Brucciani’s – Morecambe

Brucciani – 217 Marine Rd Central, Morecambe LA4 4BU217

Built on the eve of war in 1939, the local paper feared that Brucciani’s might not be good for the sedate Victorian image of Morecambe and that its presence could be positively harmful to young people. Originally a milk bar, Brucciani’s typifies the simple, geometric ‘high street deco’ styling popular at the time. The brown wood and chrome exterior has black lacquer base panels to the street, porthole lamps above the doors, ziggurat pattern doors, classic deco handles and original menus. The interior preserves extensive wall panelling, a slightly reworked counter, red Formica tables, red upholstered chairs, wall-to-wall etched glass of Venetian canal scenes, mirrors, deco clocks and even the original penny-in-the-slot cubicles in the cloakrooms.

Classic cafés

I’ve been coming here for over ten years now, alone or in company, come rain or shine and without fail, as sure as ice is nice, I have a banana spilt – or to be more precise a Banana Royal.

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Jenny Steele 2015

This is a café with a café menu, café furniture, café staff and service.

It only ever wanted and wants to be a café, unchanged by the uncaring winds of vicissitude and fashion. To tread the turquoise and tan linoleum, ‘neath the period lighting fixtures and fittings, to be seated on the warm red leatherette, one elbow on the circular Formica table is to enter into into a pact with a perfect past.

It’s on the front you can’t miss it – overlooking the Sunset Bay.

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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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Sea Front Shelter – Hastings

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.

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North Foreland Estate – Broadstairs

Where the lone lawn ranger, meets the top of the range Range Rover.

Yippee ki oh ki-yay!

Forever out to out Lutyens.

I think you’re probably out to lunch.

To walk the shoreline path through North Foreland Estate, is to walk an intentionally unintentional free market, mash-up of architectural history.

Hey ho let’s go!

To begin at the beginning, 1636 a lighthouse is erected – leaping forward somewhat:

During World War II a number of radar stations were set up by German forces in France and the Netherlands to detect allied aircraft flying across the English Channel and a chain of top secret radar jamming stations were set up by British scientists along the south east coast of Britain. An array of transmitters was set out around gallery of the lighthouse controlled by equipment in the lower lantern as part of this chain.

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The North Foreland lighthouse was last manned lighthouse in the UK, but was automated in a ceremony presided over by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1998.

It seems appropriate that the DoE should preside over the automation, however, I digress.

This is a gently rolling coast line, low chalk cliffs harbouring sandy coves and spies.

And the wealth of nations, £2,000,000 gets you this shiny hunk of real estate.

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A gated community, double negated through further gating, ornamental railings, well clipped hedges, picket fences, high grey stuccoed walls, and attendant dogs.

Big dogs, very big dogs, fortunately with even bigger walls.

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As is often the case in such areas the residents are short of nothing – excepting residents.

There was but on lone lawnmower owning owner to nod to.

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Last seen, receding towards his quasi sixties, semi-dormered detached, hat intact.

So accompany me now through the New England homes of the new England, admire the Mock Gothic, Super Krazed Moderne, pseudo Tudo-Jacobethan delights that await us.

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Too rich for your undernourished pockets, have you considered a drawing of a house?

High concept, conceptual housing for the under-housed.

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So farewell the North Shoreland I’ll leave you to get on with your high value, property based, rise and fall bollard lifestyle I, like Felix – kept on walking.

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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.

Margate – Turner Contemporary

Mr Turner came here way back when,

The same sea lapped a different shore,

A gallery stands where he passed,

If passing pop in,

Or wander the perimeter in search of a sense,

Of well being, or otherwise,

Seeking a link with some not too distant past,

When a different sea lapped the same shore.

https://www.turnercontemporary.org

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Deal – Seaside Shelters

Two.

Parachuted from who knows where, onto the unsuspecting seafront.

Backed by a rambling range of well behaved Georgian terraces, facing a remorselessly mutable sea.

Affording space age shelter to the passing pilot of an ever imminent future.

Sit in, look through, out and beyond.

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