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From the publisher
An ambitious history of Britain told through the stories of twenty-five notable structures, from the Iron Age fortification of Maiden Castle in Dorset to the Gherkin.
Building Britannia is a chronicle of social, political and economic change seen through the prism of the country's built environment, but also a sequence of closely observed studies of a series of intrinsically remarkable structures: some of them beautiful or otherwise imposing; some of them more coldly functional; all of them with richly fascinating stories to tell.
Steven Parissien tells both a national story, tracing how a growing sense of British nationhood was expressed through the country's architecture, and also examines how these structures were used by later generations to signpost, mythologise or remake British history.
Rubbing shoulders with some 'expected' building choices – the Roman baths at Aquae Sulis, the early Gothic splendour of Lincoln Cathedral and the Tudor jewel that is Little Moreton Hall – are some striking inclusions that promise to open doors into what will be, for many readers, less familiar areas of social history: these include The Briton's Protection, a Regency pub close in Manchester city centre and the Edwardian Baroque Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, one of the country's oldest working cinemas. Thus as well as identifying the relevance of certain iconic structures to the unfolding of the national story, Building Britannia finds fascination and meaning in the everyday and the disregarded.