How We Built Britain: Dublin

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    • #709461
      GrahamH
      Participant

      In spite of the dubious title, David Dimbleby shall be strolling about 18th century Dublin tomorrow night, extolling the virtues of the Custom House, Four Courts, Henrietta Street, College Green and Merrion Square through long, multi-commaed, distinguished pauses.

      Aside from the lunacy of having to rely on a foreign broadcaster to give us an insight on our own architectural heritage, it should make for a good segment, seemingly the last quarter of the programme.

      Sunday 24th June, BBC One, 9.00pm.

    • #789888
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Aside from the lunacy of having to rely on a foreign broadcaster to give us an insight on our own architectural heritage…

      Hahaha:D

    • #789889
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Not to be smart, but did they not give us our architectural heritage

    • #789890
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks for posting this Graham. I watched, it but found it a little disappointing. It just seemed to lack any detail. Still worth watching though.

    • #789891
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @phil wrote:

      Thanks for posting this Graham. I watched, it but found it a little disappointing. It just seemed to lack any detail. Still worth watching though.

      the difference in how these magnificent building are treated in the UK and here is a national disgrace!… what a comparison leaving bristol to go to dublin to see what is possibly one of the finest Georgian streets anywhere in absolute bits….

      what has been lost has been lost and there is very little we can do about that but surely we should do everything to protect what is left!!!

    • #789892
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Very true AJ. In many ways, the most positive thing about this program was the way it highlighted the poor condition of Henrietta Street. I say positive in that maybe it might make us get up and do something about it.

    • #789893
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Try the centre of Glasgow or Birmingham to see how much regard Britain has for its historic buildings. We’re no angels here but their road-building/widening projects were much more damaging than ours.

    • #789894
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @kefu wrote:

      Try the centre of Glasgow or Birmingham to see how much regard Britain has for its historic buildings. We’re no angels here but their road-building/widening projects were much more damaging than ours.

      to be fair i think the luftwaffe gave them a helping hand as they did in High Street in Belfast

    • #789895
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I was generally disappointed – far to much time spent talking about clocks and chandaliers than the architecture..

    • #789896
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Enjoyable enough show – was wondering at 9:50 was Dublin going to be in it at all though.

      Shame RTÉ can’t show architecture at a reasonable hour, always too early/late

    • #789897
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @aj wrote:

      to be fair i think the luftwaffe gave them a helping hand as they did in High Street in Belfast

      It started it, but the big extensive damage done to the provincial towns, the mass destruction of historic and particularly Victorian building happened after the war, in an angry fit of iconclasm: cotton exchanges, markets, squares, town halls and so on, destroeyed to show Britain was modern.

    • #789898
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      …such as the centre of Birmingham. We just destroyed things or let them rot for the most part and then dreamed about building the monstrosities and motorways the British actually constructed.

    • #789899
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Yes it was a disappointing segment alright. All the locations were given equal weight on their website, but clearly not on screen. Most peculiar of all was that none of the great squares or streets were shown. Indeed we barely got a shot of a decent terrace: just isolated images of fanlights and some of the more hokey doorcases. Nothing short of extraordinary, especially given it’s what the city is most celebrated for and the IGS were consulted for the programme, and were no doubt visited on Merrion Square.

      The overall impression generated was that of a very fast-paced city, littered with roadworks for some reason, and choked with traffic, pedestrian and vechicular, which I suppose it is – the principal streets anyway. Also, because only Henrietta Street was featured, and it was noted that ‘some remnants’ have survived like the Custom House and Four Courts, the impression was given that the entire Georgian city has been allowed fall into the state of Henrietta – certainly the image I’d take away as an outsider, which is a shame.

      Had to laugh at the featuring of Government Buildings – you could have betted a fortune on its inclusion given the standard of research that went into this piece. Otherwise there were some nice parts and observations. What really hit home though is just how rare Henrietta Street is on an international level as a street of largely unrestored ancient mansions. It is on a par with these incredible derelict palaces or eastern European townhouses you sometimes happen upon on websites. We’re just so used to the street we don’t realise how unique it is. Oddly the shameful attitude of neglect taken towards the street over the years has actually made it of additional interest. The fact that it stands in the middle of a western, wealthy, developed city is all the more bizarre.

    • #789900
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      At the beginning of the programme when I saw that Dublin was gonna be featured, I thought Oh goody! But very disappointed with what was shown. Could have shown the Peppercanister Church and all the Georgian Squares as well as some maintained interiors with the Stapleton plasterwork. Sad that the run down house on Henrietta Street dominated it at the end. But I suppose it reflected Dublin’s harsh history of poverty and deprivation, a once economic basketcase with rebellions and civil war, social strife, unemployment etc…..so unlike that of Bristol.

