Camberley views No.4: Large Victorian/Edwardian houses in Crawley Ridge

Yesterday’s excersise walk was along Crawley Ridge. I walked the full length from one end and back again, enjoying looking at the houses to select for my review of their architectural features.

I’m amazed that none of the large architecturally interesting Victorian and Edwardian houses qualifies for an entry in the Council’s List of Historic Building in Surrey Heath. I need to study, carefully, the Council’s Designation of Local Heritage Assets Supplementary Planning Document to identify the criteria used to to gain addition to the list.

The photos below are of four houses, Conewood House, Crawley Lodge, Laureston, Woodend, and the two 1887 Providence cottages. I’ve included Tudor Hall, though it’s address is Branksome Park Road, it has a boundary wall and interesting gate onto Crawley Ridge.

It’s mostly the string courses and brick detailing in these four houses and two cottages that are exceptionally pleasing. Click on each image to expand to see the delightful string courses. It appears that all four houses and Tudor Hall are divided into flats, which doesn’t in any way diminish their attractiveness. I’ll be including the Church of St Pauls when I review the architecture of buildings on Church Hill.

At last, libraries to re-open

Surrey County Council announced to me, in an email, the re-opening of its libraries, stating,

From 6 July, we’ll begin to reopen our libraries. The first libraries we will reopen are: Camberley, Dorking, Woking, Staines, Redhill, Horley, Epson, Egham, Oxted, Farnham, Weybridge, Godalming and Guildford. Our absolute priority is keeping you and our staff safe.

It never occured to me that lockdown would last this long. Gosh, I’ve had to read some junk that we had in our bookcase. Ah well, at last here’s a partial return to normal, and I can return our library books. Here’s a photo of the book pile to return, Please don’t judge me on my book choices, as it now seems to be the way to criticise people. these books are my reading for relaxation and enjoyment, not some socio-political statement.

Camberley views No.3: Extra information uncovered

Before writing, yesterday, about the buidings on the Southern stretch of Park Street in Camberley I should have looked at Mary Ann Bennett’s book Camberley – A History. Heck, I’ve a signed copy in our bookcase.

I’ve looked in the index for Park Street Stores and about Witwood, and have discovered useful additional information.

Firstly about Witwood.  On page 57 of her book, Mary Ann describes how building company Spear & King plus local bricklayer Mark Jacobs were responsible for erecting most of the houses in the Gordon Road area. Mary Ann continues,

The most impressive, Witwood, built in Park Street in 1898 for Major Crawford was designed by the eminent architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

I think it looks more modern than having been built in 1898.

On page 98, of Camberley – A History, there’s this excellent photo of the Park Street Post Office and general store in 1950s, when owned by the Alborough family.

Camberley views No.3: Southern part of Park Street

Park Street in Camberley is split into two. There’s the town centre shopping, leisure and eating part that runs from London Road to Pembroke Broadway, and then there’s the more architecturally interesting stretch that runs from Pembroke Broadway to Park Road.

This short stretch of road from Pembroke Broadway to Park Road is the subject of my third in the series of Camberley views. There are buildings of historic and architectural interest, though only one, Witwood, is recognised in the Council’s List of Historic Buildings in Surrey Heath.

From Pembroke Broadway to the railway bridge the buildings are nondescript, perhaps excepting the one by the bridge with the unusual upper level window treatment.

Beyond the railway bridge there are four Victorian/Edwardian houses. While they are of “humble”, two-storey proportions, they never the less have interesting string courses and detailing in blue engineering bricks.

Immediately past these houses is a building occupied by a kitchen design and showroon. This was once Park Street Stores of which I’ve located photos of it in 1921 and 1979. Though it’s been modernised at the ground floor level, it is essentially unchanged over the years. Here are photos that show that [click on images to expand].

Further down the road toward Park Road we have a much admired Lutyens-designed house. I’ve written about Witwood, and show photos of it below, [again, click on image to expand].

Here are the photos of the other buildings on Park Street, which is pleasingly densely tree lined, The telephone exchange is the least atractive building.

Thinking about Armed Forces Day, veterans, and The Cenotaph

It’s Armed Forces Day this coming Saturday. Sadly there’ll be no outdoor events for us to attend. As with everthing else nowdays, celebration events will be online.

I wonder if there will be armed forces veterans at The Cenotaph to ensure nothing untoward happens to it. Talking about veterans, our local veterans help group has changed its name to Veterans & Familes – Listening Project, same focus on helping to improve the day to day lives of veterans and families, now with a wider reach than just Surrey Heath.

Now, a dreadful admission from me about my knowledge of the Cenotaph. I didn’t know the word ‘cenotaph’ derives from the Greek for ‘empty tomb’. The Cenotaph has a closed empty tomb at the top  surmounted with a large laurel wreath.

