Friday, 29 February 2008


The window display of ladies clothes shop Coast caught my eye. The shop, on the Promenade, is following the latest trend for black and white. The monochrome look is big in fashion and interiors this season (apparently) and can be seen in most clothes stores. I changed the colour photo to black and white to enhance the display. I especially like the mirrored blocks in the window that reflect the pavement. I hope you can see it too, after all it is there in black and white!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Did The Earth Move For You?

In the early hours of yesterday morning, just before 1 am, Cheltenham shook. As I was just about to go to bed I don't really have a photo of the tremor, so I took a photo of the BBC News website story. I spent most of yesterday thinking about what I could show, because I wanted to note the event, and this is all I came up with!

The epicentre was in Lincolnshire (about 200 miles away) and at 5.2 on the Richter scale its not the biggest quake ever but we still felt it in Cheltenham. I was sitting on the sofa when it started to vibrate, then the radiator started to rattle and the cat jumped of his bed. It was quite an eerie feeling, I had that cold feeling inside me and the hairs on my arms stood on end. Then it just stopped. It took me a moment to realise what it must of been (not a monster or ghost!). In the light of day I was surprised to hear how much of the country had felt it. Nationally no one was killed, only one injury sustained and nobodies house was destroyed. Compared to other earthquakes around the world this one was nothing much, but it was still quite an experience!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Krafty People

These ladies had been caught on camera (in more ways than one!) They had been stopped by this small film crew in The Promenade, at first I wondered what it was all about, but on closer inspection I could see it was some kind of market research/advertising. The crew were from Kraft Foods, based in Cheltenham, and were asking them about Dairylea (a soft cheese, sold in little foil triangles, packed in a round box. Look closely in the hand of the chap with the microphone). Kraft Foods have had their headquarters in the town for 25 years and they are one of the worlds top 100 food and beverage producers. They make many different brand leaders including Kenco Coffee, Philadelphia Soft Cheese, Terry's Chocolate Orange, Toblerone, Maxwell House Coffee and, one I've not heard of, Grape-Nuts. This is a breakfast cereal and I think its American (anyone know?)

So, next time you enjoy a cup of Kenco or spread some Philly on our toast, think of Cheltenham!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Theatre For Everyman

As promised yesterday, here is The Everyman Theatre in Regent Street.

The theatres architecture is the design of renowned theatre creator Matcham and was opened on October 1st 1891, as The New Theatre And Opera House, with the first production being Lady Clancarty. In the theatres early years the main performances were of classical plays and operas, although Charlie Chaplin did perform too. In 1925 the theatre changed hands and was run by a group staging ballet, plays, opera and comedy. During the Second World War the theatre saw an influx of West End stars, as London theatres were closed, these included the legendary John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier. After the war the popularity of Cinema grew and the audience numbers at the theatre fell dramatically, causing the building to be sold to the Cheltenham Corporation. They failed in rejuvenating the theatre and the building was passed on to a group of businessmen, who too failed to stop the rot and in June 1959 it was announced that The New Theatre would close.

Luckily for the theatre a small group of local people formed the Cheltenham Theatre Association (still in existence today) and, with the support of the local Council, they had the newly refurbished theatre up and running by May 1960. It was at this point the theatre was renamed The Everyman, to represent it being for one and all, and it set up its own repertory theatre company, instead of the touring venue it had been in the past. Many rising stars of the day worked at The Everyman, but by the end of the 70's audience numbers were falling again and the building was showing its age. In 1983 a £3 million refurbishment was started, with the backstage area being completely rebuilt. By 1990 repertory theatre was losing its popularity and The Everyman returned to hosting touring companies. The theatre now has a cafe bar and small additional theatre, called The Other Space, where workshops and smaller productions are staged.

I've seen numerous shows at the theatre including comedian Greg Proops, Saturday Night Fever, spiritual medium Derek Accorah and, last year, The Rocky Horror Show (which was brilliant!). The Everyman continues to be well supported and has a huge variety of productions, catering for all tastes. Lets hope it carries on for another 116 years!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Its All In The Detail

Lets face it (excuse the pun!) the small details of buildings make them stand out from the crowd. This face is one of several above the windows of Cheltenhams theatre, The Everyman. The imposing building stands on Regent Street and is a great looking place. It has all sorts of little details that add up to create an impressive facade. Check back tomorrow to see the theatre in full!

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Cheltenham Nightspots - 5

This post is especially for Glenn of who mentioned this bar in his comment last week. I should imagine it has changed a bit since he last went but the same crowd go there and the music is the same. I used to go there often with friends for the Saturday night Pop and Chart music on the ground floor. The rest of the time the 2 Pigs is known for Rock and Indie music. The people that dance the night away there are a mixed bunch but the atmosphere is always friendly and relaxed. And at only a couple of quid to get in, you can't go wrong!

Friday, 22 February 2008

See You In Court

Well, not anymore. The now empty former County Court is just off Regent Street, in the originally named County Court Road, and used to be used as the Court for small claims. Cheltenham has its main Magistrates Court in a 1960's block just a few minutes away, and Gloucester has the Crown Court. Up until a few years ago the County Court in town was in full operation but the County Council decided that the cost of running repairs made it no longer affordable to keep. The Court merged with Gloucesters County Court, at the Docks, and since then the building has been empty. I don't know if it was sold off but there was talk of (another) pub chain taking it on. So it could be that time will be called at the bar!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Who's A Pretty Boy!

I've recently downloaded Picasa and, although I don't tend to mess with my photos, I've added some effects to this one. This parrot is resident at my local pet shop. She is called Mac, is over 40 years old and seems to have a happy life. She talks, laughs and swears like a trooper, which is very funny! Hope you like what I've done. If not, don't worry it won't be a regular occurrence!


Following on from some of the comments today, here is the original photo. Using Picasa I cropped the photo, added highlight to the background, put a soft focus round the edges, creating a focus on Macs face and played with the intensity of the colour, making it brighter.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Fire! Fire!

I'm going out on a limb here, but I guess that this was Cheltenhams former Fire Station! The towns present one is close to the Hospital, where as this one is on the other side of town, in the St James' area. I spotted this building back in the summer when I was at the little Bistro ( Number 7) situated opposite the old Fire Station. The building is in good repair but looks like its undergoing some kind of makeover, as the windows are covered with dust sheets. I can't seem to find anything out about the old Fire Station, apart from it was built in 1906!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


This is the beginning of the end for the the St Pauls area of Cheltenham. However, it is only temporary, as new houses are going to replace parts of the 1930's estate. The estate is on the West side of town, close to the centre, and for decades has had a bad reputation, as the area is rife with vandalism, drugs and crime, although it is only the minority that give the estate this reputation. Unfortunatly mud sticks. In April 2005 the Council decided to demolish all 312 house but after protests from residents this number was reduced to 72. The streets facing demolition are parts of Hudson and Manser Street and all of Crabtree Place, and at the end of January this year the work started to reduce them to rubble. Many residents will move back into the new development and some say that the problems faced in the past will return too. I tend to agree with them. The problem isn't necessarily the buildings themselves, but some of the people in them.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Towering Above

As a follow up to last weeks photo of the gold eagle at the base of Eagle Tower here is the building itself. Its Cheltenhams tallest building at 161 feet and was opened in October 1968. The tower was first used by Eagle Star Insurance and is now rented out floor by floor to several different companies. The tower is a fine example of how not to build a 60's office block! By many in the town it is seen as an eyesore but, although its not attractive, I like it. I suppose I like it because its always been there and Cheltenham would look odd without it (you can see it from all sorts of different places in and around town). Several members of my family worked there when it was Eagle Star and, on the occasional Saturday morning, when I was a little boy, I used to go to 'work' there with my Dad!

Sunday, 17 February 2008


This photograph was taken at Crickley Hill Country Park at the end of last year. I used the macro setting to get a really good close-up shot of this large boulder that was in the carpark. I really like the pattern in the stone, hope you like it too. Nothing more to say, I just fancied posting something a bit different.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Cheltenham Nightspots - 4

Continuing the series of the towns bars, clubs and pubs here is The Night Owl. This club, on the High Street, is not the sort of place that plays my kind of music, so I've never been inside but I wanted to tell you something about it. Not knowing anything about it I checked out their website and I was so suprised by the history of the club behind the door that the info below is taken from their website :-

"Going back to the early 60s when it all started as a milk bar frequented by the mods on their scooters. Egg & Bacon was the local hang out for the young and restless of Cheltenham. For a while it was a dancehall under the name SPA Lounge. In the late 60s it changed incarnation again. This time the venue was called Blue Moon. It became the premiere circuit venue for the Gloucestershire area. Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Mott The Hoople, Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart to name but a few, played up the stairs in the corner stage. The Four Tops played their very first UK show at the Blue Moon, which it remained to be during most of the 70s.
Then in the early 80s the club changed management yet again and turned in to The Night Owl. What started with the scooters and the mods back in the early years, now turned in to a dedicated bikers and rock venue.
Another name change to Mistys didn’t mean it changed genre. Still a rock club up until 1996 when it turned in to The Attic which is when Stuart “Stu” Challoner got involved. Still focusing on rock music, with up and coming bands playing live, The Attic featured artists such as Stereophonics and Feeder."

Now the club, once again The Night Owl, is undergoing a refurbishment and has a promising future. Who knows whether todays unknown rock bands featured here will become as famous as some of those that played The Night Owl in the past? Lets hope so.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Victorian Style

Cheltenham doesn't have many red brick Victorian buildings, most of the towns buildings were built in the early 1800's or at the turn of the last Century, but the ones we do have are impressive. This one sits near the end of the High Street, at the pedestrianised junction of Cambray Place. As you can see the ground floor is occupied by the Bradford & Bingley Building Society but the top three floors are home to Wedding Days bridal shop. From the coloured brick inlays to the clock and weathervane this is a stylish looking building.

If you click on the photo for a larger image you should be able to see the netting that covers the roof and most of the front of the building to protect it from pigeons and their mess!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Love Is In The Air

Today is Valentines Day, the day that romantics and lovers celebrate. Its the day to let your other half know you still care or to send that special person, who maybe doesn't even know you exist, a token of your unrequited love.

Here are 5 Valentines Day facts -

1. The red rose is associated with Valentines as it was the goddess of love Venus' favourite flower.
2. Over 9 million red roses are sent in the UK today.
3. The first Valentines card was sent in 1415 by Charles, Duke Of Orleans, to his wife.
4. Valentines Day is worth £2.3 billion in the UK.
5. The Heart is linked with Valentines as it is considered the source of all emotions.

And one final thing... Phoebe will you be my Valentine? X

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


Over the last few days the weather here has been fine and sunny, which has given us some beautiful sunsets as the cold evening air creeps in. This is taken between Cheltenham and Gloucester, near Gloucestershire Airport. I think the telephone wires add an abstract frame to the photo.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

New Build

Cheltenham, like many other towns and cities across the country, has seen an influx of modern buildings, some good some bad. This row of new build town houses is just off of Imperial Gardens and is an example of the sort of developments we are seeing. The Council is following government policy to build on unused sites (brownfield) in town centres before pursuing developments out of town (greenfield). Lots of disused spaces in Cheltenham have had new life breathed into them and the majority of new builds are quite sympathetic to their surroundings. The houses above sit easily with neighbouring Regency buildings and I think they add to the character of Cheltenham. Of course there are some new builds that are seen local as an eyesore, but you've got to take the rough with the smooth!
In the background you can see the Eagle Tower, home of the Golden Eagle from yesterday.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Eagle Eyed

At the foot of Cheltenhams only skyscraper sits this Golden Eagle. Well I say skyscraper, its only 13 storeys high, but it is the towns tallest building at 161 feet! The building is Eagle Tower (former headquaters of insurance company Eagle Star) and has been visible from all over town since its completion in October 1968. When Eagle Star moved to the outskirts of town several years ago the building was renamed Eagle Tower, the office space rented to different companies and the shiny bird of prey kept in place, keeping an eagle eye on a host of new employees.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Church On Sunday

Christ Church in Malvern Road is one of the towns most striking churches and its tower can be seen from many points around Cheltenham. It was built between 1837 and 1840 and was designed by brothers Robert William Jearrad and Charles Jearrad for the people of the Lansdown estate. To aid the building work shares were sold to local people and raised £17,000 to buy the stone from the nearby Cotswold village of Whittington. Over the years the Church has undergone several renovations and additions but the impressive Gothic architecture has always remained. Below is a shot across the Ladies College playing fields showing the scale of the Church.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Pump Room

This is my last photo of Pitville Park, and it shows the magnificent looking Pitville Pump Room. The building stands at the northern end of the park and looks over the lake and gardens. The Pump Room is one of the towns finest examples of Regency architecture, with its main feature being the Ionic columns that front onto the large lawn.

Building work started in 1825 and took 5 years to complete, with a grand opening and ball being held on the 20th July 1830. The building was the idea of wealthy banker Joseph Pitt and was designed by architect John Forbes, who had a hand in the design of many other Cheltenham buildings. It cost £40,000 to complete, but the Pump Room soon ran into difficulties and it was sold to the Borough Council for just £5,400 in 1890! Throughout the second world war the Pump Room was used as a base by the American Army and, during this time of deprivation ,the building was greatly neglected, infact it is said that the dry rot was so bad that the plaster was all that was stopping the dome from collapsing! After public subscription and government grants the total of £43,200 was raised in 1960 to help restore the building.

Inside the Pump Room today you can still sample the Spa water (pumped from an 80 foot deep well), while marvelling at the grand dome and sweeping staircase. The Pump Room is now Cheltenhams most popular wedding venue and at other times of the year is used for concerts, shows and exhibitions. Infact you could hire it for your next party, just make sure I'm on the guest list!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Don't Let The Band Stand

As promised last week, in my post on Snowdrops, here is another photo from Pitville Park. Until I went walking round the park I never knew it had a bandstand and I was suprised at how nice it looked. Last year some areas of the park under went a makeover and I guess the bandstand got a lick of paint. The Borough Council are in the process of applying for a larger grant from the Lottery Heritage Commision so that a bigger revamp can take place in the Grade II listed park to help restore it to its former glory. I don't know if you'll agree with me, but I think the bandstand has the style of a Chinese Pagoda....fitting as today is the start of the Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Invisible Images Post

Yesterday Lori at posted on this challenge.

What is an Invisible Image?

As bloggers we tend to collect images on our computer for later use. They could be any type of image that you had intended to use somehow. Often they are photos headed for the family site, or quirky images that get sent to friends via email, they could have been intended to be part of a blog post, or, they are images that have been sent to or found by you on the internet, with no real purpose in mind. The point is, for whatever reason, we all tend to have quite a stash of images. And despite our best intentions, many of these images just hang around on our c drive collecting dust. For whatever reason, it’s these forgotten and never used images that we are referring to here as Invisible Images.

This is the basic assignment:

Take 5 images that you have stored on your computer and post them, each with a title and/or a single line description of what the image is, or represents, or means to you. Any image used for this post must never have been used for any purpose by you before.

Following the challenge layed down by Lori for her readers to have a go, here are my Invisible Images.

The river Windrush, Bourton-on-the-Water, June 2006.

St Pauls Cathedral & Millenium Footbridge, London, March 2007.

Balloons in Cheltenham High Street, last weekend.

Empire State Building, New York, March 2006.

Donkeys, Lindos, Rhodes, June 2006.

Now its your turn. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Squirrelled Away

This little chap was busy hunting around under the trees in Pitville Park for the goodies he squirrelled away last Autumn. In the time I was watching and photographing him he didn't come up with anything, though he looked determined to find something! The Grey Squirrel is common all over Britain but the Red Squirrel less so. The only Red Squirrel I've ever seen was here, in Pitville Park, when I was a young boy. I was with my mum, playing in the park, when we spotted him doing the same thing as the one shown. Gingerly we moved closer and, as he saw us, he scampered away so we followed from a distance. We kept sight of him for quite a while until he leapt up a tree and vanished out of view. I can still remember the striking colour of that Red Squirrel and its a shame that they are all but extinct here in Britain.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Centaur Stage

Following on from my Theme Day post of the Cheltenham Racecourse, here is an unusual sculpture of a Centaur, made from what looks like chicken wire, at the front of The Centaur building at the racecourse. The building was opened at the turn of the new millenium and is one of the towns largest venues for holding events like conferences, banquets, stage shows and exhibitions. At the moment you can see the Chinese State Circus performing there, and in the past has featured the likes of Sting, Dame Judy Dench, Cats The Musical and Jools Holland. I've only seen the outside but by all accounts its big inside (2,600 m2) and has impressive facilities.

The chicken wire Centaur is obviously a representation of the creature from Greek Mythology, part human part horse.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

F.A Cup Suprise

Its not every day that you walk through the Regent Arcade and see the countrys best know sporting trophy, but there it was! The F.A Cup is awarded to the winning team in the football Premiership and is sponsored by the UK's largest electricity supplier, E.on. It was on display as part of E.on's roadshow, but don't ask me what they were promoting, as I haven't got a clue; I was so surprised to see the F.A Cup! The F.A cup competition started in 1871 and had just 15 entries (this year it had 600!) and the final was watched by just 2,000 fans. The first trophy, costing £20, was smaller than the present cup and was stolen in 1895. The F.A Cup shown is the fourth incarnation, it has been played for since 1992, and is an exact replica of the third.

The next time I'll see the F.A Cup is on the telly, at the final, in May!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Cheltenham Nightspots - 3

This nightclub will always be "Time" to me. Thats what it was called until a couple of years ago, when it changed to Moda, and its where I normally ended up on a Friday night. Friday night was the best night - it was Cheese Night (70's, 80's & 90's disco and cheesey songs!) - and I had many a good, and drunken, time with my friends. It used to be held in the ground floor bar and you had to wait upstairs until they opened the doors at 11pm to the downstairs area (oh, the anticipation!). The Cheese Night is now held on the middle floor and just isn't quite the same, I haven't been for a while now as everybody seemed to be getting younger (it could be me getting older I suppose!) and I missed the sticky floor! Since the make over its Cheltenhams largest club, spread over three floors, but its not exactly huge. The owners of Moda are in the planning stage of accquirring the former Odeon Cinema to transform it into the new largest club in town, though the police have objected, so we'll see what happens. I bet this even newer venue won't have sticky floors!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Theme Day - When People Think Of Cheltenham...

...they think of the Gold Cup.

Cheltenham Racecourse holds "The Festival" every March, this year it runs from Tuesday 11th to Friday 14th and will attract 230,000 race-goers over the week. The event culiminates in the Gold Cup which is the most prestigeous race of the season. Winners include Arkell and Best Mate, who have both won several times. Over 5,000 staff are employed to deal with all the punters, and these punters drink their way through 18,000 bottles of bubbly and 214,000 pints of Guinness (we get a lot of Irish visitors!). The Gold Cup Festival is worth over £50 million to Cheltenhams economy and is one of the largest annual sporting events in the country. I am ashamed to say that I've never been to the Racecourse to see any horse racing, but its something that I'd love to do. The atmosphere is apparently electric and I know I'd enjoy a bottle of bubbly too!

Take some time to visit these other Daily Photo Blogs taking part in Theme Day

Portland (OR), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Memphis (Tennessee), USA - Manila, Philippines - San Diego (CA), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - New York City (NY), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - San Francisco (CA), USA - Mumbai (Maharashtra), India - Mainz, Germany - Weston (FL), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Turin, Italy - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Bicheno, Australia - Durban, South Africa - Joplin (MO), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Brussels, Belgium - Chicago (IL), USA - Montpellier, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mazatlan, Mexico - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Toulouse, France - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Susanville (CA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Helsinki, Finland - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Lisbon, Portugal - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Trujillo, Peru - Dunedin (FL), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - London, UK - Baziège, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mumbai, India - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Stayton (OR), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Arradon, France - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Athens, Greece - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Jackson (MS), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Budapest, Hungary - Rotterdam, Netherlands - St Malo, France - Chandler (AZ), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Cleveland (OH), USA - Nottingham, UK - Kansas City (MO), USA - The Hague, Netherlands - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Wrocław, Poland - Chateaubriant, France - Cheltenham, UK - Moscow, Russia - Monrovia (CA), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - Toruń, Poland - Grenoble, France - Lisbon, Portugal - New Orleans (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Boston (MA), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Wichita (KS), USA - Radonvilliers, France - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Christchurch, New Zealand - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Wailea (HI), USA - Aliso Viejo (CA), USA - St Francis, South Africa - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Seattle (WA), USA - Pasadena (CA), USA - Vienna, Austria - Orlando (FL), USA - Torun, Poland - Delta (CO), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Paris, France - Stavanger, Norway - Niamey, Niger - Le Guilvinec, France - Bogor, Indonesia - Saarbrücken, Germany - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Juneau (AK), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Glasgow, Scotland - Chicago (IL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Adelaide (SA), Australia - Sydney, Australia - Riga, Latvia - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Terrell (TX), USA - Terrell (TX), USA
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