Earlier posts

Earlier posts
This blog is a continuation of an older one. To explore previous posts please click the photo above.

Monday, 2 August 2021


Yorkshire holiday 3

My final stop on my journey to the east coast was the moorland village of Goathland. It's an odd kind of settlement, really quite small but strung out along the road, with wide green areas of common land. I understand some of the land belongs to the Duchy of Lancaster (the Queen) and tenants have a historic right to graze their sheep on the common land. So there are lots of sheep wandering around! 

It has been used as a film location, most notably being the fictional village of Aidensfield in the TV police drama series 'Heartbeat', set in the 1960s. Many of the small shops bear the name. 

My own reason for revisiting was a touch of nostalgia. When I was a child, aged maybe about 8 or 10, we had a family holiday staying in the Mallyan Spout Hotel (named after a nearby waterfall). The hotel is still there but I wasn't able to go in (these Covid times!) to see if the writing room was still there.... I recall feeling very grown-up, sitting writing postcards at a proper writing desk with lots of little cubbyholes for papers, in a room dedicated to that purpose. Actually, that and the sheep are really all I can remember about that holiday! 


Sunday, 1 August 2021

North York Moors

Yorkshire holiday 2

The route to the east coast travels through part of the North York Moors National Park, one of the largest areas of heather moorland in the UK. It's a plateau, dissected by numerous dales, the largest of which is Eskdale. 

We used to holiday on the east coast when I was a child, so I remember the journey. In those days it was exciting to see the three radomes of RAF Fylingdales, constructed in the early 1960s. They looked like huge golfballs (see HERE). About 1990, they were replaced by a pyramidal structure (below) - not nearly so exciting. It does the same job however: part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, shared with the US, continually scanning the skies for impending ballistic missile attacks, tracking orbiting objects and keeping tabs on spy satellites. Its motto is 'Vigilamus' - 'We are watching'. 

In the same area is the dramatic, bowl-shaped amphitheatre (below) known as the Hole of Horcum, 400 feet deep and more than half a mile wide. Legend has it that it was caused when Wade the Giant picked up a handful of earth to throw at his wife during an argument. The reality is not quite so colourful. It is caused by a process called spring-sapping, where water welling up from the hillside has undermined the slopes, eating away at the rocks and causing a once-narrow valley to widen into a cauldron. 

Late July is a little early to see the heather in bloom. Some of the bell heather was starting to show its bright purple flowers but the predominant ling heather was not yet in flower. 


Saturday, 31 July 2021

Yorkshire pretty

Yorkshire holiday 1

Hooray, I've been on holiday! Only a short break and not all that far away, but a holiday nevertheless - somewhere different! My ultimate destination was the coastal area around Whitby, North Yorkshire. En route, I stopped for a couple of hours in the village of Thornton Le Dale. Nestled on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, it must be one of the prettiest villages in Yorkshire, centred around a village green and with little streams running alongside the houses. I don't think I've ever been before. The main road to the coast bypasses it but it was a detour worth making. 

It reminded me a little of Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds, where I visited a couple of years ago (see HERE). That too has a shallow stream running through it. Perhaps the memory was triggered more by the weather, as (just as it was when I was in Bourton on the Water) it was a scorching hot day. There were plenty of people enjoying the sunshine and cooling off in the stream, though nothing like the crowds in the Costwolds. 

The first photo shows Beck Isle, the most famous (and most photographed) cottage in the village, a picturesque thatched cottage, immaculately kept and with a colourful garden. Built in the 17th century and extended in the 20th, it has featured on innumerable chocolate boxes and jigsaw puzzles.  There are, however, many other attractive properties, some of them dating back to the 1600s. 

It is a delightful place, especially on a sunny summer's day. 


Friday, 30 July 2021

We're going on another...

