The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor by Judy Siers

The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor
by Judy Siers
Millwood Heritage Productions, 2007

My sharp-eyed aunt was reading a biography of famous Arts & Crafts Movement architect James Walter Chapman-Taylor and noticed that there was an entire page devoted to my flat. I’d heard that the extension I sleep in had been built by him, and always thought it was something he’d knocked up on an off-day, possibly while drunk, but its condition can be excused by the fact that it was built in 1917 and hasn’t had a lot of attention since. In fact, the entire flat, which we thought was built in 1910, is at least twenty years older than that, and was already “in a poor state of repair” when Chapman-Taylor turned his attention to it.

It’s somewhat galling to read that my room was designed as a porch. For the past seven years I’ve been sleeping in a bloody porch. My windows are also Chapman-Taylor originals, but I always keep them closed because they leak something awful. The book has a fascinating* floorplan of the flat (which had major alterations later, possibly in the ’50s) and adds “it is a pity that this work was lost over time with wear and tear and subsequent alterations”.  Well, yes, it’s also a pity it’s being advertised in the Property Press as a “dunger” to be bulldozed immediately.

*Fascinating to me, that is. It’s interesting to find out that undulations in the walls I’ve always wondered about were formerly doors.

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