Posts Tagged ‘Britain’
Gas stations are rarely known for their aesthetics. Looking like a truck stop is no compliment for a work of architecture. It hasn’t always been so: In the early days of American car culture, gas stations were designed with enough architectural flamboyance to lure customers off the highway. As driving has become an ingrained way of life, though, that extra design effort has fallen by the wayside. Though in general we’re not a huge fan of city driving, as long as people continue to rely on cars, there will have to be places to fuel up. Why make car infrastructure more of a blight on the landscape than it already is?
Some of the best-known architects of our time have set their sights on gas station architecture, from midcentury icons like Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, to Jean Prouvé to Norman Foster. In a new book from Architizer founder Marc Kushner, The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings, Kushner devotes an entire section to this car-centic architecture that outclasses the barren Shell stations of today by a mile…
Fill ‘er up at “9 Gorgeous Gas Stations Throughout History.”
* “Socrates” (Nick Nolte), a gas station attendant in Peaceful Warrior
As we opt for unleaded, we might recall that it was on this date in 1934 that Britain introduced the first Driver’s Test for licensing. Optional until 1935 (so as to avoid a crush at the test centers), the new requirement, enacted with the Highway Code of 1934, followed a year in which cars on the road topped 1 million in the U.K. and road deaths reached 7,300. In an effort to calm motorists made nervous by the new requirement, Ford produced a short, reassuring film, narrated by motor racer and land speed record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell:
Via Collective History.
As we look both ways, we might send covert birthday greetings to Ian Lancaster Fleming; he was born on this date in 1908. The scion of a wealthy merchant banking family, Fleming worked as a journalist and served as a naval intelligence officer before finding his stride, starting in 1952, as the author of a series of spy novels featuring a suave MI6 agent who was licensed to kill. While he also wrote such well-known works as Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, his James Bond novels have sold over 100 million copies; the films based on his novels have grossed over $12 billion (adjusted for inflation), second as a series only to the Harry Potter films.
What do Guatemala, Tajikistan, Luxembourg, and the Marshall Islands have in common?
Every schoolboy used to know that at the height of the empire, almost a quarter of the atlas was coloured pink, showing the extent of British rule. But that oft-recited fact dramatically understates the remarkable global reach achieved by this country.
A new study has found that at various times the British have invaded almost 90 per cent of the countries around the globe.
The analysis of the histories of the almost 200 countries in the world found only 22 which have never experienced an invasion by the British.
[TotH to Laughing Squid]
As we reach for our hair-dryers, we might recall that it was on this date in 55 BCE that Julius Caesar first landed in Britain (or so historians reckon). It’s unclear whether the expedition to the (then Iron Age) island was intended as an invasion (he crossed from Gaul with two Legions) or a reconnaissance-in-force; in any case, it succeeded in establishing a beachhead in (what’s now) Kent– where, the following year, Caesar’s successful invasion landed.
During World War II, German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf courses there. Undaunted, the British played on…
There will always be an England…
As rethink our aversion to bunkers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1805 that a force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries attacked the Tripolitan port city of Derna on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States. Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in what one might now think of as “the first Libyan War” that Hamet Karamanli presented him with the elaborately-designed sword that serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers; the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, is a reference to the Derna campaign.
Presley O’ Bannon (source)