Somewhere at the edge of the World ice cream vans go to die, I know I saw them from the train back from Brighton, I just had to go and have a look. I was received warmly by the busy proprietors going busily about their business, readying the working vans for their working day on the coast. It seems they break the invalids up for spares keeping the ageing vehicles on the road for another season – dispensing joy to jolly girls and boys in cornet, tub and lolly form. There is however something inevitably heartbreakingly poignant, seeing the signage fade, in the southern sun, as brambles weave in and out of open window, steering wheel, wheel arch and fridge. Ask not for whom the chimes chime.They chime for you.Nevermore.
Cycling along Curzon Road one sunny Sunday afternoon, I found to my surprise, facing me across the Whiteacre Road junction.
– An empty yet extant launderette.
One lone drier tumbling, lonely – an absence of presence, save myself.
The usual spartan interior almost unkempt, enlivened by four legged, almost alien, ovalish plastic laundry baskets. A sunlit shimmer of brushed steel surfaces, low lit and deeply shadowed linoleum tiles.
Under the illuminating hum of bare fluorescent tubes.
Friday afternoon, clouds gather along a long walk from the Leeds city centre, following an unforgivingly long dual carriageway, not without its hard won charm, we reached the Garden Gate.
A Tetley Heritage pub the most beautiful in Yorkshire, clad in warm glazed ceramics of the highest decorative order, a terrazzo porch and open door welcomes the weary walker.
Ready for a pint?
Leeds Pale Ale £2.60 a pop and a fine drop it is too, why not stay and have another!
The interior arrangement of rooms cluster around a fine tiled bar, linked by corridors, clad in curved wood and large etched windows, lit with the original fittings – all in an intoxicating Nouveau style.
The cellar is lined in heavy glazed white brick and retains its rugby league history with extant showers and physio room, former home of the Garden Gate ARLFC – it says so on the first aid kit.
A thinned bar of green soap rests on the side of the long-dry bath.
The staff and customers were warm, chatty and informative – my thanks for their generous hospitality.
Its worth the walk.
My thanks to Ms. Natalie Ainscough for her cheery company, innate sense of direction and can do attitude.
Embassy Court has always had a very special place in my heart.
Forty years ago as a young art student attending nearby Portsmouth Polytechnic, we were taken by Maurice Denis in a minibus to visit the modernist buildings in our locale, this was my first love.
Two days ago I returned to Brighton, sprinting spryly along the prom to meet an old friend.
We were ever so pleased to see each other after all these years, I walked around admiringly and smiled.
“Embassy Court is an 11 storey block of flats situated on the Brighton seafront on the corner of Western Street and the Kings Road. It was designed by the architect Wells Coates and completed in 1935.
It is amongst of the most outstanding examples of pre-war Modernism in the UK, it has a grade II* listed status and remains a major Brighton landmark. This beautiful, elegantly proportioned block contains 72 flats, with awe-inspiring sea views, is considered one of the coolest places to live in Britain.
Restored in 2005 after a long period of decline, Embassy Court is now owned by a limited company, Bluestorm Ltd., born from a Leaseholders Association which obtained the freehold of the building in 1998.”
Slap dab in the middle of the town stands a lone tower block of residential, social housing.
Buxton House backs onto the lower rise Civic Centre and is conjoined to the main shopping street and precinct, linked by a low wide underpass. Adorned on its street entrance by the most enchanting mosaic, announcing a spry geometric optimism to those shoppers and residents that pass under, through the underpass.
Ten floors of homes are bound in brick concrete and glass – a truly commanding central location, graced by the inclusion of an incongruous Chinese restaurant – The Mandarin.
Huddersfield West Yorkshire shares a legacy with many other towns, a legacy of successive shopping developments of varying styles and quality. Shaped by fashion, topography and finance each makes a more or less bold statement on the fabric of the area.
In order to survive each geo-retail layer of architecture, must reinvent itself or die – adding new branding, covering period detail with newer, ever more impermanent fascias, flagging flagging and flags of all stripes.
I encircled the Piazza – its monumental nether regions, enlivened with almost temple like scale and applied brick, stone and concrete surfaces, the dark and forbidding, cinematic subterranean service tunnels, and the open walkways of the main shopping areas.
Spanning the Huddersfield canal and set on a hillside site of a hilly Yorkshire town, the University Buildings dominate the Colne Valley area to the south.
Typically their history spans an earlier site which evolves during the 50s and 60s, as part of the drive to develop the industrial/educational base of the area and the burgeoning growth of the provincial Polytechnics.
The result is a confident yet dizzying panoply of styles and materials on a fairly compressed but expanding site.
Brick, concrete, glass and more recent modern clad additions collide in a bun fight of assertive volumes.
It all seems very exciting.
“David Wyles, The Buildings of Huddersfield: four architectural walks – facing us now is the impressive bulk of the Central Services Building in front of which stood a six-storey building; its structure emphasised by the reinforced concrete frame which projected skeleton-like above the main roof level. This was part of the earlier Technical College development which included several buildings of similar style designed from 1957 onwards by Frederick Gibberd. The six-storey blocks have since been demolished.
The focal point of the campus, the Central Services Building, was designed by Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womersley of Manchester and constructed between 1973 and 1977 at a total cost of £3,651,000. The building contains the main non-teaching facilities.
Much of the layout derives its form from the hillside site and this is accentuated by the undercover concourse leading through to the canal, which gives access to all parts of the building. The construction is based on a grid of reinforced concrete with floors supported on circular columns. The building is clad in light buff coloured bricks intended to harmonise with local sandstone.”
If you walk far enough away, you’ll find yourself right there.
The sea to your right, Bridlington to your left. You could even catch the Land Train if you are so inclined, I declined and walked wet streets, in ever eager anticipation of my first visit to:
A family run enterprise, tucked just away from the Yorkshire coast nestled in the village of Sewerby. Jan Whitehead and her team of willing helpers kindly allowed me to get a sneak preview of the village, as they prepared for the imminent Easter opening.
This one twelfth scale wonder is filled with everything you might wish to find in an idyllic village – but smaller and made lovingly by hand. Wandering its narrow streets, each tiny turn is a new and exciting surprise, an irresistible vista of diminutive figures, set in a cornucopia of architectural delights.
The trains always run on time, and the trawlers bob merrily in the harbour.
The wedding party remain forever almost snapped by the arched photographer, blink and they don’t move.
So step inside a world of wonder – I’ll be back when the sun shines, I promise.