Bricks, bricks and more bricks: 09/18/15
In California our buildings are primarily wood and stucco for homes and metal and glass for larger buildings. Bricks are a thing of the past, relegated to older, pre-earthquake code structures. Bricks are maybe decorative facades and sometimes chimneys. Or they're used for BBQ pits and garden walls. Maybe just maybe they're included in some shopping district's sidewalks to give a sense of class to area.
In the United Kingdom, a place where earthquakes are a thing for disaster movies and not a real life threat, bricks are everywhere. I have never seen so many bricks in one place before. My last brick heavy trip was to Rochester, New York but compared to the UK, they have just a paltry number.
If Sherlock Holmes were dropped blind folded into a city or village street, he could probably tell exactly where he was by the color and shape of the bricks. London, especially the older areas, has black bricks. Some of that is probably centuries of smoke leaving its mark. Even now with the skies cleaned up and the rolling smudgy fogs described so well at the start of Bleak House, the damage is done. Other areas though, with clearly newer construction, seem to have their bricks painted black to match the nearby sooty patina.
That's not to say London doesn't have light colored bricks. The interiors do. The newer areas do. So do the protected areas.
The father down the railway line one gets, though, the lighter the bricks become. Right next to the rails (and yes the railway walls are brick) remain black but the buildings above the railway are built with lighter colors of brick. In Cambridge, the newer bricks are sort of a goldenrod color, while the older bricks are a ruddy orange. That which isn't brick, is stone and the stonework is of similar color.
Cardiff, I remember being mostly white brick and white stone but looking at my photographs, I see some stunning red examples. The building across the street from our hotel, for example, is the classic brick red. It's so bright it's practically screaming to be looked at.
I think if I had an entire summer to just meander through the UK with my camera, I'd be spending much of it documenting the large variety of brickwork.