In the village of Barrow in the County of Suffolk in the UK, where my Grandfather was born (in Stoney Lane) on the Bury Road there stands a mysterious clock tower. It is made of brick. The building it was attached to was known as the Salvation Army Barracks and it was a converted Methodist Chapel, founded in about 1904 – nine years if I recall correctly, before my Grandfather was born. It closed and changed hands some time after 1980. I was told be a local person that the man who bought the chapel “hated the Salvation Army so much” (the local man’s words) that he knocked down the chapel as soon as he had possession of it and built a wall to stop people seeing the tower properly, but that he was not allowed to demolish the tower because the little louvred hut at its top housed the air raid siren (as used in World War II) and “it might be needed again.”
Ho ho ho here I am in chi chi chic Coal Yard London, so hipsterly couture you need fingerless hands in your fingerless mittens to fit in. It is so shallowly pointlessly hard-stoop erstatz inspired it gently appalls. My father owns the sheep on a thousand hills and as regards the rest, well I lived in real designer land for 30 years, so for me their fabulous Tomorrowland is so passé. This place is gentrified to the point of desertification. The Kingdom of Heaven on the other hand, is the real thing, whereas this place is just the sad worldly imitation.
October 2018, Beehive Retail Park, near Coldhams Lane, Cambridge, UK.
Here is another “episode” of Disappearing Cambridge, again in Mill Road – place of my birth. In a private courtyard at the end of the road near the centre of town, just about opposite the swimming pool, there were two mosaics. Sadly one is almost completely worn away and the other is in a very poor state. Given the condition of this art I think it will not be there much longer. They were commissioned from a world-renowned specialist mosaic artist in 2004. I can find no photograph of them in original condition online. Here they are as of now, sadly. Based on the one still visible, I think they had real class.
The N2S building at the junction of Newmarket Road and Western Way in Bury St.Edmunds is an occupied building, and one must assume very well-protected security-wise. It looks like it’s 1960’s construction and probably has all the 60’s problems that one would expect, including being riddled with Asbestos – unless it has been removed. It’s the sort of place that may well not be listed and that one can easily envisage suddenly disappearing, so I’ve snapped some pictures now, just in case it’s gone suddenly one day when I next pass there.
I seem to recall that the red venetian blinds have always been part of the building, that I have passed by numerous times over the last 50 or so years, and that they have faded over the decades. As they were almost certainly bespoke and costly to replace, I imagine my memory of this may well be correct. The visual effect, unintentionally, has always been to make the place look like a fire station with big red doors for the engines.
I wonder when exactly it was built, what was it’s original purpose, and of course who were the architects. I really like this building. I think it has bags of character and looks like a very “Gerry Anderson” kind of film-set. If anyone knows more about this building please do contact me via the comments facility.
I was baptised in this municipal swimming pool less than 5 a years ago, along with some other people that day, who I will always think of as my Baptismal brothers and sisters, so it has a special association for me. No, I don’t put my face online, you won’t need it. Just a little bit sad seeing the pool go.
Isleham Baptist (High Street Church) new Church building “The Ark” is approaching second fix stage – interior ironmongery, lights, switches, although there is still some panelling/ dry-lining/ partitioning to do.
Started around 2009 on donated land, built in English vernacular wooden-frame style (Tudor!) wholly hand-made from New Forest hand-picked individually felled 150-200 year old Oak trees, without officially any architect, all designed by volunteer master carpenters. Everything is hand made bespoke. Basically only some sanitary-ware and second fixings are proprietary.
It is about three to four stories high with double and treble hammer-beam almost gothic roofing. It is HUGE. The car park is gigantic. There are many large classrooms (enough that it could be school), 2 huge refrectories (eating rooms) and a full size commercial kitchen. There is of course a baptismal pool. There is room after stunning room, balconies, a courtyard, cloisters and minstrel galleries. All wired CAT6 for ITC. Check out the herringbone brickwork. This is Hampton Court (Royal Palace) level work, just a half-century later!
The price is so low due to donations and volunteer work that my Quantity Surveyor friends cannot believe it is so far only £3m. This is about as incredible as the mosque I am working on and about the same size, but around order of magnitude less cost. Wow!
Enjoy a few pictures. Remember all is hand-made bespoke.
All photography in this article is my own Copyright©2018 kevintangodance not to be used without my prior permission.
“Trollbeads” the very idiosyncratic jewellery (faux) Art Nouveau-fronted shop is no longer there. Perhaps the lovely shop front will be retained if the unit can be let, although the number of empty shops even in prosperous Cambridge centre is now quite scary – feels like 5%. It is true that Main Street / The High Street shopping is dying as clicks overtake bricks – sad and horrible, because “going shopping” is something fun to do even if one is only “window shopping.” Therein of course lies the problem.
Do this one if you can. This gallery is so aesthetically and architecturally well-curated it is almost too much off a good thing. As engineering, Gormley’ installations, as his sculptures of necessity are, impress. Floating man, warp speed space cube thing, laser-like representations of the three dimensions. This is a very nice couple of hours in a very well-manicured corner of Cambridge. Gormley never fails to entertain. Sure he does all the arty philosophical deep semiotic sociological psychobabble stuff, but he cannot do other than entertain. A welder-showman building big dippers for folks’ heads to ride. As a tanguero might put it, “This is serious fun.”
The floating baby on the gallery’s toilet sign seems strangely prescient today…
All pictures in this blog article are photographs Copyright 2018 by me kevintangodance, of works created by the artist Antony Gormley and displayed at Kettles Yard Gallery. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without my permission. All Rights Reserved.
I was born in Mill Road, Cambridge UK. I remember Mum taking me to buy clothes at Barneys shop when I was a boy about 50 years ago. It closed down some years ago, but recently they stripped it back to the concrete, and there is the outline of the old sign still there over the entrance. The Penguin “American” Laundry still there, has been running as long as I can remember.
If you are an old Cantabrigian like me, enjoy.