Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Your England Revisited

Last week I stumbled upon a second hand copy of Ian Nairn's 'Your England Revisited' which was published in 1964 by Hutchinson & Co., Great Portland Street, London W1. The hardback book complete with its original dust-jacket was ex-library (Architecture. Town & Country Planning written in blue biro inside) which once belonged to the County High School for Girls in Walthamstow E17. It cost me £2.50 - a good deal considering it sold for '30s net' when it came out fifty years ago.

Ian Nairn (1930-1983) was a radical architectural critic with a truly unique style. Much has already been written about his career - and there have been several fascinating BBC TV documentaries about him too.

'Your England Revisited' was influenced by a pamphlet written by the educationalist Denys Thompson (1907-1988), and the book presents a collection of photographs taken by Nairn accompanied by his inimitable, spiky captions. The B&W photos are mostly shot in the UK, and portray typical landscapes that are then unpicked by Nairn's wonderfully pithy commentaries.

Here are several brilliant examples...

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