Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Old King Cole

Old King Cole is a nursery rhyme, perhaps more common in the UK than in the USA. “He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl, and he called for his fiddlers three” etc. Well, some folks think Old King Cole was a Welsh King of Northern England, after the departure of the Romans. But the people of Bucks Mills in North Devon, think the rhyme is based on Richard Cole, the Lord of Woolfardisworthy (“Woolsery”), who built a harbour by blasting away rock on the beach and making a quay. This allowed ships to bring limestone and coal from South Wales to be processed in kilns built into the cliffs. Richard Cole died in 1614 and there is a monument to him in All Hallows Church, Woolfardisworthy.

Bucks Mills waterfall – not potable
The remains of the Old Quay at Bucks Mills in the foreground. In the middle ground is the Groin, built as a harbour, but the story is it was built by the devil as a road across the sea to Lundy Island. He gave up when the spade he was using (Devon) broke.
I think this is a raven on the rocks of the old harbour

There are some lovely doors in Bucks Mills (see previous posts) but here are some new (old) ones.

A door made from rough hewn timber. The metal handle is known as a “sneck”.
Leat Cottage is built over the stream running through the village and is the site of the original mill of Bucks Mills. Corn from the surrounding area and even as far as Lundy Island would be brought here to be ground into flour.

Rather than the traditional cock as a weathervane, here is a whale.

This is the weathervane of one of the houses in Bucks Mills. I know of no association of whaling with the village.
Oystercatchers flying through the misty gloom off Bucks Mills
Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A beautiful September afternoon at the Sculpture Park. Not many doors there, but across the lake, in the forest there is a well.

Lady Eglinton’s Well

After Sir Thomas Wentworth’s death in 1675, his wife, Grace, had the life tenancy of Bretton Hall. She remarried four years later and became Countess of Eglinton. This doorway was built into the rock face beside a quarry on the estate. Springwater flowed under the door into a pool and a trough, from which the local people could collect potable water.

Above the entablature there is a tablet which explains this. Unfortunately, the limestone owl above it has disappeared.

If you would like to see some of the sculptures, let me know and I will post a collection (but not under the heading of Thursday Doors!).

Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Leicester

Snapped with my cheap smartphone in the Cultural Quarter of the city, Orton’s Brasserie is a posh restaurant, a homage to the (in)famous playwright, Joe Orton. He was born in Leicester in 1933. He wrote “Entertaining Mr Sloane” and “Loot”. A film about his life, “Prick Up Your Ears” was released in 1987, twenty years after he was murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell.

He borrowed books from a public library, altered the book covers with cheeky illustrations, then replaced them on the library shelves. For this, he was arrested by the police (well, it was 1962). There are plans to erect a statue of Orton in Orton Square, outside the Curve Theatre.

In the foreground there is a rocket, part of the “Rocket Round Leicester” trail of 40 colourful spaceships in the city as part of a fundraising scheme for the local hospice (Loros).

The Curve Theatre with reflections. And a naked policeman (wearing his helmet).
There is a door somewhere along this glass wall of the Curve Theatre.
The Curve from Southampton Street. Apart from the hanging baskets on the lamp posts, check out the shrubs growing high up on the walls of Alexandra House, the yellow stone building.

Alexandra House was built at the end of the 19th Century as a warehouse to store bootlaces (you needed four storeys to store laces?). The architectural historian, Pevsner, described Alexander House as one of the finest warehouses in the country. Faire Brothers & Co supplied shoelaces worldwide, with brands like “Old England” and “Jumbo”. During World War Two, despite being damaged by German bombers, the factory produced millions of parachute cords.

During the war, rubber was a scarce commodity, so Faire Bros. invented and produced the rubber-free “Natty Grip” fitting for suspender belts and “Gripknit” flexible corsetry for servicewomen (“Women in Action”). The building was converted to 175 apartments a few years ago.

Beautiful craftsmanship on the upper floors.
You don’t get wonderful street name signs like this anymore

Northumberland Thursday Doors

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Last batch of photographs from the photogenic town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Numbers 1 and 2, with matching knockers
Numbers 3 and 4
Chimney pots and a church spire
The Loovre is actually a public toilet, not a grand museum.
Northumberland Thursday Doors

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You must all be feeling rather bored with Berwick’s doors, so I will add a few humorous portals for your delectation.

I don’t think I have seen a longer window on a house.
Slightly Foxed means the article has deteriorated, as in the brown spots which appear on the pages of old books. It also can mean “worse for wear” from alcohol.
Windows rather than doors here. But I am not surprised the Hen and Chickens Hotel is up for sale. I wouldn’t want to be *cooped* up in here.
Moulin Rouge? No, more like La Vie en Rose
Shoe Lane, speaks for itself, really. Rather sole-less, a bit down at heel (no more puns please, ed)
This music shop is selling ukuleles. Somehow I can’t see David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Django Reinhart, or Freddie Mercury strumming a ukulele. And why is there fake snow (cotton wool) in the window?
Charles Dickens stayed in this hotel according to the brass plaque. He got around a lot.
This old cinema has been revitalised with an Indian restaurant and a barber shop on the ground floor.
Northumberland Thursday Doors

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Being an important port, Berwick has its own Custom House.

Has the portico shrunk over the years? Rather wonky.

I confess my ignorance about the painter who lived at this spot. Normally there is a blue plaque. But in keeping with the pastel colour scheme, this plaque is puce.

A bit of a bruiser door, bearing wounds
Why is this called “…..House”? I wonder if the pane of glass with gold lettering was broken, so the owners replaced it with a plain pane. Purple gardening boots, great.
Gate House is beneath …… House
Bright blue door seems out of keeping with the rest of the street
One door, three dwellings. One grate.
Northumberland Thursday Doors

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Berwick is like the Roman god, Janus. It looks two ways: north to Scotland and south to England. In the 17th century, after it had been under English control for 150 years, the townsfolk lived under English laws, but dressed in Scottish fashions. They were more likely to speak Scots than English.

It was a fortress, with bastions looking out to sea, protecting the mouth of the River Tweed. Less than a mile inland, the ancient castle fell into disrepair after it was outside the newly constructed ramparts. The builders needed to save money and reduced the area protected.

This cannon was captured from the Russians during the Crimean War. The highest military award for valour, the Victoria Cross, was made from similar Russian guns which guarded Sebastopol.

William Wallace, of Braveheart fame, was captured by the English and hung, drawn and quartered (so he could not be put back together on Judgement Day). One of his arms was displayed in Berwick, while his head was on a spike on London Bridge.

Another Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce, was crowned king in the traditional manner by the Countess of Buchan. As a punishment, the Countess was hung in a cage in Berwick Castle for four years by the English.

Much of the stonework from the ruined castle was scavenged and used to build the Barracks in the 1720s. But the final indignity was the destruction of the castle’s Great Hall to enable the passage of the London to Edinburgh railway in 1847.

The River Tweed is protected by a breakwater. Our landlady told a story of a man who found a woman who had collapsed on the breakwater. He telephoned for an ambulance but was told it would take over an hour to arrive. Thinking laterally, he called the coastguard knowing that there was a paramedic in the lifeboat crew. The lifeboat crossed the mouth of the river and the paramedic attended to the sick women. Job done.

The breakwater at the mouth of the River Tweed
The Ravensdowne Barracks

The soldiers billeted here worked 12 hour shifts. Eight men shared four beds in a room, so four would be resting while the other four would be guarding.

Edward VI started building a star-shaped citadel here, similar to the defences of Calais. When Calais fell to the French in 1558, the plans were changed, to a more modern Italian design. The ramparts are over 10 metres high, 7 metres of stone topped by 3 metres of earth.

This is the Brass Bastion – forming a stonewall defence protecting the goal ;-}
I took this photograph from above Cow Gate
Gunpowder Magazine
This is the back door to the magazine

The magazine kept all the gunpowder safe and dry to supply the cannons on the ramparts. It was designed with a special wooden floor without using metal nails to prevent sparks from iron-tipped boots setting off an explosion. It was built a few hundred metres south of the Barracks (just in case).

The Lions House is just behind the magazine. It commands expansive views over the ramparts. The painter, L S Lowry, (Matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs) was interested in buying the property as he spent a great deal of time in the town. However, a survey revealed that it was in poor condition and very damp, so he abandoned the purchase. It is now available to rent as a holiday home, as well as being dry and in good shape.

It is Grade 2 listed building described as “Ashlar, C18, with rusticated quoins, scrolled gables, 3 storeys, centre doorway with good fanlight, 4 sash windows on ground floor and 5 on each upper floor.”

View over the garden allotments* from Lions House to the mouth of the Tweed.

Lowry painted views of the town during his visits. These contrast with his typical grim factory scenes of industrial Lancashire between the World Wars. There is a Lowry Trail through Berwick, showing 18 panels of his works where they were painted. It takes about three hours to complete the trail, crossing over the Tweed to Spittal.

  • For readers who may be unfamiliar with allotments – these are small parcels of land which are mainly used to cultivate vegetables by people who don’t have a house garden. In the early 1800s, the Enclosure Acts deprived poor people from using common land. Parliament introduced legislation mandating local authorities to provide land for allotment gardens at an affordably low rent. The average plot size is 10 square rods (an ancient measure no longer in use), about a sixteenth of an acre (5m x 5m), with no plot exceeding 40 square rods, a quarter of an acre. The land must be used to produce flowers, fruit or vegetables for the plot holder’s family, not for resale. If you don’t cultivate it, the local authority has the power to offer the plot to someone else – and there is always a waiting list.
Northumberland Thursday Doors

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More lovely doors from Berwick. A pair of pink ones to begin.

You can spend the night behind these lovely candy pink doors
Farrow and Ball colour chart – this colour falls between Arsenic and Teresa’s Green
Corner door, with a sign showing motorcyclist jumping over a saloon car (actually, it means no vehicular access).
It could do with a lick of paint
Note the stained glass fanlight
Both these last 4 doors have strange rectangular handles
Northumberland Thursday Doors

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Behind the southern fortress walls of Berwick, there are some elegant houses, along Wellington Terrace and the Quay Walls. White doors with black knockers, handles and letterboxes look very smart. I like the dressed stone blocks, the porticos and the black iron railings.

Northumberland Thursday Doors

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A few more interesting doors from Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Wonderful fanlight
The Grill on the Hill
Odd placement for a front door, at right angles to the main street. Check out the church spire in the window reflection.
The rust-coloured door in the middle leads to the rear of the properties.