Friday, January 13, 2017
Clifton-Taylor’s English towns: Down by the riverside
Next in my short series of posts on Alec Clifton-Taylor’s 1970s television programmes on English towns see the presenter not far from my backyard, exploring the town of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, as Vauxhall Vivas and Rover 2000s zoom about in the background. Tewkesbury is a waterside town by two rivers (the Severn and Avon) built around a huge medieval abbey. I’ve posted about Tewkesbury several times before, noting its vulnerability to flooding, its noble abbey, its historic houses, and its very special Baptist chapel. My photograph shows the west front of the abbey, its enormous Norman arch now filled by a late-medieval window. Clifton-Taylor ranges outwards from this huge stone pile to the town’s mainly timber-framed buildings, up its characteristic alleys, and along its bounding rivers. There are interesting diversions on brick production and glass-making on the way, too.
Tewkesbury is a busy local centre, and much appreciated locally, but many tourists miss it, because they are distracted by the Cotswolds ten or twenty miles away. It’s well worth the diversion, as Clifton-Taylor fascinatingly shows.