    • #789901
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      It was a real anti-climax all right. I thought when he mentioned the Grand Tours during the UK section that he was developing a link-up to Chambers and the Casino Marino. A shame that that in particular wasn’t featured.

      Mind you, the Edinburgh section was also very poor. 6 minutes on the Parliament building, almost as an afterthought. I think the program would be all the better if it just focused on 2 cities per episode.

    • #789902
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      To be honest it would have taken more than one 1-hour slot to accuractly assess the whole Goergian period. The programme just diddent have that amount of time. Some shots of Dublin’s finest looked great though. I suppose the focus on Henrietta St (though a tad embarrassing) fitted in with his train of thought which was to show how the Georgian era came to its end with the arrival of the Victorians!

    • #789903
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Henrietta Street may have been embarrassing but it’s a fact. The street’s a marvel and it’s shameful that it’s still in such an appalling state, not to mention the atrocity that’s just been completed on its lower half.

      But it’s not just this street. With the exception of North Great George’s St, the whole of the northside Georgian core is a wreck. Mountjoy Square is still crumbling along with the west side of Parnell Square, the last fragment of Beresford Place, Blessington St, Eccles St. and Capel St. Day by day these treasures are being denuded of architectural detail.

      The problem is not a lack of money, it’s the lack of a proper conservation culture. In the UK (and Italy and Holland and Spain…), these streets would be rigorously protected. PVC windows and dereliction simply wouldn’t be issues. A building as important as the Ambassador cinema wouldn’t be ravaged by cheap plastic signage. An intervention as brutal as the (I’m made of glass therefore I’m invisible) extension onto the masterpiece that is Charlemont House wouldn’t even be contemplated.

      We need to stop flogging this ‘Georgian Dublin’ crap to tourists and actually preserve the buildings.

    • #789904
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Very well said Paddy (in relation to one part in particular ;)) – couldn’t agree more. More targeted action is required for this area, and at this stage really only three little letters can make any sort of headway.

    • #789905
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      anyone see tonight’s episode? What it covered, it covered very well, but to leave it the whole New Town Movement in a documentary on 20th century building in the SE and London was remiss to say the least. He also failed to address the link between the rise of the motor car and the rise of suburbia, also pretty remiss. He did make the link between the railways of the inter war years and the growth of more expansive places to live but the real engine for such growth was, in a wonderful play on words, the motorways and the private car.

      Anyway, plenty of good stuff and tonnes of moody camerawork, and some nice unexpected oddities such as a Lido, and a Hindu Temple. Not sure if and when this may be available online.

    • #789906
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      It’s on DVD anyway.

      Yes the absence of the New Town, and indeed even a mention of Garden Suburb in the midst of all the other suburban material was notable, and yes especially the private car. The car in particular has managed to breed a whole new series of buildings in the past thirty years that simply wouldn’t be possible without it, and yet none received a mention. Sprawling shopping complexes and retail parks are more common a sight travelling through the UK than many other buildings featured. It always interests me how Irish suburbs of the 1950s are so much more pleasant that British ones; why they were so obsessed with that nasty, sombre Bovril brick and flat-fronted plain Jane houses is beyond me…

      Also the reasoning for the failure of highrise was misplaced: largely blamed on poor maintenance, when surely it was the mass displacement of underpriviliged people from traditional communities to places many didn’t want to live with poor employment and recreational opportunities, and so a resultant lack of connection with or affection for these new areas. And almost exactly the same problems suffered with the shift to terraced housing that followed from the 70s onwards, only without the common areas to be defaced. Regardless of the accommodation model, the same problems will persist if the wider issues aren’t addressed.

    • #789907
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      And his conclusion that semi-d sprawl was the only way forward for Britain was odd to say the least. He didn’t investigate the in between; high density, low rise stuff. I think is was very ambiguous how he looked at the revamped tower block and seemed to big it up as a great place to live, and then dismiss the exact same form of development 2 minutes later.

      I guess he couldn’t cover everything in one hour, but the downside of suburban sprawl was ignored as were new towns and garden cities. Other types of 20th century structures were also ignored; retail malls. as you said, football stadiums (Wembley, Millenium Stadium and St. James Park all dominate their respective city skylines) and the entire motorway network. I mean, we’ve probably all travelled the UK, and I guarantee we saw more motorways, tescos or football grounds than we did of those never-used sound reflector things!

    • #789908
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      got to admit i never heard of those sound thingy’s before… and they looked quite elegant. and as he said very sculptural…

    • #789909
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Weren’t they fantastic?! The UK is great for curiosities like these. And wonderfully shot – a great sense of intrigue and mystery generated 🙂
      They have featured from time to time on other programmes, but the later radar stations are much more in the public eye.

      Thankfully they’ve been restored by English Heritage.

      http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/nwh_gfx_en/ART17649.html

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