Thursday, January 02, 2020

How many escalators are there in Cornwall?

In 2007, artist Patrick Lowry showcased his Escalator in New County Hall in Truro – Cornwall’s modernist council building, which consisted of a life size, realistic installation of an out of order escalator, leading to nowhere. A metaphor for Cornwall council, perhaps, or job opportunities in the county – interpretation of the installation is rife.

Lowry's installation was part of the MORE Cornwall group exhibition, reviewed on the artcornwall website at the time. The author of the piece mentions growing up in Truro in the 1980s and joking with friends about there being only one escalator in Cornwall, which there was then.

Well, times have sure changed. There are now eight (8) or maybe eleven (11) escalators in Cornwall. I heard this recently from a friend (who couldn't remember the exact number), who has a friend who says it's possible to get to all the county's escalators by bus in a single day. Naturally, this aroused my curiosity.

It can't be that much of a challenge though – presumably most of them are in Truro: Waterstone's, Primark, Debenhams and M&S all have them. The hideous retail parks* at Hayle and Kingsley Village both have them. That's probably about it – but there's a catch.

A couple of the escalator's are moving walkways, or travelators. This got us thinking. Newquay airport? Nope. The Eden Project? Nope. It would have to be somewhere really high tech like Goonhilly Earth Station. Then it occurred to me – Sainsbuy's has them in large branches at Truro and Penzance. 


* I suddenly remembered looking at some new-build flats in the early noughties with my then-partner when we were thinking of buying a place together in London. The flats were tiny, badly made, bits already falling off, no storage, in the middle of nowhere. Where’s the nearest newsagent, I asked the estate agent, to buy a paper or a pint of milk. The supermarket in the retail park, a twenty minute walk, she said. No, I thought, that’s wrong, that’s crazy. No, I said, I mean the local newsagent, the friendly one who knows you. She repeated, the retail park.

Some years later, here we are, or here I am anyway. With a warehouse-sized Tesco as my friendly local newsagent, and retail parks with massive car parks a horrific reality, and the death of the high street, and internet shopping. I didn’t ask for any of it. In fact, I actively despise it all.

Previously on Barnflakes
Bus pass

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