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Tribute to city metal master; PLAQUE UNVEILED TO 'FORGOTTEN CRAFSTMAN' WHO DIED IN POVERTY.



A VICTORIAN master craftsman A master craftsman (sometimes called only master or grandmaster) was a member of a guild. In the European guild system, only master craftsmen were allowed to actually be members of the guild.  will be remembered in Coventry next week when a plaque is unveiled on the site of his former factory.

Francis Skidmore was one of the best metalworkers in the country in the 19th century, but died in poverty.

He worked in wrought iron wrought iron: see iron.
wrought iron

One of the two forms in which iron is obtained by smelting. Wrought iron is a soft, easily worked, fibrous metal. It usually contains less than 0.1% carbon and 1–2% slag.
, copper and bronze from his factory in Alma Street, Hillfields, on a site now owned by Coventry University The expanding main campus is situated on the east side of Coventry city centre, which boasts one of the most innovative (and unusual-looking) university libraries in the UK. The university is particularly noted for its world-renowned automotive design and engineering degree courses as .

The plaque will be unveiled by his great granddaughter Noun 1. great granddaughter - a daughter of your grandson or granddaughter
great grandchild - a child of your grandson or granddaughter
 Rita Kenderdine on Wednesday.

Skidmore was born in Birmingham in 1816 and moved to Coventry as a child.

After starting work in his father's jewellery business, he developed a skill for using non-precious metals.

His reputation grew at the Great Exhibition and he started up his own factory as commissions poured in from around the globe.

One of his most striking projects was the decorative metalwork metalwork. Copper, gold, and silver were probably fashioned into ornaments and amulets as early as the Neolithic period. Goldwork and silverwork have since employed the talents of leading artisans and artists in making jewelry, plate, inlays, and sculpture.  he made for the Albert Memorial in London.

The stunning tribute erected by Queen Victoria was restored to its former glory in 1998 and Skidmore's work can clearly be seen on the statue overlooking Kensington Gardens.

Examples of his work in Coventry can still be seen in Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church, or variations on the name, may refer to: Churches
In Australia:
  • Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide
In Bulgaria:
  • Church of the Holy Trinity, Svishtov
In Canada:
  • Church of the Holy Trinity, Toronto
 and St Mary's Guildhall.

The project closest to his heart, the pulpit in St Michael's Church - the old Cathedral - was destroyed in the Blitz in November 1940.

Skidmore also made decorative metalwork for several Oxbridge colleges and government buildings, as well as the choir screen at Hereford Cathedral, which is now in storage at the Victoria and Albert Museum Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London, opened in 1852 as the Museum of Manufacturers at Marlborough House. It originally contained a nucleus of contemporary objects of applied art bought from the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the instigation of the  in London.

His skill was also his undoing, as his quest for perfection led him to throw away thousands of pounds of work he considered sub-standard. He died in poverty in Eagle Street, Hillfields, aged 73.

Peter Walters, of Coventry and Warwickshire Promotions, which has put up six other plaques to great figures in the city, said: "Francis Skid- more is one of Coventry's forgotten craftsmen.

"He was chosen to work on one of the most prestigious memorials in Vic- torian England yet he died in poverty in Coventry in 1896."
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Author:Hopker, Antony
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 8, 2000
Words:340
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