Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Much Wenlock, Shropshire


Talk about purposeful. If ever there was one, this is a building that knows what it's about. Blue bricks as hard and solid as when they were laid in the 19th century. Pointed windows and doorways with arches so slightly curved as to be almost straight – no messing about with the Gothic revival here. Quoins and dressings in a pale brick that looks as hard and forbidding as the blue. Drain pipes rising right next to the front door. Solid little crenellations around the flanking wall. Iron-studded front door that looks as if it would take a battering.

All of this makes it unsurprising that this embodiment of solidity and security is a police station. Oddly enough the name stone above the doorway has some slightly ornamental touches – mixed in with some very plain letters (E and I) are a couple of rather fancy ones (A and O). One can almost see the carver starting to give way to ornament before relenting and signing off with a very plain N and the usual Victorian full point. Soft? Not on your life.


CherryPie said...

I need to look at that more closely next time I visit the Priory Tearooms which are just opposite to the old Police House...

Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

Blue bricks! Mark of the beast for the Midlander: a huge railway viaduct of blue bricks at (I believe) Tamworth, where in the West Country you might have red brick and edgings of Cotswold stone. Some of the worst and least entertaining walls and buildings in my native Birmingham present this fiercely dull brick to the eye. In South Wales, on top of the grey stone wall of the school yard at Hopkinstown, Pontypridd, a contrasting rounded coping in blue brick - which I thought very Midlandish. When I looked closer I saw each coping brick was stamped with the name of the maker and "West Bromwich". At least the Much Wenlock police station is enlivened with those bits of stone, so certainly not as severe as it might have been.