Monday, 30 November 2015

Mirrored White, Pier to Myself and Block Sea

Mirrored White :- Calm, peaceful and reflective. A little stretch of tranquility on the Grand Union Canal as it passes through Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. I was only here for a short period. I'd driven up from Brighton, checked in at the Peartree Lodge Waterside Hotel, dumped by bags in the room, grabbed the camera and went out for a walk along the tow path. After a few hours of never ending motorway traffice a picturesque stretch of the legs and meander seemed to be the thing to do. The following day i'd be looking around Beltchely Park, "Home of the Code Breakers" and then driving back again. The strips of sunlight and shadow caught my eye at first on this section of the canal and then I noticed the one white bush / tree on the other side, the reflections were hardly moving at all, just a gentle shimmer.

Pier to Myself :- It was November the 11th and just coming up to 6pm and I found myself on a very quiet Brighton Pier (formerly known as and still locally known as the Palace Pier). I was taking full advantage that a large BBC One TV crew were set up at the pier's entrance for a live 'The One Show' broadcast for 'Children in Need' at 7pm and everyone was crowding around that area leaving the pier free for me to wander around without having anyone get in the way. So I found myself being in a position to take my time and get this shot pf the pier at night empty of folk. It's quite unnerving walking around anything that's empty that's normally full of people. Fun fairs, circus's, parks, piers etc all have a slight scary quality to them when there's nobody about. Personally I loved it!

Block Sea :- This could be anywhere. The sight of odd shaped concrete blocks is now pretty standard on beaches as they are a quicker and cheaper alternative to building huge breakwaters. Just dump some concrete shapes down and hey presto the raging waters are broken up and subdued before they try and damage the promenades. But that little blue glimpse of water pearing between the gap in the middle isn't the English Channel. The shot was taken on a stretch of beach in Mamaia which is a district of Constanța in Romania. That little bit of blue is the Black Sea...and the clue was in the title!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Big City Lights, Synagogue Balcony and Nymans House

Big City Lights :- Dusk on the beach at Ovingdean Gap which is just a few miles to the East of Brighton. The white chalk cliffs glow with an eerie blue hue at this time of the day. The day trippers and ice cream eaters have all vacated the scene, leaving it to return to it's natural peaceful state. Some dark and heavy clouds gently slide into place overhead whilst the view on the horizon quietly simmers down and fades into a twinkling mass of distant lights.

Synagogue Balcony :- The interiori and upper levels of Brighton's famous Middle Street Synagogue. Stepping through its large wooden double doors is like stepping out from the TARDIS as it's a real travel back in time. the interior is untouched and still remains as it was back in the late 1800's. It opened in 1875 and many illustrious names from the 19th century were connected with the building which meant its interior slowly became more and more ornate and sumptuous. It's been said that "Middle Street has the finest 19th century decorative interior of any building in Brighton with the sole exception of the Brighton Pavilion" so it's not surprising to discover that it's yet another of Brighton's listed buildings (it's been Grade II* listed since 1970).

Nymans House :- This very grand and wonderful looking house was already inexistence when it was bought in the late 19th Century by Ludwig Messel. It looked very different then as it was a grand Regency style house before it was transformed in the 1920's into the Medieval Manor House that you see before you here. The grandeur didn't last too long though as a serious fire raged through much of the property in February 1947 and the section you see in this image is all that survived and remained livable in after creating an arrangement of room out of the remains. This was also once the home of Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Exit 8, Victorian Lantern and Never Forget Me

Exit 8 :- It's funny how things look ok and normal until you really start to think and look at them. We accept things on a daily basis without question and our surroundings become mundane. But if you stand back and really start to look it's an strange, fascinating and very odd world that we live in. This shot and image was taken on the top, open air level of a multi storey car park in Brighton Marina. What you see here is the door to the stair well that leads down through several levels to the ground floor, cinema, casino, gym, bars, cafes, shops and boats. But what I saw was a large wall on a roof. The wall was lit on the other side and the light was shining through a glass panel in a door that was set in the wall. There was nothing behind the wall but open space. It reminded me of some of the old surrealist paintings that have doors in forests or on the beach or floating in the sky etc. Everythig is fascinating if you look at it the right way.

