Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Saltdean, Middle of the Moor and Odeon

"Saltdean" :- This is a shot from high up on the cliffs showing the coastal village of Saltdean and the main A259 South Coast Road as it heads west towards Brighton and its busy city centre. Saltdean is right on the eastern edge of the city and the village itself is split in two as East Saltdean is situated on the other side of the city boundary in the district of Lewes. At the foot of the cliffs there's a large concrete sea wall and walkway known as the undercliff walk, it was built in the 1930's and you can easily walk (approximately 5 miles) all the way from Saltdean to the centre of Brighton. It's a relatively new village as the area it is on was farmland up until 1924. This means that a lot of Saltdean's architecture is also 1930's with its most notable buildings being The White Cliffs Cafe on the seafront, the Grade II listed Saltdean Lido (built in 1937-38) and the Grand Ocean Hotel (now private apartments but first opened in 1938). The latter were both designed by Richard William Herbert Jones (1900-1965) who also designed a few residential properties in Saltdean.

"Middle of the Moor" :- A serene and beautifully calming moment but for the boot full of boggy marsh water that I'd aquired by stepping back without looking. That'll teach me. The place is Dartmoor National Park and the view is looking south towards Two Bridges. It's hard to make out but if you look carefully you can just see parts of the West Dart River as it winds its weary wnding route through this most picturesque of places. To the left and out of shot stands the old, ancient and very mystical looking Wistman's Wood that's full of lichen and moss covered granite boulders and gnarled, twisting dwarf oaks.

"Odeon" :- Anyone who's been to Brighton will recognise this odd bit of architecture from the 1960's. This is the Kingswest building which is situated right on the corner at the bottom of West Street where it overlooks the King's Road and seafront. The architect Nigel McMillan has been quoted as saying "Probably the most unattractive building in the town. It's the first building I worked on in Brighton (as a labourer not as an architect). It succeeds in its function as an entertainment centre, however it is an eyesore." I would like to think that the Kingswest complex no longer holds that title as there are now many other, newer buildings that spring to mind that I deem fit for the ugly award! It was an architect by the name of Russell Diplock who designed The Kingswest Centre. It officially opened its doors to the public in 1965. It used to house bowling alleys and an ice rink (which I have fond childhood memories of) but they have long since gone. It's now just another multiplex cinema with overpriced seats, drinks and popcorn. A couple of nightclubs are also attached to the place to add to the never ending supply of drunks and idiots that West Street seems to command over each and every weekend. Personally I like the building, the roof is unique with its spikey gold crown but it is still regarded by many as one of the most controversial pieces of architecture in Brighton.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill