25 April, 2010


I've not been to Mitcham before and a flying visit on a dull day did not show the village at its best, but there was a church and a school and an almshouse, so it might be worthwhile to go back.

18 April, 2010

Woodhouse and Kells, Whitehaven, Cumbria

A relaxing visit to Whitehaven in Cumbria. This is a former coaling port that has invested in its quayside where in 1788 Paul Jones failed to capture the town and in his attempt to invade England from America. He was a local man and there are somewhat mixed feelings towards him in the town. The aristocratic developers of Whitehaven were the Earls of Lonsdale the Lowther family, who built the town from 9 cottages to 2000 people, mostly working in coal mines for export to Ireland. This is explained in the Beacon Museum. This museum tells the story of Whitehaven and its people up to the present day and is pleasant with a viewing gallery.
The Church of St Nicholas, patron of fishermen, was burnt down in a fire a few years ago, but a cafe with worship space has arisen out of the ashes with a beautiful garden with a memorial to those who died in the mining industry. The cafe was very pleasant and raises funds for the parish united with St James in the Parish of Whitehaven.

The jetties are now available to stroll on and are pleasant on a fine day of which I had several while there.

BestMate and I stayed at the Mansion, a pleasant hotel in Woodhouse Estate immediately adjacent to Kells, both suburbs of this small town. In Kells there was a mining museum with a working winding engine and one that was awaiting restoration. Most interesting and with its friendly custodian BestMate and I had almost a guided tour. The miners life was hard and alleviated by the 'pleasures' of drink, but also by sport, animals, gardening and other traditional passtimes.
The Church at Kells occupies a central place on the Woodhouse Estate.

All in all a relaxing place to be.

10 April, 2010

Creepy Crawley - it wasn't though.

Another in my series on the New towns. Crawley, designated a new town in 1947 is in West Sussex and is unlike other new towns in that the town centre is built around the core of an old town with its 13th century church dedicated to St John the Baptist.

The main high street had a range of buildings dating from every period in history although it must be said they were mostly pubs!
The new town centre had a bandstand bought by the Development Corporation from Gatwick Racecourse. This provides a focal point - as you can see the day I was there was gorgeous!

Crawley is a bustling town although one curious feature is that shops have two street frontages, each on a street of importance and one can cut through the shops if one wishes.
The library is new and excellent. It was a good day out.