Humberston Fitties

Betwixt and between the two world wars, the shortage of housing for the homeless, hopeless and dispossessed lead to an acceleration in the building of an informal architecture – the so-called Plotlands.

One such area and precious survivor from the last century is the Humberston Fitties – situated to south of Cleethorpes, preserved in time by the happy homesteaders.

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Though under threat from Local Authority negligence or intervention, three hundred and twenty chalets prevail – against the incursion of planning regulations, building specs and a lack of respect.

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I feel a real affinity for all Plotlands, having spent many summers in the converted Pagham railway carriage, belonging to my Aunty Alice and Uncle Arthur. They relocated to the south coast seeking cleaner air for Arthur’s ailing, industrialised northern lungs, thus prolonging his life.

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Tamarisk – Pagham

So here are the photographs I took on a visit to The Fitties in July 2008, I walked the home made roads, amazed by the vigour and variety of shape, size, personal affectation and practical pragmatism, of this all too human architecture.

This is a particular form of independent minded Modernism – hand-forged from the vernacular.

It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are, than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.

Henry David Thoreau

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Penrhyn Bay – Ranch House Style

There is some far-flung corner for Wales, that is forever California.

As the clippers and steamers left the Mersey Estuary for the New World, cram packed with emigres some centuries ago, would they expect on their return, some centuries later, to find this architectural cultural exchange, located sedately on Penrhyn Bay?

This is a typology with a limited vocabulary, but spoken in a lilt, with an ever so slight, polite Mid-Atlantic drawl.

Lightly clad, stone-faced, light and almost expansive the seaside bungalow.

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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.