This afternoon, I went to Cathie Pilkington’s Christmas salon in her studio which is in an old brush factory owned by the Crown Estate and leased to ACME as artists’ studios since the mid-1970s, one of the early agents of regeneration, alongside the squats in Bishop’s Way. I have seen much of her recent work in her exhibitions, but liked the friendly disorder of her studio:-
The Cranbrook Estate, which was designed by Francis Skinner, Douglas Bailey and their mentor, Berthold Lubetkin, was looking very fine this morning, part of the postwar slum clearance which Nairn so deplored in Bethnal Green, involving the loss of a big area of workshops and terraced houses:-
Our next-door-neighbour had said that there is now a Sunday morning market in Victoria Market. There is indeed, including a stall which sells high proof East London Gin and a stall which collects organic wines from small vineyards in France and Italy and describes them in strongly literary terms (I didn’t, for example, know that Camus was a member of the football team in Lourmarin):-
There was a memorial event this morning for the late Leonard Manasseh RA who died in March aged 100.
There was a display of work connected to him, including his Ravilious-like pen-and-ink drawings done during the war:-
And a cricket pavilion in Lewisham:-
The talks took one back to the days of his teaching at the Architectural Association, when his architectural practice operated out of three rooms at the top of The Lady and he taught the likes of Paul Koralek and Peter Ahrends by a system of gentle encouragement, as opposed to the later system of collective critique. He later graduated to a much bigger office in Rathbone Place off Charlotte Street, living in Bacon’s Lane, Hampstead, and driving an outsized Peugeot. He undertook a much wider range of work than I had realised, including private houses, schools and offices about which he wrote a Batsford book. It gave a strong sense of the profession as it was in the 1950s: socially oriented; collectivist; and gentlemanly (that said, we worked closely with the town planner, Elizabeth Chesterton, who had been his pupil at the AA in the late 1930s).
As the prospect of moving back to the West End looms closer, I have started paying more attention to my surroundings in the City, which I have never really warmed to – it’s been too butchered by redevelopment – apart from the silent majesty of St. Paul’s which so effectively, but unrhetorically, dominates its surroundings:-