Monday, 16 January 2017

A visit to Devon

Last week Partner-who-loves-tea and I paid a visit to younger daughter, son-in-law-and-friend-who-loves-otters and baby Katie.

Katie had smiles for her Grandma.

And for her Mum.

But she wasn't quite so sure about the strange bearded creature....

Talk to the hand!

On Thursday Katie fitted snugly in her car seat and her Dad drove us to Stover Country Park.  Mum, Dad, Katie and Grandpa had a walk around the lake.  It was wet, or rather, extremely wet.  All Katie saw was raindrops on the hood of the push-chair.

Katie may be the centre of attention for the visitors but Roland was more interested in a parcel with paw prints on it!

And Misty had to cope with the indignity of being picked up.

All too soon our visits were over.  I hope it's not too long before we see you again, Katharine Rose.

P.S. A special thanks to Partner-who-loves-tea.  Since I am no longer able to drive she has to do all the driving and when we travel long distances it can be hard work and tiring.   Some of this week's driving was in the dark and wet but fortunately the snow that was forecast kept away.

P.P.S. Younger daughter - please don't forget to let me have the recipe for the lovely dinner!

Sunday, 15 January 2017


I am working my way through the book "111 places in Liverpool that you shouldn't miss".  Many of them are places I know and have photographed over the years but some were new to me.  At the end of December Partner-who-loves-tea took me to Delifonseca Dockside.

It was founded by Candice Fonseca, a self-confessed 'mad foodie' who became frustrated by the lack of delicatessens and specialist food outlets in Liverpool.

The shop is large with foodstuffs from all over the world.

"Whether you are looking for high-quality store-cupboard basics, the latest ingredient recommended by your favourite celebrity chef, an unusual gift, or something to nibble right now, you will find it here."

The shop also has a restaurant where local chef Martin Cooper offers an unfussy modern take on traditional dishes.

P.S.  Yes, GB, we'll go there next time you are staying with us!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Liverpool One Bridewell

"Bridewell" is a mid 16th century term for a petty offender’s prison and it was named after St. Bride’s Well, in the City of London, which was near such a building.

When Henry VIII's Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire, Cardinal Wolsey offered him the use of St. Bride’s Well Palace, his bishop’s palace built near modern-day Fleet Street. The king accepted. All was well until the Cardinal decreed that only the Vatican could rule on the issue of annulling Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon (his first wife whom he was trying to dump in favour of Ann Boleyn). Henry, and his court, left the bishop’s palace in a fit of anger and it fell into disrepair and disrepute.   Over time the Saint part of the name was dropped and the buildings became a prison.   Subsequently any police station with cells could be called a bridewell but the term has largely fallen out of use.

At one time Liverpool had ten bridewells and the Liverpool One Bridewell features in the recently published book "111 places in Liverpool that should not be missed".  Sadly, if you haven't been there yet you have missed it because the restaurant which occupied it has closed down.

The Bridewell in the 1960s.  

At one time the bridewell had a career as a recording studio and groups like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the La's played there.

More recently the building became a restaurant and you entered the courtyard behind the blank brick wall to find it occupied by outside tables.

Inside you were guided from the bar down a narrow dark corridor off which the cells had been made into little dining spaces with barred windows.

Upstairs were the officers' quarters as the policemen lived on site and the rooms had larger windows.  This space was made into a large function room.

On one of his visits to Liverpool, Charles Dickens enrolled as a special constable for a night and toured the docklands and Liverpool's less salubrious areas with the Superintendent of Police.  He is alleged to have been accommodated in the Bridewell overnight.

Despite the notice suggesting it was now open 8 days a week (well almost). the Liverpool One Bridewell closed down in 2016 and the building resumed the look it had in the 1960s shot above.  It awaits a new owner and a new enterprise.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Marine creatures in the museum

 Liverpool has a number of museums and the old Liverpool Museum (at one time the Derby Museum)  is now called the World Museum.  On the first floor there is an aquarium which is one of my favourite places to visit in the city centre.  Tiny children using my feet as a means of gaining a bit of height only adds to the fun of the experience and they were as excited as me to see the sea horses.  There’s something fascinating about a fish that swims upright, has no scales and uses its tail to grab onto things because it is not a strong swimmer.

These are Tiger Tail Seahorses (Hippocampus comes) a vulnerable species from the Western Pacific.

This is a Blue Sea Star (Linckia laevigata).

These are Greater Pipefish (Syngnathus acus).

These are Dragonets (Callionymus sp.).

A Spiny Satarfish (Marthasterias glacialis).

A Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) swimming over a ray.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

William Brown Street, Liverpool

Sir William Brown, 1st Baronet DL (30 May 1784 – 3 March 1864) was a British merchant and banker, founder of the banking-house of Brown, Shipley & Co. and a Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1846 to 1859.

In 1809 established a branch of the firm in Liverpool, and they shortly afterwards abandoned their exclusive linen business and became general merchants. The transactions of the firm soon extended so as to require further branches.  Brown persuaded the Bank of England to advance him £2,000,000 to tide matters over the 1837 international financial crisis. Brown only needed half the amount, which he repaid within six months. His business, both mercantile and banking, continued to increase, and in 1844 he held one sixth of the trade between Great Britain and the United States and acquired immense wealth.. "There is hardly," declared Richard Cobden at this period, "a wind that blows, or a tide that flows in the Mersey, that does not bring a ship freighted with cotton or some other costly commodity for Mr Brown's house."

In 1825, William took an active part in the agitation for the reform in the management of the Liverpool docks. He was elected an alderman of Liverpool in 1831, and held that office until 1838.  In 1846, Brown was elected Liberal M.P. for South Lancashire, and held the seat until 23 April 1869.
His name is probably best known by the munificent gift which he bestowed on his adopted town. He erected the Free Public Library and Derby Museum at Liverpool, which was opened on 8 October 1860, at a cost to himself of £40,000, the corporation providing the site and foundation and furnishing the building.

Nowadays his name is best known for the Street named after him.  It runs alongside St George's Hall and has some of Liverpool's best buildings on it.  These include the library and museum.

Above the Technical college, museum and library on William Brown Street.

The frontage of the Liverpool Museum (now called the World Museum).

The next building up William Brown Street is the circular Picton Library.

Higher up are the Walker Art Gallery and the County Sessions.

The statue of the Spirit of Liverpool was located on top of the Walker Art Gallery on William Brown Street for more than a century from 1877. It had to be removed in 1993 as the marble had deteriorated so badly that the sculpture was no longer structurally safe. It was a possibility that large chunks might fall off and through the glass dome into the entrance foyer of the Walker Art Gallery.

This is the original - I photographed it in the 1960s.

A replica Spirit of Liverpool was carved from a 41 ton piece of Chinese marble in 1993-1994. The replica was put back in place of the original on the roof of the Walker Art Gallery and is still sitting proudly above the streets of her city today.

The original sculpture was conserved and is now safely kept under cover in a secure store. The statue had to be installed in the building before the construction work was finished, as once the doors were fitted there was no way the huge sculpture would be able to get in.

Below - the County Sessions House.

William Brown was created a baronet 'of Richmond Hill in the County Palatine of Lancaster' on 24 January 1863.  He did not, however, live long to enjoy his honours, as he died at Richmond Hill, Liverpool, on 3 March 1864. 

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