November 11, 2016


You're bound to have seen them, but you've probably not taken too much notice of them. They can be found all over most towns and many villages. They are advertisements for trades and businesses long gone. They're known as ghost signs - and they offer a glimpse into the past.

Let's start with this one from the corner of Market Place in Cirencester. With a bit of effort you can see it says Scotland House Frank Jones The Popular Clothier
There's also at least one '& Co' and something that looks like it ends with ...nson  and a VERY faint extra 'ouse', which I assume was an earlier rendering of House.

Here's a fine example from the harbourside in Ipswich. Fison's were well known as an agricultural chemicals company and they started life in this Suffolk town.

This one is near the River Trent by Sawley, Nottinghamshire. It's a bit of a pleasure spot these days and from what you can decipher on this wall that's been the case for a while. Thomas someone (I can't make out a second name) offered boats for hire, accommodation, teas and mineral waters.

One of my favourites. It could only be in one town. Wholesale jet merchants were a feature of Whitby, where the rare black gemstone appears in the local rocks. You'll find this one close by the swing bridge.

And here's another beauty from round the back of the East Riding Museum in Hull. It's a lovely slice of the town's history. Among the words you can just make out are "Hull River Craft Owners"  "Steam Tug Owners" and there's a wool merchant in there somewhere.

This post was for Five on Friday run by Amy at Love Made My Home. Sadly, Amy has 'stuff' to deal with and Five has been suspended temporarily.

November 04, 2016

St Albans

St Alban was a Romano-British citizen living in the town of Verulamium during the third century. At that time Christianity came under threat from Rome and anyone practising the religion risked persecution. A priest called Amphibalus was to be arrested, but Alban offered himself in the priest's place and was sentenced to be beheaded.

At the place of execution, a hill near Verulamium, Alban prayed to god to provide him with a drink, and a fountain sprang from beneath his feet. The execution place later became the site of an abbey, later the cathedral of St Alban. The former Roman town was renamed after him.

And that's where we went last weekend. Here's five things we found in the cathedral.

The only surviving example in Britain of a medieval watching loft. It was here that priests, monks and townsfolk kept watch over the shrine of St Alban. It dates from around 1400 and is richly carved.

Victorian architect Lord Grimthorpe made various changes to the abbey church, including reinstating the original pitch of the nave roof and replacing the crumbling west front. He also replaced an original perpendicular window in the north transept with a rose window of his own design.
The window contains modern glass, and was unveiled in 1989 by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Replica of the Wallington Clock. The original was designed and built by Richard of Wallington who was Abbot from 1327 to 1336. In addition to striking the hours the clock showed the positions of the sun, moon and stars, and could even predict lunar eclipses.

The original parish poor box still stands in the cathedral. It dates from around 1650.

This wooden figure used to stand above the poor box, begging for alms.

This post was for Five on Friday, organised by Amy at Love Made My Home.