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Everything posted by tiremola

  1. There is something of value there, if they do demolish it. It is very likely one of the steam preservation societies would love to buy the old railway carriage and restore it. This recently happened at the Bluebell railway, with a bungalow that was composed of two old carriages. A friend of mine, Kathryn Ferry, was in the course of writing a book on the history of the bungalow, [i recommend it] and I showed her the pictures on their website of the demolition of the building, and the retrieval of the rolling stock. She was saddened by the loss of the picturesque bungalow and did not seem to sh
  2. No, in fact, it's quite subtle. It is aimed cynically at the really savvy middle-class home-buyer, who knows that that the piles of tish in each room are only a temporary phenomenon, and that when you get possession of a Grade II listed Georgian detached family home for a cheap price, you can put it all the contents in a skip and rejoice in a bargain. However, in their eagerness for a cheap deal, and feeling happy at their own cleverness, they fail to notice that this neglected dump is actually overpriced all the same.
  3. I have to walk past a depressing Carpetright store everytime I am on my way to the shops in sunny Haywards Heath. In spite of the fact that there has always been a sale on [always at least 30% off!, or so they say] since it opened at least ten years ago, I never see any customers in there. I simply cannot imagine how they have kept going. Mind you, exactly the same applies to the Laura Ashley shop on the opposite corner.
  4. The historian Jan Piggott told me that he thought it was faulty electric wiring – apparently it was badly in need of replacing. The fire broke out at night in the Ladies toilets, and by the time Sir Henry Buckland and his daughter Chrystal [not Crystal - apparently Wiki is wrong here] discovered the blaze, and called the Penge fire brigade, it had too great a hold. The fluff and flammable debris accumulated under the wooden staging was said to be another factor, rather like the Kings Cross tube fire. Some years ago, I was giving a lecture on the designers Owen Jones and Christopher Dresser a
  5. I have been paid in pheasants. I once did some research on Ottoman male costume in the 1840s for an art historian friend, and she gave me two pheasants that her husband had shot in exchange. They had a freezer literally full of them in their stable block. I cooked them [the pheasants] and they were OK, but the lead shot is a real threat to the teeth when you are trying to eat them. They were cheap in my local butchers, when there was a glut of them. Keeping them just to shoot them en masse always seemed a bit odd. It did not seem that sporting, as they are bred for the purpose and are a relat
  6. Thanks for that. I did not know about the Leicester Coffee and Cocoa Shop Movement – the buildings look very imposing. The most famous examples of the tea and coffee houses founded because of the Temperance movement were in Glasgow around 1900. They were Miss Cranston’s tea rooms designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh – they still look avant-garde even now. Turkish coffee houses were alcohol-free as a matter of course, although exactly why merchants in Britain switched from using taverns to conduct business in is not really clear. There were discreet places that served alcohol in the major citi
  7. I once published an article on historic Turkish coffee houses. From the illustrations of them (all that now survives) they were highly decorated in a very ornate style. When comparing them to British coffee houses, I discovered that the first ones in England were founded by businessmen, Turkey merchants, who had been based mostly in Smyrna, as it then was. Once back in England, they imitated the culture, (but alas, not the exotic buildings) of the merchants’ coffee houses in the Ottoman Empire, where business deals in currants etc. were traditionally made. So from business to business…
  8. It is much more complicated. If a private individual or a museum/gallery bought a picture from the artist or his/her agent, they may have also obtained the right to reproduce that particular image from the artist. Each case has to be assessed on its merits. Most museums/galleries do not allow high-quality photography suitable for reproduction by members of the public, so they also maintain copyright in the photographs/image they make for themselves - and charge appropriately for reproduction rights. If you want to keep copyright in the pictures you own yourself, you can do exactly as the ins
  9. The little hand towels/face squares seem to be curled up in the manner of table napkins on a plate – which is why I surmised that one of the owners had worked in a hotel, or as I should have said - a restaurant. I think Winkie may have something there – perhaps the festoons over the bed indicate a retired theatre set designer, although the interiors I have seen by such folk tend to be much more over the top.
  10. The more you look at the individual photographs, the more eccentric elements the property appears to contain. The explanation for the towels is perhaps that one or both of the owners has had experience in running or working an upmarket hotel. They now do holiday lets in the weird `Middle Earth’ buildings. The objects that appear as part of the room dressings are not your ordinary IKEA either. They suggest to me that one of the owners is/was an artist or designer. The old buildings look very attractive from the outside, although the rest of it is not to my taste. As for the turkey, does my m
  11. Muswell Hill? I remember it well, having briefly lived near Alexandra Palace in the 1980s. It once was a boring area, with poor transport links, but with some big and relatively cheap Victorian houses, ideal for gentrification. This duly happened, as people who would have preferred Hampstead or even Highgate, had to make do with a poorer relation. In the late 1990s, papers like the Guardian ramped it up, insinuating that the Broadway had become bijou and vibrant, full of what they now call “creatives,” with shopping to match, where once there had only been a Sainsbury’s. In my opinion it has
  12. Dyson was a student at the Royal College and primarily a stylist. He introduced an existing technology for industrial dust extractors into vacuum cleaners, using the vortex thingy principle. (You can tell I am not an engineer, although like Bloo Loo, my father was a skilled toolmaker.) Dyson’s real success came because he styled his cleaner to look like an extreme example of post-modernist design, i.e. hideous brilliantly coloured plastics and weird-shaped components. He had obviously seen examples of the Italian Memphis design group for furniture, and it made his machine look like nothing el
  13. If spoken rapidly, it does indeed sound like bet chee. The hard k sound and the ch coming together can produce a t-like sound. Have you been back to Ankara? It’s more than a bit different now. Night watchmen were a hang-over from Ottoman times. Probably the whistling was done to reassure the people who had paid for the service, that their guards were actually out there on duty, and not hiding somewhere. A similar thing happened in London before Peel’s reforms introduced a police force. The watchman used to call the hours in the street, mainly for reassurance to the good burghers.
