Monday, 15 June 2015

I hate change

My town inspired the setting in my most recent book Our Beautiful Child. I cheated a bit and moved some of the buildings around, and borrowed a couple of landmarks from nearby towns, but everyone does that, right?

One of the buildings that was completely accurate (and only moved a 100 metres or so to the left!) was The Boatman, which became The Boathouse in the book. It's an old pub, built in 1595, and I spent a good part of my late teens there.

I am feeling sad, because the new owners have modernised it. I peered in through the windows a couple of nights ago, and the beams, stonework and olde worlde atmosphere has been stripped - replaced by plastered walls painted pale colours and brighter lighting,

It's no longer the place where a weary ghost would sit on a stormy summer evening waiting for Rona to notice him, or where candles would lure Sally towards the sexy stranger in town. It's no longer special.


Have there been changes in your town you've hated?
Do you like old buildings, or is modernisation a good thing?



40 comments:

  1. That was a crappy thing to do.
    Most buildings here are modern enough that updating is good. We don't have the centuries old places like you do.

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    1. I guess the owners were thinking about their business - it was packed, so that's good for them. But it definitely feels like something is missing now.

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  2. I hate change, too! So, so much!

    I haven't been in my new town long enough to know if anything has changed. In my last town, I think the only things that really changed desperately needed it.

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    1. Oh yes, we have things that NEED changing too, but they're being left alone!

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  3. I prefer the old buildings with all the character and history. I wish we had some cool old buildings in town other than the university buildings.

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    1. I live in an area which was quite heavily bombed in WWII, so really old buildings are more scarce than in other parts of Britain - which is why I want to hang on to as many as possible. At least the building is still there...

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  4. Hi Annalisa,

    That's sad that they modernised the pub. I like the old fashioned, quintessential British characteristic buildings.

    Leek, Staffordshire, has been modernising the town centre. In this case, modernisation, I believe, was a good thing.

    Take care,

    Gary

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    1. The great English pub is a wonderful thing, Gary. Modernisation and improvement will always be necessary, but I was unprepared on Saturday evening.

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  5. In SIngapore (where I live), since the country's history is about 200 years, there are laws in place about all old buildings-- you can modernize the interiors, but the exterior can only be repaired, not changed.

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    1. That's a good law. It's similar here, for listed buildings - a very strict code of what you can and can't do. The exterior of this pub hasn't been changed much, but that wasn't the part which had all the character.

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  6. Oh that sucks. :( Modernization in some ways is very good, but it's also important to preserve what we can of history.

    I've only lived in my current city for a year now, so no complaints yet!

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    1. What makes it worse is that just along the road, there's a completely derelict, shell of a pub that really needs some TLC :-(

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  7. Most of us don't mind change when it's for the better, but to rip the heart and soul out of a lovely old building is hardly an improvement. Sounds more like vandalism. Where was the local planning authority? I'm surprised such an old building wasn't listed.
    Lovely that the original pub still exists in your book, Annalisa.

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    1. The outside hasn't been changed, as far as I can tell, so I don't think the planning authority had any jurisdiction. No, I don't think it is listed, sadly.

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  8. Hi Annalisa ... you've put your finger on the 'need' .. they seem to now have a good business .. and pubs as pubs aren't such great ideas any more ... too few just drinkers. Pity - I know the ambience matters ... thankfully there are still some old fashioned pubs around ... glad you used your knowledge re the buildings in your novel ... and ghosts wandering or joining us for a drink - that'd be interesting .. cheers Hilary

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    1. I know pubs are suffering, so better that the building is being used rather than abandoned, I suppose. It's just... so many lovely memories, so much history... Ah well...

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  9. Until quite recently I owned and ran a country pub dating back to 1640. When I sold it exactly what you described here happened; pastel walls, bright lights and all my antique clutter which gave it character disappeared. Fortunately, the exterior is untouched as it's a listed building, but it just ain't the same anymore!

