A Travellerspoint blog

In Pursuit of Owls.

A walk around Leeds city centre.

sunny

After leaving Shipley, we headed back to Leeds where we planned to spend one night. Again we stayed in an Ibis - the Ibis Leeds Marlborough, located on Marlbourgh Street about fifteen minutes walk from the train station. For a city centre hotel it proved to be surprisingly and pleasantly quiet.

Our room.

Our room.

View from our window.

View from our window.

The Ibis Marlborough, Leeds.

The Ibis Marlborough, Leeds.

Leeds in bloom, daffodils near our hotel.

Leeds in bloom, daffodils near our hotel.

Leeds was once a major industrial city at the centre of the wool trade. Like Shipley, it is located on the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. This was my first visit to Leeds and I was not sure what to expect. In my head I associate Leeds with industrial decline and yet everyone I know who has been there has liked it. I soon discovered I liked it, too. It has a beautifully preserved historical centre with lots of interesting buildings.

When I was researching the city, I discovered a site called The Leeds Owl Trail. This is a walk which involves visiting twenty-five historical buildings with owls sculptures. Owls are part of the Leeds Coat-of-Arms. They originated from the Coat-of-Arms of Sir John Savile who was the first Alderman of Leeds. The Savile family came from Anjou in northern France and were given vast areas of Yorkshire by William the Conqueror for the support they gave him in the Battle of Hastings. We did not try to follow the trail, but as we soon discovered, it is impossible to avoid owl in Leeds city centre. They are everywhere.

The first building we visited was the Leeds Town hall. This was built between 1853 and 1858 by architect Cuthbert Brodrick. It is one of the largest town halls in the UK and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1858. It is an impressive looking building and, of course, proudly displays the Leeds coat of arms complete with owls.

Leeds Town Hall.

Leeds Town Hall.

Owls on the town hall.

Owls on the town hall.

To the left of the town hall stands the Oxford Place Methodist Chapel. This was built in 1835 by James Simpson. Simpson was an untrained architect who still managed to design many Methodist chapels. There are plans to turn this chapel into a hotel.

The Oxford Place Methodist Chapel.

The Oxford Place Methodist Chapel.

To the right of the town hall there are several interesting buildings including the library, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. Henry Moore was actually a Yorkshire man, born in Castleford Yorkshire in 1898. He began his training as a sculptor in Leeds. In addition to these buildings there is also a war memorial and a marker on the pavement showing the start of the 2014 Tour de France. Stage one of that race went from Leeds to Harrogate. The library had owls on the front of its building and a wonderful owl fence on its left hand side.

War memorial, Art Gallery and Library.

War memorial, Art Gallery and Library.

Start of the Tour de France.

Start of the Tour de France.

Peter and the owl fence.

Peter and the owl fence.

Me and the owl fence.

Me and the owl fence.

Next we headed towards Millennium Square. This square was designed to mark the new millennium in the year 2000. It is bordered by Leeds Civic Hall and Leeds City Museum. This square has hosted many outdoor events including concerts by the Kaiser Chiefs, Meat Loaf, Snow Patrol and The Specials. This square is also the site of Leeds Christmas Market in November and December. At the lower end of the square stands the Nelson Mandela Gardens. These were opened on April 30th, 2001, by Nelson Mandela himself. They contain a water feature and a sculpture of outstretched open arms. The sculpture is entitled Both Arms and was created by Leeds-born sculptor Kenneth Armitage. It symbolizes a warm welcome. Around the Civic Hall there is an entire flock of owls.

The Nelson Mandela Gardens.

The Nelson Mandela Gardens.

The Civic Hall with owls on its roof and front and all around it.

The Civic Hall with owls on its roof and front and all around it.

Leeds City Museum.

Leeds City Museum.

Next we headed to St Anne's Cathedral. This is a Roman Catholic Cathedral and the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds. The current building which is located on Cookridge Street was completed in 1904.

St Anne's Cathedral.

St Anne's Cathedral.

After that we walked to St John's Church which is the oldest church in Leeds city centre. It was built between 1632 and 1634 and its construction was entirely funded by wealthy merchant and Royalist John Harrison. In the nineteenth century, it was proposed that this church be demolished and replaced with a more modern building. Fortunately, as this is one of the most beautiful buildings in Leeds, a young architect named Norman Shaw protested against the demolition and was supported by the world renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The demolition was abandoned and the church survived.

St John's Church.

St John's Church.

St John's Church.

St John's Church.

There is an interesting- looking old building near St John's Church which is now a pub called the Parkside Tavern. It looks Tudor but was apparently built in mock Tudor style between the two world wars, so is not as old as it looks. I also liked the building at 62 to 64 Merrion Street, also currently a pub called the LIV Bar. Unfortunately I cannot find information about what it used to be or who the statue on the roof is.

Parkside Tavern.

Parkside Tavern.

62 to 64 Merrion Street.

62 to 64 Merrion Street.

Leeds is well known for shopping and has some beautifully restored old shopping arcades on the Briggate. We just had a quick look at these as we were a bit short on time. I also loved the clock tower and adjacent building on the Briggate, too.

Shopping arcade, Leeds.

Shopping arcade, Leeds.

Clock in shopping arcade Leeds.

Clock in shopping arcade Leeds.

Clock Tower on Briggate.

Clock Tower on Briggate.

The restored markets.

The restored markets.

We continued on down to the Corn Exchange, which, like the town hall, was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick and completed in 1862. It is now used as a shopping centre.

The Corn Exchange.

The Corn Exchange.

Then we walked to Leeds Minster. This church is dedicated to Saint Peter. It dates from the mid-nineteenth century though there have been churches on this site since the seventh century.

Leeds Minster.

Leeds Minster.

Not far from the Minster we passed Leeds old brewery. Then we took a look at some of the housing and pubs/restaurants along the lovely River Aire.

The Old Brewery.

The Old Brewery.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

We passed more owls on our way back to the station, then walked past the Black Prince statue at City Square. Leeds old post office stands on City Square. We saw the Black Prince statue by Thomas Brock, but should have gone into the square rather than just passed by as we missed statues of Joseph Priestley, John Harrison, James Watt and Dr Walter Hook and statues of eight nymphs. I like Joseph Priestly and, of course, James Watt is from my home city, so sorry to have missed them.

Can't get away from those owls.

Can't get away from those owls.

City Square.

City Square.

The Black Prince.

The Black Prince.

Finally, we walked back to our hotel where we ate dinner and watched the sunset over Leeds.

Sunset over Leeds.

Sunset over Leeds.

Dinner in our hotel.

Dinner in our hotel.

Posted by irenevt 03:57 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged markets architecture leeds owls Comments (4)

Altruism and Alpacas.

A Visit to Shipley and Saltaire.

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We have just returned from an Easter visit to the UK. Our visit began on the 24th of March when we flew into Manchester Airport, then took a train across the Pennines to Leeds, where we took another train to Shipley. Shipley is on the outskirts of the city of Bradford.

We stayed for one night in the Ibis Hotel, Shipley which is located right on the edge of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. We had booked and paid for an early check-in at this hotel. Our original intention had been for Peter to go to a football match in Leeds and me to look around Shipley, but his football match was cancelled due to call-ups and both of us were exhausted from the flight, so we decided to set the alarm and have a little snooze. Sadly, we put the alarm straight off when it rang to wake us up and went back to sleep until dinner time !!!!! Oh dear, not a good start.

Our Hotel.

Our Hotel.

For dinner we went to a pub next to the hotel. It was called The Noble Comb, which I thought was a weird name until I discovered it was a reference to the woollen industry and the combs used in the carding process. This was quite a nice pub though very busy with lots of kids running around. Peter ate fish and chips which were good though on the cool side. I had roast beef wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding tortilla. This I did not like. Flat Yorkshire puddings do not taste right and the beef cooked inside a wrapping has the wrong texture. Still the beer was good.

The Noble Comb.

The Noble Comb.

Peter in The Noble Comb.

Peter in The Noble Comb.

