Wednesday, 30 March 2016

William Morris Gallery

William Morris,the designer, was born in Walthamstow in 1834 and lived in this house as a teenager.
Coming from a wealthy family, they were not pleased by his choice of artist as a career rather than clergyman. The house is now the William Morris Gallery and tells the story of his life as well as displaying examples of his work.

Many of his designs have survived and are still printed today on fabrics and wallpaper. This is the design for a printed textile. you can see where Morris has made alterations and lines have been rubbed out. Morris drew, revised and finally coloured a pattern on one sheet of paper believing that a harmonious piece of work should be done in one attempt.

A rose trellis inspired this design, his first ever wallpaper.

 In 1880 this design was used to decorate The Grand Staircase at St James's Palace.

It was another of Morris's designs on silk damask that upholstered George V's coronation throne. The photograph of the throne was used in the Morris and Co catalogue.  The Royal connection made a good publicity coup.

Many of his printing blocks were displayed in this room.

                                          His daffodil pattern printing block.

At the back of the house there is a public park.

The house was built in 1740 for a wealthy merchant. It was known as Water House as it had a moat. After the Morris family left this house it was bought by Edward Lloyd, a successful publisher, in 1857.. The family eventually gifted the house and estate to the council for a public park to be created. It opened to the public on 28th July 1900 and is known as Lloyd Park in his honour.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Street art

I am always amazed by the art that adorns some of the back streets around London. Here is a selection from some of my recent walks around the East  End. I have no information about the artists or the pieces of work. So you will need to judge for yourself.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Above the Underground - Leytonstone

   My next station in my series 'Above the Underground' Leytonstone, the birthplace of Alfred Hitchcock, David Bailey and David Beckham. Read more here

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Spring has arrived

It is now officially Spring. The skies are blue, flowers are in bloom everywhere. In St James's Park the daffodils looked magnificent.

The pelicans looked suitably impressed with the sunshine.

 Even St Christopher's Place, behind Oxford Street was transformed into a Spring spectacular  for a few days.

1200 fresh flowers were suspended over the piazza with many of the shops and restaurants full of floral tributes
  Personally I would sooner have seen the flowers on the ground as it was difficult to see them so high up. So all that effort was wasted on me.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Waltham Abbey

This is the church of the Holy Cross and St Lawrence, Waltham Abbey in Essex. The church has served the community for fourteen centuries. There have been several churches on the site over the years. The present building dates from the 12th cent. In the late Middle Ages Waltham was one of the largest churches in England and was a place of pilgrimage.

It was the last religious community to be closed in 1540 during Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Ruins of the 14th cent gatehouse of the Augustinian Abbey. Built in 1369 of stone and bricks the gateway formed the main entrance to the abbey precinct. The large archway was for wheeled traffic and the smaller one for pedestrians.

I was there very early one Sunday morning and enjoyed the surroundings. I must return at a different hour when the Abbey is open.

 Ancestor by Helena Stykianides. It was carved from a nine foot tree trunk from Epping Forest donated by the Corporation of London.

Legend has it that the Abbey is the burial site of King Harold, the last Saxon King who died in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. 

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflection

Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Wanstead, the next station I visited on the Central line. Read more here

Sunday, 13 March 2016


A couple of weeks ago I spent three days in Harrogate, NorthYorkshire.  Harrogate developed during Victorian times as a spa town and is still  a very elegant town. But the special properties of the waters had been discovered long before that in the 1600s. Over 100 mineral springs have been discovered in and around Harrogate. The springs do not originate from the same source and as a consequence they have different mineral contents. In the 17th and 18th century the waters containing iron were a very popular health treatment and people came from far and wide to bathe and drink the waters.

In 1897 the Royal Baths was opened to offer spa treatments and hydrotherapy to visitors. Much of the building is now used for other purposes such as bars and restaurants but the Turkish Baths still remain open. I couldn't resist a visit and spent a couple of relaxing hours in the steam room and hot rooms and managed two seconds in the cold plunge pool. It was a highlight of my trip. No photos though.

This Royal Pump Room was built in 1841  to pump the sulphur water from a natural spring known as the Old Sulphur Well. Visitors to the Pump Room would pay  to drink the sulphur water inside the Pump Room. However legislation from 1841 stated that the water must be freely available to those who cannot afford to pay. Outside the Pump Room is a tap where you can still taste the water.
Nowadays EU regulations state that the water is not fit for human consumption but the water still flows if you want to try it.

A short distance away in the Valley Gardens is the pump room for a Magnesia well erected in 1858. With all these wells it is no wonder the town was known as the 'English Spa'. Between 1830 and 1840 local business men ciphered off spa water for their own wells to profit from the influx of visitors. As a result of this dishonest activity locals petitioned for an Act of Parliament to protect the town's wells which was instrumental in its survival and preservation for today's visitors.

Other places of interest in the town include the Hotel Majestic. Built in 1900 it was favoured by the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Errol Flynn and various Prime Ministers. Bombed in 1940 it served as an RAF Reception Centre in WW2. It was extensively refurbished between 1998 and 2002.

A visit to Harrogate would not be complete without having tea and cakes at Betty's tea shop which has served a variety of teas here since 1919.

In 2014 the Tour de France cycling race began in Yorkshire and the evidence is everywhere. Here in Harrogate you will see numerous yellow cycles adorning gardens, houses and streets. It was hugely successful and now we have the annual Tour de Yorkshire.  It is a gruelling 3 day race covering 518.5kms.  This year it begins in Beverly on the 29th April.