Redcar

April 29, 2009


English cities were transformed and modernised after the 1950’s involving the introduction of retail shopping centres which descended on cities dominating access and removing vistas. Cities photographed in black and white were really black with coal dust until cleaned in the 1960s. Industrial pollution caused it to rain on cities more, hence the wet hue of many photographs then. Birds, flocks of starlings, were frightened away. Signage changed technically. Trams became obsolete. Swathes of central area houses and shops in burgage plots were demolished. Shopping now indoors, not cold, not rained on. These cities were Liverpool, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and others. Some pockets remain in most cities, but a natural organic form has disappeared along with homogenous views. The planned capture and circulation of consumers is to blame for this. Efficient consumer palaces are co-ordinated with distribution and transport. So when cycling in England lock your bicycle and visit a bookshop to see how cities were.

Large iconic industrial structures are rare but a train journey from Middlesborough to Redcar passes still active steel mills and blast furnaces. Redcar is a resort with a wide beach within an industrial landscape. Canal towpaths, and rivers offer a view on most surviving industrial buildings. Many are derelict warehouses. Power station cooling towers, located on rivers, are visible across Yorkshire and The Midlands. Other industrial sites are visible mainly from Birmingham.

Visit St. Pancras railway station and other London stations for grand Victorian and modern station buildings.

Technology means that factories and warehouses are anonymous silver boxes. Little or no virtue or experiment has been attempted to make factories look like bunkers or anything other than functional, with exceptions like the Rolls Royce Factory and The National Space Centre in North Leicester. Miniturisation and technology do not require ornate buildings.

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