Jonathan Meades

Telling Storeys

The Building of England: How the History of England Has Shaped Our Buildings

By

William Collins 544pp £30 order from our bookshop

English architectural history has long been dominated by a taxonomical bias – we happily and perhaps torpidly accept a fluid chronology of isms, idioms, schools, movements, trends and fashions as a sort of universal foundation. Writers of entirely different ambitions and humours – Nikolaus Pevsner and Osbert Lancaster, say – employ kindred methods of classification. Buildings are pigeonholed according to the architectural ideology they are deemed to manifest, according to their methods of construction, according to the materials they use, according to their tics and regional mannerisms and, above all, according to the styles they adopt.

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