Next day we got up bright and early and set out to see as much of Shipley as we could before we had to check out at midday. We decided to walk along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Saltaire. The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest canal in the UK. It stretches for 127 miles between the cities of Leeds and Liverpool. It was completed in 1816 and took 46 years to build. Obviously, we only walked a very short stretch of it. It was a perfect day though and the industrial buildings lining the canal were beautifully reflected in the still canal water.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Approaching the mills.

Approaching the mills.

Saltaire is a village dating from 1851. It was built by the altruistic and social-minded industrialist Sir Titus Salt. The village is called Saltaire after Sir Titus Salt and the River Aire on which the village stands. Originally Sr Titus Salt had five woollen mills in the centre of Bradford, but he wanted to improve the lives of his workforce and protect them from the polluted Bradford air and frequent cholera outbreaks in the city. Saltaire was designed by two local architects: Francis Lockwood and Richard Mawson. It included mills, houses for the workers, a church, a hospital, a library. a park, a school and even a concert hall. The workers houses were of much better quality than the slums the workers had lived in in Bradford. They had wash-houses and bath houses with tap-water. Sir Titus was a methodist and very against drink and gambling. There is now a pub in Saltaire called Don't Tell Titus.

Sir Titus died in 1876 and is buried in a mausoleum next to the Congregational church. There is a statue of him in Roberts Park in Saltaire and near it there are statues of two alpacas. Sir Titus owed a lot of his industrial success to using alpaca wool which produced a lighter, silk-like woollen material. Roberts Park is called after Sir James Roberts who came to own Saltaire, after the death of Titus Salt's son. The village of Saltaire is still largely intact and was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in December 2001.

The Mills.

The Mills.

Ice-cream barge on the canal.

Ice-cream barge on the canal.

Saltaire Church.

Saltaire Church.

The River Aire.

The River Aire.

One of the mills.

One of the mills.

Alpacas in Roberts Park.

Alpacas in Roberts Park.

Sir Titus Salt.

Sir Titus Salt.

Saltaire Cricket Ground.

Saltaire Cricket Ground.

Easter Parade, Saltaire, Congregational Church.

Easter Parade, Saltaire, Congregational Church.

The Salt Building.

The Salt Building.

Victoria Hall.

Victoria Hall.

Lion Statue.

Lion Statue.

Workers' houses.

Workers' houses.

Posted by irenevt 21:41 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged mills bradford saltaire shipley Comments (5)

Portsmouth August 2017

A few hours by the sea.

My husband is obsessed with football and he has a brother who is obsessed with football, too, so when they both decided to go and see their team, Walsall, play in Portsmouth, I came along to see the town. I must admit I had not researched my visit and did not know what there was to see, but as my brother-in-law dropped me off in a handy area for sights and as there were frequent touristic maps located around the streets, I managed to do quite well in the three or four hours I was there.

Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, around seventy miles south-west of London. Throughout history Portsmouth has been a significant naval port and it has the world's oldest dry dock. Its seafront has long been heavily fortified to withstand invasion from Europe and some of these fortifications still remain. During the Second World War, Portsmouth was an embarkation point for the D-Day landings. At this time the city was badly bombed in the Portsmouth Blitz, resulting in the deaths of 930 people. The Royal Yacht Britannia left from here to attend the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, and I saw it when it arrived at the other end in Hong Kong. Portsmouth is home to some famous ships, including Henry VIII's Mary Rose, which, of course, had to be rescued from the seabed and Horatio Nelson's HMS Victory. Portsmouth is also the birthplace of several famous people, such as, author Charles Dickens and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

My brother-in-law dropped me off next to Clarence Pier which has a large amusement park next to it. I headed off in the direction of an impressive looking monument I could see in the distance. This turned out to be the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. It is located on Southsea Common and commemorates nearly 10,000 naval personnel who died at sea during the First World War. It was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer with sculpture by Henry Poole. It was unveiled on the 15th of October 1924 by Prince Albert, the future King George VI. A Second World War extension was later added to commemorate 15,000 people who died at sea during the Second World War. This was designed by Sir Edward Maufe with additional sculptures by Charles Wheeler, William and was unveiled by the Queen Mother, on the 29th of April 1953.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

After looking at this, I headed off along the rather bracing seafront towards Southsea Castle. Southsea Castle dates from 1544 when Henry VIII built a series of fortifications to strengthen England's coast against invaders. Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, sank more or less in front of Southsea Castle. At one point in its history the castle was a military prison. In the 1820s a lighthouse was built on the castle grounds. Southsea castle is free to enter. It has some displays showing its history, a microbrewery, a cafe and a gift shop. I enjoyed wandering around here an gazing out to sea from its ramparts.

My walk along the seafront.

My walk along the seafront.

My walk along the seafront.

My walk along the seafront.

Southsea Castle.

Southsea Castle.

Southsea Castle.

Southsea Castle.

Southsea Castle.

Southsea Castle.

Watch out, ladies, look who is home!

Watch out, ladies, look who is home!

Not far from the castle there are some very pretty gardens. I took a stroll through the Rock Gardens, then crossed a road to walk through Southsea Parade Gardens. In the distance I could see Southsea Pier. I passed the Pyramids Leisure Centre which apparently has a pool and gym.

Southsea Rock Gardens.

Southsea Rock Gardens.

Southsea Parade Gardens.

Southsea Parade Gardens.

Southsea Pier.

Southsea Pier.

Pyramids Centre.

Pyramids Centre.

After looking around this area I doubled back and set off towards the historic heart of Portsmouth. I walked along the seafront and passed some of Portsmouth's historic fortifications. I noticed a lovely ruined church slightly inland and went to investigate. This turned out to be the Royal Garrison Church. The Royal Garrison Church was built around 1212 by the Bishop of Winchester. Originally it was part of a hospital and hostel for pilgrims. The church was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1941.

Along the waterfront.

Along the waterfront.

View of Isle of Wight ferry.

View of Isle of Wight ferry.

The Royal Garrison Church

The Royal Garrison Church

The Royal Garrison Church

The Royal Garrison Church

The Royal Garrison Church.

The Royal Garrison Church.

After leaving the church I saw a statue to Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson. His flagship HMS Victory on which he fought at the Battle of Trafalgar is in dry dock in Portsmouth.

Lord Nelson.

Lord Nelson.

Leaving the statue I returned to the waterfront and saw the Square Tower. A tower was first built here in 1494 as part of the attempt to strengthen England's coastal defences. The square tower was at that time home to the Governor of Portsmouth. Then in 1584 it was converted to a gunpowder store. When the royalists surrendered Portsmouth during the English Civil War, 1200 barrels of gunpowder were stored here. The royalists used the threat of blowing this up as a bargaining chip in the war. In 1779 the Square Tower was converted to a Royal Navy meat store. Nowadays it can be hired as a slightly unusual wedding venue.

The Square Tower.

The Square Tower.

Further along I came to the Round Tower. A wooden tower was built here between 1418 and 1426 on the orders of King Henry V. Later in the 1490's the wooden tower was rebuilt in stone.

The Round Tower.

The Round Tower.

The Round Tower.

The Round Tower.


View from the Round Tower.

View from the Round Tower.

Then I wandered through Portsmouth's old town. In the distance I could see one of its newest tourist attractions - the Spinnaker Tower. This is a 560-foot observation tower in the middle of Portsmouth Harbour. It is shaped like a sail to reflect Portsmouth's maritime links. The tower was opened on the 18th of October 2005. I had hoped to be able to go to Portsmouth's historic dockyard from where I was, and in fact I did, but in a very roundabout way due to everything being separated by water. I passed a statue commemorating pioneering families who set out from Portsmouth for a new life in the Americas.

Portsmouth's old town.

Portsmouth's old town.

The Spinnaker Tower.

The Spinnaker Tower.

The waterfront.

The waterfront.

The waterfront.

The waterfront.

Pioneering family.

Pioneering family.

Of course due to having to take a round about route getting to Portsmouth's historic dockyard took me longer than I expected. I managed to see the HMS Warrior and then I had to make my way back to meet up with my husband and brother-in-law again. The HMS Warrior was Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured battleship. She was launched in 1860. Near to the place where I viewed the ship from there was a statue of some mud larks - these were poor people who made their living by scavenging for items of value in river mud.

HMS Warrior.

HMS Warrior.

HMS Warrior.

HMS Warrior.

The mudlarks.

The mudlarks.

