Saturday, February 07, 2015

Destroying the past

My godmother, Auntie Mary, married later in life; I must have been about ten at the time. After a while she and her husband bought a plot of land on the east cliffs at Southgate on which to build their dream house. Uncle Alan was a woodwork teacher and he designed and built the house himself but he was plagued with ill health and injury and the house took many many years to complete. It became a standing joke that it would never be finished.

But it was, and Alan and Mary lived in Tandayo (a combination of their surnames, Tanner and Davies) happily for many years. Several of the rooms and the entrance hall were wood-panelled, the wood coming from old school desks that Alan had bought up, or possibly been given. It wasn't a huge house but one of a kind in very large gardens and a fabulous position with nothing in front of it except headland and sea.
 Tandayo, the white house in the centre of the photo (From Google maps, dated 2011)

Yesterday Husband and I walked along the east cliffs at Southgate and I was puzzled because I couldn't spot their distinctive house but eventually we found it - or rather we found what looks like a hideous flat-roofed building being erected in its place.

It is so sad to think of all the time, attention, hard work and love that went into it only for it to be destroyed. Yes, the house would have been in need of updating and extending if necessary but to knock it down completely seems an awful waste. 

I lost touch with my godmother, who would now be in her late eighties or early nineties. The last I heard of her was from my uncle who told me that she and Auntie Elsie (another non-related friend of my mum's) used to have Saturday lunch in a pub in Mumbles. I looked out for them but never saw them. I hope she has died and hasn't seen what has become of her home.


Rose said...

That's so sad. Here in the U.S. buildings are torn down all the time, rather than try to make improvements on them. I worry what will happen to my parents' home when they are gone--my grandfather built it when he married, and my father has lived in it his whole life. But I know no one in the family will want to move into it.

Liz Hinds said...

It is sad when a house that is truly a home is lost, Rose. But I suppose it is inevitable.

nick said...

I also hate it when a beautiful, or just interesting, house is torn down and replaced with some unattractive box. A pity it wasn't in a designated conservation area or it might have survived.