Saturday, 3 October 2009

Custom House, Lancaster

Custom House, Lancaster, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

The Custom House, Lancaster Quay, built in 1765 and restored as Lancaster Maritime Museum in 1985.

The building has played a role in Lancaster's slave trade history, both as the place where merchants taxes would have been paid during that period, and today as a place where those links are presented for discussion.

NOTE: I'm on hols until Wed and having probs uploading pics, so unless I can get it sorted there will be a short hiatus on the blog.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Lancaster Quay, reflected on River Lune

After suffering several cloudy days, we awoke to gorgeous bright light again this morning. It was great to get out and see reflections in the still River Lune before breakfast.

Taken from the Millennium Bridge.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Friary in Lancaster: earthly pleasures

Another old church with colourful doors (yellow-doored one posted here). But unlike St Thomas', this one no longer worships a god. Instead, it helps people pursue more earthly pleasures. It's now a pub.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Edwardian Day, Lancaster Market. Booksellers

This is the last of the Edwardian Day photos, and I feel it's appropriate. Why? Because the theme was about promoting the Lancaster Market traders, and this picture (I think) captures the success of that effort. Well done the traders - you turned an ordinary trading day into something more interesting!

Monday, 28 September 2009

How we feel about politicians

If only we had an Obama this side of the pond. Perhaps then we wouldn't be so despondent?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

More Edwardian Hats, Lancaster Unlocked

And another set of three for you this evening. Hats seems to be the order of the day.

Edwardian Day, Lancaster Market 51, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

And you might also remember this Edwardian gent - or his work - from a previous post. Meet Alvin of Lancaster Pottery, whose creations some of you so admired in this earlier post.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Edwardian Market, Lancaster Unlocked (or Happy Hats)

Today's Saturday outdoor market in Lancaster's city centre was a themed day - Edwardian Market, Lancaster Unlocked.

The markets were even busier than usual, with traders and other locals dressed for the part. From my perspective, it was a welcome opportunity to capture a series of portraits. There had always been a plan to do something on the markets, but today was a gifted opportunity to highlight some of the characters who make them happen. The two gents above run stalls selling French breads and fruit and veg, and the lovely couple below run the second-hand book stall. Don't they all look the part? More photos to follow over the next few days - hope you enjoy them.

And here are three locals I found browsing the stalls, one of whom you've met on previous posts in this blog..

Friday, 25 September 2009

Portrait of a Lancaster cow

Facetious Friday: Sometimes you just feel like mooing.

Mooooooooo!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Textures, Sunderland Point

A final swan song from Sunderland Point with some light on textures. For me, this represents the place fairly well: a flat, rugged landscape with scattered tidal debris.

I've just made an appointment in my mind to visit Sunderland Point on a severe and blustery day at high tide. Crashing waves and floating wood - ahh, bliss...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Red evening boats, Sunderland Point

I can't help it, digging into the files for more shots from Sunderland Point; this time red boats in fading light. That's the last of them until our next trip there - I promise!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Sunderland Point: Bench, House, Groin (or Groyne...)

Bench, Sunderland Point, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

After writing all day for other purposes, it's hard to motivate myself to tell you anything more about Sunderland Point. But did I tell already that it is cut off by the tide twice a day?

What makes it special is crossing the road to the island-no-more just as the water drops below the tarmac. The road is awash with mud, and the marshy banks alongside are broken by huge pools of water rushing out with the fast-moving tide. That's really special to see, and I'll try to capture it for you next time we go there just after high-tide.

Until then, here is the last of the views of that area which the causeway road takes you to: A bench (above), a house and an old wooden groin.

Squashed neighbour, Sunderland Point, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Groin, Sunderland Point, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Views of Sunderland Point

Siblings, Sunderland Point, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Boats, Sunderland Point, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

I promised you more detail about the wonderful Sunderland Point today. But I'll let a few pictures speak for the place again today instead, and add a few more tomorrow before giving you my take on the place and explaining why it's so interesting.

1. A rather cool family relax in their wonderful front garden
2. A pair of well-loved siblings explore the water's edge
3. A view of boats with the tide in, but falling

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Family looking, Sunderland Point

Took Yumiko, Yasmin & Caolan to Sunderland Point today (after Caolan's birthday party, I might add - happy 8th birthday, little man). They looked around and liked what they saw.

On a beautiful day, we took the long way round to Sambo's grave, passing cows on the beach and much else besides (more tomorrow about that). Once there, Yasmin and Caolan took one look at the 'mushroom' tribute stones and sped the few steps back to the beach to collect some stones of their own. A few quick trips back and forth later, and here is their result:

Yasmin & Caolan's stones, Sambo's grave, Sunderland Point, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Sambo's Grave, Sunderland Point

Sambo's grave sign, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Note: This is the first of three posts in which I'll discuss things I enjoy doing in England. The first is exploring places of historical and political interest close to home. For more ideas on the theme of 'Exploring England', see the Guardian's Enjoy England pages.

For Sambo, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

There are often fascinating places on our doorstep which we don't take the time to explore. Perhaps it's because they are so close that we don't make the effort? They are not 'exotic' enough - something like that?

Anyway, I set out to Sunderland Point yesterday to see what it was all about, and, particularly, to visit Sambo's grave. Sambo? Who is Sambo? Surely you've heard of him, educated reader? But just in case you haven't, let me show off my newly-acquired knowledge to save you from your ignorance.

Sambo's grave is a memorial to a young, black slave who is believed to have arrived at the port in Sunderland Point by ship in 1736. He was an African stolen into slavery and first brought to the West Indies before beginning the long journey to Lancaster with his master. Unfortunately for Sambo (as if his life was not tragic enough), shortly after arrival he was taken ill and died near a local inn. Perhaps his immune system was not prepared for the infections carried by the North West Englanders?

Sambo was buried in an unmarked grave, until, in 1795, a certain Rev Watson led an effort to have a memorial erected. It is believed that this teacher penned the following elegy found on the grave:

Full sixty years the angry winter's wave
Has thundering dashed this bleak and barren shore
Since Sambo's head laid in this lonely grave
Lies still and ne'er will hear their turmoil more.
Full many a sandbird chirps upon the sod,
And many a moonlight elfin round him trips
Full many a summer's sunbeam warms the clod
And many a teeming cloud upon him drips.
But still he sleeps - till the awakening sounds,
Of the Archangel's trump new life impart,
Then the Great Judge his approbation founds,
Not on man's colour but his worth of heart.

In the picture below, you'll see that people lay little gifts and stones with messages on them beside the grave. Perhaps it's the overwhelming sense of guilt we should rightly feel that prompts people to pay homage to this single African slave? Or perhaps it's just the love of a sentimental story that pushes these little showings of affection and compassion for a boy who died so long ago. Whatever individual reasons people have for visiting and caring for Sambo's grave, they've prompted my own small scream of indignation into the wind at Sunderland Point.

More tomorrow about the wondrous place that is Sunderland Point. I have much to share about it, but refuse to spoil Sambo's post with such mundaneness tonight. But if you have any interest in reading more about Lancaster's links with the Slave trade, see my previous post on William Lindow.

p.s. Yesterday's post (what are they?) contained a picture of stones on sticks, onto which people have written little messages to Sambo and placed near his memorial. An example I saw there was: You left no footprints but we found you in our hearts. Diane.

Friday, 18 September 2009

What are they?

What are they, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Can you guess what these are? The answer along with contextual photos in tomorrow and Sunday's posts. Whoever is closest gets a special prize - and no locals need apply :)

EDIT: See the post immediately after this for the answer.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Young butcher, Lancaster Indoor Market

I took this photo back on July 30th, on the same day I shot photos in the tattoo parlour and the fishmongers. Unfortunately, I've lost my notes from that day so forget this young butcher's name. But he works in J. Wilsons in Lancaster Market, and he is good at his job. I've posterised him in photoshop - hope he doesn't mind...

