Monday, 2 February 2015

Railings @ Night, Four Lanes and Frozen Island

"Railings @ Night" :- A late night shot of the famouse and iconic cast-iron Victorian railings that line the promenade on Brighton seafront. In the background you can see the twinkling lights of the pier as it sticks out 524 metres or 1,719 ft into the English Channel. The railings were put in lace in 1881 and feature "medallions"or circular motifs that take it in turns either depicting pairs of dolphins or a knight's helmet. In Victorian times cast-iron was relatively cheap, sturdy, and available locally within Brighton from several foundries which were in the North Laine. Due to the Aquarium (the world's oldest operating aquarium which is now the Sea Life Center) dolphins have long since been an emblem of Brighton. The bit that has always baffled me is the depiction of a Knights helmet on the main cast-iron supports. I don't know how true it is but I have been told the helmet is there for this reason. Brighthelmstone was the original name for Brighton (the ancient settlement of Brighthelmstone dates from before Domesday Book of 1086). The helmet from a suit of armour is a product of Victorian imagination and whimsy. It was believed by some that the town's earlier name of Brighthelmstone was sourced from the words "Bright Helm" meaning ... a shiny helmet! Another version is that both the dolphins and the helmet are drawn from the town's civic heraldry. Maybe both versions are true. One day I may actually find out the real reason.

"Four Lanes" :- Tracks left in the long corn in a field apear to mark out several parralel lanes in a neat curve. It loks as though this scenery is a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of modern life but it actual fact it right under the nose of the eastern edge of Brighton. This is part of the Castle Hill Nature Reserve that located just behind Woodingdean which is only a 10 minute drive from the city center of the famous seaside resort. According to the government website 'East Sussex's National Nature Reserves' ( "Castle Hill is one of the finest examples of ancient, wildflower-rich, chalk grassland sites in the country. It lies within the South Downs National Park and covers 47 hectares."

"Frozen Island" :- The big freeze. Actually this was not taken this year but was shot back in January 2013. This is the famous village pond in Rottingdean on the south coast of England. The village is mentioned in the Domesday book and has a fascinating history that includes stories of smugglers and French pirates and has had various famous inhabitants that include Rudyard Kipling and the Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones. A long time ago, way back in Saxon times a small community started to develope around this very pond and Rottingdean (the name means 'the village of Rota's people') started to evolve and grow.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill