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.

P1170950

P1170955

P1170956

 

P1170961

P1170963

 

P1170965

P1170966

P1170967

P1170968

P1170969

P1170970

P1170971

P1170972

P1170973

P1170974

P1170976

P1170977

P1170978

P1170979

P1170980

P1170982

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!

P1050061 copy

P1050062 copy

P1050063 copy

 

P1050065 copy

P1050066 copy

P1050067 copy

 

P1050072 copy

P1050073 copy

P1050077 copy

 

 

P1050082 copy

P1050083 copy

P1050085 copy

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. 

P1040713 copy

P1040716 copy

P1040717 copy

P1040718 copy

P1040719 copy

P1040720 copy

P1040836 copy

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.

1280px-North_Foreland_Lighthouse_by_George_Jackson

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.

e5d99b95-661e-49d2-b89a-9db836b15c68-xl

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.

P1040768 copy

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.

P1040755 copy

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.

P1040756 copy

P1040757 copy

P1040758 copy

P1040759 copy

P1040762 copy

P1040763 copy

P1040764 copy

P1040766 copy

P1040767 copy

P1040769 copy

P1040770 copy

P1040771 copy

P1040772 copy

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

High concept, conceptual housing for the under-housed.

P1040780 copy

P1040774 copy

P1040775 copy

P1040777 copy

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.

P1040783 copy

 

Pleasureland

“But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”

Umberto Eco

Somewhere between Las Vegas Nevada and Casablanca Morocco lies Southport.

Somewhere in Southport lies Pleasureland.

Separated by oceans and oceans of artifice.

A puzzle wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a wind blown fish and chip paper, tipped lazily onto the edge of Lancashire.

The seaside itself an invention of the railways, and an expanding leisured class.

To begin in the middle, the Hollywood cinema creates an Orientalist mythology around Morocco. A confection of exotic confinement, conspiratorial glances and romance.

Who are you really, and what were you before?

What did you do and what did you think, huh? 

We said no questions. 

Here’s looking at you, kid.

Casablanca,_title

Which in turn becomes parody of itself, constructing an airport that apes its own constructed image, a brash reflection in an eternally wonky mirage of a mirror.

casablanca-mosque-hassan-ii

The same mirror that reflects across the Atlantic, to that cap it all capital of Kitsch.

img13228702

A veritable smorgasbord of visual treats and retreats in Mesquite Nevada.

CasaBlanca_Resort_Casino_1

Or the Casablanca Ballroom Westin Lake Hotel – Las Vegas.

wes3786br.144830_xx

Flying home to the Warner Brothers Stage 16 Restaurant

casablanca-backing-for-stage-16-resturant-las-vegas

Or indeed Southport.

DSC_0068 copy

2011 – I had my first close up and personal encounter with the wood frame, chicken wire and faux adobe render rendering of North Africa, on the coast of North West England. It was in a state of semi-advanced neglect, an extraordinary experience. Pleasureland had already faked it’s own demise, a pre-boarded up, boarded up frontier town.

DSC_0065 copy

Where the edges of meaning are blurred beyond belief, take care.

We are dealing with uneven surfaces.

DSC_0070 copy

 

 

Who could resist a Moroccan themed crazy golf course?

You are now entering a Scoobidoo-esque scenario, where the mask is never finally removed, nothing is revealed.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.58.53

2016 – I returned, the world had turned a revival was in part taking place, some of the pleasure returned to Pleasureland, whilst the seafront facing bars remained empty.

One man holds the key the glue, that bonds these distant lands.

The myth to end all myths.

DSC_0087 copy

For he is forever in his own orbit, omniscient.

DSC_0090 copy

Make the world go away
And get it off my shoulders
Say the things you used to say
And make the world go away

Stockport – Stopford House

 

Famed as an imaginary TV police station, this civic building is a civic building I simply can’t resist. I return on a regular basis to wander and snap. This is an open public space that seems little loved and has few visitors.

