Pining for the West

The Age of Glamour | October 20, 2009

Last night I watched a programme on BBC4 called Glamour’s Golden Age which seems to be part of a new series. If you missed it and you are into 1920-30s design, I recommend that you catch it on the i-player.

I love everything about that era, well – obviously not the T.B., Diphtheria and Rickets sort of stuff, but you know what I mean.

The first building which I can remember seeing and thinking ‘art deco’ was The Midland Hotel in Morecambe. It was about 1969 and as I recall the hotel looked pretty sad and delapidated at that time. However it’s fab now – must have cost a fortune to refurbish it.

I saw the De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea about 1979. Similar story there and I think it has been refurbished twice since then. That is the down side to art deco (modernist) buildings, if you don’t keep them looking really buffed, they quickly begin to look horrific.

The fashions looked wonderful too but definitely not for the heftier figure.

The posters were fantastic as well.

The 1938 Empire Exhibition was held in Glasgow. It is a city full of fashion conscious artistic people and by the look of things they really pulled out all the stops for it. It’s just a pity that the weather let them down – as usual.

But it didn’t stop the visitors, well after all, we aren’t made of sugar. Unfortunately most of the buildings were just temporary structures, so there isn’t much evidence of the exhibition now. I think it would be great if they would rebuild Tait’s Tower. Tait is more famous for having designed Sydney Harbour Bridge.

However, I think my favourite building would have been The Atlantic Restaurant. Taking tea there must have been a wonderful experience, especially when you consider that most of the visitors would have been living in cramped tenements with outside toilets and gas-lights. It must have seemed like a glimpse of heaven to them.

There are fantastic colour pictures on flickr.

There are black and white pictures in this You Tube clip.



  1. Hey this looks GOOD! Thinking of putting some youtube stuff on my blog for a while now (got all sorts of stuff lined up for my blog anniversary). You are so right about Art Deco having to be upkept. There is a gorgeous old building near us that has just been left to rack and ruin, even the lead has been stripped off it’s roof. It’s so sad. It’s strange how some buildings have a resurgence though isn’t it. I remember when I was a child, thinking how old fashioned these buildings looked amongst the modern (hideous) stuff that was going up in the 60s, yet now, if they’re maintained, these building have a faded glamorous charm. I will have to have a look at Glamours Golden Age (I was out last night) Your blog is looking GOOD by the way!

    Comment by echostains — October 21, 2009 @ 11:21 am

    • Thanks. I hope to get around to some blog tweeking soon though as I’m sure I can make it look better. I’m not keen on the whiteness of it all. I’ve witnessed the demolition of quite a few 60s and 70s buildings which I actually saw being built and it was a relief to see them go.

      Comment by piningforthewest — October 23, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  2. Yes I know what you mean. I used to envy some children I knew who lived in flats shaped like a huge boat in the 60s. This very quickly started to look shabby and dated and was soon knocked down. Those Arndale Centres are the worse. Ours got blown up and damaged by a bomb in the 90s. No one was hurt and Manchester is looking so much better (though the Arndale is still there, mended…) I often have a tweak with my blog by trying all the different themes out. I always end up sticking to the one I have though, as I think it suits the art content and has now become a kind of signature, lol!

    Comment by echostains — October 24, 2009 @ 11:45 am

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