    Visit Keith's Ramblings!

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    1. Oh that's so sad. There are enough chain pubs that have that clean, fresh feeling - leave our old pubs alone!

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  10. This is so unfortunate. I hate the idea that everything should be modernized.
    Very cool (and a little creepy) to see the real Boathouse though.

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    1. Sometimes old things are just perfect the way they are. Glad you like the photo :-)

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  11. You see a cute four-year-old...wish they would remain that cute forever...but don't think it would be that great for the child. :) We must embrace the new and old.

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    1. Hmm, yes, but surely a 500 year old building is grown up enough? :-)

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  12. So sorry, Annalisa. I grew up in an old house, so I prefer modern design. But if I was attached to an older building and it's unique architecture, I wouldn't like if someone changed it either.

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    1. There are some really wonderful modern buildings locally, so I'm not against modern design, but this just made me sad.

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  13. I hate changes passionately. When they demolished my favourite store in town I refused to walk down that street for over a year!

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    1. I have a feeling I might look the other way next time I walk down that way. It's a really nice walk, right along the river, so I won't be able to avoid it altogether.

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  14. I woke up one morning to find two old houses dumped in a nearby carpark. Eeek! They're still there a week later. Don't know what's going on.

    Denise :-)

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  15. Bummer. but at least the Boatman lives on in your book and words. You've preserved a piece of history. in my hometown there's been plenty of changes. Very sad that the Hotel Tremont (a very good French restaurant) was torn down for a drugstore. "Progress"

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    1. Yes, I'm glad I wrote about it :-) A drugstore replacing a restaurant doesn't sound like the best of swaps - I guess someone had their reasons.

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  16. Oh, I'm sorry. :-( Our local theater is about to get remodeled and I've been feeling very nostalgic about it. I know it will be beautiful, but I love how it is now, too.

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    1. I hope the remodelling is sympathetic. Sometimes old buildings need to be renovated so that they stay standing!

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  17. It shouldn't be allowed! Our old pun in UK has gone the same way - pale grey walls and no panelled walls. Bah humbug!

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    1. The traditional English pub will soon be extinct :-(

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  18. That's sad it's been modernized so. I mean, I like modern styles for something thing (as in present modern, but modern as an art/architecture sucks i my mind) but there's something classic and welcoming about old wood. Especially in such places where history was part of the charm. I feel sad for you, cuz I loved the Boathouse in book.

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    1. Thanks Gwen, I'm glad the personality of the pub came across in the book :-)

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  19. My old childhood home was built in 1935. I loved that house, but after my parents' sold it about twelve years ago, I heard the new owners re-did the floors, and then made some structural changes to the kitchen and the back porch area. They also cut down my favorite climbing tree along with several other trees, razed my mom's plant beds to the ground with the exception of a few beds around the sides of the house and turned it into a golf course type yard. Ugh. It is definitely not my old home anymore - that only exists in my memory.
    As far as just town areas, I'm not fond of the way that some buildings are re-purposed or modernized, but I know that sometimes it's a necessity. The old theater in the town I grew up in was falling apart until new owners purchased it. It took them years of working the place themselves with no hired help, but they finally had enough money to replace the seats (half of which were broken), and refurbish the walls. Thankfully, they kept the floor design intact and tastefully kept the "feel" of the old theater by not taking out the stage or doing any major structural changes. It may just be a movie theater now, but the "theater" part of it still exists.

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    1. Changes to a childhood home are tough - and the new owners of yours seemed to have changed everything! The theatre refurbishment sounds like it was well done.

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  20. I'm totally with you. I hate change too. You live in such an interesting and historic place, I can't blame you for feeling as you do. It's not as old here but we too have historic buildings and homes. I like to see them protected. It's especially important, when we integrate them into our books, that they stay as a point of reference.

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    1. It's one of the things that writers and artists can do well - freeze a moment of time and show the beauty to other people.

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Please comment - I love a good chat!