A Universe of Stone

We were in Norwich with plans. None of which involved the history of the city with it’s medieval churches and history of banking and insurance. Those must wait for other days. But we had to go into the town, and in the space of an hour managed to see a great deal. The city needs much closer study. As soon as possible there will be a return trip.

It would be possible to spend several weeks just researching the tracery in the church windows.

The architect Charles Holloway James was discovered. He designed the City Hall in the 1930s. It was completed in 1938. And by discovering James, we discovered his wife, Margaret Calkin James, who designed posters and publicity for the London Transport of Frank Pick.

So much better than ‘Transport for London’. Somehow the fantastic design project of London Transport has been pushed aside and dominated by the affected labour of ‘See it. Say it. Sort it’. It might not seem obvious, but this too, is a product of capital accumulation; or rather, the current phase of capital accumulation. We digress.

The Technical College needs a lot more research. But as I was walking past the building a whole stream of ideas emerged from somewhere. Thought processes about the London Country Council which was formed in 1889 (the same year as the dock strike). The influence of William Morris, Arts & Crafts; the question of how to apply art and craft to industrial products. The emergence of the ideas of garden cities; the role of Lethaby and Raymond Unwin. Mackintosh. And many others.

The Norwich Technical College. That fits well with much of the current reading. For some reason the architecture and the use of the dark bricks reminds me of the Hamburg of Fritz Schumacher.

Norwich City Hall, designed by Charles Holloway James.

Norwich castle, tower crane, Lloyds bank, market, women with mobile phone

Norwich City Hall. I need to do some research on the lions. They really are fabulous.

I don’t like mobile phone infrastructure on churches. I don’t like mobile phones. I don’t like all those apps. I don’t see the point. The earth is burning. How much energy does all this stuff use?

Norwich Technical College, 1899. There is a whole historical theory and practice here.

Aesthetic pleasures are not predicated on machine precision.

The arcades project.

That is both a finishing and starting point. Both dialectics and quantum theory allow such contradictory states. Perhaps we need to learn to oscillate more.

Rigidity, in thinking, being, walking city streets; best avoided.

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