Sunday Picture: St Vincent’s Works

by Chris Bertram on September 27, 2009

St Vincent’s Works

Originally uploaded by Chris Bertram

Various Timberites had a discussion some time ago about having a semi-regular Sunday photo on the blog. I think I probably take more pictures than the others, both digital and film, but, looking through my Flickr stream, I don’t tend to take pictures that illustrate grand social or political themes. Still, this one might be of interest. It is the interior of St Vincent’s works in Bristol, now the headquarters of a sustainable development consultancy, but once the offices of a Victorian factory. The building dates from the 1890s and the decoration, mainly ceramic, is extraordinarily ornate. Like many British cities, Bristol has an “open doors” day once a year, when buildings that are normally closed to the public are open to visit. Is this just a British thing, or do other countries do the same? This was taken on one of those days.



Alex B 09.27.09 at 11:45 am

The French started in 1983… they call it “les journées du patrimoine” (heritage days), it happens on the 3rd weekend of September, and it’s a big deal. There’s often a special “show” on at the open locations — so you might get someone tightrope walking across the courtyard of a minor Parisian palace.

[English description:]

[French official website:]


uncle rameau 09.27.09 at 12:01 pm

Here in London, Ontario and most parts of Canada, Open Doors Week has been around for a while and is growing in popularity. This year’s events have been very successful as free and nearby have become top drawing points.


James Conran 09.27.09 at 12:19 pm

We do it in Dublin too.


Ingrid Robeyns 09.27.09 at 12:29 pm

There exists an ‘open monumentendag’ in Belgium and the Netherlands too.

Amazing how this picture captures the intesity of the colour of the gold.

by the way, I actually didn’t think we constrainted ourself to pictures that represent a grand social or political theme. So hope to see much more of your pictures in the future !


Brian Sholis 09.27.09 at 12:32 pm

There is, each year, a weekend of activities called Open House New York. Coincidentally it takes place the weekend after next. See here:

Also, in regards to that picture, I recommend you look at the photographic series titled “Domes” and “Vault Triptychs” by Australia-based American photographer David Stephenson. (See here: Princeton Architectural Press has just published a monograph, Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture, that features his work.


MM 09.27.09 at 12:42 pm

They have it in Germany – here in Bavaria, one day for architectural open days, and another when the various town offices etc. are open.


Peter Erwin 09.27.09 at 4:09 pm

They have it in Germany – here in Bavaria, one day for architectural open days, and another when the various town offices etc. are open.

And for other things as well — the main research campus in Garching, just north of Munich, has one every other year in October, with a special emphasis on science education/outreach for kids.


JP Ferguson 09.27.09 at 4:23 pm

In Copenhagen the event is called Kulturnatten or Culture Night. It shall be held on 9 October this year. There was some skittishness in the event immediately after 9/11–you couldn’t walk right through Folketinget, the parliament, for example–but most government buildings, museums and private business were open. These are wonderful events that are surprisingly hard to describe to Americans.


Tom Hurka 09.27.09 at 5:24 pm

Toronto has one. I’ve mostly gone to see the Mies van der Rohe boardrooms in the TD Bank Tower he designed in the 1960s. Wonderful!

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