ArcadesPromenades

Posts Tagged ‘seaside resort’

Yarners Bomb Coastal Town

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Guerilla knitting has hit Hunstanton in the period running up to the Diamond Jubilee. With red, white and blue being a prominent colour scheme, as can be see in the following two photos (the first is the Princess Theatre, while the tree is outside Cafe Blah Blahh).

Also known as ‘yarn bombing’ and ‘graffiti knitting’, this colourful form of knit-one-purl-one activism has become popular in the last decade.

The following images were taken at the entrance to the Princess Theatre:

Here is another seaside resort hit with knitting fever: Contemplating Change

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Walking to the Beach

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

 By Tina Richardson

 

Walking affirms, suspects, tries out, transgresses respects, etc., the trajectories it “speaks”. All the modalities sing a part in this chorus, changing from step to step, stepping in through proportions, sequences, and intensities which vary according to the time, the path taken and the weather. These enunciatory operations are of an unlimited diversity. They therefore cannot be reduced to their graphic trail. (De Certeau 2006: 99)

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

 Bibliography

De Certeau, Michel. 2006. ‘Walking in the City’, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. by Steven Rendall (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press) pp. 91-110.

The Seaside in Winter

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2010 at 10:57 am

 By Tina Richardson

Anyone who has visited the seaside in the winter knows what a different place it is compared to the height of summer. One of the things that is most noticeable, are the local people who live there all year round. In the summer, when these seaside towns are brimming with visitors, it is easy to forget that the space we occupy as tourists, is actually the home of many of the people who we do not even notice when moving around the resort.

Many old people retire to the seaside. Hunstanton in Norfolk, is one of these coastal towns. Quite a few of the elderly who live there have buggies. Below is a photo of three buggies outside the Union Church, where they have a coffee morning, and bring-and-buy on a Wednesday:

In order to get a sense of winter-time at the seaside, I decided to take a buggy out in the town while on one of my visits. And, so as to give you a flavour of the seaside in winter, I took the buggy onto the prom and videoed by journey.

To see the video, click here and scroll down: On the Prom on a Buggy

Related sites: A Journey Around My Church – Particulations

Hunstanton Railway Station

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm

 Photo © Julian Holland

By Tina Richardson

The above photo of Hunstanton Railway Station was taken by my cousin Julian Holland in 1965. As previously mentioned, local investors were persuaded by Henry Styleman Le Strange to fund the railway line, and Hunstanton became the first seaside resort of the railway age. Apparently, in 1911 there were 16 trains a day. The line was decommissioned in 1969.

Related websites:

Hunstanton Railway Station in the 1900s

Amazing and Extraordinary Railway Facts by Julian Holland

HunstantonRailway Station on Wikipedia

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

Seaside as Sign

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm

By Tina Richardson

It is impossible to separate the seaside resort from the modernist project itself. The British seaside is, amongst other things, the product of an improved transport system that resulted from industrialisation. Evolving in the 19th century, it also produced another ‘space’ for the citizen to consume in in order for the continuation of production. It carried with it, at least in its early days, notions of conspicuous consumption, the outward representation of wealth and status. Therefore even in the Victorian period it was already well-grounded in the ideology of reproduction (Marx), the cyclical nature of capital’s structural process. Fèlix Guattari explains that through its use of a system of signs “the capitalist Signifier, as simulacrum of imaginary power, has the job of overcoding all the other Universes of value.” (1995: 105). This is done through a system of signs that are ideologically coded, and yet appear as ‘natural’.

The contemporary seaside’s manifest form is pure spectacle: its multitude of signs bombard the senses and attempt to hijack individual subjectivities converting them into what Guattari describes as capitalist subjectivity. While it does not in any way reach Jean Baudrillard’s fourth order of the sign, that which has no bearing on reality, it could easily be considered a level two sign: not providing a true representation of reality, while simultaneously implying that reality does actually exist. However, what makes the seaside particularly interesting is its juxtaposition: a space of consumption set alongside the sand and sea. The dividing line between this culture/nature dichotomy is starkly apparent in a geographical sense; setting up interesting spatial tensions that encourage examination. John Fiske provides a superb semiotic analysis of the seaside in his essay ‘Reading the Beach’. In the introduction he states: “Like all texts, the beach has an author – not, admittedly, a named individual, but a historically determined set of community practices that have produced material objects or signs.” (2004: 43).

