One of our all-time favourite projects was Betjeman’s Best British Churches, a major work commissioned to us by Harper Collins that involved publishing, photography, mapping, design and digital planning – all things we’re good at doing.
Mike Ellis undertook the series of location shoots in 2010–11 for this revision of John Betjeman’s classic guide to England’s – and, since the update, Britain’s – churches. This concentrated period of regional trips to some of our most fascinating churches opened up our minds to what they offer as a way of exploring Britain.
Our churches are an amazing repository for the architectural, historical and cultural traces of the land and its people. They mix high art and folk art, bear the scars of conflicts, changes of doctrine and of stylistic taste, and are mostly built with local materials and building methods – stone quarried from the landscape in which the buildings stand. No museum comes as close to reflecting the lived history of Britain over the last thousand years as do the churches when looked at en masse.
For more thoughts on church architecture, see the Thameside Photography blog: All the Work That’s Not Work.