Inspired by Martine Hamilton Knight’s stunning photographs in the new Pevsner guide to Nottinghamshire by Clare Hartwell, we issued a call to the Pevsner community back in October 2020: snap (or dig out of a photo album) your own picture of your favourite Nottinghamshire building – be it a church, stately home, civic building, or anything else – and send it to us with a short caption explaining why it’s your top pick for the chance to win a copy of the aforementioned guide.
Many of you took up the challenge, and we were sent a flurry of images that truly captured the full scope of Nottinghamshire’s rich architectural history. Newstead Abbey proved a popular choice, as did Wollaton Hall and the University of Nottingham campus. Various churches were also represented, from St Swithun’s Church in Woodborough, to the Church of St Mary the Virgin at Clumber Park. In this blog we’re delighted to share the winning photographs, chosen by Martine Hamilton Knight herself and a member of the Pevsner team, alongside a little more from the winners themselves.
From the judges:
The winners captured not only the architectural magnificence of these buildings but also a specific moment in time, choosing a visual treatment that reflects how the buildings relate to their environment. We were impressed that these photographs allowed the creation of a ‘sense of place’ for the viewer, engendering an emotive connection and on that basis it was decided to award three prizes instead of the original two.
The Overall Winner
Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station
I like to shoot landscapes in the snow, as its reductive nature reduces visual elements down to strong graphical foundations. Shooting in black and white furthers this. This image was captured entirely in camera. Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station is both the defining structure in this region as well as being indifferent to it. It’s my favourite building here because its scale is unapologetic to its surroundings. It also dwarfs both people and landscape equally in a world where both are normally human sized. With this photo, I wanted to show this relationship visually. To do that, I framed the image equally so that the top and bottom halves could work as entirely separate photographs. This captured the feeling of the power station and the landscape being separate entities. I then made sure that each side echoed each other by showing the steam and smoke moving to the right, while the shadows of the hay bales went to the left. This, with the overall symmetry, is to show there is a certain form of relationship between the structure and the landscape. It’s the balance of separation and connection that hopefully gives an underlying tension to the image, which is how I perceive the power station’s presence in its location.
I have chosen this photograph of Bennerley Viaduct as I love its imposing presence in the now industrial wasteland, and I remember too looking out for this landmark structure when travelling by train from Alfreton to Nottingham in the 1960s, when the viaduct was surrounded by coal mines. As my journey went from Derbyshire to Nottinghamshire, the viaduct does too, spanning the Erewash Valley between Awsworth in Nottinghamshire and Ilkeston in Derbyshire. Restoration work to create a public walkway across the viaduct was due to start in March 2020. Bennerley was built in 1877 but closed to rail traffic in 1968, as part of the Beeching cuts. The structure is Grade II listed and a unique design in the UK and one of only two cast iron viaducts remaining. It’s great to know that this impressive industrial architecture is going to be brought back to life thanks to Railway Paths.
Glaxo Smith Kline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry
I have chosen The GSK building (Glaxo Smith Kline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry) on the Nottingham University Jubilee Campus, Triumph Road, Nottingham. I love the idea of a carbon neutral building, and green roofs are so cool. The scale and colours of the lab are also sympathetic to the local warehouse buildings.
You can follow Lester @lesterwoodward99 on Instagram.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo!
We really hope you enjoyed taking part in the competition and that it proved a fun way to safely and responsibly get outdoors (or look back at excursions past), and explore Nottinghamshire’s architectural heritage. We’ll be sharing more of the entries on our social media channels, so make sure you’re following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.