Thursday, 8 March 2007

Our Humble Abode

On a stunning spring day in London, I was moved to photograph the facade of Clergy House; this is the building behind the Cathedral where the Clergy live. In fact, part of it is Archbishop's House, and the two residences intersect in a most confusing way. In the picture above (taken from Francis Street) the top row of large arched windows belongs to the rooms of the Cathedral Chaplains, while the two rows of windows below belong to Archbishop's House. Not shown are a further two rows of windows below those, which belong to Clergy House. I trust I make myself obscure.

The Clergy House and Archbishop's House were orginally one dwelling, and the Cardinal lived and dined surrounded by his Clergy. Cardinal Bourne divided off the Archibshop's residence from the Cathedral Clergy residence (probably to mutual relief!). It makes for a very complicated ground plan, and a huge problems for wiring, fire alarms and decoration.

The buildings were designed by Francis Bentley, at the same time as the Cathedral, and are a superb example of Victorian architecture. Note the details in the brickwork, and the stone stripes, echoing those of the Cathedral itself.

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