Author Archives: paul holden

About paul holden

Architectural historian working as a House and Collections Manager for the National Trust at Lanhydrock House in Cornwall. Author of 'The Lanhydrock Atlas' (Cornwall Editions,2010) and 'The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux, 1712-13' (London Topographical Society, 2011). Contributor to many scholarly journals and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

‘Loving the Alien’: David Bowie and Me


I never met David Bowie. But I knew him. Growing up I digested every word and image I could. I bought illicit bootlegs, Wembley Wizard, Live in Stockholm, Soft in the Middle, and treasured my 7” copies of Prettiest Star … Continue reading

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How the ‘King of Cornwall’ Brought History to Life


In 1953 George Edward Michael Trinick (1924-94) joined the National Trust in Cornwall as an Assistant Agent. He rose steadily through the ranks becoming Area Agent in 1956, Regional Secretary of Devon and Cornwall in 1965 and Cornwall’s Regional Director … Continue reading

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No.6 Dear Bloody England. ‘Aesthetic Snobs, Wayward Theories and Bonkers Banks’


As an aesthetic snob and wayward theorist himself John Betjeman claimed that he hated aesthetic snobs and their wayward theories. In 1937 a young Betjeman hoped for ‘friendly bombs [to] fall on Slough!’ adding ‘It isn’t fit for humans now’. … Continue reading

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Eulogy to Captain, the Honourable Thomas Agar-Robartes M.P. (1880-1915)


Lanhydrock Church, 27 September 2015  A sequence of events, one century ago, changed the future of this parish forever. On 13 September 1915 the Honourable Thomas Charles Reginald Agar-Robartes, Captain in the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was recalled from the … Continue reading

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No.5 Dear Bloody England. ‘Half Spam Half Biscuit’ or ‘A Builder formerly known as Prince’


John Betjeman loved Cornwall. His impassioned lyric ‘Cornish Cliffs’ runs Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles, With, as the everlasting ocean rolls, Two chapels built for half a hundred souls. Today, 25-strong congregations have more than halved. The … Continue reading

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No.4 Dear Bloody England. ‘Heritage in the Rail Age II’


 Architecture is consumable −as with any used and abused everyday product decay is inevitable and authenticity fated. John Betjeman was wise to such philosophy when, in 1960, he wrote ‘Heritage of the Rail Age’ in the Daily Telegraph. Apparent in … Continue reading

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No.3 Dear Bloody England. ‘Carry on Poundbury’.


There are 28,000 architects on the Royal Institute of British Architects database – 8,000 more than in 1960 when John Betjeman wrote ‘Contemporary without Conscience’ in the Daily Telegraph.  His article discussed the state of the architectural profession as it … Continue reading

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