I can’t remember the last time it snowed properly here. It’s not something I’ve ever welcomed. Living in a city my experience of snow has been largely negative. It messes with our transport system and makes getting anywhere a nightmare; it looks pretty only for a matter of hours and then turns to brown slush; and if the weather stays cold the slush then turns to slick ice patches which (as a person with zero sense of balance) I dread!
When the architect Sir John Soane built his weekend retreat, Pitzhanger Manor, in what was then rural Ealing, his aim was to design a showcase for his own idiosyncratic architectural style with its stripped classical detail, radical colour schemes and inventive use of space and light. Here he would entertain some of the most influential people of the day.