With the decision not to repatriate the war dead of World War 1, and to bury them close to where they fell, a national memorial was needed as a focal point to the nations’s commemoration of those killed and affected by war. Hence the Cenotaph, designedby Sir Edwin Lutyens. English Heritage, who look after the memorial, say of its design,

Lutyens’s austere and dignified design for the Cenotaph rejected imagery, bombast and religious symbolism. Its timeless, non-denominational form has ensured its relevance to all the dead of the Empire and to audiences ever since. Its message was one of the universality of grief and the human cost of victory.

The memorial is regularly cleaned, and every 10-15years goes through a period of conservation. A feature of Lutyens design is that it does not shed water well at its top, resulting in the empty tomb and wreath becoming saturated with water, attracting biological growth. The Cenotaph was last given a renovation in 2013, such that the Portland stone at the top is now of a light colour.

Here are a couple of historic photos, and a couple more recent ones, where the difference after conservation can be clearly seen.

The Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in 2010.

A staple of TV schedules are progammes about railways

Looking at the TV schedules it’s obvious that programmes on railways are popular, and I imagine inexpensive to make. Programmes revolve around a presenter, and if they are well known, then all the better. There’s Michael Portillo and his Great British Railway Journeys, Chris Tarrant and his Extreme Railways, and new on the scene, Tim Dunn with his The Architecture that the Raiways Built, and then there’s Tony Robinson’s Around the World by Train.

I’m a sucker for the first three, though am not so enamoured with Tony Robinson’s progamme, and don’t watch it. They’re easy TV viewing, as there’s no sex, violence or politics.

Earlier this week I joined a Zoom lecture entitled “1st December 1847, a defining moment in railway time”, which was mostly about railways and their technological innovations in general. Mentioned in the discussions after the lecture was the Surrey Iron Railway, about which I knew nothing. Those discussions pointed me towards this short video. There’s plenty of other information about it on the dear old Internet if you type in Surrey Iron Railway.

Photo of the week No.52: Woman with a stroller in Gorky Park, Moscow. Photo by Vladimir Yatsin, USSR, 1986

I began my Photo of the Week series in January 2012, and this is the only the 52nd. The photos have to be of historical importance, with photographic clarity, quality of composition, and hopefully capturing an inner passion, these are some of my reasons for selecting a photo of the week.

I spotted in a @FraserNelson retweet, without any comment from him, this photo from @SovietVisuals. I think I know why Fraser retweeted the image, because it’s an absolute cracker of a photo. The legend on the photo in the SovietVisuals post is,

“Woman with a stroller in Gorky Park, Moscow. Photo by Vladimir Yatsin, USSR, 1986”


Lightwater views No1: Date plaques on Victorian houses in Guildford Road

This may seem an odd thing to write about, some while ago I took photos of the date plaques on the Victorian and Edwardian houses on Guilford Road in Lightwater between Grasmere Road and Macdonald Road.

This stretch of houses is part of the character of Lightwater. Surrey Heath Borough Council’s Supplementary Planing Document Lightwater Village Design Statement, describes the character of this part of the village as,

The centre of the Village developed around Guildford, All Saints, Ambleside, Macdonald and Broadway Roads and largely derives its valued character from Victorian and Edwardian buildings from the period 1890-1915. These older properties consist of smaller plots and buildings of “humble”, two-storey proportions.

The residential buildings are typical Victorian/Edwardian style villas either semi or detached with facing gable ends and sash windows. Built mainly of red brick, the older properties have grey slate roofs. More modern properties tend to have tiled roofs. Most of the older properties have period architectural detailing including string courses of bricks and quoins at the corner of the buildings, often picked out in white.

Some of the houses are in white render or are painted white. Some have date plaques and timbering adding to their visual interest. A pleasing visual rhythm is often set up by bay windows. These properties were originally built with no garage and shallow front gardens. Front boundary treatments such as garden walls and hedges play an important role in defining and softening the streetscene.

Here are my photos. I’ve not included every house, as some are more modern, and some have no plaque. I’ve included a few that have no plaque simply to show the house style. The sequence begins at the junction Grasmere Road, endind at the junction with Macdonald Road.

I’m amazed Baden-Powell’s statue is being boarded up

Let me say that I have no truck with racists, and am happy to see wrongs righted.

Boarding up Baden-Powell’s statue in Poole isn’t going to help. I was a cub, never progressing to be a Scout. I’ve only ever seen scout activity in a postive light – just think of the scout jamborees and the good they do, bringing people together. The scouting fraternity will not see this with understanding.

Here’s me with the B-P statue, a few years ago. It’s such a pleasing accessible statue that speaks well of Poole, though not Bouremouth Council.