Layers of Time


The other day I visited Battersea Arts Centre, a 19th century municipal building that’s now a creative community hub. Here’s the best bit: Instead of renovating to make it look new, they’ve left the old layers in place. Wooden struts are exposed behind cracked slabs of thick plaster which is covered in faded signage and peeling paint. By bringing the past into the present, juxtaposing ‘then’ and ‘now,’ they’ve collapsed history into a single moment. Peering down a dimly lit, musty smelling corridor, I half expected to see a harried town clerk making their way to a battered desk piled high with papers dated 1895. Not only does the space play tricks with time; it celebrates the beautiful patina that can only arise with the passage of many years. By leaving the past in place, it reminds us how quickly the fleeting freshness of today becomes just another layer of tomorrow.

What places or experiences bring you face to face with the passage of time?

MJ Grant