We’re on holiday in Northumberland at the moment, so there are more opportunities to capture a few doors. The first photograph is from the window of our bed and breakfast in Berwick upon Tweed, looking out over the parade ground (now a car park) outside the barracks, but in 1721, but the King’s Own Scottish Borders regiment left in 1964 and the barracks is a gallery and museum.
The last two photos are from Holy Island, Lindisfarne. When your boat is no longer seaworthy, drag it from the water and turn it upside down. Add a door and you’ve got a shed. It reminds me of the Dickens novel David Copperfield. The character Peggity used to live in similar accommodation.
The castle on the hill behind the boat sheds was a run until a rich Edwardian bachelor asked architect Lutyens to renovate it. Now it belongs to the National Trust. Unfortunately, one has to book in advance to go inside, because of social distancing and covid restrictions.
Just a few interesting doors close to home for this week’s entry. They all have leaded lights, a feature of private homes from 1860 to 1930 according to Wikipedia. They look a bit more gothic than Frank Lloyd Wright.
On Saturday 15th May 2021, Leicester City Football Club won the Football Association Cup for the first time since the club was founded in 1884. The club is older than Arsenal and Chelsea (whom Leicester beat in the final 1-0).
Leicester City is a relatively small football club, whose stadium only seats 32,312 fans. The club has a reputation for being the underdog and has tremendous support from the citizens of Leicester – see this small selection of doors with posters and LCFC flags.
The top four clubs in the premier league go through to the European Championship competition. Sadly, Leicester dropped to fifth place on the final day of the season, and missed the cut. This was the first time LCFC dropped out of the top four during the entire 2020/21 season.
John Woolman was a famous Quaker in the 18th Century. He lived in New Jersey and was a strong abolitionist. In 1772 Woolman sailed to Britain to speak out against slavery. Instead of taking a passenger’s cabin, he showed his egalitarian spirit by lodging with the crew. When he arrived in London, the Quakers were rather taken aback by his shabby clothing, but when he spoke condemning the injustice of slavery, he was accepted.
To spread the word, he set off to travel north to York but declined to travel by stagecoach because he felt it was cruel to drive the horses so hard. Instead, he walked, preaching against slavery en route. Sadly, he picked up smallpox along the way and died just after reaching York. He is commemorated by the establishment of John Woolman House. This is a Quaker residential home for older people, close to New Walk. The doors facing New Walk are painted in bright colours.
Further down New Walk, the Holy Cross Dominican Priory is also a Roman Catholic church.
Opposite the church, there is a terrace of Victorian villas. Twenty years ago, this was the site of the Night Shelter, for homeless people. A new shelter for rough sleepers, the Dawn Centre, was built next to the main railway station, and the Victorian terrace was gentrified and sold.
Not far away, down New Walk there is a bar called Revolution. They probably sell lots of vodka, to get you hammered and sickle the next morning.
King Street joins New Walk by Welford Place. King Street was the location of several factories which have now been converted into apartments. Compare the photographs below:
Just out of shot on the left hand side of the above image is the public house, the King’s Head. It has a historical blue plaque attached to the wall. Normally, blue plaques make you aware that at some time in the past, a famous person lived in the building. But this plaque commemorates the incredible achievement of Leicester City Football Club winning the Premier League in 2016, a true case of David beating a gang of Goliaths, against all odds. Well, a few lucky punters accepted odds of 5,000 to 1 on this unlikely event.
There is some student accommodation in King Street. This window in the style of Piet Mondrian allows steam to escape from the laundry room.
Shops are opening with the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The name “Mrs Brown” refers to a cup of tea, used to disguise taking a tea break, as in “I just have to go and meet Mrs Brown.”
The Belmont Hotel is situated on New Walk where it meets De Montfort Square. The building used to be the home of Ernest Gimson, described by the art critic Nikolaus Pevsner as “the greatest of the English architect-designers” (according to Wikipedia). Through the dining room window, you can see a table set for afternoon tea. Hopefully we will be able to eat at restaurants soon.
The next few houses are neighbours, from 104 to
This door is slightly different, a modern attachment to the main house.
Across the bridge over Waterloo Way, the houses change character. I like the wrought iron work on the first floor balconies.
New Walk is a Georgian promenade, set out by Leicester City Corporation in 1785 to connect Welford Place in the city centre with the racecourse (now Victoria Park) to the south. This walkway follows the Roman road, the Via Devana. Originally, it was called “Queen’s Walk” (after Queen Charlotte) but it is know referred to as “New Walk”. For over 50 years, it has been protected as a conservation area.
The fine houses of New Walk are now offices occupied by accountants, lawyers, dentists. My own dentist’s premises are just out of shot in the photograph above. However, 200 years ago, rather than working here, professional people had their homes here.
One of the gatehouses is now the premises of the Leicester Counselling Centre.
Many years ago, a counsellor asked me to take charge of one of my patients as she was expressing suicidal thoughts during a counselling session. I drove to the centre and as I escorted my patient out of the door, I tripped over a grid (not present in the above picture) and fell. My patient said, “That would be a first, ME taking YOU to the Accident and Emergency Department!”
The walkway has several pleasant parks and open squares along its length. The Oval is oval-shaped, popular in the past with children’s nannies. De Montfort Square is larger and has a statue of the Minister, Robert Hall, who supported efforts to improve the working conditions of hosiery workers in Leicester. One of his sermons is entitled, “On the Advantages of Knowledge to the Lower Classes“(1810).