Wednesday, 3 February 2010

WEEK 2 - About the Buildings I Chose

Brighton West Pier
Opening in 1866 as a simple promenade pier, by the early twentieth century with the addition of a theatre and concert hall, it had become a thriving centre of seaside entertainment. By the late 1920’s the fully developed West Pier was enjoying its glamorous heyday. With the outbreak of the second world war, and the changed circumstances of its aftermath, the fortunes of the West Pier began to decline. As the fashion for foreign holidays took hold in the 50’s and 60’s, the neglected pier fell into disrepair. Declared unsafe, the grand old lady was closed to the public in 1975. Almost immediately the battle to restore the pier to its former glory began. However, it wasn’t until 1998, with the granting of a major Lottery award, that that goal seemed achievable. Sadly, hopes of restoration were dashed when the pier was destroyed by fire in 2003.

The Imperial Institute
The Imperial Institute, as it was first known, was established in 1887 as a result of the Colonial and Indian exhibition of 1886, by the governments of the United Kingdom and several countries of the British Empire to promote research which would benefit the Empire. Initially this was strongly biased towards scientific research that supported the industrial and commercial development of the dominions and colonies. At this time the UK had a policy of Commonwealth Preference in its trade relations.

Old St Paul's Cathedral
Old St. Paul's is a name used to refer to the Gothic cathedral in the City of London built between 1087 and 1314. At its peak, the cathedral was the third longest church in Europe, had one of the tallest spires and some of the finest European stained glass. The building developed a reputation as a hub of the City of London, with the nave aisle "Paul's Walk" becoming known as the centre of business. Already severely in decline by the 17th century, the cathedral was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, and the current domed St. Paul's Cathedral was subsequently erected on the site by Sir Christopher Wren.

The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace’s exhibition space which displayed examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. After the exhibition, the building was moved to a new park in a high, healthy and affluent area of London called Sydenham Hill. The Crystal Palace was enlarged and stood in the area from 1854 to 1936, when it was destroyed by fire. It attracted many thousands of visitors from all levels of society.

Tintern Abbey
Tintern Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare. Its situated on the River Wye in Monmouthshire, it was the first Cistercian foundation in Wales. It is one of the most spectacular ruins in the country and inspired William Wordsworth, Alfred,Lord Tennyson and J. M. W. Turner. In the reign of King Henry VIII traditional monastic life in England and Wales was brought to an abrupt end by his policy of establishing total control over the church, partly to take advantage of the considerable wealth of the monasteries. Abbot Wyche surrendered Tintern Abbey to the King's visitors and ended a way of life which had lasted 400 years. Then the lead from the roof was sold, and the decay of the shell of the buildings began.

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