Stained glass designs and patterns of C. E. Steel and A. M. Fletcher

Scope and Content

Paintings of stained glass window designs at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, York, by Archibald Michael Fletcher, n.d.

Stained glass designs and several armorial designs by Charles E. Steel of Tudor Studio, Leeds, c.1918-1936. The stained glass designs are all on religious themes. Most are not labelled, but three can be identified as designs for windows in Howden Minster; All Saints Church, Thorp Arch; and St John's Church, Balby. The armorial bearings include painted designs for William Fairbairn Wailes Fairbairn and the Clarkes of Knedlington Manor.

Administrative / Biographical History

The firm of Charles E. Steel, glass merchant, was founded by Charles Edward Steel of Leeds. Charles was born in 1857 and was working as a glass merchant’s clerk by 1881. It is not clear when exactly he established his own business but ‘Charles E. Steel, glass merchant’ was listed in the Leeds Trades Directory as early as 1902. In 1904 Steel was described as a glass merchant and ‘stained glass and lead light artist’ based at 14 Aire Street.

Charles Steel died in Leeds in 1910 and the business was continued by his sons Joseph Edward and John Robert Steel. By 1917 the business had relocated to 41 York Place, Leeds.

It is listed in the 1927 Trades Directory for Leeds and was producing work until at least 1937 when they were commissioned to create a memorial window for Charles Bradley Leigh Walker at All Saint's Church, Thorp Arch.

Other stained glass work attributed to the studio of Charles E. Steel includes windows at Howden Minster, St Stephen’s Church at Kirklees, and churches at Thorne, Middlesbrough, North Grimston, Brafferton, South Elmsall, Yedingham, Howden, Scalby, and Church Fenton.

Archibald Michael Fletcher was born in York on 13 September 1887, the son of Frederick William Fletcher, a farmer, and his wife Rachael. Educated first at Park Grove School, Fletcher went on to study at York and Leeds Schools of Art under John Windass, specialising in decorative design, watercolour, and lithography.

He worked first as an art master at St Martin’s School of Art in London before moving to Birmingham to take up a teaching post at the Birmingham Municipal School of Arts, Central School, in 1922. In 1925 he was elected a professional associate member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and exhibited work at the Royal Academy.

In 1931 Fletcher was promoted to Assistant Principal at the Central School, a position he held until 1951. He became a full member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in 1931 and was Vice-President of the Society between 1946 and 1949. He also served on the Society’s council between 1948 and 1951.

His works include ‘Corfe Castle’, ‘The Green, Richmond, Yorkshire,’ and ‘Interior of a Cornish Barn.’ He also published an article, ‘Lettering & Colour in the Training of the Printer’, in The Torch, the journal of students of the Central School, in 1933. His professional work was usually signed ‘A. Michael Fletcher.’

Fletcher died in Birmingham in 1957.

Conditions Governing Access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Acquisition Information

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 1977.

Note

The firm of Charles E. Steel, glass merchant, was founded by Charles Edward Steel of Leeds. Charles was born in 1857 and was working as a glass merchant’s clerk by 1881. It is not clear when exactly he established his own business but ‘Charles E. Steel, glass merchant’ was listed in the Leeds Trades Directory as early as 1902. In 1904 Steel was described as a glass merchant and ‘stained glass and lead light artist’ based at 14 Aire Street.

Charles Steel died in Leeds in 1910 and the business was continued by his sons Joseph Edward and John Robert Steel. By 1917 the business had relocated to 41 York Place, Leeds.

It is listed in the 1927 Trades Directory for Leeds and was producing work until at least 1937 when they were commissioned to create a memorial window for Charles Bradley Leigh Walker at All Saint's Church, Thorp Arch.

Other stained glass work attributed to the studio of Charles E. Steel includes windows at Howden Minster, St Stephen’s Church at Kirklees, and churches at Thorne, Middlesbrough, North Grimston, Brafferton, South Elmsall, Yedingham, Howden, Scalby, and Church Fenton.

Archibald Michael Fletcher was born in York on 13 September 1887, the son of Frederick William Fletcher, a farmer, and his wife Rachael. Educated first at Park Grove School, Fletcher went on to study at York and Leeds Schools of Art under John Windass, specialising in decorative design, watercolour, and lithography.

He worked first as an art master at St Martin’s School of Art in London before moving to Birmingham to take up a teaching post at the Birmingham Municipal School of Arts, Central School, in 1922. In 1925 he was elected a professional associate member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and exhibited work at the Royal Academy.

In 1931 Fletcher was promoted to Assistant Principal at the Central School, a position he held until 1951. He became a full member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in 1931 and was Vice-President of the Society between 1946 and 1949. He also served on the Society’s council between 1948 and 1951.

His works include ‘Corfe Castle’, ‘The Green, Richmond, Yorkshire,’ and ‘Interior of a Cornish Barn.’ He also published an article, ‘Lettering & Colour in the Training of the Printer’, in The Torch, the journal of students of the Central School, in 1933. His professional work was usually signed ‘A. Michael Fletcher.’

Fletcher died in Birmingham in 1957.

Other Finding Aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued.

Archivist's Note

Created by S. A. Shearn, 10.02.17.

Conditions Governing Use

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Accruals

Further accruals are not expected.

Related Material

Further paintings of stained glass in York by A. Michael Fletcher are deposited with the archive of J. W. Knowles & Sons at the Borthwick Institute. The Institute also holds the parish records of Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate.

Additional Information

Published

GB193