Monday, 7 December 2015

Mazda Electric Fountain, Walk With Me and Distant Gatehouse

Mazda Electric Fountain :- Many consider it to be ugly but like much of Brighton's history, architecture and oddities I have grown to love it. This is the 'Mazda Electric Fountain', a huge hulking iron beast that is absolutely beautiful when it's up and running. It was was donated and given to Brighton in 1930 by the Thompson-Houston company after being removed from an exhibition. Nobody is quite sure as to which exhibition it was part of but it's widley specualted it came from the British Empire Exhibition of 1925. The fountain originally had two mechanisms, one would drive the jets of water and the other would control concealed coloured lighting that would illuminate the water from below. The huge rivets and iron panels make me think of the Titanic and ships of that time. The fountain is now under threat as the area it stands in (called "Valley Gardens") is facing a £20 million overhaul with road layouts being changed and the central greenery being remodelled. Much to the shock of may residents the fountain does not feature in the new plans at all and Brighton and Hove City Council have explained that “The Mazda Fountain has no inherent historic connection to Valley Gardens". Which I find odd as it's stood in this very spot for 85 years!

Walk With Me :- I have know this odd looking walkway and route my entire life. It was built at the base of the cliffs in the 1930's and runs for several miles between Brighton and Saltdean with a couple of access points to the villages of Ovingdean and Rottingdean. I take it for granted I don't really see it for what it is but when I look at some of the images I have created of it it suddenly dawns on me just how 'alien' it looks. This scene could easily be from some Science Fiction film.

Distant Gatehouse :- Not a lake or a river but a moat! In fact at over a mile in length it's England's longest medieval water filled moat. It encircles Michelham Priory which is Grade I listed and the site of a former Augustine Priory located in Hailsham which is in Sussex. In the middle of the sht you can just make out a white stone tower that's reflecting in the water, that's the 14th-century gatehouse and entrance to the historic house and its seven acres of gardens. It's said that Thomas Becket fell into the mill stream at Michelham and that it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536 and became the first site awarded to Thomas Cromwell who was the architect of the Dissolution.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill