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November 21, 2017

Where are the Jewels? 


Jewels, Duals & Duels

One great thing about Europe is the architecture. In England, there are old buildings, relics & ruins around every corner.

Traditionally,  these buildings were well maintained & kept in pristine condition. This is less true now than it once was.

Is

Churches & pubs are increasingly showing signs of neglect. Popular ones with high footfall in main areas have been revamped. Less popular ones in smaller areas have closed down. Others have been repurposed.

Fashions come & go. While we hope that enough old local buildings manage to stay intact until trends like worship & fellowship make a comeback,  Britain does have a hidden heritage portfolio.

WHAT AND WHERE IS THIS BUILDING 

* answer at the end

Immigration, Init?

The press hastily lables locals as xenophobic when they bemoan the rapid transformation that tags along with mass migration. There might, however, be other factors worth considering before we bring out the glue gun.

THE War

  • Mass bombings of the last world war were quite recent & devastating
  • England was massively targeted
  • Many cities & high value areas were totally destroyed.

Notably, loved buildings & landmarks were lost forever. Mass housing was a much needed but rather ugly replacement. Rebuilding wasn’t always successful. Many people feel protective over surviving buildings.

Get it? 

English aversion to immigration-related rapid changes to urban areas might not be just mean. Not that long ago, shops changed from selling everything to niche items that were rationed. Change meant lack, deprivation & even starvation.

Bessie Hutchison (born Kirk)

My Gran once told me that wars were fought by mothers with children to feed. If she was right, then it’s these mothers who use clinics (often at church halls), plan weddings & celebrations (at pubs) & …. Mothers still shop a lot.

Knit it, Nit

Many middle-aged English people are annoyed when their environment changes. It’s not intentional. Stories heard on mum’s or nan’s knee seem to echo in life today.

A cinema becomes a bingo hall, a post office a money transfer shop, the deli gets renamed into something they can’t pronounce &  stops selling bacon – Some people are instinctively annoyed by these changes.

When the unused library becomes a foreign film centre,  the change can be hard to celebrate in a country where locations were described by the nearest pub a wink ago – That pub Dad took them to that is now a vegan restaurant.

Bullies & Victims & Bullies

Most of us understand why a bullied person eventually hits back or reacts badly. Most countries today have been both bullies & bullied & there just hasn’t been enough time between the waves of war for healing to happen citizen & national psyches.

Commendation & Sidetrack

It’s a real commendation to the English that they are still so resilient as a nation. Postwar Britain is still finding her feet. The man in the street shoulders the shame, pride, blame & reward of the decisions & actions of governments & rulers, but …this isn’t about democracy & propaganda… We are looking for jewels.

Jewel One

The first jewel is people. Joe Citizen. The people of the globe who wake up & do whatever they must to survive. Hate, prejudice, fear & rage get pushed to one side while they work with whatever they have to feed, house & educate their families.

Jewel Two

The second jewel is India. Once known as Hindustan, later partitioned – India was once called the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. While those days are long gone, I think the country & its people are a true jewel.

WHAT AND WHERE IS THIS BUILDING?

**answer at the end

Jewels come in different sizes, shapes & values. These change over time, & are affected by trends.

Jewel Three

This brings me back to the reason I started writing this.

India was granted independence in 1947. Arguably, Britain & especially England was forced to recreate itself around the same time.

The war was expensive by every measure. Post-war Britain was a broken country of war-shattered citizens living in a smashed & shattered, changed landscape.

Spoils, Spoilt & Spoiled

Independence, passionately desired, brings challenges once achieved. There are many parallels between India & Britain.

National transformation, like Brexit, does include some elements of divorce. Once finalised, nostalgia for the old creeps in. Nobody wants to go back to the way things were, but paging through the photo album can produce a surprise tear.

How did you did with those buildings?

BUILDING ONE: Did you get it right?  This is in India. St John’s was built in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1787. If it looks familiar, think of St Martin’s in the Field, London

BUILDING TWO: This is in Woking, England. Built in 1889 following the rise in demand due to immigration from India – It remains the first purpose-built mosque in the UK

Pictures are Public Domain

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2 Responses “Where are the Jewels? ”

  1. Saraya
    October 16, 2017 at 11:57 am

    A very interesting read. Thanks Wonk

    • October 16, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Pleasure. Happy you enjoyed it

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