Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Unknown of Uttoxeter

One of the beauties of a walk whether familiar or new are the unknowns and the unasked question; 'what or who will I see today'?  This was an unfamiliar walk to me but here by a farm gate between stream
and fell, open to all the elements was this remarkably well preserved piece of machinery.
It had us all puzzled but were not unappreciative of its intricate nature and its once moving parts
Happily stamped on the metal it told its own tale "reaping and mowing". No 7:R Bamfords, Uttoxeter, Engineering.

The company Bamfords was formed in 1871 and grew rapidly when in 1882 it came up with the prize winning Royal No 5 horse mowing machine. Its extra high wheels "enabled the horse to trot without injury".
And yes, this has "Royal" on the strut just beyond the gear.  I would guess the number 7 on the plate must refer to the version for they made them in a number of designs, for one or two horses, right or left cut, and exported all over the world.  They ceased trading in 1986, however the Bamford family name lives on as one part of the family founded JC Bamford Excavators in 1945, better known worldwide as JCB.  The headquarters are no longer in Uttoxeter but they have remained in the same county of Staffordshire.  Vintage Bamford machinery and engines are very collectable and I imagine this one could be brought back into working order by enthusiasts like these.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Church Tower

A carpet of crocus and a scattering of daffodils surround the tombs of St Mary Magdalene churchyard.  Here I stand on the west side of the church looking towards the tower. A church has stood here since the 12th century, although little remains of it after an extension in the 16th century, alterations in the 18th century and lastly a rebuilding in 1873.  The squat saddleback tower we see today is by Austin and Paley, a duo of much loved local architects, and replaced the old one in 1900-1.
It is difficult to get a photograph of the whole church as it is surrounded by trees and from this angle the tower saddleback cannot be seen but lets head out towards the gate for another angle, look up to check the time
and see a homily on the tower "Watch for ye know not the hour",  perhaps something to meditate on as I take a turn around the tombstones
while enjoying a day of spring sunshine and flowers.
Here can be seen how well the sturdy tower sits with the church as they nestle in the hollow of the valley south of the village of Broughton in Furness.

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


Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Walk along the towpath of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal (celebrating its 200th birthday in 2016) from Shipley in Yorkshire this marvelous edifice comes into view around a bend at Saltaire.  It is New Mill or the North Block of Salts Mill and built in an Italianate style; the chimney is based on the Campanile of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. Once a wool mill today it houses the National Health Trust who must have lovely window views of canal
and to the side, the River Aire.  Built by Titus Salt as a wool mill when be bought farm land here because of the ideal transport links of both canal and railway but also because he had a vision of building a model village for his workers.  A man of great religious faith he also built
the Congregationalist Church directly opposite the mills. The conditions in the slums of Bradford were dire at this time with high infant mortality and even an outbreak of cholera so when the workers came here to neat housing and open green spaces it must have been a revelation.  The village, by combining his name and river name, became Saltaire. 

No wonder when in 1876 Titus Salt died 100,000 people lined the street for his funeral cortege. The Salt family mausoleum is at the rear of the church on the right. 
In the grounds by the entrance are also what was the office house and stables.  Titus Salt had made the bulk of his fortune by the chance of finding Alpaca wool in a Liverpool docks warehouse which was being used as  packing material in imported goods.  He discovered that by combining it with Angora sheep wool it made a fine and desirable material.  When in recent times ideas for a sculptures alongside the River Aire were imagined and drawn by the local school

it is no surprise one of them was of an Alpaca.
As well as housing, schools and churches Salt also built Saltaire Institute as a 'centre for recreation, culture and learning’ consisting of  library, gymnasium and rifle drill-room, fencing room, armoury, chess room, laboratory and lecture theatre, bagatelle and billiards room, a school of art, and a large dance hall with a fully sprung floor.  Wow there was a whole lot going on in there.  Today owned by the Salt Foundation charity trust and renamed Victoria Hall it is still a centre for recreational use with the addition of weddings and film locations.

Saltaire was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an "exceptionally well preserved industrial village that had a profound influence" on similar model villages built as a result of philanthropic paternalism (such as Port Sunlight which I pictured in a previous round of ABC Wednesday here) 

Although I am quite fond of taking photographs of vernacular housing my brief time in Saltaire meant I couldn't didn't get to amble along it planned streets and parks but by chance I did take a photo of one of the lions outside Victoria Hall
which were designed by sculptor Thomas Milnes and originally destined for the bottom of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square in London.  Guess the capital decided they wanted something a whole lot bigger.  Of course the housing is evident in the background and what is even better is that the road sign says Lockwood Street.  Titus Salt's architects who designed the whole village and mills were Lockwood and Mawson and this is one of the streets, as thanks, he named after them.

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

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Rust on a Rural Road

Lets tootle along a rural road near Ulpha where most traffic will be turning left here to leave the Duddon Valley and
 carry on to Eskdale. The fingerpost is showing signs of its age with a slightly rusting pointer.  I like these old black and white fingerposts with their roundel tops which date from the 1930s.  This one has had some other signs tacked for the tourist unsure where they are going.  Quite a busy corner behind the wall with a mini electricity substation and a rusting hut. 
The small but pointy peak on the right is Cor (1735 ft /528m) which may be something one says when reaching the top.
Whistling Green, Ulpha
The red of Royal Mail is a familiar sight in the valley and on all rural road.

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

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


A square form, a quadrate, nestles by the side of a babbling brook in Furnace Wood. 
The question is what was it for?  I don't know.  Perhaps it is associated with one of the old industries of the Duddon Valley, the making of bobbins, iron making, coppicing or even a hand tanning pool.   It is a mystery to me. Water was used from the River Duddon and perhaps
from this stream in the 18th Century for water power to operate the box bellows below

at the Blast Furnace.  The charcoal produced from the surrounding woodland powered the furnace that once lit would burn for six months, producing molten iron every twelve hours. (The casting arch can be seen on the right).
Another question arises as I take you on the path up through the wood, of what this faded message once said.
At least there is no question of what these flowers are by the side of the path, although the various varieties of mosses might be another matter.

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