We're going on another hunt... this time for lions. It's well known that Saltaire has four huge lion statues in the square in front of the Victoria Hall. I've shown all of them on my blog at various times. Perhaps fewer people know that there are more secretive lions around the village. One of them glowers down at visitors to the United Reformed Church, but you have to know where to look to notice it. There's one on the other side too, even harder to see. 

Then there's the Belwarp lion on the side of Salts Mill. (I haven't been to see him lately so this is an old photo of mine.) Belwarp was a trade name for the high quality, woollen twill serge cloths made in Salts Mill. They were often used for military uniforms. 

Thursday, 29 July 2021

A different eye

All photos © Phil Reeds

I mentioned yesterday that I hosted a camera club visit to Saltaire recently. One of our members, Phil Reeds, has kindly agreed that I can share a selection of his photos here. It is refreshing for me to see how a different 'eye' views my familiar scenes. It's a while since I really noticed the variety of chimney pots - and I've never taken the shadows on the steps down to Salts Mill, or that view of the United Reformed Church's pillared porch, despite having hundreds of photos of the church. I think it's an interesting selection of images, pulled together by the touches of blue. It has re-inspired me to seek out some more vignettes from the village, trying to look again with fresh eyes. Thanks Phil. 

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

We're going on....

We're going on an alpaca hunt! 

I hosted a camera club meet-up in Saltaire recently. It was a sunny, very hot day and about as good for taking photos as the previous outing I hosted (which was rained off!) - but for different reasons. Such bright sunshine makes for harsh shadows and high contrast. People went off with their cameras undeterred. I decided I'd go on a hunt for some of the many alpacas depicted around the village. Interestingly, I discovered that most of them are in the newer parts of the village, built in the 1860s, so it seems the Salts didn't start to 'honour' the source of their wealth for a while after the Mill was built. (I have explained in a previous post that it was the discovery of a way to spin and weave alpaca wool into lustrous cloth that really made Sir Titus his fortune.) 

I'd be interested to know how many local people have noticed all of these? There may be more that I've missed. I know there is an alpaca statue in the church, but the church is currently closed so I couldn't capture that one. In most cases the animals are incorporated along with the Salts coat of arms, which features a chevron, two mullets (stars) and an ostrich holding a horseshoe. (For a full description of that and the meaning of the symbols, see HERE).


Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Shadow play

Colour? Or mono? Either way, the fire escape on the front of the Victoria Mills apartments must be original to the old textile mill and throws some great shadows in strong sunshine. 

Monday, 26 July 2021


Bright red is such a shouty colour, isn't it? No wonder it is used to indicate danger and to draw attention to things. Our fire engines are red, so are most of our post-boxes. The old-fashioned and much beloved telephone boxes used to be red, as did London's buses.  It can be a photographer's friend... sometimes a person in a red coat can be just the thing to add a bit of spice and a focal point to an image. Often, it's a photographer's nightmare: a bit of red plastic needing to be cloned out of an otherwise peaceful beach scene. 

I will occasionally have a spell where I go looking for a particular colour. Here are a few red things I found on my wanderings. 

Sunday, 25 July 2021

The old market square, Shipley

The Otley Road end of Kirkgate in Shipley was once known, I believe, as Stocks Hill because of the town's stocks, which stood in the old market place there. The modern day view is above and the view below is as it used to be before the redevelopment in the 1950s. The modernist market hall now stands where old shops used to be. The Sun Inn on the right is one of the few Victorian buildings still remaining, along with Barclays bank on the corner of Otley Road and some of the buildings in the background, down Westgate.

The old photo above is copyright to Dorothy Burrows, a lovely lady who gave a talk to my (then) camera club. She gifted me a number of her old photos on postcards, with permission to use them. I've been meaning for ages to recreate this view, and when I spotted all the lavender in bloom in the central reservation, it seemed like a good opportunity to take. 

