Book Reviews: Building on a Heritage of Splendid Architecture

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), December 6, 2003 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews: Building on a Heritage of Splendid Architecture


Byline: JUNE McLOUGHLIN

Avenues to the Past - Essays presented by Sir Charles Brett on his 75th year. Published by Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, pounds 16.95.

THIS beautifully presented book is a compilation of essays addressed to Sir Charles Brett on his 75th birthday to celebrate his unique contribution as one of Northern Ireland's leading architectural historians.

On first leafing through this glossy volume you get the impression that this is a technical book for the specialist in the field of architecture and the history of art. But as you delve deeper you uncover a wealth of information for the lay person to ponder and enjoy.

The essays touch on a wide variety of topics, such as the history of stain glass, wood carvings, pictorial images and caricatures, the architecture of our churches, town centres and villages, country houses and much more.

One essay details the formation of HEARTH (Historic Environmental and Architectural Renovation Trust for Housing) an organisation which owes its genesis largely to Sir Charles Brett.

With humorous anecdotes and sharp witticisms, we are told of the struggles, the bureaucracy, the practicalities of restoring, protecting and improving buildings of particular beauty and architectural merit in Northern Ireland. …

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