Heptonstall. History On A Hilltop.

Huddled around a hilltop above the West Riding town of Hebden Bridge sits the village of Heptonstall. It’s houses clustered in narrow, winding streets show its past as a centre for hand loom weaving, their large, third floor windows making the most of the precious daylight.

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Landgate as seen from Weavers Square

The centre of the village is dominated by the ruins of the church of St. Thomas A’ Becket, which date from the 1260’s. A photo of the roofless nave heads up this post. Damaged by a gale in 1847 it fell into ruin and was replaced by the adjacent church of Thomas the Apostle, which in it’s turn was struck by lightning in 1847. Perhaps there’s something about Heptonstall we should be told. The old graveyard which spreads out between the two churches is filled with the rumpled layered tombstones, each with their tale to tell of lives lived and lost, some through age, some through accident and one at the hands of the law. Clipping the edges of silver coins to win yourself a little extra at the government’s expense was a pastime that could result in an appointment with the hangman’s noose.

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Old gravestones etched with history and worn by time.

A little way off the centre of the village, sits the octagonal Methodist church. It  lays claim to being the oldest in continuous use, the foundation stone being laid after a visit from founder John Wesley in the 1740’s.

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The octagonal Methodist Church clinging to the hillside.

In an adjacent cemetery extension lies the grave of the poet Sylvia Plath, wife of fellow poet Ted Hughes. It’s a place of pilgrimage, with pens and notebooks regularly being left as tributes.  She is perhaps best known for her work ‘The Bell Jar’ . Her own story ended with her suicide in 1963.

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The grave of Sylvia Plath

Heptonstall is an intriguing place, its streets winding and looping back on one another. You can drive up and park or if you are feeling up to it a steeply rising path climbs up the hill side from Hebden Bridge on the valley bottom.

Tourism Information

Taking It Easy In Todmorden

 

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Southport Pier In The Sun

A small follow on from a previous post on Southport and it’s pier. I took this image on a bright, crisp day which really made the colours of the original sing out but there was something about the shapes and shadows that lead me in the direction of trying it out as a black & white image and I’m quite happy with the result, though any feedback or comments are always welcome, if I’m not in just leave a note under the rock by the front door.

The ‘train’ in this shot is the latest one to run along the pier, sadly the purpose built battery tram was found to be too heavy for the pier structure, the vibration caused by it passing up and down was beginning to weaken the Victorian girders holding the pier together. Such is progress.

Speaking of progress I should be making some with an ebook I have working it’s way through to a publishing date. Time to leave the seaside behind for today.

SOUTHPORT TOURISM INFORMATION

A Walk Down Southport Pier

Meditating On Eternity.

If you seek a little peace and quiet away from the hurly burley of Appleby’s annual Horse Fair, you may wish to visit the church of St. Lawrence which stands quietly behind a simple arcaded wall at the foot of the main street. One of the features you will find within the coolness of it’s walls is the tomb of Lady Anne Clifford, 1590 – 1676,  where she lies in her eternal pomp as the Countess Dowager of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery and also the 14th Baron Clifford in her own right.  Lady Anne was an individual of influence and character, though  she was the only surviving child of her father George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland  as a woman could not inherit her father’s earldom. Though it took her many years and two husbands, she successfully pursued a claim for the family estates and the right to the barony of Clifford.  She spent her later years travelling her northern estates and restoring her neglected castles, one of which sits at the top of Appleby’s steeply rising main street, to something of their former glory after the ravages of the English Civil War. 

Lady Anne Clifford

Church of St. Lawrence Appleby.

Appleby Information.

Monochrome Manchester

I live in the North West of England approximately halfway between Liverpool and Manchester so both are easy for me to reach,usually by train. Yes it’s the big kid in me. I like travelling on the railway. The header image above was taken in one of the staircases that leads down from the carpark that sits over the roof of Manchester Victoria station. For a long time this was the poorer relation to Manchester’s Piccadilly station, about a quarter of a mile away on the other side of the city centre. Piccadilly has the glamour of handling the London train services but at last after many years of being the city’s Cinderella station, the sleeping beauty is being awoken, I like my metaphors mixed not shaken, by a massive rebuilding program which is mercifully preserving some of the Victorian/Edwardian features that have survived to the present. 

