A Pinch of Pugin

St Thomas of Canterbury Fulham.

Nine of the eighteen buildings in Ireland that Pugin had a hand in (I’m choosing my words carefully) are in Co Wexford and you may well wonder why I didn’t see any when there recently. St Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy would have been an obvious choice, especially as we drove through the town.

Probably his most interesting Irish house is Adare Manor. To digress, my sister was admired by Thady Dunraven, as he became, but she wasn’t on the shelf and he didn’t take her down and dust her. The house is called a calendar house because it has 365 windows and 52 chimneys. They don’t build them like that anymore.

Adare Manor.

Anyway I found a Pugin church closer to home. St Thomas of Canterbury is down the road. When I went at dusk on Monday evening it was, of course, locked. Then my luck turned. The improbably named Father Dennis Touw-Tempelmans Plat hove into view and told me to go round to the side door. I have used a stock picture of the interior because the light was so poor. It is impressive and, Father Dennis told me, the only Pugin church in London north of the river. Spot on if he meant RC but I think Pugin may have had a hand in the chapel in the crypt of the House of Lords but don’t let’s get bogged down in detail.

Pugin did not confine himself to grandiose projects like the interior of the Palace of Westminster. He is credited with designing these fine cottages near Windermere Station in Cumbria.

Railway Cottages, Windermere.

Pugin’s Swiss father fled Paris during the French Revolution and was an architectural draughtsman for John Nash, the architect for so many fine Regency streets and crescents in London. He wrote about medieval architecture (eg Examples of Gothic Architecture) so no doubt where his son’s inspiration came from. Anyway, it’s good to have a Pugin on the doorstep.

2 thoughts on “A Pinch of Pugin”

  1. We recently stayed in The Grange, Ramsgate which Pugin built for his family. He had earlier built in Salisbury but Mrs P was unhappy that there was no upstairs corridor so the second bedroom had to be accessed from the first. The Grange has no such school boy error. Not content with the chapel in the house, he built a church, now St Augustine’s Shrine and Abbey and a presbytery (St Teddy’s). Both the Grange and the Presbytery can be rented from the https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk
    If I was cleverer I would add pics but I am not.

  2. As you probably are aware Adare Manor reopened recently to much acclamation after major renovation and extension. I am always bemused by the Biblical text on the parapet (just visible in your image, although most will likely not notice it). It comes from Psalm 127 ‘except the Lord build the house, that labour is but lost that build it’. This was certainly not part of Pugin’s plan (in fact Pugin’s work at Adare was quite limited) but more likely Lord Dunraven’s expression of humour or Evangelical Christian zeal. Isn’t it all rather sad that such fine buildings must recast themselves as ‘luxury hotels’ replete with spas and golf resorts in order to survive this generations demands?

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