The following campaign has caught my attention, and imagination.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), an organisation which specialises in the care and repair of historic buildings, launched the campaign at the beginning of June 2016 via Twitter (@SPAB1877):
We want to know your favourite old floors.
Tell us where to #lookdown
to find #HistoryatYourFeet
The twenty examples chosen by SPAB include decorated tiled floors, flagstone floors, mosaics, wooden floors, painted floors and even a medieval bridge.
With the exception of the bridge, of course, the examples of floors are in buildings ranging from churches, country houses, abbeys, and cathedrals, and include a museum, a guildhall and a pub.
For more details, and, most importantly pictures please see: History at Your Feet
I particularly liked:
- the Chapter House steps at Wells Cathedral, Somerset,
- the sloping wooden floor of St Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry,
- the flagstone floor of the kitchen at Canons Ashby House, Northamptonshire and
- the ‘opus criminale’ mosaic floor in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Many of these floors were well worn, a testament to use over centuries.
Just close your eyes and imagine people in the past going about their daily lives, walking to and fro, stepping on stones and floors which seem to absorb their footprints.
By ‘looking down’ myself, when on a visit to Rome several years ago, I discovered what was to become the current avatar for pathstothepast. Amongst the ruins of broken columns in the Forum, were several stone carved flowers which seemed as if they were strewn on the ground. I photographed one (see the image at the head of this post, also on my Pinterest & Twitter profiles)
The #lookdown campaign also reinforced for me the importance of ‘looking’ whether up, down, straight ahead, short or long distance. The times recently when I’ve passed people walking down a street, their eyes fixed to their smartphones makes me shudder. There is so much that they are missing out on by not looking around.
Here is to being more visually aware of our surroundings, to notice and appreciate the view, whether in an urban or country setting.
Take a break and look outside. What do you see?
Looking forward to reading your replies.