Architecture, Urban Planning and Identity

by The Editor

The collective hatred of our nation’s past by the ruling elite takes practical form in their drive to erase many aspects of our culture, traditions and physical history – and is best illustrated by their physical erasure of our traditional architectural forms and its replacement with drab, soviet-style ‘accommodation’.

By David Hamilton

The collective hatred of our nation’s past by the ruling elite takes practical form in their drive to erase many aspects of our culture, traditions and physical history – and is best illustrated by their physical erasure of our traditional architectural forms and its replacement with drab, soviet-style ‘accommodation’.

This destruction of elements of our national identity is engendered by a sense of shame which has been developed and perfected by the ruling elite during the course of the last century. They view our previous cultural achievements as ‘bad’ or gained immorally at some other nation’s expense. As a result, they wish to eradicate our collective identity and sever us from our cultural roots.

A classic example was the taking, in 1967, of London Bridge to Lake Havasu, Arizona. It now crosses the Bridgewater Channel from the mainland to a small island on the Colorado River, is world-famous and draws visitors from all over the world. The bridge was sinking into the River Thames and should have been corrected but instead was sold to America. Robert P. McCulloch, who had the bridge dismantled and sent by barge to the California coast where it was loaded and taken by lorry to Lake Havasu and rebuilt ‘brick’ by ‘brick’. The bridge is a focal point for the city.

Near the bridge is an ‘English village’ which pays respect to our culture. It has Tudor-style architecture, and the shops and restaurants recreate the atmosphere of old England, with tree-lined walkways and local breweries for hand-brewed ale. There is an English pub in San Francisco – but in England they are being replaced by continental café bars!
For more than 140 years, London Bridge served as a crossing over the River Thames. It survived both world wars and a terrorist attack in 1884. If an American entrepreneur could do all that, then why could the City of London not conserve it? Because Americans have more respect for our traditions than our local authorities. American tourists constantly ask locals, “Why are you ruining your culture?” We are not – local authorities are doing much of the damage.
There is also the issue of the replacement of our culture by almost any other culture. We have seen in many places the destruction of the traditional British pub, a centre of community and so much admired by tourists, for continental café bars. This has been made worse by a ban on smoking, excessive taxation for such as overseas aid, and the iniquitous penalisation of the business spirit by business rates. We see ‘social engineering by design’ in towns and cities throughout the country where European-style piazzas are built to make us feel more European, and thus less British. There was even an attempt by Kensington and Chelsea council to turn famous London landmark Sloane Square into a European piazza, but a strong local opposition stopped it.

People are born with an emotional need for community with their own kind and are not units to be re-organised to suit inorganic plans. It is impossible to love cold, unnatural tower blocks or office buildings built along these lines, or places dominated by such buildings. But this is not just aesthetics; it is about our very identity,which is reinforced by the reciprocal relationship between people and the places in which they live. Building on what we have in a similar scale and style maintains continuity and helps to focus culture and identity. National and local governments alike are destroying places that are sanctioned by time and use, where communities have grown up and grown together instinctively.
People’s natural bonding instincts are thwarted by high-rise buildings that separate them from one another and are not physically conducive to developing community spirit – the sense of belonging and of knowing with whom you belong. Social engineering was to change the physical and mental environment, and thereby change people, who were seen as malleable. But people are not so malleable – human nature needs familiar surroundings to develop and be happy. People often react aggressively and destructively if this is denied.

The Canadian Plains Indians, the Innu, were moved by the Canadian government into specially built estates. They were effectively forcibly transformed into Canadians, just as Britons are being forcibly transformed into ‘citizens of the world’(1). Like us, the Innu are having their past erased and are being offered nothing for the future – despair has set in, as it is setting in on Britain’s sink estates. A superficial difference is that the Innu were dispossessed by a different ethnic group (Canadian globalists), whereas we are being dispossessed by our own elected representatives (British globalists). But it is the same global movement. In the young Innu, deculturation manifests in drug and alcohol abuse and petty crime, and a parallel process is observed here. I remember talking to an American woman on a train to London some years ago. She worked on “Disappearing World” she morally stated, about rare tribes and habitats being lost to development. I told her they should make a programme in Bradford. She refused to speak to me for the rest of the journey!

In the same deculturalising vein, John Prescott issued a Government directive to destroy 40,000 terrace houses in England by diktat. Twenty thousand habitable homes in Liverpool were to be demolished and replaced by homes outside the range of the dispossessed locals. This is not the first time thatScousers have been moved without thought for where they belong and uprooted and forced onto estates modelled on schemes in the Soviet Union.

A parallel with the Innu was the moving of Scousers from their roots in Liverpool to new towns like Skelmersdale. They should have followed on from traditional estate designs, but instead the new estates were designed to separate vehicles from pedestrians with a system of courtyard layouts and cul-de-sacs emerging off spine streets, which led to disproportionate costs in street cleaning, refuse collection, ground and street furniture maintenance and, particularly, policing.

Skelmersdale was built on an old coalfield and around a series of deep clefts in the moor side that go down into the middle of the town, which meant that extensive ground remediation and stabilisation was required for construction. It was built using innovative and experimental techniques – but these were deeply flawed, requiring expensive remedies. Many houses had central heating outlets in the ceiling. The fact that heat rises was ignored, so the bedrooms were heated moderately well but not the downstairs rooms. And in many houses one can punch through walls because the metal frames are corroded and the concrete slabs have collapsed.

