Friday, 6 December 2013

Second Thoughts, Holding the Darkness at Bay and Nature Trail

"Second Thoughts" :- Covered in graffiti, wearing blue eye shadow, lipstick and red rosy cheeks this statue in Brighton's Preston Park looks as if it's regretting standing in this particular spot. But it didn't used to be in this spot at all, in fact it wasn't even in the park as it's original spot was 1.5 miles away (2.41 kilometers). This statue has a history that many know nothing about. Brighton Aquarium (now the Sea Life Centre) is the oldest operating aquarium in the world. It was designed by Eugenius Birch (who designed Brighton's now ruined West Pier) and it's construction started in 1869 (at a huge cost of £133,000) and a few years later it opened its doors in 1872. This didn't quite go according to plan and it was sold off to Brighton Corporation and then during the great war it was used by the military. In 1927 the Aquarium's architecture and design were altered. "The Seasons" were four bronze figures that stood high above the Aquarium entrance at the base of it's clock and the Superintendant of Brighton Parks Department (a Mr Bertie Maclaren) rescued the figures during the alterations and placed them in Preston Park. Yes, you guessed it. You are looking at one of the very original figures that stood in the late 1800's by the Aquarium clock. There's another of the four on the other side of the garden but nobody knows what happened to the other two (Autumn & Winter), they simply vanished. You can see a photograph (click to enlarge) of the statues on the clock here :- Aquarium Clock Tower

"Holding the Darkness at Bay" :- This image looks as if I have my very own TARDIS and that I've popped back to the 1930's or 40's to grab a quick shot. Obviously I didn't do that (although I'd love to) and the image was actually taken just a few weeks ago. Brighton's famous Victorian Pier has undergone a lot of changes over the years. It used to be much thinner at the end and a wonderful old Theatre once stood there. Now the end has been dramatically widened and a funfair now resides there, the old Theatre long since demolished with a metallic eyesore of a domed amusement arcade now in its place. Other structures have also come and gone along its length but essentially much of it is still what the Victorians built all those years ago. Gaslights must have been the source of illumination back then but now 62,000 light bulbs (apparently they use a selection of energy saving bulbs, neons and low voltage lights) are switched on each and every night to light it up.

"Nature Trail" :- This was taken back in March this year (2013) but I doubt it'll be long before we see the onslaught of snow once more and I'll get to slip and slide around as I wave my arms around like some demented windmill in an attempt to stay upright. Stanmer Park is a beautiful and very large open park along the A27 (Lewes Road) on the outskirts of Brighton and is a local Nature Reserve. Stanmer Park contains one of the only closed villages in the UK and the original 1300 year old Estate is made up of 5000 acres and is owned and managed by The City of Brighton & Hove Council.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill