From the picturesque to the sublime: Henry Darbishire and the architecture of philanthropy

The name of the architect may not stick in the memory; his greatest work most certainly will. Like many people, I learned about the Columbia Market in Bethnal Green and its tragic fate thanks to Hermione Hobhouse’s Lost London. Somewhere in my mid-teens, I discovered the book in the reference room of Kingston-upon-Thames public libraryContinue reading “From the picturesque to the sublime: Henry Darbishire and the architecture of philanthropy”

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?”

Introducing C.H. Driver (1832-1900), Architect to the Steam Age

It is a measure of the prominence which civil engineering assumed in the 19th century that members of the profession achieved the status of household names. Indeed, they not merely achieved, but also retained it – witness, for instance, Isambard Kingdom Brunel polling second place in the 100 Greatest Britons television series of 2002, nearlyContinue reading “Introducing C.H. Driver (1832-1900), Architect to the Steam Age”

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”