While the sun shines.
You look as if you’re going to the beach,’ someone observed, I think in admiration of a well-chosen combination of linen trousers and seersucker jacket. If only I’d been on the way back from lunch, rather than to it: I could have replied that my lunch companion had been wearing shorts. We ate outside the Tate Gallery and felt we might have been in Cannes. Clearly, it was too nice a day to stay indoors, so I made a tour of some of the buildings I’ve been reading about recently, starting with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, off Moorgate. Designed by John Belcher in 1890, with blocked columns, it unites neo-Baroque with sculpture; the frieze by Sir Hamo Thornycroft is delicious. It’s my new best building in the world.
Almost. Because I went on to see Thomas Collcutt’s Lloyd’s Register of Shipping: I particularly like Collcutt because he was the son of an Oxford college servant. Then, the Whitechapel Gallery, bursting into gilded leaf in recognition (its founders thought) of the rejuvenating power of culture on the East End. And a walk along Brick Lane took me to the Boundary Street estate, model housing built by the early and progressive London County Council, which was so quiet that someone was asleep on one of the benches in the well-tended gardens of the central circus. Next day, it rained unceasingly. Thank goodness! I was worn out.
Why robins, asks Lucy Baring.
History in the making.