230610 MANCHESTER Victoria Station LYR War Memorial girl on a mobile 2

Manchester Victoria Station. The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway War Memorial.

10/07/15 MANCHESTER. Hotspur Press Building.

MANCHESTER.The old Hotspur Press building behind Whitworth Street as seen from the new HOME building.

Building survival is a useful topic to keep in mind, whenever I visit Manchester I am never far from the shadow of cranes and other building works. The city seems to be in an almost constant state of metamorphosis and development. New springing up amidst the old, the old changing into the new or just disappearing altogether. I’m not for preserving cities in aspic so they they never change  but can we slow it down a little sometimes? The above shot was taken from the courtyard outside of the HOME building. This is the replacement for the long established Cornerhouse, a centre for the arts and film. Home is a new building, the old Cornerhouse building is still there but yes, it’s changing into something else. In Manchester the caterpillars that change are made of concrete and bricks.

30-09-12 MANCHESTER. Withy Grove Stores Dantzic Street.

Withy Grove Stores

One building that hasn’t changed is the Withy Grove Stores, tucked away on Withy Grove, which leads down from Shude Hill behind the ever expanding Arndale Centre.

29/06/14  MANCHESTER. New Cathedral Street.

 MANCHESTER. New Cathedral Street.

Across Corporation Street from Withy Grove you will find the newest street in Manchester, New Cathedral Street, which was born out of the redevelopment of the city centre in the aftermath of the bombing in June of 1996. A pedestrian thoroughfare it links the Triangle shopping area with St. Ann’s Square and is the haunt of some of Manchester’s tres chic shopping.

29/06/14  MANCHESTER. Mosley Street.

 MANCHESTER. Metrolink tram 3069 passing with an Eccles via Media City service. St. Peter’s Square in the background is currently being redeveloped as part of the second city crossing scheme for the Metrolink system. The work involves the relocation of the war memorial and the enlarging of the tram stop.

A very useful feature of Manchester is it’s ever busy tram network with the bright yellow trams buzzing regularly through the city centre and onto the suburbs. The network covers about 48 miles at present, with a couple more extensions on the way. The Metrolink as it is called is one of the better ways to get yourself around and about Manchester. 

05/12/13 MANCHESTER.  St.Peter's Square.

 MANCHESTER. Metrolink Tram 3052 at St. Peter’s Square.

Also threading through the city but in a less obvious way are canals, perhaps not as romantic or extensive as Venice’s they have nevertheless contributed greatly to the prosperity of the city, especially in Manchester’s heyday as ‘Cottonopolis’ when it was the centre of the Lancashire cotton industry.  One of the city’s major theatres, the Royal exchange sits in it’s futuristic pod on the trading floor of the former Royal Exchange where raw cotton and it’s products were traded.

30-09-12 MANCHESTER. Royal Exchange Theatre

Royal Exchange Theatre on Cross Street

A late Victorian building the Exchange dates from the 1870’s with extensions in the 1900’s and rebuilding after wartime damage. Closed to for trading in the late 1960’s it face the prospect of demolition but survived and prospers and from personal experience is an excellent theatre to experience.

01/02/15 ROCHDALE CANAL. Deansgate Locks.

MANCHESTER. Deansgate Locks on the Rochdale Canal.

One of Manchester’s canals is the Rochdale Canal which slides gently past the Deansgate Locks, now home to the Comedy Club and fashionable places to eat and drink. 

Royal exchange Theatre

Visiting Manchester Information

Travelling On Manchesters Trams

 

 

Around Liverpool – Over Coffee

It’s a coolish, uncomfortable day outside so I’ve been busy chopping firewood and then come inside started editing images and generally tidying my little office space.  While I was taking a break  with a cup of coffee  I thought would put together a post and I chose Liverpool, merchant city on the Mersey, named for its Liver Birds which sit proudly on top of the Liver Building, one of the Three Graces which ornament the Pier Head on the river, the others being the Mersey Docks Building and the Cunard Building.

I live about forty minutes train ride away from the city which makes it the easiest way to travel, no hassles with the traffic etc plus being a big kid I do like travelling on the trains and Liverpool’s Lime Street station, with it’s fantastic overall roof, is one of the more impressive stations to arrive at.

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LIVERPOOL. Lime Street Station from St. George’s Plateau.

