Belfast’s unsung landmark?

According to ‘Sammy Morse’, Samson and Goliath are languishing in a BBC poll to determine the UK’s favourite unsung landmarks. Go vote!

  • Miss Fitz

    Unlike the polls you run Mick, this doesnt stop you from voting more than once in succession, as long as you close the window and come back to the link.
    Not that I am suggesting that anyone takes that course of action you know, I was just curious.

  • CS Parnell

    Maybe that’s because they are in the wrong poll, not being in Britain at all?

    If you can’t be a Fenian on a Bank Holiday friday, when can you be a Fenian?

  • Young Fogey

    CS Parnell,

    wha’?

  • Occasional Commentator

    The BBC page can’t make up its mind about whether it’s about the UK or about Britain.

  • CS Parnell

    Read the BBC websiete again. Was just yanking some unionist chains out of boredom

  • Young Fogey

    It could be worse – I was reading an American site that talked about the Severn Bridge that connected Wales with Great Britain.

  • mnob

    So – so far we have one republican reminding us all of the vote early vote often principle and another arguing (incorrectly) about geographic minutae – and by the sound of it from the pub 🙂

    (i’ll be round in a bit)

  • CS Parnell

    I’m not a republican – the contemporary Irish sense that is (more of a post-nationalist social democrat type) – and, sadly, I’m not in the pub. Plus I am in Sassana which means you’ll probably have to go for a bit of hike 🙁

  • Mick Fealty

    There seems to have been a healthy leap in its performance… the competition maybe too far ahead now, but can we pass the word around? I don’t object to being beaten by the Humber Bridge or Jodrell, but aircraft hangars in Bedfordshire??? (Cue protest from Beds)

  • Occasional Commentator

    I almost didn’t recognize the names Samson and Goliath from the article above. As for the others, I didn’t recognise their pictures, but I recognized the names of Jodrell Bank and Crystal Palace and the New Severn Bridge. Would most British people recognize many of those images or names?

  • Mick Fealty

    For reference, we are currently at 9.05%. Now come, heeeeave!!

  • CS Parnell

    Mick

    I used to be able to see those cranes out of my bedroom window (over the Silver City fort as it happens). I’d be in two minds about voting for them, partly because they aren’t that much of an attraction (think of standing on top of the hill at Crystal Palace looking out over London versus them). Plus they are sort of symbols of a now dead unionist hegemony and why we were all second class citizens.

  • Mick Fealty

    Make that 11.79%!!

  • kensei

    I voted for the bridge because it looked pretty in the picture and those cranes are ugly.

    I have civic pride, but believe the IRA should briefly start back and selectively bomb all the ugly buildings in Belfast. This will remove half the city, but leave a nice blank canvas to build beautiful things.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Mick, how do you view the results without voting again?

  • Nestor Makhno

    Can I play devil’s advocate here? What’s so great about the H&W cranes?

    Symbol of a dead industry and an increasingly expensive feature to keep standing upright.

    And they’re not very original symbols, are they? I think there’s at least one German dockyard with the same model of crane (built by Krupp weren’t they?)

    And they only went up in the early 60s long after the golden period of the shipyard itself. So they’re not even a particular relevant symbol of the industry.

  • Mick Fealty

    Early seventies, I think, Nestor. In other words about the time the yard began to subsist on public money. It so happens that the downsized and completely independent H&W finally turned a profit last year for the first time since around the time of the oil crisis. Nonetheless, it is a keynote of the Belfast landscape, if not its industry.

  • Keith M

    Up to 11.51%.

    kensei “I have civic pride, but believe the IRA should briefly start back and selectively bomb all the ugly buildings in Belfast. This will remove half the city, but leave a nice blank canvas to build beautiful things.”

    I’ve been encouraging this for Dublin for years.

  • SlugFest

    Nestor,

    They only went up in the ’60s??!! i thought they had been there forever. silly me. Do you know exactly which year it was?

  • Occasional Commentator

    They were built in ’69 and ’74 according to Wikipedia

  • Nestor Makhno

    Well, wikipedia (if you care to believe it) suggests 1969 for Goliath and 1974 for Samson. Even later than I thought.

    See link

  • SlugFest

    Thanks, OC and Nestor.

    I wonder if PIRA or anyone else ever tried to take a wack at it.

  • Mick Fealty

    kensai,

    For our occasional visitors I’m presuming the bombing scenario is tongue in cheek. I had an interesting conversation with a local journo earlier this week about, ‘the trouble with Irish architecture’.

    Part of the problem, it seems, is this willingness to knock stuff down and start again – even if what goes up is bland and referenceless. Belfast has retained a fair amount of minor historical gems, but there is a lot of stuff from the last 10 years that does little to preserve the diversity of style of the landscape.

    For instance, the stretch of the Falls from King Street up to St Comgall’s (currently a wreck, but possibly marked for restoration) has few buildings left standing from even twenty years ago. Thankfully there is a old bank building on the right as you go up, which is being restored, but much of the rest has been wiped from the face of the earth. The lower Shankill was ‘done over’ on the back of what happened to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and a dozen other British cities back in the 70s.

    Clearly the city needs to modernise, and some of the new architecture is great work in its own terms. But there is little evidence of a public aesthetic that new developments are constrained to pay heed to, if not be overly bound down by.

  • Young Fogey

    I’ve been encouraging this for Dublin for years.

    Well, it worked in Manchester.

    Mick, I think you may be unduly negative about contemporary architecture. A lot of it is a bit samey, but at least tends to be brick rather than concrete or glass based, which fits in with Belfast’s heritage, and also, is much better than the horrors of the 60s and 70s.

  • kensei

    “For our occasional visitors I’m presuming the bombing scenario is tongue in cheek. I had an interesting conversation with a local journo earlier this week about, ‘the trouble with Irish architecture’.”

    Well, mostly :P.

    “Part of the problem, it seems, is this willingness to knock stuff down and start again – even if what goes up is bland and referenceless. Belfast has retained a fair amount of minor historical gems, but there is a lot of stuff from the last 10 years that does little to preserve the diversity of style of the landscape.”

    I don’t think necessarily knocking down and starting again is bad thing as long as it is done with care.

    I really like some of the older buildings around Belfast, but there are a fair amount of crappy breeze blocks stuck up during the 60’s and 70’s floating about.

    “Clearly the city needs to modernise, and some of the new architecture is great work in its own terms. But there is little evidence of a public aesthetic that new developments are constrained to pay heed to, if not be overly bound down by. ”

    I fully agree. It shouldn’t just be a matter of allowing a buildingto go up, no matter how impressive. It should enhance what is already there. AndI think that Belfast City Council should provide assitance if necessary to prduce a better environment. In the long run, more interesting architecture and a more pleasant environment will benefit the city.

    There was an interesting article on this on the BBC this week of using US versus European cities for inspiration.

  • Young Fogey

    12.75% now – keep up the freeping, folks.

  • Miss Fitz

    I posted a reminder to the H&W group on Flickr, and some nice photos there if anyone interested
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/harlandandwolff/

  • Mick Fealty

    Now sitting at 12.14%… Well done all (even if you voted another way)… But it’s still behind the Great Hangars of Beds!! An honourable third is perhaps the best we can hope for… but that’s still a way off yet!!

  • Richard

    Come on – vote for Samson & Goliath!!! The other dreary “landmarks” could not hold a candle to them!

  • bertie

    It’s last now 🙁