In praise of the pub: a great British institution becomes an object of study
Guinness in Dublin, cachaça in São Paulo, vodka in St Petersburg – the globe’s cities are easily characterised by national tipples.
And yet, as social anthropologist Kate Fox found, drinking places in every culture have commonalities, acting as liminal zones where sociability relaxes the observance of status distinctions.
In Watching the English (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004), Fox stated of her home country: ‘The importance of the pub in English culture cannot be over-emphasised’ – a trait the AR has seldom disregarded. Indeed, in the last century we kept the Bride of Denmark in the basement of our London office: a pub for staff and the architectural establishment (Corb and Frank Lloyd Wright both visited).
As a student, David Knight wrote extensively on the Bride. Now a tutor at Kingston University, he has encouraged his charges to record the capital’s pubs as special spaces between the public and private. This minutely detailed drawing of the East End’s Wenlock Arms captures the complex life ofthis 174-year-old pub on a single winter’s day in 2009
[Architectural Review on this blog’s Post]