I had never ever walked north of the North Pier – so I did.
Thoroughly invigorated by strong west winds and impending rain, one’s mind is often sharply focussed on something or other. Not for the first time did I begin to muse upon the nature of artifice and authenticity, the functionalist concrete foreshore and promenade, that barely resists the constant onslaught of the very real Irish Sea.
How did all this come about?
The figure at the centre of the interwar push for expansion and innovation in the provision of town infrastructure was Borough Architect John Charles Robinson. His designs were rooted initially in a stylish but civically appropriate classicism, but from the mid-1930s an appreciation of more explicitly modernist ideas becomes evident.
The earliest priority for the Surveyor’s Department after 1918 was the improvement and extension of the promenade and its sea defences. A short stretch of sunken gardens running parallel to the promenade at the Gynn opened in 1915 and a stretch of ‘Pulhamite’ artificial rock cliffs 100ft high between the new gardens and the lower promenade followed in 1923. Between the Gynn and the Metropole Hotel, the steep drop between the road and tramway the upper level and the lower promenade at sea level was remodelled during 1923–5 with a colonnaded ‘middle walk’, a covered promenade that utilised the pavement at the top of the three-tiered slope as its roof.
Historic England says so.
And it looks like this: