Back to Borough Market

A few days after our short break in the Peak District I was down in Dartford with work. I’d travelled down by train via London so we decided to combine work with pleasure and the other half travelled down on the Friday morning and met me in London for a short stay. We were staying in a Premier Inn at Southwark near Borough Market. It’s a really “buzzing” area during the evening with plenty of places to eat and lots of pubs and bars, all of which were busy on an autumn evening. The terrorist attack by zealots who don’t like people having fun only a few weeks ago doesn’t seem to have stopped people getting out and enjoying themselves – and that’s the way it should be.

We had a rather nice contemporary style Leabanese meal at a busy Arabica , a restaurant under the railway arches on Rochester Walk near the market

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followed by a stroll along the South Bank before turning in

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The next day, after breakfast we went for a wander around the market.

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Unusual Neo-Gothic Building in Glasgow

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One of the buildings that took my eye while I was mooching around Glasgow Merchant City last Monday afternoon was what the British Listed Buildings website describes as a

Bizarrely detailed Gothic warehouse,

I think that just about sums it up! It’s relatively restrained in that there isn’t much decoration or embellishment and looks more like a later Art Nouveau or Glasgow School style building than a typical Victorian Gothic wedding cake.

I particularly liked this eyecatching

unusual semi-octagonal door head with heavily moulded octagonal oculus above.

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I haven’t been able to find much information on it other than from the British Listed Buildings posting, but that does tell us that it was originally a warehouse, that it was built in 1859, and that the architect was R W Billings

The Hatrack

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This distinctive tall, slender, Art Nouveau style listed building at 142 St Vincent St, Glasgow, is popularly known as the Hatrack

It was designed by James Salmon Jnr a contemporary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh Salmon, who was affectionately nicknamed “the Wee Troot”, a play on his name (Troot = Trout) and short stature. He was also one of the architects of the Anderston Savings Bank I stumbled upon during my last visit to the city.

The building was constructed between 1899 and 1902. Its name was inspired by the cupola, which has projecting finials that resemble the “pegs” of a hat rack. It was difficult to get a decent snap of it from street level so this is my best effort.

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Above the entrance to the building is an attractive stained glass oriel window with the design of a sailing ship on top of a sculpture of what appears to be a mythical dragon.

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The front of the building is a curtain wall supported on a concrete frame and is mainly glass with only a bare minimum of decorative sandstone. It does rather remind me of a more slender version of Oriel Chambers, built in Liverpool in 1874 and designed by the revolutionary architect, Peter Ellis. This resemblance and likely influence is also noted on the Scotcities website.

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Street haunting in Glasgow

I was up in Glasgow on Monday and Tuesday for some meetings. I took a train up late morning and when I arrived had a few hours before my first commitment so decided to have a mooch around the city centre. It’s a city with plenty of character and interesting architecture. Here’s a few snaps I took during the short time I had street haunting, mainly round the Merchant City area.

NGI Renovated and Renewed

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During my visit to the National Galley of Ireland I was able to take a look at the older parts of the building that only reopened on June 15th. They’ve been closed for the past six years for extensive renovation works including building repairs, fire upgrading, environmental controls and improving accessibility.

First impressions were that the architects in charge of the project, Heneghan Peng, who were also responsible for the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre, had done a good job. All the services have been well hidden and the older rooms, which I remember looking tired when I last visited them, have been refreshed and brightened up. Windows in the Shaw room, that were previously covered over to facilitate the hanging of paintings, have been uncovered making it a much brighter space lit with natural light.

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They’ve also created an airy, bright covered courtyard in the space between the between the Dargan Wing and the 1901 Milltown Wing

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At one end of the courtyard there’s a rather beautiful sinuous wooden sculpture, Magnus Modus, by Joseph Walsh, made of olive ash with a Kilkenny limestone base. It was commissioned by the Office of Public Works on behalf of the National Gallery of Ireland.

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Shrewsbury Abbey

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Shrewsbury Abbey is a large Medieval church standing on the opposite side of the English Bridge from the old city centre. As with many old churches it’s been altered and adapted over time and, consequently, displays a mixture of styles – Romanesque, Gothic (the later, Perpendicular style) and Victorian Neo-Gothic.

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It was founded as a Benedictine Monastery by Roger de Montgomery in 1083 although there had been a Saxon church on site before the Conquest.

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The church which survives today was originally part of a complex of buildings which, other than a few remnants, are long gone – some demolished following the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of King Henry VIII and others by Thomas Telford when he built the main road that runs alongside the Abbey.

After the dissolution of the monasteries there were plans for the church to be designated a Cathedral, but that never came to fruition. It continued to serve as a place of worship, though, as a rather grand Parish Church.

