A PLAN FOR PLYMOUTH
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Some people like lists of words. I don't. I try and avoid books where people are always making lists of pretty words, like chrysostom and peridot.
I tend to avoid your useless beauty. Decoration has its moments, but I can't abid a thee and a thou and a foldesoddingrol.
I do however like a map. Any kind, from a world map to a treasure map to a city plan.
And the greatest city plan of all in my far from humble opinion is the Abercrombie Plan for post-war Plymouth.
I grew up in Plymouth, one of the most bombed cities in World War 2. The Abercrombie Plan was meant to rebuild and revitalise the city, and it did (although Plymouth's blocky layout is not to everyone's taste. Never mind).
But they put the Abercrombie Plan in a book, a beautiful book, called A Plan For Plymouth. A Plan For Plymouth is just that, a description in words, graphs, and maps, of what the new Plymouth would be like. It's beautiful and my Plymouth-born and bred dad has a copy.
As a boy, I loved to read its dreams of a new city, its cellophane overlays of how the future would look, its Parades and its boulevards. It's my Ambrosia, in a way.
Plymouth itself is changing and the old new Plymouth is disappearing. A maligned postwar dream is vanishing.
So I put it in my novel.
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