Split Pediment

The musings of a Brighton-based architecture dweeb and town planner in training.

Tag: Victorian


No time to write something meaningful at the moment I’m afraid: too busy participating in a “visual study” for The Course. Lots of badly produced maps of a certain part of Brighton. But it has given me a chance to take the camera out on a wander. Results contained herein:

Musings and a building that won’t be here too long

So you’ve seen those annoying adverts on the telly recently, with Daniel “double-oh seven” Craig standing around trying extremely hard not to emote anything at all whilst the soundstage around him carefully explodes over thirty seconds in slow motion, battering him to and fro like an overgrown Autumn breeze and artfully scratching his rugged face without anything actually hitting him. Yes. Yes you have. Well it’s an advert for a high-definition telly. And whilst it’s rubbish qua advert, the quality of the picture is really lovely. The blacks are inky and deep, the reds are a miriad vagaries of crimson, the shards of glass are super-sharp. the puffs of smoke are billowing out of the screen and choking me…

McPalm senior has pointed out, however, that this advert is showing on his telly. And his telly is not – I repeat not – a high def telly. It’s a normal telly. It’s not even digital; it’s cathode ray. And you know what it makes you think when you see it? It makes you think, “huh. Well that picture looks great on this here ordinary non-high-deffy telly. For what, pray tell, do I need one of your new fangled ones? And what the dirty poo does Daniel sodding Craig have to do with it?! HE MAKES ME MAD!”

In fact, I really think Daniel Craig has really managed to revolutionise the Bond franchise. I mean, even with Dalton you didn’t really want Bond to die a horrible, painful, shark-infested death but with Craig, you’re really rooting for the villains. Much more fun.

In no way related, this is the old Royal Alexander Chilren’s Hospital building in the Cliftonville/Montpelier area of Brighton. It’s recently been replaced by a really very nice new bigger better award-winning building and the old one is due for what is euphemistically called “development”.

The original building was built in the 1880s and is a lovely dark Victorian redbrick. The building is large but not inhumanely so, decorated with teracotta mouldings, the odd oriel window, imposing chimneys and twin lead-roofed ogee-domed lanterns.

The other interesting feature is the great swathe of windows that sweeps along the south side of the building. It does work with the building and adds a touch of drama, but it’s clearly an addition – you can see the tops of some triangular gables pointing over the top; all those windows are hardly Victorian and have a more Modern touch; the Classical columns (Doric on the ground floor, Ionic on the first) are stone rather than brick; the top floor is probably a further extension… So I would say the extension is at least Edwardian, if not Twenties or Thirties.

Anyway, it’s not the World’s best building but it is nice and won’t be around much longer. So go see it if you’re in the area.

CORRECTION: The Flying Butress has made a valid and sound point in his comment below. I fully retract my previous incorrect statement and apologise profusely for any offence caused by my inaccuracy. I am a truly dreadful human being.

More Victorian redbrick

And here’s a building not too far from St Mary’s but with more of a nod to the Tudor, with those small, leaded upper windows, imposing central “gable” with crest and large bay window. I like the banding in the arches and above the first floor windows; shame about the added bay window at the far end;kind of ruins the symmetry. Handily the building is dated (in that shield) to 1866. But what was it used for? Clearly not domestic, but possibly some kind of mews or workshop perhaps. Hmmm…

Stripey\'s nicey

Shallow Ped in Dulwich

Also in Dulwich (in fact, right opposite the very good Dulwich Picture Gallery) is this cunning little split ped. The rest of this large Victorian detached family home is all plain, sensible, understated brick with hardly any ornamentation. The porch, however, betrays a soupçon of self-importance. In fact I’d argue that the porch, with it’s pediment broken reservedly at the bottom (rather than the more theatrical top splits), is crucial for the overall impact of the house. Yes, we are proud of our home and want you to appreciate the importance of entering it, but we don’t boast about it. Yes (this façade says in a Brian Sewell voice) we know about history but we don’t rigidly adhere to a Palladian dogma or follow the diktats of fashion.

Read the rest of this entry »