Company dwellings have always held a particular fascination for me. It started with Gillian Darley's seminal work Villages of Vision, with the cover of my edition being by the afore-blogged Tony Meeuwissen. It has sent me on a trail that has included the vast but altruistic endeavours of industrialists at Port Sunlight and Bournville, new villages built away from the sightlines of Dukes like Edensor at Chatsworth, and the more informal estate cottages with identical paintwork as seen in Buckminster, Leicestershire. Here in Rutland are a row of bungalows built in 1930 for the families of workers employed at the Ketton Cement Works next door. Although row is not quite right. They are in fact built on a gentle curve, and called The Crescent. Each one differs slightly from its neighbour, and they are constructed with concrete blocks made at the works. "Cool in summer, cold in the winter" a lady occupant told me, her bulldog straining at its leash. Time appears to have stood still here, but they don't get the attention they deserve when Ketton itself is stuffed-full of classic limestone buildings. The cement works still sends out billows of white cloud, (at one time this was, and probably still is, the only industrial chimney in Rutland), but instead of the once ubiquitous lemon yellow Ketton tankers they are now Castle Cement juggernauts.
3 days ago