Pevsner Guides: An Enduring Enterprise

Pevsner Architectural Guides still bear the mark of their founder, despite ample revision. Jonathan Meades plots their glorious evolution.

Although it wasn’t published until 1951, as the third volume in the series after Cornwall and Nottinghamshire, preparatory work on The Buildings of England: Middlesex had begun in 1946. The project to compose a descriptively annotated inventory of England’s most valuable buildings county by county is thus contemporary with the inception of the National Health Service, the introduction of National Insurance, the nationalisation of railways, mines and utilities – the foundation of the Welfare State, which was really a further nationalisation, of noblesse oblige and paternalism.

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