Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas

The image of Father Christmas, or Santa, is one that people always associate with Christmas. This one was sitting on top of a post in Regent Arcade. I'll be back on January 1st for Theme Day. Next year I should have new and improved photos from the new camera that I'm hoping Santa will bring! Only one more sleep till Christmas!

I hope that Santa brings you everything you wished for and that you have a peaceful Christmas with loved ones close by. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Silver Band

The Salvation Army Silver Band playing in Cheltenhams High Street, raising money for their cause and entertaining the shoppers. They sounded very good, as I took this photo they were playing 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', very festive. Only two more sleeps till Christmas!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Christmas Flowers

I like having flowers in the house at Christmas, to me its as important as the tree. This is the arrangement on my fire place, made up of white lillies, orchids, eucalyptus, spruce and some silver baubles. I've resisted posting lots of Christmas themed photos but I've got a couple lined up for the next few days. Only three more sleeps till Christmas!

Friday, 21 December 2007

A Load Of Old Cobblers

I have several books with old photos of Cheltenham and all of them have sepia coloured pictures of this building, on the corner of Clarence Street and the Lower High Street. The building is now a cobblers but for nearly a hundred years was a Tobacconists. Charles Dickens' Tobacconists (not sure if the owner was named Charles Dickens or it was named after the author, I'm guessing the first) was founded in 1889 and you can still see the glass advertising panels amongst the ornamental ironwork canopy. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can clearly see the word 'Cigars'. The canopy was made by Charles Hanncock who ran his own ironworks in Bennington Street, down the road, just off the Lower High Street. This corner plot, surrounded by other buildings on three sides, has seen much change over the years. The building on the left hand side was the Army Recruitment Office during the First World War, and the white building on the right was used as the Town Offices from 1840 - 1915 (it is now Co-op Travel). This was home to the Town Clock which was removed after a fire on 29th December 1969. The cobblers still does a good trade but I don't know why shoe repair and key cutting always go together!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Birds Of A Feather...

...and a scorpion! While finishing off my Christmas shopping I came across this stall in the middle of Regent Arcade selling metal wildlife. The sculpted animals and birds are made from scrap metal and produce in Africa by local crafts people. The stall was surrounded by a crowd of shoppers barging each other out of the way to get a better look (hence the blurred photo!). Any creature you could imagine was represented in scrap, even an eight foot tall giraffe!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Theme And Variations

I'm not sure how many Cheltonians have ever looked up and seen this piece of art, or more so that it was created by renowned British artist Barbara Hepworth (1903-75). The sculpture, Theme And Variations, is situated on the side of the former HQ of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society in Clarence Street. Built in the mid-1970's the curved building, which hides St Marys church behind, is now rented out as office space and has some shops at street level. The bronze sculpture was acquired by the Borough Council as part of the towns public art program. Hepworth is seen as one of the last centuries most influential abstract artists and in her time won many awards and accolades. In 1939 Hepworth moved to St Ives in Cornwall where she concentrated her efforts on larger pieces moving away from sculpting in wood and stone to her more recognisable medium, bronze. In the 1950's her work, along with that of her friend and fellow artist Henry Moore, became internationally recognised. Hepworth died tragically in a fire at her studio in St Ives. The studio is now a Museum celebrating her work.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Martin & Co

Martin & Co jewellers is the oldest jewellers in Cheltenham, established in 1806. Situated on the Colonnade, at the North end of the Promenade, it proudly calls itself "the County Jewellers" and this is proved by the fact it provides the Gold Cup for the Cheltenham horse race in March. They create and sell many pieces of fine jewellery as well as silverware and watches. The Colonnade was first built in 1791 and was intended to be for shops selling fine goods. The original plans for a grand row of shops of some length didn't materialise and so a small version was finished. In 1935 the original Colonnade was demolished to make way for a fountain, smaller shops and a traffic roundabout. This is how the Colonnade looks these days with Martin & Co being one of the shops on what has become a fancy traffic island.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Drama On High

This isn't the most glamorous photo ever, I just really like the look of the sky. It's taken from the car park on top of Regent Arcade. On the left side you can see Eagle Tower and, in the background, Leckhampton Hill. There isn't really anymore to say. Hope you like it too.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

This seat is something of a mystery to me. It's either the Millennium Seat or the Golden Jubilee Seat. Whichever one it is, its situated in Montpellier Gardens. Actually, the more I look at it the more I'm convinced its the Golden Jubilee one! The Golden Jubilee in question is that of the Queens 50 years on the throne (1952 - 2002). The seat has five sides, each representing a decade of her service to the country. The sloped sides have musical notes weaving their way around and the metal structure in the middle has a dove on a domed top. I'm not sure what that represents, I've looked around online but can't find anything about it. The day I took this photo the winter sun was really highlighting the bird and dome, it was quite dazzling.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Scrooges Hospital

Cheltenham General Hospital has been in the news locally of late due to the powers that be removing Christmas trees. As part of the action plan to reduce hospital infections, such as MRSA, Christmas trees have been taken out of clinical areas like Oncology. To answer the many cries of "scrooge!" the Gloucestershire Health Trust have pointed out that all wards still have their trees. As one patient commented in the local paper, Gloucestershire Echo, surely there are more germs on shoes trooping in and out of the hospital than on a few Christmas trees. The photo doesn't do justice to the size of the General, although its not the biggest hospital in the world. This old part, on Sandford Road, was built in 1849 and inside is quite claustrophobic. Newer areas are light and airy and make for a relatively modern hospital. The NHS Trust employs hundreds of people and treats tens of thousands a year. Whenever I've been under the care of the hospital I've always been impressed by the dedication of the staff, both medical and civilian.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Roll Out The Turkey

Turkey roll anyone? Or pork or sausage. In the middle of the High Street in town is a seasonal take-away vendor selling all sorts of hot food and drink. In the past this chap has had difficulty in obtaining his license from the Borough Council to sell food in the street. Some Council members think that this sort of thing isn't in-keeping with Cheltenhams image. I don't see the problem myself especially as the stall is only there for a couple of months. I haven't tried a turkey roll yet, when I took this photo I had just had lunch.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Assembly At The Bank

On the South side of Cheltenhams High Street is the imposing Lloyds Bank building. Built in 1900, to the designs of Waller and Son, the bank sits on the former site of the Assembly Rooms which, in one form or another, had been there since 1734. Over the nearly 200 years that the Assembly Rooms sat on the High Street the building had three or four different incarnations, the most expensive being the 1815 design costing £60,000. The Assembly Rooms were used for meetings, balls and entertainment and after the building was demolished these kind of events moved to the Town Hall. Inside the bank is a large banking hall with a high double story celling built in a neo-Baroque style. The outside of the building is impressive, with columns, stone balustrades and urns, and a small tower. A friend of mine used to be a junior clerk at the bank and one of his jobs was to hang out the Lloyds bank flag from the tower every day. When he left, the flag would often be missing or tangled around the pole (much to his annoyance!), then one day it vanished completely and hasn't been seen since.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Night On The Ginger Beer

In Cheltenham we don't have many large stores with extravagant Christmas window displays like other towns and cities. Ours just tend to be mannequins in party gear with hanging baubles and fairy lights in the background. But this window is great! A drunk gingerbread man in his Y fronts, complete with traffic cone, about to get a bashing from his gingerbread wife with a rolling pin! The store didn't want to lose sight of what its trying to sell, hence the mannequin in party gear to the side of the impending gingerbread earful!
Click on the photo for a larger version and check out all the detail.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Rare Royal

At the end of Central Walk in Montpellier Gardens is this statue of King William IV. The statue was erected in 1833 by public subscription to commemorate the Coronation of the King in 1830, although he wasn't King for long. In 1837 William died and leaving no surviving royal children (he had 10 with his mistress!) his niece Victoria became Queen. The statue started out in Imperial Gardens, down the road, but was moved to its present location in 1920. The statue shows William in his garter robes which is apparently quite rare. Montpellier Gardens have under gone a major face lift lasting about 18 months and reopening this summer and, as you can probably tell, the statue has been given a scrub and polish.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


Went to visit some friends on there small holding (mini farm!) near Ross, in Herefordshire. They bought a near derelict house and unused land about 8 years ago and have been slowly renovating it. The land is now home to cows, sheep, chickens, geese and ducks. As a side line to their day jobs they also breed and sell guinea pigs. Apart from the farmhouse kitchen the house is still in a state of disrepair. They are both hoarders so all the other rooms are full of bits of wood and salvaged building material that, apparently, will one day be useful. The area they live in is stunning, countryside views all round, and although areas around Cheltenham are rural, this is truly the country life.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Town Hall

I've learnt something new today. While doing a spot of research into the history of Cheltenhams Town Hall I discovered that the Town Hall was built as an addition to the Winter Garden and not the other way round. This may not be an earth shattering discovery but as I am a proud Cheltonian I'm disappointed with my own lack of knowledge. Anyway...the Town Hall sits in Imperial Square, on the north side of Imperial Garden. On this site there used to be a Winter Garden (a large glass and steel building used for concerts, demolished in 1940 and considered a white elephant to the Council) and in 1900 it was decided that Cheltenham needed a larger function building after the demolition of the Assembly Rooms. In 1902 construction work started on Gloucester architect Frederick William Waller's design of an impressive Baroque style building. Behind the foundation stone, still visible today, a bottle was placed containing coins and the days newspapers, as was tradition then. The complete build took a year and two months and cost £45,000. The main feature of the Town Hall is the main hall, measuring 92 feet by 52 feet and 53 feet high, with Corinthian columns, balconies and sprung floor. In 1906 the Cheltenham Spa was opened inside the building and has an octagonal counter and large urns. You can still take the Spa water there today but nowadays you have to serve yourself! Having tasted the water once (once was enough) I can tell you its best described as warm and salty! The Town hall can accommodate 1000 people and now holds banquets, concerts, live shows, balls and many other events. I've been to several different things at the Town Hall, the best being a fantastic New Years Eve party with indoor fireworks and 20 foot high flames shooting into the air! That was a good night.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Tree With A Difference

Slap bang in the middle of Regent Arcade is this 30 foot tall Christmas Tree, the centre piece of the shopping malls festive decorations. It looks like most trees at this time of year, covered in red and gold bows and baubles and hundreds of twinkling lights, but this tree has one feature that I'm sure other trees don't have - a walk way right through the middle! The arch is around 7 foot high and allows shoppers to pass through and experience the inside of a Christmas tree, if thats something that interests you! Now thats what I call a Christmas Tree!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Gone Fishing

These little cherubs taking a ride on the backs of fish caught my eye as I walked through Sandford Park. They can be found on Unwins Fountain. The fountain is quite impressive and is the first thing you come across as you enter the park through the east entrance, off of College Road. I'm planning to take another photo of the whole of the fountain in summer, when it is surrounded by colourful flowers and looks at its best. In past posts I've written about the park, so won't go over old ground, but still can't seem to find out much about this old fountain. Anymore information would be appreciated.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Herr Today Gone Tomorrow

This is Cheltenhams German Market. Well it was. When I was in town last week the market was in full swing but I didn't have my camera. Yesterday I was off to do some Christmas shopping and remembered the camera but the Germans weren't hanging around! So here is a photo of the remains. As I found out the market finished on Sunday and by Monday a team of workmen had moved in and were clearing up the Promenade. The German Market has been running for the last few years and ties in with the switch on of the towns Christmas lights. This year there were over 50 stalls, with many gift ideas, selling all sorts of things from wooden ties to hand made decorations. And if you were in need of some rest and refreshment, German style, there were Gluhwein mulled wine and Bratwurst sausages. Next year I'll make sure I get a photo of the market in action!
Excuse the pun in the title, I couldn't resist. You can make your own mind up about my sense of humour!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Designer Mosaic