I ended up getting back faster than I thought as I went directly and not round the water. On my way I passed Portsmouth's lovely cathedral - the Anglican Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury.

Portsmouth Cathedral.

Portsmouth Cathedral.

Posted by irenevt 22:03 Archived in England Comments (0)

A Country Walk

A lake and some bluebell woods.

When we stay at my husband's brothers house, he and his family usually take us somewhere in Buckinghamshire or Bedfordshire for a walk. This year they took us to College Lake.

College Lake is a nature reserve near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. It occupies the site of a former chalk quarry. We had a lovely walk around the lake, apart from being plagued by flies on one side of it.

College Lake has parking, a shop, a cafe and clean toilets.

All around the lake and even around the car park was covered in tiny yellow cowslips when we visited.

cowslips.

cowslips.

Ready to set off.

Ready to set off.

College Lake.

College Lake.

College Lake.

College Lake.

Black sheep, College Lake.

Black sheep, College Lake.

Primroses by the lake.

Primroses by the lake.

On the way back to my brother-in -law's house we drove through Dockey Wood, Ashridge, Hertfordshire. These woods are carpeted with bluebells every April and May. We did not go for a walk here. We just drove through and stopped briefly to take photos.

The bluebell woods.

The bluebell woods.

The bluebell woods.

The bluebell woods.

Posted by irenevt 05:58 Archived in England Comments (3)

Chester

Visiting Friends

We travelled from Penkridge to Chester for the day to visit a friend. Chester is the county town of Cheshire. It is famous for its old wooden black and white buildings.

Shortly after we left the station we passed the Shropshire Union Canal and noticed the steam mill dating from 1834. This was originally a warehouse for a seed company. Nowadays it has been converted into offices.

The Steam Mill on the canal.

The Steam Mill on the canal.

We walked along the Foregate which is a shopping street lined with wonderful old black and white wooden buildings, most of which are now shops, or pubs or restaurants. We passed through the Eastgate with its famous clock. Apparently it is the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben. Eastgate is located at the site of the original entrance to the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix, the old Roman settlement which eventually developed into Chester.

Old wooden buildings, Chester.

Old wooden buildings, Chester.

Eastgate Clock.

Eastgate Clock.

Looking through the Eastgate.

Looking through the Eastgate.

We met our friend, who lives in Chester, outside Chester's wonderful old cathedral. Chester Cathedral was originally founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092. It is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Entry to the cathedral is free.

Chester Cathedral.

Chester Cathedral.

Chester Cathedral.

Chester Cathedral.

Our friend took us on a walk around Chester's old city walls. These walls were started by the Romans when they established the fortress of Deva Victrix between 70 and 80 AD. They have been improved many times throughout their history. They stretch right round the ancient heart of Chester and are almost two miles long. Some stretches of wall were being restored during our visit.

Chester city walls.

Chester city walls.

At one point the city walls pass by Chester Race Course. Chester Racecourse, known as the Roodee, is the oldest and smallest racecourse in England. Racing here dates back to the early sixteenth century.

Chester Racecourse.

Chester Racecourse.

The next sight on our walk was Chester Castle perched on a little hill overlooking the River Dee. Chester Castle was built in 1070 by Hugh Lupus, the first Earl of Chester.

Chester Castle.

Chester Castle.

We cut off the walls shortly after the castle to go and have a cup of coffee in our friend's house. He lived very near another beautiful old black and white wooden building.

Ye Olde King's Head.

Ye Olde King's Head.

After coffee, we took a stroll through Chester's beautiful Grosvenor Park and a walk down to the river to see the Queen's park Bridge.

Grosvenor Park.

Grosvenor Park.

Richard Grosvenor, Second Marquess of Westminster

Richard Grosvenor, Second Marquess of Westminster

On Queens Bridge.

On Queens Bridge.

On Queen's Bridge.

On Queen's Bridge.

Finally we strolled passed the lovely ruins of St John's Church and the remains of the Roman amphitheatre before heading off for dinner.

St John's Church.

St John's Church.

The Roman amphitheatre.

The Roman amphitheatre.

Posted by irenevt 01:01 Archived in England Comments (1)

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