Paul Dobraszczyk

I am currently a Lecturer in Art History & Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. My research interests broadly cover visual culture and the built environment from the 19th century onwards, with particular interests in the urban underground, print culture, industrial architecture and ruins. I’ve published articles on such diverse topics as ornament and iron, the ruins of Chernobyl, neo-Victorian horror cinema, gardening catalogues, census forms, London guidebooks, sewage pumping stations and information for cab passengers. My first book, Into the Belly of the Beast: Exploring London’s Victorian Sewers was published by Spire Books in 2009, with the second, Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain to be published by Ashgate in 2014.

27 responses

13 11 2010
Rob Barnes


Most excellent read “Into the belly of the beast” I recommend it to all.

Rob Barnes, in a warm and sunny Spanish Costa Blanca!

13 11 2010

Thanks Rob. Great to hear that you’ve enjoyed my book. Not sunny here in Oxford, sadly! All the best, Paul

13 06 2011
Lindsay Burns

Hello Paul,

Would you mind giving me a call, or sending an email? I’m hoping to write an article for the South London Press newspaper about the Driver architecture at London Bridge. I understand that Network Rail isn’t too interested in preserving it. An article might put a little pressure on them to do this – and at least it raises the issue with more South Londoners.

My number is 020 87106437 and I’m a reporter for Southwark. My email is

Kind regards,


19 10 2011

Hello Paul,

Please drop me a line – I’m putting together a charity magazine for Community Action Southwark “CAScade” and I wonder if I may use an image of yours – as usual with these things it’s last minute. I’m happy to add a credit such as a link to your site.

Many thanks

19 10 2011

Sure, that’s fine. Is it the London Bridge station photo? Can you credit it to me and also provide a link to the site?
Many thanks

23 04 2012
alison dunn

Great to see how your work has matured, Paul – we still enjoy your painting in the desert, but some of your direction nowadays is very spiritually diverse and imaginative. Alison Dunn (Henry’s mum!)

25 04 2012

Thanks for your comment, Alison. I’m glad to hear my work is being enjoyed! That’s the best complement I could wish for….Paul

14 12 2012

Great blog, especially on the power of railway stations; i am particuarly interested in abandoned ones; I presume u have read Sebald? This post might be of especial interest:)Steve

14 12 2012

Thanks for this, and for the reblog of my post. Yes, I’m a big fan of Sebald and I’m going to write something about a passage in Austerlitz that features an ornamental cast iron column in a railway station (Pilsen I think). Here, as Sebald so wonderfully describes, the rusted ironwork seems to hold its own history and story that’s been accumulating over time. Thanks also for directing me to your blog which I will explore and soon no doubt have much to share…Paul

14 12 2012

Thanks Paul; we seem to have railways stations and Sebald in common then:)He seems particuarly and eeriy fascinated by semi-spectral stations(Liverpool St pre furbishment in “Austerlitz”), “Antwerp central”(op.cit) and Lowestoft Central(pictured in the blog post i linked to) in “Rings of Saturn”; I think they feature highly in the uncanniness of architecture, something i am going to investigate in relationship to Sebald and to my own personal interest in decrepit railway station buildings: Birmingham Snow Hill(original station), Liverpool Central old high level station and London Broad street, all now “deceased” are intriguing examples in the UK. There are pictures of all of these on Google Search Images. Take care, and i look forward to your Pilsen station cast iron posting:)Steve

27 02 2013

Hi Paul, I’ve nominated your blog for a Liebster Award, a fun way to share and promote blogs.

27 02 2013

That’s very kind of you! Thanks so much…

28 07 2013
Neo-Victorian Cultures: The Victorians Today @ LJMU, 24-26th July 2013 | Dr Charlotte Mathieson

[…] film and TV, from the labyrinthine underground spaces of horror films such as Death Line and Creep (Paul Dobraszczyk), to the (overground) railways as spaces evocative of Victorian criminality (Joanne Knowles). […]

24 10 2013
Dale Ingram

You’re looking for contributions to an event on Urban Ruins in 2014. I could be interested. Dale Ingram Twitter @crumblyoldruins (I’ve followed you). Sadly watched a pub I campaigned for in 2011 being demolished yesterday.

28 12 2013
Ahmet Sarp ILHAN

Dear Paul;

I want to use one of your photo about “Varosha”. I found one photo and it’s really great! If you allow me to use we will be OK to finish our documentary about Varosha. Is that possible for you to reach me over e-mail? If you let me use it, in the end of our Documentary i can write your name for a special thanks =) It will be really useful and great if you can help us! Best and Warm Regards, Sarp.

17 01 2014
Denise Webber

Hi Paul
What year were these photographs taken?
I was living in Famagusta at the time of the war in 1974. You could say that Varosha is part of my psyche. Not being able to revisit the city where you spent most of your childhood is a sad loss, so the photos are much appreciated by all of us.
Denise Webber

17 01 2014

Thank-you Denise. The photographs were taken at the end of March in 2013. I would be very interested to hear more about your memories of Varosha. Would I be able to email you some questions?

17 01 2014
Denise Webber

Yes, no problem, I’ll try my best to answer your queries.
So the photos are very recent! I’m surprised how much remains of the buildings and streets after so long.

29 01 2014

Hi Paul,

This is beautifully written – I’ve linked to it from my site – would you mind if i used one of the pictures to illustrate?


29 01 2014

Thanks Dan. Yes, fine for you to use one of my images on your website – please just credit it to me.

21 11 2014
Erik Von Norden

I very much enjoyed your blog, Rag-Picking History. I am working on a history book-blog of my own, which can be seen at [one word], then clicking on either the “sample chapter” or “blog” buttons at the top. My Rube Goldberg brain asks with an odd, well-caffeinated kind of logic: Why is there an inverse proportion between the size of the print and the importance of the message? Science. Commerce. Art. Literature. Military. Religion. I call this eccentric thinking the Theory of Irony and if your busy schedule permits, give a read, leave a comment or create a link. In any event, best of luck with your own endeavors.

P.S. It concerns Classical, Medieval and Modern eras.

19 02 2015
Steve Hewitt Richards

Hello Paul,
I am a headteacher of a Derbyshire school and I am setting up a teaching school. I have seen an image on your website that I would like to incorporate into a website for my teaching school. I was wondering if you could give me permission to use the photo? It is of
Cave Dale, near Castleton, Derbyshire
It would be great if you would allow me.
Cheers Steve

20 02 2015

Yes, that’s fine, but please would you provide an acknowledgement and link to my site. Good luck with the school! Paul

22 02 2015
Tam Nugent

Paul, a fascinating site – we share many interests. I am pleased to report that the fountains in Fountain Gardens in Paisley have been restored . Unfortunately, the weather remains the same.

23 02 2015

Thanks! I am very glad to hear that the George Smith fountains have been restored. They were one of the most extraordinary examples that I’ve seen.

9 03 2015

I write a twice weekly blog about London from a Black Cab driver’s perspective.
I found your 2 posts entitled Measuring Victorian London: Mogg’s cab fare map fascinating, I didn’t realise it had been produced. Only that cabbies were so useless when the Great Exhibition was open, it resulted in the origins of The Knowledge.
Would it be possible to reproduce those posts on my site giving, of course, full credits and links?

10 03 2015

Thanks for your message – your site is great. I did speak to a former cabbie about his perception of London as part of this research and it was fascinating! Please do reblog my posts – I’m flattered. All the best, Paul

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