Thursday, 14 August 2008

What you've got there is a 'Chalet' mate.

I know I ought to like these (after all I've spent so very many hours drawing and painting beach huts the last ten years), but after some consideration I realise I actually don't. Why ever not? after all they are brand new shining examples resplendent in pastel shades complete with verandas and fretwork fascias facing south across the Blackwater estuary towards the horizon. They're also beautifully made and are perfectly level on their foundation blocks. There's the rub you see, they're beautifully made and straight, but beautifully made is certainly not the same as beautiful.

When I saw the first handful of these new huts being built I became quite excited, the prospect of some new designs and shades to incorporate into future works was quite appealing, then more appeared, as the old weather beaten, shed-style, wonky ones were routinely demolished. Now a couple of years on they stretch almost as far as the eye can see.

On reflection these chalets could easily have been designed by a committee of estate agents equipped with little more than the latest Laura Ashley colour chart and I'm not convinced that a couple of years worth of salt laden north-easterlies is really going to add much character. It's no surprise at all the big high street stores are queueing up to get a shot of them into their advertising brochures and you probably wont get much change from your twenty five grand if you're looking to lease one.

I don't think you can homogonise something as quirky, personal and British as the beach hut in this way and be left with anything vaguely resembling the original. Beach huts simply have to have numbers missing, dodgy repairs, odd hinges, odd occupants and a smell of parafin/calor gas. I just can't imagine anyone enjoying their sandy corned beef sarnies and warm Tizer in one of these.

I nicked these definitions from wikipedia...being a complete blog novice it may be naughty, wrong even, I'm sure someone will clarify.

'The term chalet is also used in the hospitality industry to describe detached buildings.(semi-detached are called duplex or triplex) in other settings, including seaside resorts and as an adjunct to motel accommodation. These chalets can be similar to studio apartments with self-contained cooking facilities and/or bathroom and toilet facilities'.

'A beach hut is a small, usually wooden and often brightly coloured, building above the high tide mark on popular bathing beaches. They are generally used for changing into and out of swimming costumes and to provide a base for informal family recreation'.

Beach Hut ~ Pencil


Juliet said...

Ha! Great post and some interesting thoughts. Funnily enough, I have experienced precisely the reverse. I absolutely *loathed* these when they first started sprouting, and the family called them the Barbie Beach Huts, because their pastel shades and prefabricated construction reminded us of the hideous pastel plastic world of the ubiquitous pink princess. But, having got used to them, and become rather captivated by their photogenic qualities, not to mention having gazed inside and started to dream of ownership and sitting inside with a laptop and some cocoa, gazing out across a grey, stormy sea when holidaymakers had long gone . .. I find myself quite enchanted by them!

beachhutman said...

Beach huts are mt thing too, see

I am so glad to see your treatment of huts, btw look mout for the links at and you may get even more (distant) inspiration for your "craft".