Friday, December 21, 2007

Broad Street, Worcester

Another upward glance during the same visit to Worcester (see previous post) yielded this ornate George IV lamp and Regency ironwork. It originally formed part of the frontage of the Crown Hotel, one of Worcester’s old coaching inns, but now marks the entrance to Crown Passage, a shopping arcade. Coaching inns were once such a prominent and important part of the English scene and it's pleasing that the authorities of the city hung on to the old decoration of the Crown. The lanterns act not just as a mementoes of what was there before, but as effective beacons for shoppers heading for the mall. They're so much better and more characterful than the bland signage beneath them.

I am especially fond of old guide books, particularly the Shell Guides to the counties, which still have a lot to tell us about the spirit of the places they describe and the buildings one can find there. Browsing James Lees-Milne’s 1964 Shell Guide to Worcestershire I was pleased to see, amongst the other attractions of the city (the cathedral, the Guildhall, some beautiful Georgian houses) a fine Edwin Smith photograph of the lanterns and ironwork of the Crown. It’s good to know he noticed them too.

1 comment:

Peter Ashley said...

I'm starting to get a thing about images of crowns. Something to do with an ever recurring thought that I might be further up the line of succession than had hitherto been thought. Everything from the red-cushioned GPO cipher on green telephone vans to the stonework on Chipping Campden police station.