The V&A, social housing and Robin Hood Gardens

One of the best things about living on the London underground is having such easy access to London's countless cultural venues and range of exhibitions. At first glance the V&A - a museum of art and design - may seem an unexpected place to host an exhibition about social housing. It's a small exhibition, but [...]

By | February 21st, 2019|Decline and Regeneration, Film, Housing and History, Modernism, Modernist Inspired, Photography, Tower Blocks and Flats, Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on The V&A, social housing and Robin Hood Gardens

“Nothing is too good for ordinary people”

Lubetkin’s stairwell hovers like layers of propellers in the atrium at Bevin Court; it is nothing short of stunning. If this is not enough, in the entrance hall to this modernist council built apartment block, there is also a bust of Ernest Bevin and the Peter Yates' mural Day and Night, Winged Bulls. How must it [...]

By | January 18th, 2019|Modernism, Tower Blocks and Flats, Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on “Nothing is too good for ordinary people”

Housing to cheer us

Now that it's cold and dark here and the news seems all doom and gloom, here's some of Entraveaux's housing in the Maritime Alps to cheer us all. If you're in that part of France, check it out, it really is beautiful with the shuttered apartments and impossibly narrow streets overlooked by the citadel, some [...]

By | December 22nd, 2018|Housing and History, Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on Housing to cheer us

Red kites at home

I’ve been fascinated to watch the red kites creating their ‘home’ in a tree at the back of my garden. They are majestic birds, their vast wingspan soaring in rising air currents, looking strangely petite when perched in the trees, carefully surveying all around. Their cry is very distinctive, almost mammalian. The kites found the [...]

By | May 9th, 2018|Photography, Uncategorised, Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on Red kites at home

Hospital to Home

In last month’s blog we went to Margate and that’s where we start again this month. Margate’s seaside heritage is exemplified by the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital built practically on the seafront in the 1790s, back in the days when sea air and sea bathing were considered to cure all manner of diseases. This hospital [...]

Gaudí’s musical Spanish house

An amazing chance find on a recent visit to Northern Spain. Who knew that Antonio Gaudi’s first house was built in Comillas, a lovely seaside town, a place once favoured by the Spanish royal family? Most people of course know Gaudi’s Barcelona works, particularly the Sagrada Familia Basilica, which I shamefully admit I’ve yet to [...]

By | October 20th, 2017|Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on Gaudí’s musical Spanish house

From Prefab to Container Living

Prefabs were supposed to be a short-term fix to the housing crisis after the second world war, a life of around 10 years until housing could be more permanently sorted. They needed to be constructed rapidly, and although hard to heat and cold in the winter, some with asbestos and other health and safety concerns, [...]

By | September 26th, 2017|Decline and Regeneration, Housing and History, Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on From Prefab to Container Living

Beamish: a grand day out

Beamish could easily be a sentimental view of a past golden age – but refreshingly, it isn’t. Beamish is one of those places that once you hear about, you keep hearing about. It’s located near Durham and as such is founded around the area’s industrial development and coal mining past. The founder Frank Atkinson wanted [...]

By | July 10th, 2017|Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian, Housing and History, Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on Beamish: a grand day out

Life aboard: canal and river moorings

Sometimes it’s hard to know what stimulates an interest in something for us, but for me in my childhood I am also certain that what introduced me to canals was not just living near to the Grand Union Canal and watching the locks fill and empty, but also the Ladybird book: The Story of Our [...]

By | May 7th, 2017|Uncategorised, Unique and Usual Places|Comments Off on Life aboard: canal and river moorings