This impressive mosaic tile covered shop front belongs to ladies designer clothes shop Beatrice Von Tresckow Designs. The shop, situated on the corner of Bath Road and Sandford Street, used to be a pub (though I can't find anything about it as yet) and changed its frontage dramatically when Beatrice moved in. Cheltenham Borough Council are notorious for being very restrained in allowing people to change the exterior of buildings but they passed this application. The many shades of blue and gold tiles stretch all the way across the double fronted shop, under the first floor windows, and on the corner shown go from the ground to the roof. The elaborate design and colours reflect the clothes and accessories within. Beatrice Von Tresckow takes influence for her designs from Asia, Africa and the Far East and uses beads, jewels and embroidery to great effect. The designer look does come with a designer price tag but, as they say, you get what you pay for!

The building in the background on the right hand side of the photo is Eagle Tower, Cheltenhams tallest building - all 12 storeys!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Silver Baubles

This is my first Christmas themed posting, I thought I would wait until December started. I hope to show more seasonal photos in the run up to the big day as well as Cheltenham ones too. I took this photo at the end of October while out hunting for blue things for Novembers theme day. The display was in the window of the home furnishing shop Sia. The store has an array of wonderful things to make home look more splendid and I often pop in to see what's new. Sia always has a fantastic window display, normally based on room settings. This one had black furniture with shiny silver decorations and sparkly twigs in huge vases. The display has changed several times since I took this photo and I'll take another shot when I next visit. So, Decembers here and it's time to dust off your baubles!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Theme Day - Bridges

This bridge is a relatively new feature in Cheltenham. The Honeybourne Bridge forms part of the former Honeybourne Line that once ran out of Cheltenham Train Station. The former train line came into St James' Station, now Waitrose supermarket, which was unused since the 1960's. For many decades the route of the former track has been a cycle path linking Cheltenham Spa Station to the Leisure Centre. When the Borough Council passed plans for the redevelopement of the St James' site the bridge was required due to new roads crossing through the cycle path. This new bridge now carries cyclists and pedestrians saftely along the route of the once great train system.
Check out these other Daily Photo Blogs around the world that have joined in with this Theme Day -
Boston (MA), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Stayton (OR), USA - New York City (NY), USA - Portland (OR), USA - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Inverness (IL), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Stockholm, Sweden - Setúbal, Portugal - Brussels, Belgium - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Hyde, UK - Manila, Philippines - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - London, England - Austin (TX), USA - Toulouse, France - Weston (FL), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Selma (AL), USA - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - Cleveland (OH), USA - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Seoul, South Korea - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - North Bay (ON), Canada - Arradon, France - Paderborn, Germany - Durban, South Africa - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Portland (OR), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Wichita (Ks), USA - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Grenoble, France - New York City (NY), USA - Nottingham, UK - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Arlington (VA), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Miami (FL), USA - Cheltenham, UK - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Saratoga Spgs. (NY), USA - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Nashville (TN), USA - Toruń, Poland - New Orleans (LA), USA - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Melbourne, Australia - Moscow, Russia - Trujillo, Peru - Château-Gontier, France - Quincy (MA), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Joplin (MO), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Brookville (OH), USA - Chateaubriant, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Baziège, France - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Detroit (MI), USA - Riga, Latvia - Nelson, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Cape Town, South Africa - Sydney, Australia - Dunedin (FL), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Radonvilliers, France - Turin, Italy - Montpellier, France - Kansas City (MO), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Wailea (HI), USA - Lubbock (TX), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Terrell (TX), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Budapest, Hungary - Montréal (QC), Canada - Sharon (CT), USA - Le Guilvinec, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - London, UK - Crepy-en-Valois, France - Orlando (FL), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Paris, France - Mainz, Germany - Newcastle (NSW), Australia - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Darmstadt, Germany - Naples (FL), USA - Torino, Italy - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Bogor, Indonesia - The Hague, Netherlands - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Anderson (SC), USA
Blog Widget by LinkWithin