We all read the beach, whether we realise it or not. However the test, I would say, is whether we read solely the dominant signs as opposed to those which are less apparent.

References:

Fiske, John. 2004. ‘Reading the Beach’, Reading the Popular (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers). pp. 43-76.

Guattari, Félix. 1995. Chaosmosis: An ethico-aesthetic paradigm, trans. by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press).

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

Wish You Were Here!

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

 By Tina Richardson

On August 4th 2010 I bought a postcard from the Beach Cafe in Old Hunstanton and sent it to myself at my university address. I chose a ‘typical’ seaside image: a sunny day with people enjoying themselves on the beach. It turns out the image was from the 1970s at the latest, as the photographer had to have been standing on the pier. The pier was originally built in 1870 and destroyed by a storm in 1978.

 

The Wish You Were Here Concept

While wikipedia has a whole section on the Pink Floyd album of the same name, it doesn’t have a section on the concept. This might be because it is obvious or because it merits its very own thesis. However, Jacques Derrida has written about  the postcard in The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, and other philosophical texts seem to be available on discussions of the postcard, but not much on wish-you-were-here.

 

The Postcard as Sign

In Britain the seaside postcard is synonymous with the rise of the Victorian seaside resort. According to the OED a postcard is “A card designed to be carried by post without an envelope“. However, the holiday postcard is much more than that. Amongst other things it is a sign of remembering and a recognition of absence. While this could also be applied to a letter, I think the holiday postcard has a different kind of significance: it is celebrating the pleasure of the sender in the absence of the receiver.

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

A Strange Psychogeography: A Walk Around Le Strange Arms Hotel in Old Hunstanton

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

By Tina Richardson

On August 4th 2010 my original plan to research the elderly mobility issue in the seaside resort of Hunstanton was aborted due to bad weather. I had been planning on taking out my father’s buggy for a test run, a sort of ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ but with no star and only something vaguely resembling a car. It rained that morning and looked like it was going to rain on and off all day. So instead I decided to do a walk around Le Strange Arms; an area in Old Hunstanton that has a hotel, pub, golf course, arts and crafts centre, beach cafe and a plethora of signs which are always of interest to the psychogeographer.

 

The Le Strange Family

I am not going to provide an in depth history of the Le Strange family here, as this exists in abundance elsewhere, but I would just like to situate the area historically. The Le Strange family were responsible for developing the new beach area of New Hunsatnton (now Hunstanton) in 1846. Investors were persuaded by Henry Styleman Le Strange to fund the new railway line, and Hunstanton became the first seaside resort of the railway age. There was practically nothing in what is now Hunstanton prior to this period. Le Strange built the town: he moved the old village cross to the new area, built its first hotel (what is now the Golden Lion) and Hunstanton soon became a popular resort for the Victorians. I have heard that there were 16 trains a day in 1911. The line was sadly decommissioned in 1969. There are proposals to have it reopened.

 

Le Strange Arms Hotel

Old Hunstanton, where the hotel is located, is a short walk from Hunstanton town centre. When you approach it from the coast road, you actually come to the back of the hotel, rather than the original front which faces the beach. This photo shows what is now the rear of the hotel, facing onto its own car park, gardens and then the coastline:

This image shows the staircase winding up the side of it on a more recently built modern section of the hotel:

The gardens were pleasant with a conservatory/sun lounge at the bottom: really nice but not modern, obviously…

…but what I did really like was this play centre for the children which I thought was almost sculpture-like:

The garden just borders the coastal grass area, just prior to the sand. I managed to get a good photo of the beach huts from there:

This red wall post box was on the periphery of the hotel ground:

 

Seaside Paraphernalia and Imagery

Just prior to heading down towards the beach I saw a memorial bench dedicated to John ‘Grouch’ Chapman. It seems he was a freemason, as the bench is placed by the Martin Folkes Lodge who meet in the Le Strange Arms Hotel.