  14. I think it is spelled bekçi – pronounced something like bekchee - a sentry, night watchman. Only really wealthy Turks have privately employed watchmen and bodyguards these days. Everyone else has to rely on the Zabıta or normal police. They are armed, however, and the private bodyguards are usually armed to the teeth.
  15. The Marlow Common houses are no ordinary farm workers’ cottages, but a major Arts & Crafts architectural statement, built circa 1900, and the ludicrous price reflects that. The landowner who owned the big house nearby must have spent a lot of money on the architect and the high quality construction and decoration. Housing your farm workers in such a place was a bit like putting your hamster in a cage designed by Fabergé. It was only to show off the owner’s taste, and not primarily concerned with the welfare of the family in the tied cottage, although it was a palace compared to many of t
  16. I think tidbit is an example of American English retaining the original British spelling. In 17th century Britain, it was written as either tid-bit, tidbit, or even tyd-bit. So it is correct in an American context. Some of the older members here will remember the newspaper Titbits, founded in 1881, which actually lasted until 1989. I can’t recall much about its contents, except that it was rather dull. Does anyone else remember?
  17. Looking again at the picture at the undamaged neighbours, I can see that there is some elaborate added decoration to the brickwork at the very top of the parapet. It looks as if they have corbelled out and added extra weight on the front consisting of bricks and some kind of stucco. As the basic parapet would be only two bricks thick, any additional weight to the front edge would make it even more unstable, and liable to topple forward. Probably not dangerous if the mortar, stucco and bricks were in perfect condition, but 200 years on, things get a bit enfeebled.
  18. These are box-gutter houses; the rainwater drainage runs from front to back. Very popular in Georgian London, they steadily went out of fashion in the 19th century. All the rainwater is channelled into a lead-lined trough, which finally drains at the back of the house. If the trough leaks, and they often do, into the middle of the bedroom ceiling, it’s an absolute pig to cure. Pitched roofs were regarded as unclassical in appearance, so they put up with divided roofs and very little loft space. The brick parapet is only properly bonded in at the party walls – along the rest of the length of t
  19. You are right. The buildings that are there now were finally constructed in 1970, replacing Victorian barracks, which in turn had replaced even earlier ones. The tower block that housed the families of the troops particularly enraged conservationists, as they were very intrusive in the open space of Hyde Park. I have a horrible feeling that they might be listed, as they were designed by Sir Basil Spence, a well known but ultimately tame and boring modernist architect. We may never be rid of them. In contrast, the Victorians had built low-rise structures there, and even when they went off th
  20. As I said before on the Juliette balcony thread, Zen masters from early times used to arrange bare branches in exquisitely made vases, so that they could silently contemplate the subtle flow of natural forms. That was very Daoist. Art Nouveau was a style heavily influenced by Japanese Art and culture, and in Britain it was mingled with a fashion for bizarre-looking but completely natural forms, rendered as stylised patterns. A good example is Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo’s use in the 1880s of dried Honesty seedpods, strange-looking seaweeds, and most famous of all, the fossilised sea-creatures ca
  21. I posted this on a similar thread in the Guardian: - In 1971 we bought a house in darkest Finsbury Park for £1200. That is all we could afford. No, that is not a typo... We led the way, unwittingly, into gentrification, which I maintain, led to the madness of modern times. I looked on line last week and that same house was priced at £800,000. No, that is not a typo… The best thing about the 1970s, in my opinion, was that women wore extremely little to parties. Great days they were....
  22. I do agree with Doccyboy on this one. It looks idyllic, and I wonder why it is for sale? There are a lot of mad railway enthusiasts out there, and for a holiday let, for those who like the English countryside and seaside, what could be better? Obsolete railway carriages were big business because of the housing shortage after World War I, and perhaps those times are coming again. If all else fails, in the future, you could sell it to a railway preservation society. Many carriages now running on heritage railways were rescued from homeowners, squatters, farmers, holiday lets people, etc., and
  23. In my opinion Ronan Point was even worse than described. I read the newspaper reports and the enquiry results at the time, and the gas explosion account did not make much sense. A woman lit her gas oven; there was indeed an explosion. However, she was thrown backwards, and found herself, completely uninjured, sitting on the floor, a short distance away from the oven, with a sense of it feeling a bit draughty. Behind her, the entire wall panel had gone, taking out a sequence of panels below it. It did not take much of an explosion to do that, or she would have been worse off. I can't see the v
  24. Here are a few observations I made as I strolled down to the town centre at about midday. This 99p shop is very busy; there were 5 tills in operation and long queues to get to them. The branded goods looked to be cheaper than any other shop in Haywards Heath. I bought a rose bush for 99p, as I felt sentimental. I went into Robert Dyas to look at the prices of kitchen timers. I was the only customer in the shop. Hardly anybody in Marks & Spencers. The little Indian shop where I buy my aubergines, tamarind block, boczek and cheap Polish beer etc. was busy. There are no less than eight char
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