Hiding in Plain Sight: Brighton Station

Travelling is a strong theme woven throughout vintage bodhi. Whether it involves travelling back to the past through some interesting artifact or taking a journey to a new locale in order to see how there differs from here, exploration is a conduit to knowing what we are by identifying elements of ourselves in something different. Simply put, wanderlust is essential to self-discovery.

And the first step of any journey begins at the departure gate. Those who know me well understand why I have a certain affinity for departure lounges. It just so happens that I met my husband in an airport in Houston, Texas. Neither of us lived there; he lived in Australia and I lived in Los Angeles at the time, but I was moving to Berlin shortly thereafter. Between the two of us, we’ve lived in four countries in the last five years, so I think it’s safe to say we have a large appetite for travel. The lovely thing about travelling is that it’s so easy to take note of all the new and exciting things around you. You’ll analyse the tiniest detail of an ancient Roman ruin, but more than likely, you’ll overlook some huge, amazing structure where you live.

This is exactly what I’ve done with the Brighton train station. How many times have I arrived at the platform with two minutes to spare before my train departs for London? How many times have I come home late at night, senses overloaded from seeing an inspiring theatre performance, and forgotten to look up? Probably too many times to recall. But finally, last week I looked up with intention, and this is what I saw:

Brighton Station Roof

Brighton Station Roof

Now, there are so many lovely websites that will give you a full history of Brighton station – how it was built in 1840, designed by David Mocatta, and that the Victorian roof in the photo above was restored in the 1970s. I won’t give you information that can just as easily be ascertained by going to Wikipedia, but what I will do is show you the moment when I finally examined the details in the place I live. This was it:

detail

Brighton’s arms on the station roof

I looked up and focused on a tiny portion of the roof. For the first time during my three-year residence in Brighton, I noticed this coat of arms. And then, as I looked around the rest of the station, I realised it was everywhere along the roof; it was the purloined letter, hiding in plain sight all this time. I had no idea what it was – I assumed it was heraldry connected to Brighton, but I had never noticed it anywhere before. After doing some research, I discovered that it is in fact the official blazon for the city in which I live, and that these arms were granted in the late 1800s. There is some speculation as to whether the dolphins play a role because of Brighton’s location by the sea or because a prominent family – the Lashmars – had dolphins on their arms. Either way, the heraldry is very fitting for Brighton, and though it’s been staring me in the face for the past three years, I now know a little bit more about the past. And I didn’t even need to travel to get there.

*Do you know of any old and interesting structures in the place you live? Drop us a line and you may be featured in an upcoming article.

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