Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Small things matter. A gents in a city centre, for example. Designed with some care, as if to suggest pride in a civic amenity, rather than shame at bodily functions. Somebody in Worcester made an effort.
So what have we got? A winning mixture of the showy and the practical. Glazed bricks cover the lower portion of the wall (just visible in the photograph above) with a careful curve at the doorway, as if to be kind to stumble-bums who make contact with the masonry while entering in haste. A mixture of red bricks and buff dressings, with their suggestion of richness, articulate the upper area of the wall. Mullioned windows and a decorated parapet are testimony to that blend of influences often found in buildings of the years on either side of 1900. Above the doorway, there’s another mixture – a keystone topped, and trumped, by lettering in a raised panel headed with a curving moulding. The lettering is big, but not too big, ornate, but not too fancy – the curved side of the A and the generous loop of the R seeming to give a hint of a memory of Art Nouveau. Civic pride is reinforced by the coat of arms further along the wall, in its panel that sets it off from the parapet and raises it slightly above.
Modernity, in the shape of a poorly positioned down pipe and hopper head and two little square signs, intrudes, but not too much. This small building is still an ornament to the street. Worcester’s pennies were not so badly spent.