Friday, 30 November 2012

End of Movember

My Movember is now at an end, and my moustache will soon be no more.
I have not got a final figure yet, but thanks to my friends and colleagues both at work and on the Shipley Glen Tramway I have raised over £120


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bradford Playhouse

Bradford Playhouse is a 290 seat proscenium arch theatre with circle and stall seating based in Little Germany, in the city of Bradford,

The theatre was founded by an amateur group, the Bradford Playhouse Company, in 1929, renting Jowett Hall – an ex-Temperance Hall previously used as a cinema – as its premises.The Bradford company was an offshoot of the Leeds Civic Playhouse Company, and became independent of its parent in 1932.

Jowett Hall burned down in April 1935. With help from Priestley, who donated royalties from several plays, the organisation bought the site and rebuilt. The new premises, a combined theatre and cinema called the Priestley, was opened by Sir Barry Jackson in January 1937.

The company ran as an amateur theatre, with film showings between plays. The latter continued until 2001, despite losing its status as a Regional Film Theatre a few years before, when the National Museum of Television, Film and Photography – now the National Media Museum took over that role.

On the night of Friday, 19 July 1996 during a run of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, the theatre had another major fire, but the company rebuilt the set in their Studio theatre so that the final show of the run took place.

During the 1996–97 season, although the main auditorium was closed for reconstruction, a full season of plays was presented in the Studio, then on Friday 31 October 1997 the main auditorium re-opened with J B Priestley's An Inspector Calls.

However, public interest in amateur theatre was unavoidably on the wane. By 2003, the theatre's finances had become critical. The current board of directors recommended that the company closed, but a rescue plan was accepted by the membership. The theatre's days as an amateur producing house were over, but it has continued as a receiving house, while the production function was devolved to a new company: Bradford ACT. The same fate met other aspects of its existence, such as its theatre school, became independent of the theatre itself.

Bradford Playhouse relaunched in October 2012, as a multi-disciplinary community arts centre, encompassing drama, music, film, dance and visual arts. The organisation's focus is community-led

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

St. Peter's House - Bradford

At the beginning of the 21st century Bradford Cathedral authorities decided to develop a museum of religion in St Peter's House (built in the 19th century as Bradford's main Post Office). The visitor numbers were much lower than expected and the project collapsed leaving the cathedral in debt, from which it was discharged in 2007. St Peter's House is now owned by a South Asian arts group, Kala Sangam.
This photograph shows the intricate ornate masonary above the entrance to St. Peter's House

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Bradford Cathedral

A parish church for over 1000 years, the church of St Peters became a cathedral in 1919. The prsent building dates from 1458 with extensiona and alterations done in the 1500's, the 1950's, 1960's  and the 1980's.

This photograph is of the back of the cathedral, bathed in late autumn sunshine.  

Monday, 26 November 2012

Foundation Stones - Bradford

Sculptures by renowned artist Gordon Young, created in Bradford in 1985, are now installed in pride of place overlooking the Urban Garden. he works of art, known as Foundation Stones, were created for money lender Provident Financial,  were given to given to Bradford Council whose workers carefully lifted them into their new home  on Sunday 4th March.The Mansfield stone sculptures weigh at least a tonne each. 

They once stood in the grounds of Provident Financial’s former headquarters in Sunbridge Road, but the company was granted planning permission earlier this year to have them relocated to Hall Ings, opposite the Urban Garden, after it moved its HQ to the city centre.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Warehouse Sculptures

53-55 Leeds Road in Bradford is home to a Eli Milnes designed warehouse, built between 1859-62. The architectural sculpture in the form of roundels is wonderfully original and lighthearted. From the entrance you can see a bird in flight carrying an olive branch of peace in its beak, sheaves of wheat, a globe, a beehive (symbolising industry), a quirky camel with a wool pack on its back, a woman, and lastly a steam ship.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sculptured Heads - Bradford

No 30 Chapel Street is an old warehouse in the heart of Bradford’s Little Germany quarter.
It has four windows, in each of which can be found a sculptured keystone head.
Their significance is a mystery; they might represent the different countries the warehouse merchant was trading with, or perhaps the continents. Whatever their reasoning, they are boldly carved and very well preserved, enticing an explanation of some kind.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Mural - Bradford

This mural can be found on the side of a building on Hall Ings near Chapel Street, Bradford 

The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893 at a conference held in Bradford.

