This title explores the controversy surrounding the design of the new Foreign Office in London during Britain's Imperial heyday. In 1855 it was decided to build a new block of government offices in London, starting with the Foreign and War Offices. The government offices competition came at what was probably - looking back on it - the zenith of Britain's confidence as a nation and international power. One would expect the mid-Victorians to have felt, firstly, pride in their current national situation; and secondly, the urge to commemorate this in the most important national building to be projected in twenty years. Porter uses the debates surrounding the building of these important new monuments to interrogate the very fabric of British society, culture and nation building. The discussion on so many issues - religion, nationality, empire, history, modernism, truth, morality, gender - quite apart from considerations of 'pure' aesthetics, offers an unusual, perhaps even unique, insight into the relationship between these matters and the 'culture' of the time.
Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation