Marcus Taylor & John Kay: Alec Clifton-Taylor’s Lewes Re-visited
Alec Clifton-Taylor (1907-1985) was an English architectural historian, writer and broadcaster. His most influential book, ‘The Pattern of English Building’ (1962) was a landmark in the understanding of the importance of vernacular architecture. He died 30 years ago, but his work lives on in three series of BBC TV programmes, each published as a book – ‘Six English Towns’ (1977), ‘Six More English Towns’ (1981) and ‘Another Six English Towns’ (1984). Lewes featured in the 1981 series, and we shall be re-visiting that from a 21st century perspective.
Alec Clifton-Taylor’s emphasis was on the use that local builders made of the materials available in their locality – in Lewes chalk and flint from the Downs and timber, brick and tile from the nearby Weald. He studied and admired the skills they developed and was particularly taken by the Lewes use of mathematical tile. He was critical of Victorian and later builders for their use of cheaper alien materials, imported by the railway, and their neglect of traditional skills.
His work was part of a wider movement that expanded history from being primarily the study of old documents to include a much wider range of evidence, including the surviving landscape and its vernacular buildings. The recognition of how much can be learned from such sources underpins the flourishing local history movement, of which the Lewes History Group is a part. We can be confident that he would have approved of our Street Stories project.
All are welcome from 7.00pm for free refreshments and updates on the Group’s activities. The talk will begin promptly at 7:30pm and will finish by 9.00pm.
There is an entry fee for these meetings, payable at the door, of £2 for members, and £3 for non-members.
Venue: The King’s Church building on Brooks Road, Lewes, BN7 2BY. (Between Tesco car park and Homebase)
See the Meetings page for a list of forthcoming monthly talks organised by the Lewes History Group.