The ILP was affiliated to the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932, when it voted to leave. The organisation's three parliamentary representatives defected to the Labour Party in 1947 and then organisation rejoined the Labour Party as Independent Labour Publications in 1975

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Pelican House - Bradford

This intricate stone carving can be found above the entrance to Pelican House. Built in 1862, it is now an office block in Currer Street in the quarter of Bradford Known as Little Germany.
It depicts a high relief pelican with reeds behind holding a fish in its bill stands on a scroll keystone draped with a swag of carved Flowers.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Lap Light Peckover Street Bradford

This eye catching piece of work can be found under the iron canopy at the Merchant House in Pecover St. in the heart of Bradfords Little Germany Quarter.


Lap Light was commission for Bradford Council with the assistance of Public Arts. The sculpture symbolises the bringing of the Victorian Warehouse and area into a new regenerated era. The sculpture takes the form of a green metal hemisphere, 5 foot in diameter and pierced with tiny holes which give a shimmering effect in daylight. At night, Lap Light is lit from behind by computer controlled lighting.

Sculptor Charles Quick won the commission in a limited contest.
The sculptor studied at Leeds Polytechnic and was artist in residence at the Henry Moore Centre for the study of Sculpture in Leeds in 1985.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Homage to Delius 1992

This large eye catching piece of sculpture can be found in Exchange Square, Bradford.

Homage to Delius is in the form of two giant winter leaves, half decaying and skeletal and half still alive shown by coloured glass giving an overall effect of transparency. The work expresses Delius’ love of nature and recurrent interest in the themes of life, death and regeneration expressed through his music.
Frederick Delius was born in Claremont, Bradford in 1862. Despite his German ancestry and spending much of his career and mature life in France, Delius’ music is perhaps most appreciated in Britain due to a typicallyEnglish stylistic appeal. Inspired by authors and poets, his music reflects his commitment to nature. A stunning portrait of Delius by the Leeds artist Jacob Kramer can be seen at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery.
Just as Delius’ music evokes the emotional response of the listener, so Amber Hiscott’s Homage to Delius encourages the participation of the viewer, not just to look, but to walk through the 20 foot long tunnel created by the meeting of the two leaves. Constructed from steel and coloured glass, the sculpture cost £36,000.
Amber Hiscott, a Swansea artist, won the Bradford commission through a National Competition which asked sculptors to create a focal point for the new public Exchange Square. This work, however, was not without the controversy which surrounds so much contemporary art which involves a conceptual idea rather than a physical representation. One critic likened the leaves to a Colorado Beetle!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Grandad’s Clock and Chair 1992

This amusing sculpture can be found in the quarter of Bradford called Little Germany, not far from the Cathedral.


This is an amusing interpretation of a mill owner’s office with a comfortable chair, mirror and grandfather clock. The work looks back to the past, but the swinging pendulum of the clock indicates that time does not stand still and the past has an important contribution to make to the future.

Timothy Shutter was commissioned by Bradford Council and the Little Germany Action Group in 1991 after his design won a sculpture competition. The work is carved
from sandstone and cost £5,000.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Hirst Wood - Photo effects

Not having Photoshop, I am limited to what I can do with my photographs once I have them on my computer. However there is a free program called FastStone which has a number of features to alter your photographs.

