Thursday, April 20, 2006

An Ugly Building With A Terrible Past; Lets Tear It Down.

Lets start off with an unequivocal statement; Norwich Castle is one of the ugliest buildings in England.

It is a square stone box perched on a manmade mound looking for all the world like a broken tooth looming over the City of Norwich. It was built by the Normans within a few years of the conquest of England and was meant to be a very raw demonstration of military and civil power. It was designed to fill the populace with fear and awe not with wonder at its beauty. It can be best compared to the KGB's Lubyanka headquarters. Most multi-storey car parks, to be honest, are more attractive than Norwich Castle. It has absolutely no aesthetic virtue.

It cannot even be said to have historic value. What we are looking at is a Victorian renovation job. All the facing stone, I am given to understand, was replaced in the 19th Century. I am reminded of the road sweeper in the television sitcom "Only Fools And Horses" who claims to have used the same broom for 12 years. I have replaced the handle twice and the head three times he explains but it is the same broom.

If anybody came today and said they wanted to build a 120 foot mound in the middle of the city and put a square stone box on top of it; he would be immediately shown the door. The planning meeting discussing the proposal would be over almost before it started. So why do we put up with it? The only excuse I can think of is; we are used to it.

But these days that is not enough. Lets tear it down and build a decent purpose built museum on the site. or social housing or even a multistorey car park.

I invite anyone who reads this to vote yes to tearing down this dreadful blot on the landscape by leaving a note to that effect in the comments at the bottom.


nick holywell-walker said...

I thought you were referring to the dread-filled castle mall, from where your picture is taken, which would seem to be the obvious candidate for summary removal from the Archtectural cacophony that is Norwich. After they ruined the market with those fussy little health and safety freindly metal boxes I vowed never to return to my home town of 21 years, and have cowered in the aesthetic bolthole that is London. If ever anyone wants to fill in the mall, however, I'll make the trip back and happily throw in the first shovelful of earth.

Anonymous said...

Yes Colonel, I vote yes. Also yes to the suggestion that the Castle Mall be utterly effaced.