Posted by: marymarthatours | July 8, 2012

English Architecture Talks for Mini Tour

Mary and I divide up the “tasks” for our tours. For the England in Miniature Tour coming this September, Mary is presenting the morning trivia questions, and I will be presenting the afternoon coach “talks”. We thought that it would be both interesting and worthwhile for the travelers to hear about the architecture of England. Granted few of them probably undertake to construct an actual structure from a particular period of English architectural style like Mary has with her replication of Barley Hall, a Tudor period building in York, England.

DSCN2678    DSCN2691

Barley Hall Great Hall in 1/2 scale (1”=2’)

Most of the miniaturists coming on this tour probably concentrate on interior rooms with their furniture and decor. Yet, we aim for a bit of education amid the fun on our tours.

The architecture talks are a challenge for me. First, I have a good basic knowledge of the history of England and the evolution and elements of architectural styles throughout English history. Yet, I need to give “talks” about something that is visual. I consider architecture to be three dimensional art, and art needs to be viewed. So to help a bit, I plan to pass around pictures on the coach each day that represent the most outstanding features of that day’s period.

Another challenge will be to keep the talks simple enough and short enough so folks might be able to understand and retain some of the information. I find that the more research I do, the more difficult my task becomes as I dive deeper and deeper into the topic. The KISS principle is essential. But, Help, I enjoy the researching. Remember, Martha, 10-15 minutes max for each talk.

I have decided on the topics for each of the seven presentations, so that is a good start:

  1. Introduction
  2. Norman
  3. Gothic with its three English styles
  4. Tudor-Renaissance-Elizabethan
  5. Baroque-Georgian
  6. the 19th century with its many styles
  7. the 20th century and beyond

Some examples from places we will visit:

19 York Minster, 2010, 3   scan0002  Blackwell white room, Rob Farrow, CCASA2.0

York Minster-Gothic                   Castle Howard-Baroque                  Blackwell-20th Century

With the introduction, I will give a gallop through English history as many of the architectural periods are named for the reigning monarch. And I will interject some of my personal thoughts, one of which is: to best appreciate and begin to understand architecture, one should stand and walk inside of it. I certainly found this to be true when I visited the New Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh while on our Castles and Gardens of Scotland Tour in 2009. Words and pictures can never convey the full essence and impact of architecture. But a little knowledge before experiencing a structure does help.

Parl. 09 ml8

Scottish Parliament Building-21st Century

For those who like to do research before a visit, an excellent website with a timeline of English Architectural periods and styles can be found at For travelers on our 2012 England in Miniature Tour, I hope to provide a “heads-up” about some of the significant architectural sites we will be visiting.

(by Martha)

Photo credit: Blackwell – copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 License.

All other photos Mary Wallace and Martha Liska


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