Sunday, 30 November 2014

Knitting is spreading

Knitting exhibition

The craze for knitting goes on.  Staffordshire seems to like it; one village in the county claims to be the most knitted-over in the country. Hmm.
And at the Burslem School of Art, knitting has recently taken over the exhibition area.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Puzzling vandalism

Broken lock on gates to the churchyard in Cannock

Now and again one comes across an instance of mindless vandalism that is so stupid it's startling.  (Fortunately, I don't see much mindless vandalism in my wanderings. Thank goodness).

However, this was odd.  The lock on the 200 year old iron gates to the churchyard at St Luke's in Cannock has been smashed off by someone - who would have had to bring along a sledgehammer with them...
And, erm, there's a permanently-open entry right next to the gates!
Working that one out has flummoxed me.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Watching the gravestone

This graveyard angel is different to most in that, instead of standing above the grave, it is attached to and looking at the gravestone itself. 
It's worn, but it still has a strange, morbid fascination to it.
You'll find it at Great Haywood.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Not so secret society

Memorial tablets to freemasons in Stoke Minster Church

The idea of freemasonry is still vaguely controversial... are freemasons a secret society of eccentrics or simply an example of a successful networking group?  A recent BBC article opened up the discussion again.

I know that Freemasonry started to get very respectable and widespread in the early part of the last century, but even so I was surprised to see the virtual whole of the west wall of Stoke Minster Church covered in memorial tablets to freemasons.  
I need to read up on the subject I guess.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Tribute to pottery industry

Roundel on The Lancaster Building in Newcastle under Lyme

The Lancaster Building in Newcastle under Lyme, was built, in the late 1930s, right in the middle of the town, as an expression of local pride and to indicate the town's modernism.  It's a fine and functional building.
It pays homage to the town's past with a series of roundels on its sides - this one indicates the small, but important, element that pottery played in the industrial life of the borough.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

It's not what it seems

Local maps simply indicate that this building in fields near Creswell is an 'abandoned chapel'.  To my untrained eye, it looked like an old brick barn which had collapsed.  It just seems to be sleeping, somehow.

In fact, it is the remains of an ancient, twelfth-century chapel.  But there is no sign to indicate such; it is just standing on its own, away from any passing contact.  Its history seems largely lost.
I find that lack of recognition very odd.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Knot in a twist

Iron girder in Cheadle Indoor Market

This rather handsome iron girder holds up the roof of the Cheadle Indoor Market - the manufacturer is Silvester & Hopkins, a firm which specialised in iron winding machinery for the area's coal-mines.

As a nod to the locality, S&H placed a Stafford Knot in their maker's mark.
Trouble is: they have the knot upside down.   (Yes, I know: only I would care about this!!)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Abandoned chimney

Chimney of the old pumping station at Gailey Pools reservoir

Chilly old autumn has definitely set in and all is damp & miserable - though it doesn't feel cold enough to be called Winter yet.
This is the (now-disused) chimney of the old pumping station at Gailey Pools reservoir. It stands all alone, fenced off and overgrown with ivy, in its abandoned isolation on the less visited side of the water.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Cafe with built-on gravestones

Lichfield Cathedral tea-shop car-park

Hmm. The little tea-shop adjacent to Lichfield Cathedral is very pleasant in many ways... but the wall in its car-park is (oddly) lined with grave-stones...
As you can see in this photo, whoever made the arrangement even decided that there wasn't enough room on the left end for one more gravestone, so s/he seems to have sliced the last one down the middle, thus making only a half of it left!
Very strange.  But no-one in the cafe seemed to know what it was all about.  (Maybe the car-park is built over a small graveyard).

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Solar panel runs ditch

Solar panel

Solar panels seem to be popping up everywhere as a form of cheap(er) energy, especially for small projects. It all seems a bit hopeful, bearing in mind that the weather has been so grey and rainy over the last week; but I'm told they do earn their keep.
This one is perched on top of a brick shed which encloses what I think is a small sluice controlling the flow of water through a small ditch. (I think...)   
Seems a rather clever way to me of powering a low-energy need.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Occupy! ... to save war memorial

War Memorial inside the old Fenton Town Hall

Heritage issues can, and do, cause emotions to get to boiling point - much to some people's surprise.

The case of the War Memorial inside the old Fenton Town Hall is just such a case.  For over a year, local feelings have seethed.  The town-hall building (in which the memorial is installed) has been sold off by the government to a business; but local people are unhappy that 'their' war memorial - which cannot be moved for fear it would break up - will be cut off from them, away inside a private building.

Anyway, it all came to a head this Remembrance weekend - and thirty local residents have 'occupied' the site, and are holding out against the police even now.
What will happen next?

See: Protesters inside Fenton hall (BBC News) / Protesters claim Magna Carta rights (Staffs Live News) / Save Our Memorial group (Facebook) / Fenton Memorial Human Chain (YouTube)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Memorial without dignity

Memorial Garden at Rudyard Lake

It's Remembrance Sunday tomorrow; a solemn day in this 100th anniversary year of the start of World War One.

There has been some criticism though that people are going out this year creating all sorts of 'unsustainable' memorials, and should think more about how these memorials will maintain their dignity in years to come.
The Memorial Garden at Rudyard Lake is a case in point.  It's simply a nasty mess, and should be dismantled as soon as possible, as it carries little or no dignity.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Lady hiding from the cold

Statue at Sandon Hall

Poor girl !  I guess she's modestly covering up - but I wouldn't be surprised if she's shivering too.  Yes, winter has kicked in: there was a heavy frost this morning.
I'm told this is a copy of the nineteenth century Venus Italica statue, by the sculptor Canova.  Another copy can be seen in Sydney too (see Comments, below).
Seen in the gardens at Sandon Hall.

This post was featured on the International City Daily Photo portal

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Power to the people

The Hollybush Pub at Seighford

The last post was about the fate of rural villages, most of which are seeing their local services diminish, dwindle and disappear.
But n Seighford, they were not having any of that!  When their local pub, The Hollybush, couldn't find a buyer or a tenant, the villagers stepped in and set up their own pub company to run it.  Under this new management system, the pub has been running successfully for almost two years now.
People power indeed! 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The smallest 'shop' in Staffordshire

Vending machine outside the Raddle Inn

As small rural communities dwindle, facilities - including village shops - disappear.
Hollington is a good example of this tendency, as there are possibly only a couple of dozen scattered homes now left in the vicinity and very little else except sheep.  But, they do still have a pub, The Raddle Inn
Outside the Raddle is a vending machine, selling bread, milk, bacon, chocolate bars.