Christian Barman

The following passage taken from An introduction to railway architecture prompted the creation of a new web-page as KPJ could not quite believe its prolixity.

Railway architecture reflects very faithfully the origin and growth of this alternative structure. It is the architecture of the new people, the people without culture who built the foundations of the new epoch out of the rubble that was all that was left of the old. Our national architecture bears the mark of two other revolutions of this kind. The first was when Roman leadership had collapsed and the Anglo-Saxon folk developed the new Christian culture of the Middle Ages; the second when Catholic leadership went down under the Tudors and the culture of the humanist arose to take its place. The new leadership class was struggling then to find expression in the architecture of Oxburgh and Haddon, of Layer Marney and Hampton Court. It was an architecture of action and adventure to which the vivid interplay of violence and compromise, of excitement and restraint, has given a special character utterly different from that of earlier and later buildings. The architecture of Tudor and Elizabethan England is the architecture of the new ruling class feeling its way to power. It is a remarkable thing about the English genius that the climate of revolution should bring forth its choicest fruits; our classical moments did not as a rule show us at the top of our form. Today we look on those years as a golden age.

Barman's literary style is certainly unusual and demands a high level of pre-understanding, especially if one approaches from railways rather than architecture, on the part of the reader in a so-called introduction (Oxburgh, Layer Marney and Haddon have a high visibility in Wikipedia, but this certainly was not available in 1950). Nevertheless, it is worth noting in fairness to Barman, that Bryan Morgan used a very substantial (more than half of the text) extract from this work in his Railway lover's companion. It is certainly not the sort of writing one would expect from a PR man, and is in stark contrast to that of Elliot, Barrie and Dow.


Christian Barman was born 1898; and died on 5 October 1980. He was educated at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture. Editor, the Architect’s Journal and the Architectural Review; Publicity Officer, London Passenger Transport Board, 1935–41; was generally responsible for the visual presentation of the undertaking to the public; Assistant Director of Post-War Building, Ministry of Works, 1941–45; Public Relations Adviser, GWR, 1945–47; Chief Publicity Officer, British Transport Commission, 1947–62; Executive Member., BTC Design Panel, 1956–62. Who Was Who (books checked BLPC). Biographer of Frank Pick.

Sir John Vanbrugh
, 1924;
edition of James Gibbs, Rules for Drawing the various Parts of Architecture, 1925;
The Bridge. A chapter in the history of building. illustrated by Frank Brangwyn, 1926
Page 184: "The Forth Bridge is a justifiable example of a truly spacious work in a spacious setting". Copy seen in Norwich Millennium Library: beautifully produced book.
Balbus, or the future of architecture, 1926;
Architecture 1928;
Introduction for the general reader,
Next Station, 1947
reprinted. as The Great Western Railway’s last look forward, 1972
Public transport, Penguin Books. 1949;  (The Things We See Series)
Early British Railways, Penguin Books. 1950
Sioxteen reproductions of old drawings, etc.
Introduction to railway architecture, 1950;
The man who built London Transport: a biography of Frank Pick, London: David & Charles, 1979. 287pp;
under pseudonym Christian Mawson:
Ramping Cat (a novel), 1941;
Portrait of England (an anthology), 1941