Victorian Lantern :- I ran to get this shot. I was some way off down the promenade when I suddenly realised that the sun was just at the right angle as it was setting to shine through the Bandstand. So I ran like crazy. It's surprising just how fast the Universe moves when you're not loooking. If you muck around for too long these moments are over with in a flash and you've missed the opportunity. I have now learned that it's far better to run, get it 'in the can' and then wheeze and get your breath back later than to saunter, miss the shot and be muttering under your breath for hours after. The Bandstand on Brighton seafront was designed by Philip C Lockwood and was built in 1884. It was manufactured by the Phoenix Foundry which was a few miles to the North East in Lewes. The Lewes foundry was also responsible for the manufacturing of the Madeira terrace and lift on Madeira Drive, several seafront shelters, railings and lamps and even the Palace (now unofficialy renamed Brighton) Pier and their name can be seen on almost all of Brighton’s ironwork. The bandstand has been nicknamed the ‘birdcage’ for a very long time and is one of the finest surviving Victorian bandstands in Britain.

Never Forget Me :- The graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church in the village of Hartfield in East Sussex. The church is tucked away up a lane (named 'Church Lane') from the prying eyes of visitors and is a haven of peace and quiet. This was the parish church of a very famous bear and a stone. Hartfield was the home of A.A.Milne who lived in Cotchford Farm just a few minutes drive from this church. It was A.A.Milne who wrote the 'Winnie The Pooh' stories and the village is set within the Ashdown Forest which became the '500 Acre wood' and home to 'Pooh' and his friends in Milne's books. 'Poohsticks Bridge' the 'Enchanted Place' and 'Roo's Sandpit' are still in the forest and are visited by tourists all year long. Milne bought Cotchford Farm in 1925 and roughly a decade after he died (he died in 1956) the estate was bought (in 1968) by Rolling Stones guitar player Brian Jones. One year later on July 3rd 1969 Brian Jones was found dead in the swimming pool of Cotchford Farm. At the back of this shot you can see a black and white building. That's the Tudor Lych Gate Cottage of the church and it dates from1520.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 27 November 2015

Path to Rottingdean, Disabled & Pushchair and True Nature's Child

Path to Rottingdean :- I don't need to describe what the image is of as the title says it all really. To the left of the shot you can see the village of Rottingdean which sits on the south coast of England just a few miles to the East of the City of Brighton. The village slowly evolved over centuries (it's ancient and is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086) and sits in a valley that leads to a natural dip in the chalk cliff face. The grass and path that I was on is the top of the cliffs that thunder off West towards Brighton for three or four miles. The view is wonderful from up here and it's a very pleasant walk when the sun is shining but I have (many times) walked over the top when it's dark, windy and raining and you really don't want to be doing that! The large blue stretch of water is the English Channel which can be very blue and clam on some days and grey/ black and violent on others.

Disabled & Pushchair :- Would you walk down here? Ok, so it is a shot after dark which makes it look more foreboding and creepier than normal but to be honest i've walked through here during daylight hours and it's not much better. I can clearly remember wlaking through here with my parents when I was a child and it looked much better than it does now. The most shocking thing is that this is the disabled and pushchair entrance to one of Brighton's big attractions. Brighton Aquarium was the idea of of Eugenius Birch who was the famous pier engineer and designer of Brighton's (now derelict) West Pier. It was completed in 1872 and cost a colossal £130,000. For many years it functioned as the Brighton Aquarium which incorporated the famous Dolphinarium. It's now known as Brighton's "Sea Life Centre" and is the world's oldest operating aquarium. For those that can ably walk there's a grand wide staircase that drops down to the lower levelled entrance. For those that can't they have to be wheeled across a busy road, then be taken along the promendae a minute or so before bieng wheeled down a long ramp, wheeeled back along the lower promenade a minute or so and then, finally, taken down this awful looking tunnel which will lead them out to the lower levelled entrance at the bottom of the grand wide staircase that I mentioned earlier. What a palava!

