A Raft of Apples

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Naval College

Part of the complex of buildings that is the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London which I passed when heading towards the riverside.  Designed and built by Christopher Wren it was also added to by later architects, its most iconic view of its buildings and domes is from the across the river
Described by UNESCO as the "finest and dramatically sited architectural landscape ensemble in the British Isles" unfortunately this is the clearest view I took when departing by river boat.  The reason.  It was just a few days before the Saharan Sand/Dust was going to give London its first smog of the year on the 31st March.
The preceding days (before the full impact of the dust storm) resulted in hazy views such as this taken from Observatory Hill in Greenwich Park of the Naval College and London skyline.
But here is one half of the building domes taken from the Greenwich Park side and as a school crocodile passed on its way to the National Maritime Museum
Where, as threatened in my post for F for Fourth Plinth in this round of ABC Wednesday, here is a photo of where Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Bottle found its permanent home.
As can be imagined Greenwich's naval past is everywhere but the site was originally a palace of the Tudor monarchs (which fell into ruins after the English Civil War). 
An appropriate place to find a statue of Sir Walter Raleigh who was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth and schoolchildren everywhere who enjoy swashbuckling history so no wonder he featured in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. Originally this statue was in Whitehall and was relocated here outside Pepys House.

All the Christopher Wren designed buildings were constructed from 1696-1702 to serve as a Royal Hospital for Seamen, this closed in 1865 and between 1873 to 1998 the buildings were used as the Royal Naval College for training in the naval sciences. Today some buildings are occupied by the University of Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum and are owned by a charitable trust for all to enjoy their architecture.
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at N here

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Manchester Marriage

Don't you just love it when visiting a place you happen upon a marriage like I did with this one in Manchester.  They had chosen the Neo-Gothic magnificence of Manchester Town Hall to plight their troth. All the guests have boarded the motorised transport and all that is left is for the bride and groom to join them.
The photographs have all been taken including the 'kissing the bride', or in the pursuit of equality maybe it is 'kissing the groom'.
Now everyone is off to what is traditionally called the wedding breakfast, although as can be seen from the shadows the time is around 17.00. The bus is one of my all time favourites, a 1951 Leyland Royal Tiger and both it and the Guy Arab IV double decker shown in the first photo were restored by the expertise of Manchester's Walsh Brothers and are owned by Belle Vue Coaches
Manchester Town Hall was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1877 and has many notable sculptures.  I think the marriages take place in the Great Hall outside which on the floor are mosaic patterns of bees (symbolising industry). The other pieces of magnificence inside are Ford Madox Brown's Manchester Murals.  I didn't get a full on photograph of the Town Hall but happily the building featured  on one of the 2012 "A-Z of Britain" postage stamps
The 250 ft Clock Tower is occasionally opened to visit. The three clock faces seen from Albert Square in front of the Town Hall apparently bear the inscription "Teach us to number our Days" but it's too far away for my myopia.
 An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at M here

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Libraries Through the Lens

Squeezed in between more modern structures this little building caught my attention while in London at the weekend.  I wondered what it was, but not for long,  because the sign above the left door says "Public Library".  Looks very inviting doesn't it?  The architect was Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas (1868-1948) who was, as can be seen, a fan of the baroque revival style. Built at the beginning of the 20th Century it is one of the libraries funded by the great philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. He rarely turned down requests for a grant to build a library , the only stipulation was that the local authority would fund its upkeep.  Large parts of the English speaking world have Carnegie Libraries, including my own town. If he was around today doing the same thing these buildings would be very functional but most that were built under his inspired idea to give access to books to all were places you could both learn and dream.   What other purpose could that cupola have but be one to dream under especially when it looks like this inside
This interior view is from The Greenwich Phantom's blog who marvels at the three domes in one building here and appropriately calls it a Greenwich Secret.  If I had known there was such an interior I would have made my way through that public library door to marvel.
Built on a rather grander scale is Liverpool's Central Library, the largest of the cities 22 libraries. It is located in the rows of classical buildings on William Brown Street and has recently been reopened after extensive interior refurbishment last year. I think the rotunda is the reading room but the entrance is the one with the umbrella tables on the left. How very civilized, you could sit and read your book there in the sunshine. The refurbishment also introduced a roof terrace where views of the city can be gained and a literary pavement into the building which can be seen on the BBC's 'In Pictures' views of the £50M restoration here. Always a joy to hear about restoration rather than closure of a library.
 Lastly we have Winchester Library which has been re-branded as the Winchester Discovery Centre, the photo taken at sunset when the exterior floodlights were coming on.  Located in a building that is a former Corn Exchange from 1838, like the other libraries I have shown it is a listed building, but unlike the others its one I have actually been inside.  It is both a lending and reference library but they also have a small art gallery on the top floor with a interesting exhibition programme,
Demco Interiors photograph
up those stairs. It also has a performance hall, shop and caf√©;  lots of discovering time could be spent in here. 

