Tag Archives: Sudbury Town

Enormo-roundelIf quantity of roundels isn’t your thing, how about heft?

Mounted just above the main entrance to Sudbury Town station is one of the largest, not to say thickest, roundels I have ever seen. It is an enormo-roundel.

This is wholly fitting, because Sudbury Town is an enormo-station. It’s another Charles Holden box of delights, but what a box:

Box cleverImagine having this on your doorstep. A few dozen people do. Lucky bastards.

Were plans for such a building submitted today, I suspect they would not be approved. We’ve become a population more bothered by back yards than beauty. Back in the 1930s and 40s, poverty, war and reconstruction brought people into the streets. Now it is planning permission sub-clauses.

Imaginative and exciting building could and should happen anywhere. If it’s breathtaking to boot, like Sudbury Town station, so much the better. I can understand people objecting to something if it is impractical or uninspiring. I can’t understand anyone objecting to something just because it is new.

Sud's lawThere’s a slightly restorative feel to a building like this. I’d rank it alongside tasting air after a thunderstorm or a dip in a geothermal spring. (I’ll leave you to decide which I’ve experienced most recently).

The reason could lie with the crisp freshness that still clings to Sudbury Town, like the folds in a newly-printed map, decades after it opened in 1932. Perhaps it’s the attention to detail, like the barometer inside the ticket hall. Maybe it’s to do with that most bountiful of all Holden’s architectural flourishes: natural light, which flirts its way around those always-ravishing clerestory windows:

Clerestory? Morning gloryOr it could just be that enormo-roundel, which leaves me a bit giddy, and also wishing I could have one on my living room wall.

Lifesize, naturally.

Whither the weather?A lovely touch, this, positioned high up inside Sudbury Town ticket hall.

It’s weathered splendidly* (ho ho), dating from when the station was rebuilt in the early 1930s. I can’t imagine the arrow has been that busy in the intervening years. I forecast that the climate in and around Sudbury Town has and will forever remain cosy and agreeable with occasional Proustian rushes and sentimental sighs.

Outlook: always fineIt is beautifully rendered and brilliantly deployed. Look at how elegantly it rests on that background of clear, cool brickwork. The colour of the face matches that of the ceiling: a gorgeous, calming light blue. It’s only a small detail in a station packed with riches (more of which anon), but commands attention just as much for its style as its novelty.

Facing it across the atrium is a clock, crafted with identical care and elan:

A big hand for a big handAnd suitably armed with both the time and the weather, the passenger proceeds onwards, be their journey on foot or by train.

A big hand, please, for two big hands.

*A pun, not a verb. I don’t think we’ve quite reached the point where the English language has started entertaining the likes of “Switch the TV on, dear, they’re just about to weather the forecast.” If you ever said that, you’d be wrong. Although were you to say: “I’m so glad Tomasz Schafernaker has started weathering for the BBC again,” you’d be forgiven.