Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Off my piste
Catching the eye with white-painted walls and ogee hood moulds picked out in black, this building in Shipston-on-Stour stands out from its mainly red-brick neighbours. Although I’ve been to Shipston dozens of times I’d not been down this side street, so had no idea the building was there – not until I started using the recent revised edition of Warwickshire in the Pevsner Buildings of England series.*
The revised and extended editions of the Pevsner guides certainly do their job of picking out exceptional buildings in obscure places. My example is the very last thing in the entry on Shipston: “with ogee windows and hood moulds; originally a police station and lock-up, built c. 1840,” says the guide, which was enough to send me off to find Old Road, where the building stands. Those curving window tops are very typical of the early Gothic Revival and they’re certainly the first thing to notice. But I’d also point out the shape of the building – the broad curve with which it turns the corner. The metal glazing bars delineating tiny panes of glass and small three-pane opening panels are also delightful, especially their Gothic pointed upper panes.
Backstreet England. As Pevsner shows, it’s so often worth your while to stray from the main drag, to go those extra few yards from your usual route, to poke around in corners. You never know what you might find.
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*The Buildings of England: Warwickshire, Chris Pickford and Nikolaus Pevsner (Yale University Press, 2016). My review is here.