I left Ramsgate on High Speed 1 for London, St Pancras, then by Tube to Victoria to pick up the Gatwick Express & Gatwick to Newquay by Twin Prop and from there by car to Bissoe – easy ! A great day – but one delay along the way could have been a disaster – fortunately it was brilliant.
The units below are the first to be manufactured and are, as such the sample test for the project. We will be looking to iron out any issues presenting at this stage and develop a methodology for ensuring quality control through the production period. The Type C unit – is only one of several bespoke profiles being developed – with each profile there are accompanying bespoke ends and specials to be made.
This is a single unit, part of a six unit seating set for the landscape works. The seating forms part of the interpretation and public art created for the project. The units as seen here have yet to have the etching treatment to expose the surface aggregates, so appear quite light in colour. The finished colour and aggregate mix reflect the multi blend granite paving used throughout the site and is informed by the geology of the site – alluvial gravels – which were at one time quarried nearby in the area now occupied by the Civic Centre. These gravels would have formed the beach of the River Test Estuary, which was – until 175 years ago – to be found where Blechynden Terrace now stands.
We have selected the Blackhill Aggregate – White Cement – Heavy Etch sample to work with –
The composite image below, illustrate the evolution of the Type C Bench. The basic section is added to with bespoke and varying ‘ends’, with some units being further cast with lighting recesses.
I particularly like to see the timber joinery and craftsmanship which goes into the moulds. No-one else really sees this – and the general public generally have no idea of the work that goes on behind the scenes to achieve the objects they see in the public realm.
In researching this project I have engaged with many individuals, institutions and stakeholders in order to decipher the history of our site. I am immensely grateful to all those who contributed.
The purpose of taking this approach to research is twofold.
Firstly it fosters a sense of common ownership around the project. People have given their information and experience freely in order to see these improvement be made.
Secondly, the collaborative exchange of information has enriched the debate around the design outcomes, This can only be a positive step forward. The project now on the ground is all the better for this.
Thanks to all who have contributed thus far. The following is not an exclusive list – & I am adding to it all the time !
The following set of images – all credited – have been used to inform and influence the design process. They formed a brilliant & illuminating part of the contextual research, which has influenced the design process throughout the project – & which is quite frankly – ongoing …the research never stops !
Sailing near the walls of Southampton and the West Quay area on a stormy day in late Victorian times. The embayment (West Bay) is an old meander of the River Test, flooded by the rising sea levels of the Holocene (current epoch) following the last ice age. This image is a wide angle view from near the present site of Southampton Central Station and looks out towards Town Quay – the site of the West Quay Shopping Centre & John Lewis. Ian West & Tonya West 2008
The image ties in wonderfully well with a description of a great storm in West Bay in 1893
An extract from the Parish of St Peters Church, Commercial Road. Magazine No 5 January 1894 by Rev H C Percival
“We have had our share of the late terrific storm, as well as much of the sunshine of Christmas. It is not often that St Peters Parish and people see the usually placid Southampton water assume the appearance of the Bay of Biscay. But on Tuesday the 12th December (1893), we actually had a wreck on the shore in this parish and waves did much damage along the Western Shore. Our Church too suffered much more damage than is generally known. When the gale was at its height, about 3pm, some slates were carried a distance of about 3o yards and hurled with terrific force through one of the small stained windows of the Chancel. The iron guard outside was beat like thin wire and the lead & glass of the window were driven in and the window was smashed into thousands of fragments…one of our beautiful churchyard evergreen Oaks has been sadly damaged and now presents a very one sided appearance. In front of our school, slates were sticking in the ground, as though some giant from the opposite side of Commercial Road had been playing quoits all the afternoon”.
‘In the 1890’s Southampton Corporation sold an area of land for the construction of the new station. The land involved was partly field & partly shoreline and was therefore subject to tidal flooding’. ‘The new station was opened on 1st November 1895. The clock tower had been a landmark long before the Civic Centre was built in 1931. It was damaged by bombing in WWII and finally demolished to make way for the new station and Overline House in 1966/67.
A. St Peters Church, Commercial Road. Built 1845
B. Victoria Brewery, Commercial Road founded between 1863 & 1871 by Andrew Barlow, a business man & philanthropist who died in 1904 aged 84, the richest man to be buried in Southampton Cemetery!
C. Southampton Station of 1895
D. Emperia Building – Warehouses. Built around 1905, bombed out in 1940
Thursday 13th November 2014saw the last black basalt slab installed on Blechynden Terrace to complete the ‘Canal Shore’artwork installation.
Left to right – Martin Miller and Jay Geary of Balfour Beatty, who have together installed all the 205 linear metres of the kerb edge artwork – which was manufactured and inlaid with text by Hardscape – along Blechynden Terrace and the forecourt of Central Station.
This almost – but not quite – completes the Phase 1 works for the Southampton Station Quarter North project being delivered by Balfour Beatty Living Places for Southampton City Council. This project is one of seven ‘Very Important Projects’ (VIP’S) & part of its City Centre Master Plan which will see one of Southampton’s most important gateways transformed into ‘an exciting arrival experience fit for a major city.’
Some more images of works in progress:
The site, adjacent to the shoreline of the Test Estuary has always been a point of confluence. The main route West in & out of the city ran along the shoreline and was known as The Strand. At a point marked by Achards Bridge, which replaced an ancient ford across the Rollesbrook Stream which enters the River Test at this point, the city boundary with Millbrook was established.
Today this site is near to the entrance to Southampton Central Station. You may cross the Rollesbrook Stream yourself each time you visit the station. The station is the gateway to the city & a critical hub & interchange.
