One good turn deserves another: into the RIBA Journal thanks to Arthur Beresford Pite

In the days before so much human interaction took place virtually, the circumstances in which one struck up a lasting acquaintance tended to stick in one’s mind. When it begins on-line, they can be a lot harder to pinpoint. I think – although I can’t now be entirely sure – that I got to knowContinue reading “One good turn deserves another: into the RIBA Journal thanks to Arthur Beresford Pite”

H.S. Goodhart-Rendel and the 20th century Victorians

Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel (1887-1959) is someone who has loomed very large in this blog. I’m aware that I’ve quoted him extensively without fully explaining who he was and why he matters so much to any student of Victorian architecture. It is now time to bring him centre-stage, even if that means straying outside the chronologicalContinue reading “H.S. Goodhart-Rendel and the 20th century Victorians”

Robert Lewis Roumieu: progressive or prankster?

One is the former London office of a firm that produced vinegar and fortified wines. The other is a speculative development of townhouses aimed at the affluent middle classes. Fairly mundane projects typical of the 19th century, one might think; typical, indeed, of hundreds such up and down the country, brought into being by theContinue reading “Robert Lewis Roumieu: progressive or prankster?”

Architect of a lost London: Thomas Edward Knightley (1823-1905)

To a greater or lesser degree, lasting success in any profession comes down to luck and architecture is no exception. Success has to be measured not only in terms of what an architect gets to build in his or her lifetime, but also of the subsequent fate of these achievements. Many posthumous reputations which deservedContinue reading “Architect of a lost London: Thomas Edward Knightley (1823-1905)”

A Celtic nation of shopkeepers

A few weeks ago I wrote about Llanidloes in central Wales (formerly in Montgomeryshire, now in Powys) and featured the splendid nonconformist chapels that are such a prominent feature of its townscape. I now want to turn my attention to another building type that does a great deal to define the character of the placeContinue reading “A Celtic nation of shopkeepers”

Technicolour Roguery: the rise and fall of Bassett Keeling

The 19th century was the age of Romanticism. Though its influence was felt in all the arts, many of the impulses driving the Romantic movement were literary in origin and one of their purest expressions is in the archetype of the Romantic hero – fated to be an outcast from society by incomprehension of hisContinue reading “Technicolour Roguery: the rise and fall of Bassett Keeling”

A High Street extravaganza

An awful lot of towns in the Home Counties were badly sinned against in the post-war years by planners, developers, traffic engineers and architects, but few quite as grievously as Maidstone. While I can’t feel too upset about the destruction visited on certain places, where there may well never have been anything terribly interesting, MaidstoneContinue reading “A High Street extravaganza”

William Eden Nesfield (1835–1888)

The subject of my first post is someone who, if not exactly obscure, nonetheless is very much a connoisseur’s architect. W. Eden Nesfield (as he tended to call himself) was born into an affluent old Durham family. His father, William Andrews Nesfield (1793-1881), was a veteran of the Peninsula War who subsequently became a waterContinue reading “William Eden Nesfield (1835–1888)”