Archive for the ‘buildings’ Category

Trinity Market

May 5, 2018

Trinity Square, with Hull Minster centre stage.  More strange fountains, this time squares in the square, water flows upwards, flows to the edge.

On one side, Trinity Market.

Trinity Market, a recently refurbished Edwardian market, 1902 the oldest covered market in Hull. Stripped back exposing the iron columns and girders, open and airy.

They have attempted to create something like Borough Market in London, artisan food and other independent traders.

Contrast with grim failing markets elsewhere, too often destroyed for redvelopement.

Contrast with Central Market off Sincil Street in Lincoln. Grim an understatement, Coop and the City Council have done their damnedest to destroy the market and the surrounding area. Empty stalls, trash, one of the few stalls worth visiting a spice stall, closed at the weekend.

Trinity Market shows what could be if local councils had vision.  Develop for local quality businesses, not as Lincoln, destroy an area, invite in chains.

It was in Trinity Market I found Caffeinated, as the name implies, a coffee stall.

One area of Trinity Market has bench seats. An area to sit and relax and enjoy the food on offer.

As I was leaving, a noticed a stage being set up, therefore I assume live music in the evening.

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Press preview International Bomber Command Centre

January 17, 2018

My last visit to International Bomber Command Centre, muddy approach, shell of a building, hard hat, steel-tipped boots, hi-vis vests for access.

Today, a loose gravel approach to the finished building.

Not yet officially open, today was to give the media a glimpse.

Walking in, after passing through an open plan reception, a large auditorium, large screen, various interactive and static displays.

The interactive displays, students dressed the part, speaking what it was like, based upon recorded first hand accounts.

The interactive displays in the prison cells in the old Victorian Prison in Lincoln Castle give an idea of what to expect.

For the Centre, to collect these first hand accounts, was literally a race against time.

Since the first hand accounts were collected, of people in their nineties, a third of those who gave these first hand accounts are sadly no longer with us.

The static displays, a pair of flying boots, a lamp, playing cards.

The playing cards, on each card, hand written account of a bombing raid.

Dominating the room a large display.

On the large screen, bombing targets lit up. At first I thought, not many, that was until I noticed a scrolling bar. What was being shown was nightly raids, night by night.

A warning, a film was to be shown, almost like warning of an air raid.

Was this a warning to evacuate the room? Maybe.

Too loud.

Then I could see why so loud, when an Avro Lancaster took off, then the bombs dropped, then a building on fire, then footage from the air of the destroyed buildings, presumably taken by the Germans, then the lost people wandering the streets.

I was privileged to be able to watch this in a room on my own, well almost on my own, a BBC film crew and one veteran of WWII Bomber Command.

The impact would not have been the same in a room full of people.

To describe as emotional would be an understatement.

I later congratulated the Centre Director Nicky Barr and said she should she be very proud of what she has created.

She said that even though she had created, the first time she watched, it was a very emotive experience.

There are other smaller rooms, including dining room, with coffee, San Remo espresso machine and associated kitchen.

Not today, but when up and running, will be serving a special blend of coffee and tea created for the Centre by Stokes. They will also have on sale bags of the coffee and tea.

The Centre is not only a visitor centre, it will also be a research centre with archive material.

The Centre tells the story from all sides, the crew on the ground, the aircrew, and the Germans who were bombed.

What is the point some may say.

Syria. Look what Assad has done to Syria, bombed-out buildings, the only way he can retain control of Syria is to kill his own people, aided and abetted by Vladimir Putin.

Yemen. Corrupt House of Saud carrying out genocide in Yemen, weapons supplied courtesy of British arms companies.

Lincoln Heritage Day

September 10, 2017

Heritage Open Day is when buildings not normally open are open to the public, or with the example of Lincoln Cathedral, the entrance fee is waived.

There was though something extra. A guided walk following the route of The Battle of Lincoln.

I would have participated yesterday. Heavy rain put paid. I caught the end of the walk opposite Norman House on Steep Hill. I apologised for not joining the walk and learnt there would be  a repeat on Sunday.

Thus I was outside The Museum of Lincolnshire Life for an interesting walk.

As we finished up outside the Visitor Information Centre, to see if they had anything useful on The Battle of Lincoln, they do not, apart from 1217 The Battle of Lincoln, a Ladybird-style book aimed at children.

I did though find a collection of miniature knights. These were used by the artists to show what their full-sized Knight would look like. What will happen to these I do not know. They should be given permanent exhibition space somewhere.

It was unfortunate the Knights were removed last week. A huge mistake. Typical bureaucratic thinking. They have proved to be highly popular and should have remained in the street until at least the end of September, if not longer.

I picked up a programme for the Lincoln Book Festival. Small, with emphasis on quality. Contrast with the Guildford Book Festival, large with the emphasis on hyped authors.

I would love to go to the talk on Mona Lisa.

After the walk, I wandered to Stokes Lawn Café. A mistake, I should have walked down Steep Hill to Makushi.

It was then through the Castle Grounds, visit the Castle Shop, which is worth a visit. Usually such places house tourist tat. Lincoln castle must be the exception. I have never visited before. Worth a visit.

I picked up a copy Magna Carta by David Starkey. I am no great fan of his, but this was the best book on display.  I wanted it, not only for Magna Carta, but also the life of King John.

A bad King. He was forced by the Barons to sign, strictly speaking, place his seal on Magna Carta. What most do not realise, it was almost immediately reneged upon, annulled by The Pope, a French Invasion followed, and led on his death to the decisive Battle of Lincoln, the route I had just followed.

Appalling the amount of damage caused by Graduation in the Castle Grounds last week.

It had been cold and windy all afternoon, now rain.

I headed for Lincoln Cathedral.

House of Cards portent of things to come

June 18, 2017

House of Cards 1993.

Grenfell Tower 2017.

Cob house within solar geodesic dome in the Arctic Circle

January 6, 2017

The Hjertefølger  family has been living on Norway’s Sandhornøya island, where they started their journey into sustainable living, since 2013. Their three-story cob home—built from sand, water, clay, and other organic materials—is encased in an aesthetically pleasing, and functional, solar geodesic dome by Solardome.

Placing the 25-foot-high dome around the five-bedroom, two-bathroom home gave the six-person family protection from strong winds and heavy snow loads, as well as cutting down on heating costs. The geodesic dome, which also covers a garden area, gives the family the necessary greenhouse environment to grow much of their food.  Apples, cherries, plums, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, squash, and melons are just some of what they can grow in an area that is without sunlight for three months a year.

Tower of the Winds

October 17, 2016
Tower of the Winds

Tower of the Winds

The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes is an octagonal Pentelic marble clock tower within the Roman Agora in Athens that functioned as a horologion or clock.

The structure features or did a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane.

It was supposedly built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources, might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum.

The water clock may have taken the form of a waterwheel.

The roof is a series of triangular slabs locked in place by a circular keystone.

Around the periphery is represented the eight winds.

Saint Vitus Cathedral

May 11, 2016
figures on main doors

figures on main doors

one clock shows the hour another the minutes

one clock shows the hour another the minutes

Prague Castle, seen from across the river, dominates the skyline,  especially  Saint Vitus Cathedral  and Lobkowicz Palace.

Saint Vitus Cathedral is situated  within the Prague Castle complex.

To pay to walk around inside, but can enter the main doors and enjoy the stunning view looking down the nave.

Had I paid, I would have learnt contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors.

Two key features are the figures on the main doors and above the doors, and the clocks.

The figures on the doors, cast in metal, are amazing.

I was puzzled by the clocks, why one above the other? Why two clocks?  The time was such, they both appeared to be showing the same time.

It was only after observing over a period of several minutes, I realised one was showing the hour, the other the minutes.

Prague Castle

May 10, 2016
Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Lobkowicz Palace

Lobkowicz Palace

stunning views over Prague

stunning views over Prague

steps leading down from Prague Castle

steps leading down from Prague Castle

No 22 tram took me up to Prague Castle.

Novel way of paying. Pay for time not distance.

Ticket has to be bought in advance from a machine.

I alighted at the right palace and wandered in.

Police and soldiers on guard with semi-automatic rifles.

Very cold.

Prague Castle is a castle complex, many streets and buildings including churches, Saint Vitus Cathedral, museums, monasteries and palaces, including Lobkowicz Palace.

Stunning views over Prague.

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Prague Castle, the location with the most stunning view over Prague, occupied by Starbucks. A grass terrace, a spiral stone staircase. They were even queuing.

Steps lead down from Prague Castle.

Stench of hypocrisy

May 4, 2016
The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

Nothing like the stench of hypocrisy, especially when from a bunch of local politicians.

36 out of 38 local councillors have signed a letter condemning a decision by the Planning Inspectorate to approve the building of a block of flats in the middle of a roundabout on a busy main road, on the site of which once stood the Ham and Blackbird pub.

Anyone care to name names, who were the two who neglected to sign and why?

Let us pause and reflect here a moment.

These are the same bunch of local councillors who collectively stuck two fingers up to the local community and approved:

  • demolition of half of Farnborough town centre for a supermarket that faces out of the town
  • destroyed social housing at Firgrove Court for a supermarket car park
  • destruction of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s
  • destruction of Firgrove Green for a multi-store eyesore Premier Inn
  • are pushing for development of the last remaining green space in Farnborough town centre

And this is not counting the decades of bad planning decisions that have destroyed Aldershot town centre.

The local councillors complain at the lack of local democracy, have whinged to the Local Government Association.

And what of this local democracy? Decisions by local councillors falling over backwards to satisfy the greed of developers, what has that got to do with local democracy?

What of the demos, the people?

