You can’t ignore the beautiful Art Deco buildings standing proudly along the main promenade, and the modernist style Midland hotel perched on the seafront overlooking the stone jetty, used for some episodes of Poiriot back in the eighties. It was designed by Oliver Hill and opened in 1933, for the LMS (London Midland Scottish) railway co. Although it closed in 1998, it was restored to its former glory, with the help of Urban Splash and the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2008. It’s not the only run-down building in the town to finally get some updating; some ugly, unloved municipal walls have also undergone a marvellous makeover.
My friend Kate Drummond, a resident of Morecombe, has been painting wall murals around the area and they are outstanding! I asked Kate about the project, ‘Trip the Light Fantastic,’ which now adorns two sides of a small electricity substation situated behind the iconic Midland Hotel. The substation is all that remains of the once bustling Arena Bandstand. Kate explains: “The new painting is a typographical celebration – referring to both the buildings past and present – while also referencing Morecambe Bay’s glorious evening sunsets. This artwork was made in late summer 2014, painted by myself and Shane Johnstone. It was commissioned and produced by Elena Gifford & Lauren Zawadzki of Decopublique as a legacy artwork from the Vintage by the Sea festival.”
‘Take the Plunge’, is the second of two #fantasticmorecambe text-based mural artworks made possible by funding secured by Decopublique, from Arts Council England. The first artwork, ‘Trip the Light Fantastic’ was enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors to the hugely successful Vintage by the Sea festival, held in Morecambe over the first weekend of September, 2014. This second piece has been painted on the wall of a disused toilet block next to the site of Morecambe’s old Super Swimming Stadium. ‘Take the Plunge’ is designed to reflect the heritage of the site where an Art Deco lido was once enjoyed by holiday makers when the town was a flourishing seaside resort.
Kate adds: “Our #fantasticmorecambe project aims to present positive and uplifting artworks with messages that respond to their location by using place-based messages, visual references and colours, creating artworks that blend into and enhance the environment within which they are made. It is an evocative statement. The phrase refers to an act of either admirable courage or reckless stupidity, but it is also a confident message about change and the future.”
The bottom of the piece reads: ‘Swim Unaided and Self – Propelled from Deep to Shallow‘ – beautiful, brave words that were written on the original Blue Seagull swimming certificate issued to those daring enough to swim one length of the icy cold, salt waters of the Super Swimming Stadium!
While also there, we popped into the amazing Brucciani coffee and ice cream parlour which is like travelling back in time! The Brucciani family started making ice cream in 1893, and they opened this parlour in 1939, the day before war broke out. It still boasts its fabulous deco interior, with Formica tables and wood panelling. The likes of Stan Laurel and Shirley Bassey used to frequent this establishment before performing at the Winter Gardens!
I thought something coastal would be appropriate attire, so wore this amazing 50s dolphin and whale print dress, along with a beach bag which belonged to my Nana; she gave it to me after I admired it, and it matched my dress perfectly! My shoes are from Rocket Originals and my jacket was also gifted to me. I found some dead-stock vintage fish brooches on a stall at a 40s event a couple of years ago. The lady told me that her friend’s family in South Africa had discovered a whole warehouse of goodies, perfectly preserved in the dry weather out there! I have since seen lots of this stock on various stalls at events all over the UK, what a find! My yellow conical hat was from Aurora’s Hatbox on Etsy. Frankie wore a 1950s grey flecked wool suit with beautiful original poodle tie!
The poodles love going to events where they can meet and greet everybody! They only trouble with this part of Morecambe is they are not allowed on the beach, which they adore!
For more photos look at retropoodles.wordpress.com