Interesting to note that when I searched for ‘Stratford upon Avon’s Chinese Pagoda’ all I got was a list of eating houses. Of course what I should have searched for was ‘Stratford upon Avon’s Chinese Peony Pavilion’. However, my mistake and the results I received, neatly sums up the lack of good grace of some of Stratford’s citizens in their acceptance of this splendid gift from the People’s Government of Fuzhou Municipality in China, and the People’s Government’s attempts to continue the China-UK cultural exchange.
Rather than say thank you very much just what we needed etc, etc what we ended up with was a study in what the British do best. Complaining. And not only that, but that well-known sick-making British speciality…Complaining in an overly polite and well-spoken manner whilst wearing a hat.
A load of disgruntled Stratfordians complaining Brexit-like about their Council and the decision to place the thing (the peony pavilion) in The Firs Garden. We were even presented on TV with an embarrassing video documenting their pathetic objections (too embarrassing to show here). What we got was over-blown indignation that such a thing should be placed in ‘their backyard’. Classic Nimbyism. With the usual British attitude towards change, this group of puffed up complainers expelled enough hot air to float their own balloon. From, ‘this is too far off the tourist trail’ to a pompous, nonsensical statement on the lines of…
“Firs Gardens is a tranquil oasis. The erection of a pavilion, designed to be viewed by large numbers of visitors to the town, goes against the whole concept of this space and as it is nowhere near the other attractions in Henley Street area of town, is *doomed to be an eyesore that would quickly become neglected.”
The Firs is actually a nice spot. I taught my kids to ride their bikes amongst its selection of beautiful trees, homeless and the very drunk. To call it tranquil oasis is a little over-the-top considering it is totally surrounded by a couple of thumping main roads (not to mention the red-brick Police Station) If a Peony Pavilion will do anything it will brighten the place up, and I get the feeling that Marie Corelli who bought the Firs in 1910 and gifted it to the town, was eccentric enough to approve of the Peony Pavilion Placement.
It’s interesting to note that ‘ A Chinese pavilion is a type of covered structure without surrounding walls and is a traditional part of Chinese architecture. While often found within temples, pavilions are not exclusively religious structures. Many Chinese parks and gardens feature pavilions to provide shade and a place to rest.