True Nature's Child :- It's not often that you catch a sunset and storm together but whenever you do they create some staggeringly great moments. It had been spitting with rain for ages. It was that annoying rain that you get that makes you think it's not too bad so you carry on without realising just how wet you are actually getting. I squelched around on the beach and kicked a few pebbles about trying to be creative and arty but it just wasn't happening for me. The rain was chucking it down out on the horizon and the downpour looked like it was heading this way. Suddenly a gap in the dark clouds opened up and the sunlight poured out at a blinding rate, bouncing off the water, exposed sand and rocks. I shot out over the slippery surface as gracefully as I could and set up as quickly as was humanly possible to get it all before it vanished.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Glowing Stairwell, Defiant and Down By The River

Glowing Stairwell :- A grim looking stairwell to a 1970's built block of flats / apartments that's located on mthe corner of New England Road and New England Street in Brighton. In order to take the shot i'd negotiated a rather smelly and unnerving underground carpark, full of grafitti, empty beer cans and a few other umentionable things. This entire area looked bleak and run down and just to add to the overall atmosphere of the place there was a dog barking constantly which was mixing with the sound of a baby crying somewhere. It felt post apocalyptic. I'm not quite sure what's going on in the area since I took the shot back in 2012 and it's now surrounded by scaffolding and plastic sheeting so they are either doing it up and rennovating it or tearing it down and flattening it.

Defiant :- My muse. It's hard to find things to say about her that i haven't said before. She has a rich but bumpy history which fascinates me the more I dig down and find out about her. In the latter part of the 1800's she was a big attraction. People would gather and promenade on her decks listening to the live music provided by military bands. In the early part of the 1900's her theatre was full of song, music and laughter but the visitor numbers were already beginning to drop off. By the late 1930's she was struggling and then WWII arrived. Her theatre was closed (and never again reopened) and her demise (albeit a slow one) was inevitable. I was one of the lucky ones. I was born just in time to be old enough to remember visiting her and enjoying the various amusements that she had in the early 70's before she closed for good in 1975. She's a tough old lady having withstood many storms, rough seas and two arson attacks. This is pretty much all that's left of her now. We keep losing bits to the water below but she's not going peacefully. She stands defiant and in the face of everything that's been thrown at her.

Down By The River :- I love the rich brown, golden tones of the foreground and the thin sliver of blue grey water running through. It's a shot of the Cuckmere Estuary and River at Exceat near Seaford on the Sussex coast. I was on the West bank of the River and walking all the way around so that I could then meander down the East bank and make my way to the foot of the famous Seven Sisters cliff face and beach. There were quite a few people about but due to the size of the area you felt quite alone. As far as beauty spots and scenic views go I personally consider this to be the most beautiful place in the whole of Sussex (but it does have some great competition).

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Sunny Pergola, To Be Worn Again and Low Tide Cuckmere

Sunny Pergola :- Sunlight and shade. A pleasant and quiet little haven in the middle of a very busy but historical village on the South coast of England. This is a pathway and section of the famous Kipling Gardens in the village of Rottingdean on the outskirts of Brighton. They were once part of the gardens to 'The Elms' which is the large house that Rudyard Kipling rented for 3 guineas a week (with his wife and children) from 1897 to 1902. The entire area was nearly lost altogether as it was nearly bought by developers who would have bulldozed the lot and built some sort of accomodation on the site but (fortunately) the Rottingdean Preservation Society managed to by the gardens in the 1980s and saved them for us all. Since then the gardens have had the prestigiou Green Flag awarded several times for the best parks and green spaces in England and Wales.

To Be Worn Again :- It wasn't that late. To be honest it wasn't that dark either. This time of year the light vanishes faster and darkness consumes and smothers all before you've even had chance to eat your evening meal. So I went on a wander around the streets of Brighton, keepingmy eyes and senses open for anything that I thought might make a good image. A few things caught my eye but on the whole there wasn't much inspiration flying about as I trudged my way around. This shop in Sydney Street looked good though. It was all lit up and locked up for the night. It's unusual gates were across the entrance and the metal grills were up at the windows. I liked the light spill on the pavement and the slight eerie quality of it all. The very dark nature of the image owes a lot to the way that I chose to process it. The store is called 'To Be Worn Again', it's on Sydney Street in the famous North Laine district and is Brighton's largest vintage retailer.