More and more of Britain’s young people are aimless, lacking in self-respect, without tradition or a sense of being part of something significant. They are being denied the inheritance of their forbears. There have always been people at the bottom of the pile, but they used to develop within a cultural tradition to which they belonged. Most young people do not misbehave out of endemic wickedness, but because they have been deculturalised. Because of social, cultural, political and environmental pressures, many young people in this country have been estranged from Britishness and severed from structures that helped civilise their ancestors.

Buildings need to develop from traditions. We must renew those familiar traditions to help civilise young people and minimise the criminality we now have, criminality often caused by unnatural and inorganic developments.
Walk along Ecclesall Road ‘Golden Mile’ and through St. Mary’s Gate subway in Sheffield, and you will see pedestrians averting their eyes in fear, too frightened to look at anyone approaching. I went through recently and was appalled when a young Chinese woman who was walking towards me averted her eyes with terror on her face. “Well,” you might say, “Why not run over the dual carriageway as people in Birmingham do to avoid being mugged in subways?” Because the council put railings inside the hedge along the strip between the two roads to force people through the underpass.

We must restore our town and city centres and historical buildings to the way they were before councillors and developers began destroying them. A plethora of radical new municipal building swept across the country from the 1950s onwards – schools, hospitals, offices, civic centres, entertainment and sports venues, shopping parades, shopping malls, new road schemes and street furniture, and apartment tower blocks to house tenants whose ‘slums’ had been bombed or condemned as unfit for habitation.

Historic towns such as Peterborough were changed by vast, bland new housing estates for ex-slum-dwellers. These schemes looked exciting in the plans but in practice were ugly, expensive and inefficient.
You only have to look at pictures of old Birmingham, which show a fine Victorian city with buildings like Snow Hill Station, which was like a cathedral in its proportions, the Woodman, a glorious Victorian pub, and the old library, to see the wanton destruction so often perpetrated by local authorities. The Bull Ring shopping area was redeveloped in the 1960s, and was so ugly, so unpopular and so badly constructed that it has since been redeveloped again.

Many local authorities have no respect for local history. A pub called the Railway in Birmingham was knocked down, despite its local importance as the venue where Ozzy Osborne began his career. After all, it is only local history! A little pub called the City Tavern, the only Victorian one left in Birmingham’s decultured city centre, was to be knocked down for a car park until a protest saved it. The Yorkshire Grey in Sheffield was demolished for a car park. Originally the Minerva, in the seventies it was the base of local hells angels, The Blue Angels who originated in Glasgow.
It was where Joe Cocker made his first public appearance. The leader of the council wants to look to the city’s future apparently. When I rang she couldn't be bothered to talk but referred me to a council report. What an appalling lack of respect for a city, its people and their heritage! Then, of course, in Liverpool, the Cavern (of Beatles fame) was demolished.

One of the examples sent to me is that of the little Black Country town, Cradley. It recently had one side of its main High Street demolished for a by-pass. It has made the town look ridiculous and odd. This folly was proposed to the council by unelected planners and, in this case, authorised by just one councillor. I rang Sandwell Council several times but none of the planners were ever available and the calls were not returned. So much for the pretence of local democracy!
On the demolished side of the road a new Tesco was built. Although it is a convenience for shoppers from the surrounding areas, the local traders have suffered greatly. This typifies a serious problem with local councils. They stand for election promising to represent local people but often act against their interests once elected.

A combination of social, cultural, political and now environmental pressures, along with the underlying narrative of shame over Britain's historical achievements, has deculturalised native people leaving them estranged from Britishness, severed from the civilizing structures that their ancestors could take for granted.
A serious and sustained programme of architectural reconstruction, rebuilding our traditional buildings and relinking to our history could help people reconnect with their roots, and feel proud of their towns and cities.
Local councillors are elected by only a minority of voters, on average 20 percent of people over 18 – but not those younger who inherit the mess local councils are causing – and are not representative of the public.
We need planning law reform to make it harder for councillors, who too often act as agents for developers, to destroy old buildings. Former councillors from various areas have told me about corruption and ‘backhanders’ and this is what we must expose. Those who can be shown to have taken bribes to demolish buildings and redevelop our towns and cities must be exposed.
We need housing policies which encourage the creation of buildings that fit into the traditional milieu, and which seek to rebuild much of what has been destroyed by local governments.

An office appointed by the Crown like a Lord Lieutenant with responsibility for protecting communities not looking after factions. The Office of the Lord-Lieutenant dates from the 16th Century and has the force of tradition behind it at a time when we are victims of unrestrained change for profit at our communities’ expense.
The Lord Lieutenant is apart from local politics in the County and is interested in all aspects of life -voluntary and business, statutory and social and cultural. This office could be expanded into a royal representative to appoint local authorities with responsibility for maintaining the continuity of local areas and communities.

(1) http://cwis.org/FWE/archive-2000-2003/innu-crisis-in-health-and-culture/

http://www.voltairenet.org/article173751.html

Some web links:

Architecture of the United Kingdom (Wikipedia)
Carbuncle Cup, award for Britain's ugliest buildings
Modernism v Traditionalism, an interesting debate in The Guardian
Poundbury, Prince Charles's attempt to revitalise Dorset's architectural traditions
Traditional Architecture Group, a linked society of the Royal Institute of British Architects

Content on the Traditional Britain Blog and Journal does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Traditional Britain Group

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