Hotels in England

A quick list of my top five. Here’s a link to a previous post with the different cities visited during my two-years in the UK.

(1) The Midland in Morecambe – Art deco hotel with a link to the railway (and the golden age of rail). The restaurant is top notch. It makes me pine for a revitalization of domestic travel.

Limestone Archives: Midland Hotel Flickr Album

(2) The Telegraph Hotel in Coventry – Themed hotel in a space once occupied by the local rag. In terms of theming, it’s only rival is the TWA Hotel. They have done a brilliant job preserving the interior features as well and objects that once served the newspaper are marked with QR codes (clever).

Limestone Archives: Telegraph Hotel Flickr Album

(3) Moxy Southampton – The place to either celebrate or commiserate a Saints win/loss. Southampton is my second home (and maybe where I’ll retire).

(4) Cambridge Central Station – Incredible views of the station, platforms, and railyards. The lobby displays all the rail departures / arrivals so there’s always the frenetic energy of travelers going to and from.

(5) Hilton Garden Inn Stoke on Trent – Modern and well-lit and close to the canals.

Other notable hotels include The Yarrow Hotel, Hampton by Hilton York, and the DoubleTree by Hilton Bath.

Related
British Rail Corporate Identity from 1965–1994

London Station Group (Collect ‘Em All)

There are 18 railway stations served by the National Rail network in central London. My goal is to explore and photograph each. Here’s a quick list / summary to date of those I’ve visited (and travelled to/from). My favorite station in the LSG is Euston whilst my favorite destination station (not terminal) is Harlow Town. Harlow Town (1959) was featured in British Rail Architecture 1948-97 (pgs. 76-81) by David Lawrence and was described in Architectural Review as the “first and most convincing fulfilment of the promise of better railway architecture in Britain.”

Station Destination
BlackfriarsBrighton
Victoria Canterbury East / Dover / Portsmouth & Southsea
Liverpool StreetHarlow Town, Norwich
King’s CrossBury St Edmunds / Ely / Cambridge / York / Durham / Lincoln / Sunderland, Newcastle¹
St Pancras International Paris / Ramsgate
WaterlooSouthampton / Salisbury
EustonLancaster / Hereford / Stoke / Coventry
Paddington Bournemouth / Plymouth / Oxford / Penzance / Bath Spa / Exeter

Related
(1) The Central line to Harlow? It could happen… (Secret London)

¹Inboud rerouted after cancellation

Penn Station

(1) This Is Why Your Holiday Travel Is Awful (Politico)

“Penn Station is the second most heavily trafficked transit hub in the world, trailing only Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station. The station serves more daily passengers than the region’s three huge airports (Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark) combined. More people pass through Penn each weekday than live in the city of Baltimore. Anyone who has passed through Penn Station over the past half-century—or who passed through it this Thanksgiving weekend—knows that the nation’s busiest transit center is a national embarrassment, a hole in the ground where the food is ratty and the waiting rooms are sparse.”

Thanksgiving 2019

(1) American Interior (1935) by Charles Sheeler

(2) Game Over: How technology forced traditional toys to evolve (Vera)

(3) Great Western Railway: Adventures with the Famous Five (YouTube)

(4) A couple of quotes from British Rail Architecture 1948-97 by David Lawrence:

“Any designed object or space will have an appearance intended to attract the eye in some way: perhaps to impress or reassure, to demonstrate efficiency, or comfort, or progressive ideas.”

“Frank Pick (1878-1941), influential patron of art and design for modern transport, saw the potential for the railway station as an opportunity for architecture and design to come together in interesting an appropriate ways, and he knew that the station could earn money for the railway.”

“Only the concrete and brick stations built by the Southern Railway for routes converted to electric services during the 1930s provided a contrast to the varying levels of decrepitude manifested at the Region’s wayside halts and gloomy suburban stations.”