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Lancaster Castle inmates in flight

Walking around Lancaster Castle walls, a flock of birds take flight from the main turret.

I shot them in the way all animal lovers do - with my trusty camera.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Working on Regent Street

Working on Regent Street, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Every Tuesday, the council workers come to clear our street's rubbish. I've watched them work a few times and respect their no-nonsense approach to getting the job done. It looks like a hard graft, but they take their job seriously and do it well, and just like today, most of them are quick to smile and say hello. Good men.

One of the men was a bit loathe to have his photo taken as you can see, but the others were up for it. Many thanks guys!

Monday, 14 September 2009

From Keswick to Skiddaw

More from yesterday's hike. Do you see Derwent Water? Well, just in front of it you might be able to make out the town of Keswick. That's where we parked and began walking.

So that's where we started from. The next photo is where we went, taken from the halfwayish point. Looking up that path to Skiddaw still makes my legs sing. Yasmin (11) and Caolan (7) did really well on their first real walk - five hours is hard on the legs, especially when you are ... ahem ... a little bit older than that.

Path on Lonscale Fell, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Oh, it hurt. So much so that sometimes you just had to feign interest in an old bit of collasped wall in order to rest your weary legs. "Kids, this wall needs to be photographed while lying on my back. It's a special type of shot that takes ten minutes to process. I would not lie to you."

Wall, Lonscale Fell, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Finally, take a look at my flickr account to the right and you'll see yesterday's memorial in all it's phallic glory as well as a handsome bovine family we chatted to along the way (another excuse for a rest).

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Skiddaw memorial: Hawell shepherds

Skiddaw memorial, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

After a long day hiking in the Lake District, I have a set of images for you. Too tired to show them now, so this memorial on Lonscale Fell half way to the summit of Skiddaw will have to do for now. It is dedicated to the shepherding family of Hawell. The inscription opens with "In loving memory of two Skiddaw shepherds." Google for more info if needed!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Shadowy figures in Haverbreaks, Lancaster

Shadowy self portrait, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Another self-portrait. This time my sidekick is a little easier to recognise.

"Papa, will you please stop taking photos?! We came out to ride our bikes!"

(I lie. It looks like that, but he was posing for this as much as I was).

Friday, 11 September 2009

Thursday, 10 September 2009

More Nygel Harrot

Nygel acts, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

In yesterday's post, Your EG Tour Guide said the two photos "reveal a bit of Nygel's personality." Perhaps so, but today's may reveal even more! I hope you enjoy them, and I know Nygel does too.

You might be interested to know that Nygel also produces stereographs. He presented me with a set yesterday - some wonderful local 3D images. If only there was a way of letting you see them...

Nygel swings, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.
Nygel looks, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.
Nygel looks further, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Nygel Harrot

Nygel Harrott, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Nygel, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Meet Nygel, comedy writer, comedian and much else besides. We took loads of shots today, so I'll add a few more in tomorrow's post after I get a chance to sort through them.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Old grocers, Russell Street

Interesting double door, the bottom one to a cellar I presume. My guess is that something may have been poured down here at one stage - any ideas what...?

Monday, 7 September 2009

Kids again

Yasmin, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Sometimes it good to photograph those you know best. Meet Yasmin again. And below, Caolan, her brother and Munchkin No. 2.

Caolan, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Ashton Memorial, Williamson Park

Woke up early but the light was bad and the sky grey and overcast. Undeterred, I plodded up to Williamson Park to take a few shots of the Aston Memorial, Lancaster's 'famous folly'. Fortunately, the park warden was kind enough to invite me inside to take more.

It was an unexpected pleasure to have the place all to myself - I only wish the natural light had been better or I had brought a flash with me. But perhaps I'll return another Sunday at the same time, now that I've befriended the man with the key!

Ashton Memorial, inside 1F, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Ashton Memorial, ceiling, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Lying on my back on the marble floor, but perhaps worth the chill?