Monday, 20 March 2017

A spring in your step

Spring thoughts from a sign in the garden of the Elizabeth Gaskell House in Manchester. Well worth a visit - great guides, fascinating history and extremely good cake.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The caretaker or the bank?

On the whole, I think I'd rather see the caretaker. Great doorbells from the past, spotted in Liverpool's trendy Bold Street.

Have a coffee and get over it

Made me smile. Nook, our local coffee bar, is getting the edge with its signs.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

This beautiful mosaic sign is at the entrance to Oriel Close in the lovely Oriel building in Liverpool's Water Street. The building is much-admired, designed by Peter Ellis and built in 1864. With a cast iron frame, its grid of oriel windows is its defining feature. It wasn't loved by all, however. In 1866, The Builder magazine described it as "a vast abortion" and "ludicrous", declaring that "the plainest brick warehouse in town is infinitely superior". Liverpool certainly has some handsome warehouses, but I'm glad the Oriel and this little mosaic have survived to cheer passers-by.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Give us a bell

I made a pilgrimage to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry earlier this year. It's a place I'd always wanted to visit, and I wasn't disappointed. We were given a warm welcome, and enjoyed the fading museum exhibits which tell of its impressive history. The shop was a delight - you're allowed to ring a selection of small bells, and I bought a tiny tourist bell as a memento of my visit. So I was sad to see the recent news that its future is uncertain. Activities will cease on the Whitechapel site, in the East End of London, by May 2017 and negotiations are underway to settle the future of the business. 

As the signs say, the business was established in 1570 and it has been on Whitechapel Road since 1738. Spanning the reigns of 27 English monarchs, it's Britain's oldest manufacturing company. The Liberty Bell and Big Ben were cast here. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Disappointing secret

The sign's promising, but the staircase isn't. I was very excited to see this sign at Palace House, once the gatehouse to Beaulieu Abbey in the New Forest. I couldn't wait to climb the starcase and discover the history behind it.

Unfortunately, it was roped off and no one knows why it was built, leaving the sign more exciting than the staircase.

The rest of Beaulieu is really worth seeing, though - great motor museum, lovely gardens and beautiful surroundings, so don't let this little secret put you off.