Seeking Shelter At The Seaside

Enjoying a healthy break by the sea in Britain was popularised by the Prince Regent, who had a palace built close to the sea in Brighton in 1787. When he became king, he continued to visit, believing the salt water would improve his health. By the Victorian era, seaside resorts were beginning to become popular all around the UK, with ease of access to them provided by the growing railway network. Many towns built piers out onto the water, and pleasure gardens for tourists to stroll in.

The problem was, and still is, that we have unreliable weather in this country. So visitors needed somewhere to shelter when it rained. Some beautiful shelters were built for this purpose, and continue to be used to this day. Later additions used more modern building materials and styles. Here are some I found online, from all around England.

More Art Deco Finds

As I have mentioned many times, I cannot get enough of this architectural loveliness!

The Addis toothbrush factory, Hertfordshire.

Another view of the De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill, Sussex.

Two views of Marine Court, St Leonard’s-on-Sea. It was designed to look like a cruise liner.

The Midland Hotel in Morecambe, Lancashire. Featured in many TV shows, including ‘Poirot’.

An outdoor swimming pool (Lido) in Plymouth, Devon.

Surbiton Railway Station, Surrey.

A former cinema in London, now used as a religious meeting centre.

More Art Deco

I make no apologies for featuring more examples of my favourite architecture. These are from America, Australia, Britain, Italy, and Belgium. They include private houses, industrial buildings, offices, and public spaces like swimming pools.

Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, London.

Former Kodak Offices, now a kitchen company.

The Daily Express Newspaper, London.

A land-drainage pump in Italy, 1934.

Saltdean open-air swimming pool, England.

An office block in Australia.

Private houses.

London’s Brutalist Buildings

From the 1950s until the mid 1980s, some architects were let loose on projects in London using the ‘Brutalist’ style of architecture. Built in concrete, and favouring function over beauty, these buildings still divide opinion today. I happen to like them a lot. Most people hate the style.

This is just a small selection of those still standing.

The South Bank Arts Complex at Waterloo, South London. Built in 1951, it contains the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Hayward Gallery, National Poetry Library and Arts Council Collection.

Barking Station, East London. Built in 1959.

A Greater London Council tower block in Thamesmead, South-East London. Built in 1966

Brunel University Lecture Theatre in Uxbridge, West London. Built in 1973.

Estate stairwell on the Strawberry Vale Estate East Finchley, North London. Built in 1978

The Mall car park in Bromley, South-East London. Built in 1967.

Croydon Magistrates Court, South London. Built in 1968.

The National Archive at Twickenham, South-West London. Built in 1973.

Dawson’s Heights Estate in Dulwich, South-East London. Built in 1964.

Trellick Tower in Golbourne Road, West London. At one time the tallest housing block in Europe. Built 1972.

The Barbican Complex in the City of London. Built 1982.

Art Deco And Modernist London In Photographs

Regular readers may remember that my favourite style of achitecture is Art Deco, and the Modernist designs that formed part of it. I have posted photos of Art Deco buildings on here previously, but I was lucky to find some more online today. I appreciate that it tends to divide people, and that they either love it, or hate it.

I love it.

The White House, Hendon. I would not particularly want to live in Hendon, but I would love to live in a house like this.

East Finchley Tube Station. Many London Underground stations were built in this style.

The John Keeble Church, Millhill.

Kingsley Court apartments, Willesden.

The Empire Pool and Arena, Wembley.

The State Cinema, Kilburn. I have seen films in there on many occasions.

Residential Houses in Arnos Grove.

Randall’s Department Store, Uxbridge.

A Modernist house in Twickenham, close to the River Thames.

The former Coty Cosmetics factory, Brentford.

The abandoned farm

I am reblogging this post from 2016 for the benefit of anyone who has followed my blog since it was originally posted. It is the third most popular photo post on my blog, and is viewed every day, without fail.


