August 2009Monthly Archives
Famous landmarks like the Angel of the North and Durham cathedral are well known sights to drivers on the A1. But few would expect a derelict Cold War fighter plane to have found a place amongst the giants of art and architecture. Once the workhorse of British air defence against the Soviet Union during the 1960s and ’70s, the rusting hulk now stands more as a testament to the ravages of time and vandalism.
Another Place is a sculpture by Antony Gormley, consisting of 100 cast iron figures facing out to sea. The statues, like much of his work, are modelled on Gormley himself, and can be found at Crosby Beach near Liverpool, on England’s north west coast. They cover a two mile stretch of beach and emerge eerily from the sea as the tides retreat.
Ghost towns abound across the world but seldom are they more intriguing than in western United States, where former mining towns played host to the pioneers of their day. Other towns grew up around the railroad, as civilisation gradually spread from the eastern seaboard to the Wild West. Reasons for their abandonments are wide and varied, from the inherent lawlessness of the era to the depletion of natural resources. Whatever the reasons, ghost towns provide a fascinating glance into our history.
Back in the glory days of manufacturing and heavy industry, that timeless beacon of Britishness – the pub – served not only residential communities but industrial areas too. Pubs catered to factory workers and became important meeting places for factory bosses. The constant supply of people filtering through these watering holes ensured a prosperous trade. Today, few of these pubs remain. But some have managed to hang on, be it by their finger tips or with new leases of life.
Railways became an fundamental means of transport following the Industrial Revolution and played a major role in the expanding British Empire. Victorian pioneers like Isambard Kingdom Brunel were instrumental in ensuring their development and before long, railways began to connect distant corners of the world.
Since its completion in the winter of 1998, the Angel of the North has become one of northern England’s most iconic landmarks. Towering high above the A1 motorway adjacent to Gateshead, the 200 ton statue was designed by internationally renowned sculptor Antony Gormley, who has created a number of works inspired by the human body.