Five twentieth-century women architects this week: first of all, Elisabeth Scott who is best known for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford but of course we love for the beautiful Fawcett Building at Newnham College, Cambridge (1938). She has shot to fame recently because it was announced that she would be one of only two British women (the other being Ada Lovelace) to be featured in the design of the new UK passport.


crowded view from the kitchen shop

Crowded View from the Kitchen Shop. ‘One of the things that’s clear to me from coming down here [to Ridley Road],’ says Lucinda Rogers, ‘is that the social side to the market is incredibly important… The cultural side too – there’s stuff here you can’t buy elsewhere, culturally important ingredients. But at the end of the road there’s this gigantic building, this sort of lump, which physically is a completely different world.’ That we have allowed so many lumps in London is one of the most shocking things about life here in the last fifty years. And once a lump has lumpishly been built – it’s there for ever and ever. Lucinda Rogers’ work celebrates all the values which are opposed to lumpishness: the small-scale, the delightful, the spirit-lifting as opposed to spirit-lowering and, dare we say it, the feminine. Next week on the Post: five twentieth century women architects who did excellent (as opposed to lumpish) work.


A Ridley Road Market Stall. The use of colour is particularly clever here – just a touch and just two colours. We now stock Lucinda Rogers greetings cards in the shop or they are of course available directly from her here.

view from Almond Lane coffee house

‘Lucinda Rogers’ approach to drawing is reporterly and precise – she takes her clipboard and bag of tools out into the streets, and works straight from eye to paper. You may even have seen the bespectacled artist yourself, perched next to a fruit stand or clothes outlet’ (the Hackney Citizen here). This is View from Almond Lane Coffee House.



Just like David Gentleman (who can forget his paintings of motorways with the marvellous blue overhead signs?) Lucinda Rogers specialises in an important Persephone trope – making the ordinary extraordinary. This is Outside Ka-sh Fabric Shop.

fruit mountain at the entrance to ridley road

An exhibition has just opened by our favourite Lucinda Rogers, it is at the House of Illustration in King’s Cross and is called On Gentrification: Drawings from Ridley Road Market. It is unmissable but, happily, is on until next March. (The House of Illustration itself is rather unmissable too.) In the exhibition Lucinda Rogers ‘explores the relationship between old and new, focussing on East London’s 200-year-old Ridley Road Market and a new block of luxury flats’ that looms up behind it. This is Fruit Mountain at the Entrance to Ridley Road.


Olive Edis took this photograph of Miss Minns, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) at Le Havre. On 12th March 1919 she wrote in her diary: ‘The Great Hospital on the Quai [at Le Havre] we found had been disbanded – only the matron remained. I did a most attractive picture of her on the balcony, looking out in a farewell attitude at the great American liner which with the port made a background for her.’ This is taken from an excellent blog about Olive Edis here; it has dozens more extraordinary photographs.


Dead Russian soldier, photographed on the road to Monasterzhiska (Ukraine) in 1916 by Florence Farmborough (1887-1978). She was born and brought up in Buckinghamshire but went to live in Russia in 1908 and was a governess first in Kiev and then Moscow. In  1914  she began working as a nurse with the Red Cross and with the Imperial Russian army; she kept a diary and habitually took a large plate camera around with her, developing  and printing her plates while encamped with the Russian forces. Extracts from her diaries were used as the source material for her book, Nurse at the Russian Front, published in 1974


Irene ‘Winkie’ Gartside-Spaight in No Man’s Land, c.1916, by Mairi Chisholm (here is a photograph of her, she is on the right, in a good piece on the BBC website about her and Elsie Knocker). Our other two First World War novels, apart from William – an Englishman, are Wilfred and Eileen and The Happy Tree; and then there is Nicholas Mosley’s marvellous biography of Julian Grenfell.  


The photographs in the exhibition are by several photographers, including the first female official war artist Olive Edis who was commissioned to travel to France in the last days of the war. There is also an exhibition about her work alone, which at the moment is in King”s Lynn and will then be on in other places in Norfolk (details here, scroll down). This is a group of five senior nurses at the American Evacuation Hospital at Toul.

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