The Cross Guild Magazines
Alfred Fisher MBE
From Liverpool; Lives in Rickmansworth
Studied at Liverpool Institute and Liverpool College of Art
Former Chief Designer at Whitefriars Stained Glass Studio.
Former Stained-glass designer and conservator at chapel studio - stained glass.
Leighton Buzzard Railway
Established in 1948, The Cross Guild Magazines provide a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Cathedral as seen through the eyes of the Cross Guild members. A few years ago, they were digitized for the Archives and provide contemporary material alongside the formal accounts in Chapter minutes.
Dean Dwelly was a great supporter of the members of the Guild and often pointed his boys towards the relevant training for their future. Young Alfred Fisher was one of these boys. He had a flair for design and was encouraged by the Dean to enrol at the Liverpool College of Art. Whilst at the College he studied various methods of design before moving to join James Powell of Whitefriars. (Whitefriars were responsible for the early windows in the Lady Chapel). Alf began his career at Whitefriars Studio in the 1950s and quickly moved up the ranks. Alf had the privilege of spending evenings in the studio of the eminent Hungarian artist Erwin Bossanyi while working on his Washington and Canterbury Cathedral windows As well as developing a distinctive stained glass style, he was an early pioneer of fusing glass for architectural settings, and worked with engraved glass. He was awarded a scholarship to study glass in Europe in 1957. Following this his ideas for designing glass were given new life.
In 1973 he co-founded Chapel Studios and worked there until retiring. Alf continued to serve on various advisory committees and retains a fascination with glass. Alf was responsible for the creation of many new windows across the country, including Westminster Abbey, and the conservation and restoration of many others.
The Cross Guild own two of Alf’s early pieces. The first is shown on the 1951 cover of the magazine with a description showing how Alf wanted to demonstrate the methods used in making such a piece. On a visit to the Cathedral in 2019, Alf suggested that it was a poor example of his work and not one he was especially proud of making.
Alf contributed several articles to the magazine, and some are shown below. There was often a long article in each edition and Alf wrote a two-part piece about his other love” Narrow Gauge Railways”. He is still involved with the Leighton Buzzard Railway.
Alf’s second piece is commemorating the first peal of the bells in November 1951. It shows the names of the boys who were the Bell Ringers for this occasion and the initials of FWD, the Dean. This piece is unique to Liverpool Cathedral and is treasured by the members of the Cross Guild.
“Craftsman’s art and music’s measure for their pleasure all combine.”