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at L here.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Knowledge Boy

Road closed.  Diversion signs.  All in the day's work for a London black cab driver and he or she will know the best  alternative route to go. Follow that arrow as it points towards the stationary scooter rider and this is where that knowledge will start.  To get a licence to drive a taxi in London you have to be able to find a route without looking at a map or relying on a sat nav and  pass "The Knowledge".   Our scooter driver is learning to do just that and is a Knowledge Boy learning the routes with his clipboard fixed to the handlebars showing the routes to be learnt that day.
He will have to learn 25,000 streets within 6 miles of Charing Cross and  major arterial routes, points of interest (hospitals, hotels, theatres, squares etc), traffic signals, cross junctions, roundabouts and know what is alongside at all points.  This Knowledge Boy was making notes and memorising, oblivious to the lines of traffic passing
The Knowledge test was started in 1865, the days of the hansom cab when only the clip clop of horses feet were heard in London.  Today it starts with a written test and then will need at least 12 appearances (attempts at final test) after preparing for an average of 34 months learning 320 standard routes or runs in central London when the Blue Book "Guide to Learning the Knowledge of London" will be their constant companion, until they pass the exam and can gain a license to drive a taxi cab.
Here is another Knowledge Boy where the clipboard routes of the day can be seen.  I was surprising that I accidentally managed to get a better picture of this with a moving target than one that was stationary.  Then I thought I would finish this post with a photo of a London black cab taxi but realised I'm usually trying to avoid cabs and cars when trying to photograph London architecture.  I've got a lot of half cabs disappearing or appearing the edges of photographs but managed to find one picture where it is just in shot,  taken  late on a winter's afternoon. 
Research has found that London taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with spacial memory and navigation) than the general population.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, sojourning this week at K here

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Jardiniere and Jalopy

Sailing by Harrington Harbour

Flowers in July planted by the Church Road Youth Club in what one could loosly term a  jaunty jardini√®re near the jetty,  but now landlocked forever.
Which is the only place for a Jaguar car seen here in the Lakeland Motor Museum a jumble of cars, bicycles and motor bikes. Down the side are shops recreating displays from the 1950s and 60s
Did I mention they also have lots of antique signs?  John Bull, a national personification of Britain was the name used by the Leicester Rubber Company (1906-1955) who produced tyres for all vehicles as well as that essential for the cyclist, the tyre repair kits.
which came in little tin boxes and much larger ones for those with horsepower:-
Photo from The Vintage Knitter's   'Tin of the Week'

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet,  this week sojourning at J here

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

I ♡ Ice Cream

This heart shaped ivy growing in St Bees Churchyard caught my interest.  
As indeed does any ice cream van, no matter the season and if it is being sold from a vintage van, irresistible.
This is one of five vintage ice cream vans owned by the Real Dairy Ice Cream Company from the Wirral.  It looks lovingly restored as it even has its make painted on the side - 1938 N1 - the distinctive shape of a Commer van.  A British company that made post office vehicles,  light vans, trucks, military vehicles and buses from 1905-1979.  As part of the Rootes group it was taken over by Chrysler when it continued to  made vehicles under the Dodge badge. 
I had spotted another vintage ice cream van by the Albert Dock earlier in the day when the September morning mist was just starting to clear. This is a 1948 Bradford Jowett which were built in Yorkshire from 1946-1953, its body variants a popular post war choice for a van noted for its sturdiness, stability and economic running.
  Time for an ice cream?

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at I here. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Life and Death

A profusion of crocus covers St Andrew's churchyard in Coniston at the moment. It is a churchyard with many interesting and ornate gravestones, mostly on the other side of the church to this view, but the star of the show at the moment are the flowers.  No wonder John Ruskin opted for this peaceful place in the shadow of Lakeland hills to Westminster Abbey as his final resting place.