Author Topic: New Towns  (Read 6864 times)

Re: New Towns
« Reply #90 on: June 02, 2020, 12:14:49 PM »

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #91 on: June 02, 2020, 12:18:43 PM »
A couple of people I used to work with lived around Livingston and commuted to Glasgow.

It seemed OK, but definitely the sort of place you move to when you trade the fun of city living for more space /raising a family and not going out much.

Wouldn't fancy the commute daily though, expensive and unreliable.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #92 on: June 02, 2020, 12:34:52 PM »
There is an arts venue - http://www.howdenparkcentre.co.uk
They had Teenage Fanclub on just before the farewell to Gerry tour! Usually it's just full of tribute acts though.
There's a world renowned skate park too.

There used to be Livingston Forum too? IIRC it was just a big concrete hangar though - probably took advantage of the fact that Edinburgh lacked a big concrete shed type venue like the Exhibition Centres in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Apparently Bowie played there with the legendary Tin Machine in 1989.

The website Edinburgh Live has a list of the ‘Musical heroes who played at The Forum’ (stretching the definition of heroes to breaking point with some of these!....)

Big Country (December 20, 1987)
The Stranglers (June 10, 1989)
The Cult (November 20 and 21, 1989)
Runrig (December 2, 1991)
Status Quo (January 4, 1992)
The Prodigy (August 8, 1992)
Manic Street Preachers (October 5, 1996)
Cast (October 15, 1996)

Re: New Towns
« Reply #93 on: June 02, 2020, 12:53:43 PM »
There used to be Livingston Forum too? IIRC it was just a big concrete hangar though - probably took advantage of the fact that Edinburgh lacked a big concrete shed type venue like the Exhibition Centres in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Yes, that went sometime in the '90s. Our band played there once at some local battle of the bands type thing. My sister saw Ice T and Bodycount there. Big rave venue too.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #94 on: June 02, 2020, 03:06:52 PM »
Not really on board with writing off anywhere that isn't a beautiful market/uni town or a quaint timewarp village in the country as a shithole, which lets be honest isn't where most of us are from

Captain Crunch

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #95 on: June 02, 2020, 03:49:34 PM »
Thanks for the youtube link Neomod, here’s a nice one about Crawley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkysIF4hc20

Plot spoiler – a young Canadian goes to Crawley to find out why it’s so great, he ends up falling in love with the town AND HIS COUSIN?!  Looks like a very fine library around 13:55, is that still there? 

They also mention social groups and societies which is an interesting point.  It feels like an accepted Good Thing but who does it fall to?  The council?  Private firms?  Just let people sort themselves out?  It’s idle speculation but you get the impression from some of the videos and promotional material that New Towns put more emphasis on what they now call ‘social wellbeing’.

Captain Crunch

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #96 on: June 02, 2020, 04:04:26 PM »
Not really on board with writing off anywhere that isn't a beautiful market/uni town or a quaint timewarp village in the country as a shithole, which lets be honest isn't where most of us are from

Yes there is the lazy shorthand which tends to use the Second World War as the cut off point; anything before then being noble and refined, anything after being cynical and ‘soulless’ (hate that word).   John Grindrod’s 'Concretopia' as mentioned before does a great job of debunking this. 

Having said that, Poundbury is an interesting one.  I’ve not been gripped by a need to go there but it’s a funny mix of new development and a rosy view of the past, described once as ‘feudal Disneyland’:

https://duchyofcornwall.org/poundbury.html

Re: New Towns
« Reply #97 on: June 02, 2020, 04:25:59 PM »
poundbury is just fucking offensive


Re: New Towns
« Reply #98 on: June 02, 2020, 04:41:02 PM »
Poundbury is a very weird place, been there a couple of times as it's on the way somewhere from my parents.. can't even remember where now.. and it's easily the fakest place I've ever been, like what I imagine that Disney village where everyone gets to pretend it's the 1950s and probably black people aren't allowed is like.

Used to go to Stevenage semi regularly of a summer when I was a kid as my cousins lived there, only thing I remember is - a) going to the local swimming pool and some kid who was LITERALLY about 5 years old was stood there calling everyone in the vicinity a "cunt", which was a bit of a *welcome to Stevenage* moment, and b) us all sitting down to watch my uncles v v v low quality pirate of teenage mutant ninja turtles, although the second memory, tbf, is prob not that relevant to the location.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 05:10:44 PM by Armin Meiwes »

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #99 on: June 02, 2020, 04:53:47 PM »
I’ve never heard of Poundbury, it has a very North Korean feel to it

Re: New Towns
« Reply #100 on: June 02, 2020, 05:01:21 PM »
true fact roger scruton died because he went to poundbury and drowned in his own cum

Captain Crunch

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #101 on: June 02, 2020, 05:17:55 PM »
To my shame I only recently found out Prince Charles is not only a massive thicko but also an interfering prick.  I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for No.1 Poultry but didn’t realise the site was once earmarked for an amber tower designed by Mies van der Rohe.

Full story and pics.

