Saturday, 29 September 2012

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

I know they aren't really churches, but Pere Lachaise is like a city of miniature chapels. Unfortunately, most visitors head straight for Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Here are some photographs from a visit in mid December, a couple of years ago.

The two things that struck me are how incredibly urban it felt (especially compared to most English cemeteries), and the brightness of the flowers contrasting the grey trees, grey stone, and grey sky.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The last days of English summer

This weekend I visited Alfriston, in the South Downs. On the Vernal Equinox, the last day of summer. The weather was hot and sunny. We picnicked. We sat in beer gardens. We walked without jumpers or coats.

The church of St Andrew stands on a mound overlooking "The Tye", the village green. Adjacent is the Clergy House which was the first National Trust property. The church is one of a number of English parish churches which have been given a cathedral epithet (cf. Tideswell, Louth, Cirencenster). St Andrew's is known as the cathedral of the Downs. But this church is pure parochialism. Vernacular externally, simple internally. Flint walls, red tiles, squat little spire, limewashed interior.
I also visited the old Congregational Chapel, now united with the CofE church. The Georgian chapel retains galleries on three sides.

The village sits between high rolling hills of the South Downs, next to the meandering River Cuckmere. The place is a bit of a tourist honeypot, with tea rooms, antique shops and three historic pubs.

And now for the long, cold decent into winter.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

St John the Divine, Kennington by GE Street

St John the Divine in Kennington, London. was designed by GE Street, of Royal Courts of Justice fame, in 1871. The interior was the work of GF Bodley. The church has a landmark stone spire, whilst the main body is constructed of industrial red brick with stone details. In many ways, the church is the epitome of heavy gothic, stained black by decades of London pollution. It was gutted in the blitz, but has since been restored twice.

The interior

The vault in the porch