Monday, 9 May 2011

Notes on a corbel

"corbel, n a projection from the face of a wall, supporting a weight." (Chambers Dictionary.)

The name of this type of architectural feature escaped me until quite recently, when I chanced on "corbel" in a popular book on architecture. Once one has a word in mind it is easy to look it up and confirm that the definition fits. Retrieving a word to look up in the first place is much more difficult. 

The corbel here must have looked somewhat quirky even when new. With its fine decorative detailing it seems out of keeping with the red brick-work of its surroundings, certainly with modern commercial signage. Along the whole seafront it is the sole representative of its type and it is difficult to envisage what impulse drove the architect to include it. Maybe it was simply an item surplus to requirements on a  different project and its presence is due to the builder's whim.

Considering the 120 years that it has survived in this exposed situation, it is in excellent condition; which is more that can be said for the paving above.

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