Wednesday, 31 July 2013

GRANTHAM: The Blue Pig Public House

Grantham's history includes the 'blue' pubs, of which the Blue Pig on the corner of Vine Street and Swinegate is one of the few remaining.



Grantham has had, in its history, pubs named the Blue Pig, the Blue Lion, the Blue Horse, the Blue Dog, the Blue Bull, the Blue Cow, the Blue Ram, the Blue Sheep, the Blue Lamb, and the Blue Man. The Blue Bull, Cow, Dog, and Fox are/were all in Colsterworth, which was part of Grantham 'soke' when it was enclosed in 1805–1808. The Blue Pig, Ram, and Man are/were in Grantham proper.

These names have their roots in a 19th-century political rivalry over the membership of Parliament for the constituency of Grantham, between the Manners family (the Duke of Rutland from Belvoir Castle) and the Brownlow family (from Belton House). Pubs in the constituency declared political allegiances, and acted as gathering places for supporters of political factions. Where a person drank declared that person's political views.

The Manners family were Whigs and chose blue as their colour. They bought several pubs and inns in the constituency, and added "blue" to their names. People could drink "blue ale" in the "blue" pubs, which was an inducement to vote for Whig candidates in the parliamentary elections.

CLICK HERE for more on the history of the Blue pubs of Grantham


Images taken on the Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens
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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

GRANTHAM: The Guildhall

The Guildhall is situated on St Peter's Hill in Grantham and was built in 1866.  Once the home of Civic power in Grantham it is now the home of the Guildhall Arts Centre but still retains some of its former political trappings as it still houses the Mayor's Parlour inside the main entrance to the building.  In front of the Guildhall is a statue to Sir Isaac Newton, Grantham's most famous son, who was born in Colsterworth and who went to school in the town at the King's School.



HISTORY
The Guildhall and jail on St Peter’s Hill in Grantham was commissioned in 1866 by Mayor Thomas Winter after criminal Jesse Dale, who was serving 15 years for stealing, twice walked out of the town’s original jail in 1864.

The new Guildhall was also home to the four-sided clock which was the first time many of the town’s residents would have had the luxury of telling the time with any accuracy.  It was this fact that coined the local phrase ‘under the clock’ meaning, ‘to appear in court’.

In 1972, a dome replaced the original wrought ironwork over the clock tower and in 1974, the magistrates moved to the London Road, now home to Belvoir Property Management.  In the same year, South Kesteven District Council was born and the Grantham Borough Council ceased to exist.

Apart from the Mayor’s Parlour, much of the  building was redundant until 1991 when it was redesigned by Sleaford architect Tim Benton and re-opened as the council owned Guildhall Arts Centre at a cost of £1.2 million.

CLICK HERE for more information on the history of the Guildhall and on the Guildhall Arts Centre 




Images taken on the Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens
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Monday, 29 July 2013

GRANTHAM: The Angel and Royal Hotel

Grantham boasts many historic buildings and one of the most famous is the Angel and Royal Hotel, which is widely regarded as the oldest surviving English Inn, with the main façade of the building that stands today was built approximately 600 years ago. 




The site then, however, had already been an Inn for 200 years, and was built as a hostel for the chivalrous Brotherhood of the Knights Templar. It was then that the beautifully carved building caught the eye of King John (“he of Magna Carta fame”) who decided it would make a suitable location for a visit of his Royal Court in 1213.

An Angel was a common medieval sign that reflected the early connection between religious establishments and a travellers hostel. The Inn was extended in the mid 14th Century and again in the 15th Century.




There then followed many royal visits, and the next appears to have been by Edward III and his Queen “Philippa” in the 14th Century. Evidence of this visit can still be seen today where over the original archway rests the gold emblem angel holding the King’s crown, which surmounted at the time as a tribute to this Royal Patronage.

Today the Angel and Royal is part of the Best Western group of hotels. 

CLICK HERE for more information on the Angel and Royal Hotel.




