Thursday, 31 January 2008
Check out more of Giles Penny's work here http://www.gilespenny.co.uk/Large20%Sculpture.htm
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Please click on the first photo for a larger version, the detail is fantastic!
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
The Cathedral has been used twice before by Warner Brothers, for the filming of The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber Of Secrets. In the past you haven't been able to get near the place, so I didn't know what to expect when I got there - but it was "access all areas"! Above is the garden that is enclosed by the Cloisters, now its turned over to scaffolding and staging.
...but it turned out to be electric cables! When filming of The Half Blood Prince gets under way properly I'm going to head back to the Cathedral and try to at least take a photo of a camera. Maybe even a wizard or two! Watch this space...
Monday, 28 January 2008
Just have fun counting the chimneys...
Sunday, 27 January 2008
News of Wilsons death reached Cheltenham in February 1913 and a fund was set up to create a memorial to the explorer. The original plan was for two plaques to be hung in the Town Hall but Wilsons widow suggested that as Edward loved the outdoors a more suitable memorial should be erected. The bronze statue shown was modelled by Scotts widow and was unveiled on 9th July 1914 by Arctic explorer Sir Clarence Markham. A display of Wilsons Arctic clothing and kit, as well as some of his artwork, can be found at the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum.
The inscription on the plinth of the statue reads - "He died as he lived, A brave true man. The best of comrades and the staunchest of friends."
Saturday, 26 January 2008
Friday, 25 January 2008
In a field, close to where I work, is this pig. The Pig (a Gloucester Old Spot) is quite lucky because the owners of the patch of land use it for homing rescued farm animals, so who knows where he came from or worse, where he was heading. I've seen this pig for a few weeks now and the other day I decided I'd get a snap. As I lept over the ditch, to get up to the fence, he spotted me and came charging over (pigs move fast, even through thick mud!) grunting and snorting. I grabbed my camera, as I backed away fearing for my own safety (pigs are big!), and started clicking away and this is the only picture I took that wasn't blurred!
Here are 5 facts about pigs :-
1. Pigs have litters of up to 15 piglets
2. Pigs eat up to 5% of their body weight in food a day
3. Pigs have 4 toes on each foot but only walk on 2 of them
4. Pigs have 44 teeth and the canine teeth constantly grow
5. Pigs have a 30 minute orgasm!
Thursday, 24 January 2008
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
Back in September last year the bank was forced to ask the Bank of England for emergency financial support (£25 billion) due to loaning money beyond its means, because of the global credit crunch. This caused savers with Northern Rock to start drawing out there savings, leading to queues outside branches and the companies website crashing. The words "don't panic" by those in charge brought about the first run on a British bank in more than one hundred years.
At present every tax payer in Britain has provided over £2,000 to help the Government keep the bank from declaring itself bankrupt and causing a serious recession. The money lent is now to be repaid in bonds by the bank and its hoped that a private group will buy the bank, Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is in the running. If this didn't happen and the Government nationalise Northern Rock they would be responsible for some of the mortgages in the country, which is not a position any Government wants to find themselves in.
There's something to be said for keeping your money under your mattress!
For a more detailed timeline of the Northern Rock crisis check out http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7007076.stm
Monday, 21 January 2008
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Saturday, 19 January 2008
The entrance to Boogie Lounge is just a small door tucked in amongst the regency buildings opposite the Town Hall but opens into a large room with a bar and dance floor. Like many of the towns nightspots the name is new but the venue the same. Boogie Lounge has been known as Bohemia and the Fish and Fiddle, that's the last time I went (quite awhile ago), when they used to have an open mic night. The music was always varied and the singing talent different!
Friday, 18 January 2008
Not surprisingly this shop facade is not the original one, it was built during the modernisation of the shop between 1962-1966, it cost £800,000 and replaced the 1826 art nouveau windowed frontage. The store Clark and Debenham was founded by the same named gents in 1826, and was soon renamed 'Cavendish House Silk Mercery Establishment', a very catchy name for a shop! Over the next century Cavendish House (Cav, as its known locally) expanded along the Prom, buying up neighbouring shops and houses until it had the longest shop front in town, at around 170 feet. The store now has many different departments including menswear, ladies clothes, shoes, electrical, homeware and the inevitable perfume counters. Its pretty much like all department stores worldwide. But not many can boast such a long history and feature an antique clock of the future!
Thursday, 17 January 2008
This photo is taken from Crickley Hill looking towards the West side of Cheltenham. The big round building, to the right of the middle of the picture, is the Government Communications Headquarters (click on the picture for a larger image). GCHQ carry out intelligence and security work answering to the Foreign Office and working in tandem with MI5 and MI6. The building is known by Cheltonians as 'The Doughnut', as its round and has a hole in the middle! And that hole is large enough to fit the Royal Albert Hall inside.
GCHQ came to Cheltenham in 1952 and occupied two sites, the one shown at Benhall, and one at Oakley, on the other side of town. Many local people say that there was an underground tunnel that linked these two sites, but as GCHQ's work is secret we'll never know. In 1999 it was decided by the government to merge the two sites into one and Benhall was chosen for the new building. The doughnut cost about £330 million with the actual cost, including a 30 year service contract, being £1.2 billion. At the time of construction it was the largest single development in Europe, taking 3 years to complete, with the 6,000 strong workforce moving in September 2003 and completing the move by the summer of 2004.
On the security fence that surrounds the perimeter of GCHQ it clearly says 'No Photography', so this could be as close as you get to photograph the building without being taken in as a threat to national security!
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Monday, 14 January 2008
The Odeon Cinema closed on the 5th November 2006 after 70 years in business. It was built on the site of the former Highbury Congregational Church in Winchcombe Street, the church was demolished in 1932. The art-deco building was originally called the Gaumont Palace Cinema, then changed to the Odeon a few years later. The cinema had just one large auditorium and hosted many live acts including the Beatles and, in 1964, The Rolling Stones (guitarist Brian Jones was born in Cheltenham). As demand for more films grew the cinema increased its screens to three and then more recently seven, dividing the huge Screen One (where I saw E.T) into three. Cheltenham used to have seven cinemas but over time only the Odeon survived. The main reason for its closure was the success of the Cineworld Multiplex at the Brewery development, it just couldn't compete.
Its sad to see this once great building lying empty and derelict. The site was purchased by Trinity Church for its expanding congregation for £2.5 million, with plans drawn up for redevelopment costing another £2.5 million! As yet nothing has started, though a local night club is now interested in the site.
And I still cry at the end of E.T!
Sunday, 13 January 2008
For some of the fountains history see yesterdays post.
Saturday, 12 January 2008
This is Neptune's Fountain, built in 1892-3 to perk up the end of the Prom. At the time a local town guide said "It was installed when Victorian Gothicism was on the wane, with beaux arts influences gaining ground on a lingering neo-mediaevalism." I couldn't agree more! Designed by borough engineer Joeseph Hall, it is based on Rome's Fontana di Trevi. It was carved from Portland stone by local company R.L. Boulton & Sons and water first flowed on 30th October 1893. Over the years the fountain has under gone numerous running repairs including new balustrade and urns. Most noticeable was the lack of Neptune's right arm, which was missing for several years until a replacement was installed. The day I took the photo the water, as you can see, was off. I'll post a photo in the summer when its in full flow.