Ollie had to go to the Vet again today. Yet more treatment for the ongoing ear infections that just won’t seem to go away. As usual, he was very well-behaved, so I thought I would give him a longer walk, and go somewhere different. All the photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

Crossing into Mill Lane, and taking the path through the fruit farm fields, we headed out in the direction of Gingerbread Corner, in warm afternoon sun. The fields have all been harvested, and only the plums await ripening and picking. We circled the edge of the wheat fields, all just stubble now, and used the small gap in the hedgerow to access the main road. Taking the shady path behind Gingerbread Cottages, we soon came to the old abandoned farm.

The story is that the farm belonged to two elderly brothers. When they…

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Art Deco London In Photos

Regular readers might recall that the architectural style of Art Deco is my personal favourite. To save me typing out a lot of stuff, here is an idea of what Art Deco means.

When I still lived in London, spotting buildings in this architectural style was always a passion of mine. So I thought I would share some with you.

The Black Cat Building, Camden, NW1.
This former cigarette factory has been lovingly restored. It now houses small businesses, conference rooms, and a popular gym.
From 2000 until 2012, I lived in the street just behind it, and walked past it all the time.

West End Central Police Station, Savile Row, W1.
I worked in this police station from 2001-2004. It made going in to work a pleasure.

Senate House, University of London, WC1.
I used to often walk past this building on my way down to Soho. I always stopped to look at it.

The offices of McCann-Erickson, Bloomsbury, WC1.
Another beautifully-restored office building on my walking route into work.

Arnos Grove Station, N14.
Many of London’s Underground (Subway) Stations are Art Deco delights.
This is Arnos Grove, north of the centre.

Florin House, EC1.
Luxury apartments in Charterhouse Square, EC1.
If this looks familiar, it was the on-screen home of ‘Poirot’, as played by David Suchet in the long-running TV series.

Kensal House, W10.
At the other end of the housing market, Kensal House. Social housing in the Art Deco style in Ladbroke Grove, W10.

The Hoover Building, West London.
The former vacuum-cleaner factory of Hoover, in Perivale, west London.
With the facade preserved by law, and beautifully renovated, it once housed a large supermarket.
I understand that it has now been converted into very desirable apartments.

Just a glimpse of a few of the Art Deco wonders still standing in London.

My London Life

I was reflecting on my life in London this morning, and in particular about where I lived for the sixty years I was a resident. Looking at Google, I was able to find images, in some cases of the actual house or flat. I know some readers enjoy seeing photos of London that are not the familiar tourist sights, so here is a chronological tour of the architecture I lived in.

As a baby in 1952, I was brought home to a two-room flat, upstairs in a house in Storks Road, Bermondsey. My grandmother lived across the road, on the corner with Webster Road. This house in the photo is the one she lived in. The one we lived in is no longer there, but it was the same style.

Photo copyright Stephen Craven.

We moved from there to a house in Bush Road, then in Deptford. The houses were later demolished, and a McDonalds now stands on the site.

Photo copyright Stephen Craven.

In 1960, we moved to a brand new maisonette in Balaclava Road, Bermondsey. I was eight years old. This recent photo is of the actual block. We lived on the first floor, halfway along.

We lived there until I was fifteen. Then my parents bought a house in Bexley, which was then in Kent. It is now a London suburb. This is not the actual house, but is an identical style.

After my parents split in 1976, I moved with my Mum to run a shop in south-west London. In 1977, I got married, and my wife and I bought a flat in the area between Putney and Wandsworth. Although it looks like a house, it was divided into two flats, and we lived upstairs. This is the actual house.

After a year, we sold that, and bought a three bedroom house in the very nice district of Wimbledon Park, close to the famous tennis courts. It was built in 1901, and had many original features. The parking sign for Resident Parking didn’t exist then, but it is the house on the left. My ex-wife remarried, and later had the loft converted. You can see the windows in the roof.

When my marriage ended in 1985, I took what money I had, and bought a one-bedroom house on the newly-built London Docklands Development in Rotherhithe, across the road from the River Thames. My house is second from the left, in this photo. It is directly opposite the tree, which had just been planted when I lived there.

