Nikolaus Pevsner - Author of the Buildings of England

Presented by Chris Pickford

Joint meeting of the Leamington Society and the Leamington Literary Society on 07th November 2017.

58 members of the two societies enjoyed a fascinating and very professionally presented talk by Chris Pickford, author of The New Pevsner Guide to Warwickshire. He began with an account of how Sir Nikolaus Pevsner originated The Buildings of England series in 1947. The first series, published by Penguin Books, was completed in 1974. The updated versions are being published by Yale University Press. The focus of the books is to detail each county’s buildings of architectural significance; they are neither tourist guides nor local histories.

For the purpose of the updated edition, the area covered includes Warwickshire and Coventry but not Birmingham and the Black Country, which featured in the first version. The full process of preparation, visit, research, write and edit took from 2007 to 2015 and involved 21,863 miles of motoring, the taking of 32,000 photographs and four shelves of paperwork. About 40% of his time was spent on revision and about 60% on new writing. He gave a detailed account of those buildings in Leamington that feature in the book and concluded by saying that, in spite of some lack of information and difficulty of access, the whole process had been a privilege, and very rewarding.

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