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.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 14.47.01

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.

_P1090924_edited-1

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.

tamarisk

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

123 copy

barometer

DSC_0003

DSC_0004

DSC_0005

DSC_0006

DSC_0007

DSC_0009

DSC_0010

DSC_0012

DSC_0013

DSC_0014

DSC_0015

DSC_0016

DSC_0017

DSC_0018

DSC_0019

DSC_0020

DSC_0021

DSC_0022

DSC_0023

DSC_0024

DSC_0025

DSC_0030

DSC_0032

DSC_0033

DSC_0035

DSC_0036

DSC_0037

DSC_0038

DSC_0040

DSC_0041

DSC_0042

DSC_0043

DSC_0044

DSC_0045

DSC_0046

DSC_0047

DSC_0048

DSC_0049

DSC_0051

DSC_0052

DSC_0054

DSC_0055

DSC_0056

DSC_0057

DSC_0058

DSC_0059

DSC_0061

nets copy

nets2 copy

roof copy

sea way copy

verandah

 

Eastford Square Collyhurst – Slight Return

I’ve been here before and after.

After now seems further away, forever awaiting redevelopment – waiting.

No more Flower Pot Café and a warm welcome from Lee and the lads.

P1220206 copy

Nearly nine years on – the shutters are down and nobody is home, save for the Lalley Centre – offering food, support and care to the community.

JS79308197

Though Sister Rita Lee has now move on to pastures new.

The homes and shops remain resolutely shut, un-lived in and unloved, though the City plans to re-site the resident sculpture, the residents remain absent without leaving.

P1220207 copy

P1220208 copy

P1220209 copy

P1220212 copy

P1220213 copy

P1220214 copy

P1220215 copyP1220216 copy

P1220217 copy

P1220218 copy

P1220219 copy

P1220220 copy

P1220221 copy

P1220222 copy

P1220223 copy

 

Back to Bideford Drive – Baguley

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 11.05.28

Here we are again – having previously travelled back to the inception of the estate in the 1970s.

Structurally little has changed, politically and economically things have shifted.

Tectonically:

The Conservative Party had committed itself to introducing a Right to Buy before Margaret Thatcher became Party leader. After the election of May 1979 a new Conservative government drafted legislation to provide a Right to Buy but, because this would not become law until October 1980, also revised the general consent to enable sales with higher discounts matching those proposed in the new legislation. The numbers of sales completed under this general consent exceeded previous levels. Between 1952 and 1980 over 370,000 public sector dwellings were sold in England and Wales. Almost a third of these were in 1979 and 1980 and it is evident that higher discounts generated and would have continued to generate higher sales without the Right to Buy being in place. 200,000 council houses were sold to their tenants in 1982, and by 1987, more than 1,000,000 council houses in Britain had been sold to their tenants.

The Right to Buy: History and Prospect

The post war policy of building and renting local authority housing was swamped by the phrase property owning democracy, on which the popular conservatism of the 20th century rested, and with it a vision of the good society, was coined by the Scottish Unionist Noel Skelton in a quartet of articles for the Spectator entitled Constructive Conservatism, written in the spring of 1923. The appeal of Popular Capitalism proved compelling, however the periods of de-industrialisation, and the subsequent lull in the building of new affordable homes, has created a myriad of obstacles for those simply seeking somewhere to live and work.

The estate illustrates this historic shift, replete with homeowners decorative amendments and addenda, managing agents and trusts and an end to the architectural integrity of the development.

One could become all Ian Nairn about this, swathed in Outrage.

I myself feel that despite the cosmetic surgery, this remains a homely enclave, residents going about their business in a relatively orderly and happy manner.

Take a look:

P1170298

P1170299

 

 

P1170303

 

P1170306

P1170307

P1170309

P1170312

P1170313

P1170315

P1170318

P1170319

 

P1170325

P1170327

P1170329

P1170331

P1170335

P1170337

P1170338

P1170339

P1170343

P1170345

P1170348

P1170349

P1170351

P1170353

P1170354

P1170356

P1170358

P1170359

 

Barmouth Street – Bradford Manchester

Once again I am following in the footsteps of Rita Tushinghan and the Taste of Honey film crew, this time my research has lead me to Barmouth Street, Manchester.

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-14-42-03

To the east of the city centre, Bradford Park School was the scene of the opening scene, Jo’s netball match. The school is now long gone, now the site of a much enlarged public park, as can be seen from the map above.

Shelagh Delaney, author of the original play on which the film was based, can be seen fleetingly in this opening scene, appearing momentarily over the games teacher’s shoulder.

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-14-43-12

I have found one archive image of the school, as the scholars prepare for the annual Whit Walks, this along with many other community traditions and conventions, have all but disappeared from the streets of the city.

webmedia-php

This was once a tight knit community, surrounded by industry, full employment and a short lived period of post-war growth and optimism.

