February 2020

The Archives of Vanished Kingdoms

I've been reading Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe by Norman Davies (Penguin 2012). It's a fascinating book because Davies puts names such as Burgundy and Aragon into context and also shows how former 'kingdoms' often straddled current national boundaries or overlapped over time - and traces the development of kingdoms from regions into larger entities (through alliances or military takeover). He also makes the point that this process continues - one of the chapters looks at the formation of the Soviet Union and its recent end. 
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Libraries With Different Walls

Inspired by a Jonathan Meades talk in Birmingham Town Hall about architecture I started to think about two of the city’s buildings that he mentioned, because I worked in them for a while last year, namely Birmingham Central Library (aka concrete ziggurat, or brutalist) and the Library of Birmingham (aka the wedding cake, or post-modern, or high tech, or LoB). Read More…