Project 1 Exercise 1.4 Site Analysis Physical and Historical Context

This time I decided to ‘explore’ my location in a digital way (to also brush up on my computer skills). I imported google maps image of my location to photoshop and drew over it to create my map. I chose to mark the proposed pavilion location in contrasting blue colour, so the viewer can see it immediately. Most residentail buildings on the map are detached, low rise houses, often in mock tudor style (dark brown on my map), village centre has a few higher rise blocks (light brown on the map, these buildings are no higher than 4 floors) which have shops, restaurants and other facilities on the ground floors.

Fig. 1 The location and surroundings map

After that it was quite easy to show sun path in relation to the location.

Fig. 2 Sun path

Sun path will be an important part of design. The location gets sun all day (on a sunny day) and the users’ comfort will need to be considered. Ideally the pavilion should be warm on a chilly day and not too hot on a warm day. The design will have to be centred around the best feature of the location – the view of the racecourse. As the location is elevated the viewer needs to look slightly down to see the fields. The benefit of that is that the sky is a massive part of the view. My design will have to be conscious of that.

Fig. 3 The wind

As the location is elevated and surrounded by open fields to the west and north, and low rise buildings to the east and south it can get quite windy. Most of the wind comes from the racecourse / west side. I live around a mile north (in straight line) of the location and I noticed that even in more built up , residential area the wind blows mainly from the racecourse. Apart from this local weather patterns are typical for South East England – wet and windy winters, and warm, sometimes hot, mild summers. I would like my pavilion to provide shelter from wind on cold days.

The location is next to Tattenham Corner Station, which has a direct, albeit infrequent (every 30 mins in peak) link to London Victoria Station. The location is well connected by road, ample parking is available nearby. There is also bus stop in the village – it takes 10 minutes to get to Epsom Town Centre.

Current use of the location – a green with some benches, viewpoint of the racecourse.

Historical events in or near the site.

The name Tattenham Corner comes from the famous, strategic, sharp bend on the eastern side of the racecourse also called Tattenham Corner. Looking at the image in fig. 4 I can see (from the position of the buildings in the distance) that that bend is in perfect view from our location. The image also shows the popularity of the Derby with large crowd of spectators gathered.

Fig. 4 The Derby – Tattenham Corner (1873)

Tattenham Corner rail station was built in the late 19th / early 20th century to serve ever so popular Epsom Derby. It is the nearest station to the racecourse. The area of the village was sparsely populated, mainly fields for farming and cattle pastures etc. prior to the development of the village that followed the opening of this transport hub.

Fig. 5 Tattenham Corner Railway Station, Tattenham Corner Sta, 1928

Looks like our hill has been purposely made to provide exit and entrance to the train station. Nowadays there are no steps down and the hill has more organic, natural shape. The station building, we see here in fig. 5 has allegedly been knocked down by a drink-driving train operator. Currently the station sports a modern brick station building.

According to Ruppert Mathews (The History Man blog) my location hill was created to level station area and to provide exclusive viewpoint of the derby for senior rail employees and their guests. The hill is said to be always packed on the race days.

Tattenham Corner village housed (amongst many other facilities) a café. That café has become an engineering site, producing military components during WW2. The site later reverted to a restaurant, sadly it was later demolished to make space for the current Belmont Garage building (which offers little aesthetic value).

The racecourse itself has a rich history. The races are believed to have started in the 1640s, following the discovery of Epsom Salts.  They were later banned by the Commonwealth and resumed in 1661. By 1780 Epsom Downs Derby was a major sporting event and an opportunity for a day out to Londoners.  The Derby Day attracted both aristocracy and workmen. Illegal gambling and bare-knuckle boxing matches were providing extra thrill to the visitors.

On 4th of June 1913, a protesting suffragette, Emily Davison stepped in front of the Kings horse during the derby at Tattenham Corner part of the racecourse. She never regained consciousness and died soon after.

During WW1 Epsom Downs was an assembly point for troops.

List of illustrations:

Fig. 4 Doré, G. (1873) The Derby – Tattenham Corner. [Wood Engraving] At: https://d1inegp6v2yuxm.cloudfront.net/royal-academy/image/upload/c_limit,cs_tinysrgb,dn_72,f_auto,fl_progressive.keep_iptc,w_1200/yusmimmzfgub9rj62bas.jpeg (Accessed 28/09.2020)

Fig. 5 Britain From Above (1928) Tattenham Corner Railway Station, Tattenham Corner Sta, 1928. [Photograph] At: https://britainfromabove.org.uk/sites/all/libraries/aerofilms-images/public/580w/EPW/025/EPW025149.jpg (Accessed 28/09/2020)

References:

Bouchard, B. (2017) Tattenham Corner Restaurant, Tattenham Corner, Epsom, A Production Facility For Epsom Engineering Company Ltd In WW2. At: https://eehe.org.uk/?p=29881 (Accessed 28/09/2020)

Matthews, R. (2014) Tattenham Corner railway station, the early years. At: http://thehistorymanatlarge.blogspot.com/2014/12/tattenham-corner-railway-station-early.html (accessed 28/09/2020)

The Jockey Club (2020) The Derby & The Suffragettes. At: https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/epsom/events-tickets/epsom-derby/about-the-event/the-derby/suffragette-derby-and-thereafter/ (Accessed 28/09/2020)

The Jockey Club (2020) The Epsom Derby Early Years. At: https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/epsom/events-tickets/epsom-derby/about-the-event/the-derby/the-early-years/ (Accessed 28/09/2020)

The Jockey Club (2020) The History Of Epsom Downs Racecourse. At: https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/epsom/about/history/ (Accessed 28/09/2020)

Racing fixtures (2020) Epsom Downs. At: https://www.racingfixtures.co.uk/courses/epsom-downs.php (Accessed 28/09/2020)

Southern Railway E-mail Group (2004) Tattenham Corner. At: https://sremg.org.uk/location/tattcnr_01.html (Accessed 28/09/2020)

Tattenham Corner Community (2020) Tattenham Corner… At: http://www.tattenhamcorner.co.uk/ (Accessed 28/09/2020)

Wikipedia (2020) Tattenham Corner. At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattenham_Corner (Accessed 28/09/2020)

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