Monday 28 December 2020

CAKE AND STEEL Discovering London


Richard Roger's inside out
James Stirling's cake mix

Another trip into London (pre T4 lockdown) in furtherance of my autodidact approach to modern architecture; two buildings were on the menu.


First was No1 Poultry, across from the Royal Exchange and looking like a nice slice of Battenberg cake, then onto Lloyds of LondonThis second stop looked like something from Asimov’s Caves of Steel, published in Galaxy Magazine thirty three years before the building was completed in 1986.


No 1Poultry, this was a triumph of tenancy; Peter Palumbo tried for twenty-five years to develop this site. He finally got the go ahead for architects Stirling and Wilford to build an obsessively decorated post-modern confection. Sadly James Stirling (Tate Britain, Clore Galleries extension and the Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart) died before No.1 Poultry was completed five years later.


Lloyds of London, the inside out building, was the triumph of Richard Rogers. It took eight years to build which is quite a long time by standards of the day. One architect friend commented, “They were probably making it up as they went along”.


Standing across the street and looking up at the Lloyds Building is an exciting prospect.  It has been the location for sixteen films including Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).



Architecture fiends and building crawlers should download the an app called London Architecture Guide from it is simple to use and reaches out to outskirts of the city. Great for planning a tour of if you find yourself with a little time to mooch around just tap current location!

Monday 21 December 2020


'It has been described as looking like a Generating Station'*

An interior that makes the heart stop

With a year of being encouraged to travel less the Curious Coast team have journeyed closer to home, still in the spirit of being ‘curious’. 


We went to a remarkable church, All Saints Hanworth. Consecrated in 1957, All Saints is a box of delights most of which was created by Nugent Cachemaille-Day, an architect widely recognised as designing some of the most revolutionary 20th-century churches in the UK.  


And what a joy for we were lucky to be welcomed by Fr. Sergiy Diduk who took great pains to ensure our visit was special.  Its West Door on the busy Uxbridge Road welcomes you into a treasure house of stained glass, sculpture, carvings and woodwork. In the main body of All Saints huge concrete spans support a roof and lantern of stained glass and give the place huge space and presence, a concrete apse decorated in gold with seraphim images.  


And there is countless detail to discover for example Cashemaille-Day fashioned a remarkable font through his rummaging in junk shops. The result is a 19c copy of a 14c North German image of The Virgin.


Discover more about the Architect here a remarkable resource of Modernist buildings and places.


And the delights of All Saints here

All Saints Church, Uxbridge Road, Hanworth TW13 5EE 

 From the church's guide produced in 2017

Thursday 17 December 2020


A couple of weeks ago, when looking for something else, I came across a cache of photographs I had taken when on visits to Japan, 2005 – 2007.  I was excited beyond measure, connecting with these images and immediately scuttled off to make drawings and paintings.


Japan the last truly foreign country and Tokyo is a city to match. Truth be told, it is the only place I really wish to return one day.  


Last year writers Michael Ryan and Luke Burgess put it well in their book Only In Tokyo. Link

 ‘If Japan is enigmatic, then Tokyo is the heart of that riddle, its rhythm and essence so utterly alluring that it demands to be explored. It has a depth that keeps travellers in a constant state of rapture and delight’.


I remember capturing my own feelings in a blog I kept at the time: 

Vivaldi In The Elevator? Smile, You’re Back!!

Skyscrapers beyond the dreams of Richard Rogers or Terry Farrell;

Swarms of people in white shirts, dark suits carrying impossibly slim briefcases. 

Commuters moving down the streets with the precision of a Red Square Parade

Rain polishing the whole place, ready for a remake of Blade Runner. 

Smile, you are back.  Back and you still don’t understand.        October 2005 Link  


Saturday 12 December 2020


Reproduced with his blessing, an email exchange with Robert Von Bahr who runs a delightful record company in Sweden, BIS CLASSICAL.  I discovered BIS quite by chance, having heard their recording, The Russia Viola, on Spotify.....


TIM TO ROBERT   Den 2020-11-20 kl. 15:06, skrev Tim Baynes:

Is this wonderful recording - fantastic music which I discovered, by chance is the album available on vinyl?

Warmest wishes   thank you and keep safe :) 




Dear Tim,

No, and it never was.

My question back would be why you'd like to destroy an original digital recording by releasing it on vinyl.  The ONLY possible advantage with vinyl would be, if the original recording were analogue - and this one wasn't.

Hugs - Robert (von Bahr, CEO, BIS Records)


eClassical AB 

Stationsvägen 20        +46 8 544 102-35

184 50 Åkersberga    




Dear Robert,

Thank you for your reply.

Of course, I get it.  Sorry, I am under educated in the world of high fidelity recordings 

Have ordered the CD

Warmest wishes and thanks again    It has opened my eyes and ears to these composers 

As ever 

Tim xx



How very nice.  Whence did you order it?

We have a shop, you know...

Bestest – Robert


(TRUTH BE TOLD   I was in the process of ordering but had not yet completed the task. Now armed with I placed my order)



Från: BIS - Robert von Bahr <>



And here it is - see pic.

Goes to the Post today, but please do have patience anyway - the Post isn't as fast as they used to - or indeed shoud - be.

A small surprise and the start of a Swedish stamp collection of stamps, 30-50 years old.

Enjoy and don't let this be the second time you come to us - first and last combined...Best - Robert

Wednesday 9 December 2020

GRAINLAND: despair with brio




In my mind I have returned many times this year.


Reed beds struggle to be heard above the wind. This is a landscape of horizontals, burnt umber, sepia, sap green, raw umber, pylon lines.


What’s here is old industry except for the Amazon distribution centre, the new kid, welcomed by the local council.


Big skies grey and steel blue and occasional bright sunlight shouldering its way through the cloud. Then it is pushed back.


This is also a landscape of verticals, pylons, silos, warehouses, floodlight towers, fence posts, and barbed wire, brambles that are nature’s barbed wire. Pylons, rank upon rank, soldiers, numbering off, on parade. 


 ‘Nothing save marshes, mud, water, purselane, sky, tufty saltings, glasswort, wrack and sheep.  But the chromatic and textural variations of sky, mud and water are infinite 

Jonathan Meads from Museum without Walls


Isle of Grain is on  the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula within the district of Medway in Kent. No longer an island and now forming part of the peninsula, the area is almost all marshland and is a major habitat for diverse wetland birds. Wikipedia


We visited the Isle of Grain in 2019

Thursday 3 December 2020



Cafe Society? Building a new church

There is  massive of excitement in Hazlemere, population 10,000, a town situated few miles north of High Wycombe. There Holy Trinity Church is under going a multi-million pound construction makeover. The congregation have already pledged over a million pounds for the ‘Trinity Centre’


A spokesman for Holy Trinity said

“Our society has shifted. We engage relationally more and more through the cafe culture. It’s a place where people can explore ideas and build friendships in an informal and relaxed environment. Trinity centre will provide this dedicated hospitality, welcome and cafe space.”


The web site proclaims

“Clear lots of ground for your tents!

 Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!”

Isaiah 54:2 


‘Think big’ in the quotation from Isaiah made me think. I wondered which version of the Bible it was taken? Perhaps it came from the King James Version? Or the New International Version? Or the New Revised Standard Version?


A little digging reveals that for more than two years, Eugene Hoiland Peterson devoted all his efforts to writing The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. His primary goal was to capture the tone of the text and the original conversational feel of the Greek, in contemporary English. Some might know that Eugene Hoiland Peterson was an American Presbyterian minister, scholar, theologian, author, and poet. 1932 – 2018


God Loves a well crafted latte and a cheerful barista.

God's Glory: An artists impression 

Thing Big for God

Friday 27 November 2020

GOD'S FIRE STATION Our Lady of the Assumption -

Our Lady of the Assumption - The Church of Rome in Thatcham

This arresting church stopped me in my tracks as I peddled along the busy A4 out of Newbury and into Thatcham. I was keen to know more and emailed the church.

I was delighted by this reply:

Dear Mr Baynes, 

I am sorry to have taken time to reply to your message. Thank you for your interest in our church. Before I put the sign, 'Catholic Church' on it many people thought it was a fire station (thanks to our curious bell tower). There is no guide book but I can tell you that the church was built in 1977 and replaced the building now used as a hall which dates from the 1950s

Best Wishes. Fr Kevin 

Saturday 21 November 2020

Want a great café? Then Mount up

Less than ten minutes from Heathrow Terminal 5 is the wonderful Mount Café.

Open everyday, the place is bustling, service with a smile and great food. Find this wonderful eatery at Market Parade, 11 Hampton Rd W, Hanworth, Feltham TW13 6AL. Telephone number 020 8898 3707.


