A bunch of little posts today, mainly to try to make some headway in the gigantic backlog of email (sorry folks.)
Stephen alerted me to Episode 8 of the seminal TV series Civilsation, fronted by Kenneth Clark. it was first broadcast in 1968, and obviously I never saw it, though I remember a copy of the companion book on my parents’ shelf as a kiddie.
BBCiPlayer doesn’t allow me to embed it here, and it must be quite a draw on broadband because it tends to be a bit on the jumpy side as you play it, but it’s worth a look. If you’re only watching for Greenwich, miss out all the stuff about landscape in Holland (though that’s quite interesting too, if only to see Clark being very snobby about practically everything…) and cut through to around 34 minutes in. Most of the footage is of the virtually unchanging views – the Observatory and the Old Royal Naval College, though you’ll see some rose beds just outside the colonnades at the Queen’s House I don’t think are there any more.
My favourite bit, though is round about minute 46, where Clark’s standing in the Octagon Room with the window open. There, in the background, is the power station, with the north two chimneys considerably taller than the south pair.
Now. I know that the south pair was chopped down at the behest of the astronomers, but I think that since Civilisation, even the north pair have been cut down to match the south pair – not least because they’re the same height now, and there’s not fancy work at the top of any of them. Perhaps this was done when the power station was refurbished to use gas…