Thursday, 28 August 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

meanwhile back in Ramsgate...

something by the harbour - looks like it may have been some sort of mechanism for lifting/lowering a barrier

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Margate - life belt holder


is it just my weird imagination or does that shadow look like a silhouette of Philip the Greek?

kiss me quick...

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Margate - air grille


as i said, one of the reasons for visiting Margate was to visit the Turner Contemporary and see the Mondrian exhibition (small but lovely) the building itself is beautiful but it's a bit like the Tardis in reverse - it seems much bigger on the outside than on the inside

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Margate national cycle network 15 marker (i never stopped loving you)


this stands in front of The Margate Pier and Harbour Company (now the tourist information centre) where there is an installation by Trcey Emin, Margate's and Thatcher's famous offspring (see left) 'I Never Stopped Loving You' - she is even immortalised on a mural on one of the many many closed down and boarded-up shops in the town

Monday, 18 August 2014

Margate - the winter gardens sixties gold (and rust)

when staying at the grange (see last week) i visited margate, mainly to go to the 'turner contemporary' gallery and eat at the ambrette 
it's a strange place, desperately trying to regenerate but not quite succeeding there are extremes:

Friday, 15 August 2014

the grange, Ramsgate - roof finial on the presbytery next door to the grange

now on English Heritage’s buildings at risk register is the Grade I presbytery which overlooks the north courtyard at the grange and flanks the cloisters of Pugin’s own church. long used by the Benedictine monks as part of their school, this pretty, gabled house built of Kentish flint was put up for sale in 2010, the Landmark Trust felt that it had to intervene, and thanks to a timely legacy was able to purchase it and is about to start a restoration project that will mean that up to four visitors will be able to stay there from sometime in 2015

below: 1. the presbytry and 2. the living room at the grange



Thursday, 14 August 2014

the grange, Ramsgate - grille in door to the garden from screaming alley

thank you Graham for sending this ('reproduced from the hilarious memoirs of John Hardman Powell)'

the hallway at the grange:
the wallpaper (designed by Augustus) and the hall chairs show the Pugin family arms which feature a martlet*, or stylized bird, with the motto that Pugin himself added: "en avant." it was entirely his own invention and surely the perfect motto for this driven visionary, who was to have so much influence on the future face of Britain; yet there is something paradoxical about it too, in that his inspiration came so authentically from the past.

stained glass window in the dining room:

*these heraldic birds are shown properly in English heraldry with two or three short tufts of feathers in place of legs and feet, making it impossible for them to rest - again very apt for Pugin who in his short life designed one hundred buildings, wrote eight books, and produced influential furniture, metalwork and stained glass designs and had seven children


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

the grange, Ramsgate - decoration on outside of the entrance corridor

 the entrance corridor
after a decade away, Augustus’s eldest son Edward Pugin returned to live in the grange in 1862. he too was an architect and became a substantial local figure in his own right. it was Edward who designed and built most of St. Augustine’s monastery and finished the church designed and started by his father. he also altered thge grange, adding the entrance corridor and gate piers, extending the drawing room, adding a conservatory and making various extensions and changes to the internal layout to adapt it for mid-Victorian life (the Landmark Trust has now removed many of these changes and returned the house to how it was built by Augustus - although the entrance corridor remains) 
all days are special in greggworld but today is ever-so-slighty extra special, it sees the publication in English of Haruki Murakami’s Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage - my copy is being delivered as i write...

Monday, 11 August 2014

the grange, Ramsgate - gate handle

i have just returned from a week in Ramsgate staying at a Landmark Trust property called the grange (see below) so here begins a period of the grange/Ramsgate rust photographs – the first one is the handle on the entrance gate to the Grange

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52) was one of the most influential and prolific architects and designers of the 19th century. only 40 years old when he died died in 1852, just two years after the interiors of the Grange were completed, worn out by his pace of work and unbalanced and poisoned by the mercury prescribed to cure recurring eye inflammation. Pugin spent his life trying to revive medieval gothic architecture and design as the only fit architecture for a Christian society - he considered ‘strawberry hill gothic’ as frivolous and the baroque and classical revival styles as pagan. he looked back wistfully and sometimes whimsically to medieval society, which he thought morally superior to the increasingly mechanised and secular society he saw around him. a devout convert to English Catholicism, Pugin built many churches, schools, convents, monasteries and country houses, he also designed the interiors for the Houses of Parliament. as a man, Pugin was passionate, intense, na├»ve, impatient, combative and funny (no wonder i admire him so much). he worked ceaselessly to recreate, in his own life and works, the medieval life that he idealised, supported by a loyal team of craftsmen and builders who translated into reality his countless designs.
Pugin built few domestic houses and the site in Ramsgate is particularly important because here he was building for himself, to create his ideal setting for his family. he wanted to bring Catholicism back to this part of Kent and so a church and monastery were also part of his plan, to recreate the medieval social structure that he so admired. here he was able to build according to his own true principles, imposing ‘no features … which are not necessary for convenience, construction or propriety.’ built of yellow stock brick and surrounded by walls of knapped flint, the Grange was not an inherently extravagant house despite the richness of its interiors. however, it is quietly revolutionary in the arrangement of rooms and their outward expression in architecture. Pugin was reacting against mainstream classical architecture, which had been the most popular style for the past hundred years and which he considered pagan. Pugin’s starting point for The Grange was not outward symmetry but internal function - how he and his large family were to live in the house. windows, roofs and chimneys were placed to suit life inside rather than external appearance. this cheerful and uncontrived asymmetry became and remains such a familiar feature of English domestic architecture that it is easy to forget how radical it was after the formal terraces of the 18th century. the principle it reflects, that form should follow function, remains central to much of today’s architecture.
Augustus Pugin is regarded as being one of Britain’s most influential architects and designers and to stay here in the home he designed for himself and his family was a privilege (thank you Graham and Brenda) and a unique chance to step into his colourful and idiosyncratic world.
the house was rescued by the Landmark Trust (  in 1997 and restored by them to its condition in Pugin's day it was opened in 2006 for up to eight temporary residents at a time. in October 2010, the Grange was awarded the Restoration of the Century award by Country Life magazine