Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Hadrian's Wall

Having just visited Hadrian's Wall my eye was caught by the sub-head in Ed Frith's article in the Guardian, 'No comprehensive guide to our islands' buildings should exclude Hadrian's Wall or Stonehenge.' Commenting  on Jonathan's Glancey's introduction to the Guardian's Guide to British Architecture he suggests that Glancey misses the 'deep and longer story of British architecture.'

He goes on, 'Surely Britain is allowed its ancients: does the history of architecture only start with the arrival of Christianity, the dominant force in architecture? Surely it should include places deep in our psyche and defining the last six millennia. Where are the precise fabrications of Stonehenge, and the domestic and environmental connectivity exhibited at Skara Brae? Where are the Romans' technical marvels, Hadrian's Wall, and their integrated plumbing and heating?'

Indeed, what a marvel Hadrian's Wall is. Set in the most outstanding rolling countryside, the immensity and audacity of the project is inspirational. We spent a happy hour or two walking the wall, tramping the footsteps of the Roman soldiers, imagining the camp followers, the entertainers, the women and the muddy tracks across the sweeping landscape, standing meerkat like on top of the wall searching the moors for invading Celts...