Art Deco

A report on our meeting held on the 29th January 2018

Bro Rick Hudson just loves Art Deco. His talk looked at the history of the Art Deco movement particularly as it relates to buildings. He included some of Bridlington’s Art Deco influenced buildings; some still standing, others lost.

Bro Rick began by explaining that although the Art Deco movement started in earnest in the 1920’s, the term “Art Deco” was not introduced until it was used by Bevis Hiller in the 1960’s. He took the term from the Exposition of Decorative Arts held in Paris in 1925.

The Art Deco artistic style uses stylised angular shapes often repeated and shiny or smooth surfaces all giving a streamlined look inferring modernity and technology. Bro Rick showed examples including a window handle, a vase, furniture, statuettes, and cars and trains.

Bro Rick then took us on a world tour of buildings starting in the Art Deco capital of the world, Napier in New Zealand’s north island, and gradually worked his way back to Bridlington.  He was able to show us examples of the robust earliest styles of the early and mid 1920’s, through to the extravagantly decorated period brought to an abrupt end by the depression which started around 1930.

We also saw the plainer but elegant buildings of the early 1930’s, and buildings in the Art Moderne variant from the mid 1930’s onwards which had a sleek horizontal emphasis. He also showed how the Art Deco style has had resurgences in more modern buildings.

Arriving back in Bridlington Bro Rick identified Lime Kiln Lane end as Bridlington’s Art Deco quarter. He described buildings elsewhere in Bridlington including an example next to the Quay Road level crossing, unusual in that the Art Deco effect is achieved using exposed brickwork.

We have also lost some buildings influenced by the Art Deco style. Amongst these are the gas showrooms, St Georges School, and the bus station. He showed how the Seabirds Inn had a period in the Art Moderne style.

Bro Rick took us on a tour of the Expanse hotel marvelling at the Seymour Suite in particular, a 1999 addition. He then visited the Spa Royal Hall and showed how the Art Deco features changed from the original heavy 1926 style to the lighter style of the 1932 rebuild designed by Borough Architect Maurice Newton. He showed how many of the features were retained in the 2008 revamp although some were lost.

In his recap Bro Rick praised the RNLI for their new “Art Moderne” lifeboat house, an elegant building which fits in well with its neighbours. He postulated that Art Deco is the only wide spread architectural style that has produced many buildings which are in themselves works of art.

The Prior Bro Garry Sunley asked Joan Turner to give the vote of thanks.  Joan thanked Bro Rick for his talk which she was sure was enjoyed by all present.