Saturday, 29 September 2012

Auckland, New Zealand

So I have arrived in New Zealand. Here is a preview of Auckland's neo-gothic buildings.....

The last one is Auckland's museum and war memorial.

Monday, 17 September 2012


I'm afraid this post will not be about buildings, upsetting I know.

However, I do have an announcement....... From Thursday I am going to be in NZ for a year. I intend to be exceptionally nosy and get first hand experience of their heritage policies, practices and principles.

So the next time you hear from me I will be down under!!!!! Or as my aunt and uncle put it, upside down.

Wish me luck!! I will leave you with a sneaky peak....

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

St Martin's Church, Atworth

I have lived near this church for nearly 5 years now and every time I drive past it, I always tell myself to go and visit it, so now I have! Hurrah!

On many of my drive bys, I noticed that it had a very unusual wooden clerestory. 

I got very excited and my imagination got slightly carried away with this, concluding that it was medieval. However, when I actually managed to get a closer look I realised that it wasn't medieval at all, but Victorian (I have to admit, part of me was slightly disappointed). 

Yet, the disappointment soon fell away when I went to have a peek at the inside. 

The current St Martins was built in 1837 and internally, it is a Neo-Gothic architectural gem!!  These pictures don't really do it justice as there wasn't enough light for my camera to cope with, but the whole of the inside is predominantly timber based on the Victorian ideal of medieval religious architecture.

The roof is absolutely stunning, especially over the altar. 

The architect, unknown, didn't leave any detail left un-thought of. The minute detail on the timber structure is amazing, there were roses, thistles, clovers, and there must have been daffodils, though I couldn't spot one. 

The highlight for me and what made my day, was that fact that running along the top of the rood screen were Mini. Fan. Vaults!! if I ever get my ideal library, versions of these are definitely being included!!!!  They are absolutely beautiful. 

What can I say......never judge a book by it's cover! 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Holyrood House - Scotland

I know, I know, I keep on deviating from the "forgotten" part, plus, it is quite obvious that I haven't had time to nip up to Scotland. However, Holyrood House is one of those epic gems that I just had to tell you about it, even if the inspiration is from a magazine article. It is safe to say that all of the images coming up are not mine and we must thank Google for their appearance.

Country Life (August 15 2012) had a Scotland special. Those who know me well, know that I am a rather large fan of the Scottish Highlands, having spent many a summer holiday travelling round and fighting continuoulsy losing battles with the midges.

Within said magazine is an article written by Simon Thurley, the CE of English Heritage, on Holyrood House. This building is Scotland's premier royal palace and housed Mary Queen of Scots during her life and while she was confined during her trail for treason against Elizabeth I.

This fabulous building has it's orgins in an Augustianian abbey that was founded in 1128 and it's name was inspired by it's most famous relic - a fragment of the supposed true cross, a peice of the holy rood.

The building itself was terribly abused during the Civil War and Commonwealth and by the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660, it was a shadow of it's former self.

Between 1671 and 1679 nearly all of it was rebuilt. Surprisingly for Charles II this construction extravaganza was finished to a very high standard, mainly becase reason it was paid for by the Scottish Privy and not Charles himself - in a direct quote from the article, the rebuild was not about "glorifying Charles II, it was about glorifying Scotland".

The design of this rebuild was done by John Maitland 2nd Earl and 1st (and only) Duke of Lauderdale. Throughout his career which ended in 1682, Maitland was Scottish Secretary, Royal Commissioner and vice regent in Scotland, consequently, he paid a large amount of attention to the build.

Willaim Bruce was the architect, but the plan was ultimatley decided by the King. The new palace was designed around a courtyard, with a external facade that was a fantastic combination of old and new features.

The north tower was were Mary Queen of Scot's rooms were based and thus is covered with national symbols of Scotland. Bruce retained this tower and matched it with a southern one. The plan is centered around the main maginficent staircase where, straight on where the king apartment's, to the left the queens that were linked to the king's by an inner gallery on thee inside of the courtyard, and to the right an ante chamber that led to a grand new council chamber.

The state rooms looked out on to the courtyard, which upheld the epitomy of Classical ideas, including superimposed orders and careful symmetry.

James II was the last British monarch to use Holyrood House. After the Act of Union in 1707 there was no Scottish Parliament, Privy Council nor Parliamentary Commissioner. It unused by royalty for 125, and only in 1822 with the reign of George IV did they return.