Saturday, 28 February 2015

Walking Dead in Blythe Bridge

Walking Dead display in Blythe Bridge Library

Such is the fashion among teenagers for zombies and their ilk that this library decided a good way to get them in was by putting up a lurid Walking Dead books display.
It is very different to the displays that were in my library as a child - usually of something like 'women's costume in the seventeenth century' - which seem very dull by comparison...

Incidentally, Blythe Bridge Library is one of those being downgraded in the latest local authority cuts.  Very soon, there will be no librarian or paid staff on-site, though there might be a volunteer or two staffing the desk.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Hell's Grandad

Roy Cox on a limited-edition 'Drive' scooter

It had to be happen - sooner or later, the customised mobility-scooter was bound to make an appearance.

Roy Cox is a bit of a legend in Hednesford.
Here he zips around in his leathers doing speeds of up to eight-miles-an-hour on a limited-edition 'Drive' scooter - with its high handlebars, chrome fittings, solid tyres and extra mirrors.  He says he's the founder member of the Hednesford Old Rockers Club.
It's best to keep out of his way.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Watching the trains go by

West Coast Main Rail Line at Creswell

The West Coast Main Rail Line runs through Staffordshire, with frequent services up and down.  There are lots of bridges in the county where one can stand around idly and ... just watch trains.

This is the view from Fosse Bridge at Creswell.  This little bridge is almost exclusively used only by the local farmers' cattle - and occasional walkers.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Almost a fairy tale castle

Pumping station at Wombourne

The Victorian pumping station at Wombourne (now empty, disused and decaying) looks even more like a Sleeping Beauty-style enclosed castle, now it is behind its screen of winter-leafless trees.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Anarchy in Burton

Anarchy promotion in Burton

The crossed A inside a circle - the Anarchy sign, beloved of 1977-style rebellious 'punk' youth - seems to have lost some of the terror it could once inspire.

Nowadays the symbol is used to advertise a cheap drinks night at the Association night-club in Burton.  Everything fades, huh?

PS - what is a 'Teapot'?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Brick marks

Bricks with chalk marks

I'm afraid this is me being a bit self-indulgent.  After I saw an art-work by the artist Mark Wallinger which consisted of 1000 bricks all with his first name chalked on them, I thought I'd extend the idea - by marking a number of brick walls in my locality in much the same way. My first name is Mark too.
The photo you see is a montage of some of my efforts.

Of course my work is temporary (the marks were gone after a week of rain) and Mark Wallinger's pieces are a lot more valuable... but I enjoyed the experiment of the comparison.

Monday, 16 February 2015

View from 'Shangri-La'

View over Brown Edge

I've always liked walking round Brown Edge. It's the point where the city (of Stoke) peters out into moorland; but even more, it is strangely locked in on itself, with hills on one side and a forbidding main road on the other - a bit of a Shangri-La in fact, with tiny streets and a very enclosed air.

This picture shows the view from the top of the village towards Endon and on to the main moorlands.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Locked into love

Andressey foot-bridge love-lock

Is Burton upon Trent a romantic place?  Well, there are four pairs of lovers in the town at least...

On the Andressey foot-bridge, you will find four padlocks. 
Each is a 'love-lock', following the recent tradition (can a tradition be recent? hmm) started in Paris, where couples etch their initials on to a padlock, fasten it to a bridge, and then throw the key in the river - as a symbol of their enduring love for one another.

I have a feeling there will be more added during Valentine's Day.

This post was featured on the My Town Shoot-out Photo Blog

Thursday, 12 February 2015


Rushton Spencer Church

The church of Rushton Spencer is a church-within-a-church.  The eighteenth-century sandstone exterior that you see encloses an older, fourteenth-century timber church.
No one is clear as to why the parishioners of 300 years ago wanted to preserve the old building inside the new building.  Perhaps they were just familiar with it, and respected its age...

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Lourdes in Hednesford

Copy of the Lourdes grotto at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church, Hednesford

This extraordinary structure is a copy of the grotto at Lourdes in France.  The famous grotto there is where St Bernadette had her vision of the Mother of Jesus in the mid-nineteenth century.

The structure - complete with statue of the Virgin Mary - stands outside the Our Lady Of Lourdes Church in Hednesford.   On the anniversary of St Bernadette's first vision (February 11th 1858) the church members have a celebratory event here.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Olde worlde tavern?

Why this pub was ever given such a daft name - 'Ye Olde Manor Inne', complete with antiquated spelling - is beyond comprehension.  Such a title might well be suited to a country tavern in a quaint village, but this is a no-frills pub built slap bang in the centre of an industrial area.
Yes, there was a Fenton Manor once upon a time, but I suspect (I could be wrong) that it had been pulled down long before this building was erected in 1895.
I'd like to know for sure though...

Friday, 6 February 2015

Past in the present

Lambert Street in Tunstall

Lambert Street in Tunstall
is another of those terraced streets in the former industrial quarters of Stoke-on-Trent which has probably not changed much in appearance for a hundred years.

Yes, the 'backs' has had a fresh layer of tarmac (over cobbles probably) and a modern street-light has been installed, but the brick-walls would be as familiar to the families who lived there in 1900 as they are to those who live there now.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Socrates in Seighford ... probably not

Stone carving in Seighford Church

This rather surprising head can be found on its own above a doorway in the sacristy at Seighford Church.  I was wandering round, and when I first saw it I presumed there would be a notice nearby indicating who it was meant to be a portrait of - but ... nothing.

It seems a little too honest to be a tribute to a former clergyman of the parish (which was my first guess), so I guessed at the Greek philosopher Socrates, who was known to be pug-nosed and not a beauty.

But, on reflection, it may well be Saint Chad, to whom the church is dedicated.  Odd that there is no notification to that effect though.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Two hundred miles from Tamworth

Signpost of Tamworth Road in  Newcastle-u-Tyne

It always delights me to see reminders of Staffordshire when I am away from the county.

Tamworth Road in the Newcastle-u-Tyne suburb of Arthur's Hill is just off a busy market, so it sees a good deal of life.  The council have given it this rather grand modern-art metal signpost.

It's nor clear though why this road should named after Tamworth (a name that seems to refer only to the southern Staffordshire town), nearly two hundred miles away.