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Art Deco in Groningen (i)

Groningen was a happy hunting ground for Art Deco. On the way in to the town centre past the Museum I saw the side of a building that looked a bit deco (vertical features) but made of what I thought was modern brick so passed on.

Just further along though I came on this very Egyptianate (and so true deco) shop. Le Souk:-

Not too far on was this:-

Just off the Vis Markt (fish market – absolutely heaving the day we were there) was Sumo:-

This was later, from across the market after we had circled round Groningen:-

Some time later we got back to the lane we had come up from the Museum and I realised that the earlier brick building I mentioned above was Deco. Might it be a cinema? Brilliant verticals and horizontals, flagpole, little square windows, detailing picked out in red and yellow. Delightful.

I had hoped the photo would show the vertical brickwork in the lane but sadly it hasn’t. What had alerted me to it was this stunning window on the main road:-

Groningen Railway Station

Groningen Railway Station is an architectural confection, superficially a bit like St Pancras. A Cathedral to steam.

This is its exterior from the ring road:-

It’s the interior that’s the gem though.

Apparently until quite recently all this lovely brickwork and decoration was covered up by plasterboard or something. When that was stripped off they discovered what they’d been missing. (There’s a couple of pigeons up there somewhere in these two photos.)

This is the cupola in the roof of the entrance hall:-

This is the vaulted roof in a side corridor!

And here is the stained glass in the windows round the entrance hall:-

More stained glass:-

Groningen Museum (Groninger Museum)

First a word on pronunciation. You might think Groningen is enunciated as Grown-ing-en. It isn’t.

Since the letter g in Dutch (certainly at the start and end of a word) is pronounced more like the Scottish “ch” sound – as in loch – and the final n is not emphasised, the name actually sounds more like HHrrrown-ing-ih. (I assume Groninger – HHrrown-ing-er – is an adjectival form meaning “of Groningen.”)

Anyway the museum is one of those modern architecture buildings that seems to have bits sticking out everywhere. I liked it. It reminded me a bit of the Imperial War Museum North.

It’s prominent from the ring road.

We didn’t have enough time to go in as we were going on a boat trip round the canals that encircle the town centre. You can’t go to The Netherlands and not go on a canal. This is the museum from the boat jetty.

And this is from the canal as the boat comes back to its starting point. That colour scheme could make your eyes go funny.

My Second Jay

While in Surhuisterveen we spotted a house with a viking ship for a weathervane. The house itself has a distinctive style. I like the railings on the balcony.

While manoeuvering to get a better shot of the weathervane than we had originally we saw a jay on the roof. My second jay! It’s perched on the thatch just above the window.

It moved to the edge of the roof and I got this shot.

Here’s a close-up of the weathervane.

What a great thing to have on your roof.

Maarssen, The Netherlands

Just to show I’ve been in the Netherlands this is a canal:-

The canal runs through the town of Maarssen, which is near Utrecht. The photo was taken from a traffic light bordered bridge over it which every so often opens up (along with warning noises and the necessary red lights) to let boats through.

We had gone to see the good lady’s nephew who lives in Maarssen. This nearby house was built in the 30s. Pity the main windows have been replaced:-

It has lovely stained glass in the gable windows, though.

Some of the modern houses in the street where said nephew lives have been built to mirror the deco styling of the 30s ones. Nice curve here.

Flat roofs, protrusions, porticos, porthole windows.

Good “reflection” here.

The theme is reproduced with variations.

Our nephew’s house is less deco, though.

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.

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