Devoted to the unexpected details that help to make life in the city worth living
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Park Village West, Regent's Park NW1
John Nash more or less invented town planning at Regent's Park, with its public open spaces, private houses grouped together to look like palaces and service roads concealed round the back.
And in 1824, right at the end of his life, he invented the suburb in the two small groups of houses he built on either side of the canal to the north of the park. Detached and semi-detached villas with small gardens are huddled just a little too closely together, creating the maximum effect at the minimum of cost, a formula followed by developers to this day.
No 12 is everyone's favourite, with its octagonal tower topped by deep overhanging eaves.
Over the door is a relief of the Roman harvest goddess Ceres, who carries a sickle and a cornucopia spreading a rich harvest of fruit over the earth. She should really have a sheaf of wheat as she gave her name to cereals and anyway, if it were not to harvest wheat why is she carrying a sickle?