The UK has changed dramatically over time. Once famous landmarks either look entirely different or no longer exist. I’m a member of a local Facebook group for my area that posts before and after images of our town, and it’s great to look back to see how much has changed. Through the clever use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), home shopping company Chums has picked five notable UK landmarks and given them a futuristic makeover, reimagining how they would fit within our modern-day world.
Long-lost landmarks reimagined with AI
Liverpool Overhead Railway, Liverpool
Designed to transport workers along Liverpool’s docks, the Liverpool Overhead Railway made history as the world’s first electrically powered elevated railway in 1983, gaining fame for its speed and reliability. In the image below, AI has reimagined how the railway would look today with a spacious platform and a modern commuter train in the style of the Merseyrail, paying homage to the Overhead Railway’s historic functionality while seamlessly integrating it with the modern day.
Dome of Discovery and Skylon, London
Crafted by British architect Ralph Tubbs for the 1951 Festival of Britain, the Dome of Discovery was a temporary exhibition building on London’s South Bank. Positioned next to Skylon, a cigar-shaped structure designed by Philip Powell and John Hidalgo Moya. Both landmarks were dismantled after the exhibition, and the area underwent a transformation, making way for Jubilee Gardens.
Reimagined for the present day, the AI image sees a more modern curved futuristic structure for the Dome with the London Eye in Skylon’s place along the London skyline.
Trams on Queen Street, Cardiff
Cardiff’s shift from horse-drawn trams to electrical tramways in 1902 was an immediate hit, connecting residents from Pier Head to Mynachdy Road and Victoria Park to Roath Depot. Fast forward to today, with the anticipation of a tramline revival in Cardiff by 2024, it sparks curiosity about what the original tram system might resemble now if it hadn’t been discontinued years ago. The reimagined AI image below features a contemporary tram with a sleek design, large glass windows, and a digital LED sign – a modern twist on Cardiff’s historic transit legacy.
Portobello Pool in Edinburgh
Portobello Pool captivated visitors for nearly four decades with its intriguing Art Deco style, high diving boards, and inviting outdoor heated pool. Unfortunately, it closed its doors for the final time in 1978 and was later demolished. The property now houses a recreation complex and a five-a-side football pitch.
However, envisioning the pool’s uninterrupted legacy, we reimagine a modern recreation with nods to its original Art Deco charm, boasting clean lines and geometric design.
Margate Jetty, Kent
Margate Jetty began as the Jarvis Landing Stage, a wooden structure built by the Margate Pier Harbour Company in 1824. Originally used for passenger loading and unloading at low tide, it experienced a remarkable alteration in 1851 when severe damage led to the construction of an iron jetty, making it the world’s first iron seaside pier. The pier has been involved in a number of disasters, ranging from storm-related shipwrecks in 1877 to fire damage in 1964, raising worries about its safety. Margate Jetty was finally decommissioned in 1976 and dismantled in 1998. Reimagining the jetty today, AI sees an enlarged jetty with a modern twist, with a contemporary multi-level building at the pier head affording panoramic views of the surrounding waters.
Thanks to the magic of AI, we’re able to reimagine these once-popular UK landmarks, offering a sneak peek into the future. It’s also a way to commemorate and rediscover the past while also embracing the future.