... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Sticking a pin in Pevsner

Whilst down south, I got right back into the habit of walking. It's so easy there, with a variety of coastal walks less than a mile from the doorstep. Up here I am of course enviably near the Peak District, but I baulk at getting into the car to take a quick stroll. I'm reasonably near the Rivelin Valley Trail, which is a lovely walk - but it starts a hilly mile and a third away - so worth it for a long walk, but less so for a daily stroll.

Of course I love urban walking and the urban environment as well - maybe even more, in terms of the interest it offers me (I was always more interested in history and social science than geography and botany) if not the fresh air. But again, walking aimlessly tends to lead to the same local circuits which after a while is less inspiring.

However, on returning from Newhaven I had an idea. I wasn't sure if it would work, but so far it seems to. As I mentioned the other week, I have a 2004 edition of the Pevsner Guide to Sheffield (and I should here credit the authors, Ruth Harman and John Minnis) and it has two indexes: one of 'artists, architects and other persons mentioned', and one of 'localities, streets and buildings'. So I opened up the second of these, and waved a pin over the first column. It yielded me the Aberdeen Works, in the 'Devonshire Quarter', an area that I hadn't visited in ages, but within easy walking distance. Since then I have applied the same process to each column of the index in turn, and so far it has worked well. If the randomly selected location is too far away to walk, I just move down the column to the next one - but as a large proportion of the significant and interesting (to Pevsner) buildings are in the city centre and the west and south west of the city it doesn't take long to find one. Others I will put aside for when I have time for a longer walk. So far this has let me to walk to, investigate, and read about the Aberdeen Works, Barclays Bank, a terrace of Italianate Villas in Broomhall, the Carnegie Library in Walkley (a brief stroll, that one) and the Children's Hospital. 

You will no doubt be delighted to hear that part of the fun will be poking around, taking photos, reading up on the buildings and writing about them on the blog.

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