 

The beach car park is on the left of the path that leads down to the beach.

 

The public car park has a lovely frieze. While there are barely any people depicted (only one in a deck chair), the animals seem to be having a great time:

 

The Beach Cafe is only a few yards from the hotel. I walked down the slope and came upon two friendly people with dogs who let me take their photo – which I thought was extremely kind in these surveillance-paranoid times. The woman had a nice sunhat on and practical wellies. The dogs took a while to calm down in order for me to take the photo, they probably thought they were stopping for ice cream rather than the whims of a blogger. The owners were patient and gave me excellent seaside smiles, as you can see:

 

This picture was taken outside the Beach Cafe which was like an Aladdin’s cave and sold everything. I like beach paraphernalia. It is always hyper-colourful and there is something transient about it. I’m not sure if this is because of the cheap plastic of which most of it is made, or rather because summer is always fleeting, especially in Britain. I guess there is also some nostalgic childhood notion attached to it.

 

I don’t think the cafe ever sold many postcards. They were quite dusty and very old. I bought one that has a photo on it that was probably originally taken before 1978. The final section of the previously burned down pier was pulled down at that time, and it looks like the photographer was standing on the remaining section of the pier when the photo was shot. I have posted this postcard to myself at my university address. I will see if it arrives and shall include a mini blog on it later if it does.

I had a cappuccino and some ice cream at the cafe. My second ice cream of the summer.

 

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

The RNLI was situated opposite the cafe:

 

Here is a link to the RNLI site at Hunstanton:

Hunstanton Lifeboat Station

Unfortunately the ‘video’ section of the website does not have any films uploaded yet. Instead I have included a film of a Skegness/Hunstanton RNLI exercise session below. They appear to have a Christmas tree on the back of the boat. They look to be having fun and I’m thinking this may be a ‘jolly’ disguised as an exercise.

Hunstanton/Skegness RNLI Exercise

 

Prohibitive Signs

If I didn’t include a section on the signs that are instructing you to do and not do things, I wouldn’t be carrying out my psychogeographic duties properly. My favourite one is the first one, which was on the fence of a property.

The Ancient Mariner

While the Ancient Mariner is actually a pub in Old Hunstanton it is also an epic poem by Coleridge. So I have included a couple of lines here:

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

I chose these lines as I found out that the sea in this area was so cold that it froze in 1940. I didn’t know what a ‘swound’ was so looked it up on google. According to wikipedia they are a band from Nottingham who made up the word themselves – ooops, sorry boys, Samuel Taylor got there first! A ‘swound’ also appears to be a ‘swoon’.

 

You reach the Ancient Mariner Inn before you get to Le Strange Arms Hotel. The pub faces the arts and crafts centre opposite.

 

 

Leaving the Strangeness Behind

I walked back via the lighthouse and St Edmunds arch. I didn’t take a photo of the lighthouse but a video instead, which I’ve struggled to upload. This is St Edmund’s arch, which I am showing as a taster to a possible future blog on the area which is currently under conservation:

Here is a link to a great photo of the lighthouse:

Hunstanton Lighthouse

Of course, I don’t see Hunstanton as really being strange. The seaside, however, has a unique topography suggesting concepts such as liminality (it is a threshold of uncertainty and a blurred boundary between the land and sea); and historically, otherness, in the sense that the sea always had (has) the potential for bringing an unexpected other to the shores of the homeland.

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

Images of the liminal

In Arcades, Promenades on July 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

This is a slideshare version of our paper from the Liminal Landscapes conference, given today in Liverpool.