In 1989, I married for the second time, and we lived in that house for a year. But it was too small for comfort, so we bought a bigger house literally around the corner. It doesn’t look very attractive in the photo, but it was huge inside, and had a separate garage in the street behind. This is the actual house, in Redriff Road, Rotherhithe.

When we split up in 1997, I moved outside London, into a succession of rented accommodation, as I no longer had enough money to buy a property that I wanted to live in. After three years, I used my job as a government employee to apply for a subsidised flat in Cumberland Market, Camden, close to the centre of London. I lived in the block on the right, on the third floor, and as you can see, there are extensive allotments for use by residents who want to rent one. The tall building in the distance is the iconic Post Office Tower. That gives some idea of how close to the centre I lived.

Photo copyright ALondoninheritance

I stayed there for twelve years, before retiring from work, and moving here to Norfolk. With one exception, every property I ever lived in still stands, and is still lived-in, to this day.

Sandwich: Finishing my crusts

After my last three posts about this town in Kent, I thought I had more or less played it out. However, I have now decided to add the final photos, those omitted from the previous posts, for reasons of space, or interest. These will be the last ones, I promise.

Three rooftops. This shows the metal cupola of St Peter’s Church. Taken from a distance, it also shows the distinctive styles of rooftops in the town. One tiled, one made from stones, and the metal church roof. Like all the other photos that day, it would have looked so much better, had the weather been a little nicer.


This circular room above what is now a gift shop looked suitably nautical. I wondered what it might look like inside.


Holy Ghost Alley looks very much like the sort of alley where you might well encounter a ghost.


This house dates from 1774, and is called Serpentine Cottage. Despite the 18th century construction, it is very much in the late Tudor style. It must have been the house of someone wealthy or important at the time.


This addition to St Peter’s church is in the style know as ‘Dutch Gable’, so is probably 17th century, much later than the original church building.


That is the last post about Sandwich, with all the photos I am happy to add to the blog. I am very pleased that so many of you have enjoyed these, and hope that this final collection is similarly well-received.

All the photos are large files, and can be enlarged by clicking on them. I am happy to report that they have retained a considerable amount of detail, even at maximum resoluiton.

Architectural admiration (6)

For this part of the series, I will concentrate on places and structures found in Great Britain. This country has a lot of wonderful sights to see, and those that follow are just a few of them.

The Tyne Bridge, Newcastle, England.

Some cities are defined by a single structure. You only have to see a picture of a building, or famous statue, and you immediately recognise the location, even if you have never been there. One of these is Newcastle, where the distinctive Tyne Bridge is identifiable to almost anyone in the UK. There is a good reason for this too. The bridge connects the city with nearby Gateshead, and this industrial centre of the North-East of England has associations with ship-building, trade, docks, and mining. The imposing through arch bridge straddling the River Tyne is itself industrial in appearance, strong and purposeful, very much like the city that it is a part of. It is not the only bridge crossing the river, but was opened in 1928, to assist with increasing traffic, and to avoid tolls on other bridges. If you think it looks a bit like a smaller version of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you would be correct. It was designed and built by the same company.

Southgate Underground Station, London, England.

With the large expansion of the underground railway network in London during the 1920s, many stations on the outer edges of London at the time were constructed in unusual modernist styles. By far one of the best remaining examples is the station at Southgate, an area mostly now part of the London Borough of Barnet, close to the northern limits of the city. This amazing building resembles a spacecraft. The circular design, appearing to be supported by a row of windows, is topped with an unusual ‘spike’, with a ball on the end. This is surrounded by circular lights, giving a futuristic look to the whole structure. Best seen illuminated at night, it looks for all the world like a flying saucer, just about to take off.

Neasden Hindu Temple, London, England.