And just because I now can’t get enough of unbuilt city plans.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #102 on: June 02, 2020, 05:21:23 PM »
That the site was demolished in the first place is fucking disgraceful. The Mies would hardly be brilliant imo (it would be a very late work of his and hardly revolutionary) but fuck Stirling's po-mo submarine

Neomod

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #103 on: June 02, 2020, 05:29:04 PM »
Lovely William Mitchell sculpture there

Indeed. The Spirit of Brighton. As a kid we would have sat by it countless times with our mum having her post BHS-fish-and-chips ciggie.

Thanks for the youtube link Neomod, here’s a nice one about Crawley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkysIF4hc20

Plot spoiler – a young Canadian goes to Crawley to find out why it’s so great, he ends up falling in love with the town AND HIS COUSIN?!  Looks like a very fine library around 13:55, is that still there? 

They also mention social groups and societies which is an interesting point.  It feels like an accepted Good Thing but who does it fall to?  The council?  Private firms?  Just let people sort themselves out?  It’s idle speculation but you get the impression from some of the videos and promotional material that New Towns put more emphasis on what they now call ‘social wellbeing’.

Will give that Crawley doc a watch. Even though it was the closest New Town to us growing up I've never visited apart from driving through it on trips to see grandparents in Horley.

It seems that there was provision made for community hubs/art centres but as the New Town Utopia doc states the councils closed them down in the 80's to save cash.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #104 on: June 02, 2020, 05:38:47 PM »
Had absolutely no idea about the link between PC and No1 poultry, have always thought every time I walked past it what a properly shit building that is and yeah the one that had been mooted before he stuck his oar in was certainly significantly better.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #105 on: June 02, 2020, 05:48:05 PM »
and dont forget the "monstrous carbuncle" that was the original National Gallery extension by Ahrends, Burton and Koralek



and of course what got built was the stupid po-mo thing with no natural light in the gallery and a lower gallery they've gradually abandoned because it's a shit asphyxiating cave



oh haha look how it reflects the embassy over the road! the pillasters get closer together they're disappearing! lol!

get in skip. buildings shouldnt try to be funny or crossword-puzzle clever. it's just fucking embarrassing.

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #106 on: June 02, 2020, 07:06:25 PM »

Re: New Towns
« Reply #107 on: June 02, 2020, 07:12:57 PM »
ironically those were made for a piece by Barratt homes presumably to draw them traffic, but it is pretty great and also has streetview overlays

https://www.barratthomes.co.uk/new-homes/london/advice-and-inspiration/interactive/in-pictures-the-london-that-could-have-been/

of course the best unbuilt London pyramid is the PRIMROSE HILL PYRAMID... OF DEATH!!!

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/69750/londons-skyscraper-sepulcher-corpse-pyramid-almost-was

Re: New Towns
« Reply #108 on: June 02, 2020, 07:56:51 PM »
I don't mind the look of Poundbury (never been). People like coldplay and voted for the nazis that kind of architecture and in a generation or so I suspect it will be seen as no newer than Dorchester proper. Although I understand from reading around it's plagued by the same things as all new builds, small spaces, shoddy workmanship, poor quality materials, etc.

If you want offensive take a drive around Thamesmead (daylight hours please).

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #109 on: June 02, 2020, 08:16:42 PM »
Yeah, Thamesmead is proper dump a load of people here and don't bother building any facilities place. Rotten.

Captain Crunch

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #110 on: June 02, 2020, 09:01:06 PM »
Yes it's very sad.  I'm not an expert but I think Thamesmead probably has the biggest gap between the initial plan for the area and the result, mainly because such a small proportion was actually built (something like 15%?) and all the transport plans got scrapped:



From here which gives a nice brief overview of the area.

Another flaw was building it over borough lines, two fiercely opposing boroughs at that.

I know there are high hopes for the new Peabody plans but we'll see.

Funnily enough Thamesmead was one of the best guided tours I've done, I'd strongly recommend it for a nice day out. 

Neomod

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #111 on: June 02, 2020, 09:12:41 PM »
London's failure to build a schwebebahn on Regent Street is a disgrace. That Trafalgar Square pyramid would have been a catastrophe though.

Christ that pyramid is very Albert Speer. 

A bit off topic but still fits in with the theme of city planning optimism (and some great 60's images) is the Pedway. I first came across it when I auditioned at Guildhall and this documentary (which I think I mentioned in a doc thread previously) is an enjoyable overview of it's rise and fall.



