Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Stanley's Civic Style

[An occasional look at life in the Falklands through the eyes of a recently-arrived visitor]

As I won't be updating this blog for a couple of weeks, I thought I'd post some more photos to give a sense of some of the main buildings in Stanley.  Some are historic, and maintained by the local Museum & National Trust, which is funded by the Government.    More detail below.

Gilbert House - home of the Legislative Assembly
Gilbert House is opposite the famous Malvina House Hotel, and next door to "Penguin News", the local weekly newspaper.  This is the area of the Dockyard, where the Museum will be moving to next year.  Much more central than its current location in Holdfast Road.  (When British troops approached Stanley on June 14th,1982, they stopped at the edge of town.  As the Commanding Officer was going forward to negotiate the surrender, nothing definite had been heard from the Argentine forces, so he told the troops to "Hold Fast" their positions, until he returned.  When the town expanded after the war, this holding position was commemorated in the road name.)

Town Hall and Post Office and  red phone boxes..
Next to the Dockyard is the Town Hall and Post Office and Philately Bureau.  Stamps are a major source of income for the Falklands, and the Post Office is a social hub of the town as everyone must go there to collect  and post mail as there is no delivery or collection of mail, which does lead some people to question why they need to buy stamps!!

The Town Hall also houses the Law Courts, the Registrar and a Dance Hall which is a popular venue for the many functions - The Winter Ball, The May Ball, The Operatic Society, and this week - Farmers' Week!

Police station and prison (maximum population, 4)
Not quite opposite the Law Courts is the Police Station, which was a key building for the invading Argentine forces in 1982, and, as a result, was heavily damaged by British Forces during the War.  Now, extensively rebuilt, it also houses a Prison which can hold up to 4 (four) prisoners in Home Office-approved accommodation!
Directly opposite the Police Station is the Standard Chartered Bank, which I have not been tempted to photograph yet.  You'll just have to imagine what it looks like, sorry.  It's a bank with no cash machines.  One has to go inside and talk to the teller if you want a service.  It won't catch on.....
"Royal Falkland Islands Police"
Prison, Police Station, Pedestrian Crossing, and Catholic Church
The pedestrian crossing on the main Ross Road was introduced last year, and has proved very popular with people wishing to cross the road....
Formerly Upland Goose Hotel, now cottages.
A few yards from the Police Station is a row of white cottages, called Marmont Row, but which were much better known in a former life as The Upland Goose Hotel.   This Hotel had an interesting role in the Falklands War and is mentioned by many of the correspondents like Max Hastings and Robert Fox, as a great place to catch up and compare notes.  During the War, Argentine commanders stayed there, running up large bills, which they paid for with the new currency - the Peso!
Where do you want to go?
Just to the east of Stanley, on the way to the domestic airport, is a tall signpost known as The Griffin.  So, this is the place to come to have your photo taken in front of the sign for your home town!
Distance to Llantwitt Major! 
We know a lovely Welsh lady who hails from Llantwitt Major, and a lovely place it is, too.  Hello, Karen!

About a mile past the sign-post is Surf Bay, scene of the recent Midwinter Dip.  Sorry to lower the tone of this edition, but I thought some may want an update on the Dip.
Midwinter Dip - huddle for warmth, anyone?

The above video was produced by the British Forces Broadcasting Service, from whom we get most of our TV and radio.  Quite a large proportion of the loons throwing themselves into the very cold South Atlantic  Ocean were from the Armed Forces.  Much more challenging than diving into the Med when you are based on Cyprus for a year!

If you're observant you might see me about a minute and 49 seconds into the video (standing beside a big bloke in a blue bikini!), and  my wife and I appear near the end at 6:21.  She wearing a very warm black coat, and me shivering on frozen sand.....

Hasta la Vista,


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