070513.Bridgport, Tito: Yugo Where I Go, Montenegro.

May 13, 2007 at 5:49 AM | Posted in Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Preservation, somerset | 13 Comments

I ran out of words that rhymed, please continue if you can. Of course, this isn’t actually a Yugo but a Reliant something or other (Rialto?) for sale at a Yugo dealership, the type of car Mr Bean keeps sabotaging (Reliant Regal Supervan III). Apparently an appeal of three wheels to drivers was that it only required a motorcycle license to drive. There are enthusiasts out there who may or may not travel in three-wheeler packs, look out world.

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Here, the mighty Reliant majestically hovers. Such, such a futuristic car…and it — it’s for sale?!
UK Promotional Poster.
Saw this Yugo dealership near the bus stop in the Eastover section of Bridgport, Somerset. As far as I can remember, my only familiarity with the Yugo was seeing it from a news broadcast after American bombs had destroyed the factory and several of these gremlin-like machines were hanging loosely off shredded assembly lines. However, here I have photos of the Reliant Robin, Reliant Regal and Reliant Rialto. Even though they are somewhat infamous, I figured these characteristically British cars and needed to be posted. The fact that they were at a Yugo dealership was all the better, since I know nothing about either Reliant or Yugo and now had a chance to look them up.

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–Interesting Yugo Trivia–

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Yugos were built by Zastava, an arms manufacturer founded in 1853, which only went into the automobile industry in the 1930s to supply Fords to the Yugoslav army.
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“When it was first brought to America, the Zastava Yugo only cost $3,990 USD (Approximately $7,330 2006 USD).”
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“Zastava employees report that Yugo cars destined for American export underwent much more-stringent quality-control procedures than domestic models.”
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Still, it was voted “Worst Car of the Millenia” by the influential NPR radio program Car Talk.
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“24-year-old Leslie Pluhar’s Zastava Yugo was blown completely off the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan during a strong wind. High speed was to blame.”
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(Above photo: It really does settle into the pavement, like it belongs. )
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–Yugo Testimonials–

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Negative – “I once test drove a Yugo, during which the radio fell out, the gear shift knob came off in my hand, and I saw daylight through the strip around the windshield.
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Positive – “At least it had heated rear windows–so your hands would stay warm while you pushed.”
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Negative – “The Yugo’s first stop after the showroom was the service department: ‘Fill ‘er up and replace the engine!'”
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Positive – “Did You Remember to Bring in the Car?” (read full text.)
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Negative – “Any time we made a right hand turn, we all had to lean to the right to prevent the driver’s side rear tire from scraping against the wheel well.

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Wow, imagine the power trip you’d get sitting in your own Reliant.

–Yugo In Popular Culture (OK, only The Simpsons)–

In the episdore titled “Mr. Plow,” (and stop with this pretentious entitled business; I see it everywhere, a name is not entitled to anything) Homer goes to “Crazy Vaclav’s Place of Automobiles” to test drive an unnamed vehicle from a country that “no longer exists.” Homer is instructed to “put [the car] in ‘H,’” which is apparently a reference to ‘Neutralan,’ the Serbian word for neutral, spelled in the Cyrillic alphabet “Неутралан.” The gears displayed are Б, И, Ш and Н.

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070511.Walcot, Lime Window (St Stephen’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat)

May 11, 2007 at 5:19 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Ladders, people, Pevsner, Preservation, Restoration, somerset, Tabernacles, Towers, Walcot | 9 Comments

Right where this metal scaffold pole cuts across those two streets (top: St. Stephen’s Rd, bot: Richmond Rd–and left of the pole is called Lansdown Rd) was the site of an 18th C turnpike.
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These ladders stretch three scaffolding levels. This was the lowest of three. The scaffolding went up the height of the tower, 30 meters, or so. It was also raining hard.
I took the sunny photo back in early November 2006. St Stephen’s put it up early to survey the repairs needed. These repairs are being carried out by Minerva Stone Conservators, who waited until spring for the “lime window.” As responsible conservators, all masonry repairs are being carried out with lime mortar, which takes a long time to set and cannot set during potential periods of frost. Below two conservators apply a dry lime mortar in the masonry joints and apply a cotton-like substance over sections.
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Designed to serve the spiritual needs of NE Bath by James Wilson and built between 1840-1845, St Stephen’s Church on Lansdown Road in Walcot cost 6,000 pounds (*today it cost 60,000 just for the scaffolding!) “It is broad and somewhat Georgian in proportion, and still in the mix-and-match style of the 1830s,, with lancets, but also Perp-style octagonal buttresses. The tower, similar to the W towers of Ely Cathedral (c.1400) or Antwerp Cathedral (1519), is a very imporant visual focus on Bath’s N slopes. Starting square and E.E., then at once turning octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagon by traceried flying buttresses; a smaller octagon on top with pinnacles is arranged in the same way. The nave and transept are very be-pinnacled, with pierced parapets. Two-light lancet windows and cusped Y-tracery. The church remained unconsecrated for some forty years until 1881, after which W.J. Willcox built the very wide apsidal chancel in 1882-1883, together with the vestry and organ chamber (at a cost of 3,000 pounds). The handsome painted ceiling, 1886, is by W.J. Willcox, executed by H.&F. Davis. The NE aisle was added in 1866 for the use of the Royal School, presumably by Wilson & Willcox, in a harsh Gothic typical of the alter work of the firm and contrasting with the style of 1840. –Stained glass. E Window, Lady Chapel by Mark Angus, 1983, the ‘Centenary,’ depicting St Stephen’s transformation, on the bridge between life and death t the moement of martyrdom. With distorted ambiguity between pain and repose, the body rises amid red flames on a blue ground. –Font and font cover. Marble, florid Gothic, dated 1843. –Transept ceiling and reredos. By Sir T. G. Jackson [of Oxford University’s building program fame], c. 1900, then working on the Abbey. Slade, Smith and Winrow converted the crypt to a parish room in 1993-1994.”–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 265-266.

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Here’s the cornerstone to the apsidal chancel. Yes, a Masters of the Arts symbolically laid this stone, possibly touched it but probably didn’t carve or do anything artistic with it. (Perhaps it was his brilliant idea to repeat Grace. *Also, just noted that the degree makes his name off-center, as if it was added as an afterthought, either because he earned it later and had it carved into the stone, or feared it might be taken away so he could have it filled in with his name remaining centered.) I have no idea why everyone in the UK insists on putting their educational degrees on everything. Here it is on a cornerstone. I’ve seen it in books, presentations, and even tombstones. Almost without fail, they also include (Hons), if applicable, or even organizations they belong to (that they had to simply pay to join).
Another thing to note with this CORNERstone is one side’s red tint. There is a local red algae that’s around here and the red shade indicates the colder north facade of this church where the sun doesn’t warm the stone and evaporate the dampness.

070506.Windsor, The Bits and Pieces of Spring Cleaning

May 6, 2007 at 3:53 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Castles, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Preservation, Restoration, Sculpture | 3 Comments

BDP to the moon!

Funny as it sounds, as the Queen’s home complex at Windsor is undergoing some TLC at the same moment the President’s home at the White House has to be spiffied up for her royal visit.070504.163.BE.Windsor.StGeo.W.8L
The repair of the West Front of St George’s Chapel at Windsor is being carried out by Martin Ashley Associates. Mr. Ashley very graciously showed us around the place. Here’s a few directions for a small part on that facade.
*Repair shoulders
*Shelter coat orange stonework
*[Deal with] Numerous cracks
*Replace head coade stone
*Replace toe
*Poultice clean
*Paint Analysis
*Remove from niche (carry out all work off site, often the best option)
It’s a Victorian statue, probably from Sir George Gilbert Scott’s restoration of the place. There are no original medieval statues remaining. The head does look a bit odd, but the toe! I should add that this statue is very very far up.
One more tidbit: according to archival photos, the head originally faced Mary but somehow turned around. (Miracle or need for an exorcism?)

St George Chapel West Front
I just realized that this Madonna with Child is really a mother with daughter! I had to negotiate the angle of the photo to include the head, toe and shoulder but this is a view that no one else would be able to see, which perhaps influenced the sculptor’s modesty. Context is everything since other than the conservationists’ up close visits every hundred years the statue is only seen from over a hundred feet down below. Again, context, why place a realistic mother and child so far up? Mary’s dangling the infant like the King of Pop.

070418.Bath, Shaniqua Don’t Live Here No Mo’

April 18, 2007 at 2:17 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Conservation, Crescents, Mansion, Museums, New Jersey, Preservation, Restoration, somerset | 5 Comments

Uh, title? Yeah. I didn’t write down the title of who the portrait featured and the only title I could come up with was Royal Landing. This is the first floor landing of No. 1 Royal Crescent, restored and currently run by Bath Preservation Trust. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, no Shaniqua ever lived here, though I stress this statement should not be necessarily considered fact.

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Back to school today, and first thing will be a trip to Ty-Mawr for a class on Lime. Let’s see what happens.
Dated 27 Oct 1967 and retained in a small envelope by the Bath City Archives, the stair diagrams were produced during the terrace house’s restoration and conversion into a museum of its former Georgian self.

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060218.Bathampton Down, A View to a Killing

February 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Castles, Chisel Marks, Claverton Down, doorways, Gardens & Parks, Light and Shadow, Mansion, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Peephole Views, Preservation, Restoration, Ruins, somerset, Towers, towns, Trees, University of Bath | 9 Comments

Walked by this two days ago after I picked up a package from the mailroom. It’s surrounded by the University of Bath‘s campus but is still somewhat difficult to reach. This is more of an excuse since I’ve never posted a shot of it and it’s a five minutes walk away from my house.
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Born in Cornwall, Ralph Allen (1693 – June 29, 1764), transferred from a post office there at age 17 to one in Bath. Two years later in 1712, he became the Post Master of the city. He shortly reorganized the entire postal service and became very wealthy doing so. Surprisingly, however, he saved his money and refused to invest in the quarries that surrounded Bath (and that he would become famous from) until the completion of the Kennet and Avon Canal, which allowed stone to be shipped to the Thames.

Shortly, He owned nearly all of Combe Down, creating a cart rail-track that took the stones down the hill from the quarries to the canal warf in Bath’s Dolmeads section where it would be shipped out. He was also able to keep costs down by paying his workers less. This was not necessarily cruel since he, unlike most other quarry employers, employed year-round, and had John Wood the Elder build model terrace housing for them in 1729.

In addition to these organized and economical applications to selling stone, he promoted the creamy-colored stone through his own constructions, such as this Sham Castle (1767), his Palladian Mansion of Prior Park (1742) with its Palladian Bridge, and in supplying it for free for prominent public buildings such as the General Hospital (1738-1742). To introduce stone to new markets, such as lucrative London, he sold it at a discount with guarantees that he would personally cover the cost of replacing the stone if it failed. Unfortunately, it often did and London’s smoggy environment frequently caused him to empty his pockets.

He died at age 71 and is buried in a mausoleum in Claverton (down the opposite slope from Bath of the Claverton Down hill). The old rail line that went from his quarries, past his mansion, and down to his warf is now Ralph Allen Drive, as well as one of the city’s secondary schools. A statue for the Lower Assembly Rooms was also carved in his honor (not sure where the statue is since the structure was demolished), paid for by the City of Bath Corporation.
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The “Sham Castle” was built by Allen’s Clerk of Works Richard Jones (the same person who completed John Wood the Elder’s designs for Prior Park after the latter’s dismissal) in 1762 as an eye-catcher for Allen’s town house mansion in Bath proper. That house, which is now hemmed in with other buildings, faces this hill (it was probably designed by John Wood the Elder, although his account of its design is cryptic.) In many ways, this castle is the equivalent of the Palladian Bridge on Allen’s Prior Park Estate. It can still be seen from the city when lit up at night (although it is very very small). Jones claimed the design for the façade structure was his, but Sanderson Miller had been approached to design it seven years earlier and Jones has a record for accepting credit for designs that he merely supervised (Prior Park). The structure replaced “Antsey’s Lodge.”
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Tune in tomorrow for more of Ralph Allen Week at Bath Daily Photo.

070214.Bath, Parade Garden Terrace Conserved with Lime Mortar and Many New Pieces

February 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Gardens & Parks, Ladders, Overcast, Peephole Views, people, Preservation, Restoration, Sculpture, somerset | 4 Comments

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-(Above:) Man applying lime mortar and then sponging away excess-
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I came across this masonry “conservation” occuring yesterday along the west terrace of the Parade Gardens. Old worn out pieces were sawed and chiseled out and newly carved pieces were carted in and pounded into place with a hard lime mortar. Some of the pieces removed and completely replaced, however, looked to be in decent condition. And truth be told, I’ve passed this spot hundreds of times and never once thought that anything here on the railings needed fixing (–the retaining walls around the garden are another matter, which don’t seem to be addressed.) I think the English should be proud of their conservation efforts, which are much more thorough than anywhere else that I’ve ever seen, but this thoroughness is somewhat excessive. I don’t think its the high cost that proves them prohibitive in other places but the justification of such efforts to mend a chip here and there for a slightly worn public balustrade.
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I’m not entirely sure when this railing dates from. I believe it’s part of the early 20th century addition. I’ll figure that out later. The design, I believe, is a continuation of John Wood the Elder’s North Parade terrace balustrade and design for “St James’ Triangle,” which was most of the current Parade Gardens (See Wood’s “A Plan of the New Buildings of the South East Corner of Bath”). The bowls are replacements for where he had placed obelisks (see last image–N Parade).
Copy of ISON 135
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(The plan came from John Wood the Elder’s “Essays Towards a Description of Bath,” 1749. And the blurry N Parade aquatint is courtesy of the Bath Reference Library.)

061212.Glastonbury, Find the Spiderweb

December 12, 2006 at 8:35 PM | Posted in Architecture, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Chisel Marks, Gardens & Parks, Glastonbury, Overcast, Preservation, Ruins, somerset, spiderweb | 6 Comments

Glastonbury Abbey Abbott’s Hall ruin, looking toward the Crossing. Glastonbury’s current ruined state results from its dissolution at the hands of Henry VIII, who removed the lead roof and took the maintenance money.

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“The Vietnam War couldn’t have gone on for as long as it did, certainly, if it hadn’t been human nature to regard persons it didn’t know and didn’t care to know, even if they were in agony, as insignificant. A few human beings have struggled against this most natural of tendencies, and have expressed pity for unhappy strangers. But, as History shows, as History yells: ‘They have never been numerous!’
“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do the maintenance.”

–Vonnegut

In other news, Rumsfeld made a suprise visit to Iraq this week, which will also be his last.

Rumsfeld’s Swan Song in Iraq

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