Essex

Gillian Darley writes:

Nikolaus Pevsner’s introduction to his Buildings of England volume for Essex made it clear that he considered the county tainted by association. Who, he wondered in 1954, would ever want to go ‘touring and sightseeing’ there, after experiencing the ‘squalor of Liverpool Street Station’, its horror compounded by the ‘suicidal waiting room on platform nine’? His hatred, oddly, even extended to ‘the cavernous left-luggage counters behind platforms nine and ten’. Pevsner died thirty years later, but still too soon to see the dreary old station transformed or to be aware that an insignificant former USAF base would become London’s third airport, crowned by a sensationally elegant terminal, representing just the kind of marriage of function and beauty he most admired.

(LRB 1 November 2007)

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