Its also right on the city centre and everything you would want to see is within an easy walk.  Facing you as you leave the station onto Lime Street is the impressive bulk of St. Georges Hall with it’s majestic pillared frontage.  The hall opened in 1851 as a combined concert hall and Law Courts, I did my jury service there some years back, the courts have moved to a purpose built location nearer the River Mersey, leaving the old courtrooms open as a museum, together with the former cells in the labyrinth of passageways under the hall. 

03/08/13 Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL. St.Georges Hall from St. John’s Gardens.

At the back of St. George’s Hall are St.John’s gardens. Once the site of an infirmary and cemetery which had become full, the area was cleared with the deceased being reburied elsewhere and the gardens were opened in 1904 and now are home to several monuments and statues to local and national notables. It is a quiet oasis in a very busy part of the city, bounded on one side by the Walker art Gallery, Central Library and the World Museum. 

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LIVERPOOL. The Cavern Club.

You can’t mention Liverpool and not mention the Beatles. I won’t try to compete with the real experts but just say that in the Cavern Quarter on Mathew Street is the recreation of the famous club which helped the group make their name.

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LIVERPOOL. The Town Hall

As well as caverns, Liverpool has no shortage of beautiful buildings one of which is the Town Hall, dating from the 1750’s and sitting elegantly in charge on Castle Street. 

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LIVERPOOL. St. James Gardens. The Huskisson Memorial.

Tucked away behind the  bulk of the Anglican Cathedral is St. James Gardens, an area with an intriguing history. Located well below the level of the surrounding streets the gardens were formerly a quarry dating from the 16th century which were in turn laid out as a cemetery by private subscription in the 1820’s. The circular tomb above marks the last resting place of William Huskisson who met his untimely end being hit by Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive at Parkside on the day of the official opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. A small spring bubbles quietly from the base of the massive sandstone walls of the gardens, which lying so low are not disturbed by the sounds of passing traffic, which disappear as you walk down the entrance tunnelled through the sandstone near the cathedral’s main door.  

22-04-12 LIVERPOOL Titanic celebrations

LIVERPOOL. Sea Odyssey Celebrations.

Proud of it’s history, in 2012 Liverpool was the setting for the Sea Odyssey performance by the Royal de Luxe troupe with their signature puppets in honour of the 100 anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic, whose owners, The White Star Line where based in the city.  The young girl puppet made her progress through the city from Stanley Park to the Pier Head, meeting her Uncle the Diver along the way.

So that’s a dip of the toe into Liverpool, not a definitive history but an impression over a cup of coffee. If you haven’t visited do, if you have visit again, you will alway find something new.

LIVERPOOL MUSEUMS INFORMATION

St. GEORGES HALL INFORMATION

THE CAVERN INFORMATION

ST. JAMES GARDENS INFORMATION

 

 

The Munlochy Clootie Well

The Clootie well at Munlochy is a favourite location of mine, all the lore so because I discovered it by accident. It is located in Scotland on the Black Isle. I was on holiday in Scotland and had driven up to Dingwall and had returned via Cromarty on the tip of the Black Isle. My route back took me through the village of Munlochy and on a back road I spotted what looked to be a collection of rags fluttering through the trees.  Intrigued by this I stopped and found the Clootie Well. A cloot is Scots dialect for a cloth, the idea is that a strip of cloth is dipped into the waters of a well and tied to a tree and as the cloth decays and vanishes whatever your ailment or problem is vanishes with it. The healing well at munlochy is thought to be dedicated to St. Boniface. 

28/08/14 SCOTLAND. The Black Isle. Munlochy Clooty Well.

SCOTLAND. The Black Isle. A clooted tree at the Munlochy Clootie Well. The tradition is to dip a cloth, a cloot, in the nearby well and then tie it to a nearby tree while making a wish. Some people get carried away.

The well has proved to be very popular over time as you can see, with whole garments and shoes being added to the collection in the trees. The atmosphere is quite spooky at times, as the wind rises and falls the items of clothing take on a life of their own and movements in the corner of your eye can be a little bit alarming.  I always try to fit in a visit whenever I am in Scotland, the ebb and flow of garments, dolls teddy bears etc add that extra dimension of feeling you are being watched as you walk around the paths that snake their way through the trees. If you are planning a visit to Scotland try and fit in a visit. A word of warning though. Should you remove anything from the well it is said that you will be cursed with the original donors ailment or problem. 

