It’s past the middle of January 2020, and I haven’t really written anything for this site since 2019…
– But I don’t write to a schedule: My musings are driven by the availability of personal creativity; not the calendar. I also refuse to dumb-down articles, and will use good illustrations if I have any decent ones in my library.
This article is a one-off detraction from my usual blend of technology and entertainments; though I do hope you nevertheless find it entertaining. It took me a heck of a long time to write, edit, compile, and adapt for web publication in all honesty; much longer than any of my articles usually take. I assume that I’ve done it justice.
I um-ed and arr-ed a lot about publishing this: It’s not really on-topic for this site; but it’s an article, which is better than no article.
Let’s make a start on this trip back in time; in the City of Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK; to the days just before the town planners managed to commit carnage upon much of the City’s heritage in seemingly every aspect except for the religious heritage; which was apparently well protected from the 1960’s disdain of anything old that wasn’t already crumbling into the earth.
Salisbury MOD Southern Command huts at the rear of St Paul’s School (To the left.) with St Paul’s Church in the background. Photo taken in monochrome from an upstairs room of Radnor House, early 1960’s.
(The MOD compound, St Paul’s School, and Radnor House, no longer exist. If you were to see the same view today you’d see the top of St Paul’s Roundabout… Though the church is still there. [So are the almshouses and the shops top-right.] I was going to say that if God exists then he does indeed work in mysterious ways; but this 1970’s demolition and rebuilding scheme was a huge clusterfuckup in my opinion; and if God had anything to do with it then He’s a weirdo.)
(Almost half of the Fisherton/St Paul’s area was demolished to make way for a large in-town dual carriageway, which wasn’t even a proper ring road. – However a derelict gasworks that closed down in 1957, positioned only a few tens of yards behind the photographer, was left standing.)
Lack of Publishing And SEO
In fact I only wrote a couple or three whole articles in 2019; yet the readership has gone through the roof this Winter. The readership always increases in the Winter. If that’s because people like to read my ramblings when they’re bored and stuck indoors during cold and wet weather then that means that nobody in the Southern Hemisphere of planet Earth reads this site. While it’s true that most people on planet Earth live in the Northern Hemisphere; I do know that “Southerners” read this site too. At this point I expect some “genius” is going to suggest that people from the “South” are different and have different interests. – Well I’ve been to the Southern Hemisphere myself for over 2 months and can quite safely say that it’s not a completely different way of life: Nobody has 4 arms – nobody Human anyway, there are no different laws of physics other than water has a tendency to go down the plughole the other way, and there are less assholes due to the lower population. It’s basically no different to the Northern Hemisphere except for the fact that it’s the other end of the planet which points towards the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, and therefore the stars in the sky are more numerous and prettier at night.
So having managed to go totally off-topic in the first paragraph of the article, I intend to continue doing so: SEO gets on my tits these days… Now there’s an image for you. – You can’t unimagine that now, can you?
I don’t care about SEO as far as this article is concerned. – In fact as far as I care right now; Google can go swivel.
The thing is that, according to my understanding, if the Yoast SEO plugin is anything to go by; Google wants to see the main keyword – which is to be the topic of the article – mentioned in the first header as well as the first paragraph, and then X number of times throughout the rest of the article depending upon the total number of words used. I’m also meant to write in short paragraphs and use simple language as if I was writing for people with an IQ below 60… Which appears to be the majority of the population lately: ‘Probably as much so in the Southern Hemisphere as it is in the Northern Hemisphere.
Google has doubtlessly removed all brownie-points because I used the title: –
“A Not-Dumbed-Down Article With Pretty 1960’s Colour Pictures”.
I so want to stop using that Yoast SEO plugin. – It’s becoming stricter as time goes by. Look I try to write articles for intelligent people: I write for people, not for search engines, not for SEO, and not for morons. If people who read my articles aren’t intelligent enough to understand them then they shouldn’t read them: It’s not compulsory to do so. In short if you like my articles then fill your boots. If you don’t like my articles then read someone else’s articles. – ‘Easy huh? ‘Not rocket science. OK I may lose some Google juice for not dumbing it down to an extent where even low-grade millennials can read and understand it. – ‘Tough titty for them.
I prepared some text for this piece that I was going to use on Facebook;
but it turned into one of those Facebook pieces that goes on for so long that it has its own page, and because it’s on Facebook it loses readership due to using words of more than 2 syllables, due to having more than 3 sentences, and due to using proper grammar, spelling. Also because of not being dumbed down so far that a imbecile zombie could read it; having removed their brain to eat for breakfast.
Are a lot of Facebook’s users zombies; or is it that many of them just seem to have no brain; although they haven’t actually eaten it? For that matter; is Mark Zuckerberg undead?
– Therefore I decided that I’d write it as an article for my site, just to prove to both members of the readership that I haven’t abandoned it. The thing is that when I finally get round to compiling site articles I like to do them in one go; and I end up typing through the night, editing through lunchtime. finalising and publishing in the afternoon, and then wearily stretching out on the studio sofa with forty winks in mind, just as I remember that I’ve got just under half an hour to go before I’m meant to be at some kind of interview or performance. – I hate doing things when I’m zombified through lack of sleep; though at least I don’t eat my own brains (A very small and quick snack.) in my semi-conscious stupour.
I hate this f***ing spell-checker that keeps underlining words in red because I don’t spell them the American way. – It’s not my fault that Americans can’t spell properly. – Please stop punishing me for that fact!
I’ve recently been studying history, particularly local history as well as some UK railway history, mainly from the 1960’s. – Because that was pretty much the only time anything interesting happened in Salisbury, and it was also the time of massive upheaval for the railways thanks to Richard Beeching; who somehow managed to gain control of and subsequently wreck Britain’s railway network during that time. I want to write on the subject; and writing such an article also gives me a chance to show off some rare original black & white pictures from the 1960’s that I’ve coloured-in with restored-colour using modern technology. I know in at least one instance the colour is wrong; but blame the algorithm that somebody else wrote for that; not me.
Below is an example of what I mean: the only picture of something outside of Salisbury that I used in this article: –
Grange Rd Railway Station 1960’s.
(The running-in board is probably the wrong colour. – I think it was dark green rather than magenta-pink. The platform – of which I’ve seen a colour picture – had no grass or moss on it. – It now has excess green on it where the algorithm has mistaken its surface for grass.)
I ran the “colorizer” program which is freely available via colorize-it dot com on a selection of black-& white pictures from the 20th Century. Before running the “colorizer” I’d tried to get all the black & white pictures in tip-top condition by increasing their resolution, sharpening their focus and removing purple, brown, and red shades that had popped up on them over time due to degradation of the photographic polymer, exposure to sunlight and chemicals, plus anything else that ruins old photographs. This had a plethora of results: Often the monochrome offering would look great in the improvement on the original shades of grey; but due to the nature of the algorithm the “colorization”process became confused by the restorative work, and better colorization results were obtained from the unprocessed original. A number of prints were so badly damaged by time and tide that they couldn’t be properly righted, and still others just refused to process properly and had to be stored only as B&W because their colour equivalents were as good as illegible, or they only committed certain elements of the picture to colour. An example of this is a pair of photographs taken at Salisbury Open Air Swimming Pool in the 1960’s – in which the trees and buildings in the background appear correctly in full colour; yet the people and much of the swimming pool in the foreground/to one side remain as monochrome images.
Salisbury Outdoor Swimming Pool in the 1960’s.
(The swimming pool was rightly closed down as it was clearly a massive health & safety risk. – Look at the position of those lights as just one example: There are underground high-voltage electricity cables that supply power to those streetlights immediately on the other side of the wall of a swimming pool full of people containing thousands of gallons of water. – It’s a death-trap. ‘An accident waiting to happen. – One day you’ll hear a small bang and find a pool full of dead people.)
Overall, the 1960’s was a decade of change; but not always change for the better.
In the 1960’s people tried to destroy what had gone before and turn their back on the past, and usher in a bright new future. – Unfortunately the future wasn’t as bright as was hoped; neither was it going to be anything like the people had readied the country for in the 60’s.
When they turned on the past and started annihilating it with vigour, they didn’t plan properly for what would replace it. They bulldozed old buildings and built late 1960’s and early 1970’s structures in their place. Many of these structures were so badly built that they didn’t even make it to the 1980’s.
The people of the 1960’s obliterated everything Victorian that they could get their hands on. There were still a lot of Victorian and Georgian buildings standing in 1960. By 1970 many of these had been demolished and replaced with ugly pre-fabricated tenements and badly-built blocks. The onslaught on things Victorian included Britain’s railways; a third of which were swiftly and systematically closed down and obliterated by Beeching, with no opt-out clause or Plan-B-just-in-case-we-made-a-mistake-and-it-doesn’t-work-out-as-we-planned. The railways that had been doomed were hastily ripped up, bridges and viaducts blown up, cuttings filled in with refuse or debris, embankments removed, and the land then speedily sold to the highest bidder. – Usually a property developer who would build a house and/or housing estate and/or industrial park and/or car park and/or supermarket on the site to ensure that it could never be used as a railway again.
Where they’d demolished something old they’d build either roads or something ugly and “modern”, and if that was substandard or fell down they’d build something else equally as obnoxious on the same site.
The thing was that for some reason in many cases they totally missed the derelict eyesores that should have been dealt with at that time. – For instance the abandoned and already decrepit Salisbury Gasworks, closed in 1957, was left to crumble into the earth until the 1980’s. – It still wasn’t completely dismantled until 2017.
– Yet beautiful idyllically-placed mills such as Fisherton Mill in Salisbury – which shared the water meadows with the Old Mill at Harnham (Which has largely been preserved – although the outbuildings were demolished between 1960 and 1990.) were destroyed in the 1960’s for the simple reason that there wasn’t enough room to run a full-sized two-way road past them. (A tiny part of the original structure remains, which has been refurbished and turned into a residential dwelling.) Yes for the sake of an extra carriageway an entire valuable piece of heritage in the form of a huge Victorian corn mill was demolished – because there was only room for the existing single carriageway of Mill Road between it and the Rectory on the other side of the road.