Low Tide Cuckmere :- There's some serious 'wow' factor going on here. I'd somehow managed to find myself at Hope Gap and Cuckmere Haven just at low tide which was more accident than judgement. I made my way down to the beach using the old steps at Hope Gap and carefully picked my way out over the rocks. There before me across the mouth of the river and bay stood the mighty 'Seven Sisters'. Haven Brow, Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Point, Flagstaff Point, Flat Hill, Baily's Hill, Michel Dean & Went Hill Brow al standing to attanetion and gazing out to sea. If you look carefully you can see Birling Gap (the dip at the far end) which then rises up to where the Belle Tout Lighthouse stands at Beachy Head. This is one of the most stunning parts of the Sussex coastline.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

We Don't Need No, Victorian Hut and Equanimity

We Don't Need No... :- I'd heard about it, read up about it, looked it up and found out where it was. Found a rough location / post code to stick in the sat nav and set off. About an hour or so later I found myself driving up a few very narrow country lanes, lined with trees and feeling like I'd travelled back in time more than I'd wished too. The sat nav announced I had reached my destination but I still couldn't see anything, just trees. So I carried on, my eyes on the road and also scanning the area as i drove through looking for it. Another 15 minutes went by and still nothing. I decided to admit defeat and thought it best to head back to the main road, civilisation and the 21st Century. Then out of the blue, there it was. Like "Brigadoon" it appeared in a clearing down in amongst the trees. It looked eerie, creepy and like something froma fantasy novel or film. Thoughts of Witches fattening up children and firing up the oven entered my head. It looked wonderful. So I parked up and made my way down to it not quite ready for or expecting the feeling of unease that suddenly hit me as I walked around. This is the old derelict Bedham School and Mission Church of St. Michæl and All Angels in West Sussex. It was built in 1880 and ceased being used somewhere around 1959. It now sits in the middle of a 395 acre nature reserve in the middle of nowhere but quite near to somewhere.

Victorian Hut :- I wish I could tell you all about this old Victorian Booth / Hut on Brighton's promenade but there's very little about it on the net. Below it is the old shelter hall that was built in the 1880's, the hall is in dager of collapsing and needs to be rebuilt which means this wonderful little cafe that sits atop will vanish into the annals of history too as the new plans drawn up (because of a £9 million investment award from the Department for Transport’s Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund) show that a bigger room will be built on the upper promenade as well as rebuilding the hall on the lower prom. I am amazed that Brighton's history has been mistreated and left to rot over the years to the point where it has to be demolished and replaced with a modern version of what they think victorian looks like. It's like when you find a British Bar or Inn abroad and you pop in for a can see what they were trying to do and it's sort of there but it['s not quite the same as the real thing. Something's always out of whack.

Equanimity :- Breath in. Breath out. Time it with the sound of the waves on the shoreline. Breath in with the spill of water, breath out with the draw of the pebbles. Watch the colours fade and change. Watch the gulls soar and glide. Want for nothing and wish for peace.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 23 November 2015

Brighton Lights, Wet light and White Horizon

Brighton Lights :- Evening beginning to smother the day. I braced mysef against the wind as it came off the sea and whipped up over the top of the cliffs at Ovingdean Gap. The street lights lining the main coast road into Brighton were starting to glow and the light spill was hitting the cold metal safety railings at the top of the steps. In the distance Brighton was lighting up for the night and further around Worthing was beginning to twinkle too.

Wet Light :- I was the only one brave enough to venture out in the dartkness across the exposed sand. A small LED pocket torch helped me pick my way out and carefully choose my route making sure I didn't get a boot full of water or stand in an area of bubbling quicksand. It's easily done if you don't pay attention. Some areas look solid until you stand on them olny to discover it's sandy coloured still water. I was also using the legs of my tripod to prod the sand infront of me before I took each step just to make sure. I finally made it to where I'd been aiming for, set up and took the shot. Sounds from the pier fell down onto the beach and mixed with the evening cacophony of the seaside City as it left the land and drifted out to sea. The lights danced and sparkled. I stood for a minute or two, taking it all in before carefully picking my way back to the safety of the pebbles and coastal nightlife.

