Saturday, 29 June 2013

Lichfield's small stop

Lichfield Trent Valley
is one of those small, bare railway stations which are better called ‘stops’ than stations.  

It has the suffix ‘Trent Valley’ because it was one of the stations on the original, old, and very short, Trent Valley line.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Lady in a niche

This charming sculpture is to be found tucked away in a niche, almost out of sight, in Keele Hall, the mansion that is the oldest part of Keele University.

It has no attribution or labelling.
I was rather wondering who the sculptor was, but no one seemed to know.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Red splashes in the fields

The red poppies are making brilliant splashes in the fields, and all the more colourful for being mixed in with plants of different hues.

Hot today - but who knows how soon it will change again?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Memorial to "benevolent individuals"

This is a most unusual cemetery memorial, as it remembers no particular person, nor does it name any individuals of this group of "benevolent" people.

It's a memorial to all those who have donated body-parts after their deaths to the local university's School of Medicine.  The main campus of Keele University is just half-a-mile from this site, Newcastle-under-Lyme's new municipal cemetery.

It's maybe unique in its dedication. I'm not sure.

This post was featured on the Cemetery Sunday website

Friday, 21 June 2013

Stafford knot up the pole

I collect Stafford Knot photos, and here is another one.

This time, the knot (seen under the A&A wording) is being used to underline the localness of this scaffolding firm.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Burslem to India

The name Kipling is associated with Staffordshire because the nineteenth-century artist & designer John Lockwood Kipling designed some of the decorative friezes on the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem (see my blog-post about the Institute) - and he also named his son, the famous novelist Rudyard Kipling, after Lake Rudyard in north Staffordshire, which he and his wife visited.
In fact, John Lockwood and his wife actually met in Burslem.

The odd thing is that I don't know if Rudyard Kipling ever did visit Staffordshire himself.

Of course, Rudyard was born and raised in British India; because John Lockwood had gone out there to head the Bombay (now Mumbai) School of Art.

Whilst there in India, John Lockwood continued his design work; and on a visit to India myself I was able to photograph some of his friezes over the entrance to Bombay's Crawford Market . You can see the main one on this page. 
It's interesting that they continue his interest in 'honest labour'.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Earth, air, fire, water ... and spirit

The five elements of classical times were earth, air, fire, water and spirit.  To celebrate the solstice this month, the City Daily Portal website asked its members to put together photos incorporating those elements together.

My own entry is this one of a fishing pool in mid-Staffordshire.  I've cheated a bit by using the fire of the setting sun (which lights the reeds)...
And the spirit? of the ghosts of those anglers who once sat here, 'en plein air', enjoying the countryside.

See other photos on the CDP website celebrating the five elements

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Magnificence - coming back

The facade of the Wedgwood Institute is, by any standards, magnificent.

Built 150 years ago in Stoke-on-Trent to house the city's school of art, it features plaques of 'great men' on its front, as well as reliefs of the astrological houses/months and of various creative labours..
Topping the doorway is a statue of Josiah Wedgwood himself.

However, its magnificence is not enough, as no one has quite known recently what to do with the building, which has been empty for five years.

However, the latest news is that the Princes Trust has stepped in with a promise to bring it back to its deserved state.   See:  Institute to be restored
I'm pleased.

This post was featured on the City Daily Portal July 2013 theme 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Landlord is just a walk-over

Arthur Rigby was, the story goes, such a popular landlord at The Wheatsheaf Pub in Tunstall that the regulars had this mosaic threshold made in his memory when he died in 1937. He'd been the publican there for almost thirty years.

The Wheatsheaf holds on to its traditions so much that the mosaic is still there to this day, and you too can remember Arthur as you walk in its front door.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Is it a tree? A camel?

This tree in Longton Park resembles nothing so much to me as a resting camel... or elephant.

How it got its amazing curvature is a mystery. Some park-keeper must know though.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Sarah's poisoned grave

One tombstone at Wolstanton's ancient church of St Margaret's is up there among all the most amazing gravestones to be found in the county.
Quite simply, it points the finger at a murderer – the murderer of the woman in the grave.   

From death, Sarah Smith accuses the perpetrator of the foul deed against her:
“It was C-----s B----w / That brought me to my end. /
Dear parents, mourn not for me / For God will stand my friend. /
With half a Pint of Poyson / He came to visit me. /
Write this on my Grave / That all that read it may see.”

Whether Sarah dictated this before she died (in 1763), or her angry parents had it inscribed, who knows?  She was just 21 years old.
It’s believed that C…s B…w was never hauled up before the law - despite this indictment.

This post was featured on the Cemetery Sunday website 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Dry stones in the Peak

Dry-stone walls are a feature of the landscape in the Peak District, and the Staffordshire part of the Peak District abounds in them.

Simply, dry-stone walling is the art of building a wall out of the natural bits of rock lying around, but fitting them together so snugly that the structure has no need of mortar (thus 'dry' stone walls) to hold it firm. 

I tried doing it once. It's like trying to build a 3-D jigsaw.  It takes a real eye to see what stone best fits what space - without using up all your 'best' stones immediately.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Cave garden opening

The National Garden Scheme 'open garden' events in Staffordshire enable nosey people (like me), and enthusiastic gardeners too of course, to look round private gardens.
It's all for charity, so there is a small charge.

Mostly the gardens one sees are nothing particularly out of the ordinary - though they do glow with the reflected pleasure and hard-work of their owners, and you can spend a happy thirty minutes chatting with those owners about how they created their pride & joy.

On Sunday, I went to this one at Brocton, where the property was built on the side of a sandstone rock hill.  The owners, rather cleverly, ensured that an old cave, hollowed out of the rock, was highlighted as a curious and interesting feature of the garden.
It rather bemused visitors.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Black wool, white socks = Zwartbles

These dainty lambs - with the distinctive white 'socks' - are from the sheep known as a Zwartbles.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Decaying before one's eyes

The 'indoor market' in Burslem has been closed for some time.  At its other entrance, there is a rather hopeful placard announcing that it is hoped to re-open it one day, but it looks doomed to me.

There is a reason for choosing this photo for today, as this is the day that the City Daily Portal website is calling for photos on the theme of the 'Beauty Of Decay'.  I guess the scene is not in any way beautiful - but maybe the composition of it is (?)

Anyway, if you want decay, Burslem is the place to go.  I love Burslem, but... yes, it is decaying... Before one's very eyes. 

This post was featured on the City Daily Portal June 2013 theme