Sam Jacob Studio harbours a long-held fascination with Half-Timbering. In this essay, Jacob examines the historical, cultural, and aesthetic roots of the style. It’s fair to say that “Mock Tudor”—that black and white facade treatment—has a less than glowing reputation. Take these sneering lines from John Betjeman’s Slough, for instance: It’s not their fault they often go / To Maidenhead / And talk of sports and makes of cars / In various bogus Tudor bars. (Perhaps those very same bars that Martin Freeman’s character in The Office notes have “a sign in the toilet saying: Don’t get your Hampton Court”.) “Mock Tudor” is often accused of “bogus”-ness, of lacking authenticity, of fakeness, and many other types of architectural sin. I’d argue, however, that Betjeman et al fail to recognise a profound depth and sincerity contained within the shallowness of this applied fake history. In fact, it’s perhaps Mock Tudor’s very shallowness which is an intrinsic part of its depth.
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