Friday, 29 November 2013

Burton at Euston

Being a fan of things Staffordshire, it always gives me a buzz to see a Staffordshire reference in an unexpected place.

Recently, coming into Euston Station on my way home from London to Staffordshire, I glanced at the frontages of the old lodges, which face Euston Road.  The square, stone lodges are the last bit of the old Victorian part of Euston Station (and now house a small bar).

On the sides of the lodges are listed the names of all the towns that you can reach directly from Euston - including the likes of Glasgow, and so on.
I was surprised to see the name of Burton there.  Burton's rail link is now simply on a provincial line between Birmingham and Derby - there is no direct connection to Euston.  
It just shows how old these lodges are!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Great artist - small church

This is as beautiful a piece of Victorian stained-glass as you'll find anywhere. The artist is Edward Burne-Jones, the great Pre-Raphaelite painter.  When the sun shines through it, I could look at it for hours.
I am continually stunned how much work of great beauty is hidden away in our country churches.

Ingestre Church - where you'll find this window - is however more famous for its architecture and its church furniture.     It's seventeenth cenury, and (supposedly) was designed by Christopher Wren.

The friends of the church do a great job in raising funds to maintain it - and to keep it open for the public to look round.

Monday, 25 November 2013

A crooked pub

Yes, this pub is literally tipsy. One end is actually four feet higher than the other, because the sunken end is dipping into subsidence. 
There are odd optical illusions that occur - like seeing a marble roll over a table upwards, and grandfather clocks that appear to be ever on the verge of falling over.

Actually, the weird thing is that The Crooked House was declared unsafe (not surprisingly) in 1940.  But a local brewery decided it would be fun to preserve it - and sure enough, despite its remote location, it has been a tourist attraction ever since. 
Regular checks are carried out to ensure it's not slipping dangerously...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Dismount - and re-mount

You know you're in horse-riding territory when you see four mounting blocks within a few yards of each other on a road.  
Yes, we are near Whittington, in open countryside; but this part of the road also goes up and over the rail line, where I guess the horses might spook if an express came through.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Autumn colours

We're having a real russet autumn... it's a real joy just to get out and see the various colours turning. There are oranges, scarlets, golds - and even reds!

This tree sits outside St Editha's Church in Tamworth.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Once was employment

Pretty grim, isn't it?  Another example of 'ruin pornography' I suppose.

This photo was taken in the Stoke-on-Trent district of Middleport, an industrial area of former potteries which is extremely run-down. 
Strangely enough, a nearby working pottery, Burleigh, makes a virtue of this dire situation - describing itself as authentically Victorian - and so attracting tourists!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Buried in Stone

This Elizabethan tomb is rather weather-beaten - not surprisingly, as it has been out in the cold since 1749.  The old church that it was in was taken down then, and a new one built a few yards away, which still stands.
The knight (probably William Crompton) and his wife have lost bits of legs and arms etc down the years.

You can see it in the town of Stone, by St Michael's Church.

This post was featured on the Cemetery Sunday website

Friday, 15 November 2013

A folly on the heights

Mow Cop 'Castle' as it's known, is, of course, a deliberate ruin.  It was built to look like this, in a piece of eccentricity, by the local landowner in the mid eighteenth century.

The structure is placed right at the top of Mow Cop bluff and has views for miles for all around.  It's quite a landmark.

In this picture I seem to have accidentally photographed (just to the right of the archway) some flying insect.  Or could it be a bullet?  Hmm.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Railway colours survive

On the South Staffordshire Railway Walk, a footpath that has taken over the trackbed of the old SSR, you will still see, on the bridges over roads, these 'colours' - a mud-brown shade, with borders of yellow.
I'm guessing that these are the colours of the SSR itself.  Certainly,  the brown tint was the official colouring given to the SSR. 
The SSR was taken over by the LNWR in 1923.

Curiously, on the other side of this fencing (ie the side you can see from the road below), the colours are lavender & white...

What does it all mean?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Axis war graves

It's not so well-known, but there are a lot of German and Italian war-graves in Staffordshire.  This is due partly to the fact that there were prisoner-of-war camps built here in the county during the time, and partly because the military hospitals servicing the enemy forces were here too.

At Burton-upon-Trent's main cemetery in Stapenhill, you will find a number of such Axis war graves. On Armistice Day (November 11th), they are no doubt respected as much as those of the Allied forces.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The gates that dazzle

A Stafford Knot entwined with a symbolic plant (a Tudor rose, I should think). Strange.
Anyway, this is the design on the gates at Maer Hall, a very grand building indeed.  I can't find out anything about this combination of or why it should appear on these gates.

It's likely the gates were built in the late nineteenth century when the Harrison family, a Liverpool ship-owning family, lived at the hall.

In the sunshine, this design fair dazzles one...

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bagnall lions

Funny old autumn weather: long streaky sunlight, bright pale-blue skies and sharp air.

These four lions in a garden in Bagnall seemed to enjoy the sunlight as it arrived.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Mitchell memorial

Yes, this is a SuperMarine plane etched into the bank of this roundabout. I'm sure you guessed that.

This shape, on the northern Tunstall by-pass, is a tribute to the aircraft designer RJ Mitchell, who was born hereabouts.  He also designed the more famous Spitfire.

The work is already beginning to show wear, sadly. 
It is not even that clear what it is, unless you know.
I have a feeling it won't be there much longer.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Autumn stream

Autumn is running late by two to three weeks this year, apparently.  The eating apples are just ripening here in Staffordshire, and the weather is mild, even if cold after the sun goes down.

Oh well, I shall try to cope.

Friday, 1 November 2013

The heights of worship

Known as the 'Chapelle in the Withernesse' (chapel in the wilderness), St Lawrence Church & Graveyard in Rushton Spencer certainly does seem abandoned.

There is not a house or habitation within half a mile of the church, and, if you want to get there from the main road (and don't fancy following the winding lanes to get to it from the back), you have to cross the fields and climb up the side of the ridge to it ... as you can see in this photo. 
In fact the grey streak you can see in the photo on the side of the hill is actually a long railing - erected there to help the weary parishioner make it to the top!

It seems that what happened is not so much that the church was built to be so solitary, on top of the hill, but that the original village around it moved away... down towards the main road, leaving its ancient church behind.

St Lawrence was founded in the 1200s, but, despite its age and isolated position, services are still held there weekly.

This post was featured on the City Daily Photo Theme Day on the theme of 'heights'