“Leslie (later Sir Leslie) Martin and his wife Sadie Speight, shared a background in architecture and avant-garde art. They were close to sources of modernity, not least because Martin co-edited the magazine Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art with artists Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, published from 1937. Sadie Speight was a founding partner of Design Research Unit, which would author the British Rail corporate identity of 1964. Together they designed a timber-frame school at Hartford Ch (1938), which used standard components to test building with ready-made structures. London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) architect WH Hamlyn created a Development Section concerned with the collection of data from existing buildings, to look at types of station, planning and production of buildings, types of structure and their performance, wear and maintenance of materials and finishes, lighting and plumbing, and furnishings. From this data specifications would be compiled to standardize design, materials and equipment for future architectural needs.”

(5) It Was Supposed to Be the Safest Building in the World. Then It Cracked.

How San Francisco’s Salesforce Transit Center went from the Grand Central of the West to a $2.2 billion construction debacle. (Popular Mechanics)

(6) The Festival of Britain 1951 (Historic UK)

(7) Quarry plan controversy (The Royal Gazette)

(8) blue cathedral (YouTube)

Southampton

Spitfire O’er SouthamptonConcluding my three city swing (Austin, Portland, and Southampton) with another list.

What’s surprisingly missing from this one is anything White Star Line / Titanic related. I was in Southampton for a football match…not to find the Heart of the Ocean.

(1) Sir James Matthews Building is part of Solvent University and features paintings that commemorate the legendary Spitfire.

(2) Boo Hoo Records & Vinilo Record Store. The former is on Old Northam Road.

(3) Old Northam Road had its heyday in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s as the antique quarter. The storefronts are a little worn and tattered but many are full of antique furniture. It’s hard to tell whether or not the space is just being used as storage now or if these are functioning antique dealers.  It’s a great location for pictures though and the procession to St. Mary’s includes a stint on Old Northam Road.  

If you like ocean liner memorabilia and ephemera make sure to visit Cobwebs

(4) St. Mary’s Stadium is home to the Southampton Football Club. The Saints are currently in the Premier League. According to Wikipedia, the stadium has a capacity of 32,505 and is currently the largest football stadium in South East England. 

The stadium is next to a concrete plant that abuts the River Itchen. In this sense Southampton is like Portland in terms of its industry. 

There’s wasn’t anything ostentatious about this ground (certainly NO Jerry’s World). There’s a statue of Ted Bates (Mr. Southampton) near the main entrance and on match day the Saints Brass perform for fans.     

(5) Holyrood Church and Bargate. I took dozens of photos of the former during my 2014 visit for the Brompton World Championship. The church was destroyed by the blitz in 1940. The latter is a town gateway from the 1100s that includes a statue of George III (in Roman dress). Other notable buildings in Southampton include St. Michael’s and the Civic Centre. 

(6) The Giant Ferris Wheel near Bargate isn’t the London Eye but it affords some spectacular views of Southampton. It’s seasonal and its last day of operation was October 28th. It will be in Bradford for Christmas so IF anyone fancies a little holiday magic get cracking!

(7) In need of some ale and food from a classic pub? The Duke of Wellington near the Isle of Wight Ferry Terminal is a safe bet. 

(8) The lobby at room2 is really cool. I may have still been euphoric from my first trip to St. Mary’s (or just really cold) but the Peroni was extra satisfying. The space is modern, comfortable and very cozy.  

(9) My train arrived and departed from Southampton Central via South Western Railway. This is a very simple station but there’s a Costa and Naked Coffee next door. The trip from Waterloo is about 2 hours and includes some brilliant vistas of the countryside.

(10) Take the Red Funnel to the Isle of Wight.

Portland

Christ The Teacher Chapel / University of PortlandThe one on the west coast. I was there for a long weekend and in traditional limestone fashion wanted to draft a top ten…

(1) The Hollywood Theater at PDX. My favorite shorts from the Summer Program are Oregon: Only Slightly Exaggerated and The Famished Frog. I also liked The Water’s Fine because it reminds me of the work we’re doing on the Bike and Pedestrian Committee. 

Tip: The Fish & Chips at Mo’s Seafood and Chowder at PDX is delicious.

(2) Bikes, bikes, bikes! There are bike lanes and bike shops everywhere. Bike culture is thriving in Portland. If cycling had a patron saint it would be Elly Blue.

A couple of notable shops are North Portland Bike WorksCommunity Cycling Center, Upcycles, and Clever Cycles

Tip: Don’t miss the mural at the Community Cycling Center and stop for a cup of coffee at the Fresh Pot if you’re at the North Portland Bike Works.

(3) Union Station.  The ‘Go By Train’ neon sign beckons would be travelers / adventurers.

(4) The Chapel of Christ the Teacher at the University of Portland. The chapel/campus is on a bluff overlooking the Willamette River. 

“Slowly the procession advances, across the meadows and over a bridge…

Bonus: Ed’s story: Lose a dream, find a life

(5) Boys Fort, Powell’s Books, and the Portland Outdoor Store. You could get a one-of-a-kind journal at Boys Fort, a travel guide at Powell’s, and a coat at the Portland Outdoor Store before heading to Union Station to start your adventure in the Pacific Northwest. 

Tip: Budget plenty of time (and pack a really comfortable pair of shoes) since there is some amazing (and unique) retail in Portland like Chrome Industries.

(6) Pearl District. You could spend a full day with just a camera immersed in the architectural detail of this developing area. Visit the Bridgeport Brewing Company when you’re thirsty. 

(7) St. Johns / Cathedral Park. Stand in the shadows of St. Johns Bridge before enjoying the neighborhood retail/restaurants.

“…Finally, we enter a vast forest, and the branches of its trees interlace in the likeness of gothic arches…”

Bonus: Dinner at Wood Fired Eats.

(8) Portland Saturday Market. Impressive array of arts/crafts/food along the Waterfront Park Trail. 

(9) Bridges. A trestle of delights for bridge enthusiasts like the Broadway, Steel, and Fremont.

“…Soon we emerge into a blaze of morning light. Once again, the powers of life and death have triumphed over the hosts of death and despair.”

(10) Entrepreneurialism. The industriousness and creativity of Victor Atiyeh endures in so many Portland businesses (everything from breweries to messenger bags). There is a statue of this former governor at PDX.

*Photo is from the marble tabernacle inside the Chapel of Christ the Teacher. Quote is from The Legacy Collection: Fantasia.

Weekend 379.0 (Ice is forming on the tips of my wings…)

(1) Stunning Photos of Trains Roaring Through Picturesque Landscapes (My Modern Met)

Some of these photographs remind me of the Yellow Train by Francois Roca.

(1a) Flashback: Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

(2) Brightline Brings High-Speed Trains To Florida: The 125-mph Brightline trains will be the first privately run passenger service to debut in over 100 years (The Drive)

Channeling Henry Flagler?

*Scan is from The Art of Makoto Shinkai

Weekend 343.1

(1) On September 13, You Can Ride the 7 Train to Hudson Yards

(2) ÖBB Headquarters / INNOCAD Architecture (ArchDaily)

(3) More quotes from The Heart of our Cities by Victor Gruen:

“There is a saying that the best things in life are free. Those best things are hard to come by in the sprawling environment of the modern American metropolis. One of the best things in life that comes free is a chance meeting with another human being, which in more concentrated and urbane cities occurs in everyday life on the streets, in the parks, in stores and on buses, streetcars or other public conveyances. These chance meetings, not pre-designed by efficient hostesses, more often than not are the most rewarding ones. In Anti-city they cannot come about because the places that create the occasions do not exist. There are no sidewalks, there are no public squares, and there are very few, if any, public conveyances.”

“The result of neglect of the public environment drives us even further into efforts to improve our own immediate personal surroundings. In escapist fashion we are running away from the upsetting dangers and ugliness of the public environment…We tend to reduce all intimate and personal relations with the outside world, relaying more and more on the telephone, the radio and television for communication. In doing so, however, we soon run afoul of some basic, deeply human needs: the need for sociability, deeply imbedded in man who is a gregarious beast, and the need to earn one’s living, a necessity at least for most of us. We are forced to make sorties and forays from our fortified castles, and whenever we do so we encounter the hostility and dangers, the ugliness and chaos of the over-all public environment.”