28/08/14 The Black Isle. Munlochy Clooty Well.  Shiny Shoes.

THE BLACK ISLE. The Munlochy Clootie Well. The tradition is to dip a cloth, a cloot, in the nearby wel and tie it to the branches of the trees while making a wish. Some people take this a bit further as this pair of shoes proves. I wonder if they walked home barefoot?

Clootie Well Information

 

Chester Roamings.

19/04/14 CHESTER. The Eastgate Clock.

CHESHIRE, Chester. The clock on the Eastgate, Eastgate Street.

With its origins as Deva, a Roman settlement founded in the AD70’s Chester is one of my favourite destinations and as the city is only a short train ride away I visit frequently through the year. Above is the elegant clock which sits on top of the walls on Eastgate Street, accepted as possibly the most photographed clock in the UK after Big Ben. The clock was erected in 1899 to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria and sits  on the archway which replaced the original gateway in the 1700’s. Chester is proud of its walls which still completely circle the city and as the need for their defensive capabilities receded they became a place to walk and promenade, helping them to survive largely unscathed to the present.

04/10/14  CHESHIRE, Chester. Eastgate Street.

CHESHIRE, Chester. Eastgate Street looking down from the Eastgate and the clock. The street full of shoppers on a sunny autumn Saturday.

this is the view from under the Eastgate clock looking up toward Chester Cross.  The half timber buildings which are another of the recognisable features of Chester line the street on either side. These contain The Rows, the covered, first floor shopping areas, medieval in origin they were heavily renovated in Victorian times and these together with restricted vehicle access make Chester one of the easier cities to get around.

19/04/14 CHESTER. Bridge Street & Eastgate Street.

CHESHIRE, Chester. The Top of Bridge Street, looking along Eastgate Street towards the Eastgate clock.

This is Chester Cross at the head of Bridge Street, Eastgate Street leads away back to the clock and on the right can be seen the steps which lead up the The Rows. this area is a great meeting place, with sand artists, buskers and preachers all adding their efforts to the lively mix that ebbs and flows along. 

19/04/14 CHESTER. Bridge Street, The Rows.

CHESHIRE, Chester. Bridge Street, the Rows.

Inside The Rows on Bridge Street which leads down to the River Dee. The Rows make an excellent grandstand from which to watch Chester go by and practise you candid photography skills.

 

 

19/04/14 CHESTER. Bridge Street. Coffee For Two.

CHESHIRE, Chester. Bridge Street, a couple enjoying afternoon coffee in the sunshine

The Rows also extend along Bridge Street.

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CHESHIRE. Chester. Looking down Bridge Street & The Rows towards the River.

Another of Chester’s glories is it’s cathedral, dedicated to St. Werburgh. It originally dates from the 1090’s and in that organic way of cathedrals in the Uk it has gone through an almost continuous, almost organic process of rebuilding and modification. The last being the addition of a freestanding bell tower in the 20th cent.

18/03/13 CHESTER. The Cathedral

Chester Cathedral was originally founded in 1092 as a Benedictine Abbey, some early Norman architecture survives inside. Rebuilding took place in the 13th century, the Cathedral also has 14th century wood carvings on the stalls. The nave roof was built by Sit Charles Gilbert Scott who carried out some restoration in the 19th century.

Should you now be feeling a little out of breath from your tour of Chester you can head down to the River Dee, only a short walk away and enjoy the tree lined Groves area.

21/09/13 CHESTER. The Bandstand on the Groves.

CHESHIRE, Chester. Autumn colours the trees by the bandstand on The Groves by the River Dee.

here you an sit and take some time out, practice your candid camera skills or take a boat trip along the river.

21/09/13 CHESTER. The Bandstand & the Troubadours.

CHESHIRE, Chester. The bandstand in The Groves by the River Dee. The trio is the Troubadours, entertaining the crowds on a sunny afternoon.

You may even be treated to a performance from the elegant bandstand as you relax.

19/04/14 CHESTER. The Groves. Accordionist

CHESHIRE, Chester. An accordionist playing in the Groves alongside the River Dee.

Or you may be serenaded by one of the many buskers who entertain the crowds. 

Chester Cathedral Information

Chester Tourism Information