Tuesday, May 23, 2006

North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood

click photo to enlarge
Some years ago I spoke at a planning inquiry into a new court building where I heard the architect say that no building needed to have a back that was obviously a back, and that all the faces of a building could be of the same high quality. Wouldn't our built environment be improved if that was so! In the past that wasn't the case, and unfortunately it's often not so now. What's more, the back of that particular architect's court proved to be significantly poorer than the main elevation!

The North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood, was built in 1841 by Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood and his architect, Decimus Burton. In terms of the exterior it has a great front, and the rest is terrible! Its plan is essentially like the letter "C", with the curved, dressed stone facade following the arc of the promenade as it turns into the mouth of the River Wyre. The centre of the building, not visible in this photograph, has a flat section with the main entrance under a columned porte-cochere. Two further entrances are placed to the left and right of the front. The hotel's name arises from the time of building, when Fleetwood was the farthest north that the railways extended on the west coast, and travellers for Scotland embarked onto a ship here, having travelled by rail from Euston station in London. This status as a jumping off point lasted but a few years, and when the railway was extended northwards, the building struggled to find customers. For a period it was taken over by the army, but fortunately it found its original use again, and it continues to this day as the port's premier hotel.

I took this shot to show the interesting shape of the North Euston, and to illustrate the contrast between the well-finished front, and the utilitarian side. I used a wide angle (28mm equivalent) lens. The main post processing is the correction of converging verticals.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen