Having cycled from Prestatyn, I popped into reception to ask permission to photograph the exterior of the HQ.
Following a short wait, I was granted permission.
The building is an imposing steel, concrete and glass system built structure of 1972, with brick outliers on a grassy site.
It has undergone adaptation to modern eco-standards.
The administration building for North Wales Police, located in Colwyn Bay, was typical of the breed: a 1970s leaky and draughty concrete-framed building with high solar gains, especially on the South and West facades. It consumed a lot of energy and delivered very poor comfort conditions.
The budget for the refurbishment was set at around £2.4 million. North Wales Police appointed Capita Symonds as the Project Manager with the design team comprising FSP Architects, Buro Happold, WS Atkins, and Faithful+Gould.
A system of brise-soleil solar shading was provided for the East, South and West facades. Combined with the reduced area of glazing, the brise soleil reduced the solar gains enough to avoid the need for mechanical cooling and for the natural ventilation strategy to be retained.
Three nineteen-storey point blocks built as public housing as part of the redevelopment of Sunderland town centre. The blocks contain 270 dwellings in total. Construction was approved by committee in 1967.
The blocks were constructed by Sunderland County Borough Council.
The developers of the Town Central Area were Town and City Properties Ltd. It is believed that they contributed £38,600 to the development of the blocks.
Ian Frazer and Associates were the architects for the sub-structural works only.
Llewelyn, Davies, Weeks and Partners were the structural and mechanical engineers in addition to being the architects for the tower blocks.
Gilbert-Ash Northern Ltd.’s tender for the contract was £959,258 – construction began in March 1967.
Construction of Killingworth, a new town, began in 1963. Intended for 20,000 people, it was a former mining community, formed on seven hundred and sixty acres of derelict colliery land near Killingworth Village. The building of Killingworth Township was undertaken by Northumberland County Council and was not formally a New Town sponsored by the Government.
Unlike that town, Killingworth’s planners adopted a radical approach to town centre design, resulting in relatively high-rise buildings in an avant-garde and brutalist style that won awards for architecture, dynamic industry and attractive environment.
This new town centre consisted of pre-cast concrete houses, with millions of small crustacean shells unusually embedded into their external walls, five to ten storey flats, offices, industrial units and service buildings, which often consisted of artistic non-functional characteristics, shops and residential multi-storey car parks, interconnected by ramps and walkways. These made up a deck system of access to shopping and other facilities, employing the Swedish Skarne method of construction.
The soft clays of the cliffs are subject to constant erosion.
In 2008 fresh landslips have occurred around Cayton Bay. The bungalows built on the old holiday camp at Osgodby Point have started to suffer serious erosion. The cliffs around the Cornelian and Cayton areas are just made of soil. So erosion is to be expected. It may taken time. But there is not much which can be done to prevent the seas moving in.
The Pumping Station was partially demolished in 1956.
Several well worn layers of geological time have been hanging around for a while now.
Whilst the long-gone critters are but fossilised versions of their former selves.
The rocks found at Cayton Bay are Jurassic aged from the Callovian stage. At the north end of Cayton Bay, the Cornbrash Formation can be seen, comprised of red-brown, sandy, nodular, bioturbated limestone with oysters and other bivalves.The Cornbrash lies beneath the start of the Cayton Clay Formation. Walking south towards Tenant’s Cliffs, Lower Calcareous Grit is brought to beach level, followed by a calcareous limestone. At the waterworks, low tides reveals a section in the Middle and Upper Jurassic rocks.
On scouring tides, argillaceous limestone and calcareous sandstone can be seen layered along the Upper Leaf of the Hambleton Oolite, which is seen excellently in the low cliff on the southern side of the Brigg. The tough, impure limestone contains well-preserved bivalves and ammonites. The sequence is shown in the diagram but faulting has caused unconformities.
During scouring, Oxford Clay can be seen along the foreshore south of the argillaceous limestone. Walking further south, Red Cliff is reached, where rocks of the Osgodby Formation slope above the Oxford Clay.