The Beauty of Fisherton Mill.
( Fisherton Mill on Mill Road was demolished in the late 1960’s because the side of it behind the trees on the right was obstructing the path of a desired second carriageway. – Therefore they demolished most of this lovely old mill and turned what little remained into a residential dwelling. – How’s that for environmental vandalism disguised as ‘town planning’? )
Still in Salisbury: It’s railway time! (I touched on this above.) ( What did you expect from a railway enthusiast? ) Rather than exercising the more expensive yet far-sighted option to build a bypass to alleviate traffic congestion; the town council literally demolished almost half of Salisbury between 1969 and 1974 to build a big ugly 1960’s-style dual-carriageway around and through town so that the residents could choke on the exhaust fumes and listen to the traffic. – It wasn’t even a proper ring road.
But people did take photographs of the old structures before the pen-pushing environmental vandals decided on their death-knell for not fitting in to their town-planning ideas. Some of these photographs survived, and with modern technology it has been possible for me to bring colour back to the dismal monochromatic images of times that were in a way both better than today, and yet extremely lacking on basic human necessities.
Salisbury Engine Sheds.
( Left: A picture taken in colour before the end of steam. Right: A picture originally taken on monochrome film just after the end of steam.
(Interestingly the site of Salisbury engine sheds hasn’t been built on and is still railway property; although the sheds themselves, as well as the staff office, coaling stage, and turntable, have been demolished/removed.)
You may ask ”What does any of this have to do with showbiz or entertainments?”
The answer is either “Bugger all.”
I’m using this article as an opportunity to display a number of colour-simulated original images from the 1960’s; taken both in the town in which I live, as well as one further afield.
Look this article isn’t an exercise in pointless verbatim. There is no more to say on that matter; so I’m not going to be the one who goes and says it. – Enjoy the illustrations. – Have a great day.
Salisbury Goods Depot storage sheds – late 1960’s.
( This was Salisbury’s second railway station, or third if you count the two stations combined as one on the other side of town. Beeching decided that goods would be transported by road in future, so the Goods Depot was closed, abandoned, vandalised, demolished, cleared… And finally from 1987 onwards they used the wasteland to build a snooker club, yet another small industrial estate, and a small housing scheme. )
Here we are at Salisbury’s main railway station in 1964. This station is still there today. The train on platform 4 looks very much like it might be a rebuilt Bulleid Pacific. It will most likely be headed for the Cornish Riviera; calling at Exeter Central and Exeter St David’s among other stations; before taking the line via Oakhampton and Tavistock to Plymouth. At time of writing there is a limited passenger service from Exeter St David’s to Oakhampton. – However the line is closed and track lifted between Meldon Quarry Halt and Bere Alston thanks to Richard Beeching’s cutbacks in the 1960’s. – From Bere Alston there is a fairly regular service into Plymouth. There is talk and some intention of reinstating the entire route at a future date. Until then trains between Exeter and Plymouth must use the coastal line via Dawlish Warren, which can result in quite a battering from the tides during inclement weather.
Salisbury Goods Depot coal sheds.
This photograph was originally a monochrome print and was probably taken in 1969. Only 3 years earlier a gang of men would have left the pub on the right and trudged up the incline to the railway yard to begin their shift. This picture is immediately to the right of the other picture of Salisbury Goods Depot above. The coal sheds remained in place and were unused with a coat of blue paint and coal dust inside even after the storage shed had been demolished and a snooker club built on the end of the yard. They were finally demolished in the 21st Century and housing built on their foundations. The Railway Inn – aka The Dust Hole – remains in situ to this day.
I hope you enjoyed this journey into history and the chance to sample some of the sights of the 1960’s. All of the pictures bar one were from original monochrome black & white photographs that were taken in the 1960’s and in many cases processed several times by myself using paint.net and the website colorize-it dot com in order to bring a sharpness and clarity of image in the monochrome, and to give a rejuvenation by restoring as near to the actual colours as is possible with the free website employed. I don’t endorse or promote colorize-it dot com, neither do I have any affiliation to them. – In fact their service isn’t that good; but it’s free and it works to some extent so I can’t complain. I oftentimes had to adjust the chroma balance and the tint of many of the processed pictures following ‘colorisation’ in order to render them worthy of being fit for public display in this article. The colouriser loves to use an excess of green pigment and far too much colour intensity in general, particularly on some of the red/brown shades.
I was also concerned that many of those pictures that I successfully processed but have not displayed here require further research into their sources and also into any residual copyrights that may be still current. However in most cases it has been fifty or more years since the photographs were taken, and therefore any copyright will have expired by default.
And at this point we wrap this off-topic post up.
Thank you for viewing and reading. – That’s got 2020 off to a start on this site; and now you may have some idea why I’ve been so quiet since October 2019.
* – I didn’t even sell you anything did I? – There’s always a new chance for that in the next article.
– Prepare for commercialisation. –