Monday, December 23, 2013
Somers Town, London
Part of the Somers Town area to the north of St Pancras Station, the Sidney Street estate was built in the 1930s by the St Pancras House Improvement Society, which was founded by Father Basil Jellicoe and Irene Barclay, the first British woman to qualify as a quantity surveyor. The flats of the estate were part of a campaign of slum clearance in this part of London in the first part of the 20th century and these grand blocks enclosing a spacious courtyard must have been a big improvement on what was here before. Visually the most remarkable thing about the blocks of flats on the estate is their decorative Doultonware panels, created by Doulton artist Gilbert Bayes. I hope to return to these panels, but meanwhile here is a taster, the Doultonware Christmas tree, which stands in the small side courtyard that was set aside for the washing lines. It reminds residents and passers-by, all the year round, of the sentiments of the Christmas season. Peace on Earth indeed, and Goodwill to Men. And to women and, particularly, to readers of this blog.