There was massive local opposition to destruction of Firgrove Green, destruction  of The Tumbledown Dick. Was this taken into account?

Er, no.

Not only was the views of local people ignored, Keith Holland head of planning, explicitly told members of the planning committee to ignore the views of local people. He also blatantly lied, said health was not a planning issue, asset of community value not a planning issue, that traffic congestion, litter, anti-social behaviour not a problem, that the trees at Firgrove Green were dying.

Gareth Lyon, chair of planning committee, who is bleating about the decision, is unfit to hold any public office. During the discussion on The Tumbledown Dick, his chairing of the meeting was a disgrace, he had the head of planning whispering in his ear, telling what to say.

This is the man who behind closed doors, stitched up a dirty little deal with McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick, then later bragged that his committee had approved the deal he had reached with McDonald’s.

The only place for Gareth Lyon, is rotting in a  prison cell.

Prior to it being pushed through, internal e-mails show the council thought to approve the destruction of Firgrove Green would bring the planning system into disrepute. It was pushed through, and yes it did bring the planning system into disrepute.

So why all this bleating about the Planning Inspectorate? All they have done is approve a scheme the local council would normally happily rubber stamp, no matter how bad the scheme for the locality, no matter how strong the local opposition.

Could it be there are local elections tomorrow?

None of this is to argue in favour of the planning decision, far from it. It is merely to highlight the appalling hypocrisy.

Building a block of flats in the middle of a roundabout on a busy main road, it would be difficult to imagine a worse location. At the end of a runway maybe.  It is an accident waiting to happen.

And what of air quality? Doe it meet WHO guidelines? Was this even raised at the Public Inquiry?

The dysfunctional planning department in bed with developers  may be able to lead thick-as-two-short-planks councillors by the nose, but when it comes to Planning Inquiry, they are shown as wanting, useless jobsworth not up to the job. And that is even assuming they did not throw in the towel.

Long before planning application was submitted, the useless councillors failed to do what was needed to safeguard the site and the Ham and Blackbird.

Why was there no TPOs on the trees? When the developer started cutting down the trees, why was no emergency TPOs issued?

Why was the Ham and Blackbird not listed as local building of historical interest? Once known as the Railway Tavern, its construction coincided with the arrival of the railway.

It is now being claimed there will be a legal challenge. More hot air? On what grounds?

The decision cannot be challenged on the grounds you do not like it, no matter how bad the scheme. That was the role of the Public Inquiry.

There are six weeks within which a legal challenge may be mounted. This can only be on a point of law, that correct procedures were not followed. Leave has to be requested from a Judge, to take the case.

No grounds have been shown.

Will this all be quietly forgotten, once local elections are over?

A handful of local councillors do their best to act for the local community. But sadly they are just that,  a handful. The rest are a bunch of carpetbaggers.

The flats when built, will not be marketed locally. They will be marketed in London.

What to do with a dead shopping centre?

April 21, 2016
The Galleries

The Galleries

The Galleries

The Galleries

The Galleries

The Galleries

Aldershot is a dead town, boarded-up shops, charity shops, betting shops, fast food outlets. A very depressing place to visit. Which is why few do. The dead town centre the result of decades of bad planning decisions, a dysfunctional local council that has not a clue what constitutes good town centre planning, how local economies function.

In the midst of this desolation is an empty shopping centre, The Galleries. It could be the film set for a post-apocalyptic movie. The occasional zombie is even seen to walk through negating the need to hire extras, though could hire locals and ask them to be themselves, no acting required. The shopping centre has been derelict for years, is likely to be for the foreseeable future.

What to do with this empty space?

The local council claims to have plans for redevelopment.

This should set alarm bells ringing.

This is a local council that has:

  • got into bed with a developer and destroyed Farnborough town centre
  • got into bed with a developer and destroyed The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s
  • got into bed with a developer and destroyed Firgrove Green to erect an eysore Premier Inn
  • got into bed with a developer to construct Wastegate which has laid waste to Aldershot town centre

Hence the last thing we need is the council involved in redevelopment of this dead shopping centre.

The top down approach of the council, contempt for the views of the local community, has been an unmitigated disaster for Aldershot.

In is now time for an alternative approach, bottom up, the local community in charge.

First, as it has been empty for six months, the dead shopping centre should be designated as ReSpace. This opens the way for negotiations with the property developer for use by the local community, for social enterprises that contribute to the common good, irrigate the collaborate commons. These social enterprises would pay a peppercorn rent, the property developer no business rates.

There is already one social enterprise occupying the dead shopping centre, TechStart.

TechStart, run by volunteers, recycles computers, carries out repairs, provides training and help, a net café is available for walk in use.

TechStart last Saturday, closed, its funding had been pulled. Luckily, common sense has prevailed, and a four month extension of funding has been made available.

We now need to build on TechStart, open the dead shopping centre to other social enterprises.

The claim in the local rag that TechStart is ‘unviable’  is simply not true.