Thursday, 8 January 2009

Something concrete...

In this outpost of the Republic today has been snow and cold, so typing is one way of trying to keep the fingers warm. This blogging lark is proving useful. There is much I have to learn and great deal of technology to master, but so far it's sort of working. I chose the most simple format on offer, and I'll try to keep it that way, without adding too many bells and whistles and knobs and gargoyles and things.

Welcome to the Followers, citizens your interest is very much appreciated, a small list at the moment but I have sent this out by e-mail to a number of people also, and I have had some feedback, so I assume it's being read and I'm not just writing to myself. Welcome to another Republic, the Independent Republic of the Canongate, doughty heritage campaigners from Edinburgh, which campaign will, I have no doubt, feature at times in this blog also.

Do feel free to pass it on. I can't say it will be updated daily, but I will do my best to keep it updated with anything that takes my fancy, and if you have any news, views or just want to say hello do add in the comments section. I will investigate setting up a new Republic e-mail account so people can send any news, although with the levels of SPAM now reaching my normal inbox I wonder how wise that will prove to be. I wonder if anyone does ever respond to all those daily exhortations to increase your manhood, make her moan etc etc?

Today some very good news indeed, courtesy again of Andrew Gayton, who yesterday was informed by the Department for Meeja Culcha and Sport (the latter part boo, as that's the Olympics which is sucking so much cash from heritage projects) a listing application has been successful. That is quite an achievement, no matter how lovely or interesting the building or structure, getting something listed isn't always as simple as you would think, and that is especially so of something post 1900. In this case let's hope it's uncontentious and not standing in the way of a new shopping mall, or the developer will be hiring a Historic Buildings Consultant to write a report stating how mistaken the listing was, how little it is really worthy, and how it should be delisted and demolished...
Hard to believe I know, but some make more than a crust from doing just that.
The structure in question is a small but charming water trough come war memorial (useful and beautiful, and a re-use of an existing structure so an early example of sound conservation too) in Kilverstone, Breckland, Norfolk, the sort of structure which brings interest to so many towns and villages throughout the country, but which can become neglected and before you know it, have fallen into major disrepair and even have vanished. Once they are gone they are gone... It's of particular interest as an example of earlyish shuttered concrete, not something you associate with this sort of structure.

You would assume that all war memorials were in some way protected, but alas that is clearly not the case. Listing does at least mean that, as well as recognising its importance to national heritage, future repairs will have to be carefully considered, hopefully carried out in the most appropriate materials, and gives some small leverage with regard to maintenance of the structure.

In this instance, it's clear that the method of construction as well as the architectural charm is important, not simply that it's a war memorial.

The listing is not online yet, and as I think it's of great interest I'll put it here:

KILVERSTONE Water Trough and War Memorial Grade II
A water trough, circa 1902, designed by Edward Thomas Boardman (1861-1950) Subsequently dedicated as a First World War memorial.
MATERIALS: Shuttered concrete, shingles, tiles and cast iron.
PLAN: Square base with semi-octagonal trough.
EXTERIOR: This water trough is of shuttered concrete with a pyramidical, shingles hipped roof mounted by a ball top lead finial. On the south side is a lead gargoyle at eaves level which directs rainwater into a trough below. It has a square base with 4 projecting buttresses on the east and west sides. All four sides have arcading decorated by tile creasing within the arch. Both the east and west external walls are detailed with chequered tile creasing and have a wooden bench. The north side has an entrance with two steps and a pair of cast iron gates. The south side has a semi-octagonal water trough with the water access also decorated with tile creasing. The south side also has two bands of tile creasing and two memorial plaques: the upper plaque is inscribed: 'THE GRIEF THAT LINGERS, AND THE PRIDE THAT BURNS, ALL THAT LOVE MEANS AND HONOUR CAN EXPRESS' and the lower plaque is inscribed: 'THERE IS SOME CORNER OF A FOREIGN FIELD THAT IS FOREVER ENGLAND. 1914. 1918. FRANCE (NAMES) MESOPOTAMIA. (NAME) SALONICA. (NAME). WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR.'
INTERIOR: The lower part of the south wall is faced with glazes red tiles. A concrete step leads to a concrete basin containing a standpipe.

