I’ve been reading Susie Harries’ book Nikolaus Pevsner: The Life – it’s dead good. Of course, the books in Pevsner’s Buildings of England contain “perambulations,” self-guided routes that enable you to walk round a place and look at the architecture Pevsner found worthy of attention. So it’s no surprise to anybody that he was a great walker.
Even so I was quite tickled by the above photograph in the book, which is captioned, “The Professor in Mufti: Pevsner with Lola and two of their grandchildren on holiday in the Tyrol, 1961. In Who’s Who he listed his recreation as ‘twelve-mile walks’.”
When Pevsner first wrote about the buildings of London he divided the place into two volumes, one for Westminster and the City, and one for the rest. This caused some amusing consternation among the staff at Penguin. Editor Alan Glover (who according to Harries and other sources had once worked as a tattooed man in a circus) wrote, “I can only say that if I were walking from Charing Cross to the Bank making a rapid study of architecture I should be a bit disturbed at having to carry one fat volume in my right-hand trousers pocket and another fat volume in my left, and as you may have observed I am not over-particular about the set of my trousers.”