The next guest column keeps us in the UK but takes us to Wales and to this community of Conwy. Here, the author of The Beauty of Transport gives us a tour of three historic bridges built by two world-renowned bridge engineers. Details on the history of the two and their contributions to the city of Conwy with their rather unique bridges dating back to the 1800s can be found here. Enjoy! 🙂
The Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas, NV, USA) is quite possibly the most alarming place I have visited in my entire life. Thanks to a lifetime of choosing public transport over driving whenever possible, I have been to a good number of rather scary places (thank you very much, public transport). Public transport hubs are rarely situated in the most upscale of locales. However, those less-than-salubrious locations have become scary by accident, over the course of many years and via a series of complicated socio-demographic changes. The Strip, on the other hand, seems to have been created specifically to facilitate the worst aspects of human behaviour, as vast crowds sluice up and down its four-mile length, seeking the next opportunity for gambling, binge-drinking or voyeurism. Dead-eyed punters sit at casino slot machines, hands mechanically inserting dollar bills one after the other. The Strip’s 24-hour casinos give off a heady reek of sweat, adrenalin and stale cigarette smoke under the endless day of artificial lights, while the industry behind the casino hotels seeks to part visitors from their dollars in the most grimly efficient manner conceivable.
But The Beauty of Transport isn’t here to judge the moral standards of visitors to the Strip, and anyway, as you’ll have gathered by now, I’ve been a visitor there myself.
The Beauty of Transport is here, however, to highlight one of the most heinous crimes recently committed against transport architecture, which can be found on the Strip.
But to put that particular brain-frazzler into context, I need to take you back to early nineteenth century Britain, and two pioneers of disreputable transport architecture. They are actually transport heroes for countless other reasons, and I demur to no-one in my admiration for them (they are in large part responsible for the industry I worked in for years, and still write about). Though Thomas Telford’s and Robert Stephenson’s bridges at Conwy in Wales are very beautiful, the truth is that they also demonstrate terrible artifice.
More on Telford, Stephenson and the Bridges of Conwy you can read here: