ArcadesPromenades

“Out of nothing in the middle of nowhere.”: a Schizocartography of Hunstanton

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2010 at 10:09 am

Part 2 – Leaving the Promenade

By Tina Richardson

Part 1 of this blog highlighted the experiences and findings resulting from walking Hunstanton promenade. This part responds to the urban décor that I came across upon leaving the promenade from the north end via The Green. I have used this décor as a means of both reading and (re)writing the urban space.

The Green

The Green in Hunstanton is edged on the North East by The Golden Lion Hotel and the Town Hall:

The Green 

The above image shows the hotel on the left and next to it the Town Hall, which now appears to be the Tourist Information Centre, at least at the front section (I remember playing in a piano competition in the hall at the back as a child). The Cross on the Green, which no longer appears to be a cross, is meant to be the remains of an ancient village cross. According to Ken Arnott, in Hunstanton: The Story of a Small Norfolk Seaside Resort, it was repositioned on The Green at the time The Golden Lion was built (1846).

The Town Hall 

Despite these noteworthy buildings, built in the famous Carr Stone, my attention was drawn to the bikers that frequent The Green on sunny days.

Easy Rider

Hunstanton, as many with seaside resorts, is known for its visits from bikers. From what I can tell they are welcomed by most people and are not considered by the locals to be a problem. In fact, my elderly parents used to wander down to The Green especially to look at the bikes. Motorcycle Rallys are regularly held in Hunstanton. This form of appropriation of space is quite interesting and I will endeavour to follow it up in a future blog. These two chaps not only kindly let me take their photo but also let me chat to them.

They were mates and came from Peterborough. They had been coming to Hunstanton since the 1980s. One was a trucker and the other a psychiatric nurse. The trucker said he had brought his 18 year old daughter to Hunstanton on the back of his bike before. They ride a Honda Blackbird 1100 and Suzuki VZR 1800. The bikes were quite beautiful and motorbikes generally are clearly a major passion to the owners, as can be demonstrated in this youtube film which is 1 minute 35 seconds of someone simply admiring their bike through the lens of a camcorder and sharing it with the world:

Suzuki VZR 1800 

Esplanade Gardens

The Esplanade Gardens follow on from The Green. I’m not sure exactly when they were completed but, according to Mary Rhodes, sometime after 1897. There is a memorial to the flood victims of 1953 in the gardens. It says: “This tablet records the names of those residents of South Beach who lost their lives in the great flood and tempest. 31 Jan 1953.”. I took a photo of the tablet, but the one shown at the link below is much better (please scroll down for image):

Flood Victim Memorial 

Having grown up in King’s Lynn (the largest nearby town) in the 1960s I remember my parents talking about the flood which hit the port and coastal area badly. In fact, in North Lynn you can still see the marks of the floodwater on the buildings: often reaching as high as the first floors of the terraced houses.

North Sea Flood of 1953 

Dog Fouling

Needless to say, like the prom, the gardens has a large focus on owner/dog behaviour. Although I didn’t see many dogs around either area.

I did find this council document on fouling in Hunstanton. According to Councillor Brian Long: “Dog fouling is at best unsightly and unpleasant. At worst it can actually cause disease and blindness. Under this new order we will be much more able to take enforcement action against irresponsible dog owners. The majority of dog owners are responsible and dutifully clean up after their dog has fouled, but it is the small minority that make it unpleasant for everyone else.”

New Rules on Dog Fouling 

Images of the Gardens

Other photos I would like to include here are:

Anglia in Bloom: Hunstanton seems to have had a good run on winning ‘Anglia in Bloom’ recently:

Anglia in Bloom 

The Victorian Fountain: I’m assuming this fountain is Victorian (it has an arts-and-crafts-movement feel about it) but I don’t seem to have any further information on it. No water was spurting from it on the day of my visit.

Plants in Boat Sculpture: One of the first things you see when entering the park is this interesting sculpture/plant pot. Initially I thought it was a bit ‘cheesy’, but the more I look at it the more I like it. In the background you can see the bowling green and some of the unique Hunstanton architecture.

Conclusion

I ended this part of my promenade walk when I arrived at the Salad Bowl cafe, just on from the Esplanade Gardens, where I had lunch. Outside the cafe were three memorial benches, two had signs on them:

I shall conclude this blog with a quote from Arnott’s text. Apparently, this appeared in an old guide of the town (or ‘village’ as it was at that time): “A village of mellow walls, chequered with warm colours and red valerian and toadflax. There, lovers of antiquity will linger, held by a medieval spell.”.

Bibliography:

Arnott, Ken. 2000. Hunstanton: The Story of a Small Norfolk Seaside Resort (King’s Lynn: Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk).

Rhodes, Mary. Date Unknown. The Hunstanton Story: The First Fifty Years 1861-1911 (Warwick: Private Publication).

For information on my other work, please go to: particulations

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  1. Again this is very interesting and very close to our previous work in many respects. I am particularly interested in the memorial benches you refer to as they chime with James’ earlier post – https://arcadespromenades.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/memorialising-the-promenade/- and some of my thoughts from my other other blog – http://rykalski.posterous.com/my-fourteen-year-old-copy-of-the-histories-of – and again this suggests a set of overlapping interests, concerns and approaches.
    It’s great to have you aboard.

    • Thanks for your response, Wesley. I do like those memorial benches. There are quite a few in Hunstanton, although I have only noted those that I have come across by accident so far. My parents even have one. I’m keen to do a blog about the benches at one point. I liked your links, especially that collage-type image of parts of benches.

      Two images/maps coming up over the next couple of weeks…

      It’s good to be on board, thanks.

  2. I think as well there is more material here to add to something we were moving towards earlier, a look at the general form of the promenade, it’s rules, and how these are broken. I’m always fascinated by these attempts to recreate / reflect the coast, behind the sea defences themselves. The ornamental boat is a case in point!

  3. Yes, I agree about the rules for the promenade. I’m just in the process of making a map that is aimed at challenging the linear way we move down the prom. As an aside: one thing I found interestiong about taking photos on the prom is that usually I have a problem with security, etc – however, at the seaside no-one seems to notice when you are taking photos of ‘odd’ things. I’ll post my first ‘map’ early next week – it’s a collage-based one. The second one is a Situationist-oriented one, which I am still working on.

  4. Interesting, I hadn’t thought about that before. I spent ages taking photos of the CCTV on Brighton promenade, assuming that I would eventually draw the fire of the monitors, but it never happened. I wonder who is operating these cameras on the prom? In cities it is most often private firms, with an interest in creating ‘a positive retail experience’, but I’m assuming at the seaside there isn’t that level of profit….they are probably still under local authority / police control. I’m sure I could find out with an FOI request!

    • One of the ‘rules of the prom’ must be the expectation of being ‘snapped’ by a tourist. The camera is a part of the tourist’s mechanism of gaze and the sea side is a tourist space. I expect us to have fewer difficulties (practical and ethical) photography the promenade than any other space in our society.

  5. Yes, that’s what I think. It’s part of the seaside paraphernalia and therefore people taking snaps is de rigueur and you aren’t considered a threat – unlike, say, in a shopping centre, or around an electricity sub-station as happened to me recently.

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