The individual lines of texts are to be set out adjacent to the carriageway on the south side of Blechynden Terrace at site specific points along the ‘Canal Shore’ feature kerb line, & reveal in their expression something of the history and use of the local area. It is not a linear ‘narrative’ and has no specific start or finish. It will engage with people as and when they encounter the words. Some words and phrases have their origin in fact and are ‘on the record’, whilst some is anecdotal and ‘remembered’.
The text on these slabs is part of the following line – ‘The historic shoreline was here in 1846…the north shore of the River Test Estuary’
The 1846 Large Folio Royal Engineers Map held in the Southampton City Council Archive, is wonderfully accurate & detailed. It shows the planned route out over the mudflats of the unfinished ‘Dorchester Railway’. The shoreline was at this time still north of this point, with the high water mark reaching to what is now, the southern footpath of Blechynden Terrace & Southbrook Road. The historic curve of the Bay here is thought to be a meander of the ancient Solent River system. SCC Libraries & Archive
August Kenzler was lost when the Titanic struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. He was one of seven crewmen (from more than 720 from Southampton) who lived in the area bounded by our project.
John Henry Stagg – Steward – 1st Class – Lost – 66 Commercial Road
August Kenzler – Storekeeper – Age 43 – Lost – 21 (12) Blechynden Terrace
Michael Stafford – Greaser – Age 37 – No 4 Southbrook Road
Walter Edward Saunders – Trimmer – Age 25 – No1 Suffolk Sq (off Southbrook Road)
Long – Trimmer – Age 28 – No 19 Sidford Street –
William Logan Gwinn – Age 37 – No 4 Commercial Road
Tuesday 16th September 2014Southampton A brief site visit today to review the installation of ‘Canal Shore’, as part of the Phase 1 works on the Station Quarter North Project in Southampton managed by Balfour Beatty Living Places for Southampton City Council. This is one of the more direct outcomes of the interpretive and contextual work that I did which was intended to ‘influence’ the design process throughout the project. The project as a whole however is a collaborative process and I have worked with many others in the realisation of this work.
‘Mr Thankful Joy – Landlord of the Railway Tavern 1884 – 1890. Bombed 22nd June 1940’
Thankful Joy: born 1836 – died 1913, aged 78, Market Gardener of Shirley. Father – Thankful Joy – also a Market Gardener Births & Marriages Records SCC Archives The Railway Tavern aka West Station Tavern, was situated at No 12 Blechynden Terrace. 17 Public Houses have graced the local area over the last 100 years. There were also many beer retailers too. To counter this, a number of Temperance Hotels & Houses were established. ‘Southampton Inns & Taverns’. Tony Gallaher 1988. SCC Archives Ref: C4 / 1861 Census & Kelly’s Directory 1877.
‘In 1847 Lady Charlotte Fitzroy lived at No 1 Blechynden Terrace. Joseph Hill, Surveyor, lived at No. 6’
In 1847 No.1 Blechynden Terrace was a large detached villa to the south of the current carriageway at the bottom of Kingsbridge Lane. Its ornamental gardens ran down to the shoreline of the Test Estuary. These eventually became the goods yard for the railway as the land was reclaimed from the sea.
‘Wyndham Court is a Brutalist building’
Wyndham Court is a block of social housing in Southampton, England. It was designed by Lyons Israel Ellis for Southampton City Council in 1966, and is located near Southampton Central Station and the Mayflower Theatre. Wyndham Court includes 184 flats, three cafes or restaurants and 13 shops, and was completed in 1969. The building replaced the original dense footprint of small streets and courts, which had remained unchanged on this site since pre-1846. The area was badly bombed during Southampton’s blitz & never recovered. Architecturally, it is suggested that the form of Wyndham Court evokes cruise ships, which sailed from the nearby Port of Southampton. English Heritage described its irregular facades as “sculptural and expressive” & the architects’ use of white concrete was intended to be sympathetic to older civic buildings, which dominate the city centre.
‘…the kerb edge marks the route of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal…an ill-fated venture 1795 – 1808’
The carriageway of Blechynden Terrace is generally understood to be the filled in canal basin of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal. The original villas along Blechynden Terrace, destroyed by bombing during WWII, were built in 1830 along the edge of the now filled-in basin. ‘The Bankrupt Canal’. 1795-1808. Yellow Southampton Papers No.5
‘it was so busy at weekends there was no room to sit down at high tide…’
Pre-1847 & the coming of the railway, the area was described as ‘Southampton’s Riviera’. REF.16/7/82 HS.h. History Localities. SCC Libraries & Archives. Local History & Maritime.
I travelled down to Southampton for a site visit to review the basalt kerbs installed along Blechynden Terrace.
These robust blocks form the kerb edge to the ‘Canal Shore’artwork currently in production by Hardscape up in Halifax. Some corner quadrant features have been installed. This feature runs from outside the Station Forecourt, to the bottom of West Park Rd and Kingsbridge Lane. This text based work – the text is created via water jet cutting and inlaying a contrasting granite into the basalt – is 290 linear metres long x 795mm wide. The text slabs have arrived on site, but awaiting installation in July.
On Tuesday 29th April I travelled up to Hipperholme, Halifax to meet with Dave Lowe of Hardscape who is delivering a major feature of the Station Quarter North Project. – ‘Canal Shore’ is a 174m long linear artwork in black basalt which forms the kerb and pavement edge along Blechynden Terrace. The work is inset with text in contrasting light grey granite.
Hardscape are working with their sub contractor, Scribble Stone who specialise in water jet cutting.
This work is an element of a much larger public realm project around Central Station which I am working on in collaboration with Balfour Beatty Living Places, CH2M Hill, Southampton City Council and Lighting Consultants Michael Grubb Studio. This project is in turn part of a wider a transport interchange programme reviewing pedestrian and traffic flow around the Station principally on an East to West axis.