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The Netherlands

The ferry left Harwich late firstly due to “a cruise ship in the next berth” and then to the fact that they couldn’t get the engines to start. (Cue cries of, “They cannae take it, Captain.”) It was an electronic problem apparently. As a result we were an hour late arriving at Hoek van Holland.

Almost the first thing that happened after we got off the boat was we got lost. Our intructions said to take the second exit from a roundabout. It should have been the first. After a slight detour we got onto a road on the top of a dyke, which was pretty intimidating as there didn’t seem much room if there was any sort of traffic problem or accident. I missed another turning, found myself in the wrong lane and had to enter the A 20 motorway to Rotterdam. I was able to get off and pull into a petrol station where I consulted the map I had bought and worked out a way back onto the route I needed. Dutch motorways are brilliant, very well sign-posted.

Unfortunately the delays meant we hit Amsterdam at rush hour. Four north bound lanes more or less jam-packed. Fun. I wasn’t quite sure of which junction to come off the Amsterdam ring motorway but I spotted a sign for Leeuwarden and Heerenveen and took it. This route meant we drove over what used to be part of the Zuider Zee – on the Afsluitdijk, with the IJsselmeer on our right and the Wadden Sea hidden behind the dyke to our left. This was a weird experience but the dyke is a fantastic piece of civil engineering. At each end it has a set of huge sluice gates to allow the IJsselmeer to drain into the Wadden Sea. Presumably this only happens at low tide.

North of Amsterdam the traffic became very much lighter. Most of the way was motorway and the journey passed very quickly.

At certain junctions the motorway regulations stop a few hundred metres before the roads meet. This happened just west of Heerenveen where there is effectively a roundabout between the A 6 and A 7 motorways. (In Groningen two motorways meet at a set of traffic lights.)

I was struck by the number of smallish industrial units near the motorways and at the edges of towns – way more than in the UK. Old Dutch buildings tend to be traditional with pitched roofs. The industrial buildings all looked modern and were either rectangular boxes, some up to seven or eight stories, or else replete with curves.

The towns seemed tidy and prosperous looking. That may be due to the brickwork pavements and cycleways. I can’t say I noticed any litter.

Melton Mowbray (iii)

Yet more deco style in Melton Mowbray – mainly in the horizontals and verticals. This is The Mall:-

Just to the right in the picture above you can see the building below whose gable end and central feature suggest deco:

The doorway has strong deco styling. Inscribed above it is Harwood House and round it is, “By Farmers for Farmers” but I think it’s a solicitor’s now.

Higher still the detail shows a cow’s head and a stylised human one.

There was another shop with deco styling, Townrow. The window styling here argues for deco, and the horizontal and vertical stepping, but this part may be pre-deco.

The extension on the right hand side has had its windows mucked up.

The brickwork on yet another shop also argues for deco. If the original windows had been retained that might have clinched it.

And there’s more…. Iceland. Deco stepping over main door:-

Side door detailing:-

Upper portion detailing:-

Round the corner is taken by Boyes:-

Detailing on Boyes’s portion:-

I make that twelve Deco buildings for Melton Mowbray – all packed into a small area.

Melton Mowbray (ii)

As I spotted the Regal Cinema I looked down a side street and saw a Deco roofline. I made a mental note but when we worked round to the main street I saw it again. Right beside the building which houses Lloyds Bank.

This building isn’t really curved. The picture is a stitch of two photos to show it all. Good frieze here above the circular feature. At the extreme right in the photo above is the building with the roofline I’d seen earlier. It has a strong corner element:-

Even before those two I’d already photographed Middletons. Good windows and the detail on the roofline at the angled frontage is pleasing:-

Melton Mowbray’s Bargain Buys might be deco. Nice brickwork, whatever.

Bailey’s definitely fits the bill though. Good strong horizontals and verticals:-

Melton Mowbray (i)

We spent the first night away from home in a hotel just outside Derby. On our way there from the motorway we travelled along Brian Clough Way, a nondescript, even dowdy, dual carriageway. Surely there’s a better way to commemorate the man. In the morning we drove into Derby but didn’t know of any suitable parking space so gave up after a drive around the inner ring road and skedaddled back along Mr Clough’s memorial road, taking a right towards the South at Nottingham. (A curiosity was we came across two roundabouts that had roads through their middles, something I’ve never seen before. Is it a Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire thing?)

We stopped at Melton Mowbray, “the Rural Capital of Food.” (Well, 3 years ago we went to Bakewell.) Unfortunately it was market day and the place was heaving. As a result I couldn’t get a photograph of the Pork Pie shop (there was a stall in the way) but we did buy a pie and very nice it was too. Enough for lunch that day and the next. We passed on the Stilton cheese though.

What I didn’t expect was Art Deco. The place is liberally strewn with it. Remarkable for a relatively small town.

The first thing I saw on leaving the car park was the brick side of what looked like a school building but is (now, at any rate,) the King Street Building of Brooksby Melton College.


A bit rectilinear but nice iron work protecting the small windows flanking the entrance. The fan light above the door is good as is the frieze on the portico. Amazingly the windows don’t seem to have been mucked about with.

The next building along is also Deco! The Regal Cinema is a stunner. The decoration on it is sublime. It’s still a working cinema.

See more here.

Superb!

