Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Clifton-Taylor’s English towns: In the marches
My short armchair travel series concludes for now with another of my favourite English towns – Ludlow – in a further programme from Alec Clifton-Taylor’s 1978 series. He begins with the Norman castle that gave the place its reason for being, and with a wonderful aerial shot of the castle and the town. A helicopter shot really helps one to understand Ludlow – not just the layout of the castle but also the town's grid plan, which is a notable example of medieval town planning.
Further joys unroll thereafter, including Ludlow’s fine parish church (especially its carved misericords) and the carving on the town’s timber-framed houses (the Feathers, above, best of all). If these were built on the prosperity that came from wool, the profits from the new industry of glove-making helped the Georgians improve the town in the 18th century, when it also became a notable social centre. Bigwigs’ mansions and the smaller houses of Georgian merchants offer further delights. The house with eight Venetian windows brought a smile to Clifton-Taylor ’s face, as it did to mine.
Entertaining diversions involve bad graveyard materials (e. g. ’nauseating crème de menthe chips’, luckily absent here) and the ‘de-blacking’ of timber framing. The whole programme is entertaining and an admiring portrait of this lovely town, still one of the gems of the west of England.