nmg: (architecture graffiti)

[livejournal.com profile] ias and I have now been living in our house on Monks Way for almost 27 months; of the places we looked at, it was the largest we could get for what we could afford, and was in a pretty good location as well. It's also the only place I've ever lived that's been mentioned (albeit in passing) by that cataloguer of British architecture, Nikolaus Pevsner. Of course, the entry for Swaythling was actually written by David Wharton Lloyd, his collaborator on The Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, but this is much like Leslie Halliwell getting someone else to write dismissive film reviews in the style of someone who loathes all films made after 1965...but I digress.

The comparison with Halliwell is probably a little unfair, because Pevsner didn't dislike modern buildings, only buildings designed without a view to aesthetic appeal. Lloyd's description of the University campus - presumably endorsed by Pevsner - is very complimentary about many of the buildings, most notably those designed by Spence (particularly Law, the Faraday tower and the Lanchester building) but also Ronald Sims' Maths tower.

The description of the area as Swaythling is also a little inaccurate; properly speaking, we live in Mansbridge, but the distinction is largely academic. The estate we live on is an interesting one because of the circumstances under which it was built. The Swaythling Housing Society built our estate in the 1920s and 1930s (our house was built in 1936), partly subsidised from the profits made on other developments in the Highfield area of the city, most notably Orchards Way and Glebe Court, both off Highfield Lane. Having looked around [livejournal.com profile] surliminal's house, I can say that the difference in build quality between Orchards Way and Monks Way is minimal. The main differences are that the external brickwork of our house is rougher and hidden by a cement render, and our house as a whole is built on a smaller scale than those on Orchards Way, although the design and layout remains excellent.

But again, I digress when I could be letting Pevsner and Lloyd do the talking:

Swaythling Village and Perambulation )

So, our road is described as "insipid", and the flat that [livejournal.com profile] clarehooper recently mentioned is "clumsy". Overall, I think that the winner in the des-res stakes must therefore be [livejournal.com profile] surliminal, whose road is described elsewhere by Lloyd/Pevsner as "The sort of suburban housing development which set the pattern in the better council housing estates for about ten years after the Second World War, but the stand here was seldom if ever reached."


nmg: (Default)
Nick Gibbins

August 2010

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