The Pedway Elevating London
https://vimeo.com/80787092

 

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #112 on: June 02, 2020, 09:23:07 PM »
Glad to see Runcorn get a couple of mentions, grew up and lived there til I was 22. Was bussed out of Huyton, another overspill bit of Liverpool in 1974. It was (and I'm guessing all the other New Towns at the time) was billed as some kind of squalor free idyll compared to the battered Liverpool at the time. I can safely say that as a child between the ages of 6 - 16 it truly worked for me, and a load of other people. The estate I grew up on was all cul-de-sacs with paths, and fields and green bits and a shop/pub/hairdressers/chippy/school/church which is basically all the working class needs. My Mum and Dad where able to buy their council bungalow and I'm sure they wouldn't have been able to do that if they'd have stayed in Huyton. It felt safe and free at the same time, whether that was just growing up in the 70's I don't know. But when I did visit my cousins in Liverpool they seemed feral as fuck, lobbing bricks and smashing shite. Some of that went on in runcorn I know and southgate especially was quickly horrible due to the brutalist design and layout.
I have continued to be fascinated by New towns as there does seem to be a lot of academic talk about them, but rarely do they seem to talk to the people who have lived there. They are and where a weird social experiment. Going back now the population has hugely decreased and it seems to be just old people. Most younger people of my age, grew up and fucked off somewhere else, which I know happens everywhere, but there is simply nothing to go back to in Runcorn. The industry that encouraged people there in the first place is leaving, pubs have closed, shopping city is dying on its arse. But it's still home.

Watch this if you want to see what the expectations where for Runcorn, and presumably other New Towns at the time. And to see the community centre all my families birthday's where held and where my grandad was the bingo caller.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQj9SdedapY

Ah lovely lovely Runc.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #113 on: June 02, 2020, 09:43:27 PM »
oh god no, i have seen a lot of academic stuff on new towns but of course they grew up the home counties and went to oxbridge and are generally expiating their daddy's great social planning

still, they're way better than what we're building today

Re: New Towns
« Reply #114 on: June 02, 2020, 11:16:38 PM »
Newcastle's very own Chemosphere! What was it's purpose, restaurant?

It was a John Lewis Restaurant (Well, "Bainbridge - part of the John Lewis partnership").

I've worked in both Hemel and Stevenage and can confirm they are both shit. Stevenage town centre is now a brutalist mess with a stench of failure and has been usurped by the excitement of the Roaring Meg business park. Hemel is just a seaside town built without the sea. (But I did once turn down sex there, so I do have some fond memories.)

We used to shop in MK as well. The shopping centre is fine, but the town is a bit nowt. Took me a while to realise that it's all laid out like a giant waffle, so you could do a New-York-style "meet you on the corner of 43rd and 9th". It has Argos HQ as well, so it's not all bad.

I now live near Cramlington which is another Newtown - but with a slightly more successful town centre.







They did try and turn Newcastle into a sort of Brasilia-Style city. T. Dan Smith wanted concrete walkways to make it a 'City in the sky'. Which obviously involved knocking down some of the finest architecture in the North East. Him being a corrupt shit put a stop to that, but not before he did a fair bit of damage. Not showing what can be a great City in the best light here - but...

What was proposed





Today




Grey Street (after Earl Grey of Tea fame) dodged a bullet. Voted one of the best streets in the UK, and described by Betjeman as "As for the curve of Grey Street, I shall never forget seeing it to perfection, traffic-less on a misty Sunday morning. Not even Regent Street, even old Regent Street London, can compare with that descending subtle curve." so thank fuck that didn't happen.

What was built of Smith's Vision is fucking awful though...








What was demolished







NB: Anyone who likes this kind of shit - Skyscraper City is a wormhole you may never escape from.


Re: New Towns
« Reply #115 on: June 02, 2020, 11:28:29 PM »
It's all very fascinating to me, this. We didn't have any new towns in Cumbria as there wasn't a need due to there not being many people and the industry it did have was on the way out. Obviously we had the slum clearances from the 1920-50s, replaced by the kind of council estates my mam grew up on, which are kind of extremely tiny new towns in a way. Unlike new towns, perhaps, most of them did retain some small elements of the original villages they replaced - terraces in good enough nick to keep up, pubs, post offices (well, not them now either, alas...)

Those pics of concrete hell Newcastle remind me of the whole Hulme "project" in Manchester, though the council did have enough sense to knock it all down again after 40 years or so.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #116 on: June 02, 2020, 11:32:24 PM »
newcastle is actually fascinating for a clusterfuck of medieval, georgian, victorian and utopian 20th century. and a fucking railway going through the titular castle. I mean, it's still got character, which places like Manchester are losing in fucking buckets

Re: New Towns
« Reply #117 on: June 02, 2020, 11:39:15 PM »
newcastle is actually fascinating for a clusterfuck of medieval, georgian, victorian and utopian 20th century. and a fucking railway going through the titular castle. I mean, it's still got character, which places like Manchester are losing in fucking buckets
It's a fair point - if I didn't work there, I doubt I'd visit the city centre more than once a month, mainly to get a train elsewhere.

That said, I half expect up there to have been taken over by the assorted spice addicts from Piccadilly Gardens by now, which might add a novelty factor.

Re: New Towns
« Reply #118 on: June 02, 2020, 11:53:41 PM »
spice zombies really seem to have diminished last year or so. saw one at the bottom of the big fancy retail street in leeds basically shitting himself couple years ago. it really is horrible stuff

Neomod

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Re: New Towns
« Reply #119 on: June 03, 2020, 12:42:38 AM »

A police car and a screaming siren
A pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete
A baby wailing and stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking

That's entertainment, that's entertainment


What's the building on the right, carpark?

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