Monday, 13 October 2014

9, Under the Flyover and Pioneer Blocks

"9" :- A desolate and harsh landscape. A somewhat futurisic, post apocalyptic depiction of a dystopian world. Unfortunately it's very real and not too far from where I live. This is the top open air level of the multi-storey car park in Brighton Marina. This was once all sea and rock pools. The reddish chalk face of the cliffs denote where the land originally stopped and the sea took over. Not content with obliterating nature on land the human race decided it would concrete over some of the sea as well just to make sure mother nature knew her place. On the cliff top to the right you can see "Marine Gate", a block of luxury flats that was built in 1939. It was originally built with 105 flats, a restaurant and offices. During WWII Marine Gate was the most affected building in Brighton due to it being "very tall, very white and an easy target", it was "strafed with machine gun fire", damaged by explosions at the gas works (next door) and bombed more times than any other structure. The sandy, red cliffs that you can see are different form the other white chalk cliffs that run along the coast, they are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as the cliff section here contains an ancient 'raised beach'. According to the council website "It comprises one of the most extensive sections of ice age geology visible in Northern Europe and represents an exceptionally important part of Brighton and Hove’s natural resources. Through an understanding of these cliffs, made possible through almost 200 years of observation and research, it is possible to reconstruct long-term climate change and sea level rise spanning a period of a quarter of a million years. The site also preserves a rare find of early Neanderthal archaeology in the region.". And they surrounded it with concrete....

"Under the Flyover" :- A large, winding network of roads snake their way through the air just to the north of Shoreham in Sussex. Up until the late 60's the only way to cross the River Adur was by using the old wooden toll bridge. This flyover replaced all that when it opened in 1970 and connected Shoreham to Lancing with ease thus enabling a vast amount of traffic to flow back and forth. It's an ugly but vital construction and its only redeeming features are the wide views of the Adur Valley below as you hurtle along at break neck speeds.

"Pioneer Blocks" :- You can tell these large, weed covered blocks are not natural. They are all uniform in size and shape. They stretch from the Grade II listed Banjo Groyne (A large Victorian breakwater that's also known as "Paston Place Groyne") near "Peter Pan's Playground" all the way out to Rottingdean Beach which is 4.82 kilometres or 3 miles away. These were the blocks that Magnus Volk (1851–1937) had laid for his adventurous and madcap idea of a Seashore Electric Railway which was in operation between 1896 and 1901. It took tow years to build and opened on the 28th November 1896. The railway consisted of two parallel 2 ft 8 1⁄2 in (825 mm) gauge tracks, billed as 18 ft (5.5 m) gauge, the measurement between the outermost rails. The tracks were laid on concrete sleepers (some of which are in this image) that were in turn mortised into the bedrock. The single car used on the railway was a 45 by 22 ft (13.7 by 6.7 m) pier-like building which stood on four 23 ft (7.0 m)-long legs. The car weighed 45 long tons (50 short tons; 46 t). Propulsion was by electric motor. It was known by many as the "Daddy Long-Legs" but it's official name was "Pioneer". The blocks you see in this image are just West of Brighton Marina and only visible during very low tides. If you're interested you can see a photo of the real "Pioneer" here : Daddylonglegs

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill