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People's Palaces - The Golden Age of Civic Architecture: Neo Classical [BBC, Full Documentary]

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Architectural historian Dr Jonathan Foyle explores some of the best Georgian and Victorian neo-classical civic buildings in the north of England. He visits town halls, concert halls, libraries, schools and galleries in Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Todmorden in an unlikely story of rivalry, ambition and power in the service of social responsibility. Neo-classicism harked back to Rome, democratic Athens and the Greek city-state. The regular proportion, geometry and symmetry of classical temple-style architecture suggested order in chaotically-expanding urban environments and served to associate towns regarded as squalid and unruly with the cultured ancient civilisations of antiquity. These were buildings constructed with the aim of elevating the towns in which they stood.
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Text Comments (97)
Propps (2 days ago)
A lot of architect that time including churches where build with sacred geometry, these buildings have a esoteric, hermetic, gnostic symbols and structures. These buildings are more a map to the divine or gnosis and a understanding of reality and ourself the problem is we only look from our perspective.
Julian Coulden (19 days ago)
A fascinating documentary.
Julian Coulden (19 days ago)
Architecture that has stood the test of time and which is still glorious. Todays glass palaces will be pulled down as disposable within 50 years. And what’s worse they will not age gracefully but look pretty hideous.
silver fox (22 days ago)
Who built these when? Ever try cutting rock to make stone?
dlwatib (24 days ago)
Gotta give you a downvote for a clickbait title that bears little resemblance to the actual virtue signaling content.
Paul Thorwesten (2 months ago)
You cannot imagine how utterly disappointed I am in the lack of neutral coverage in the political context of this documentary. I expected this to just serve my interest in victorian architecture an not to be the repetitive political agenda of the mainstream media.
Henry Tudor (2 months ago)
I am sure the Pyramid of Giza or the Taj Mahal was built exclusively on the back of Nobles and Kings.
Gery A (2 months ago)
I skipped all the moral arguments to look at what I considered important.
Gery A (2 months ago)
Lets stop building modern architecture! No more modernism!! It looks hideous and destroys beautiful structures!! Lets boycott modernism.
God (2 months ago)
Agreed. Modern architecture was solely designed as practical and doesn't take into account that the appearance of the building is what makes it likable. No one will ever look at flat concrete or glass walls and say this is stunning, beautiful architecture paints every square inch with detail and design in the form of what the culture/ civilization likes. Modern architecture is just an insult to 3 thousand years of Western civilization beating every unique piece of land until they conform to the same ideas and cheap appearance.
Ezra Shekelsteinberg (3 months ago)
Only the BBC could turn a documentary about architecture into race propaganda
McDonald Trump (3 months ago)
Ugly
tacotony24 (3 months ago)
It seems many of the architectures, sculptures, paintings, art, etc. in the UK are in imitation of Ancient Rome, Renaissance Rome, and Baroque Rome.
Leo Freeman (4 months ago)
At 3:58, he points out a pattern of two bars cut into the stone. I've seen this in a modern building, at the back, almost out of sight. I'm sure it's not utterly pointless. Does anyone know it's meaning?
Toasty Doggo (4 months ago)
I like Victorian architecture more than mordern architecture. Victorian arch is more detailed. Any by its materials in which it's made of, really shows how historic and how old is really is. Despite when it was built. On the other hand, I dislike modern arch. It's just a glass building with curves and sharp corners. Like The Shard in London. In general Victorian architecture is beautiful, and modern architecture is unappealing. (It's just my opinion)
Luka Yu (4 months ago)
The anchor is a silver fox.
sedecim (4 months ago)
Fascinating program however none of this would be possible without the slave trade
toshJOINTzero (4 months ago)
BBC can't make a historical documentary without "altering our attitudes". The BBC and all other mainstream media outlets are producers of propaganda, not education.
Paddy O Kearney (25 days ago)
+Trishanku Verma What do you mean?
Paddy O Kearney (25 days ago)
​+Dave Cockayne You seem to be forgetting that during this neoclassical revival, the great famine happened, or maybe youre not aware. Meaning that there was plenty of food in Ireland but a vast swathe of the peasantry were completely dependent the potato, due to the landed gentry, laws and rules imposed by British colonists. I'm watching this documentary for the history and details of that architectural period, It is absolutely without a doubt beautiful and interesting. I'm gleaning details for an essay Im currently working on, but historical context is incredibly important. What I won't have is the victimization of a bunch of old dead rich brits, check yerself Dave.
Trishanku Verma (1 month ago)
Social Engineering! From Art, History, Architecture and News they want to reshape society as per their idea of what a society should be.
Dave Cockayne (1 month ago)
+gary smith The opposite of sanctimonious, go look up what the word means.
Saras Watkin (5 months ago)
This reflects the might of the British Empire in an attempt to copy the Roman Empire. Someone please tell me what do the ugly greenhouse type buildings such as the Shard and the Gherkin in London represent in the 21st Century?
Jay H (1 month ago)
Saras Watkin the Romans didn't build those tartarian buildings we inherited them
American made (5 months ago)
Wonderful Documentary, now time for some Pink Floyd.
shiddi laxmi (6 months ago)
20:15 26:20
Peter Mullen (7 months ago)
"Damned BBC", always setting the bar higher for public consumption with historical context painting the intricacies of human intellectual development, the follies and glories civilization. For those of us from humble backgrounds who know little of aristocratic origins, it is a vital part of our education. Not all of us had the good fortune to attend Oxford, or to roam the halls of Cambridge. Even things as contrived as Masterpiece Theater bring enormous incite into the past. They help us understand mind set of British wealth, power, and differences between the classes. The show was fantastic, with incredible commentary, outstanding presentation. Thank you sincerely, for the intimate views of magnificent structures most ordinary people will never get to see, or understand. What a tragedy of opportunity, but what a great documentary. With (tact), (politeness), (respectful inquiry), and an occasional (bribe) of (Pizza), or (chocolate brownies) one can open the doors to architectural masterpieces hidden in plain sight all over the world. I strongly encourage all to request permission, or a tour of these unnoticed, under appreciated masterpieces. Theres gold mines of beauty, and genius everywhere you go.
Nastaran Zare (7 months ago)
if you wanna know about new architecture instruments click here: http://ubootsaze.com
ferrarienzo564 (8 months ago)
Queen Ann style, rustic hasling 4:18
Michael Wailes (9 months ago)
Thanks for sharing. A great documentary on the wonderful architectural heritage of the north of England. I’d ignore the easily triggered MAGA snowflakes in the comments below as they clearly haven’t watched more than the first five minutes of this.
Masocho Kamosho (9 months ago)
What is the music at 25:00 ?
kg280 (9 months ago)
If I wanted leftist propaganda I'd definitely not enter "architecture documentaries" in the search feild. This is a disgrace.
Claudius (8 months ago)
It could be much worse my friend, but I do agree with you. The disgusting BBC is a Marxist organisation re-writing the history of England imposing a feeling of guilt on the white man who created out of nothing the most wonderful civilization ever seen
Keyser Söze (10 months ago)
Does anyone here know of good documentaries or books that discuss construction methods of these buildings?
Stephen She (11 months ago)
Jeremy Clarkson at 17:00 wth??!!!
l m (11 months ago)
Love all the white guy's piping up in the comments moaning about having to hear about slavery 😒
Malik Rahman (1 month ago)
If you're not a slave, move on.
Henry Tudor (2 months ago)
I am Nigerian and I am tired of hearing of slavery.
Claudius (8 months ago)
Slavery? It happened! Move on! Stop whining! We (white men) were enslaved by the thousands by the Muslims for centuries, and we are not pestering the world, crying and whining about it. If there were no white man, there would not be Western civilisation. Of which all the parasites of the Third World benefit.
Darkvine (1 year ago)
Was letting the blind man explain the hidden floor is mysterious because it can't be seen really necessary? so cringy, you can see how he started wobbling more cuz of the stress explaining this caused him >.<
otteyful (1 year ago)
The city of Liverpool and many other cities in England and Europe were built on the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Hamed AL-Dhanki (1 year ago)
ofr h cnhh ':;6.tteyful
Alexandria S Procter (1 year ago)
song at 38:15?
Matthew Eyre (1 year ago)
I understand that you need to provide some context and don't want to gloss over certain elements. But COME ON stop with the negativity, it ruins the viewing experience- more focus on architecture and less on oppression please.
carpejkdiem (1 month ago)
+Claudius Shhhhh Architecture & history go hand in hand. DUMMY UUUUP minion!
merseybeat1963 (5 months ago)
The context goes hand in hand to put the vision and main course in perspective.
