David Starkey Attacks “A Snotty-Nosed Punk”

  April 29, 2009 at 8:06 am by

A couple living in Richmond-upon-Thames for 40 years have incurred the wrath of Dr. David Starkey, Tudor historian. Planners at Richmond Council have approved the couple’s plans to build a solar powered, triple-glazed, two-story house near the former site of Richmond Palace, which was built by Henry VII.

Starkey finds it a slap in the face to the founding Tudor’s son: “To give it planning permission almost to the day of the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Richmond’s most famous inhabitant, Henry VIII, would add insult to a grievous injury to the surviving historic fabric and setting of Tudor England.”

Starkey says that “The proposed new building is like a snotty-nosed punk in an elegant drawing room: wilfully and self-indulgently out of keeping with its surroundings – in form, colour and materials.” Further, “This sort of ‘statement architecture’ can make sense as part of the regeneration of a run-down port or industrial slum, but in the precincts of Richmond Palace, it is simply bad manners.

The palace was demolished after Charles I’s execution in 1649. Only a few remnants of the original palace have been incorporated into later buildings located close to the futuristic house. These portions are protected within a formal conservation area. The site was significant during the life of Henry VIII. He conducted part of his courtship of Anne Boleyn there and celebrated Christmas at the site. Their daughter Queen Elizabeth I also spent a great deal of time there.

Starkey’s remarks echo those of the Prince of Wales who has been critical of plans to erect a group of steel and glass partment buildings opposite Sir Christopher Wren’s late 17th century Royal Hospital. The Prince describes the buildings as “unsympathetic” and “unsuitable” for the area.

For more information, see the article in The Daily Telegraph.

Filed under Historical Royals, The United Kingdom
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