We enjoyed the all day breakfast, the perfect lunchtime treat and close to where we were shooting photographs a little further along the Uxbridge Road, Hanworth.

The All Day anyway

Highly recommended and also very popular with the Ubereats and Deliveroo crowd.

Wednesday 18 November 2020


The King's Church, Desborough Road, High Wycombe

The King's Church High Wycombe stands high and proud on the Desborough Road, it might be mistaken for an office block or welfare centre, which is a way it is.


It has a most interesting history. In the late 60s five families moved from Hayes, in Middlesex to a housing estate in Hazlemere and met together in the rooms of their homes.

By 1972, it became apparent the group needed a church. They bought a house, 27 Penn Road Hazlemere. This was financed by the congregation pooling together the money; no hand-outs from the diocese. The place became known as ‘Living Water’

The group continued to grow and outgrew ‘Living Water’. In 1982 they decided to build a church and purchased a book shop and office space in the Desborough Road.

Fast forward to 1992: just down the road a site became available and raising £1,700,000 from property sales, bank loans and donations from the congregation – job done! The King's Church Centre was complete and open for business.

This remarkable story of God and man is taken from the church’s own website here -

Saturday 14 November 2020



On the 10th of December 1966 the Methodist church of Saint Andrews was opened.

There was a much bigger Methodist Church in the centre of Slough however why not build another. Work began in 1965 and a year later it was good to go. 


Her Majesty the Queen Mother was invited to perform the opening ceremony.

Sadly she had to call in sick.



“Hello it's Windsor Castle here, I'm afraid Her Majesty can't make round today to open your church today. 

(Gasp at other end of the telephone)

Spokesman continues: 

“Yeah, she's just been taken poorly so I'm afraid she can't come.


Imagine the reaction of the churchwarden

“What do you mean? We’ve already had the programs printed with ‘er name on it and everything


Well in the end they had to find somebody else to do the job (Sir Thomas Somebody- or-Another)


However, it must've been about a year later when HRH was leafing through her diary for the previous year and seeing the entry for St Andrews’ opening. 

"Oh, I never did get down to opening the church in Slough" 

Then calling across to her aide, 

Er, Billy*, get ‘em on the phone, then bring the car round the front and we’ll pop round and see ‘em now.


Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother did she visit the church the following year, 1967. A wonderful tale of a very interesting church and a clear example why today her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother still holds such a warm place in so many hearts.


*William John Stephenson Tallon RVM (12 November 1935 – 23 November 2007) also known as Backstairs Billy was a steward and member of the Queen Mother 's staff.


Tuesday 10 November 2020


Point Royal

St Joseph's handy for the shops



It was a lovely sunny afternoon in mid September as Rosie and I entered the Borough of Bracknell. Our specific purpose was to visit Point Royal.


Our destination lay just outside the town centre in area called Easthampstead.


And there it was on a rising piece of open ground, flanked by trees. Bathed in sunlight it looked like a pagoda. 

Designed by Arup Associates, 1960 – 4, Point Royal comprises 17 stories of concrete loveliness and painted cream providing 102 flats. It sits in a shallow bowl of concrete, underneath this is parking for cars.


Nikolaus Pevsner (Buildings of England: Berkshire published 1966) described Point Royal as ”one outstanding job” adding “It calls for four or five more of an identical design”. Odds on that if four or five more had been built it would have attracted the attention of 1980’s demolition teams and guardians of prettiness and picturesque.


Rosie and I eventually made our way into the town centre. We got shhu’d out of the shopping precinct in Princess Square however the girls in Starbucks welcomed Rosie (and I). We sat outside with my drink; across the street (Stanley Road) was an ecclesiastical flight of fancy. We looked out onto the Church of St Joseph the Worker.


Built in 1961 – 2 with an A-shaped west end. In the churchyard to the right is a free-standing openwork steel cross twenty two feet high, made in London and transported to the site in one piece. Architectsfor this lovely church were  Clifford Culpin and Partners.


Shop for God; St Joseph’s is a wholesome example of church-building ideas around 1960 and was influenced by the architect’s visit to Scandinavia in 1956.


Full story of the church is told wonderfully right here

Saturday 7 November 2020


A tale of brave design and regeneration

One of the key stops on any tour of Brutalist architecture in London has to be the Brunswick Centre. This is another tale of brave design, prejudice against concrete, disrepair and regeneration (New Labour’s favourite hobby).

