Kennington and classical allusions

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St Mark’s, Kennington © David Gill

St Mark’s, Kennington was one of four churches built in London in thanksgiving for the victory at the Battle of Waterloo, opening in June 1824. The architectural style is neo-classical. The front entrance is in effect a Doric portico, but above it is an Ionic cupola. This evokes the 4th century BC choregic monument of Lysikrates in Athens (though constructed in a Corinthian architectural style).

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Monument of Lysikrates, Athens © David Gill

The front of the church is in the Doric style evoking classical buildings such as the Hephaisteion at Athens that stands above the Agora.

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St Mark’s Kennington © David Gill

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The Hephaisteion, Athens © David Gill

Whithorn: guidebooks

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1953 (5th impress. 1968)

C.A. Ralegh Radford and Gordon Donaldson prepared an official guidebook for Whithorn and Kirkmadrine in 1953. This covers the monastery and later priory at Whithorn; St Ninian’s Chapel at the Isle of Whithorn; St Ninian’s Cave at Glasserton; the museum at Whithorn that contains material from surrounding locations; and the Kirkmadrine stones displayed in the old church. There is a fold-out plan of the priory at Whithorn. The guide contains an extensive history of the region (pp. 3–27).

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The present History Scotland guide is by Adrian Cox with Sally Gall and Peter Yeoman. The focus is on Whithorn but there are sections on St Ninian’s Chapel and Cave, as well as a double page spread on Kirkmadrine.

St Andrews Castle: guidebooks

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St Andrews Castle © David Gill

St Andrews castle was placed in State Guardianship in 1911. Stewart Cruden, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland, prepared the official guide (1951; 2nd ed. 1958). This starts with a history followed by a description. A block of black and white photographs appear in the centre section. A fold-out plan is printed inside the stiff back cover.

The cover device is described as follows:

An imaginative composition consisting of a saltire cross (for St Andrew and St Andrews) surrounded by battlementing typifying castles generally. The cinque-foil in each corner is the armorial device of Archbishop John Hamilton who erected the south front and placed this badge upon the work he did, in four carved medallions over the entrance.

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1951; 2nd ed. 1958 (5th impress. 1970)

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St Andrews Castle © David Gill

A third edition of Cruden’s guidebook was published in 1982. The text is the same as the blue guide, but integrates photographs and plans with the text.

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1982 (3rd ed.)

The Historic Scotland souvenir guide was prepared by Richard Fawcett in 1992, and revised by Chris Tabraham and Doreen Grove in 2001. This colour guide starts with a guided tour followed by the story (not history) of the castle. There is a bird’s eye drawing to help visitors around the site, with numbered locations that relate to sections in the text.

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1992 (rev. ed. 2001, repr. 2007)

Dumbarton Castle: Custodian’s Office

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Dumbarton Castle © David Gill

We may now think of staff at heritage sites being managers, but in the days of the Ministry they were clearly seen as Custodians (see also Sweetheart Abbey). Three signs at Dumbarton Castle on the north side of the Clyde retain the old terminology. Notice the omission of the apostrophe in one of the signs, as well as the different styles of arrow directing visitors to where they can obtain tickets. There is also the inclusion of the polite, ‘Please obtain …’.

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Dumbarton Castle © David Gill

Outside the present ticket office is a slightly more recent sign, reflecting the way that the custodian’s office is not only where tickets can be obtained, but where other items can now be purchased.

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Dumbarton Castle © David Gill

Is Britain set to pull out of UNESCO?

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Cornwall Mining Landscape © David Gill

The International Development Secretary, Penny Mourdant, has suggested that the UK should withdraw from UNESCO (Emily Thornberry, “UK withdrawal from Unesco would be historical and cultural vandalism“, The Guardian 13 November 2018). The UK (and its dependencies) is home to 31 sites inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The report reminds its readers of the economic value of UNESCO World Heritage status: “Britain makes a net gain from our membership of Unesco: we contributed £11m to the agency this year, versus £100m value added to our economy from its designation of our heritage sites”.

Heritage sites, indeed inscribed UNESCO World Heritage sites, form part of the UK Government tourism strategy to attract more visitors. Had Mourdant taken the time to understand the benefits of the UK remaining a member of UNESCO?

It is reported that Mourdant’s proposal has been rejected by No. 10.

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Academic journals: International Journal of Architectural Heritage (Conservation, Analysis, Restoration)

Journal summary: IJAH provides a multidisciplinary scientific overview of existing resources and modern technologies useful for the study and repair of historical buildings and other structures. The journal will include information on history, methodology, materials, survey, inspection, non-destructive testing, analysis, diagnosis, remedial measures, and strengthening techniques.
Preservation of the architectural heritage is considered a fundamental issue in the life of modern societies. In addition to their historical interest, cultural heritage buildings are valuable because they contribute significantly to the economy by providing key attractions in a context where tourism and leisure are major industries in the 3rd millennium. The need of preserving historical constructions is thus not only a cultural requirement, but also an economical and developmental demand.
The study of historical buildings and other structures must be undertaken from an approach based on the use of modern technologies and science. The final aim must be to select and adequately manage the possible technical means needed to attain the required understanding of the morphology and the structural behavior of the construction and to characterize its repair needs. Modern requirements for an intervention include reversibility, unobtrusiveness, minimum repair, and respect of the original construction, as well as the obvious functional and structural requirements. Restoration operations complying with these principles require a scientific, multidisciplinary approach that comprehends historical understanding, modern non-destructive inspection techniques, and advanced experimental and computer methods of analysis.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Website: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/uarc20/current

Access: Subscription

Journal type: Peer-reviewed; some open-access

Valle Crucis Abbey: guidebooks

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1953 (rev. 1971)

The abbey at Valle Crucis was founded in 1201 from Strata Marcella. The site was placed in State Guardianship in 1951.

C.A. Ralegh Radford prepared the first guidebook in 1953 consisting of the standard history followed by a description. A fold-out plan was placed inside the back cover. The 1971 edition included the Welsh name on the tile page (Abaty Glyn y Groes) along with a short summary in Welsh (pp. 21–22). The guide included a study of some of the early gave slabs.

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1987

The Cadw guide contained two sections: Valle Crucis Abbey by D.H. Evans, and The Pillar of Eliseg by Jeremy K. Knight (1987). This consists of the main sections: Historical background; the development of the abbey buildings; a descriptive tour of Valle Crucis. A fold-out plan of the abbey is printed inside the card cover. A short summary in Welsh was provided (p. 46).

This guide was revised in 1995.

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1987 (rev. 1995)