Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
The mention of Bath being a series of facades which bear almost no relation to what lies behind them yesterday, touched on a nerve with some of you.
We went for a meal in this open-plan restaurant last night, and as I sat outside having a fag, my eyes focussed on these three gables which - almost without thinking - I had visually read as a separate building behind.
In fact, they are all that remains of the 17th century building which stood on this ground-plan that - over the years - has been whittled away to leave just the three points of the roof which was the main construction of all the town buildings before the Georgians demolished them all for the sake of grandeur.
This example is really strange because, usually, the first thing they did to a building when modernising it was to completely remove the - in their eyes - rustic gables, then simply stick a Georgian facade right over the front of the original one. The Bell Inn (which I believe I may have mentioned in previous posts) is a classic example of this practice, and the only clue as to the three gables are the three windows at the very top - with a now truncated roof-line.
These three gables now apparantly float on nothing, but I am guessing - and hoping - that there are a series of extremely chunky steel joists which keep them safely up over the heads of the diners and pedestrians. They must have gone to an enormous amount of engineering trouble to cut away the rest of the building beneath them, and now they go almost unnoticed.
I think that my eye has been drawn away from them by the much more disturbing sight to the middle left, of the a row of large blocks over the alley, which appear to be held up by nothing at all. Of course, I know that there is a modern 'Catnik' beam behind and under them, as specified by a perverse architect.
Most modern architects are perverse, I have decided. These beams which create such a highly worrying, natural instinct to run out of the way for fear of death by falling masonry, are only used by architects as a sort of stupid joke. They don't care if anything they design creates a sense of fear and foreboding in the populace, just so long as they catch your eye. I despise the attention-seeking bastards.
The three gables - although exactly the same as they were on the original, early house, have obviously been renewed and replaced a few times over in the last 300 years. The quoins which run up the edges are obviously quite new, relatively speaking, and quite a lot of the core stonework, as well as the window-headers seem to have been replaced as well.
What I want to know is what Grandmother was doing with that axe in the first place?