Posts about architecture and architectural history

Lovely Lincoln

Lincoln Cathedral, seen from the Castle ramparts

Lincoln Cathedral, seen from the Castle ramparts

Given I grew up down the road from Worksop, which is itself a hop and a skip (and a direct train line) from Lincoln, it is a bit of a shame I’ve made it to 41 and never previously made it to Lincoln. And what with a passion for Gothic, and all… After I got back home, I came down with a lurgy (I don’t blame Lincoln!) so haven’t got around to jotting down some thoughts until now, even though my visit was back at the end of July. (more…)

A book backlog…

Pile of wonderful books

The persecutory culprits (artfully arranged, I should add, not ‘tossed’ into a heap!)

So if things have been a bit quiet around here lately, it’s one more sign that the 5:2 effect is in full force. I don’t mean the intermittent fasting diet, I mean the five days that pass in a blur of work and commuting, followed by two days in which you frantically try to pack in everything, from self-enlightenment down to mere life admin, not to mention sleeping, reminding yourself you have friends, and just sitting quietly and wondering about it all.

Amidst this frenzy, I’m becoming increasingly aware of my book backlog. Yes, let’s set aside for now the opera DVDs that are unwatched (in the proper sense of actually concentrating on them) and CDs unlistened to (ditto): there’s something about small piles of unread books that can gang together and take on a persecutory air.  My partner is a fantastic eBayer and peruser of charity shops.  Consequently I have a nicely growing collection of books that are antiquarian, or bordering on it, or otherwise quirky or interesting. A number of them just haven’t made it to being read yet… (more…)

Nairn’s fabulously evocative London

Nairn's London - PenguinLittle knowing its timeliness, my partner picked up a copy of a new book in a charity shop the other day: Nairn’s London. A reprint of the 1966 ‘guide’ to London’s architectural interest, launched just at the beginning of November, it has immediately got me hooked.

I’ve had to discipline myself to stop dipping in to interesting areas, and read it through from the start. Otherwise, much like London of the period, there’s so much waiting to leap out from unexpected corners that it would be easy to miss many a delight.

I say ‘of the period’ because what makes this work so captivating is the way in which Nairn conjures London in transition, perhaps even at the start of a post-war journey that has led us to the rather po-faced, in-thrall-to-money, oh-so-shiny city that we have today. (more…)

A little local disappointment

The first non-music, non-opera post since I revamped the blog. My blog isn’t the only thing to undergo a facelift, though hopefully my blog’s is for the better compared to this alternative example.

As I trundle up to Norwood Junction of a morning, and back of an evening, my bus takes me up Portland Road. You may know Portland Road, a once-bustling local high street which is now fallen on distinctly hard times. That gives it an immediate heritage interest: there are small traces of its busy commercial past to be found in a series of façades which look, at casual glance, scrappy and irregular. That’s local history. Recently, one of those façades has changed.