The First British Bungalow

Heritage Calling

Single story dwellings under the name Bungalow have been around since the mid-19th century. The bungalow became both a symbol of bohemianism and the building type of choice for the aspiring upper middle class seeking an affordable second home in which to enjoy the new concept of ‘the weekend’.

Dr Andy Brown, Planning Director at Historic England, takes us through the mysterious origins of the bungalow in Britain.

The first modern British bungalows were designed by little-known English architect,  John Taylor, (1818-1884), and built at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent 1869-70.

The term ‘bungalow’ originated in the Bengali region of India, meaning ‘house in the Bengal style’. But is this really where John Taylor’s design came from? Perhaps Taylor was merely designing cheap but weatherproof houses for working people, the culmination of a long-harboured aspiration  of a socially-responsible architect.

fair-outlook One of Taylor’s bungalows- ‘Fair Outlook’, formerly ‘The Hut’, completed by August 1874.

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Growing edible crops in small spaces

Fitzrovia News

Perhaps it is no wonder that St Valentine’s Day has become a celebration for lovers. In London it is the day when we finally have ten hours of daylight. Contrary to popular belief it is day length, and not temperature, that will trigger most plants into spring growth.

American land cress in box. American land cress needs loads of water, but will grow in low light levels. It has a spicy flavour like watercress, but unlike watercress it doesn’t need running water to thrive. Photo: Wendy Shillam, Rooftopvegplot.

We get very few frosts here in Fitzrovia. If you have a sunny windowsill, think Mediterranean – try red basil, rocket, even a few tomatoes (which can be started off this month inside). But if your space doesn’t get sunshine you can still grow leaves like lettuces, mint, American land cress and red mustard.

Don’t bother to buy special seed trays or pots. Your plants will soon…

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8 Historic London Shopfronts

Heritage Calling

London streets are lined with colourful shops, clamouring for our attention. Many are of considerable age, and have survived for our enjoyment only through careful maintenance by generations of shopkeepers.

Kathryn Morrison, Head of Historic Places Investigation, selects eight shopfronts that can be appreciated by anyone strolling along the pavements of London, and offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history as one of the world’s most exciting shopping centres. Presented chronologically, these shopfronts show how our shopping streets have changed over the centuries.

Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1

cc73_02751.tif No.56 Artillery Lane in Spitalfields will be unknown to many seasoned London shoppers. It lies far from the West End, in a warren of small streets and passages that evoke Dickensian London despite the proximity of Liverpool Street Station. Now an art exhibition centre, this building was probably erected in the 1720s for a Huguenot silk merchant. Around 1756…

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The Fox of Fitzrovia is tracked down

Fitzrovia News

The Fox of Fitzrovia has been tracked down — six months after an appeal in Fitzrovia News. As our picture shows, the crafty mammal made an appearance after out-foxing our reporter on several occasions.

Fox and dog look at each other through railings. Who are you looking at? A dog and fox face each other through the railings in Fitzroy Square. Photo: Night Prowler.

Several months ago, the slinky omnivore paused in silhouette beneath the iconic road sign for Fitzroy Square. This famous landmark has been visited over the years by George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Dylan Thomas and many more. Our reporter held his breath, framed the fox and the Fitzrovia Sign and pressed the button. But a technical error meant the whole scene went unrecorded and the animal slipped away, according to reports, smiling.

So, after many weeks on the trail, finally the beast made its reappearance and this time was snapped by our photographer.

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St. John’s Lodge: The Secret Garden

I was thinking about writing a blog about the St John’s Lodge garden but this blog says it all and more!

Landscape Notes

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Quiddity – the ineffable quality of “whatness”.

What you may ask is whatness?  It’s everything that makes a place unique and while the word may be new to me the  concept is not.  The quiddity of a place has intrigued travelers for millennium and was the focus of an article “London’s Odd and Empty Corners” by Guy Trebay in the travel section of the Sunday New York Times several weeks ago.

Trebay, on a frenzied visit to London, a city he finds endlessly fascinating, explores those peculiar and quirky places that can be found in no other location, the “little spaces, odd corners and crooked byways” that are “woven into the city’s texture, in its arcades, its shoulder-wide alleys, odd terraces, house museums and specialty shops; secreted between and beside and atop and sometimes even within the big marquee attractions, hidden right there in plain sight.”  London, he observes, is…

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