Shelters Rhos to Colwyn

I have previously sought succour in your shady shelters, as unrelenting sheets of steel grey rain peppered the wind whipped Irish sea.

A concrete cornucopia of Californian screen block, glass, pebbledash, mosaic and crazy paving.

Municipal modernism under threat as the unstoppable force of coastal improvement lumbers on, a pantechnicon of shiny surfaces, sensitive planting, contemporary seating and laser-cut, contextually appropriate historical panels.

As Hardscape introduces a wholesome dose of CGI style medicine to the promenade

I for one will miss you all when you’re gone.

Next time I pass all this will seem as a dream, a tale told by a fool full of storm and fury signify nothing.

Crazy Golf – Postcards From Blackpool

This in so many senses is where it all began – my first encounter with the visual arts was through my Aunty Alice’s postcard album. Predating visits to Manchester City Art Gallery in my mid-teens, I was lost in a world of post WW1 printed ephemera, rendered less ephemeral by careful collection and collation. Sitting entranced for hours and hours absorbing the photography, text and illustration of hundreds of unseen hands.

This is North Shore Blackpool – behind the Metropole in the early 60s.

The colour is muted by the then state of the art colour reproduction, the holiday dress is constrained by the codes of the day. Light cotton frocks and wide brimmed sun hats, shirts tucked in belted slacks, sandals and shorts – purely for the pre-teens.

The focus and locus of fun is located on the prom and what better way to squander a moment or eighteen, than with a pleasurable round of crazy golf. Municipal Modernist frivolity rendered corporeal in corporation concrete, repainted annually ahead of the coming vacationers.

Domesticated Brutalism to soften the soul.

And there can be no better away to inform the awaiting world of your capricious coastal antics than a picture postcard, so playfully displayed on the corner shop carousel – 10p a pop.

Stopping to chuckle at the Bamforth’s mild mannered filth, yet finally purer of heart, opting for the purely pictorial.

Man and boy and beyond I have visited Blackpool – a day, week or fortnight here and there, the worker’s working week temporarily suspended with a week away.

Times have now changed and the new nexus is cash, all too incautiously squandered – Pleasure Beach and pub replacing the beach as the giddy stags and hens collide in an intoxicating miasma of flaming Sambuca, Carling, Carlsberg and cheap cocktails – for those too cash strapped for Ibiza.

The numbers are up – 18 times nothing is nothing – each year as I revisit, the primarily primary colour paint wears a little thinner in the thin salt air and the whining westerly wind, of the all too adjacent Irish Sea.

Overgrown and underused awaiting the kids and grown ups that forever fail to show. On one visit the sunken course had become the home of the daytime hard drinkers, they suggested we refurbish and run the course as a going concern. I declined lacking the time, will and capital for such a crazy enterprise.

The starting has finally stopped.

On The Waterfront – Llandudno

A welwyd eisoes.

I’ve been here before, as have others before me.

The town of Llandudno developed from Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements over many hundreds of years on the slopes of the limestone headland, known to seafarers as the Great Orme and to landsmen as the Creuddyn Peninsula.

Some years later.

In 1848, Owen Williams, an architect and surveyor from Liverpool, presented landowner Lord Mostyn with plans to develop the marshlands behind Llandudno Bay as a holiday resort. These were enthusiastically pursued by Lord Mostyn. The influence of the Mostyn Estate and its agents over the years was paramount in the development of Llandudno, especially after the appointment of George Felton as surveyor and architect in 1857.

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The edge of the bay is marked by concrete steps and a broad promenade, edging a pebbled beach which arcs from Orme to Orme.

Walk with me now and mark the remarkable shelters, paddling pools and bandstand screens, along with the smattering of people that people the promenade.

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Margate – Tidal Pools

Margate a town of two pools.

The first tucked in by the prom, a moments walk from the station and overlooked by the imposing Arlington House and the shimmer of the Turner Contemporary

– alas no longer the domain of the wild swimmer.

A large delicious expanse of seawater, now sadly designated as a boating pond.

I was drawn magnetically to this elemental artifice, where untamed waters meet a controlled concrete geometry, waves temptingly lapping the walls.

Would that it could be open again to the town’s swimmers.

I am latterly reliably informed, that the pool is well used by local aquarists, despite the Local Authority’s prohibitions and ministrations – bravo!

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The second at Walpole Bay still open to the swimmer and what’s more it’s listed.

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, one of two tidal pools designed by Margate’s borough engineer in 1937, constructed in concrete blocks reinforced by reused iron tram rails, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Structural engineering interest: an ambitious project because of its scale, the weight of each concrete block, and that work needing to be carried out day and night because of the tides; * Scale and design: impressive in scale and shape, occupying 4 acres and three sides of a rectangle, the sides 450 feet long diminishing towards the seaward end which was 300 feet long; * Social historical interest: provided an improvement to sea bathing at the period of the greatest popularity of the English seaside; * Degree of intactness: intact apart from the loss of the two diving boards which do not often survive; * Group value: situated quite near the remains of the 1824-6 Clifton Baths (Grade II), an 1935 lift and the other 1937 tidal pool. 

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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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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/

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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