“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

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

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2010 at 9:22 am

Part 1 – Walking the Promenade

A trip to ‘Sunny Hunny’

By Tina Richardson

Late morning on Wednesday June 2nd 2010 I set off from Northgate in Hunstanton (named after the local red Carr Stone – ‘honeystone’), Norfolk to explore the promenade. However, unlike John Betjeman I was unable to take the train from King’s Lynn railway station directly to Hunstanton (Hunst’on, as it is to the ‘locals’), as the line was closed in 1969:

King’s Lynn to Hunstanton

Map of Norfolk

The title of this blog – “Out of nothing in the middle of nowhere.” – refers to the phrase that is often used to describe Hunstanton’s origins: it sprung from a rural landscape and was developed for the sole purpose of turning it into a seaside resort. Schizocartography refers to the methods I use to highlight dominant power structures, while attempting to provide alternative narratives (often subjective) in text, image and map form.

I journeyed down the prom from the north to the south end and back again. Being one of the sunny days of the recent boost of sun, and also half-term, the prom and beach were quite busy. Although, since my walk was psychogeographically-oriented my remarks, as you will see, concentrate on what is often not noticed on a casual viewing.

Donut Heaven (or the Disneyfication of the Seaside)

While the kiss-me-quick quality of the 60s seaside resort has diminished, it has become an almost hyper-real space that is highly oriented around consumerism. The proliferation of signs is positively Baudrillardian, it was difficult not to be interpellated by them and I had to make a conscious effort to notice other stimuli.

 

I was particularly drawn to the notices that were prohibiting particular actions and behaviours. Here is a sample of some of those on the prom itself. I especially like the one that says “This area is for pony rides only. No kites, chairs, balls, inflatables, etc” and then pretends to be a council notice by writing (in marker pen) KL & WNBC on the bottom which stands for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council:

 

 

 

 

Nevertheless, the deckchair hiring companies seemed to challenge this draconian approach and, in fact, do the opposite by allowing you to help yourself to the deckchairs, prior to paying for them:

 

Utilities Boxes

There appear to be a number of power boxes, serving the nearby outlets, within easy access of the prom. There were far too many to photograph, (even though it would be an interesting project to do so).

 

I looked for utility boxes on google and found this stylish one made by a company in the US. It might be an interesting idea for Hunstanton to fund an art project for blending the utility boxes in with their respective backgrounds. This will simultaneously turn them into a (tourist) feature unique to the resort.

This image has been reproduced by the kind permission of American Gas Products Inc www.americangasproducts.com

Liminal Spaces

A couple of interesting (lost) spaces caught my attention. The image I have called “Welcome to My Garden” was located between one of the large plastic childrens’ slides on the prom and the themed crazy golf course. The other, “Discrete Concrete”, was a nook under the ramp of the Surfside Cafeteria.

Welcome to My Garden

Discrete Concrete

The deep topographer Nick Papadimitriou is often attracted to these in-between spaces. So, too, is Patrick Keiller as can be seen in his Robinson series of films.

Robinson in Space 

(go to 45 seconds into the film to see an example of a liminal space – a portakabin at Elephant and Castle, London)

Nick Papadimitriou’s site: (films by John Rogers)

 

Past and Present

At one of the car parks adjacent to the prom is this road sign which appears within the car parking space, against the wall that divides the car park from the prom:

Douglas Bader, the famous pilot who crashed while doing aerobatics and lost both his legs, must have some connection to Hunstanton outside of his relationship to Norfolk (where he served in the RAF). However, following a quick search I am unable to find what this is.

There is a tourist notice nearby (headed “Hunstanton Past and Present: The Promenade”) which says: “The seafront from the Green to the fairground was developed during the 1920s and 1930s on land reclaimed from the sea.”.

According to The Hunstanton Story: The First Fifty Years 1861-1911 by Mary Rhodes: the first section of the prom was not built until 1879. The second section “was erected later, roomy shelters with long wooden seats all round the walls and an ornamental balcony on the roof were added. Convenient slopes and steps at each end gave access to the beach. Another refinement about this time was the drinking fountain on the Green at the head of the pier – a generous gift presented by Jamesina Waller.”

 

Conclusion

Hunstanton, a place I visited as a child in the 60s, has become infinitely more interesting due to my psychgeographical drift along its prom. It has also hugely improved as an urban space and resort in comparison to the slump it appeared to be in in the early 1980s. My schizocartography will continue with the second part of this blog which covers the area behind the prom at the North end.

Bibliography:

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