13 March 2010

Corrugations II: Canal Central

Owned and operated by Fiona MacDonald and Iain Campbell, Canal Central is another (YMGW passim) building with corrugations (in this case of the roof) in Maesbury Marsh that's worthy of a mention. The building, partly inspired by the nearby barn and rather reminiscent of a Scandinavian chalet, is designed to be eco-friendly and has a fine wood exterior.

Hard by the Montgomery Canal, Canal Central provides services, including web access, for boaters as well as more static customers. There is a well-stocked village shop, holiday accommodation upstairs, and a comfortable tearoom. One can sit inside or out, including if one chooses in the mobile 'seating wagon,' which takes its design cues from a railwaymen's lineside hut.

06 March 2010

Dodgem Logic

When asked what he does for a living, Roy, deliverer of a pair of dodgems, says that he is involved in entertainment for festivals and corporates. He mentions Lost Vagueness but, typical of the skilled, is exceedingly modest about his role. He is Roy Gurvitz, founder of the sui generis company.

The dodgems were used as diner seating at Glastonbury, and at a Banksy exhibition in Stockwell, London. They are 1970s Atlantas, made by Reverchon - founded as coachbuilders in 1927, in the Paris suburb of Gentilly, by the eponymous Gaston. Clients included Renault. The business expanded to include the coachbuilding of dodgems, with lifelike wings, radiator and lights.

Post-WWII production of complete dodgem cars was moved to Samois sur Seine (near Fontainebleau) - the town to which Django Reinhardt retired. 270 workers produced 2,000 cars a year. Gaston Reverchon died in 1982, aged 81. Unfortunately, Gride Reverchon International Design, to give the company its full name, closed in 2008, yet another victim of economic downturn.

01 March 2010

Ladybower Reservoir

Ladybower Dam was built by the Derwent Valley Water Board between 1935 and 1943, an incredible achievement at any time, let along during a world war.

Unlike its two cousins in the Upper Derwent reservoirs group, the dam is not of solid masonry, but is an embankment of over a million tons of earth, with a core of 100,000 tons of puddled clay. The dam wall contains as much concrete as the core does clay. The upstream face, looking towards the Ashopton and Ladybower viaducts, is faced in stone.

When full the reservoir holds 6.1 billion gallons of water. It was formally opened by King George VI on 25 September 1945, having taken two years to fill. Two fully enclosed overflows of bellmouth form and 80 feet in diameter, like giant plugholes, carry overflow down to valve houses at the foot of the dam and thence into the River Derwent.