I have been here before, adoring the full range of Hasting’s sea front shelters.
They form an integral part of the general scheme designed and overseen by The Concrete King Sidney Little.
On my most recent visit the most distant shelter was receiving a wash and brush up, a brand new coat of paint or two, restored to bright red and white shipshape order, this land locked delight looked ready to set sail across the adjacent Channel to who knows where.
Offering a somewhat occluded view of blue skies and faraway shores, the bus stops here and goes on forever and forever.
Could there be a more moderne town?
Bexhill on Sea, blessed with the delightful De La Warr Pavillion.
Plus the Pallot and Collins murals inset into the wall of their local branch of Sainsbury’s.
The third such public sculpture I have had the pleasure to visit following trips to Newcastle and the now defunct BHS in my hometown of Stockport.
Henry William Collins and Joyce Millicent Pallot have a very special place in my heart, their lives’ work together gracing the Festival of Britain, GPO Tower and Expo 70, along with other retail outlets in Southampton, Gloucester, and Colchester. A distinctive style of bas relief in impressed concrete, ceramic terrazzo and simple modern motifs, drawn from local history and imagery.
Take a look around.
Do you come here often?
Well actually I do!
Here’s my account of my previous visits to Stopford House.
The large open public space that has almost everything except the public.
On the many occasions I have walked its concrete piazza, not once have I encountered another purposed soul – save the odd passing civic employee.
Unusually unchallenged by the diffident G4S or like as I snap away.
So come/go here, take a look – municipal concrete in the raw, softened by the controlled ingress of flowers and greenery.
Oh and not forgetting the recent addition of some curious coloured lines.
Curvilinear, cantilevered, concrete canopies wave – wave goodbye.
Opened in 1967
Closed in 2012, it continues to stand idly by, as the Bury Town centre doughnuts the site with shiny new developments.
A striking tower topped by a hyper parabolic roof with a cheeky twist, it remains an elegant feature on The Rock.
Facing an uncertain future it can only be a matter of time, as the new build proliferates that the fire station disappears in a puff of smoke.
Who you gonna call?
We here in Stockport have our own BHS murals, happily so does Newcastle.
The work of acclaimed artists Joyce Pallot and Henry Collins, they worked on a large number of murals and exhibition designs for amongst others, Jamestown Festival, USA; Brussels Exhibition; Expo 70; Japan; Shell Centre; GPO Tower, London; Grosvenor House, London; Ind Coope Ltd; Philips Business Systems; Sainsburys; British Home Stores; Cwmbran Arts Trust; Essex County Council and IBM, London.
They never worked on the site itself, but used a regular contractor Hutton’s Builders Ltd Colchester, who cast the concrete in panels around four feet square. There are two relief panels, depicting events in the history of Newcastle. Highly stylised, the relief is moulded to a depth of 5cm and features some charming Geordie characters.
The left panel contains the following inscriptions and images Monkchester with Roman head and Newcastle coat of arms. Roman ship and golden coin. Collier Brig 1704-1880 with ship. Oceanus with anchor and seahorse with trident. The right panel contains the following inscriptions and images: Jupiter Fortuna with two figures. Engineering; Davy and Stephenson; coal mining ship building with images of same. G & R Stephenson; Armstrong Whitworth; Rocket 1829 with image of first steam engine. Armstrong 12 Pounder RA with image of gun. 1878 J.Swan Pons Aelius with bridges depicted below. Turbinia and image of ship. Various churches with names carved about including Grainger Dobson 1865; 1838 Green Stokoe; Bewick with a swan; a figure and Brigantia. Final section on far right has Geordie over two figures, then the Keel Row with a loading boat at the bottom.
Information from – PMSA
The building was originally developed by C&A and it is thought that funding for the reliefs might have been provided by the store and/or Northern Arts. It became BHS which subsequently closed last year, the building is now occupied by Primark, C&A estates still own the site.
The mural illustrated the cover of the 1975 Newcastle Festival.
Everything is up in the air.
Tyneside is self evidently enamoured of elevation – they simply adore bridges, having five and another one as well. Walking driving, running trains across the mighty Tyne Valley, why they even write songs about them.
In the Swinging Sixties T Dan Smith vowed to create a Brasilia of the North, which as good as his word he did, though sadly lacking the requisite regard for the law of the land.
What remains is a complex interwoven structure of urban motorways, walkways, multi-storey car parks and tower blocks. To explore is to enter a world of the sublime, exhilarating and still yet mildly confusing.
Can you get there from here?
When is a subway not a sandwich?
When it’s a doughnut!
Hard by the seafront linking Foreshore, Cleveland Way and Valley Road sits a neat little tight little island, giving pedestrian access to almost everywhere – and a car park.
As with every other torus worth calling a torus, at its very centre sits the presence of absence, darkened concrete subterranean causeways, linking everything to nothing.
There’s a world going on underground.