Decaying Old Grandeur 4 – The Royal Pier Southampton

The Mecca Ballroom at the end of Southampton's Royal Pier  burnt down in the 1970s
The Mecca Ballroom at the end of Southampton’s Royal Pier
burnt down in the 1970s

Royal Pier postcard

The Royal Pier at its best with the Pavilion leading to the Mecca Dancing ballroom at the pier's end
The Royal Pier at its best in the Victorian/Edwardian eras (top) and 1960s (above), with the Pavilion leading to the  ballroom at the pier’s head

I stare out at the gangrenous remnants of a burnt-out and buckled boardwalk.

I once walked along here in my long white gown to my wedding reception at the pier’s head.

A teenage discotecque, held every Saturday afternoon, paraded the latest fashions.

Mecca Ballroom danced the night away, and in the early hours there were women

Weeping over fights among bouncers and drunks.

Southampton's burnt pier, still an eye-saw in 2015
Southampton’s burnt pier, still an eye-sore in 2015

New wooden jetties, hoping to entice wealthy yachts and bearing ‘No Swimming’ signs, have become diving platforms today for sunburnt disobedient boys in trunks.

Diving boys

Diving through oily green waves of frothy seaweed, they wiggle down with the pipe fish and grey mullet to boat wrecks, over-stewed and stuck in the bed of blue-grey clay, razored with cracked cockleshells and broken bottles.
Here is the underworld city to hermit crabs, sea slugs or the occasional murder victim anchored by heavy slabs of concrete.

by Southampton Old Lady – August 2013

The Royal Pier, Southampton. Pavilion decorated in time for 1953 Queen's Coronation.
The Pavilion at Southampton’s Royal Pier, decorated in time for The Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
Privatised, the Pavilion opens as a restaurant:  'Kuti's Royal Thai Pier' in 2010
The Pavilion opens as a restaurant:
‘Kuti’s Royal Thai Pier’ in 2010

Decaying Old Grandeur 3


Photo by Adam Woolfitt /Robert Harding/ REX People bathing in the Hotel Gellert Baths, Budapest, Hungary, Europe
Photo by Adam Woolfitt /Robert Harding/ REX
People bathing in the Hotel Gellert Baths, Budapest, Hungary, Europe
The Grand Hotel Moskva in Budapest
The Grand Hotel Moskva in Budapest

This is a tribute to the Grand Budapest Hotel. The hotels above, were believed to be the inspiration for the set of Oscar-winning ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ by Wes Anderson, although filming took place in Germany. The movie sparked a cult to stay at Grand Hotels all over Europe. George Ezra’s song Budapest was such a big hit last year that the British have been flocking to Budapest for their holidays. The English folk singer was given a special ‘thank you’ trophy from Hungary’s Minister for Tourism.

My house in Budapest

My hidden treasure chest,

Golden grand piano

My beautiful Castillo



I’d leave it all                  –        George Ezra

The film company released each scene of their official trailer as a gif which you can download online. An excellent marketing ploy!  I could not decide which one to use so I thought I would just link the whole lot from their wonderful trailer on YouTube.  It’s very short do visit (or copy and paste to visit):

The Secret Cinema's London location for The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Secret Cinema’s London location for The Grand Budapest Hotel

I have just started following corridors123 on WordPress ( )

This is where I heard about The Secret Cinema Club, which for the last eight years had been holding large scale cinema screenings which pop up in amazing locations (mainly in London) that echo the film that it is showing. The audience and actors dress and stay in-character as if you are in the movie.

The actors and audience dress and stay in-character at the Secret Cinema location
The actors and audience dress and stay in-character at the Secret Cinema location

For the screening of Prometheus they transformed a London warehouse into a spaceship. For The Shawshank Redemption audiences began their journey at Bethnal Green Library and travelled by prison van to the ‘cinema’ based in an old school, the mock prison! These events are spectacles thought up by Fabien Riggall’s Future Cinema Company, and traditionally follow the rule that customers do not know the film they are paying to see before they visit the event. For the performance we went to however they had revealed the performance title in advance, I’m guessing as it would have been a bit of a give away since the whole front of the hotel housed the name in big letters!”


The screenings are held at pop-up locations that complement the film shown

Decaying Old Grandeur 1: The Star Hotel, Southampton

StarHotelI just love decaying old grandeur.  Man builds homes made from Earth’s riches. These compete with embellishments of wealth and status. Then, Mother Nature creeps in and slowly claims it back again. I took this photograph of The Star Hotel in Southampton.
In 1883, the Queen Victoria, when she was still a Princess at the age of 14, opened the Royal Pier while staying at this hotel with her mother The Duchess of Kent.
This is one of the hotels snapped up by the Britannia Group. This company is notorious for buying up grand hotels, then letting them rot. The hotels are usually in excellent locations throughout Britain, and rates competitive. Reviews are one of shock — holiday snaps consist of mildewed bathrooms and peeling plaster.

Signs of Cornwall


When people visit Cornwall, they take so many photographs of the beautiful scenery, as it is truly beautiful and a popular holiday destination in England. You can find many online on  – But here are nine pictures I took of the non-views of Cornwall that get overlooked.                                                                                     © SouthamptonOldLady













Senior Citizens Rave in Southampton

fatboy slim

Perhaps because Southampton is a student City with two Universities and a few colleges, that there is so much going on for young people in my home town. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em — We oldies end up going to raves, where we are considered “cute”. We can boogie-down to all the revivals from the 40s to the 90s — we can do the dances and these youngsters want us to teach them. “Ahh! I hope I am like you when I am old” they often say, as they ask if they can be my friend on Facebook? And selfie me.
The first (of hopefully many) Bestival Common People Festival, took place on Southampton Common in May this year. The two stars that drew the biggest crowds were “getting on” a bit to say the least: Fatboy Slim (pictured above and left) must be one of England’s best-known disc jockeys. He started out with the Ibiza sound in the 1970s and thirty years later he is still going strong at aged 51. Then there is 67 year-old Grace Jones.  Appearing naked except for a basque and thong but with quite a bit of body paint. She could still walk on the catwalfatboy slim 2k in high heels and look like any supermodel. Sometimes she wore a body stocking. Her usual party piece is doing a 15 minute extended version of one of her songs while she hoopla-hoops. I have seen her do this with Pavarotti and for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Grace Jones 3She changed her costume for each number and had the energy of a zebra (which one of her costumes resembled. See left). The crowd loved them – Just as they loved Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Tony Benn at Glastonbury. Some of the young crowd assumed that we too must be ancient stars, being elderly, and my husband was asked for his autograph. Bob Dylan is playing here in the autumn and to quote his lyrics: “May you stay, forever young”.

Here is also a popular YouTube video of an old lady (not me but it easily could be) dancing in a Southampton nightclub:

Something about May Hill

Walking the wide, grassy ride that inclines so disconcertingly slowly up May Hill,

Mushrooms tightened their plate-sized parasols against the mist.

Fruits in abundance hardened themselves on to branches:

Leafless crab-apples, damsons, red rowans, black bramble-berries

And uncultivated chestnuts which spike out green armour.

Under the tall fir-copsed brow lay a docile herd of Belted Galloways,

Their marbled meat spread about in a Turkish bath of a fog.

Coal-black, their fluffy white belts resemble steam-room towels.

Water pearls weave their way through laced spiderless webs

No view today of any one of the twelve counties.

Still and silent.

Straining, I can hear echoes of bird twitters chorused by traffic.

And see dried, feathered grasses twitching nervously.

Everything seems to wait, wait.

Wait for what?

Something, is in the air.

Something, is about to change.

Southampton Old Lady wrote this on September 3rd,  2014



The famous graffiti artist, Banksy, is believed to have added a mural of a child holding a balloon to the slogan, ‘No Future’ on a wall in the Bevois Valley area about five years ago. Southampton used to have many good graffiti artists in the late 70s, early 80s in the Punk era. But some of the can-sprayers had some bad handwriting. “No Future” was a common slogan then. Though the Council’s zero tolerance towards graffiti (except that commissioned in the skateboard area of Hoglands Park) means that any illegal spraying or fly-posting is immediately ‘whitewashed’. Alas this piece of art disappeared almost as soon as it appeared.

Southampton “Happy” by Pharrell Williams – Verve version

Not everyone is depressed in Southampton. Many are very happy.
I just love this video made by film/graphic design student (?) Valerio Chiarini as part of course in Southampton.
It features the track “Happy” Verve by Pharrell Williams
P1110394I snapped this picture of a very Happy couple – do you recognise them?