Original Photograph 

Art Effect

Leaf Mask

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Dewsbury Town Hall

This grade II listed building is full of original stained glass windows, wood panelling, columns and ornate ceilings. The Town Hall contains a 700 seat concert hall, function and meeting rooms, and the Old Court Room.
The foundation stone was laid on the 12th October 1886 by the Mayor Thomas Bateman Fox JP. According to the Dewsbury Reporter “a day as it proved so rich with rain, the foundation stone was laid amid great rejoicing. There was a general holiday, decorations, a procession and bands of music illuminations”
The Town Hall was built during the reign of Queen Victoria and was completed to the plans of Holtom and Fox, a local firm of architects within the town. The total build cost was £40,000.
The new Town Hall was built to cater for the towns increasing needs for the many civic offices such as town clerks, schools, highways, lighting, sewerage, rating, town planning, police and courts, merchant exchange, Council Chambers, Concert Hall and mayoral proceedings.
Dewsbury Town Hall was officially opened on Tuesday 17 September 1889 by the Mayor of the time, Alderman John Walker JP.
As with the laying of the foundation stone the official opening of the town hall was declared a general holiday in the town. The main event was a grand procession assembling at Saville Town marching through the borough to the new park known as Crows Nest. From there they followed the route through the streets finally finishing outside the new town hall. The guests were then seated within the Victoria Concert Hall.

In 1888 the then mayor of Dewsbury Alderman Mark Oldroyd expressed his desire to present the town with a clock for the town hall. The offer was kindly accepted by the council. The clock was supplied by William Potts and son of Leeds. It was started by Mrs Oldroyd at 11.55 a.m. on Tuesday 2 April 1889. The costs of the clock was over £1,000.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Black Prince Statue - Leeds

This statue of the Edward of Woodstock (15 June 1330 – 8 June 1376), better known today as the Black Prince fairly dominates City Square in Leeds, directly opposite the Queens Hotel.

Edward was the eldest son of Edward III king of England and Philippa of Hainault, he was invested as prince of Wales in 1343. He was a popular and gifted military leader but dying a year before his father he never became king. Edward married Joan (fair maid of Kent) their son became king Richard II of England.

As a military leader he won several notable victories against the french during the 100 years war, including the battle of Crecy at the age of 16. Later he led the English against the French at Poitiers 1356, when desipte inferior numbers they again won the battle.

Erected in 1903, designed by Thomas Brock. It was a gift from Colonel Thomas Walter Harding, Lord Mayor of Leeds between 1898 and 1899. The choice was probably also a tribute to the future Edward VII, then Prince of Wales.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Queen Victoria Statue - Bradford

There are many statues of Queen Victoria, not only here in the UK but all over the world too.
Here is the statue at Bradford which can be found between the Alhambra Theatre and the National Media Museum.

Sculpture - Alfred Drury (1859-1944)
Unveiled on 4th May 1904 by HRH the Prince of Wales (later to become King George V.
The statue is 12 feet high and cast from three tons of bronze. It depicts Queen Victoria as she would have been at her first Jubilee in 1887

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

War Memorial - Keighley

Keighley war memorial is a composite piece. A bronze victory figure stands atop a stone obelisk. At the sides are bronze figures of a sailor and soldier and a bronze plaque. The memorial is on a raised stone platform in Town Hall Square. It is grade II listed and is in Keighley town centre conservation area.
In 1999, the Keighley branch of the Royal British Legion received permission from Bradford Metropolitan District Council to place a millennium stone plaque on the memorial. The plaque, made of Yorkshire stone, commemorates the thousands of lives lost in the 20th century in all conflicts throughout the world. War Memorials Trust gave £250 towards their appeal.

The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on 7th December 1924 by Lieutenant General Sir Charles H Harington of Northern Command and Reverend S Howard-Hall, former chaplain of the 6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment. An estimated 25,000 people attended the service.
In 2010 Keighley Town Council made improvements to the square, cleaned the memorial and added protective railings. Four flag poles were also installed in the square and a book of remembrance put on display in Keighley Town Hall.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

War Memorial - Haworth

Nearly every city, town and village has its own war memorial. This one is situated in Haworth.
Most were erected in the years after the first world war and were funded by public subscription.
Haworth is a typical example of this.


A Haworth War Memorial committee had been formed early in 1923, pledged to commemorate those “who paid the supreme sacrifice during the recent war”.

Its chairman was a public-spirited Dr O H A Magga, one of its members Dr William James McCracken who, as a medical officer with the Royal Naval Division in 1915, had tended the dying poet Rupert Brooke on his way to Gallipoli.

Funds were promptly raised and the memorial erected, Bridgehouse being “Site No 3” chosen from several suggestions. The memorial, of British grey granite, was “Design No 152” out of a catalogue.

