Tag Archives: Heritage

Friday Bench: from the old railway works

Click to enlarge if needed – the benches should be easier to see if you do

These benches are located en route from Swindon station to the Steam museum which tells the story of Swindon’s now defunct railway works.

Indeed we are looking at where the works used to be. I was particularly interested in seeing how this area had changed as I used to pass through on my way to my voluntary work at Heelis, the National Trust’s HQ.

Back then, this area was a mass of railway lines as it was where chains were tested for use on the railway. Some of these chain testing pits are still there to the left of this photo, but the rest of the area was concreted over when they started to build what’s now called the Old Railway Quarter around 10 years ago.

I always enjoy coming here to look for clues to the site’s previous use. The buildings you can see at the end are part of Historic England’s HQ and housed the drawing office of the old railway works.

Whenever I find a reminder of the old railway works, I always feel a sense of loss, even though this area is being redeveloped with some sensitivity to what went before. It’s hard to imagine the noise, bustle and activity which was swept away and replaced by this much quieter – albeit award winning – scene.

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Friday Bench: It’s a hoot

Owl Bench at Hardwick Hall

We’d only just arrived at Hardwick Hall when this unusual bench greeted us. There were plenty more inside which may feature at a later date.

I’d often spotted theΒ Hall looming over the surrounding countryside as we whizzed past on the M1 to/from my brother-in-law’s in Yorkshire. I’m pleased we found the time to explore it on our way home on Tuesday.

I’m also pleased I’veΒ added a new county – Derbyshire – to the Categories section – over half way now! [30 down, 12 to go in fact]

 

Facadism

picture of facade at Ally Pally hiding the relatively new exhibition hall behind

Facadism is a new-to-me word which I learnt recently. It describes when the outside skin of an old building is left in-situ with a new building developed behind it. It’s a bit controversial in the heritage/architecture world. Some see it as too much of a compromise when development of an area takes place. As an ordinary punter I prefer it to the all of the old being ripped down.

It’s not a new concept – apparently the Georgians were at it in the 18th and 19th centuries. ThisΒ is how I came to learn my new word as I showed an example on Twitter of a Georgian building in Spitalfields (how ironic) which had been given the treatment more recently.

In the case of the pictured Ally Pally, there wasn’t much choice as much of the building was burned down in the 1980s. I didn’t know until I arrived there that 40% of the placeΒ is derelict. Plans are afoot to develop it…

The Menacing Sparkle of The City

A mixture of old and new

This picture may look a bit of a jumble but it fascinates me. I’m standing in London’s East End – Petticoat Lane, site of the famous market to be exact – looking towards The City. To the right are Georgian buildings from the late 1700s/early 1800s. Ahead is the brutalist architecture of 1950s/60s-something social housing with something of a similar nature to the left. And behind that we have the late 20th century sparkle of The City and its promise of riches.

But for me something’s changed somehow. Having discovered the rich (and disappearing) heritage of the area around Spitalfields last week, that 20th century sparkle now seems more menacing than the nearby streets where Jack the Ripper once roamed.

I wonder how long it’ll be before The City leaps across the few streets which separates it from where I’m standing?

Friday Bench: Illuminating Lacock

Illuminated bench at Lacock Abbey

I loved how this illumination picked out the detail of the stonework behind the bench. Illuminating Lacock is celebrating 175 years since Fox Talbot announced his photographic negative process which he developed (‘scuse pun) at Lacock Abbey. There’s more on this over at Veg Plotting today.

The illuminations are 4-7pm from now until 9th February 2014.