Having recently cancelled my flickr pro account I’ve been slowly working my way back through the years here re-connecting pictures, checking links and generally conducting various overdue housekeeping duties while at the same time reacquainting myself with a whole heap of stuff that has been filed deep away in my failing memory.

One of the reasons I decided to build (ha!) this somewhat fragile, and admittedly thrill free, recess of the internet, was in part due to Anne Ward and her consistently great blog, I Like. According to a Mr Daniel Weir (see below) back in October of 2008, it was one of the “nicest, friendliest and most interesting corners of the internet”.

Sadly Anne’s updates to I Like became more and more infrequent until it just kind of stopped, although to be fair in the meantime she had become Scotland’s answer to William Randolph Hearst over at the Newspaper Club.

However that was then and this is now and the good news is I like is back!

“After drifting away from blogging for a few years, I found I was missing a place to think out loud, and to free the photos from my hard drive. I also miss the community of readers and like-minded people who like the same daft stuff.”

So if you’re want to be part of the industry of human happiness, or are just interested in “daft stuff”, then this is a very good place to start – ilike.org.uk


Seaside Snaps

05Jul19

According to this recent piece in The Independent, Hunstanton is the 9th most popular seaside town in 2019.

The cynic in me suggests that the locations listed are probably in reasonable proximity to a Best Western hotel, given that they are responsible for the research, but I’m sure that can’t possibly be the case.

However given that this survey published just over a month earlier by Which? Travel sees the town down in 74th position there’s obviously some room for discussion on its actual merits.

Which is admittedly a circuitous route to introduce this set of photos (real photos mind) of Hunstanton that I recently added to the collection here at Weir HQ. The photos, produced by Jarrold & Sons, appear to have been taken some time between April 17 1870 and January 11 1978, however I can be no more specific than that, given that the former date is when the pier pictured below was opened and the latter is the date it was destroyed by a North Sea storm surge that caused extensive coastal flooding and damage on the east coast of England.

Efforts to rebuild the pier still limp along, however given the problems that other existing piers have it’s unlikely to make a reappearance any time soon.


Sunrise

26Jun19

BLOG - Solstice

Given that I missed the rising of the summer solstice sun last year (in my defence I did catch it setting) I rose at 4am on Friday morning and drove the short distance to Ongar Hill – in order to allow me an uninterrupted view due East – and made amends.

Despite the effort required in starting my working day quite so early it was (and always is) worth it – just wish the 40ft wicker effigy of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson had burnt more successfully, still you can’t have everything.


BLOG - 33-39 St James Street

This building in my hometown has always intrigued me.

It’s been largely empty for as long as I can remember, albeit with a popular car servicing and repair company working out the back. So it was good to learn that today it’s been granted a grade II listed status from Historic England (they don’t always make as poor a decision as noted in the previous post below) as it’s a very early English example of European Functionalism having been built using a reinforced concrete-frame – a pioneering technique for the build date of 1908.

Apparently, François Hennebique, a French engineer and self-educated builder, patented this reinforced-concrete construction system (known as Béton Armé) and although 33-39 St James Street doesn’t appear on a list of Hennebique’s works, it does seem to have been built on broadly similar lines.

Quite why this building has taken so long to reach this celebrated status is a mystery, hopefully as a result it might receive the tender loving care that it so obviously needs and maybe even find someone or something to occupy it.

 –

As an aside, the local paper somewhat predictably attempted to demonise the building given that it’s not one of the many “quaint churches” to be found in and around West Norfolk – though pleasingly (and admittedly somewhat surprisingly) the poll hasn’t gone in quite the direction they had probably presumed it would.

BLOG - 33-39 St James Street Poll


Welbeck Street Car Park

A weekend in London, and a (possibly/probably) last chance to take in one of my favourite buildings in the whole of the UK,  the Welbeck Street Car Park

Thanks to the shortsightedness of the people at Historic England (or English Heritage as was), who in 2015 considered it lacking in sufficient architectural interest and as a result chose not to recommend it for listing, it’s soon to be demolished and replaced by a ten-storey hotel.

