Category Archives: Canterbury Panorama

Panoramas of the City of Canterbury

Canterbury at Night and Brassai’s “Paris de Nuit”

One of the most precious photography books in my collection is Brassai’s “Paris de Nuit”.  This was given to me by my father about 20 years ago and is a well loved copy which detracts from it’s monetary value (it remains the most valuable book I own despite the wear) but in no way detracts from the images.  These images, along with those of Sudek have formed one of the back-bone of my photographic education. Interestingly though, I never felt moved to emulate any of their work at the time.  But last year, or it may have been the year before, I spent a number of winter nights tramping around the streets of Canterbury doing a Canterbury de Nuit series.

By way of background to Brassai, this Hungarian born photographer forms part of that rich stream of photographers that flowed out of Europe during the early part of the 20C.  He worked mainly in Paris and died there in 1984, after a life of work in photography.  His commercial commissioned work is largely forgotten now but his legacy of personal work is formidable.

And so to Canterbury at night…

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The innards of Canterbury Cathedral

With the Getty Museum project now complete, I thought I take a few pics of the wonderful roofspace up at the top of the cathedral.  Unfortunately the numerous firewalls prevent one getting a vista of the entire roofspace and one can only imagine what that view must be like.  But each section on it’s own has a degree of dynamism particularly those that have windows.  The other sections, without the benefit of natural light are vast caverns of darkness and in these conditiions (even with the few measly lights that there are, turned on) the rather incongruous signpost, is a very useful addition.  Carrying a compass helps too!

You get to the roof via a very long, continuous and pretty steep stone stairway complete with irregular tread heights which make slipping a constant hazard.  If you were to miss a step and start an involuntary descent, you’ll keep on going until you hit the bottom.  So one tends to use the rusty handrail thoughtfully provided.  Stone staircases in cramped settings are really difficult (if not impossible!) to shoot in such a way that demonstrates both their height and steepness.  Nevertheless I gave it a try and failed on both those counts.  But as the shot looks to me more like a snail shell than a staircase, I claim success in showing a stone staircase as a snail shell.

The last shot was taken from the Clerestory which I took simply because I was there!

Back to the world of new buildings tomorrow.

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Cathedral Book Launch in Canterbury

Well, It’s done!

After meeting Jonathan for the first time yesterday afternoon (what a nice guy!) we quickly settled into a book-signing routine (a novel experience for both of us) and emerged later to find our subject bathed in wonderful warm late afternoon sunlight.

The evening event was good too and JF gave a short lively presentation that simultaneously illustrated the complexity of and his passion for his subject.

It was amazing that despite working together over the past 2 1/2 years we had not met together as a group so last night was the first time the writer, publishers, book designer and photographer met up at the same time!

One more event in May and then the project will be truly behind us and it will be time to start pursuing the next one, whatever that turns out to be.

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The New Beaney Building, (Sidell Gibson) Canterbury City Centre

Given that this blog is a new venture I thought it might be an idea to show some of the projects and schemes photographed last year in more depth.  (I’ll add other archive projects in between the new and/or current projects which will follow in due course.)

First off is the new Sidell Gibson Beaney building in the city centre which I covered in September shortly after it opened. The project was partly Heritage Lottery funded and was engineered by Campbell Reith

Here is the original High Street frontage:

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery

And this is the new rear structure in context:

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery

Designed to replace and expand the existing (1897) Victorian structure, the new building retains much of the original but adds significant aspects to the rear of the site including a new entrance to the large library, new gallery space upstairs, cafe on the groundfloor, lift access etc.

This is a view of the library:

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery

A couple of views of the main atrium staircase and ramp:

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery

The Library againThe New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery

The common area between the old and new buildings

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects

Looking out towards the new side entrance:

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery

The new entrance canopy

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery

And the very gradual stairway up from street level to the main level of the building

The New Beaney; Canterbury; Kent; Sidell Gibson Architects; Exhibition; public Library; Gallery