The Hat Industry of Luton

“Luton is sometimes likened to a northern town that has found itself in the south. This is understandable.” Definitely :)

Heritage Calling

Luton has an industrial pedigree to be proud of and one which has shaped almost every aspect of the town. No, not car manufacture (although that is undoubtedly important), but an older industry – hat manufacture.

The town produced as many as 70 million hats a year in the 1930s – an astonishing number, and yet Luton’s role as a global centre of hat manufacture is largely forgotten. Our new book, The Hat Industry of Luton and its Buildings, seeks to rectify this by celebrating the town’s remarkable industrial and commercial history.

A Goad fire insurance plan from 1932 illustrates the remarkable density of hat factories, warehouses and associated industries such as box factories to be found in Luton’s town centre. © Database Right Landmark Information Group Ltd A Goad fire insurance plan from 1932 illustrates the remarkable density of hat factories, warehouses and associated industries in Luton’s town centre.  © Database Right Landmark Information Group Ltd

Luton is sometimes likened to a northern town that has found itself in the south. This is understandable. The town grew rapidly in the 19th century – faster…

View original post 566 more words

Survival of the fittest: HKPA’s ideas competition for Darwin College

HKPA allsorts

Studying the drawings at HKPA’s archive last summer, I noticed this label on ‘roll 24’:

IMG_8415.JPG

These, I discovered, are the drawings for HKPA’s in-house ideas competition for their additions to Darwin College, Cambridge (designed 1965-6, built 1967-8). It’s slightly ironic that while these have survived, the practice’s main set of drawings for the job appear to be missing (although Darwin retain a full set).

The base drawings – showing existing buildings – are dated 4 March 1965, so I suppose the competition was held a little after that date. Bill Howell mentioned an ‘office competition’ when presenting a revised scheme to the College in May. Most of the entrants had a go at the challenge of slotting a new dining hall into a narrow gap between the Hermitage (left on the photo below) and Newnam Terrace (right), ensuring privacy and security for those in the garden while maintaining visual connections…

View original post 230 more words

9 ‘Lost’ Railway Stations

Love railways, and especially old stations.

Heritage Calling

1. Birmingham Snow Hill

ro_04004_013.tif

This fine Edwardian station was demolished in 1977 despite a public outcry.  The historic fabric was razed and trains on the old Great Western line to Leamington were terminated at Moor Street – originally devised as an overflow station for Snow Hill. However, the damage to cross-city services was so severe that the station was rebuilt, in a smaller, far more utilitarian idiom, in 1987 – a mere ten years after the station had disappeared.

View original post 652 more words