Clifford Who?

Clifford Culkin isn’t mentioned in Wikipedia. It was difficult to track down the name of the man who was architect of this building.

This is the clock tower of the Greenwich Town Hall, completed in 1938.

At first sight it is a jarring, incongruous presence, lumpy and brutal, and inappropriate in the presence of Wren, the Georgians, and purse-lipped Victoriana. Culkin affronted every idea of propriety since the Tudors.

But Culkin knew his building had to share the skyline with its famous, feted and loved predecessors. How to get more than its share?

Only from a distance does Culkin’s tour de force become evident. At the top of his tower a great mass of bricks appear to rest on some fragile and brittle window panes. At any moment the top section of the tower may shatter this glass and plummet to the pavement, killing rate payers. I first perceived this fact while sitting in the beer garden of this pub.

This was the view:

Common opinion didn’t approve of Culkin’s tasteless ways. Hence his absence in Wikipedia. But, as you can see, London architecture has recently superseded the aesthetics of Wren and the rest. And here is Culkin’s work nestled amidst its legion of grandchildren.

Clifford Culkin deserves more recognition.


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