Pallot and Collins Murals – Bexhill on Sea

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.

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Hastings – Model Village

Blimey, I remember the castle and the hamster wheel thing. It was, in those days, as close to you would get to an adventure play park, it was on the same site that is now held by Clambers and it was all outdoors. The Castle, the Hamster Wheel, an army zip slide, seesaws, roundabouts and I think there was a small paddling pool. The Castle stunk of wee, probably where kids couldnt be bothered to get to the toilet. I remember it even had towers that you could go up .

Next to the play park was a putting course and you use to pay where the bowling green hut is now. Then the other side was a crazy golf course and you purchased the tickets from the model village hut. We had some great times up there . We use to spend the morning in the museum and then a snack and a drink at a very small cafe that was just below White Rock Road, in Cambridge Road (since gone) and then off to the putting, the play park and then the crazy golf, in that order 

Can you imagine kids being allowed out to do that now ? We were 12 years old in 1973 and use to catch the 433 bus from the Fortune of War (well thats what we called the bus stop anyway) in Priory Road, to the Oval and back.

Happy days 

The Hastings Model Village took three years to build and opened on 19th February 1955. Designed by Stanley Deboo, it featured models of classic Sussex houses including oast-houses and timber-framed houses.

Sadly the Model Village was forced to close in December 1998 after vandalism caused £5,000 worth of damage. It was replaced by a miniature golf course built by Chris Richards.

The model village was replaced by a lazer maze style gaming centre in 2011, but still some of the original model village foundations remain at the site to this day.

 I love model villages, the real rendered diminutive in tiny eye bite size pieces. I have a particular affection for lost model villages, and particularly lost model villages which I have never visited. Having discovered a set of vintage images at the Vintage Village – I set out on a virtual journey by postcard, into a collective unconscious, previously uncollected.
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Here are the mechanically retrieved lost remnants of a lost world.
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Marine Court – St Leonards on Sea

It’s ever so easy to fall in love with a building, that’s ever so lovable.

So much of its time and place – a perfect piece of Seaside Moderne.

Sun soaked and whiter than white, against almost clear blue southern skies.

A luxury liner beached and beloved, now returned to showroom condition.

Go see for y’self.

http://www.modernistbritain.co.uk/post/building/Marine+Court/

Hastings – Arthur Green’s

Facing happily out to sea, hard by Hastings promenade, sits Arthur Green’s, former menswear shop of some considerable distinction. Currently operating as an antiques centre, the whole of the perfectly preserved, period interior is now listed by English Heritage.

A mosaic porch and glass lined vestibule, invite you into a palace of dark hardwood fittings, capacious drawers, glass fronted cabinets, and an ornately carved cashiers booth, all topped off and lit by crystal chandeliers.

Few such example still exist intact, their contents usually ripped out, ripped off and reinstalled in chi-chi overpriced, cosmopolitan boutiques – suits you sir?

I think not!

My thanks to the helpful and patient staff who informed and facilitated my mooching.

Take a walk along the front – pop in.

Launderette – London Road St Leonards

Mid blue linoleum tiles, patched here there.

And everywhere.

Signs

Everywhere.

In an uncertain universe, you can almost always rely on the launderette, to guide you on life’s soapy journey, through a complex series of immutable do’s and don’ts, arrows, slots, buttons and bows.

Giant is the new big is the new large.

I feel so small.

The Wash Inn – Hastings

Standing alone in an unattended laundrette can be a chilling experience, a heightened state of awareness abounds, accentuating that all pervasive absence of presence.

The unseen hand, that write the notes, that speak to you in emphatic hurried caps, pinned or taped precisely on the walls.

The ghosts of clothes, still warm, now gone.

A Proust defying amalgam of aromas, that almost fills the air.

Just you and a series of slots, demotic instructions, care worn utilitarian surfaces and time.

Wash Inn get out.

Pevensey – Oyster Bungalows

Hardly by accident, passing Pevensey Bay by bike one sunny summer’s day, hurriedly intent on catching up with old friends.

Having visited here some years ago, under the guidance of pal Pauline, I was as ever, over eager to renew our previously brief acquaintance.

There they were waiting patiently, to the left of a long straight road, running parallel to the adjacent shore.

Oyster Bungalows – so called for their cylindrical form and formerly scalloped barge boards.

Holiday homes the work of designer / architect: Martin & Saunders Limited built: 1937 – 1939.

Small and perfectly formed, they all seem to have suffered the indignities of ageing none to gracefully.

Subject to the whims of fashion and the uPVC expediency of our age.

Typically no two are the same, variegated planting, neglect and graceless addenda grace the previously pristine homes.

For all that, their diminutive charm remains undiminished.

My spirits lifted as I strolled by, inevitably yours will too.