Claudius (8 months ago)
Two minutes is too much. It is about architecture, not social history!!!!
Michael Wailes (9 months ago)
Have you actually watched this? He talks about slavery for less than two minutes. Triggered much?
Daniel Mooney (1 year ago)
J. Foyle is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenter. He is gifted at causing the ethos of these building projects to live vividly in the minds of those watching. Sharp dresser as well. Guess I need to head North for some sightseeing next time I'm in England.
Deon Dean (1 year ago)
anyone know the name of the last song?
Patrick Brogan (1 year ago)
Can someone please tell me what the music is in the beginning? Its fantatstic.
Deon Dean (1 year ago)
Spent all night looking for it lol. It's called "Nearly Home" by Broken Records.
Stan SonOfAFather (1 year ago)
34:42 With all the respect but how on earth a blind man can talk about architecture? What we see in a moment would take him a years to examine and remember it all. Feel sorry for him though.
Oliver Westcott (1 year ago)
Too much virtue signaling re slavery.
heyguysinternet (1 year ago)
Boo-hoo.
n /a (1 year ago)
Can I take some videos to my classroom?
Luxus Häuser (2 years ago)
An impressive Presenter.
Christopher Petty (2 years ago)
This guy keeps focusing on the slaves but what about the orphaned children who were pressed into the same servitude? Crickets...
Michael Wailes (9 months ago)
Hi Chris. How much of this video did you actually watch before posting your retarded comment? I’m quite curious.
The Lord of Nonsense. (1 year ago)
Christopher Petty; Jews and Freemasons ran the slave trade. The BBC is totally owned and run by pedophile Zionist Jews and Freemasons who routinely pass the buck onto unsuspecting Goyim when it comes to the crimes of their vile ancestors, who to this day continue to trade in misery. The clue is in particular architectural elements such the Pyramids on the gate posts at Bluecoats for example. Take a look at the Dollar bill, which has the pyramid too. In fact these clues are everywhere - hidden in plain sight. The next time you go into a McDonalds, see if you can find the Eye and Pyramid in the decor. Or maybe go to the BBC Headquarters in London, where you will see the seven Stars of David carved into the architecture... It may surprise you - or not.
Am Abdullah (1 year ago)
Christopher Petty; he did mentioned about orphants too, orphants had no rights in these schools, they were another types of slaves,
cameronpaul (2 years ago)
"Liverpool One" - what a heap of shit.
Peter Ainsworth (1 year ago)
Half that land had been wasteland since the blitz. Seems a pretty good development to me!
donald duck (2 years ago)
I whas a Hardcore Aristocrat in my "Last" Life
jpalm32 (2 years ago)
Shame 360P
James Parsons Duncker (3 years ago)
interesting architecture and narrator. very well done. :-)
UglyhoodRAT (3 years ago)
This left wing propaganda shit forgot to mention that slaves did not exist in England since 1599 in Cartwright case law.
carpejkdiem (1 month ago)
+Christopher Petty Shhhh you are one. :-)
carpejkdiem (1 month ago)
Shhh you are one.
gary smith (3 months ago)
+toshJOINTzero Boomer yourself dude...I so am not one
gary smith (3 months ago)
you vomitori will not win x
toshJOINTzero (4 months ago)
its not an issue of left and right it's an issue of the establishment vs. the people. They won't bat an eye towards the oligarchs oppression of today.
asa (3 years ago)
So basically Liverpool was built on white slave labor!!!
Silviu Craciunescu (2 months ago)
no, this is BBC propaganda
Claudius (8 months ago)
So what???????
victor vazquez (3 years ago)
these are truly some beautiful structures the like of which we rarely see today in our modern buildings
Paddy O Kearney (25 days ago)
Ahh that's not true, theres wonderful examples of modern architecture, we've just opted out of neo -classicalism, even some brutalism buildings have some charm.
Mirek Heikkila (3 years ago)
Love the guys response at 36:50 about the poorest/'lowest' in society... 
Mecklenburgh Square (4 years ago)
Wonderful -- thank you for posting this. Would you happen to have the other episode of the series?
Mecklenburgh Square (4 years ago)
+playdo Fantastic! Thank you for that link. It's a great series.
playdo (4 years ago)
if the other is the one concerning Gothic architecture then it is already on YT, just in four parts 1/4 People's Palaces: The Gothic Revival

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