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a life in architecture - ann widdecombe

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'I'm not a great connoisseur of buildings. I tend to say either 'ugh'or 'yes, that's quite nice'' declares Ann Widdecombe MP.

However, her opinions on architecture, like those on politics, while not always surprising are never less than interesting.

'I love Guildford Cathedral (pictured) for two reasons. First, purely personal reasons. I can remember when the cathedral was being built. I was about 14 at the time and all the local people were being invited to buy a brick to contribute to the building. So I felt a great ownership, right at the start.

'Second, it is a very beautiful modern building with a large spire and a huge angel on top which you can see for miles and miles around.

Perhaps I have a particular affection for spires, which is just as well since I work in the House of Commons.'

A particular eyesore for her is a dilapidated, unused and 'most hideously ugly bit of 1960s architecture' in the roundabout on the southern side of Westminster Bridge - the GLC 'island block' (in fact 1970-74).

She has little fondness for '60s architecture, and positively loathes the high-rise council flats that were produced. Neither, she feels, have stood the test of time.

However, Widdecombe is fond of the old colonial-style bungalows on stilts of Singapore, since she spent part of her childhood there, and equates them with happiness, security and sunny days.

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