Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, May 1, 2017

Top Down

Victoria's Craigdarroch Castle (1890)
 Another foray into several thousand photos leaves me struggling to process, much less wax sufficiently articulate to share, our archi adventures in Victoria and Vancouver. I just found myself staring at a photo of Minton tiles, a tiny bit of the treasure trove at Victoria's Craigdarroch Castle.

I'll leave its story, and that of its people, the Dunsmuirs, to another post.

For today. Let's start at the top, in the tower visible in the photo  (far left) hands-down winner of 'best view from a heritage structure.' An interpretive panel shares that "the tower was the highest place a person could stand in the city of Victoria" when the house was completed in 1890. City of Victoria, sure, but for the near-sighted, the view over the castle's 28 acres of woods and gardens would suffice.

I was probably the only visitor who enjoyed the floor of this eyrie before raising my eyes to the view of the city outside, and of the rooftop features revealed from this vantage point.

The glazed Minton tiles are eye-grabbing individually; the way they are laid in patterns in this round room (with curved millwork, door/ glass in the door) breathtaking. I suspect that the patterned tiles are inlaid encaustic.

They brought to mind conversations with Diane Berlet of Adolphustown, who taught me to love Minton tiles and their history, while she toured me around her church St. Alban the Martyr, and the encaustic  memorial tiles it's known for. Whenever I want to relive the experience, I turn to her exquisitely researched and photographed book, The Loyalist Tiles of St. Albans (a thoughtful gift.) To learn some UEL history, and marvel over the history and beauty of these tiles originating in Stoke-upon-Trent, UK, have a look at this wonderful book with its photos by Graeme Coles.

rusticated B.C. granite

However, to satisfy your curiosity about the rest of the tower views, here is a sampling.

roof tiles of red Vermont slate

terra cotta tiles and ridge elements manufactured Lincoln, CA

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