Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not Grim Up North, Interlude: Preservation

[Originally posted on in response to some comments there.]

Most of Toxteth appears to be about to fall under the wrecking ball -- the rows we saw tended to have metal grates on all but a few windows. I can't say what it was like back in the bad old days, but frankly the boarded-up streets are really creepy and dangerous-looking.

I believe firmly that most of this housing, if fixed up (at much less cost than demolishing and building shoddy new stuff) would be attractive and gentrifiable. The new stuff they are building in its place is for the most part horrible.

Not as bad as the grim towers they built in the sixties in places like Everton, which are also coming down, but the new stuff just looks bad. Worse than the new stuff here, which is saying something.

I know I'm not an expert, and the argument rages on between the preservationists and the "modern-standardists", and both sides have their points, but I'm firmly with the former. I've seen what those rows can be made to look like with some TLC. Of course, some are too far gone; the brick is crumbling. And Toxteth has a long way to go before it's a desireable neighborhood in estate-agent terms. But it's really close to the center.

PatrickLondon, I think you will find that I have already mentioned the Preston Bus Station above, and Mrs. Fnarf is probably even sorrier than I am that we weren't able to fit it in. We were talking with a native Prestonian who was rather taken aback that someone from as far away as we were had ever heard of the thing. It's been deeply unloved for most of its lifetime; I hope they recognize its increased appreciation in time.

I hadn't known about that fantastic Roundabouts of Great Britain website, thank you! I think a lovely "Roundabouts of Grimsby" or "Gateshead Car Park" calendar sounds like just the thing for my office cubicle.

Caroline, Scotland is for a future trip. We've been to Glasgow for a minute, and several days on the Cowal peninsula, but haven't really seen the country at all. We will!

Audere (I know it's you), it's no grimmer than parts of East or South London were not that long ago. Really, I think you'd enjoy some of these pubs!

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