Harry Mount

Set In Stone?

The Secret Lives of Buildings: From the Parthenon to the Vegas Strip in Thirteen Stories

By

Portobello Books 388pp £25 order from our bookshop

Not long before he died, Sir Christopher Wren took a stroll down to the City to see how St Paul’s was getting along. Turning the corner of Cheapside, he looked up at his masterpiece, and wept. Contrary to his design, a balustrade had been installed along the parapet of the cathedral; an utterly useless balustrade because no one would ever walk up there to admire it or need it to stop themselves falling off the roof.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,