Originally the first Trade Union holiday camp in the North of England, owned by NALGO it opened its doors in 1933. It had 124 wooden bungalows, accommodating 252 visitors. A dining hall with waiter service, a rest room along with recreation rooms for playing cards, billiards, a theatre for indoor shows and dancing was also provided. The new centre also provided Tennis courts, Bowling greens along with a children’s play area. The visitors could walk to the beach where there was a sun terrace and beach house which also had a small shop.
One of the earliest visitors were the family of poet Philip Larkin and during the Second World War it became a home for evacuated children from Middlesbrough.
The NALGO camp closed in 1974 and was later sold.
The wide sandy bay was an ideal location for WW2 pillboxes and gun emplacements – anticipating a possible North Sea invasion.
They too are built quite literally on shifting sands.
The pillbox – one of many built along the coast to defend against an invasion during World War II – had started to break down, leaving one large piece of stone in a precarious position.
Rob Shaw, of Ganton, noticed the large slab was propped up dangerously against another piece of stone last September.
He said he reported his concerns to Scarborough Borough Council then, but that nothing was done until last month.
The dad-of-two said before the work:
I used to work in construction and I would have been fired if I had left a lump of concrete like that, it could weigh four or five tonnes.
It just needs lying flat on the sand so it can’t fall on anyone.
A spokesperson for Scarborough Borough Council said the council had assessed the pillbox and arrangements had been made for the problem section to be removed.
The Scarborough News
This unstable cliff-top structure was allegedly hastened bay-wards by the Council.
Claims that we pushed the pillbox off the cliff are untrue – our colleagues have many amazing talents but pushing huge concrete structures is not one of them. The structure people can see at the base of the cliff is the other section of the pillbox that has been on the beach for many years.
Prifysgol Aberystwyth University – Penglais CampusSY23 3AH
Led by London Welshman Hugh Owen, a small group of patriots sought from the 1850s onwards to raise enough money by public and private subscription to establish a college of university status in Wales. A project of enormous ambition, the University opened its doors in 1872 initially with a handful of teachers and just twenty five students in what was then a half-finished hotel building – the Old College on the seafront.
The first decade presented many challenges for the University’s survival. The generosity of a few individual benefactors and organised appeals for support from the ordinary people of Wales kept the University in being, and, perhaps more importantly, deeply rooted it in the minds and the affection of the Welsh people. A matter of considerable pride is that the University has made a significant contribution to the education of women, being one of the first institutions to admit female students.
Since those early days, Aberystwyth University has gone from strength to strength and now has more than 6,000 students and 2,000 staff. As the institution grew, its main campus moved from Old College on the seafront to Penglais Hill. This finely landscaped site enjoys spectacular views over the historic market town of Aberystwyth and the Cardigan Bay coastline. New buildings, including major arts and science developments, halls of residence, a magnificent Arts Centre and sports facilities are located here.
In 1935 Percy Thomas prepared a plan for the layout of a new campus, and was appointed as architect for the first three buildings to be constructed – Cledwyn, Pantycelyn and the swimming bath. This marked the beginning of the move away from the college by the sea to the college on the hill.
Built in a simple Georgian modern style, faced with Forest of Dean stonework, the building’s main entrance features a broad architrave adorned with low reliefs of agricultural scenes, and there are decorative circular stonework emblems in between the windows of the upper floor.
The carved stone work is by David Evans.
A Manchester-born sculptor who attended the Manchester School of Art, and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. After active service in the World War I, he resumed his studies at the Royal Academy, where he was instructed by Francis Derwent Wood. In 1922, he won the Landseer Prize and later went to work in the British School at Rome. He had been exhibiting at the Royal Academy since 1921. His works from the 1920’s are mainly highly stylised religious and mythological themes.
During his stay in the United States, he executed some significant work for public buildings in New York. The locations there included Rockefeller Center, Radio City, Brooklyn Post Office, a bank on Wall Street, St Thomas’s Church on Fifth Avenue.
Here are the four decorative panels placed higher on the building.
Immortalised in this elegant educational stamp set – designed by Mr Nicholas Jenkins of the Royal College of Art
To the right of the entrance this striking mosaic – action is ossified in the manner of a semi-permanent Pollock.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre is one of a number of campus buildings designed by Dale Owen of Percy Thomas Partnership, and completed in 1970-1972.
