on 24 January 2008
I was interested to find out about Thomas Mawson as I knew his practice had been based in Lancaster near to where I now live (Morecambe) and he had designed some houses not far from me. He also had a hand in designing a garden near where I used to live in the south of England. Although he was celebrated in his lifetime as a landscape architect and pioneer town planner, I could find no in-depth information on the internet and so decided to buy this book, as I am interested in architectural history and gardens. I had to grit my teeth while reading it to prevent crying out at the number of spelling mistakes, punctuation errors and other solecisms. The book is badly written (it reads like a school essay), badly set out, badly edited and badly proofread. It was published by its author and indeed I wonder whether the manuscript went anywhere near an editor or proofreader. The author clearly loves gardens and has done lots of reading and research. She has probably written the book for her own pleasure rather than considering a wider readership. Only buy the book if you do not mind having to pick up a mental red pencil for corrections on page after page, or if you do not notice these things at all. It is informative about its subject but I found myself as much annoyed as enlightened after I had finished it. I feel better now I have got this rant off my chest and would like to visit some of Mawson's projects. Unfortunately there is no list, however incomplete, of his work in the book - yet another of its shortcomings. I give this book three stars for content and none for style, design, editing and proofreading.