The place’s original design and layout is still largely intact and good to explore and appreciate. From its east side, on Brunswick Square, it peers through a warm veil of London plane trees, a cataract of concrete tumbling down to the street.



·      Located close to Russell Square Bloomsbury London.

·      Mixed use – residential and commercial

·      Mid 1960’s Building started in 1967 and finished in 1972.

·      Architect Patrick Hodgkinson, replacing run-down Georgian terrace Housing. 

·      The residential part of the scheme leased to Camden Borough

·      Widely disliked it was listed Grade II in 2000.

·      Shop premises remained unoccupied, renovation plans blocked by residents’ committees

·      November 2002 a £22m renovation project began. 

·      Council finally starts work on refurbishing the housing in 2005


Now called The Brunswick, and a plaza, It comprises five hundred flats, and all the usual retail corporates including Ann Summers, Boots, New Look, Revital (tag line ‘thinking of your health’) Holland & Barrett, Superdrug. Lead billing goes to Waitrose whose reassuring signage makes it appear as lead sponsor.



*(Note the capitalisation of the ‘T’ – very popular today as in ‘The Science’ and ‘The Church’).

Wednesday 4 November 2020


High up on one of High Wycombe’s hills, before Castlefield slithers down into Cressex runs Rutland Avenue. Elbowing its way out onto this road is the Avenue Methodist Church, busy, popular and with a food hygiene rating of 5.


This House of God is on a road prone to mishaps, illustrated by this story, four years back:

A 20-year-old man has been charged by in connection with a collision, which occurred at 4.50am on Saturday 30th January. *


And a year before that:

… Black Vauxhall Omega collided with a lamppost and church gates and wall. 

A man was injured when a car struck a wall at The Avenue Methodist Church. *


And last year a very sad mishap?

On Sunday 31st March 2019, at around 10.50pm, the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service alerted officers from Thames Valley Police to a fire at The Avenue Methodist Church in Rutland Avenue, Police believe it is likely the fire was started several hours before the emergency services were called and that the fire was likely to have been started deliberately. *


It was very peaceful as I sat quite close to the road’s edge to make this drawing in the series ‘The Modern Church’ an impromptu survey of post WW2 war churches in High Wycombe. Perhaps if I had read these stories (all from Wycombe Today) I might not have been quite so audacious.


*Articles copyright Wycombe Today

Saturday 31 October 2020



LEVER HOUSE - now home to Kitty and Miffy


One of my favourite views in New York was looking down Park Avenue from the MetLife Building – oh lucky man. My NY correspondent, PJ Leher took a photograph looking up Park, with The Lever House building prominent. Out came my paint brush.


Lever House built for the Lever Soap built in the International style. It made its presence felt in 1948, completed in 1952. All glass and steel, its appearance caused a rumpus amongst its neighbours in their fine residential masonry! 


Sadly 30 year later its brilliant blue glass had deteriorated due to the harsh New York weather and some of the steel began to rust. The building expanded and contracted and popped; by the mid-1990's only one per cent of its original glass remained.


Towards the end of the 1990's enter a team of real estate magnates, lawyers and $25 million dollars to do the place up. New technology and energy codes made the building tip top and shiny-new again.

Oh and they shelled out on marble benches, adding Isamu Noguchi sculpture garden to the building's plaza.  


Result, blue loveliness again and its plaza and lobby have been used as a gallery for the Lever House art  collection which includes a Damien Hirst. Tom Sach’s Hello Kitty and Miffy sculptures are also displayed in the plaza, which presumably attached PJ to visit in the first place. 

Tuesday 27 October 2020



High seriousness was buried beneath an avalanche of toytown rustication


Boots, Sports Direct, Superdrug, Pret A Manger (closed) a second Pret A Manger (also closed) Costa, Boots, Piazza Express, another Costa: It was all here at Pavilion Shopping Centre all here to enjoy.


On a sunny Saturday afternoon people are milling around, mothers barely controlling pushchairs, the tune from of an out of tune busker floats comes across the square.


Outside Boots four guys in black T-shirts with the slogan “Jesus loves you” are busy preaching into a microphone. Their words of hope are quickly carried away in the fresh breeze.


