Thursday, 9 October 2014

Too late

Same old story - more 'improvements' means tumbling some of our historic buildings.  This time its our old friend the local Council, who decided in their wisdom to demolish some cottages in Portrush Harbour.  The harbour in its present form was built in 1827, although ships had been stopping at Portrush since the 18th Century to pick up any passengers brave enough to try their hand in the New World of the Americas.  By all accounts these journeys were not to be undertaken lightly - the conditions were cramped, food scarce and disease rife.  Many young and old died.  But clearly for many the risks were worth it - some 400,000 emigrated from Ulster to America in the 18th Century.

Anyway, back to the cottages.  These were used until very recently by local fishermen.  After asbestos was found in them (presumably in the roofs - corrugated asbestos was used before the 1970s) it was safely removed.  So far so good.  But no, the Council then decided that the most economic solution was to demolish them.  Now I daresay the cost-benefit analysis was carried out with due process and I understand they have a duty to the ratepayers - although where was this duty when the new council offices were built a few years ago?  To quote from their own website, "The reception area and Bann Gallery are lined in walnut. All of the walnut veneer used in the building was soured [sic] from one single tree. The tree was retrieved from a bog in the Gardens of Versailles in France. It dated back to the Napoleonic era and was particularly unusual because of its size."  And before you ask, this isn't the Council of Europe, or Westminster, or even Edinburgh...this is Coleraine, a long way from everywhere.  Enough said.

The local fishermen and harbour users wanted to keep the cottages and an article appeared in our local rag to that effect.  And a few days later I ventured forth to photograph same cottages.  And here they are:

Fishermen's Cottages, Portrush Harbour
Nice, aren't they?  Yes, I was too late.  Funny how quickly the Council can move to avoid any sort of protracted protest against one of their decisions, isn't it?   No doubt the replacement buildings will have lots of glass and concrete and may even win awards and all that, but just sometimes isn't it good to keep old things, in spite of the cost?

Anyway, to lighten the mood, here are some cute little boats I found in the harbour, oblivious to the wanton destruction going on around them:

Little boats
There were bigger boats too but I didn't photograph them.

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