Brutalist architecture mostly leaves me cold or repulsed but I’ve always had a liking, verging on an affection, for the Barbican Estate, perhaps because I worked there for six years and got to know its vastness, its labyrinths, and its hidden byways. I’ve always thought that if there was one structure in London that would survive nuclear war or natural catastrophe it would be the Barbican.
A small wooden church on Cardiff Bay testifies to the most significant influx of Norwegians to Britain since the Viking invasions a thousand years earlier. These nineteenth-century Norwegians were more peaceable than their Viking ancestors, interested in trade rather than pillage. And unlike those earlier visitors they worshipped Christ, not Odin.
If there was going to be a memorial statue for David Bowie then Aylesbury might seem an odd, out-of-the-way place for it. Why not Brixton, where he was born, or Bromley, where he was formed, or Soho, where he was transformed? The connection goes back to the early 1970s when, despite its traditional-market-town identity, Aylesbury had a thriving music scene.
My book, City of Verse: A London Poetry Trail, is now available on the Amazon and Kobo stores.
The National Trust announced yesterday that it has purchased four acres of woodland adjoining the lorry park of Cherwell Valley Motorway Services on the M40. The Trust claims the site is ‘England’s first dogging location, according to authenticated records and personal testimony’.
Abbot Richard Whiting of Glastonbury Abbey was one of the few heads of religious orders to put up any resistance to Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Glastonbury was the last abbey left in Somerset and Whiting refused to hand it over to Henry’s agents. This was a principled stand but not one that would end well for the abbot.