One of my photos

Train window housing

August 10th, 2005 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

I was reading this article by Jonathan Glancey about Prescott’s scheme for affordable housing. Most of it was what you would expect, but one phrase just jumped out and smacked me between the eyes:

Not that it matters much in the catalogue world of Train Window Housing, designed to look the same on greenfields, brownfields and fields once remembered when express trains drew up, unwontedly, at lonely rural stations for blackbird song, meadowsweet and haycocks dry.

And so a phrase is coined.

“Train Window Housing” is one of those terms which needs no explanation. As soon as you see it in context you know exactly what it means and realise it fits perfectly. You wonder why nobody thought of it before.

And it really is true. Just look out of the train window when you pass Three Bridges on the way to Brighton and you see Maidenbower spread out before you, as if a giant ate several thousand tons of bricks then threw up. Each individual house is OK I suppose, but its just like the one next door. And the one next door to that. And the street looks like the next street along.

If you had been kidnapped and had your blindfold removed in front of that train window you would not really be sure if you were looking at part of Crawley, part of Swindon, part of Basildon, part of Bracknell or just Anytown UK.

I hope ‘train window housing’ catches on because it is just so right.

(At first I thought what a great name for a band but on reflection it would probably make a better title for a song if anyone gets round to writing protest songs on the topic of town planning.)

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