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The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, written by Ellis Peters, are inspired by medieval Shrewsbury. Cadfael is a Welsh Benedictine monk at the Abbey in the first half of the 12th century. He was played by Dereck Jacobi in the TV series of the stories, although it was filmed in Hungary rather than Shrewsbury.

The Abbey used to have a shrine to St Winifride, a 7th Century Welsh saint. In the 12th Century Monastaries wanted to have relics which would attract Pilgrims and earn them ncome so the Abbot had the remains of Winifride brought from her place of burial in Gwytherin in North Wales. The shrine was destroyed and the relics can now be found in Shrewsbury’s Roman Catholic cathedral and Holywell in North Wales. However, there’s a window devoted to the saint in the Abbey, installed in 1992, designed by stained glass artist Jane Gray.

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There’s also a window by the same artist celebrating the fictional monk, Cadfael.

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The Abbey was built in the Romanesque (Norman) style with substantial round pillars supporting rounded arches and a substantial part of the original building still stands in the central section of the Nave.

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It was remodelled in the 14th Century when the tower was built. This required replacing the Romanesque arches at the west end of the nave with bays with stronger pointed Gothic arches supported by slender columns.

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After the dissolution the west end of the Abbey was closed off and fell into ruin. There was a wall at the end of the Romanesque nave. The west end was rebuilt in a Neo- Gothic style during the Victorian era, designed by John Loughborough Pearson.

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IMG_2331A new clerestorey was also created above the Romanesque and Gothic nave.

 

A war memorial tablets close to the west entry of the church includes the name of the First World War  poet Wilfred Owen.

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Outside the Abbey, there are still some remnants of the monastery

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A day in Shrewsbury

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After we’d checked out of our apartment in Arden House, Church Stretton, we drove the 10 miles or so to Shrewsbury to take a look round the historic city. It’s only a few miles from the Welsh Border and so was a major outpost of the Marcher Lords in Medieval times. In the 14th and 15th centuries it was an important commercial centre, mainly due to the wool trade. The city was largely bypassed by the Industrial Revolution due to its isolation from other large manufacturing towns and ports, which probably accounts for the preservation of it’s Medieval centre.

We parked up in the Park and Ride. The centre of the city is still based on the old Medieval street plan and constrained within a loop of the River Severn (almost creating an island), so driving in the city centre is best left to the locals. It’s free to park and the bus fare was very reasonable – a lot cheaper than a city centre car park.

The bus dropped us off in High Street, close to the old Market Hall

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Today the old building has been converted into a cinema showing Art films.

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The town centre is packed with timber-framed black & white buildings, steep narrow streets and alleyways. There are over 660 listed buildings. I probably went rather OTT taking photographs of them!

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There are old buildings from other periods too, particularly Georgian

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After a coffee and a bite to eat, we wandered over to the old castle. It’s a red sandstone building constructed during the reign of Edward I (1239 – 1307). It was built on the site of a Norman timber Castle was built for Roger de Montgomery in about 1070.

Admission to the Castle grounds are free, with a charge to enter the Castle and which houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum.

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Directly across the road from the castle, this building is the city library.

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The building was the home of Shrewsbury Public School from 1550 until 1882 when it was handed over to the Council and converted to a public “Free Library and Museum”, opening in 1885. Charles Darwin was born and educated in Shrewsbury, and attended Shrewsbury School when it was located in the building. There’s a statue of him right in front of it.

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Near to Darwin, there’s a bust of the Shropshire author, Mary Webb.

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Shrewsbury Abbey stands across the English Bridge (one of the two bridges that cross the Severn in the city centre).

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The Abbey was founded as a Benedictine Monastery by Roger de Montgomery in 1083 on the site of an existing Saxon church. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of King Henry VIII the part of the Abbey building which survived continued as a Parish Church – as it is to this day. (Abbey web site)

It’s also the “home” of the fictional detective monk, Cadfael.

We arrived just as one of their regular midday concerts was starting. IMG_2325

We decided to sit and enjoy the music before exploring the building.

Afterwards the sun was beginning to shine so we crossed the English Bridge and took a stroll along the river.

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On reaching the Welsh Bridge (with the Theatre Severn Arts complex on the other side of the river) we headed back towards the city centre

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We grabbed a coffee and then wandered round the streets and alley ways ending up at the ruins of Old St Chads church.

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Originally, there was a large medieval church on the site. However

by the end of the 18th century the large but ageing building …….. had fallen into disrepair, and cracks had appeared in the tower. The great engineer, Thomas Telford, advised that it was in danger of collapse, and he was right. One morning in 1788 the parishioners awoke to find they had a pile of rubble but no church. (St Chad’s website)

Today, all that’s left is a side chapel surrounded by a disused churchyard

By now time was getting on, so it was time to catch the bus back to the Park and Ride and set off on the journey back home after a good break in Shropshire.