Decaying Old Grandeur 8: Bognor Regis

The run-down Royal Hotel. Usually the title 'Royal' is only attributed if the place has been visited by Royalty, although Bognor was visited, locals say that the hotel was not.
The run-down Royal Hotel. Usually the title ‘Royal’ is only attributed if the place has been visited by Royalty, although Bognor was visited, locals say that the hotel was not.

I just love walking along empty seasides in bad weather — for some reason they just fill me Groins at Bognor Regiswith so much happiness.

We took a 40 minute drive along the South-East coast to Bognor Regis on a visit to some returned British friends we made in Spain. This is a very run-down, small town filled with Georgian and Victorian decaying old grandeur — which I adore.

Bognor is one of the oldest recorded Anglo-Saxon place names in Sussex. In a document of 680 AD it is referred to as Bucgan ora meaning Bucge’s (a female Anglo-Saxon name) shore, or landing place. Bognor Regis was originally named just “Bognor,” being a fishing (and smuggling) village. In the 18th century it was converted into a resort by Sir Richard Hotham who tried in vein to rename it Hothampton.

Groins at Bognor Regis

Fishing Boat, Bognor Regis

Bognor pier

Fresh Fish

Primary painted fish stall roof
Primary painted fish stall roof
Too windy for umbrellas...
Too windy for umbrellas…Bognor Regis Whelk stall
Bubble for The Prisoner. You are being watched
Bubble for The Prisoner. You are being watched!

King George V bestowed the suffix “Regis” (“of the King”) on Bognor in 1929 when his physicians recommended he convalesce there to recover from lung surgery. The King, when pestered with petitions for the town while undergoing his treatment, was said to have uttered the line: “Oh! Bugger Bognor!” — which has never been forgotten.

In 1959 Butlins (who ran affordable holiday camps for the British working classes) opened their resort here. It declined in the 70s but started to make a bit of a come-back this decade with the “staycation” trend to holiday at home. It was hoped that these would be a way out of Dismaland (see my blogs on Banksy’s Dismaland). Seaside resorts are not popular with young adults; many have no wonderful childhood memories of them like us oldies — and prefer music festivals, or active holidays such mountaineering or trampolining in disused Welsh mines. Butlins have launched vintage weekend raves which seem to be gaining in popularity though. Recent immigrants to Blighty, have opted to live near cheaper seaside towns like this, in the South’s warmer climes. Polish shops have started opening up next to ye olde rock shoppes, so the fashion of the British seaside is once again changing.

Bognor horses

High interest rate loan for Dismaland anyone?
High interest rate loan for Dismaland anyone?

Casino, Bognor Regis

Stick-of-rock shop, Bognor Regis
Stick-of-rock shop, Bognor Regis

Decaying Old Grandeur 3

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

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

You

You

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): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fg5iWmQjwk

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 (https://corridors123.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/secret-cinema-club-grand-budapest-hotel )

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.