Tower Bridge at night.

Tower Bridge: Happy Birthday!

Combined Bascule and Suspension Bridge

Lovely image of London's famous Tower Bridge, taken from St Katherine's dock looking south.
Lovely image of London’s famous Tower Bridge, taken from St Katherine’s dock looking south. By Bob Collowân [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
Tower Bridge was officially opened on this day in 1894. I have long been enchanted by it: as a fascinating piece of engineering it is the only combined bascule and suspension bridge I’ve seen; and as a monumental piece of Victorian Gothic architecture.

I first saw it as a child, though it was to be many years before I learned that Continue reading

Eric Ravilious and 20th century British Art

Some lovely and captivating paintings. (I like the alliterative rant halfway down too!)

Blog-sur-Aude

img_20161128_085926I found this painting in a junk shop in Birmingham. It was filthy; but oil paintings are tough and almost always clean up well.

Even in that condition I could see the strong composition, colour & form.

It’s unsigned (unusual if it’s by an “amateur”) An unsigned work is more often that of an artist who is working prolifically, but is not of celebrity status and so doesn’t have to think about provenance later down the line!

This is by someone who understands classical painting and has been classically taught ( it’s sketched out in Prussian blue, and quite right too, my old Art tutors would have lynched the class of 71-74 for using the colour black ANYWHERE!)

My junk shop painting here has the colours, the look and the feel of  1920’s-30’s British Art, a taste of which is currently celebrated at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings UK. www.

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Three Colours: Blue

The best of the trilogy, Three Colours: Red and Three Colours: White are the others. Juliette Binoche at a her very best.

As she says in the Guardian newspaper:

“Three Colours Blue was one of the most joyful experiences I’ve had on a movie set”

School of Medicine – for Women

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Signs.”

This week, publish an image of a sign — from the signs you encounter on the street to more personal, less obvious signs that hold meaning for you.

I often walk past this sign. I am never quite sure what to feel about it. Dismay that “for many years, the Royal Free Hospital was the only hospital in London to offer medical services to women.” (Source: Royal Free Hospital). Or something more positive, given how far we have come. Continue reading

Re-reading Harry Potter

I find the Harry Potter series enthralling. I have read the whole series at least three times now. Generally, if I can I’ll read them one after another. I read quickly but this is still a fortnight of Hogwarts. I am currently halfway through the Goblet of Fire, episode four of the set. It is not my favourite! The first one is still the best. I just love the fairy tale quality to it, it has an excitement and innocence that I love. The wand shop in Diagon Alley is a favourite location, it reminds me of a very old shop near where I live. Though it was stacked high with small boxes of Airfix models, rather than wands. Continue reading

Survival of the fittest: HKPA’s ideas competition for Darwin College

HKPA allsorts

Studying the drawings at HKPA’s archive last summer, I noticed this label on ‘roll 24’:

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These, I discovered, are the drawings for HKPA’s in-house ideas competition for their additions to Darwin College, Cambridge (designed 1965-6, built 1967-8). It’s slightly ironic that while these have survived, the practice’s main set of drawings for the job appear to be missing (although Darwin retain a full set).

The base drawings – showing existing buildings – are dated 4 March 1965, so I suppose the competition was held a little after that date. Bill Howell mentioned an ‘office competition’ when presenting a revised scheme to the College in May. Most of the entrants had a go at the challenge of slotting a new dining hall into a narrow gap between the Hermitage (left on the photo below) and Newnam Terrace (right), ensuring privacy and security for those in the garden while maintaining visual connections…

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9 ‘Lost’ Railway Stations

I love railways, and especially old stations, so here is a post from Heritage Calling, the blog of Historic England.

Heritage Calling

1. Birmingham Snow Hill

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This fine Edwardian station was demolished in 1977 despite a public outcry.  The historic fabric was razed and trains on the old Great Western line to Leamington were terminated at Moor Street – originally devised as an overflow station for Snow Hill. However, the damage to cross-city services was so severe that the station was rebuilt, in a smaller, far more utilitarian idiom, in 1987 – a mere ten years after the station had disappeared.

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