Travel Pics Theme: N for Napier. Bad puns and backpackers

Archies Bunker

Archies Bunker

If you grew up in Australia or New Zealand (or the UK, or many Commonwealth countries) chances are you are familiar with the BBC show “Till Death Do Us Part starring Warren Mitchell as Alf Garnett.

But if you were in the US, the equivalent show was All In The Family – which featured “Archie Bunker” as the protagonist.

Now, All In The Family did screen in this part of the world as well – but it didn’t have anywhere near the impact of Till Death .. which makes this pun in the name of a backpackers hostel something of a curiosity.

It’s a hostel with quite a reasonable reputation, and it certainly looks lovely, with its post art-deco stylings and 1930s-style paint colour schemes .. but I do wonder about choosing a name that isn’t likely to resonate with either locals OR the Gen-Ys and Millennials who probably make up the large part of the client base.

Still, it DID resonate with me – or at least the exterior did.

It’s the former Automobile Association building, built in the late ’30s – and as such, it uses a variation on Art Deco known as the “International Style”.

Unlike some Art Deco, with the curlicues and angular geometric patterns, it’s a “Functionalist Modernist” style. The building is more streamlined, and rectangular, and it apparently came to Napier late in its reconstruction – around 1939 or so (as Jewish intellectual refugees began fleeing Nazi Germany, they brought the style with them)

There’s probably a lot more detail I could give you – but the audio file that we used in our self-guided walk around town has long since gone to the great bit-bucket in the sky and so I’m relying on memory.

On the other hand, should you find yourself in Napier, I’m sure you can get all the Art Deco geekery you can handle, plus some great walks and tours on offer from the Art Deco Trust of Napier, at http://www.artdeconapier.com/shop/Walks+%26+Tours.html

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