Built to a strongly horizontal design using grey granite aggregrate, the facade is essentially an overhanging rectangle framing of glass with an off-centre overhang. The position of the building providing unobstructed panoramic views over the main piazza style concourse and the sea beyond.
David began lecturing at Cardiff College of Art, later teaching and holding administrative posts at University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, retiring in 1988 as director of the department of visual art.
David Tinker was prominent in so many aspects of the visual arts in Wales throughout the second half of the 20th Century as a painter, sculptor, teacher, and stage designer.
Tinker is perhaps best known as one of three originators of the 56 Group with Eric Malthouse and Michael Edmonds, the new generation of young artists in Wales who were interested in modernism and keen to ally themselves to the international art world.
The 56 Group had no manifesto and for the most part they acted as an exhibiting co-operative; not all were abstract painters and their work was stylistically very different from one another, but all shared radical ideals. Their orderly revolt against the establishment was unique in the history of art in Wales.
They championed abstraction and allied themselves to European and American modernism, at a time when painters in Wales were being commended for recording the urban, rural and industrial face of Wales and its inhabitants.
As might be expected, the art establishment more readily accepted 56 Group avant garde works, and those artists who had been achieving some success as painters of the contemporary scene suddenly found themselves side-stepped, and labelled parochial.
The period 1966-1974 saw in his paintings a move toward hard-edged abstraction in which Tinker employed geometry-based structures, simple arithmetical problems, colour mixed from a restricted palette, and gentle tonal gradation.
More than once, though that’s no reason not to do so again – so I did.
Saying hello to Harold.
Harold saying hello to us:
Nostalgia won’t pay the bills; the world doesn’t owe us a living; and we must harness the scientific revolution to win in the years to come. This scientific revolution is making it physically possible, for the first time in human history, to conquer poverty and disease, to move towards universal literacy, and to achieve for the whole people better living standards than those enjoyed by tiny privileged classes in previous epochs.
He warned change would have to reach every corner of the country; The Britain that is going to be formed in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for the restrictive practices or for outdated methods on either side of industry.
Standing sentinel over one of Nikolaus Pevsner and John Betjeman’s favourite railway station front elevations.
Through a passage darkly.
Emerging into the light of day and the demolition of the Kirklees College 1969-72 by Borough Architect Charles Edmund Aspinall.
My thanks to the Metropolitan team who invited me in beyond the barriers.
We provide safe and efficient demolition services across a broad range of projects, from the small domestic dwelling to large scale industrial units – we offer the complete solution. With excellent communication and impeccable health and safety standards, we can project manage the decommissioning a structure on time and on budget.
Edward VII is under wraps.
Everything else is up for smash and grab – including the later concrete block immortalised by Mandy Payne.
LIDL is coming – and some homes
The final details have now been signed off by the council and work on the six-acre site – which includes the Grade II-listed original Huddersfield Royal Infirmary – can now begin.
The vandal-hit and fire-damaged late 1960s and early 1970s college buildings are to be demolished and Lidl will build a new supermarket with a 127-space car park. The store will eventually replace the store on Castlegate.
The former hospital will be retained and the site will see 229 apartments and an office complex. The apartments are expected to be for older or retired people.
Crossing the road to the Civic Centre and the perennially empty piazza which along with the Magistrates Courts and Police Station was the work of the Borough Architects team – led by Charles Edmund Aspinall.
Walking excitedly toward the Exsilite panels set in the stone faced columns – a brand name for a synthetic, moulded, artificial marble.
Dick Taverne served under Harold Wilson’s premiership in the 1960s, he served as a Home Office Minister from 1966 to 1968, Minister of State at the Treasury from 1968 to 1969 and then as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1969 to 1970.
In 1970, he helped to launch the Institute for Fiscal Studies, now an influential independent think tank and was the first Director, later chairman.
The council plans to demolish the Piazza Centre and create a new events/live music venue, a food hall, a museum and art gallery, a new library and a new multi-storey car park, all centred around a new Town Park.
Named after one of the Twentieth Century’s finest artists, the space nurtures a new and inspired generation of designers. Through visual and physical connection, the environment encourages students to work together, stimulating communication and ingenuity, the ingredients of successful collaboration.
Take that to the bank/s
Keep savin’, keep buildin’ That interest for our love Take that to the bank Keep savin’, keep buildin’ That interest for our love Take that to the bank
Councillors have approved a compulsory purchase order to complete the land assembly for the £300m Blackpool Central project but still hope to negotiate terms with property owners.
Blackpool Council’s executive unanimously agreed the recommendation towards enabling the Central Car Park to be transformed into a leisure destination boasting a flying theatre, virtual reality rides, a thrill and gaming zone, multi-media exhibition space and themed dining areas.
This is an opportunity to create tomorrow’s local centre, but that does rely on removing the Lancastrian Hall, rethinking the shopping centre, and repurposing the Civic Centre and the spaces around it.
I was minded of the political context to these campuses, radicalised by the events of the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Myself a student at Portsmouth Polytechnic during these heady days, where several Maoist, Marxist-Leninist, Stalinist and Trotskyite factions played out ideological debate and display, against these Modernist backdrops.
Photographer Simon Phipps shines a contemporary light on the innovative designs of this period. He has produced new work of a variety of campuses, including the University of Leeds, exclusively for the exhibition.
Alongside these contemporary photographs, the exhibition displays archival material from the Universities of Leeds, Sussex and East Anglia.
Rarely seen material from the Arup archive is also exhibited.
Let’s take a look at a topic from a bygone age that seems to come of age – there’s never been a better time to be Brutal!
Go and take a look, we really do need education – and exhibitions.
Built between 1963 and 1967, the centre comprised 18 shops, a childrens playground, public toilets, a health and dental centre, and a combined public house and community centre. The unit centre was designed by Chief Architect of the CDC, Gordon Redfern, and was architecturally the most innovative and ambitious unit centre within Cwmbran New Town. To combat the exposed nature of the site together with the ‘high rainfall, mists and variable winds’ prevalent in the area, Gordon Redfern designed an enclosed, high-sided space that would physically and mentally shield shoppers during their visits. This protective environment extended to creating a central play area that could be viewed from the shops, allowing a more enjoyable experience for children. Four different shops types were provided on increasing floor footage for facilities ranging from barbers to grocery shop, all with storage to the first floor and eight, on the south-west side, with a two-bedroom maisonette above. To enhance the architectural impact of the scheme, Redfern created each unit on an hexagonal plan despite the inefficiences in floor space usage and additional costs in creating the fixtures and fittings. The CDC also fitted out each of the uits to a customised requirement – for example the Post Office unit was pre-fitted with a telephone booth, posting box, stamp machine and half-glazed panel for advertising services.
The structural engineers were Ove Arup & Partners, the builders were Gee, Walker & Slater. Construction costs for the scheme were estimated at £214,106. The unit centre was opened 12 September 1967, shared with the opening of Monmouth House, both undertaken by Rt. Hon. James Callaghan, M.P. A scathing article written the following month by architectural critic Ian Nairndismissed the design as a ‘kind of in-turned medieval village … an oasis of picturesqueness in a desert of statistical units’ designed for, rather than with, the inhabitants and therefore destined for commercial failure.
In 1949, the then Minister for Town and Country Planning, John Silken, designated an area of 31,000 acres surrounding the village of Cwmbran to be the first new town in Wales. Unlike the first generation new towns, the aim of Cwmbran was to provide housing and a range of facilities for those employed in existing industry but who lived in poor housing in the neighbouring valleys.
A master plan was implemented to achieve the objective for the town. However, as the town developed, the projected size of the town had to increase and many of the plans ideals were diluted as the Southwest expansion area was approved in 1977.
In fact, due to the planned nature of Cwmbran, there now exists few opportunities for new development within the town. This has meant intense development pressure on the outskirts of Cwmbran from house builders and developers.
On the day of my visit the centre was busy with happy shoppers happily shopping – there were major works underway in line with the town’s new plans.
Cwmbran has also prospered from having a vibrant retail core. The Shopping Centre has a fully pedestrianised, multi purpose centre with covered shopping malls. There are over 170 retail outlets covering a total area of 700.000 sq. ft, including a number of popular high street retailers, restaurants, a theatre and cinema. Accordingly, the town is now considered to be a sub regional centre, and the intention is that this retail focus will be increased by regeneration of the eastern side of the town.
Now 50 years on parts of the town are in need of renovation. Through various public and private partnerships the aim of the Cwmbran Project Team is to set out a 15 year strategy for the regeneration and development of the new town, and begin its implementation.
My primary interest concerned the public art in Monmouth Square – William Mitchell’s concrete clad lift shaft.
There is a water feature currently off limits and without the water that would elevate the feature to a fully functioning feature.
Plans proposed in 2018 could may herald the demise of this important public work of art.
Plans to level the water gardens in Monmouth Square at the Cwmbran Centre will be reviewed by Torfaen council’s planning committee.
The proposal also includes a modern café with a glazed front, the development of an events space to house farmers markets and street theatre and a green area.
Rebecca McAndrew, Torfaen council’s principal planning officer, said in the report that the water feature would be filled in and flattened as part of “an ongoing renovation programme”.
The application states that the area has a ‘weary and dated appearance’ and do not meet disability access requirements.
According to the report, the water gardens last flowed 13 years ago and its demolition would lead to further improvements at Wales’ second largest shopping centre.
The Water Gardens were designed by the CDC Chief Architect Gordon Redfern as a key visual and recreational element of the Town Centre. His focus was on combining different textures in the form of hard landscaping and planting, with the sense of movement and sound created by running water. At the upper end a pool, containing an artwork created from Pilkington Glass, was fed by a horizontal water jet which was in turn led by a small ‘canal’ to the lower, sunken garden. With water cascading down the southern retaining wall, consisted of moulded concrete sporting abstract geometric form, and variety of trees and shrubs, this formed an area for busy shoppers and families to relax and socialise.
The old Royal building opened in 1978 and has served the city ever since – despite ongoing infrastructure problems. Looking at the crumbling, unsightly building, it is clear why Liverpool is desperate for its sparkling new facility to finally open.
When the new build plans were first announced, the Trust stated: “Once the new hospital is constructed, our existing hospital will be demolished. In its place, there are plans to develop a world-class health campus, as well as landscaping green space, roughly the size of Chavasse Park.”
In January 2020, two years after Carillion’s collapse, a report from the National Audit Office, projected the overall costs of the new Royal could tip over the £1.1 billion mark. It also commented on the plans for the old building, stating: “Further work to demolish the old hospital and create a new underground car park and public plaza, was not included in the PFI project and is currently unfunded. The cost of this was not included in the PFI project and is currently estimated at £38 million.”
We are greeted by William Mitchell’s sliding door panels.
Let’s take a look inside.
Above is the tower with large areas of stained glass designed by John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens in three colours – yellow, blue and red, representing the Trinity.
On the altar, the candlesticks are by RY Goodden and the bronze crucifix is by Elisabeth Frink. Above the altar is a baldachino designed by Gibberd as a crown-like structure composed of aluminium rods, which incorporates loudspeakers and lights. Around the interior are metal Stations of the Cross, designed by Sean Rice. Rice also designed the lectern, which includes two entwined eagles. In the Chapel of Reconciliation, the stained glass was designed by Margaret Traherne. Stephen Foster designed, carved and painted the panelling in the Chapel of St. Joseph. The Lady Chapel contains a statue of the Virgin and Child by Robert Brumby and stained glass by Margaret Traherne. In the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is a reredos and stained glass by Ceri Richards and a small statue of the Risen Christ by Arthur Dooley. In the Chapel of Unity is a bronze stoup by Virginio Ciminaghi, and a mosaic of the Pentecost by Hungarian artist Georg Mayer-Marton which was moved from the Church of the Holy Ghost, Netherton, when it was demolished in 1989. The gates of the Baptistry were designed by David Atkins.
Designed by NBBJ and HKS – The Royal Hospital is one of the national infrastructure schemes being delivered under a Government PFI contract, with work having started in 2014 led by now-collapsed contractor Carillion.
After Carillion went into administration, further issues were uncovered during a structural review by Arup in 2018, including that the cladding on the building was unsafe and the project had to be reviewed and re-costed as a result. The targeted completion date is now five years later than planned.