Sunday, January 29, 2006

A splash of colour

click photo to enlarge
Out with the old and in with the new! Over the past several months a new RNLI building has slowly appeared on the promenade at Fleetwood, Lancashire. I have no doubt that one was needed, but was it this one! The recent lifeboat buildings on the Irish Sea Coast - at Blackpool, Morecambe, and St Annes, all have the virtue of individuality. Fleetwood's doesn't. It's an uninspiring structure that will doubtless make the lifeboat crew's life easier, but adds nothing of architectural distinction to the promenade - it could be any old company's building.

Worse than that, the construction of the new building meant the destruction of the old ones. Now I make no great claims for these as architecture - they were simple boxes with corrugated iron roofs. No, their contribution to the promenade was colour! The three buildings were painted dark blue and had red roofs. Best of all they were situated next to an old cafe (now disused) that is painted buttercup yellow! The ensemble added a note of unexpected gaiety to the area. Now all that remains is the cafe building.

My photograph shows the cafe wall, the colour made deeper by the early morning winter light. Alongside are stone steps, worn in their centres by the passage of countless feet over countless years. A battered handrail throws its shadow on to the wall. The clear blue sky completes the composition. I chose this section of the building because of the combination of shapes, colours and textures. And to record this unusual building before, like its former neighbours, it passes into history.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen