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Preposterous Erections: A Book of English Towers [Paperback]

Peter Ashley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Sep 2012

Eighteenth-century eye-catchers, nineteenth-century ego boosters, twentieth- century communicators, towers continually rise up into our collective consciousness. They are the landmarks of our journeys, the map pins of our personal geographies; always looked-out for, always in the corner of the eye.

Preposterous Erections brings together sixty uniquely fascinating towers from all corners of England. From the parkland Brizlee Tower in Northumberland to the coastal Stepper Point in Cornwall, Peter Ashley tells us their stories through his own very individual photographs and his witty and irreverent commentary. Although there is an obvious core of eighteenth and nineteenth-century landowner's eccentricities, the more recent past is not forgotten, including the instantly recognisable Post Office tower in London's Fitzrovia and the more retiring Lewis's department store art deco tower in Leicester. Monument or observatory, watch tower or water tower, these are sixty of the very best. Preposterous Erections will arouse the interest of even the most casual observer.

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Preposterous Erections: A Book of English Towers + Follies: Fabulous, Fanciful and Frivolous Buildings + Follies (Shire Album)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (20 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711233586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711233584
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


An up close and personal expose of 60 eyebrow-raising erections, all closely examined and photographed in full colour. Ashley expertly handles some of the nations finest towers and eccentric follies, managing to tease out their secrets, culminating in this most memorable of publications.


Editor's Pic: Enchanting - and arrestingly titled - photographic book of 60 weird and wonderful towers from all over England; from the familiar like the Telecom Tower in central London to the unknown and extraordinaire like Waterloo Bridge in Birchington on Sea. The accompanying commentaries are delightful too.


This cheekily named book is a peek at 60 towers around the country - some old, some modern, some famous, some undiscovered architectural gems. But all of them add an unexpected elegance to our skylines


(We Love This Book)

Stop sniggering at the title and enjoy this selection of unusual landmark buildings that pepper England's towns and countryside

(Discover Britain)

About the Author

PETER ASHLEY is the author and photographer of over twenty books, including London Peculiars, Pastoral Peculiars, Unmitigated England and More from Unmitigated England. He edited Railway Rhymes for the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series and collaborated with Philip Wilkinson on books accompanying the BBC Restoration programmes, as well as The English Buildings Book, the ultimate guide to building types. Recent years have seen Built for Britain: From Bridges to Beach Huts (2009), followed by Cross Country (2011). He broadcasts regularly, notably talking about manhole covers and post boxes with Libby Purves on Radio 4's Midweek and reciting Betjeman on the Today programme. He has also been seen expounding on railway poetry for BBC 4's Between the Lines. He lives in Slawston, Leicestershire.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Proves that Size Matters! 8 Jan 2013
Preposterous Erections is quite thick, but I think you'll find yourself able to handle the entire thing in one sitting. It is penetrating and surprisingly deep. By the time you finish handling the last erection, you'll be begging for a sequel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb book from Mr Ashley 30 Oct 2012
By 57wlc
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another superb book of English oddities from Peter Ashley. The photography, commentary and selection of towers is excellent. Thoroughly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book 5 Feb 2013
By R. Peat
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book due to it title, yes I know very silly but what a title. I got my book and sniggered at the title, and then I found it was really very interesting, my only comment would be the lack of Scotland in the book but otherwise I really enjoyed it. If you like buildings and oddities then you will enjoy this book. Or just buy it to snigger at the title, that works for me too :-).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quaint 26 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very pleasant reading - gives ideas for places to see and photograph. Amazing why some of the erections were ever built.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
138 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book in hardback 8 Jan 2013
By bob - Published on Amazon.com
I recommend this book in hardback. If you purchase the paperback version, beware you'll have trouble keeping it up when reading in bed at night.
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A firm effort 9 Jan 2013
By Nameless Cynic - Published on Amazon.com
Some of the prose is a bit stiff, so it can be hard to stomach all at once. It helps if you ease your way into it. Overall, I must stand and salute you, Mr Ashley. You got right in there with both hands and pulled this one out.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars E-rectifying 10 Jan 2013
By Mike Umsgood - Published on Amazon.com
I've been so absorbed by this book that I almost took the whole thing in in one sitting. Then I realized I didn't want to finish too quickly, so I pulled back a bit and now I'm just taking it one erection at a time.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It wasn't long enough 9 Jan 2013
By Sausage - Published on Amazon.com
It wasn't long enough. Once I'd opened it up, I had finished which frankly sucks

And as for the ending, limp.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exhilaratingly Pleasurable Read 1 Feb 2013
By Robert I. Hedges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I reclined in bed to do a bit of pre-slumber reading, I came upon "Preposterous Erections," quite possibly the most rousing book in my library. This book is the seminal study of English towers, and as I took it in hand I found that author Peter Ashley has made reading it a very stimulating experience, an experience enhanced immeasurably by the captivating glossy color photos spreading between the pages.

As I read I became more and more titillated at the scope of the book, and admired all shapes and sizes of edifices, in most cases hardened against centuries of messy, wet weather. As I perused the tome, I found myself racing faster and faster through the text until I reached the climax on page 80, the bright red Grimsby Dock Tower in Lincolnshire. It's no coincidence that this tower dominates the Grimsby docks, and was built with the sole purpose of maximizing hydraulic pressure within (to the degree that fluid around the thick foundation was mopped up by bales of wool!) After this my pace slackened measurably as I reveled in my newfound knowledge, particularly bearing in mind the subsequent entry on page 92, a portrait of the relatively diminutive Rous Lench in Worcestershire, much smaller and a much paler shade of red than the massive Grimsby edifice, and about which Peter correctly opines that "its position is now slightly emasculated by more recent house and gardens." How sad. Fortunately, by the time I came to page 102, the Shooter's Hill Water Tower, I was ready for more, had regained my interest, and was no longer flagging.

I cannot say enough great things about "Preposterous Erections:" these towers vary dramatically in dimensions (the older towers are generally smaller, though their resilience is to be greatly admired given the history they have seen,) though most are very tall and perfectly proportioned, as is fitting for a luxurious book of this magnitude. Peter Ashley has turned in an amazing performance and provided the world with a fascinating, exciting reference to gaze at again and again.
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