It is quite literally concrete poetry incarnate, a careful collision of form, tone, texture and line, softened with sympathetic planting.

 

There had been proposals to extend the Town Hall provison since 1945, which were finally realised in 1975. Built at a cost of £1,500,000 – to provide additional office provision for the Local Authority. A further two blocks were planned but never built.

The main block is clad in 1400 exposed aggregate precast panels and the link blocks have ribbed walls constructed with in situ concrete, bush hammered to expose the limestone aggregate. The precast panels were carefully matched in order to harmonize with the existing Town Hall, the mix contained coarse aggregate from the Scottish Granite Company of Creetown, a fine Leemoor sand from the Fordamin Company, together with white cement.

There are two levels of underground parking beneath the whole of the development. The piazza betwen the blocks was to have had a water cascde falling into a pond running the whole length of the area. Though exciting and expansive in the modern manner the piazza area, sadly, seems little used.

It needs a little love pop by and say hello sometime.

Wilko’s – Blackpool

Formerly the site of a much larger, much busier Blackpool North Station – a time when trains arrived sixteen coaches long.

As seen in this archive film of the 1940s.

Cars and closures caused the station to withdraw up the road, to its current much smaller site.

Subsequently Fine Fare arrives with a fanfare of fibre glass panels, and cast concrete walls.

fine fare

Superseded by Food Giant, Gateway, Dunnes Stores, Kwik Save and Somerfields – possibly others, currently Wilkinson’s Wilko Superstore and Age UK, retaining at all times the attractive integral car-park.

Wilko is now to be relocated and the site redeveloped as part of the second phase of the £220m Talbot Gateway – whereby trams will link the promenade with the Station.

Possibly.

The tale is the typical mix of Council, Developer on/off, binary obfuscation, secrecy, smoke and mirrors.

Councillor Fred Jackson says:

“We are in talks with our development partner Muse but there is a confidentiality agreement so there is very little I can say.”

Whatever the outcome I do hope the panels are saved, having notified Historic England several weeks ago, I eagerly await their hurried and considered response…

In the meantime get y’self on the choo-choo to Blackpool North toot sweet, and have a gander at a fine Fine Fare fibre glass panel or two, before you can’t.

 

Police Station – Blackpool

I’ve been here before, innocently snapping – without incident.

A super-large Roger Booth cop shop and courts, concrete combo.

So why not go back just one last time, prior to demolition and redevelopment.

So I did.

Following the acquisition and demolition of Progress House the Bonny Street Station is to be relocated, and the former site, under the ownership of Blackpool Council, set to become who knows what – who knows?

Progress House, Clifton Road, Marton.
Progress House, Clifton Road, Marton.

940662392

The Council knows, it plans to develop a new site for the defunct Central Rail Station

A giant of the steam age that became a car park

8454435614_0fb026e809_b

It is 50 years since Central Railway Station closed with the land being used for a car park ever since. It was proposed as the site for the super-casino until that bid failed to win government backing. Since then plans for an indoor snow-based attraction have also failed to make any progress.

Today happily, snow-based attractions are still failing to make any progress.

Blue skies and chill early March air greeted me, across the wind swept, precast concourses and piazzas – warmish grey, against brightish blue.

I simply didn’t expect the boy in blue – ten minutes of light/half hearted interrogation.

“Who, what, why, where are you?”

Responding in a clear concise and non-confrontational manner, I was free to go about my legal business, taking these pictures for you.

P1020045

P1020047

P1020049

P1020051

P1020052

P1020053

P1020054

P1020055

P1020056

P1020057

P1020058

P1020061

P1020062

P1020063

P1020064

 

P1020065P1020066

P1020067

P1020068

P1020069

P1020070

P1020071

P1020072

P1020073

P1020074

P1020075

P1020076

P1020078

P1020081

P1020082

P1020083

P1020087