Context 160 - July 2019

50 C O N T E X T 1 6 0 : J U L Y 2 0 1 9 building on the city’s centuries- long tradition of shipbuilding, harnessing the public realm to present this, and prioritising continuity in the local community. As John Pendlebury (professor of urban conservation, Newcastle University) points out in his chapter devoted to Liverpool, a residual ‘industrial aesthetic’ of railings, bridges and cranes is no substitute for socio-economic continuity. Pendlebury’s chapter additionally endeavours to interpret the Unesco historic urban landscape approach in the context of ongoing controversies focused on the major, partly high-rise, Liverpool Waters development project. The editors’ emphasis on art and culture merits broader elaboration than the planning and urban design remit for Waterfronts Revisited permits: to position inclusive definitions at the forefront of integrative heritage-led urban regeneration, thereby supporting city-wide socio-economic cohesion and continuity of identity beyond the confines of physically demarcated heritage areas. Dennis Rodwell, architect-planner, consultant in cultural heritage and sustainable urban development Life at the top A Steeplejack’s View of Life Peter Harknett, Steeplejack Publishing, Liss, Hampshire, GU33 7LN, 2018, 176 pages hardback, fully illustrated, ISBN 978 1 912804 37 5, £16 Those who spend 50 or more years in their chosen job deserve a salute and probably have something worthwhile to pass on. Peter Harknett began his way up the ladder of success after National Service in the 1950s and he tells us he is still enjoying life at the top in his eighties. He passes on his considerable knowledge amusingly in this well-produced book, packed with valuable information in its 19 chapters. The Federation of Master Steeplejacks was formed in 1948. The author began to learn about working at heights soon after this, when employed as a rigger on circus tents. He then began touring the country knocking on doors or ‘repping’ for work on church spires, Victorian school roofs and industrial chimneys that required repair or demolition. Little by little he became established and he has worked as far away as Israel. Apart from the many hilarious incidents and scary adventures that he recounts with such grace, and sometimes illuminates with his own black-and-white sketches, the book is rich in tips that most readers in all aspects of our business will find of great use. Shingles are widely employed to clad church towers or spires, but Harknett takes us deep into the topic from the origins, sources, roles in woodpecker diet, and ultimate replacement of these wooden tiles. Chapter 14, ‘To shingle a spire’ is a model method statement of every aspect of such a task. The book arrived with the mail only a couple of days after news of the disaster at Notre Dame, Paris. Despite some close scrapes, the author reports on numerous similar jobs on which he worked, but neither life nor fabric have suffered loss. Church authorities, architects and all those involved in the administration of the potentially hazardous matter of replacing or repairing roofs, bells, clocks or weathervanes are advised to read and learn from the wisdom and experience imparted. Graham Tite, conservation officer Living in the city The New Tenement: residences in the inner city since 1970 Florian Urban, Routledge, 2018, 310 pages, fully illustrated, hardback, ISBN 978 1 138224 45 2, £115; paperback, ISBN 978 1 138224 46 9, £41.99 Florian Urban is professor of architectural history and urban studies at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art. For almost all his adult life he has lived in inner-city tenement flats, ‘new or (mostly) old’. Admiring this building type for its flexibility and the successful urbanism that he sees it as supporting, he has written The New Tenement to explain its place in the revival of urban development in inner cities over the past 50 years. Urban defines ‘tenements proper’ as ‘four-to-seven-storey walk-ups on the block perimeter with ornamented facades, and often with shops and offices on the ground floor – buildings that are typologically similar to historic tenements in Berlin or Copenhagen or to turn-of- the-century mansion blocks in London or Paris’. He extends his survey to include ‘other dense urban residences that were built since the 1970s to enliven the city centres: medium-rise blocks with a setback from the street, three- storey terraced townhouses, [and] three-to-four-storey “urban villas”.’ This thoughtful and thoroughly researched piece of urban and architectural history focuses mainly on five extensive case studies: Berlin, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Rotterdam and Vienna. Urban is struck by the lack of local variation in the tenements’ architectural style. ‘The bulk of residential construction, it seems, reflects the global availability of the same design models, ideas, technologies and materials,’ he writes. ‘The most discernible local specificities in new tenement design resulted not from architects’