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 11: The White House (Craigmillar Roadhouse)

I first knew about this building a while back (east Edinburgh’s answer to the Maybury Roadhouse in the west) and had found this photo on flickr:-

The White House had obviously been “let go” and was badly in need of attention. I had always meant to seek it out but never got round to it.

However, when we left the Great Tapestry of Scotland we headed for IKEA. Not too familiar with the roads on Edinburgh’s east and south sides I got into the wrong lane and ended up traversing parts of the city we had never seen. I turned on to a main(ish) road and suddenly saw a stunning Art Deco building. I stopped at the first opportunity, leapt out of the car and photographed it. It wasn’t until I got home I discovered The White House is the Craigmillar Roadhouse newly refurbished by the local community. And marvellously so.

That curved corner sweeps pleasingly. Pity the modernised windows don’t quite look the part.

Here we have the frontage. Note triangular(ish) chimney column:-

Main Entrance. The angled stepping on the canopy support here is good and note the sweep of the far corner:-

The detailing around and above the side door here matches that of the main entrance:-

This view shows the double chimney at front and stepped chimney stack to rear matching the stepping on the frontage:-

And… Just over the road from the White House was this minor piece of thirties architecture. Now a Londis I think.

Great Tapestry of Scotland and Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 10: TSB Bank London Road

A couple of weeks ago, mostly on the good lady’s volition, we travelled to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland which was on show at the Scottish Parliament building. Its exhibition there finishes sometime in September and it will eventually end up in Melrose when the new rail line to the borders is complete.

It’s quite an impressive collection – of embroidery rather than tapestry but Hey-ho – of over 100 panels stitched by volunteers from round Scotland each one illustrating a piece of Scottish history.

I may get round to posting other views of the panels but this one featured Dumbarton Rock, which in 870 AD (or 870 CE if you prefer) fell to the Vikings:-

on the way back to where we’d parked I captured the building below on pixels. I’d passed it many times before in the car but never stopped near enough by. It’s the TSB bank in East Norton Place (London Road) Edinburgh.

The pillars on the corners are good. The street sign on the bank also says East Norton Place. From the other side the pillars are again stand outs. The style of the number 30 is nicely deco too.

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 34: Causewayhead, Stirling

I was over west a bit a few weeks ago and finally stopped at the Causewayhead roundabout near the Wallace Monument to photograph the building below which has a nice stepped roofline. You can spot the monument in the background of the second view.

Causewayhead is in Stirling but I believe the road this stands on is called Airthrey Road.

I think the bloke on the phone at the front of the shops wondered what on Earth I was doing.

There is good horizontal detailing on the side pillaring in this next photo. The windows look replacement.

The best bit of the whole layout is the lovely curved wall – in two dimensions – plus deco pillar at the gate.

There is a good deco feel to the gate too. Note the curving on the rear side of the wall pillar as well as its front.

Leslie, Fife

I’ve posted previously about the sad demolition of Leslie’s Art Deco Cinema.

There are still some thirties-style buildings around, though.

This is the former Co-op. It’s not really bent; this is a stitch of two photos to get it all in.

This is what the two separate photos looked like:-

The marble round the centre door would have looked impressive in its day but it’s a bit tired now.

The former cafe on the corner here has more than a hint of Deco in the rounded element and the detailing above the door.

This isn’t deco but the columns either side of the windows prefigure the style. It’s opposite the Green and is the Old Parish Church Hall:-

Mallaig (Malaig)

There isn’t much to do at Mallaig – or Malaig as the signs have it. (It seems a bit pointless to have the name repeated only without an “l” but bilinguality seems to be important once you get to Crianlarich – or A’ Chrìon Làraich if you prefer.)

Mallaig’s raison d’être was herring fishing. That’s why the railway was run into there in the first place. I can remember the fish trains rumbling past my boyhood home in the wee hours. Now the herring fishing has gone but I believe prawns have taken their place, shipped all over Europe – by lorry.

Mind you I did buy a book. There’s a building directly opposite the station which among other things houses a second hand bookshop. There is a “first hand” bookshop further into the town but it had mostly touristy books.

There were the expected tourist outlets and several cafes and restaurants, some of which doubled up as chippies, plus a Co-op.

We had nearly two hours to kill though.

The Marine Hotel is just across the access road to the station. I leave you to decide if it’s Deco or not:-

We wandered round the coast road a bit. This is a panorama of the harbour from the other side of the bay. (To get to the larger version on my flickr click on the picture):-

Walking back into the village I saw this intriguing building on the harbour entrance. This side is a fishselling business:-

The building is quite big. The other side is/was a cafe and a ship chandler’s. The cafe bit was closed so may be defunct.

Not content with three business premises the side facing the harbour provides shipping services:-

This is a panorama of the other side of the bay from the harbour entrance:-

The harbour mouth:-

You can just see a fisherman’s statue in the above. Beyond where I took the next one was permitted personnel only so I took this long shot:-

That was Mallaig.

Fort William Art Deco

The town is cut off from Loch Linnhe by a dual carriageway. We walked along it the first evening and saw the Imperial Hotel. Lovely curved area with balcony above. Nice stepping on the roof line.

There are other decoish buildings on the High Street.

Could this once have been a Woolworths?:-

The next one looks flat-roofed. Windows have been altered:-

Mountain Warehouse. Minor Deco at best:-

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