RIVINGTON. Sunlight And Old Stones.

High on the sometimes bleak West Pennine Moors in between the Lancashire towns of Horwich and Chorley there’s a hilltop rich in trees, with here and there the remains of buildings showing through. These are the Terraced Gardens, the creation of local businessman William Lever, later 1st Viscount Leverhulme. I’ve been visiting the gardens since my childhood and have seen the ebb and flow of their condition over time. The gardens were an extravagant mix of pathways and follies, the designer was Thomas Mawson. From the top of the gardens there are views right across the plain of Lancashire to the coast.

Leverhulme created the gardens at the turn of the 1900’s, he was familiar with the area from his courting days and the gardens were heavily influenced by his travels. He made his fortune by building on his family’s grocery business, creating the very successful Sunlight Soap brand along the way. His main home was on the Wirral at Thornton Hough, the Wirral is also the location of the garden village of Port Sunlight which he built to house the workers from the adjacent factory. The fascinating Lady Lever Galley which houses some of the art collection built up by him and his wife and opened in her memory can also be found in Port Sunlight.

After Lord Leverhulme’s death in 1925 the estate was sold on to the owner of a local brewery and on his death the estate was bought by Liverpool Corporation who already owned much of the land in the area and had created a series of reservoirs to supply the city. The main house and the estates’ gatehouses were demolished in 1947 and the long period of decline began. Now in the hands of the water company United Utilities a program consolidation and restoration work is underway.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Seven Arch Bridge.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Seven Arch Bridge across the old road from Chorley into Horwich.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Seven Arch Bridge Steps.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The steps leading down from the summer house to the Seven Arch Bridge over the old Chorley – Horwich road. Due to the steep slopes visible in this shot the gardens were laid out in a series of terraces.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Pigeon Tower.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. One of the most striking and visible features of the gardens is The Pigeon Tower seen from the boating pool. The tower was built to take advatage of the views from the highest point of the gardens. The top floor was used as a sitting & sewing room by Lady Leverhulme. as can be seen from the photo consolidation and restoration is work taking place throughout the gardens.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Swimming Pool Restorati

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The the boating pool beneath the Pigeon Tower undergoing restoration. Viscount Leverhulme being a great believer in the benefits of fresh air and exercise would occaisionally swim in the pool. Again the restoration work in progress can been seen with the new lining to the pool and the clearing away of overgrown vegetation.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Bungalow Ruins.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Lord Leverhulme’s house at Rivington was a bungalow by the name of Roynton Cottage. This tiled flooring is all that now remains of the building. Roynton Cottage replaced an earlier, wooden cottage which was burnt down in 1913 by Edith Rigby as a Sufferagette protest. The curve of the tiles runs along the edge of what had been the cicular ballroom, the ceiling of which was dark blue and decorated with gold stars representing the constellations on the night of Lord Leverhulme’s birth, 19th September, 1851.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Ruined Shelter.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The ruins of a garden shelter on the level below the site of the bungalow.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Double Staircase.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. the double staircase which leads up from the boating pool to the site of the bungalow Roynton Cottage.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Gardeners Cottages.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Gardeners Cottages above the Japanese Pool.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  The Dell & Blue Pool Bridg

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Looking down the course of the waterfalls in the dell towards the footbridge.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Caves Above The Dell.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The man made caves alos known as The Bear Caves, on the path above the Dell.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Japanese Pool.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Japanese Pool. Inspired by the Willow Pattern design in its heyday the pool as surrounded with tea houses lit by lanterns and was fed by waterfalls and cascades from the upper levels of the gardens.

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A Day in Sheffield

Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, is another of my favourite destinations, I travel; there by train from Manchester, the route goes through the Hope Valley in the beautiful Peak District passing through the villages of Edale, a stopping off point for the Pennine Way and Castleton a village dominated by Peveril Castle.  Grindleford, also popular with hillwalkers, the station sitting at the mouth of the 3.5 mile Totley Rail Tunnel through which you leave the stark beauty of the Peaks behind and enter the bustling outskirts of Sheffield, it’s centre sat on a cluster of hills.  The railway station nestles at the foot of the city Centre and was built by the Midland Railway and still keeps its Victorian elegance.

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The Exterior Of Sheffield Station.

There were once two railway stations, the other, Sheffield Victoria, now long gone apart from a few scraps, was owned and built by the Great central Railway, a company that was the last hurrah of the Victorian idea of railways. You leave the station onto the bustling Sheaf Square, a pedestrianised precinct formed by the diverting of a busy road to give the station a easier to use setting. A black & white image of the water features and the stainless steel wall fountain that forms part of it head this post.

One of the places I like to visit when I am in the city is the Botanical Gardens off Eccleshall Road, you can use the bus but I prefer to walk, it provides me with more camera time as I make my way through the busy streets. There as been much modernisation over the years but much  remains. 

10/11/13 SHEFFIELD.

YORKSHIRE, Sheffeild. The Moor shopping area.

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YORKSHIRE. Sheffield The Old Waterworks.

The waterworks offices now have a new life selling something a little stronger than before, it’s now a Lloyds Bar. 

The Botanical Gardens sit on a hilltop, away from what would have been the smoke and fumes of the steel industry which made Sheffield it’s fortune and opened in 1836.

29/06/13 SHEFFIELD. The Botanical Gardens, The Main Gatehouse.

The Main gatehouse to the gardens is situated on Clarkehouse Road.

As well as the Garden’s own restaurant the area around is well provided with places for the hungry photographer to refresh his or herself either before or after whiling away a couple of very enjoyable hours in Sheffield’s little paradise.

There are a couple of routes I can take back to the city centre, depending on time. weather and my mood. I always fit in a walk through the streets for candid images, something the city rarely fails to provide. One spot I visit is the old General Cemetery , opened as a private burial ground but now used as a public park. It contains memorials of the high Victorian style  along with chapels, all now at rest beneath a spreading carpet of trees and wildflowers.

29/06/13 SHEFFIELD. Sheffield General Cemetary, Tomb of Harriet

The Tomb of Harriet Nicholson.

Once back into the city it’s time for a look around the streets before the train home, Fargate in the city centre is always a hive of activity.

29/06/13 SHEFFIELD. Buskers on Fargate.

Two buskers entertaining the passersby on Sheffield’s Fargate.

Generally I make time for a quick visit to the very civilised ‘Sheffield Tap’ a bar on the railway station that has been opened in what was a former waiting room, it also has it’s own micro brewery which you can watch in action as you enjoy a drink. It’s a very pleasant way to wait for a train. Try it if you are ever in the area.

29/06/13 SHEFFIELD. The Sheffield Tap

The Sheffield Tap also has it’s own micro brewery on site.

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Watch The Birdie Watching You

22-09-12 AMBLESIDE

I was at a garden centre in Ambleside,  the town is at the top of Lake Windermere and after a walk  around the plants, gardening accessories I decided to have a break. The was a cafe with a roof terrace and I had just started enjoying a coffee and and slice of very good carrot cake when this character hopped onto the back of the chair opposite me. Mr Jackdaw, or Corvus Monedula ( yes I looked that up, it’s not the sort of information I carry around in my head ) was short on conversation, the occaisional caw and shuffle of wings was all that I got in reply to my observations on the days weather, the current political situation, the quality of the coffee and the cake. In fact, it was the cake that seemed to be the centre of his unwavering attention. Slowly I realised, probably some sort of avian telepathy, that while I was enjoying the cake, I wasn’t supposed to enjoy ALL of the cake.  I got the message. I finished my coffee, broke up what I thought was an overly generous piece of MY cake rose, bid him good day and left.  The was a squark, probably Jackdaw-ese for ‘about time’ and the cake crumbs vanished.  I supposed I confirmed in the Jackdaw’s mind that given time even the stupidest of humans can be taught basic tasks.

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