Images taken on the Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens
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Sunday, 28 July 2013

GRANTHAM: St Wulfram's Church, Grantham

This week we will be leaving Grantham in Lincolnshire, which has been our home since November 1990.  We moved here from Forres, which is a small town in Morayshire, 30 miles from Inverness in Scotland and on Wednesday we will be returning to Scotland to live, this time to Dunbar in East Lothian.

I have decided to dedicated the blogs this week to places around Grantham and today's article is on St Wulfram's Church, the dominant landmark in the town.




History
It is believed that a church stood on the site long before Norman times, but of the original Saxon church probably only a few stones, near the organ loft, remain. The church was totally altered by the Normans and the remains of their church may still be seen in the nave. 

The north aisle arcades, except for the two west bays, date from before 1180. The original Norman church was ruined by fire when it was hit by lightning in 1222.[2] The north aisle was rebuilt in about 1250. In 1280 the church expanded westwards over what was the market-place. The huge piers in the west end of the church have many 13th-century mason's marks, as do the spiral stairs to the belfry. In 1450 the north aisle was extended, and some time after 1496 St Katherine's Chapel was added by the Hall family. In 1550 the south aisle was lengthened and the Lady Chapel was built.

The church was restored in 1866-67 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Of interest are window frames from different periods, the use of ballflower ornament and the crypt chapel. The north porch was built to house relics of St Wulfram (possibly an arm bone), and the chained library occupies a room over the south porch which was once a priests' living room.




Sixth Tallest Spire in England
The design of the church, which is built from local limestone, was probably influenced by Salisbury Cathedral. The church's chief feature is the slender crocketed spire which stands 282.5 feet (86.1 m) high. The spire is the sixth highest in the country (Salisbury and Norwich Cathedrals' are higher), and fourth highest of any parish church, after the Church of St. Walburge, Preston, St. James Church, Louth, and the St Mary Redcliffe. It is the third highest of any Anglican parish church in the UK, after St. James' Louth and St Mary's, Redcliffe and second highest in Lincolnshire, after St. James', Louth.

The spire is in dire need of repair and £600,000 is needs to complete the repairs. A special appeal website has been set up here - http://www.savegranthamsspire.org.uk/public/index.php

CLICK HERE for more on St Wulfram's Church


Images taken on the Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 Fujinon lens
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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Two Pence Coin Macro

Simple things sometimes make interesting subjects, especially when using a macro lens.  This two pence coin was lit from above and shot with a Nikon D800 fitted with a Nikon 105mm f2.8 micro.

The image was taken with a shallow depth of field and shot along the coin so the focus was on the figure 2 on the reverse.


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Friday, 26 July 2013

Water Hydrant

I normally associate water hydrants with city streets but I came across this one on a windy lane in the middle of nowhere near the Austrian village of Rattenberg.  There were no houses nearby so I wondered why it had been placed there in the trees on the side of the track. 

The bright powder blue and orange colours really stood out, you certainly couldn't miss it if you were a fire engine looking for a water main, but with flaking paint and rust, it obviously hadn't been used in years.





All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Rattenberg in Mono

After all the colourful images I have posted from the trip to Austria I decided that I need to return to a mono theme for today's post.  Walking around the village of Rattenberg where we stayed during the recent European Le Mans Series race at the Red Bull Ring, situated 6km from the village, I photographed some of the typically Alpine houses and working buildings.  I decided to work these images in black and white as the olde world feeling of the village suited the mono look.  What do you think?





All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wild Flowers in Austria

One of the things I noticed while in the Styrian Alps was the amount of wild flowers that carpeted the meadows and were abundant on the roadside verges - it was a beautiful sight.  On my walk around Rattenberg on Sunday morning I stopped to take some pictures of the various flowers and insects on the Fuji X100.







All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Honey I Shrunk the Church

The little village of Rattenberg is where the small family run hotel we stayed in for the 3 Hours of the Red Bull Ring is situated.  On the Sunday morning before we headed back to Vienna to catch the plane home I decided to get up before breakfast and go for a walk around the village.

Not far from the hotel I came across what must be one of the smallest churches in the world so I had to stop and take some images.  


The plaques on each side of the door is names of the fallen in the two world wars, the one on the left is for the 1914-18 war and the one on the right is for 1939-45.


I'm not sure how many people would fit into the church but it would be rather cosy, especially in the recent hot weather.



I continued my walk around Rattenberg and will post some more images of the beautiful part of Austria tomorrow.

All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100

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Monday, 22 July 2013

St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

After spending 4 days in Spielberg for the European Le Mans Series race at the Red Bull Ring we headed back to Vienna airport to catch the plane home.  However with a couple of hours to spare we headed into Vienna to have lunch in the main square near St Stephen's cathedral.



We decided to climb the 300 steps to the viewing platform of the South Tower of the cathedral, which at 136 metres is the most dominant feature on the Vienna skyline.  The view from the tower is spectacular, as can be seen by the panoramic images taken from the windows.




The multi-coloured tiled roof of the cathedral is one of Vienna's most recognised symbols and is even more impressive when looking down from the South Tower.




History
St. Stephen's Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147. The most important religious building in Austria's capital, St. Stephen's Cathedral has borne witness to many important events in that nation's history.

CLICK HERE for more on the history of St Stephen's and CLICK HERE for the official website of the cathedral (in German)









All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100

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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Lone Tree on an Austrian Hillside

Austria is such a beautiful country, it reminds me of Scotland with it's mountains and tree lined hillsides.  The weather for our visit to the Styrian Alps has been glorious with 30 degree temperatures and blue skies.


I spotted this tree on the hill inside the Red Bull Ring circuit with a stone religious icon in the shade underneath.  The hill was covered in wild flowers so, after getting a shot of the icon on top of the hill, I decided to move down the slope to get an shot looking up with the tree silhouetted against the blue sky and white clouds.



The final result is quite pleasing and I also did a mono version in high contrast but this image works best in colour with the punchy colours.  What do you think?


All images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Skid Marks

I love photographing patterns; whether they are clouds in the sky, buildings, layers in rocks or marks on the ground.  Take these tyre marks on the outside of the first corner at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.  I spotted these during my track inspection on Thursday, this is where I get to look at the photographers facilities and where the danger zones are.  As I'd never been to the Red Bull Ring before it is also a chance to get to know the track, the different corners and the general lay of the land.

Anyway I stopped to take a shot of the tyre tracks left by cars doing donuts as I liked the patterns that had been left on the tarmac.  The image was taken on the Fuji X100  and on the WCL-X100 wide angle converter.



Image taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 19mm f2 lens

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More Big Skies in Austria

For the past few days at the Red Bull Ring in Austria we have been treated to some beautiful weather and the clouds at the end of the day have been spectacular.  Here are three more images of the skies in the Styrian Alps.




Images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 lens

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Friday, 19 July 2013

Sunset over the Styrian Alps

As we were leaving the Red Bull Ring to go to dinner the sun was going behind the local mountains west of the track and behind some clouds that had bubbled up at the end of a hot and sunny day in Austria.  I took this image of the sun setting behind the clouds.


Image taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 and 23mm f2 lens - exposure was 1/2000 @ f5.6 ISO200

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Red Bull Ring, Spielberg

This is my first visit to the Red Bull Ring, which was formerly known as the A1 Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix.  The scenery is very beautiful with mountains surrounding the track on all sides, even to the south beyond the valley floor that stretches off into the distance.



I went for a quick walk around the track this morning to get a feel for the ups and downs of the circuit.  In the centre is a massive sculpture of a leaping Red Bull under an arch which is made of rusted metal to give the sculpture it's colour. The horns are reputedly made from gold and I can confirm they are gold coloured.



With a 3-day weather forecast that has promised wall to wall sunshine we can look forward to a very pleasant stay in Austria.








all images taken on a Fujifilm Finepix X100 with either a standard 23mm f2 or fitted with a WCL-X100 wide angle converter (19mm f2).  All images taken using a polarising filter.
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