Monday, May 17, 2021

Broadway, Worcestershire



Approaching the village of Broadway (one of those places periodically named as ‘Britain’s most beautiful village’) on the road from where I live across the border in neighbouring Gloucestershire, it doesn’t take long before my pleasure sensors are being tickled, figuratively at least. As the road called Lower Green curves gently, a view of this charming structure opens up, a shapely gazebo with views out on to the road and the other way into the private garden of the house to which it belongs. The building is designed very much to look good on this roadside aspect: there’s a curvy gable bearing a carved quatrefoil and topped by a chimney with a generous flared cornice; two pairs of lancet windows, their glazing bars displaying a design of intersecting tracery; and a ground floor with a blocked ogee-arched doorway and two small blocked lancets.

It’s clear even from the angle of my photograph that the gable is all for show – the actual roof has a much shallower pitch – and that the builders weren’t really kidding anybody when they constructed it. But whoever created this gazebo had two things in mind. The building contains a well lit upper room reached from the garden by an external staircase, no doubt an ideal space for relaxing, entertaining, and viewing the garden itself. That’s the practical side of things, if you like. The other side is making a good-looking sight on the roadside – hence the gable, ogee arch, and all the rest. You could call it showing off, but it’s also a what one might think of as a ‘visual amenity’, something we can all admire and derive pleasure from as we pass. So while the occupants eat, drink, or gaze from the gazebo on to their garden, we gaze at the gazebo. And everyone’s eyes can feast.


The Greenockian said...

Beautifully proportioned and lovely to look at.

Hels said...

I would love to see you when your pleasure sensors were being tickled :) But just as a method of knowing a worthwhile building is about to come into vision :)

Btw, I agree with you about the concept of visual amenity. There is nothing quite as spirit-raising as coming home after work to see the front of a beautiful building, preferably surrounded by trees and gardens. And of course everyone else’s eyes can absorb the loveliness as they go past.