A corner shop on very corner, though by the time I worked as a Mothers Pride van lad in the late sixties, many were already on their last legs. A lethal cocktail of closing factories, incipient supermarkets, and an urban renewal programme, which lead to slum clearance, would change the character of the area forever.

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-11-59-09

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-11-59-38

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-02-21

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-03-37

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-04-58

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-05-23

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-06-37

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-00-28

I am indebted to the photographic work of T Brooks who seems to have spent much of the mid Sixties documenting the streets, his pictures are now kept here in the Manchester Image Archives. Sadly I have found no further reference to him or his images, but have nothing but admiration for all those who pass noticed amongst us, camera forever poised.

Central to the social and sanitary life of that that community were the Barmouth Street Baths and Washhouse, where citizens would swim, wash, dry, iron, chat convivially, and surprisingly – play bowls.

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-08-14

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-14-20

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-17-35

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-16-24

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-15-54

Now long gone, along with the provision of local authority nursery care. There were similar low level pre-fabricated buildings dotted all over the city. Built quickly and cheaply, to provide for a growing population, of largely working-class families, with no shortage of work opportunities.

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-07-54

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-08-53

This was a time of great social change, a time which the film attempts to anticipate -a more diverse, and hopefully more tolerant time, a time of possibilities and opportunities for all.

Semi Detached – Warrington

I was walking back from St Stephen’s Church recently, when I chanced upon a small group of two storey, flat roofed, semi detached social houses.

They were blessed with that post war functionalist brick and concrete chic.

Part of a larger development of homes in the Longford area of the town.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-15-33-18

An area which is one of the most socially deprived in the country, with more than its fair share of problems, crack and weed would once have been pressing matters for the Borough Highways Department – these days they are more likely to attract the attention of the boys and girls in blue.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-17-17-47

And to cap it all the area is prone to frequent flooding.

longford-flooding

There are signs of hope as the housing association and council embark on a multi million pound refurbishment of the estate including:

Replacing fencing around bungalows.

On the day of my visit the chill January streets seemed quiet and ordered, and I was enchanted by the mismatched pairs of semis that I encountered.

p1130204

p1130205

p1130206

p1130207

p1130208

p1130209

p1130210

p1130212

p1130213

p1130214

p1130215

p1130216

p1130218

p1130219

p1130220

 

 

Pifco – Manchester

It began with a ray gun.

Following a thread, a tenuous electrical link that brought me back home, to an all too familiar household name.pifco-copy

A name that has illuminated, vibrated, mixed, measured, massaged, warmed and dried our lives for over one hundred years.

But what does it mean, where does this stuff come from, what’s it all about Pifco?

 

Pifco of Failsworth, also of Pifco House, 87 High Street, Manchester.

1900 Company established by Joseph Webber to sell lighting appliances and accessories.

1902 Public company formed as Provincial Incandescent Fittings Co. Ltd.

1911 The Filani Nigeria Tin Mining Co was incorporated as a public company.

1949 Name changed.

1954 Incorporated Walls Ltd, of River Street Birmingham, as a wholly-owned subsidiary to manufacture medical lamps, kettles and small cookers.

1957 The last of the mining assets were sold.

1957 Filani Nigeria Tin Mining Co changed its name to Pifco Holdings Ltd and acquired all of the issued share capital of Pifco 1961 Manufacturers and distributors of electrical appliances and accessories. 

1970 The Regent Cotton Mill, in Failsworth was purchased by Pifco.

1984 Agreed to acquire Swan Housewares from BSR International, but later the deal collapsed.

1987 Acquired House of Carmen, maker of heated hair rollers; the other important brand was Salton.

1991 Purchased Russell Hobbs Tower.

2001 Salton Group, a US company making domestic appliances, acquired Pifco.

 

So Provincial Incandescent Fittings Co. Ltd.

We salute you, so much joy emanating from Failsworth Manchester, making the world a warmer, drier, brighter, cleaner safer place.

1298897083-27167-0

Always at never less than entirely reasonable prices.

 

pifco

im19390318pp-pifco

dsc09253-600x800

A true friend to the nocturnal cyclist.

im19311211cy-pifco

im19360902cy-pifco

_1

Christmas cheer for all!

28-20147113412_540x360

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-19-17-43

Those little things that lighten the wearisome load of the daily beauty regime.

im19390325pp-pif

 

blog-pifco-004

13_30_01_2426

heat-lamp

pifco-face-sauna

The minor essentials of our everyday electrical lives.

9068043921_1c6682d0cd_b

pifco_fusewire_card_red_white

pifco_insulated_staples_box_standing

The seemingly frivolous rendered material.

3212_l

290809-151

We can all sleep ever so easily abed at night, in the simple knowledge that Pifco is still out there working just for us/you!

Nighty night.

pifco-2071-4-way-extension-reel-with-13a-thermal-fuse-and-25m-cable

 

 

 

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.