Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

To Strip Or Not To Strip

 I bought a 19th century print of Tonbridge Castle yesterday. The castle looks exactly as it does today- apart from the ivy. 

Our ancestors of the romantic generation liked their old buildings clothed in ivy. It prompted pleasingly shuddersome thoughts of change and decay. Here's a very young Charles Dickens discoursing on the subject:

Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
That creepeth o'er ruins old!
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
In his cell so lone and cold.
The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
To pleasure his dainty whim:
And the mouldering dust the years have made
Is a merry meal for him.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

There are a couple more verses. If you fancy them you'll find them somewhere near the beginning of The Pickwick Papers- or online, of course. 

These days we strip the ivy off in the interests of conservation. I can see both points of view. I'm not taking sides.
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