Pleasingly others seem as disappointed about the news as me, as when I visited a makeshift gallery had been installed on the hoarding encasing the ground floor of the original building.

It’s not much, but it’s good to see that it’s passing is at the very least being noted.

Welbeck Street Car Park Gallery (2019)

This used to be the entrance of the Welbeck Street Car Park, which was designed by Michael Blampied and Partners for Debenhams in 1971.

It sits like a sculpture, a silent spectator with its stretched diamond-shaped concrete panels locked together into a mesmerising pattern through which fifty years of light have passed. Now up for demolition, the gentle concrete structure has become an ending from a time in which car parks were treated as civic monuments, significant structures that expressed the incredible optimism to use architecture to transform society.

ps. It’s Concrete Week over in The Guardian where Welbeck Street makes an appearance in the under threat section, sadly all too true.


In Town Tonight

24Jan19

A while ago (although not as far into the past as the evidence above would suggest – twitter it seems is feeling nostalgic) a good friend pointed me in the direction of a tweet from comedian Mark Steel, principally because Mrs Weir and I live on the periphery of the “major international Norfolk hub” that is King’s Lynn.

The tweet was an early call for a programme in the ninth series of Mark Steel’s in Town, where he “visits towns across the UK and creates a stand-up show for a local audience based on what he finds out about the area”. So having lived in and around Britain’s 6th happiest place to live* for most of my days, I was able to snap into action and confirm that King’s Lynn does indeed come with an apostrophe.

However, as I think it’s important to love where you live I also shared some more meaningful highlights of the town with Mark and his producer Carl, many of which appear to have made the final cut of the show (am particularly pleased that I managed to get Ongar Hill mentioned). And in return, they very graciously stumped up the cash to pay for a return trip on the ferry across the Great Ouse to West Lynn – something that Mark seems to have particularly enjoyed, despite the absence of any destination to speak of (sorry West Lynn).

Am still feeling marginally guilty for inadvertently highlighting the fictitious nature of a letter sent to the local paper extolling the virtues of the town, and for pointing Mark in the direction of the unfortunate happenings at our inordinately handsome Carnegie library, because as I’ve said before while King’s Lynn now struggles to be considered “by far the most beautiful and interesting town in Europe” it’s not a bad place to call home.

The King’s Lynn episode of Mark Steel’s in Town is broadcast tonight at 6:30pm on BBC Radio 4, then repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra on 31st January at 7.30am, 5.30pm and the 10pm. And if you manage to miss each and every one of those then it’ll also be available for another thirty days on the enormously frustrating BBC Sounds app.

*According to a somewhat spurious survey conducted by the people at Rightmove, which saw King’s Lynn sandwiched between Royal Tunbridge Wells and Epsom – not something that happens very often.


People At Work

13Dec18

I have to admit that I was less than convinced when I originally became aware of Penguin’s plans to publish a number of titles spoofing Loughborough’s very own Ladybird Books, given that it’s an imprint very close to my heart.

As it transpired my concern was misplaced as over the last few years Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris have produced a series of consistently very funny books (under the guise of Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups) while at the same time always making great efforts to respectfully acknowledge the artists responsible for the source material.

Perhaps unsurprisingly as a Ladybird obsessive I have bought (and thoroughly enjoyed) each and every book published under the Grown-Ups title, so it’s good to be able to add a copy of this final book to the collection.

The Wonderful World of Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups sees Hazeley and Morris (alongside another Morris who I think should be mentioned in dispatches given the volume of work he’s (I’m presuming) done in this final book with the artwork and design) bring the series to a close with a final flourish –  and this book is a joy.

While I’m here I should also mention this episode of the Art Detective podcast that sees host Dr Janina Ramirez talk to Joel and Jason about their love and admiration for the art of the Ladybird book – have a listen it’ll be an hour of your day very well spent.

BLOG - StevenageBLOG - Derek Jarman's Blue




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