A House with one column by Rosemary Ind
Among the rarer books in the BSA Library is A House with One Column by Rosemary Ind (surname pronounced as in ‘India’, where she was born). The BSA Library seems to be the only location anywhere for this privately printed book, which is about Greek vernacular architecture, starting in the present, in the suburbs, and working back in time. Rosy, as she liked to be called, lived in Greece from 1988 to 2000, but also visited at other times. She was a member of the BSA from 2007 to 2011 and is known to have stayed in the Hostel, as she met Renée Hirschon for breakfast when Renée was Visiting Fellow in 2008 and talked about their common interest in housing. Renée’s doctoral research in the 1970s concerned the way that the standard pattern of the supposedly temporary refugee housing built for the 1922 Asia Minor refugees in Piraeus had been altered over the generations (published as Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe, 1989, and in Greek as Κληρονόμοι της Μικρασιατικής Καταστροφής. Η Κοινωνική Ζωή των Μικρασιατών Προσφύγων στον Πειραιά, Αθήνα: MIET 2004).
Rosy was born in India and lived in New Delhi with her parents and brother, moving later to Germany and the Netherlands (her father was in the army). She trained as a Froebel teacher and then worked as a design assistant on textiles and furniture for Lucienne and Robin Day in their studio in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. She then trained at Regent Street Polytechnic School of Architecture, and worked at leading architectural practices on a variety of projects including the John Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, Gatwick Airport, and social housing for London County Council. A thesis for the Architectural Association on the modernist architect Joseph Emberton was later published by Scolar Press (1983). In the 1980s she was in private practice and moved to Greece in 1988, working as a teacher, artist and in archaeological drawing. During this time she lived in Ano Ilioupoli and was researching Greek vernacular architecture. Some of her drawings and prints are of house fronts and doorways, both modest and grand. Other drawings are of landscapes and sea scenes. The images below are photos of items at an exhibition of her work in Swansea on 5 March, 2022, hence the reflections. The first two were used as illustrations to her book “A House with One Column”. The grand doorway print in black-and white is of a house in Odos Kolokotronis; the coloured print in the blue frame is “Door grille in Athens”)
She moved to Swansea in 2001, choosing this city because she had read that it had very low house prices and there were also family links with Wales. She was a member of the Swansea Print Workshop and contributed to a brochure the Workshop published in which members of SPW celebrate the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth with images inspired by his writings (Dylan Thomas Dialogues, 2014). Her contribution was an etching, with added colour, of Milton Terrace on Mount Pleasant where she lived (image from the brochure below). She had checked that Dylan would have been able to see it from his home in Cwmdonkin Drive and thus was able to write “…and the powdered fields of the roofs of Milton Terrace and Watkin Street”. Her book, A House with One Column, was privately printed in 2020, in a very small print run, with a few family members, and the BSA Library, being given copies. Rosy Ind died in February 2022, a few days after admission to Swansea’s Singleton Hospital.
Margaret E Kenna, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, Swansea University