Looking back to the ‘rich and poor’ social divisions of the 1930s reminded me that I hadn’t mentioned the impressive Purey Cust redevelopment. This building is near the west front of the Minster, behind a huge stone wall. It’s a handsome building which has been unoccupied in recent years, since the Nuffield Hospital which used to occupy it moved elsewhere.
It’s in the process of being converted to residential accommodation. Very exclusive, of course. Out of the reach of most of us.
I went to have a nosey through the gaps in the gate, a gate covered by a shiny sign. So shiny that it reflects all about it, including me, at that moment, and the Minster in the background. Which seemed to demand a photo.
Reading the description of this fabulous development made me feel excluded for a moment, while simultaneously accepting my place in the social order, just as the residents of Fossway did when faced with the Fossway/Muncastergate wall.
This city has always had people who can afford to live right next to its Minster, and other people sleeping on its streets, and most of us somewhere in between.
At least these days we all have a better chance of being in the picture, our views reflected. Even if it’s only in the pictures we make ourselves.
Though there are still walls and gates, and the walls do not fall, there are some riches open to all of us. There’s a wall and a gate here, but the Minster, reflecting sunlight, is on our side.