Archive for 25/03/2014


IMG_8394You may remember my recent visit to Canterbury and the wealth of architectural detailing I found ‘over my head’. Well, visiting Chester at the weekend gave another opportunity to crane my neck and seek out some wonderful ornamentation and other building features in this largely late Victorian/ Edwardian ‘Mock Tudor’ set piece City Centre. Here are a few pictures to capture the spirit of the place. I’ll do a separate post with those I took in and around the cathedral.

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Old School Gardener

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Municipal Dreams

You don’t generally look to Richmond upon Thames for political radicalism and pioneering social reform.  But look again – at a street of modest Victorian terraced housing: Manor Grove in North Sheen.  This was the first council housing in London.  It was built through the efforts of Richmond’s very own ‘People’s Champion’, William Thompson.

Manor Grove (11)

Of course back then Richmond was in Surrey and it had been created a municipal borough only in 1890.  That, it turned out, was an auspicious year: a young Liberal schoolmaster, William Thompson, was elected to the local council and, nationally, the Housing of the Working Classes Act was passed which allowed local councils not only to clear areas of slum housing but to build new, municipal, housing where necessary.

Then, as now, Richmond was a relatively affluent area but it too had areas of poverty and slum housing.  Existing housing supply was, in Thompson’s words…

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