Saturday, 21 February 2009

Travelling hopefully

Geograph is wonderful, and growing daily. However, contributors are now uploading historic photographs also, and the one above caught my eye.

It is of Highway Motors, Kennford, 1929 and here is the Geograph entry for it:

Soon after this photo was taken the new Highway bypass (A38) diverted traffic away from going through Kennford and thus no more petrol sales. Not to be outdone my father then built the "Wobbly Wheel" a new petrol filling station at the corner of the old village main road and the new Highway bypass - see SX9186 : 1931/1932 The wobbly wheel and ST4862 : Paradise Roadhouse.
© Copyright Ronald Loach and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

And indeed, here is the Wobbly Wheel:

1931/1932 The wobbly wheel
The Wobbly Wheel was used as an example by the Devon Planning Authorities as an example of what a good layout for a Petrol Filling Station should be like.Once the Station was operational Ronald Loach, the owner and developer, was off again building another petrol filling station on the A38 at the bottom of Redhill near Wrington in Somerset called Paradise Roadhouse
Link . See also SX9186 : In 1929 known as Highway Motors.
© Copyright Ronald Loach and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The first two all very picturesque I hear you say, but what is the third picture doing here?

Well, it has some relationship with the others although actually not in the UK but in Nuns' Island, Quebec, Canada. Not just any old filling station either, this one was designed in 1968 by (or 'from the office of') architect Mies van der Rohe. And sadly, it's under threat, recently closed and boarded up.

Mies movies online:

There are more photographs of it here,:

and further information, photos and a little history here:

See this story in the Toronto Globe and Mail about the shuttering of the gas station on Nuns' Island in Quebec, Canada designed by the office of Mies van der Rohe ?

The Mies gas station is no more. In December, Esso quietly removed the pumps and put plywood over the glass and the company sign out front. Now, Montreal's Verdun borough is left to sort out what to do with a rare piece of architecture not easily adaptable.

"The thing really is beautiful; it's so unassuming, like a lot of great artworks," said Phyllis Lambert, whose family, the Bronfmans, commissioned the Seagram Building.

"It's not pretentious, not glitzy. The major problem is, what to do with it now."

The gas station was part of a neighbourhood that Mies's Chicago firm designed in the 1960s, after a bridge connected Île-des-Soeurs (Nuns' Island) to the rest of Montreal and the island was developed. ...

"It's of a great simplicity, and it's a building that was really thought out. It's not overstated, it's very modest, very functional, and very well designed," said Dinu Bumbaru, the director of Heritage Montreal, who has described it as the "Ritz" of gas stations.

Sad. Useful and beautiful. No doubt the site will more profitably be redeveloped very soon. Let's hope not, and a re-use can be found.

I like this idea:

A bike shop, with air pumps instead of 'gas'.

There may be some hope:

It possibly was too beautiful and understated to last.


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