Saturday, 24 July 2021


Less than a mile down the road from Saltaire, Shipley is our nearest small town, with a market, supermarkets and the usual crop of charity shops and chain stores (Wilkinsons, Boots, Superdrug, Iceland and Home Bargains to name a few). The town underwent significant redevelopment in the 1950s, when back-to-back houses, condemned as slums, were demolished and the centre was rebuilt with low rise retail units and the market hall with its Brutalist clocktower. Further redevelopment in the late 1970s meant that few of the original buildings survive, and some notable old manor houses were lost.  

It's a pity. I think things are often dealt with more sensitively these days and wholesale clearance is less common. It has left Shipley - in my view - a rather characterless place, utilitarian rather than attractive, though they do their best to brighten it up with floral displays and such like. I rarely take photos in town unless there is an event taking place, so one day I thought I'd remedy that with a few general views. 

The top photo shows the square, which hosts an outdoor market a couple of days a week and is backed by the indoor market hall. Below is a view looking down Kirkgate into the square, with the market hall on the left. 

Below is Wellcroft, a largely pedestrianised precinct, product of the late 70s/early 80s. On the right is the town's public library.

A gym sits above one of those shops that sells more or less everything! (Mostly cheap imported plasticky stuff.) 

Inevitably there is a Wetherspoon's pub, named after the local benefactor Sir Norman Rae, who gifted Northcliffe Park to the town. Market Street, alongside, is effectively Shipley's bus station, with most of the local bus routes having a stopping point here.  


Friday, 23 July 2021


I stopped to enjoy the little garden beside Hirst Lock, tended by volunteers and looking quite lush at the moment. In the background, I noticed two ladies sitting sketching. I don't know if I'm right but it seems that the long period of lockdown has encouraged more people to take up such hobbies, to pass the time. I wasn't bold enough to approach them to ask if I could look at their work or take a closer photo. Some days I have the courage, other days I don't! 

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Split level

The upstairs space at Salts Works, run by design studio Split, is being offered as a co-working space and meeting room, an alternative to the kitchen table / spare room / bit of windowsill that many people have had to use to work from during this past eighteen months. With desk space, a superfast internet connection, a kitchen and excellent free coffee, I imagine it may appeal to creative entrepreneurs who don't want to have to commute to Leeds but do want to escape from home, at least for a few days a week, into a warm, supportive and convenient shared community workspace.   

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

The People Powered Press

I recently mentioned (see HERE) the new Salts Works enterprise, run by design studio Split, who have taken over a building on Saltaire Road. They held a grand opening weekend recently, so I went along to have a look. 

The ground floor is the home of The People Powered Press, which holds the Guinness world record for the largest letterpress printing press of its kind in the world (see HERE).

A non-profit Community Interest Company, they work with community groups and individuals to make large scale letterpress works. They are also planning to run workshops related to writing and printing.  

On the Open Days, they were letting visitors have a go. I watched two young ladies printing a large poster and then I was able to have a try myself, inking the letters, placing the paper on top and then rolling the huge press across it to transfer the ink to the paper. It all felt very smooth and rather satisfying. All the 'ta' posters made will, apparently, be sent to hospitals and other services that have kept us going through the pandemic, as a way of saying 'Ta' (thank you).  

(I obtained their parents' permission to use these photos but have blanked out the girls' faces anyway.) 

They have their own specially created typeface for the letterpress: Graft. The letters' forms take inspiration from the north's rich industrial heritage, using the shape of a cross-section of a steel I-beam as the start point. Their aim is 'to amplify local voices' using this 'typeface for the north'. 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021


I noticed these bright rainbow banners in the window of the main Shipley College block, celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride month. 

The building was Saltaire's original Factory Schools, opened in 1868 to educate 750 children who worked in the mill and lived in the village. There were two schools side by side, boys and girls being educated separately. They had very advanced facilities for the time, with central heating and gas lighting. I always think that it's good that is has continued ever since as an educational establishment. 

The crest below the bell tower is the Salt Family crest - and more alpacas!