Saturday, 31 March 2012

Racton Ruin

Welcome to Racton Ruin also known as Racton Monument and Racton Tower. Racton is not the most easiest place to find. Tucked away in the back waters of West Sussex just of the B2147 and then up a tiny lane/horse track. You can see Racton from the B2147 but I still managed to drive past it. Racton was built around 1772, designed by Theodosius Keene for The Earl of Halifax. There are mixed views as to the purpose of Racton. Some say it was built as a summer house as part of The Stansted Estate. Another is that it was a view point for the Earl to observe ships in the Solent. The Totally Haunted Bods say they found a reference to Racton being used as a brothel, but do not include any info about this reference.
Racton is a popular place for the Ghost Hunters, and is supposed to have had links to The Occult and Devil worship. Another local rumour is that it was used by smugglers. In the late 80s and early 90s Racton was the scene of many raves and parties. I personally remember driving with a car load of people from one end of Sussex to the other in search of a party at Racton, which we never found and maybe never even really happened. Perhaps the strangest story concerning Racton Ruin is the rumour that the singer Demis Roussos was interested in buying the Folly once. Strange indeed.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Science - from the Beginning

Taken from the titular textbook, published 1960 by Oliver & Boyd. The illustrations are by C.S. Macdonald. A wee bit more at between channels.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Post-War School Boom

Adverts from 'School Construction, 1954', a reprint of articles published that year in the School Construction section of "Education" (Official Organ of the Association of Education Committees).

Amazing Fact of the Day: a new school was finished in England & Wales every day between 1950 and 1970!

Also fascinating - to me, anyway - is how far back that classic school building style goes (see 1st and 3rd pics).  Probably because I was born in the late 60s, but I'd always sort of assumed it didn't arrive till the 60s or even 70s.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Watchers

Sculpture by Lynn Chadwick, 1960.  Strong vibes of "early Doctor Who / scary telly for kids".

This was the kind of thing I associated with the term "modern art" when I was a nipper - abstract or semi-abstract, great big lumps of STUFF - and it fair did my brane in.  It was all WRONG but in a thrillingly scary sort of way.

Looking back, I reckon what made it so was the fact that it could be seen as an alien thing; whatever the artist intended, you could look at it and not see any refs to the known world.  Opened up all sorts of possibilities; vague ones, but all the better for that.

Broadcast for Schools

This must have been done already, no?

Bones Records

"Roentgenizdat" or "X-Ray Pressed" records are 7-inch bootlegs made from discarded X-Ray plates found in hospital skips. They originated in the 1950s within the underground nightspots of the USSR and Eastern Europe, and contained pirated music from the West. Are these the coolest or what?! More here (in Russian).

Monday, 26 March 2012

'High Paddington' was published in 1952.  It promotes an ambitious scheme to build a "vertical town" for 8000 people over Paddington goods yard, complete with primary schools, hospital, hotel, church and - of course - a vicarage. 

It was supported by the Conservative MP for South Paddington, Robert Allan, but was rejected by the L.C.C.

From the foreward by R. Allan (note the concern for lost agricultural land; did this stop being an issue with the end of rationing?):

"Any of us who are concerned with the life of our big cities must be appalled at the conditions under which so many are forced to live. The need for re-housing appears to us so great that nothing can be more important. Yet those who have to look beyond the cities are becoming increasingly alarmed at the claims which housing is making on agricultural land.

Before the war we built freely on farm land.  Then there was plenty of food to be imported and we had the means to buy it. To-day, the world's food is scarce and our means are small.  Now we must grow more food from our own soil or go short. Urgent though new housing is, we cannot afford to build on food-producing land if there is any possible alternative.

The need for housing in Paddington is so great that I felt it my first duty to concentrate on this problem. I had long discussions with those concerned in Paddington. Then I had the good fortune to have a talk with Mr. Kadleigh. He was already convinced that vertical building offered the only solution. The project of High Paddington is his answer."

More scans here: High Paddington

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Stylophone Latin American Album

Picked this up recently on one of my charity shop patrols. I should point out that one night after a few glasses of wine I did decide it was time to play along to it with my Stylophone. Brazil is my fav. Don't think the neighbors were that impressed with my play along version. The family in the 2nd picture all seem to be having fun. Remember.......A Stylophone is for life, not  just Christmas Birthdays and Space Oddity.

London Zoo Guide, 1961

I want a ride on a monkey!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

International Air Tattoo, 1979

[Insert essay about high profile of Brit military back in the 70s, especially around kids: "The Vulcan bomber's wings are so big that you could fit every child in this school underneath them."]