Saturday, July 26, 2014
Church Stretton, Shropshire
Regular readers will not be surprised to see me posting a brightly coloured corrugated iron garage. I have a weakness for corrugated iron buildings, and as I drove along the A49 at Church Stretton, this one, big, blue and busy, could not fail to catch my eye. I don’t know anything about its history, though, so if any reader knows how old it is, I’d be interested to know.
As I looked at it – blue painted walls, full-height sliding doors, big windows, plentiful signage, and all – it struck me that, while I admire its purposefulness, this is just the kind of building that used to annoy writers about the countryside 50 or 80 years ago. As car use began to spread and garages and filling stations were on the increase, many were erected on highways, and they were often rather makeshift-looking structures of corrugated iron. When fitted up with big enamel signs for Castrol oil or Ferodo brake pads, they often looked untidy, unplanned, and unkempt. Writers and architects like Clough Williams-Ellis inveighed against them and I noticed a while back an example that provoked the scorn of one of the writers of the famed Shell Guides. The Reading branch of the CPRE even encouraged motorists to boycott garages with features such as ‘garish multi-coloured petrol pumps, corrugated iron and asbestos construction or the advertisements with which they were regularly covered’.
Most of these corrugated constructions have long gone. But a few hang on, like this one at Church Stretton, which is clearly very well used, a car servicing and repair business at the front end, a motorcycle company at the rear. Its paintwork is spruce, the inspection hoists are busy, and the whole structure is a delightfully different from the corporate sheds and plastic filling stations that we’re mostly used to today. A refreshing difference too, I’d say.
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In addition: Jane Brocket's Yarnstorm blog has a lovely post about corrugated iron roofs on Skye, here.