Sandwiched between the busy North Circular Road, and the undesirable dwellings of the sprawling Stonebridge Park Estate, the once-leafy suburb of Neasden is no longer the place it once was. Factories, industrial complexes, and high-rise homes make it an unlikely place to find something as wonderful as this bewitching temple. But it is worth the effort to visit this least-likely tourist destination in north-west London, to be enthralled by what you will see there. The very fact that it is so alarmingly out of context in this otherwise depressing area, just adds to the effect. Built and funded entirely by volunteers from the community, this temple really does take your breath away. Opened in 1995, it was then the largest Hindu temple outside India. Standing before it, you have to look around, finding it hard to believe that you are still in London. From the gleaming white exterior, to the intricate carvings inside, it is a complete feast for the eyes. Non-Hindus are made very welcome too, and someone will happily show you around. It really is one of the most amazing things to see in London, and outside of the local community, one of the least known modern wonders of that city.

The Town Walls, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England.

As one of the main border towns between England and Scotland, Berwick has had a violent past, and a history of conflict. Constantly fought over by the English and Scots, it has been part of England since 1482. Due to its strategic position straddling the River Tweed, less than three miles from the Scottish border, it is a place that has always been heavily defended. It still boasts a fine example of an 18th century barracks, but its Elizabethan Town Walls and fortified ramparts remain as one of the best examples in Britain today. They are a fascinating look into the warlike past of these islands, and remarkably well-preserved. They are still free to walk around, and you can do it in less than an hour. The views are spectacular, and there is much else to see in this interesting market town.

The National Wallace Monument, Stirling, Scotland.

Unfortunately, the film ‘Braveheart’ has created and perpetuated many inaccuracies concerning the Scottish noble and warrior, Sir William Wallace. During the 13th century, he rebelled along with other Scottish nobles and landowners, against the English rule of their country. In 1297, he led the Scots to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, near to where his memorial is sited today. Despite defeating a much larger English army, the Scots failed to secure independence, later losing a major battle at Falkirk. Wallace was captured in 1305, and executed by the English, for the crime of Treason.
In 1869, a memorial to Wallace was opened, at the top of Abbey Craig, offering dramatic views from the top. Although perhaps intended to resemble a castle tower, it is somewhat Victorian Gothic in style, described as being ‘Scottish Baronial.’ The memorial serves well as a viewing platform, if you can manage all the steps to the top, (246) as well as a fair ascent from the car park. Each floor also has relevant exhibits, including Wallace’s sword, so it is entertaining for all ages.

The Hoover Building, Perivale, Middlesex.

This magnificent building is one of the best preserved Art Deco constructions from the 1930s. It is situated on one of London’s busiest roads, The Westway, and provides a welcome sight in an otherwise uninspiring landscape. Built in 1933 to house the UK factory for Hoover vacuum cleaners, its colourful designs and unashamedly ornate features divided opinion at the time. After it closed down in 1982, there were fears that it would be demolished, and a local campaign to save it had some success. It was bought by the huge supermarket chain, Tesco, and after ten years of neglect, it was fully refurbished, and opened as a supermarket. Fortunately, the exterior had been listed, so was retained by the new owners, who built a conventional shop inside the walls. It is a true wonder in West London, and delightful when illuminated at night. There is a song about it on this link that you may not like, but watch the video, for the different views.

Tilbury Fort, Essex, England.

Where the River Thames widens, to the east of London, you will find the Port of Tilbury. For many years now, this has been an important container terminal, and landing-place for many of the imports that arrive from overseas. It is an industrial area, and even the most ardent lover of the place would be hard pressed to find it attractive. During the many wars involving England throughout its history, the strategic importance of this area was always apparent. The first fort was built here by Henry VIII, and was later reinforced and improved, until appearing in the star-shaped form we can still admire today. It was here in 1588, at the height of the war with Spain, and under threat from the Armada, that Elizabeth I gave her famous rallying speech to the assembled troops. This fort holds a special place in the history of England, and as a result, is now owned and maintained by English Heritage, as a museum in perpetuity.

I hope that you enjoy this selection. Next time, I will be including some more from further afield.