About me

I am a researcher and writer based in Manchester, UK, and a teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. I’m currently completing a book Anarchist Architecture to be published by Reaktion in 2022 and also an edited collection Manchester: Something Rich & Strange (Manchester University Press, 2021). I’m the author of Future Cities, Architecture & the Imagination (Reaktion, 2019); The Dead City: Urban Ruins & the Spectacle of Decay (IB Tauris, 2017); London’s Sewers (Shire, 2014); Iron, Ornament & Architecture in Victorian Britain (Ashgate, 2014); and Into the Belly of the Beast: Exploring London’s Victorian Sewers (Spire, 2009); and co-editor of Global Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within (Reaktion, 2016); and Function & Fantasy: Iron Architecture in Long Nineteenth Century (Routledge, 2016);

My writing research interests broadly cover visual culture and the built environment from the 19th century onwards, with particular interests in Manchester, urban futures, underground spaces and ruins, print culture, and industrial architecture. I’ve published many 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. I am also a visual artist and photographer.

To discuss writing projects, talks, photography or visual art, contact me at dobraszczyk@yahoo.co.uk

29 thoughts on “About me

  1. Paul,

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

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


  2. 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 lindsay.burns@slp.co.uk

    Kind regards,



  3. 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


    • 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


  4. 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!)


    • 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


    • 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


  5. 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


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  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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


    • 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?


  10. 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] theoryofirony.com, 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.


  11. 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


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


    • 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.


  12. 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?


    • 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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