HISTORY: the water trough was commissioned in circa 1902 by the armaments manufacturer, Josiah Vavasseur of Kilverstone Hall. Sometime after 1918, it had two plaques added commemorating the parish dead of the First World War.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: This early C20 water trough is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
It is an unusual example of an Arts and Crafts designed water trough.
It is of high quality design and displays good architectural detailing.
Its is by a known architect with other listed buildings to his name
It is largely intact.
It having been subsequently dedicated to the parish dead of the First World War gives it added historic interest.
So... a water trough paid for by an armaments manufacturer later becomes a memorial to the dead, ironic really. Clicking on the pics above will enlarge.
For the really anoraky here's a little more about Boardman.
His offices with rather more interesting than usual signage:

In the north-eastern part of the Norfolk Broads, on a low rise overlooking the River Ant, stands a large, thatched Edwardian house. It is the focal point of an area of marshes, reed, sedge and woodland which has become the main field study centre of Broadland. But it began life differently, built by a man named Edward Boardman who, with his father, ran a prominent Norwich architectural practice around the turn of the last century. He would later become a JP and mayor of Norwich. Holidaying on the Broads in 1901, he and his wife discovered How Hill almost by accident when the boat, a pleasure wherry, which they had booked didn't turn up and they were offered instead a smaller trading wherry converted for summer cruising. Because it was smaller, it was able to pass under Ludham bridge on the River Ant and thus take them past How Hill where Edward, being in the business and knowing a good development site when he saw one, immediately saw this one as the ideal spot for their holiday home. He bought the land, (he eventually assembled an estate of 872 acres), and in 1905, he replaced an existing house with the present imposing structure. But even then, the house belonged almost to a past era, for the nature of Broadland itself was about to change

More from that here:

No doubt Gareth Hughes, citizen of this Republic and close to Broadland, will know more

Clearly, however, all of Boardman's work was not universally admired:

"A small building with a south aisle hidden from the street, St Edmund had been largely Victorianised by the enthusiastic Edward Boardman in the 1880s, not long before the end of its liturgical life. Boardman's is the vestry with its chimney, the roof and the top of the tower. Before Boardman got its hands on it, St Edmund had a perfectly serviceable Georgian interior, perhaps like St George Colegate. Nothing at all survives of either the Georgian or Victorian furnishings..."

Oh well.


Live links from comments:
Link to troughs at the bottom of page:


Gervase said...

"Before Boardman got its hands on it..." It always amuses me when I read phrases like that. Yet we rarely see "Before Vanburgh/Haussman/Wren/Brunelleschi got his hands on it..."
Nice to see something unusual listed.

Nemesis said...

Well, I suppose it depends if you thought Morris was right or not with regard to church 'improvements' in the 19th century. All part of history now etc.

I have had technical trouble editing this entry, sorry all about the odd layout. No matter how I try it doesn't want to edit it to how it should look, I suppose the really clever can do the HTML part, but I'm not that really clever sort. :-)

Gareth Hughes said...

Boardman. A slightly dull architect in my opinion, especially set against his very skilled Norwich rival, George Skipper. I've always had the impression that he was very short-sighted and as a result sat too close to his drawing board, so the details are often very nice but in his larger buildings the composition as a whole tends to dribble a bit.
But a nice little monument, and one which, stylistically, gives a possible architect for this recently-listed but hitherto anonymous building in my own district:

biffvernon said...

Reminds me of the Horse Trough Pages

Nemesis said...

There - I knew you'd have an opinion!

Rather decent little water trough, though, although possibly a bit of a sod to repair, so many materials for such a small structure.

(There seem to be blog picture problems tonight, although looking at the message boards I don't think I'm alone, sorry if there are red x's instead of pictures. Reading the problems others are having is a spot worrying - vanishing blogs, nothing uploading, etc.)

I seem to have altered how comments are made, I wonder if now links can go live? I'm not really au fait with HTML.

Yes Biff - I had forgotten about your horse troughs!