Book reviews, Winter 2003/04

Ken Brand, Thomas Chambers Hine: Architect of Victorian Nottingham
(Nottingham Civic Society, 2003: ISBN 1 902 443 08 X)

No one has done more to raise the profile of T.C. Hine than Ken Brand, and with this book he draws together much of the research he has collected over the past twenty or more years.  The book examines Hine's early life, his entry into architecture, and then the vast range of buildings for which he was responsible in and around Nottinghamshire. If, today, we think of Hine's name as being synonymous with the Adams and Page warehouse on Stoney Street, as well as the Park Estate, this book reminds us of just how considerable his talents were in a whole range of areas from hospitals to churches, from warehouses to hospitals, and from stations through Nottingham Castle, to domestic houses.

The problem is how to judge Hine. Apart from Cranfield Court, a large country house in Bedfordshire, and a handful of churches in Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, he seldom worked beyond the Nottinghamshire border. Since he also refused to participate in architectural competitions we cannot really assess him at a national level, so we shall never know just how important he was in the pantheon of Victorian architects. Although not stated as such this is an update of Mr. Brand's earlier civic society pamphlet, but now with many more pictures and an excellent colour section which will surely make this a bestseller for Christmas 2003!


Mark Jancovich, The Place of the Audience: Cultural Geographies of Film Consumption
(London, British Film Institute, 2003: ISBN 0851709427)

Despite the somewhat off-putting title, this is a historical case study of the history of cinema-going in Nottingham from the first film showing to the present day. It looks at where the cinemas were in the town, who went to them, and what their motives were for attending. The book arises as the result of a major research project directed by Professor Jancovich over the past five years, and is likely to have implications for our understanding of cinema-going as a social activity in the twentieth century. Unfortunately, at £50 it is not a snip to buy - but if you are interested in cinema, try and persuade the Local Studies library to acquire a copy!