Shaw Lane Mills, Halifax : 1980s. The fire escape is like one of those M C Escher Impossible Stairways – you can run but you can never escape. A bit like the local mill for generation after generation of my family.
Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features an illustration from a late Victorian edition of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. There are all sorts of directions I could go with this theme. My Great Grandmother, for example, married a chap called J Robinson Thickpenny; but that is another story altogether and best left until after the watershed. Daniel Defoe […]
Sepia Saturday 277 : The Puds, The Fat And The Ungodly The small town Grammar School I went to played rugby. They had no time for what we in this country call football – and others call soccer – as such a game was the preserve of the working classes. And the rugby that was played was Rugby Union, the alternative code – Rugby League – was never mentioned despite the fact that the school was firmly set within the Rugby League belt that spanned northern England. Rugby League was played by those who favoured cheap thrills over systematic aggression: and it was also played by the working classes. No such activity could be undertaken by the pupils of the Crossley and Porter Grammar School. And so you were forced to play rugby, or if you could manage to avoid getting picked for one of the two opposing teams, you were forced to undertake a gruelling cross country run. I was lucky enough to fall into the latter category. No, I do myself an injustice, luck had little to do with it – I had built up my reputation for being a cack-handed pussyfoot with all the care and attention of a resolute enthusiast. And when the 35 pupils were divided into two teams of 15, more often than not I could guarantee to be in that sad residuum that had to tackle the cross-country course. The leftovers – the Puds, The […]
1297 : Just A Lock DOORLOCK, PINOSO, SPAIN There is something rather mysterious about locks. Do they keep things in or things out? That dark chasm, framed by rust, is a kind of sentinel. Or there again, it might just be a lock.
What Makes A Good Pub? The Three Legs, The Headrow, Leeds I was phoned up by Radio Leeds the other day (I was sat in a garden in Spain at the time, but that is another story). They wanted to know what made for a good pub. As far as I remember, this is, more or less, what I said. […]
The Wooden Dolly of North Shields is a tradition which was started in the early nineteenth century when a local brewer and shipowner erected an old wooden ship’s figurehead as a landmark on the quayside at North Shields (and conveniently close to one of his pubs). The wooden statue of a woman became something of a good luck charm to local fishermen who were in the habit of carving small keepsakes from the figure to take with them on voyages. Such a custom could only have one outcome and eventually most of the statue had fallen prey to the fishermen’s knives. A second, new, wooden dolly was found and erected on the same spot and in no time at all suffered the same fate. The “new wooden dolly” featured in this early twentieth century picture postcard must either be the third or fourth dolly in the sequence: a sequence which continues to this day. If you travel to North Shields you can find dolly No. 6 in residence outside the Prince of Wales pub and overlooking the River Tyne. The postcard was sent to James Hart who lived in the Northumberland town of Corbridge which is about 40 miles up the River Tyne from where it meets the sea at North Shields. It appears that Edwin and Jack were planning a quicker journey to meet James, travelling on the Tyne Valley line which runs from Newcastle to Carlisle. The fact […]
ORNAMENTAL CARVINGS, CLYDE WORKS OFFICES, THE WICKER, SHEFFIELD The Clyde Works Offices in the Wicker, Sheffield were originally built for the firm of Shortridge and Howell. John Shortridge was one of the main movers behind the construction of the magnificent Wicker Arches. He died in 1869 when his horse bolted and turned his carriage over. He would have been safer being pulled by elephants.
My name is Alan Burnett and I am an hoarder. There I have said it and I feel better now. It took a lot of doing, making that confession: indeed I wrote some notes on a large post-it pad in order to find the right words. Now if you will excuse me a moment I just need to go off […]
MANCHESTER SUNSET : (c. 1983) A plethora of verticals. Enough to give you vertigo. Bisected by a classic English taxi.