It was unveiled by Lieutenant-Colonel C M Bateman, of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, on Armistice Sunday of 1923. Haworth ex-servicemen marched to the ceremony, led by Dr McCracken.

The Haworth Public Prize Band accompanied hymns sung by a united choir, drawn from all the local places of worship, and the Rev T W Story, a former vicar of Haworth, dedicated the memorial.

(Bridgehouse is where Keighley railway station is located)


Monday, 12 November 2012


Came across this plaque as we were strolling around Oxford, simple but efective words.

This made me think of the song Imagine by John Lennon
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as on

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday

Unfortunately I cannot attend any parades today, as I am working on the Shipley Glen Tramway.
This photograph was taken a few years ago in my home town of Hartlepool.
 It shows young people in the Air Training Corps as they think of the sacrificies given by others and wonder what will happen to themselves in years to come.


Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Isis - Oxford

The Isis is the name given to the part of the River Thames above Iffley Lock which flows through the city of Oxford, England.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Movember - one week in

For those who follow my blog you will know that through November I am growing a moustache for the charity Movember in aid of mens prostrate and testicular cancer.
Here I am one week into the month

Growth is not particulary fast and there are too many white hairs for my liking!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Oxford Castle

Oxford Castle is a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle situated on the west edge of Oxford . The original moated, wooden motte and bailey castle was replaced with stone in the 11th century and played an important role in the conflict of the Anarchy. In the 14th century the military value of the castle diminished and the site became used primarily for county administration and for detaining prisoners. Most of the castle was destroyed during the English Civil War and by the 18th century the remaining buildings were used as Oxford's local prison.
A new prison complex was built on the site from 1785 onwards and expanded in 1876; this ultimately became HM Prison Oxford. The prison closed in 1996 and was redeveloped as a hotel. Today the medieval remains of the castle, including the motte and St George's Tower, are classed as a Grade I listed building and as a Scheduled Monument.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Chalgrove - Family History

One of the reasons for visting Oxford was for my Australian wife, Maree, to go to Chalgrove to see where her ancestors came from. Chalgrove is a small village 10 miles south east of Oxford city.
My wifes ancerstors are the Belson family, and the thatched cottage where they lived still stands today.
We have been told that a photograph of the cottage was used on boxes of Cadbury Milk Tray 

Maree taking photographs of the Belson thatched cottage

Red Lion - friendly village pub that serves great ales

St Marys Church


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Colourful Shields in Oxford

Shields, Crests, Emblems and Mottos adorn the buildings in Oxford. Here are but a few


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Pub Signs in Oxford

In addition to its magnificent buildings Oxford has some interesting pub signs, here are but a few.

                            The Grapes is the sole surviving Victorian pub in Oxford city centre

                                  The Chequers - pub with interior dating from the 1500's

                                 The Punter - old pub sat on the banks of the river Thames
Morland was a brewery in Abingdon. They first brewed in West Ilsley in 1711. It was purchased and closed by Greene King in 2000; and production of the Morland beers was moved to their brewery in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Carfax Tower - Oxford

Carfax is located at the conjunction of St Aldate's (south), Cornmarket Street (north), Queen Street (west) and the High Street (east) in Oxford. It is considered to be the centre of the city. WikiMiniAtlas
 The name "Carfax" derives from the French carrefour "crossroads" or quatre-face "four-face.

Carfax Tower is located at the northwest corner of Carfax. The Tower is all that remains of the 13th century St Martin's Church and is now owned by the Oxford City Council. It was the official City Church of Oxford, where the Mayor and Corporation were expected to worship, between c.1122 and 1896, when the main part of the church was demolished to make more room for traffic in the area. In 1896, the City Church was moved to All Saints Church in the High Street.
The tower is 23 m (74 ft) tall, and no building in central Oxford may be constructed higher than it. It still contains a ring of six bells, recast from the original five by Richard Keene of Woodstock in 1676. These chime the quarter hours and are rung on special occasions by the Oxford Society of Change Ringers. It is possible to climb to the top of the tower for a good view of the Oxford skyline. The tower is open 10am–5.30pm (Easter to October) 10am–3.30pm (October to Easter).