This is Uxbridge town in Middlesex and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Hillingdon a mere fifteen miles west-northwest of Charing Cross.


The real reason for being here was to seek out was has been described as ‘the architectural equivalent of Benny Hill or Sid James: course, matey, blokeish, undemanding, unthreatening, and accessible’. *


We found it. Hillingdon Civic Centre, lots of red brick that seems to rear up at you as if bumped into by accident. The whole thing is rather gloomy even in the sunshine. The building, which was designed by Andrew Derbyshire, was applauded as one of the most famous buildings in the British neo-vernacular style.


My current crush, Jonathan Meades, described the civic centre thus. 


‘Here in the wilds of suburban Middlesex was a suburban town hall composed apparently of several dozen suburban villas suburban bungalows which had through their keys into the centre of the room and which were now conjoined in cosily elephantine abandon.


Like any suburban orgy (think South Ruislip) it was more comical thank sexy it broke so many rules and way so wholly divergent from the precepts of canonical modernernism that it was revolutionary – in the snuggest homeliest most carpet- slippers way.  It was the architectural equivalent of Benny Hill or Sid James: course, matey, blokeish, undemanding, unthreatening, and accessible.  


High seriousness was buried beneath an avalanche of toytown rustication, inverted Diocletian windows and distended columns.’ 


*From Museum without Walls   Jonathan Meads Published by Unbound Books 2014, the book is a compulsive read for anyone who is fascinated by the ordinary and sees most places as extraordinary. For any topophilic a real treat

Thursday 22 October 2020



A flight of fancy?


There was something space age about the photographs my friend PJ Leher took when visiting what was left of the New York State’s exhibit of the 1964 World’s Fair. It was just one of over 140 pavilions and 110 restaurants; 80 nations took part. It opened on April 22 that year.


PJ wrote up her impressions on seeing what was left of the New York State’s pavilion in 2015, great photographs accompanied her short meaningful narrative; Link to her post. 


And she returned earlier this year and took a stunning series pictures here


What really attracted me to these pictures and want to tackle one in paint was the optimism of the age. The Beatles hit the number 1 spot in the US charts with I want to hold your hand, Clay beat Sonny Liston, the Civil Rights Act 1964 was signed by Lyndon Johnson. Martin Luther King Jr., became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.


It was also the year when at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco, U.S. presidential nominee Barry Goldwater declares that "extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice", and "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue". Johnson was re-elected that November.

It seems a prescient declaration by Goldwater given we are now so close to the 3rd November 2020.

Sunday 18 October 2020


Welcoming and filled with grace

A couple of Sunday’s ago I received Holy Communion for the first time in almost six months. I went to St. Anne’s Dropmore a delightful church. Vicar and congregation were so welcoming and all the pandemic procedures were observed with good grace. 


As the Prayer of Preparation filled the church I was in tears: largely guilt, as I had been raging (to family and friends) against the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on their stoic mishandling of opening our churches in the summer. Ikea and Sainsburys had figured it out.


It was a special moment and this church had formed an important part of my life in this lock-down. It was the first place to which I cycled once the measures were announced on March 21.  Most Fridays across the Summer I’d meet up with cycling chum, Judge Ricardo, and we’d catch up over our homemade sandwiches, sitting in the porch of the church, the gap was almost two meters apart.


The history of this lovely church is here link

Thursday 15 October 2020


 Sailing above the Solent

There seems to be a distinct nautical favour through posts of late, Emsworth and Newtown IOW, now to add a bit of ‘aero’. 


The other day I was going to a 2017 sketchbook the couple of years back and rediscovered a series of six drawings I made from up in the air above the Solent.

My pilot was a good friend Chris SS, a pilot instructor, who’d offered up a jaunt and I could to pick the place over which we would fly (within reason and fuel capacity).

I'd chosen the Solent because having sailed across it several many times I really wanted to see it from the air. Off we hopped from Wycombe aerodrome and in no time at all we were over the Solent. 


Sketchbook out, pen uncapped, I had to work quickly, for, exasperatingly, the position of plane the landscape beneath us changed real quickly. Actual the drawing time started at about 11:15 and all over by 11:50 when it was time to land for lunch, on the Isle of Wight. 

It was a great trip and I stood the pilot lunch, the least I could do! You'll see from the timings on the drawings there was little time to get into detail. One was really trying to grab the most important shapes as surfaces and to in front of me as we sped along above the Solent.