Recorded Talk Series: Four Nations and an Island: The Pevsner Architectural Guides in the 21st Century

Online Winter Talk Series: Four Nations and an Island: The Pevsner Architectural Guides in the 21st Century

The Victorian Society and Yale University Press are pleased to introduce a series of online talks by authors of recent or imminent volumes from all four of the national series, plus the Isle of Man.

SPECIAL OFFER: Buy one ticket (£36) and get 7 talks for the price of 6!

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Discovering Victorian Durham by Martin Roberts

Recorded Tue 24 January 2023

‘The county of Durham is one of the least-known parts of England’. So began Nikolaus Pevsner’s Introduction to his 1953 Buildings of England volume. Everyone knows Durham Cathedral, of course, but much of the rest of the county’s buildings remains unknown beyond its borders. With this sense of discovery, shared in part by the speaker, the talk will explore the county’s nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural legacy. Its churches, public buildings and industrial monuments – the work of nationally acclaimed architects and inventive regional designers.

Martin Roberts was born in Chester, but has lived in the North East for over fifty years, first at Newcastle University. On qualifying as an architect, he specialised in conservation, spending many years as Durham City’s Conservation Officer, later becoming the Historic Buildings Inspector for English Heritage in the North East. He established the North East Vernacular Architecture Group in 1991 and is a trustee of the Friends of Old Durham Gardens, a restoration project he initiated and managed. Alongside published research in local and national journals, he has written books on Durham City and Durham University. In retirement, he has completed a revision of Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England volume on County Durham. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London.

Ticket Price: £6

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‘Finding Wales’: Taking the Pevsner Series into Wales by Rob Scourfield

Recorded Tue 31 January 2023

Rob Scourfield will talk about the buildings of Powys, for which he was the revising author of Richard Haslam’s original BoW volume of 1979. The revised edition came out in 2013 and is therefore the last instalment of the Welsh series. Before that, Rob was the co-author (with Julian Orbach) of the two south-west Welsh volumes – his home territory as a native Pembrokeshire man.

Rob is the Buildings Conservation Officer for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, author of the revised Buildings of Wales volume on Powys (2013), and co-author of the Pembrokeshire and the Carmarthen and Ceredigion volumes (2004 and 2006).

Ticket Price: £6

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What did the Victorians ever do for Cork? by Frank Keohane

Recorded Wed 8 February 2023

A sweeping introduction to the buildings of Victorian Cork, exploring how essentially provincial architects responded to emerging architectural themes while revelling in the opportunities offered by its varied local building materials.

Frank Keohane is an architectural historian and chartered building surveyor specialising in the conservation of historic buildings. A native of Cork, he is the author of The Buildings of Ireland Cork volume, published by Yale University Press in 2020 and Irish Period Houses: A Conservation Guidance Manual, published in 2016.

Ticket Price: £6

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‘Deservedly and Universally Liked and Respected’: The Local Architects of the Black Country 1870 to 1914 A Talk by Andy Foster

Recorded Wed 15 February 2023

In the later Victorian and Edwardian period, the industrial towns and villages of the Black Country experienced rapid civic development. Town halls, schools, libraries, and police buildings were built, together with houses for industrialists and the beginning of social housing. Architects appeared in local communities to design these buildings. Some of them were significant local figures, serving as councillors and even mayors. This is an introduction to the Black Country’s earliest local architects, from the Gothic Revival to the Arts and Crafts Free Style.

Andy Foster is a building historian who was born, and lives, in Birmngham. As a child he spent time with an aunt at Blackheath in the Black Country. He is the author of ‘Birmingham and the Black Country’ in the Pevsner Architectural Guides series, published in 2022.

Ticket Price: £6

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Revising Pevsner – the North Riding of Yorkshire by Jane Greville

Recorded Tue 21 February 2023

Pevsner loved the North Riding: the buildings, the scenery, the people (it is the volume that is famously dedicated to ‘those publicans and hoteliers…who provide me with a table … to scribble on’). Revising the volume has been an extraordinary privilege, getting to know the man, understanding his enthusiasms, his dislikes, and, by working out his routes, his curious omissions. Inevitably in such a rural county, much of what I see is just what Pevsner saw, but there are pockets of major change in the industrial north of the county. And what a vast county it is: it takes two hours to reach the furthest corner from York. With two national parks, a fine selection of castles, abbeys, parish churches (no cathedrals…) and country houses it has been a feast of material at the polite end. But also the industrial, the seaside, the vernacular, the military and the archaeology all give it an extra edge of endless interest. This lecture will cover Pevsner’s background and that of the Buildings of England series before going on to give a (necessarily selective) account of the work of the past six years.

Jane Grenville’s early career was as a digging archaeologist. Early on, she encountered Harold Taylor (Anglo-Saxon Architecture) and developed an interest in the application of stratigraphic techniques to the study of standing buildings. This led to a diversion into architectural history and conservation, with a stint on the 1980s Re-Survey of Listed Buildings in N Yorkshire, followed by a few years as casework officer for the Council for British Archaeology. In 1991 she joined the Archaeology Department at the University of York, where she developed the MA in the Archaeology of Buildings and for several years led the MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings). She then spent seven years in senior management, retiring as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2015. In retirement she has returned to her listing patch to revise Pevsner’s North Riding volume – unequivocally the best job so far in a generally fortunate career.

Ticket Price: £6

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Recording The Victorian Architecture of the Isle of Man by Jonathan Kewley

Recorded Tue 28 February 2023

The Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, is not part of either England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales, but has been influenced by all of them. It started Queen Victoria’s reign as a haven for genteel half pay officers; it ended it as a holiday resort for Lancashire mill-workers and a centre of zinc mining. In between it welcomed works by architects as diverse as J L Pearson, M H Baillie Scott, Basil Champneys and Frank Matcham. This talk, by the author of the new Pevsner for the Island, will give an overview of its Victorian buildings, from churches and chapels to boarding houses and country seats. Highlights will include an early factory village, the world’s largest waterwheel and an introduction to a number of local architects.

Dr Jonathan Kewley is of Manx descent and has known the Island all his life. He read history at Oxford and now works for Historic England as an architectural historian. He lives in London. He is the author of the new Buildings of the Isle of Man in the Pevsner series.

Ticket Price: £6

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Completing the Buildings of Scotland series with a revised Lothian by Jane Geddes & Charles O’Brien

Recorded Wed 8 March 2023

After 45 years, the Buildings of Scotland series is winding up with a revised edition of its first volume, Lothian. The editor Charles O’Brien reviews the journey getting there. Jane Geddes, co-author of the new edition, looks first at the experience of surveying a county under lockdown and then at additions to entries for the 19th century which now includes more of the industrial and landscape heritage as well as some newly discovered gems.

Charles O’Brien has been editor of Buildings of Scotland for Yale University Press since 1999 and is co-author of several of the Pevsner Architectural guides.

Jane Geddes is Professor emerita from Aberdeen University. She began as Inspector of Ancient Monuments for English Heritage, where The Grange, Northington was a key project. She has written the RIAS guide for Kincardine and Deeside, and collaborated on the Pevsner volumes for Aberdeenshire.

Ticket Price: £6

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