Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Houses with style

Porch of Glenroyd, Stanley St, Tunstall

I can't help thinking that these decorative porch tiles are lovely - and worth preserving.  It's not unusual to see them in older houses in Stoke-on-Trent, though there are fewer as householders often pull them out nowadays; I saw these in Stanley Street in Tunstall, in a row of late Victorian houses.

Yes, the arrangement is a bit predictable, being all in patterns of squares and rectangles, but - can you imagine modern housing estates incorporating anything like so darned attractive as these?  They just add... some style.

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

Monday, 28 April 2014

Skeletal effigy

Monument to Thomas Heywode in Lichfield Cathedral

This rather grim effigy is one of the oldest monuments in Lichfield Cathedral, dating back to the end of the 15th century.  The tomb-figure is that of Thomas Heywode, a dean of the cathedral, who seems to have been also responsible for maintaining its library.

Quite what the original figure looked like, I guess we may never know.  The monument, despite its great age, is not much talked about in the guides; and the actual piece itself is decayed, and almost tucked away, behind the North Door.  However, I can quite believe that the good Dean had no problem being represented in a skeletal way - they were not so squeamish about the processes of death in those days.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Cherry blossom

 Cherry blossom

The cherry blossom is pretty special this year.  As a friend of mine says, it's "bunchy" this year.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Three standing bishops

Checkley Churchyard - 'Three Bishops'

These three standing stones in Checkley Churchyard are known as the 'Three Bishops' because (the story goes) they were erected, about a thousand years ago, in memory of a nearby battle in which three bishops are said to have died.
Bishops, in those days, were somewhat more involved in fighting than they are today...

The Saxon-cross carvings are fascinating.

Of course, no one really knows what their origin is, though, half a mile away is a small tract of land known as Deadman's Green.  Locals like to say that this is known as such because that was the site of the supposed battle.  Maybe.

This post was featured on the Cemetery Sunday website

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Vigorous dragon-slaying

Pub-sign at The George at Alstonefield

The George at Alstonefield is a fabulous pub, right in the middle of an unspoilt village in the Peak District - so it attracts lots of walkers.

Unsurprisingly, its pub-sign features the most famous George of them all, Saint George, slaying the dragon. It's a vigorous, stylish piece of painting, especially for a pub-sign, but, sadly, I couldn't get information about the artist.

It's Saint George's Day tomorrow (April 23rd).

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Unexpected 400 year old sight

Johnson Hall, Eccleshall

This amazing, and largely unremarked, house near Eccleshall dates back to the sixteenth century - though it was extensively restored in the late nineteenth century.   It now houses luxury apartments.

Strangely enough, coming across this manor house just reminded me of one of the joys of just strolling about on country footpaths: the unexpected sight.   
I had never heard of this place, Johnson Hall - but, suddenly, there it was!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Great preserver

Shelves at Gladstone Pottery Museum

... jar upon jar of 'colours' used in the pottery industry from a hundred years ago.

Lots of people will descend upon Gladstone Pottery Museum this Easter weekend - because it's a fun place (believe it or not) with its maze of courtyards & outbuildings and quirky displays.

However, it does have a serious purpose too, as preserver of the history of this once-pervasive industry.  As this display shows.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Just missed it at the Floral Hall

Cafe at the Floral Hall,Tunstall

With photography, you often wonder what 'might have been'.  This could have been a great photo, but the people are out of symmetry to the window-frame; and I didn't realise at the time that a poster is coming out of the girl's head.  Ah well.

The shot was taken in the cafe at the Floral Hall, the slightly old-fashioned pavilion & dance-hall sited deep in Tunstall Park.  I like going there; it's quiet, and the atmosphere makes one feel one is being transported back to the 1950s.
But the volunteers who run the cafe are cheerfully casual and friendly.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Beer long time gone

The old Joules Brewery Warehouse

The old Joules Brewery Warehouse building still stands by the canal in Stone as it has done for over a hundred years.  Only now, the actual Joules Brewery has long upped sticks and left the town.  The business (well, the name anyway) re-located to Shropshire a few years ago.

The red-cross that you can see in the gable-ends is the long-time symbol of the brewery.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Sunset tree

Sunset tree

April is the best month to find leafless trees and strong sunsets occurring together.  The fine delineation of the twigs and branches against the strong golden light always gives a thrill.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Death by the road

Roadside memorial at Rudyard

This roadside memorial to a motor-accident victim, Carl Matthews, is unusual, in being screwed into a tree.  The family must come back over the years to re-fix it, I suppose, as the tree expands.

The memorial is by the A523, the twisty and narrow road that runs parallel to Rudyard Lake - not a road I enjoy driving along.
Such memorials do bring home to the observer just how wasteful and pointless road-deaths are.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

George & Dragon looks back

It's the month of St George, whose feast-day is on the 23rd.  As far as saints go, it's a safe bet that he has more pubs named after him than any other.
However, as more and more pubs close, so, inevitably, there will be some bearing his name.

The George & Dragon in Uttoxeter does not open for trade any more, and is now a private home.  However, rather sportingly I think, the owner has chosen to retain the old inn's leaded-lights windows.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Brassy Hawys

Memorial brass, in Norbury Church

This memorial brass, in Norbury Church, is reputed to be the oldest in Staffordshire, though it gets no special treatment (as you can see).
The lady underneath it lived in the fourteenth century and her name was Hawys Botiller.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Castle - going down!

Tamworth Castle

Heights are not my strong point, so even taking this photo, looking down into a courtyard in Tamworth Castle, was slightly brave. 
Well I think so.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Arrows make grooves

Checkley Church arrow-head markings

These puzzling marks scratched into the side of the wall at Checkley Church have quite a story to tell.

They are indentations left by archers of old, who were required by ancient law to practise their deadly craft once a week within the grounds of their local church.
What these generations of bowmen did was to use the same spots to sharpen up their arrow-heads, and so wore the scratches into grooves.