White Horizon :- Sometimes the best shots are the ones where there's little there. You don't always realise just how hemmed in and crowded we all are until you stand at a point where you are surrounded by space. Here you can breath, feel the wind and hear things as they drift across. In the villages, towns and cities you get used to having your senses bombarded 24/7. A constant battering of noises and information, never letting up and constantly chasing you. Once in a while you have to step out from it all and find peace. It's vital to your sanity.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Arms of George IV, Take Away and Beach Fire

Arms of George IV :- A view of the West wall and interior of St Nicholas' Church, the oldest surviving building in Brighton. In the center of the wall above the arch you can clearly see a large coat of arms. That's the coat of arms of George IV (1762–1830), Brighton's famous Prince Regent who later became King and is famous for building Brighton's Royal Pavilion, Dome and Corn Exchange complex. Either side of the coat of arms you can see two smaller coats of arms. They are the arms of William de Warenne who was William the Conqueror’s son-in-law and overlord of the area after 1066 and the Norman invasion and subsequent conquest. when the Domesday Book of 1086 was compiled there's an entry that mentions 'Brighthelmstone' (Brighton) and 'a church, valued at £12', that's St Nicholas'. If you drop down and look to the floor you see a large, round, stone font in a pool of light. It's the only surviving link to the Normans as the Caen stone font is said to have been created in 1170. The font has figures carved around it and is said to depict 'The Last Supper', 'The Baptism of our Lord' and a legend relating to St Nicholas. The Duke of Wellington and Dr. Samuel Johnson (of Dictionary fame) both worshipped here.

Take Away :- Dark,foreboding and mysterious. An image that evokes the look and feel of films like "The Third Man" and "Brighton Rock". The shot was taken by the Aquarium Terrace steps (on the left) and Colonnade on Brighton's Madeira Drive. Everything was shuttered up for the night with just a few pools of light to navigate your way around. This was once a very attractive area which was built in the 1920's . It's now rather run down, dirty and drab. It needs cleaning up and looking after ... much like most of Madeira Drive.

Beach Fire :- Shot on the beach at Ovingdean Gap which is a few miles to the East of Brighton's famous seafront. The City is silhouetted against the simmering warm glow of the sunset and the sea takes on a cold mercurial look as the light begins to fade. There's no noise here. The traffic jams and sounds of gulls fighting over dropped food are all further West. The pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes are an hours walk away. Here the air is full of the sounds of lapping water and pebbles being dragged or crunched as you walk on the beach.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Incandescence, Brighton Lanes and Dawn of Time

Incandescence :- A blaze of light bounces of the wet exposed sand of Brighton beach. Usually all we get to see is pebbles on our beach but once in a while during exceptionally low tides we are treated to sights like this. I was slowly making my way along the beach toward the i360 (the tall pole you can see on the far right) and the ruins of the West Pier and taking photos as I progressed. I loved the way the harsh last light of the sun was blasting away part of the silhouetted famous Brighton pier.

Brighton Lanes :- This area and network of narrow alleyways was once part of the original settlement of Brighthelmstone (now known as Brighton). They slowly rose up throughout the 18th Century and by 1792 they were fully laid out. Many of the buildings in the area date from the 18th or 19th Century. It's now a fairly pricey and touristy area comprising mainly of cafés, bars, antique shops and boutiques. You can read more about The Lanes here :- Brighton Lanes

Dawn of Time :- Huge rocks and boulders are piled up and placed on the beach to help break up the waves and protect the seafront along the south coast. They used to spend fortunes building massive breakwaters and groynes to try and control the sea but then somebody worked out that simply lobbing giant stones on the beach in a certain way would do exactly the same job thus saving time, manpower and of course money. The lighting was just right for this image, it was a hot summer's afternoon, the sea was glistening and the air was still. Wonderful.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 20 November 2015

Rampage, Museum Wall and Hue Goes There

Rampage :- Tucked between Gloucester Road and Trafalgar Street in Brighton's North Laine area you'll discover Trafalgar Lane. It a rather nondescript and old part of town that few tourists get to see as it's somewhat off the beaten track of fish and chip shops, sticks of rock and kiss me quick hats. Apparently the lane has always been associated with the timber trade as the lane had several carpenters, sawmills and furniture makers along it in the 1800's and there's still a timber merchant that operates from there! The lane is also well known for it's large graffiti murals that appear on the walls lining the lane. It's not your normal quick tag and off sort of graffiti. The artwork on display here is wonderful and quite out of this world!

Museum Wall :- I love this wall at night. To be honest it looks beautiful by day too but at night when it's all lit up it takes on an entirely different look and feel. All its contours and lines are picked out by the shadows as the spot lights in the paving shine up from below. This is the wall of Brighton Museum and The Dome Concert Hall as seen from Queen's Road in Brighton. The entire complex is an 1800's built fortress of gargantuan size that's full of grace and style.

Hue Goes There :- Shot from a public bridleway that sits at the top of a farmer's field in the village of Ovingdean which is a few miles to the East of Brighton. This is Domesday territory as people have been living in this area since before 1086 etc. If you were able to throw a stone over that hill in the distance you'd hit the City of Brighton itself. You wouldn't know it's there from this view as the hills neatly hide the vast, sprawling seaside resort and all the pleasures and history it has to offer. On this partiucular evening the City must have been cowering as a large and heavy storm was on its way in. A menacing, grey bank of cloud was roilling in from the West and starting to appear over the hill. The sunset was being smothered and the light was being extinguished at quite a pace. We braced ourselves for the rain.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Dark Prom, Sunlit Esplanade and Above & Beyond

Dark Prom :- It looks a lot later than it actually was. Due to the time of year it was only around 5:30 pm. The seafront extablishments were closing up for the night, shutters were down and people were heading back home. The seafront is quite an eerie place after dark. It's not well lit on the lower levels so you often find yourself in black pools where the light hasn't reached you. It's full of nooks and crannies, darkened corners and dancing shadows. After dark thoughts of Graham Greene's "Brighton Rock" start to jump around in your head as you half expect 'Pinkie' to step out of the shadows and into the light.

Sunlit Esplanade :- The front to myself. As the sun slowly dipped its toes into the sea and edged itself in the shadows grew longer and the temperature got colder. Winter of Brighton's seafront is always a special time for the locals and Brightonians. It's when we get the place back to ourselves and things quiet down. As you can see from this image there's not a single dog walker, roller skater, beach comber, jogger or holiday maker in sight. Quiet, relaxing, calming and ours for the taking. To the right of the image you can see the stunning and beautiful Bandstand (known as "The Bird Cage") that was designed by Brighton Borough Surveyor Philip C Lockwood in 1883 and manufactured and constructed in 1884 by Walter Macfarlane & Co. It's considered to be one of the finest examples of a Victorian bandstand still surviving in England today.

Above & Beyond :- Very little going on in this image...or at least that how it appears at first. A worn path winds its way through the long, wild grass of Beacon Hill Nature Reserve. Signs up on the hill ask those walking in the area to stick to the paths so as not to disturb the skylarks that nest on the ground. As I walked further south the sea rose up into view. From up here you have a great view which commands the English Channel as it spreads out before you. The location explains why the area is known as "Beacon Hill" because in 1588 a beacon was lit high up on the brow of the hill that gave news of the approaching Spanish Armada attack on Elizabethan England. To the left of the image you can see a slight mound or bump. As you get nearer the size of it becomes quite apparent. It's not a natural lump at all but a Bronze Age Tumuli or Long barrow (burial mound).

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

If You Build It..., Tourist Trap and Portcullis

If You Build It... :- They'll complain. There was an act of parliament put in place in 1968 called the 'The Brighton Marina Act'. The act was constructed and worded in such a way that it would ensure the protection of the Grade 1 listed conservation area directly above and to the area of Kemptown and Roedean as a whole and ensure that nothing in the development could be built above the height of the cliffs. A clause was also added to the act to protect Brighton Corporation by allowing them to give consent for such things as railings, lamp posts or harbour lights above the cliff height if they were required to do so to enable Health and Safety Regulations being met. The wording was revised before the act was passed and the street furniture (i.e railings, lamp posts or harbour lights) were left out of the final draft. It was a fatal mistake to not list those things but to leave the height restirction clause in place. Recently the local council voted to to waiver that height restriction and the green light was given to Brunswick Developments to start building upwards at the famous marina. The shock to many is that one of the first things being built is a 40 storey tower block which will be the largest residential tower in the UK and another ten buildings (each comprising of many storeys) are also going to rise up. This will obviously change the skyline and scenery seen from the cliffs. It was also change the scenery and skyl;ine as seen from Brighton beach, its Pier and the new i360 (currently being built). In fact the towers will block out a lot of light at the Marina, they'll obliterate the sunset and will most certainly be visible from the seaside town of Worthing which is some 11 miles away.

Tourist Trap :- The shot was taken on the lower / beach level promenade on Brighton seafront. It's looking Northwards into the 'double barrelled' pedestrian subway tunnel that leads up and under the King's Road (A259) and brings you out at the bottom of Brighton's notorious West Street. Apparently it was built sometime after the First World War and to be honest it doesn't look like it's been touched since. Considering this is one of the main tourist routes to the beach from brighton Train Station it's in a terrible and ugly state. Paint is peeling off the walls, it smells like a public toilet and you get a dreadful sense of unease each and every time you enter it (from either end). To alleviate to drab look of the tunnel a couple of (old) photographs of Brighton have been placed (one on either side) at an angle high on the walls of the beach entrance / exit. They not only add to the dishevelled and run down look of the place but also go largely unnoticed due to their positioning and height. I have used this subway on the odd occasion but most of the time choose to take my chances trying to cross the busy main road up above as it's far safer!

Portcullis :- Bootham Bar is one of the old and ancient entrances / gates that allowed you to pass through the York's City Walls and into the City of York itself. The entire place was a fortress and heavily guarded. In fact there's been a gateway into York on this particular site since 71AD! Bootham Bar is a three storey stone tower that comprises of stonework from the 11th Century (the main archway) and a lot from the 14th Century when storeys were added to it along with the portcullis. The portcullis no longer works but is still housed within the tower which is accessible via old worn stone steps or by walking along the City Wall from Goodram Gate. In 1832 the tower was nearly demolished altogether but thankfully due to public outcry it was saved and in 1834 they began to repair it.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Head of a Duchess, Echoes and Outstretched

Head of a Duchess :- It's not often that you get to see a real Art Deco Steam Locomotive ... and this one's simply stunning. "The Duchess of Hamilton" was built in 1938 and is a 4-6-2 Coronation class Locomotive, No 46229 designed by William Stanier.She is an absolute stunner and not at all what you think a steam engine should look like. Her wonderful "streamline moderne" casing was lovingly restored by the National Rail Museum in York and has been repainted in the LMS maroon livery with gold stripes. She was saved from being broken up in the early 1960's by Sir Billy Butlin of British holiday camp fame.

Echoes :- There was a time when this old rusted and twisted frame was a grand pleasure pier on the South coast of England. People would flock down to to the seaside and rejoice in the various entertainments that Brighton had to offer. Of course the entertainment was very different back then. There were no flashing arcade machines or fairground rides. The entertainment was provided by military marching bands, concert hall performances, choral singers and operetta. At one point (between 1918 and 1919) this very pier saw 2 million visitors pass through its turnstiles. Now she plays host to gulls and during certain times of the year vast murmerations of starlings. In this image you can see flocks of gulls keeping her company. The West Pier was designed by Eugenius Birch and built in 1866. She closed to the public for good in 1975 and is one of only two Grade I listed piers in Britain.

Outstretched :- Tucked away in a corner this tree goes unnoticed. It stands silently watching all those that pass. Before it is a large flat plain of grass behind it is a very steep bank that drops down and away at quite an alarming rate. There used to be deep water at the bottom of the bank and the deep water surrounded the large flat plain of grass that the tree looks out over. It was a moat and where this tree now stands there would have once been thick and high walls. In places there are still traces of masonry to be seen but here, in this corner, there's just a tree. This was once the mighty Bramber Castle, a Norman motte-and-bailey castle founded after the Norman Conquest by William de Braose, 1st Lord of Bramber. The castle's history is sparse but it is known that it was confiscation during the reign of King John (1199–1216) and that in 1642 a 'skirmish' was fought in the village. All is quiet here now. The castle has long since vanished with just a few clues left behind to let those know it was once here.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 16 November 2015

Crystal Grotto, Night Terrace and Greens and Gold

Crystal Grotto :- On the day that I visted the 18th Century landscaped garden that is Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey the Crystal Grotto was closed to the public due to restricted opening times). However, I was still able to walk down the path that lead to the locked gate and get this shot looking through the crystal arch and across the lake. This magical folly dates back to 1760 (costing a colossal £8,000 at the time to build) and when the Honourable Charles Hamilton created the park and many of its eccentricities. Having been recently restored the Crystal Grotto is constructed from hundreds of thousands of pieces of calcite, gypsum, quartz, and fluorite.

Night Terrace :- Directly after taking this shot I had to make a run for it and take refuge in a local pub due to the torrential rain had started to fall. The shot was taken on a section of the old Aquarium Terraces that form part of Madeira Drive on Brighton's seafront. Due to the time of year it had been dark for a while but it had only just turned 6 pm. Having said that these terraces are still rather foreboding and ominous after dark as there is very little lighting on them. Originally built in the mid 1870's the terrace was extended dramatically in the late 1920's. If you look into the darkness of this shot you can just make out some of the original 1920's tall lamps placed at intervals along the wall on the right hand side.

Greens and Gold :- Taken from 'Greenways' which is the main road that leads in and out of the ancient village of Ovingdean which is a few miles to the East of Brighton on the South coast of England. The shot is looking East over the farmland and up towards the golden grasses of Beacon Hill Nature Reserve that sits between Ovingdean and the other ancient village of Rottingdean. Both villages are mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and Beacon Hill Nature Reserve also has two Neolithic (a period of the Stone Age beginning around 8,000 bc) long barrows on it so this area has been inhabited by people for aeons.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Dome Doors, Evidence of Man and Wire Owl

Dome Doors :- This ornate entrance leads to the South coast's leading multi-arts venue which is The Dome in Brighton. Many pass through it's warm wooded doors without knowing the Grade I listed buildings 200 year history. The building was orginally commissioned by the Prince of Wales (who later became King George IV) so that his horses had a stable block (now The Dome Concert Hall) and a riding house (now the Corn Exchange). It was built from 1803 to 1808 and very nearly bankrupted the Prince (the complex cost £54,783 to build). The domed roof (hence the name of the venue) is 80 feet in diameter and 65 feet in high which made it one of the largest constructions of its type in the world at the time. In 1850 the town bought the complex from Queen Victoria (who disliked the buildings) and they were used for a while as cavalry barracks. In 1864 the interior of 'The Dome' was redesigned by Brighton's Borough Surveyor and architect Philip C Lockwood and reopened in 1867 as a concert and assembly hall. The venue is now famous for various musical reasons. In 1966 Jimi Hendrix appeared here. Pink Floyd performed the 'Dark Side of the Moon' album live for the first time on stage in January 1972. And in 1974 ABBA performed 'Waterloo' live on stage here as the Brighton Dome hosted the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest which was televised throughout Europe and put ABBA on the road to stardom.

Evidence of Man :- A heavy looking sky and rocky beach. but on closer inspection you realise it's not such a rocky beach at all but a mixture of rocks and slabs of concrete. We appear to be hell bent on cluttering up every aspect of nature with our rubbish, discarded plans and ventures. We are all too eager to plough money, time and effort into constructuing these things but are equally all too lazy to clean up after ourselves when things don't go to plan or are no longer needed. So like some modern day Brothers Grimm tale we leave a trail of concrete and mayhem behind us to see where we've been.

Wire Owl :- St John the Baptist's Church is a Church of England parish church in the village of Clayton in Sussex. This tiny little box building was founded in the 11th Century and is Grade I listed for its architectural and historical importance. It's not much to look at from the outside but it hides a secret that's revealed once you enter. On its interior walls you'll discover an array of original paintings that historians have dated to be from the 11th and 12th Centuries. The artwork covers the chancel arch and the east, south and north walls of the nave and are said to have been painted by monks from Lewes Priory.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Iron Frame, Lockwood's Legacy and Farmland

Iron Frame :- The last rays of the days sunlight split over an old breakwater (Albion Groyne built in 1876) and throw the legs and underside of the Brighton Marine Palace and Pier (Palace Pier now unceremoniously named as the Brighton Pier) into silhouette. The tide was out so I was able to carefully squelch my way below and quickly grab the shot before the sun vanished altogether.

Lockwood's Legacy :- This is the grand entrance to Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. This area was once a ciourt yard next to the Royal Stables and Riding House of the Royal Pavilion. In 1831 stables and coach houses were built here for Queen Adelaide but in 1871 Brighton Council decided that a Library, Museum, and Gallery should be constructed on the site. The job went to Philip C Lockwood who was the Brighton Borough Surveyor. He designed the entrance, small hall and the large Picture Gallery (which is now the Twentieth Century design gallery). Lockwood made alterations to the main entrance which became an archway supported by columns with ‘Moresque’ capitals.

Farmland :- Rolling green farmland, sunny skies and a sea view. This is an image taken from the rising land by the side of the Cuckmere Estuary that's between Eastbourne and Seaford in Sussex on the South coast of England. It is the only undeveloped river mouth on the Sussex coast, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and has an estimated 350,000 visitors per year.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill