Let’s move to Littlehampton, West Sussex: ‘A surreal mishmash’Dec 14, 2018 16:30
Several eras have left an imprint on this south-coast seaside resort, right up to today’s star architects
What’s going for it? What will future historians make of Littlehampton? It’s a curious place, stitched together from various patches that align but somehow don’t connect. At its centre, an old Sussex port on the River Arun, church, quayside, winding lanes and still intact. To the south, facing the sea, a 19th-century resort from the era when salt water and bracing breezes were the cure for all ills. To the west, the dunes and silence of Atherington beach. East? 1920s and 1930s private estates of luxury villas, high walls and climbing roses, as if the upper crust cast of various Agatha Christie whodunnits had settled en masse. Laid over the top, a layer of 1930s to 1960s municipal seasideness – seawalls, proms, concrete, the marvellous bleached-white shelters of Mewsbrook Park, the miniature railway terminus. Here and there, arrivals from the era of regeneration and seaside gentrification (Littlehampton has never quite become the new Margate), designed by assorted young and star architects. It makes for bizarre juxtapositions, surreal even. Littlehampton is a curious place. But all the better for it.
The case against… That English south-coast bleakness, the sea often “indistinguishable from the sky”, as Virginia Woolf once put it. Still old-fashioned, in good and bad senses. Continue reading...