Monday, 31 March 2014

Listed triangular prism

Milestone in Draycott

This milepost is, believe it or not, a listed building. But, it's not unique among mileposts in being listed, and sometimes they describe the listing as of a 'group of mileposts'.
Made of cast-iron, usually around 150 years ago, and now maintained by county highways teams, they are still much loved.   Believe it or not.

Incidentally, I tried to find a name for its shape, which is a three-dimensional triangle with a slanted end-face. Such a shape has no exact name.  The nearest that the Internet could come up with was 'Triangular Prism'.

This post was featured on the City Daily Photo's Theme Day pages 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Skips of shards

Discarded pottery shards

Burleigh Pottery
still occupies a nineteenth century potbank building in the northern end of Stoke-on-Trent, and - thanks to the fact that it shares the old building with the Middleport Pottery Project - one can still go round a lot of it and imagine how it would have been a hundred and fifty years ago.

But the site is still definitely that of a working pottery - as you can see see from the skips of discarded shards round the back...

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Stoke at Euston

Euston Station western lodge

This photo of the Euston Station western lodge is a companion to my photo of the eastern lodge. The lodges' Victorian frontages list the names of all the towns that you can reach directly from Euston - including Stoke of course.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Canal makers stream through

'Double Culvert Bridge' (number 40)

The makers of the Shropshire Union Canal believed in going the straight line - so they cut their way through hills, banks, water-courses and the like, rarely veering. 
They were of so fixed a mind to go headlong through natural features that 'Double Culvert Bridge' (number 40) near Norbury, as well as having the canal underneath it, even has to carry the original natural stream of the locality through and along it.

See also: High Bridge

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Impressed villagers buy old lady...a grave

Mary Brookes' gravestone, Horton

Living to be 119 years old is a pretty outstanding thing to do - especially in the eighteenth century. Mary Brookes' fellow villagers in Horton (near Leek) seem to have been so astounded by this feat that they all clubbed together to buy this gravestone for her - "at their own expense to perpetuate this remarkable instance of longevity" - as is inscribed on the stone's face.

I suppose it was rather clever of her, at that.

This post was featured on the Cemetery Sunday website

Friday, 21 March 2014

The old lady of Tamworth

The Globe Inn, Tamworth

The Globe Inn is one of the oldest names in Tamworth pubs. It's been rebuilt and restored over the years, and the latest refurb was just five years ago (curiously, the official history of the pub does not mention this fact).  But it still has the appearance and character of a Victorian pub.

It's a good ol' boozer.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Golden hour...

Cannock Chase at sunset

Cannock Chase is not my favourite beauty spot in Staffordshire - it is both too bleak AND too undemanding.  Bit dull really.

However, when the sun is at its 'golden hour', the chase does give great light effects.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Digging India

JCB excavator in the streets of Mumbai

This JCB excavator in the streets of Mumbai, in India, is another of my photos of 'Staffordshire abroad'.

The world-famous JCB company was born and fostered in East Staffordshire, and its main factories and World HQ are here to this day.
Whenever in the world I see a JCB - with its bright yellow livery - I always remember home.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Boswell - in with the traders

Statue of James Boswell

James Boswell looks rather cheeky, and rather pleased with himself in this statue-portrait in Lichfield's Market Square.  Some people say he probably was just that, though this likeness was made some hundred years after Boswell had actually died.

The link between Boswell and Lichfield is a little tenuous.  James Boswell wrote the biography of the great eighteenth-century literary man, Dr Johnson, basically by hanging around with him and writing down a lot of what he said.  Dr Johnson was, of course, born in Lichfield.

I like this statue. James, who is up on a plinth, appears to be glancing down at the market traders in a seemingly wink-and-a-nod way...

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Green Man grins

Green Man (from the doorway arch at Wolstanton Church)

Yes, Spring has sprung!  There are green buds appearing everywhere; and the birds are making a huge racket, and running around grabbing bits of garden debris for their nests.
There is even the sound of lawn-mowers in the air - a sure sign of Spring.

Under the circumstances, a photo of a grinning Green Man (from the doorway arch at Wolstanton Church) is very apt.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sun dial gets busy

Sun-dial on Castle Church in Stafford

At last this sun-dial has some work to do! Yes, it's properly Spring at last, with three days of warm sunshine in a row, and the croci and daffodils blooming.

The sun-dial is quite special, being dated 1624, as you can see - though the central gnomon is clearly much newer than that.
You can see it on the side of Castle Church in Stafford, just 100 yards from the Castle itself. Curiously, it's always called Castle Church, rather than by its dedication of St Mary's.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Unused grit

Grit-bin at Draycott-in-the-Clay, with Stafford Knot

Poor old Staffs County Council...  After the winter last year, when we were under snow and ice for virtually two months, it laid in loads of grit, and ordered extra grit bins for side-roads, all ready for this winter.
And what did we get this winter?  Rain, rain, rain - and hardly a flake of snow! 
Who'd be a planner?

This grit-bin is at Draycott-in-the-Clay, and has the usual Stafford Knot, symbol of the county.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Horrifying statue

Statue of Christina Collins at Stone

To me, this carving is one of the most horrifying sights in the whole county.  It stands in a secluded spot on the far side of the canal in Stone - and it is quite unmarked, with no sign to explain what it is, which almost makes the more horrifying.

The piece remembers the murder of Christina Collins, a young woman who was raped and killed by some boatmen as she travelled with them on a narrowboat along the canal in the nineteenth century.  Her body was found in the water further south, at Rugeley.

This terrifying sculpture, with its twisted neck, naked torso, missing arms, large pudenda and strange jagged line down its centre, seems to point to the agony of her last hours; and I find it difficult to look at.

It is sobering reminder - on the day before International Women's Day - of the horrors that women go through.  

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Remembering Sir Robert

Sir Robert Peel Family monument in St Peter's in Drayton Bassett

There are Peel Family monuments littered all through St Peter's in Drayton Bassett, but don't get mixed up - this is the one to the great man, who was the prime minister of the country in the early half of the nineteenth century.

The 'People' raised monuments to him because of his courage in defying his own party, when he went about repealing unfair laws.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Hollington weave

Gravestone at St John's in Hollington

The markings on gravestones can be a bit of a mystery to the uninitiated (such as me).  This weave pattern on a stone at St John's in Hollington was, I thought, a graphic design based on the deceased man's name (Samuel Smith) - but it doesn't compute.

It's not a common pattern.  What does it signify?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Sign reflects Victorian confidence

Wrought-iron sign outside Tunstall Library

This marvellously intricate piece of wrought-iron work hangs outside Tunstall Library, and says on it 'Tunstall Free Library'.  Quite why the sign is needed is a mystery as Tunstall Library, a great piece of Victorian Gothic architecture, is absolutely massive, and you couldn't miss it if you wanted to.

However, such a grandiose piece of artwork (and the library building itself) shows the huge confidence of those late Victorians. Tunstall was then an important industrial town, in the middle of a country that commanded the largest empire ever seen on Earth. I guess this sign rather reflects that feeling.