5: Kings Square, Gloucester

I have concentrated so far on sites in London, but I would briefly like to show that perceiving projected memories of the Western Front in the brutalist architecture of the Sixties need not be confined to the capital. In fact, once you start seeing parallels, it can be quite difficult not to feel a strange frisson at the sight of uncannily intrusive concrete ramparts or red-brick cuttings.

As an example, I have chosen Gloucester, a medieval city complemented by 18th century developments around the inland docks. The exception to this well-built urban patchwork is Kings Square, the commercial heart, which was redeveloped in the mid-1960s. Its most prominent feature is an astonishly elaborate ramp system leading to nothing more than public conveniences and a subterranean passageway out of the square to the bus station. The passageway has been closed off.

The points to remember are that this insertion in the urban fabric is almost wholly unnecessary, and that, being within the square, it becomes an object for gazing at from all the buildings around.

It was built in 1967, just as the peak of commemoration for the war was passing, and 50 years exactly since Passchendaele:

Kings Square GloucesterKings Square GloucesterKings Square GloucesterKings Square Gloucester

As with so many of these site, Kings Square is about to be redeveloped again. Soon, this site of memory made real will become a memory itself.