Sketches from the Front – A Northwich Artist

William Harold Hutchings was born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool in 1886.  After training at the Liverpool School of Art, he is thought to have worked for the United Alkali Company based in St Helens.  When he enlisted during the Great War, he was assigned to the Cheshire Regiment, but transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps at some point.  He took with him a series of sketch books and would paint and draw whenever the opportunity arose.  Many of the sketches have a vibrant and spontaneous quality depicting everyday life on the front line – sometime comic, occasionally tragic.

lieut shields compressed               jimmy north compressed


refugees compressed                  gas compressed


before the battle compressed


self portrait compressedAfter the war, ‘Hutch’ (as he was known) went to Northwich to work as a clerk for Brunner Mond (later ICI Ltd) and worked for the company for 49 years.  During his time in the town he was a founder member and Chairman of the Northwich Society of Artists and also a member of the Crescent Players’ Dramatic Society.  He exhibited at Liverpool, Manchester and Conwy and held one-man shows at Northwich Library and ICI Winnington.

‘Hutch’ died in 1963 aged 77 and his collection of sketchs and scrapbooks covering the period 1906 to 1960 were donated to Northwich Library and later transferred to the Cheshire Record Office.



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One Response to Sketches from the Front – A Northwich Artist

  1. Alan Lowe 3 June 2014 at 6.24pm #

    I have just completed a book about the last six months of 1914 in the Northwich area, I wish I had known about this man!!

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