Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Changing Views

On my way back from Wattle Park the other day, I spotted an architectural salvage yard through the tram window. I find such places as irresistible as stationery shops, so I jumped off the tram at the next stop and went to have a look.

What had first particularly attracted my attention was this pair of doors:

 There were plenty more of a less figurative style:
 Plus windows, matching or otherwise:

There were assorted tiles and lamps and light switches:

and even some original paint, for those restorers truly dedicated to authenticity:
There were old fire places:

and a basin I swear came from the house we lived in in Kuala Lumpur when I was a child - the bathroom there was exactly that teeth setting shade of green:
Sadly, when you looked at the streets adjacent to the salvage yard, it was all too easy to see where most of the salvage had come from - it appeared that quite a few lovely buildings had made way for boxes and graffitied corrugated iron:

The odd thing is that I worked in this exact area of Melbourne when I was 20 and somehow I never noticed how pretty the buildings were. It was pretty rough at the time, but all the same, I can't understand how I missed the basic charm of the architecture. At the time, I loathed the place, but then again, I was working on the counter of the local Social Security office during a recession and that job would have jaded anybody's view of the world:

It appears that there are lots of people who still don't appreciate these sweet little houses and prefer to knock them down and put up something made out of packing cases instead:

Now that my eyes have been opened, I much prefer the older way of building, with its fondness for decorative details, none of which I ever noticed when I used to pass them each day:

Who was Eleanor, I wonder

I never noticed these great piles up the road either - presumably they were owned by the people who employed the people in the little houses down the road:

The second one looks as if it is trying to ape Government House, Melbourne, which, in its turn, is thought to have been imitating Queen Victoria's Osborne on the Isle of Wight.

I know I harp on about it, but I do think, despite their often being more spacious and practical and light and so forth, that the buildings of today are much less interesting to look at and much less pleasing to live in than those of earlier times.

No comments:

Post a Comment