Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Old Ship Hotel Garage

The Old Ship Hotel garage was built in the 1920s to house cars of guests with fairly basic accommodation for their chauffeurs on the first floor.  The design is utilitarian and displays only faint nods to the Art Deco. But I like the 3D uncompromising lettering. No ambiguity there!

In April 2010 a planning  application was approved to demolish the garage and replace it with a 7 storey (5 storeys above ground level) hotel extension, comprising 42 bedrooms, 2 conference rooms, car parking and a restaurant/bar. In April 2013 an extension of the time limit for demolition was granted.

The latest application, BH2014/02100, demonstrates how much things have changed over the last 4 years. Evidently, the City now has enough hotel bedrooms; conferencing is increasingly being conducted over the internet; the Council has a policy of discouraging private car use and encouraging sustainabilty, and there is certainly no shortage in the area of restaurant and bars.

BH2014/02100 is for a new 6 storey building to provide 8 one bed and 10 two bed flats on the 1st-5th floors and associated cycle and car parking on the ground floor and including solar panels on the roof.
  
Proposed elevation on Black Lion Street
I can see just the place to reinstate the lettering . . . .

Thursday, 17 July 2014

50 years ago - a reminiscence.

A RIOTOUS DAY AT THE SEASIDE 

It was a glorious sunny Saturday morning of Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend 1964.

My best friend, Teresa, and I were planning a trip to Brighton for some seaside frolics. Firstly, we headed for Charlie’s stall in Watford Market and each bought a pair of 501 Levis. Marilyn Monroe had recently glamourised women in jeans. Although we were only just 15, skinny and flat-chested, we thought we were the last word in feminine seduction. And we were Mods.

We packed our little bags and headed off for an adventure in our dark blue, very stiff new jeans, with turned-up bottoms and securely belted.

Our attempts at hitching a lift were very quickly rewarded when an older guy in an open top racing green MG pulled over.  He welcomed us on board and whisked us off towards Brighton, our long hair flying unfettered in our wake. We were both totally fearless and trusting.

Our newly acquired chauffeur took a pit stop at a Little Chef and, to our surprise, very kindly treated us to egg and chips.

During a quick visit to the ladies we discovered that our wind-swept silky hair had been whipped up into a knotted frenzy and was totally resistant to the coaxing bristles of a Denman hairbrush.

Nevertheless, we clambered back into the car and resumed our exhilarating journey to the South Coast, where we disembarked safely at the seafront and bid our fond farewells. Only now, in hindsight, do I ponder the possible danger, and thank heaven that we were delivered safely by our Mr Knight in his shining green MG.

We clambered across the pebbles down to the seafront and stripped off our sexy jeans to reveal our even sexier bikinis. We sat on the beach for a while hoping to develop a little colour onto our milk-white legs, and then headed for the water to cool down.

Now, at the age of 65, and having lived in Brighton for 22 years, I believe it was the only time I have ventured into the sea. I’m convinced the memory of that painful walk back across the pebbles to our towels has scarred me for life.

We must have looked like a very under-titillating burlesque act as we struggled to change clothes beneath the confines of our beach towels, without revealing a single inch of bare flesh.

Suddenly, our peaceful afternoon was shattered as, about 50 yards from us along the beach, a large missile was hurled down from the promenade. It was followed by another and another, accompanied by hollers and whoops. A thundering sound hailed an army of  Mods and Rockers stampeding along the prom throwing deck chairs down on to unsuspecting holiday makers.

We moved far enough away towards the shore-line to ensure our safety but that moment was terrifying and we feared for our lives. It was all over in a flash as the  hoards tore along at full speed, leaving behind a trail of destruction and terror, with battalions of police in their white helmets in hot pursuit.


Once the coast seemed clear we headed into the town centre and wandered around the lanes, which were busy but a rather more tranquil option. Being penniless schoolgirls we went through the motions of window-shopping in the Lanes and drooling over that which was out of reach.

Later, in the evening we managed to get into a nightclub (obviously impressed by our grown-up Marilyn style). All I remember was the hot, steamy ambience of people dancing wildly to Donnie Elbert’s, ‘She’s a Little Piece of Leather’ -

We had no idea where we were going to sleep and just left it all to luck. Luckily, our trump card came up when we bumped into some friends from Watford, also down for the weekend.  They invited us to a party and we danced the night away, finally camping down on the floor in the early hours.

On Sunday morning our mates from Watford squeezed us in to their mini for a sleepy and uneventful return journey.

Once home, we turned on the evening news for reports on the riots, and to see if we could spot ourselves in the maelstrom of Mod and Rocker madness.  We were shocked at the reported gravity of the destruction and our lucky escape.

But it will still remain one of the highlights of my life.
~ Jacqui Rush

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Hippodrome restoration plans approved.

At the City Planning Committee today a last minute effort by the Chairman to defer a decision on the Hippodrome plans went unsupported. The Committee then voted 8 to 3 with one abstention to grant full planning application BH2013/04348 for alterations to the Hippodrome and Hippodrome House to form an 8 screen cinema and 4 associated cafe units.

They also voted 8 to 4 to grant listed building consent (BH2013/04351) for internal and external alterations, restoration and repair to the Hippodrome and Hippodrome House to facilitate conversion to cinemas and associated café/restaurant units.

Previous post:- Hippodrome restoration-update 2

Monday, 7 July 2014

Broken glass in Preston Park playground.

Yesterday a friend allowed her granddaughter to go barefoot in the popular children's playground in Preston Park. Within a few minutes one of the child's feet was bleeding profusely from a serious cut. Even though my friend's chief concern was getting the child back to her car and treatment as soon as possible, she had time to notice that the immediate area they were using was bestrewn with shards of green and brown glass.

One can guess that the scenario leading to this deplorable situation involved inebriated youths, alcohol and the late hours of the day or early hours of the morning. A long-term legislative solution would be to ban the sale of beer, cider etc. in glass bottles. 

Children should surely be able,  even encouraged,  to go barefoot within the small areas of public space especially set aside for them.