tutor at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), has been dismissed from his role as director of professorial studies in the architecture department. Gibb has claimed that his removal is due to his ‘bringing the institution into disrepute’, having been a frequent critic of the school’s board on social media and in the pages of the Glasgow-based Sunday Post in recent years. He has told the Post that he intends to appeal the board’s decision, while a spokesperson for GSA has told the Architects’ Journal that ‘We don’t comment on members of staff, current or past.’

Solent Flour Mills in Southampton to be demolished | Solent Flour Mills, an art deco building on the Western Docks in Southhampton, is set to be demolished in the next three months, according to plans submitted by the Associated British Ports (ABP). The mill, which was built in 1934 by Joseph Rank, was sold by Hovis in 2018 and has since been left unused. Local councillor Sarah Bogle has called on ABP, which has said that repurposing the building is not financially feasible, to preserve at least some of the building’s features.