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Friday, 23 June 2017

'Slums' and Tower Blocks

The previous post, or the relevance of it, angers me.

I joined Bradford City Police in January 1966 and was posted to Bradford's Central Division.   From a middle class upbringing in Leeds I was pitched in to a raw and very different world in neighbouring Bradford.

I witnessed Bradford's Victorian built heritage being torn apart in the race to 'modernise'.   That was bad enough in the city centre where merely magnificent commercial buildings, and two main railway stations, were reduced to dust.   In the outer reaches of Bradford Central were the 'inner city' so-called slums.   They too bit the dust in what now seems to have been an orgy of destruction, then regarded as unquestionably right and proper as the world moved on.

Gone were the days of fabulous wealth and prosperity in the wool capital of the world.   The mills were burning with suspicious regularity.   There were no more Rolls Royces.   "As high as the hat on a Bradford millionaire" by then had a hollow ring.   Only Undercliffe Cemetery, on the very edge of Bradford Central gave a lasting clue of what once was.   I spent summer nights there reading the inscriptions and wondering at the mausoleums of the Great but horizontal.

At the other end of life's fortunes were the workers.   They lived in what appeared to me to be substantial and, by world comparisons, elegant and functional terraced streets.   Mile upon mile of them.   Each street had been a proud community but they were being systematically and ruthlessly torn down.   They were deemed to be unfit - slums the then word.   At colossal financial and social cost people were being 'rehoused' on estates with charming sounding names like Buttershaw, Holme Wood and Ravenscliffe.   In the housing mix were tower blocks.   Later at the Police Staff College, Bramshill I and others pondered on how these monsters could be 'patrolled'.   Of course, they couldn't.   This was the Brave New World and it seemed inevitable.

Communities from the 'slums' - horizontal tower blocks if you like - were dispersed and erased from history.

click to enlarge

Demolition men and others grew rich.   Alderman Foodbotham grew fatter and tower block builders reached for the skies.   Architects occasionally went to prison.

Police Constable 45 Rand was confused.   This apparent madness was the way of the world.   An unstoppable social revolution explained in some measure by a post-war perceived need for change and the eradication of inequality.  For change - the clarion call of politicians down the ages.    Out with the old and in with the new and self evidently better.

Well, the 'slums' were awful though those that have survived have been made into bijou residences.   But not as awful as have turned out to be tower blocks.   The slums were not fatal.   But they are gone.   Not adapted or adopted - gone.

Here is Bradford's Newby Street, the lower and ironically safer, floors boarded up.   It replaced the slums.   Shame on you Alderman Foodbotham and your paymasters.

Rainscreen Cladding

The dreadful fire at London's Grenfell Tower has brought into focus the thus far largely unheard of world of rain screen cladding.   In the Grenfell Tower case the insulation behind the aluminium cladding is being cited as the reason for the massive spread of the fire up the outside of the tower.   We shall see when full and proper investigations have been done.

Our annex has rain screen cladding too but it is minute in comparison:

click to enlarge

A great deal of thought went into the design of the annex by architect Stuart Green who specified aluminium rain screen cladding for its appearance and for its ability to keep the weather out.   I well remember him being asked by his assistant Maarten Kleinhout if there was to be insulation behind the cladding.   Equally, I remember Stuart Green's instruction.   No!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Settle Station Water Tower has been awarded a 2017 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

I shall not let it go to my head though and shall carry on as though I was a normal person.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Folly Coffee House

Part of our old home in Settle has taken on a new least of life - as a coffee house.   It opened today and I crept in to take some sneaky pictures of the old place.   It was a thrill to see that almost all of the things we did on that ground floor have been retained.
 Great to see that The Folly is marketing itself boldly at last

 The enormous fireplace, complete with daughter Lorna's blue toy box

 Our downstairs bedroom is now a cosy coffee lounge.   Note the round topped door and unique door frame cut to fit over quite a few days if I remember.

 The three oak posts in the middle of the floor of what was our lounge are vital supports for the floor above, which used to wallow alarmingly when we first bought the place.

 Settle's Timberworks made this external oak door which leads to an alleyway at the rear of the building.   This doorway had been abandoned maybe a century or two ago and the alleyway had accumulated perhaps two feet or more of soil and debris which we removed, installing a land drain instead.   This solved a serious dampness problem at the back of The Folly's north end.   We needed planning permission and Listed Building consent to re-open an obviously ancient doorway.   Settle Town Council objected at the time thinking we were abusing the Folly and knocking it about!

 Thrilled to see that my rustic screen between the main lounge and the then small kitchen area has been retained.   The door leads through to the garage / stable block.   It, and the door below was made by Wonder of Wood Ltd of Stainforth.

 Modern doors do not come much better than this one which now gives access to the south end of the building - see below also.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Very Cheeky Picnic at the Coach and Horses

Another scorcher of a day and Gladys Emmanuel has had two quite lengthy runs out.   This morning I (solo) ran her round Langcliffe, Helwith Bridge and Stackhouse.   I hardly drove her at all last year because of the busted left Achilles tendon which made it impossible to work the clutch pedal.   This year I am making up for lost time with the Model T.

We decided on another picnic - this time to the idyllic village of Bolton by Bowland.   We thought we might park by the village green, set up our chairs, and dine but the entire green was in sunshine and we needed shade.   The only shade was right in front of the Coach and Horses inn, which had been closed for a couple of years.   To our delight it has been refurbished in a mighty big way and has only been re-opened for three weeks.

Right alongside Gladys was a brand new bench seat, ideal for a picnic but outrageously cheeky to the point of social suicide in B by B or the Dales in general.   Out popped new owner Ko Labeij - a farmer from nearby Mellor.   I told him we were about to move but he would not hear of it.   "The seat's for sitting on" he said "enjoy your picnic".   So we thanked him and did just that!

No sooner had we started to tuck in a most magnificent fellow veteran car slithered to a halt alongside us.   We parked two abreast and chewed the fat about old cars, inevitably.   Here we are, hogging the road rather satisfyingly:

click to enlarge (recommended)

Both cars date from 1914 coincidentally.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Summer's Day part 2

After an idyllic picnic I decided to spend the afternoon on the water tower garden.   The views from the table on top of the knoll are a delight.

The position of the table is good enough.   This is the view of the table, under the parasol, from the first floor bridge.   It looks pretty inviting:

click to enlarge

Once there, this is the view to the south showing the annex at the rear of the tower with my Man Cave the end.   This area was an absolute wilderness when we arrived.

and out to the west is the station drive with a near constant flow of people.  The one time station master's house to the left and its more recent double garage make for a delightful view with the uplands above Giggleswick as a horizon.

Picnic Weather

About four miles from home and we are in remote and glorious countryside, as if Settle was not glorious enough.   Wild horses would not drag from me the precise location but not only are there spectacular views there is a table in the form of an ageing milk collection platform.

 click to enlarge

We were there for about an hour and all that passed by were a Land-rover, a car, two bicycles and three walkers.  Peace.