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Lost Victorian Britain: How the Twentieth Century Destroyed the Nineteenth Century's Architectural Masterpieces [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Gavin Stamp
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
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Book Description

21 Oct 2010

These days it seems obvious that stupendous constructions like St Pancras Station should be preserved and restored. But as recently as the 1970s Glasgow’s superb St Enoch’s Hotel made way for a shopping centre, and in the 1960s St Pancras itself was also earmarked for demolition. ‘Victorian’ was a term of abuse. Add in wartime bombing by the Luftwaffe, and town planners eager for ring roads and multi-storeys, and the destruction is shocking.

This poignant, angry book, full of stunning images, chronicles the catastrophic swathe cut through our architectural heritage by the twentieth century’s sustained antipathy to the nineteenth, entirely through buildings that have disappeared. Of the 200 notable examples of Victorian architecture illustrated in this book, from the magnificent Imperial Institute in Kensington to the vast country house of Eaton Hall, not one still exists. A photograph is all we have left.

As well as architectural causes célèbres like the Euston Arch and London’s Coal Exchange, Gavin Stamp turns up many lesser-known Victorian buildings, like the extraordinary Gothic battlements of Columbia Market in East London, or Chatsworth’s soaring glasshouse streamlined like a spaceship. Surprising, chastening, but also uplifting, Lost Victorian Britain is a memorable journey back into a world we should never have lost.

Frequently Bought Together

Lost Victorian Britain: How the Twentieth Century Destroyed the Nineteenth Century's Architectural Masterpieces + England's Lost Houses: From the Archives of Country Life + Britain's Lost Cities: A Chronicle of Architectural Destruction
Price For All Three: 47.84

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (21 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845135326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845135324
  • Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 22.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘Gavin Stamp, one of our most distinguished architectural historians, has done a depressing but important public service in cataloguing this odious chapter of destruction.’

(The Telegraph)

‘Gavin Stamp's Lost Victorian Britain contains many pictures of the fine architecture that a postwar generation delighted in destroying. In a brilliant essay, Stamp blames aesthetic snobbery and a frenzy of self-hatred.'

(Ian Jack The Guardian)

‘This is an important book. ...It is well written, full of passion and illustrations of all the lost buildings.’ 

(Books Choice, Oxford Times)

‘This look at the Victorian buildings destroyed in the 20th century makes for heartbreaking reading’ 

(The Sunday Times)

‘...a poignant, well informed book that depressed and delights in equal measure.’

(Manchester Evening News)

‘A photographic account of the Victorian buildings demolished in 20th-century reforms makes for moving reading’

(Simon Jenkins Culture, The Sunday Times)

‘...a powerful and compelling indictment of the destruction of numerous magnificent Victorian buildings’

(Marcus Binney The Times)

`an excellent book' 

(Literary Review)

  • ‘A forceful and passionate reclamation of an era so long regarded as unfashionable.'

(Sunday Herald)

About the Author

GAVIN STAMP’s other books for Aurum are Britain’s Lost Cities and Edwin Lutyens Country Houses. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars incisive and troubling 4 Jan 2011
By Stephen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a most valuable look at some of the buildings we lost through neglect, wilful architectural snobbery and modernist ideas, and sadly also wartime damage. The text is angry but informative, the pictures exceedingly well chosen. Strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in our lost heritage.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian zeal! 11 Feb 2011
By Pashley
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was a present for my husband, who has huge admiration for the achievements of Victorian England. He was simply entranced by the quality of the writing and the pictures, but then was saddened by the realisation of what the modern-day vandalism of planning departments had destroyed, merely because it was old.
We are both convinced that anyone with an eye for splendour will thoroughly enjoy this magnificent book and we have no hesitation in awarding five points!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian fan 11 Feb 2012
This is a beautiful book with great photographs of Victorian buildings, demolished in the name of progress. The buildings are from all over the country. I particularly liked the station buildings such as the ticket hall etc at Euston or St Enoch's in Glasgow. I can recommend this book without reservation.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Historical Journey 14 Jan 2011
Fantastic book, crammed with information about the lost Victorian Architecture of our country. Amazing photo's. This is a real must for anyone interested in the Victorian Age, or the Gothic Revival.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a fine book, well worth owning for anyone involved in historic and civic preservation.

However, this book could be twice the thickness, with many more sites and photographs. Even so, this catalog of sickening and largely unnecessary losses is stuffed with beautiful photographs and information. Again, a very worthwhile book.
Greg Hubbard
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A glory of lost architecture 15 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book makes great value: I got it at 10.71 (delivered) in hardback - worth every penny! It's about A4 size and about half an inch thick; it contains lots of fascinating images of lost Victorian buildings - images date from the Victorian period, right through to fairly recent times. London is the most featured location, but there are examples from all over England and Scotland. There is also quite a lot of narrative provided, which makes for interesting reading. Overall, great value for money, especially if you get it for under 15.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting. 9 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good read and gave insights has to why Britain has lost so much of its architectural history. Well worth the money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a book I chose, and wanted to read
The book was just as good as I thought it would be when I read about it in The Times.
Published 3 months ago by Susan Meads
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost Victorian Buildings
Thoroughly researched and historically accurate, this account describes the demise of outstanding Victorian buildings resulting from a mistaken philosophy of architectural... Read more
Published 3 months ago by john dancer
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating and informative.
Very interesting and fascinating, although in some respects depressing, because of the great buildings that have been lost to posterity. Read more
Published 3 months ago by nigel brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
What a terrific book this is. I would recommend it to anyone with any interest in Victorian architecture and what has been lost for ever.
Published 5 months ago by pen name
4.0 out of 5 stars Old buildings, but mostly new material for me
Having grown up in the forties and fifties, I can see how people then were not upset when these buildings were destroyed. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dennis Field
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Buildings of Victorian Britain.
This was a most enthralling read, with an excellent photographic record of historic buildings lost to demolition. Read more
Published 10 months ago by artdealer
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost Victorian Britain - Architecture
This was bought as a present for a senior town planner.

He thought it excellent and I have had no criticisms back.
Published on 29 Mar 2011 by Eric Evans
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