Monday 28 February 2011

Derby - St Peter's

St Peter's Church describes itself as 'A community of faith, hope and love in the heart of the city'. They run lots of activities for a wide range of ages and interests, including the regular cafe sessions which mum and I used to visit occasionally when we were shopping together in town. These days, they also have a monthly 'Picnic Church' on a Sunday afternoon as well as Ryan's Bar, where people gather to discuss all sorts of topics over a drink.

That's now, but this church also has a long and pretty rich history, dating back around 1,000 years to the reign of Edward the Confessor. The church is listed in the Doomsday book of 1086 and some of the carvings on the pillars are from Norman times. Most of the present building dates back to 1338, but the tower was rebuilt during the reign of King Henry VII (1495 - 1509).

Interestingly, there are two links back to my DRI posts. One is a stained glass window which was made for the chapel of the DRI but is now in St Peter's Church (because the chapel is due for demolition as part of the restructuring of the Derby hospitals). The window depicts life in the hospital, including a picture of Florence Nightingale. It was 'opened' in its new location during October of 2010.

The other link is to the Liversage Trust Almshouses, because the vicar and churchwardens are ex-officio trustees of the Trust; the almshouses being in the parish of St Peter's.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Derby - Bookshop

This is one of the shops I appreciate in Derby, though I wish ours had a cafe.

Often, walking round the older part of the city, it is much more interesting to look up at the roof lines of the buildings. There are some beautiful features, showing real attention to detail and flair of design.

The sign shows what's on offer. One of these is next :)

Saturday 26 February 2011

Derby - The Spot

The small area at the top of St Peter's Street is called The Spot; so named because its shape, when seen from above, used to resemble a spot. It was a small, roughly triangular island surrounded by roads. Then, in 1993, one side was pedestrianised and what had been a small blob with some glass roofed public toilets, was smartened up with a clock tower and seating area. Looking back further, between 1906 and 1928 a statue of Queen Victoria stood here, but it was then moved into the grounds of the DRI. 

From The Spot, St Peter's Street runs downhill towards the Cornmarket and then back up to the Cathedral.

Friday 25 February 2011

Derby - Citadel

Walking in towards the city centre, we pass this Citadel on Osmaston Road ; the headquarters of the Salvation Army in Derby. Often, the Salvation Army is perceived wholly as a charity (which it is) without the recognition that it is also a church, but this Citadel holds a full range of church services and meetings, and the Salvation Army as an organisation have a statement of belief which is fully consistent with Christian Biblical teaching. The strength of the 'Army' is in the practical outworking of Christian teaching. Many churches are heavily involved in social and political action, but the Salvation Army hold it central to all of their church and it is the principle on which it was founded by William and Catherine Booth (about whom I wrote back in January).

Interesting to note that the Salvation Army is the biggest provider of social care in the UK, after the Government.

They are also famous for their brass bands and Derby has a senior band which has been in continuous operation since 1883. In 1922, it was one of the first Salvation Army bands to travel overseas, with a 10 day tour of Sweden. They take part in church services and visit local hospitals, care homes and hospices, as well as performing to raise funds for the continuing work of the Army in Derby.

Thursday 24 February 2011

T for trefoil

The trefoil is an outline drawing which consists of three overlapping rings.

In Christianity, it is used to symbolise the trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. If you look around a Christian church, it is possible to spot quite a few trefoils. These were all taken inside Holy Trinity, Low Moor, Bradford.

On the lectern...

in the roof joists...

...and on the carvings of the old stone font.

Today is T day at Alphabe-Thursday.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Derby - Sponsored roundabouts

Do other people's home towns and cities have sponsors for the road roundabouts? Derby has them all over the place, sponsored by a whole host of different businesses and organisations.

This roundabout is outside the Westfield, where London Road crosses the junction of Bradshaw Way and, the appropriately named, Traffic Street.

As you can see, this particular roundabout is currently sponsored by Identity who are, apparently, a jewellers. It will give you an inkling of how good a shopper I am if I tell you that, even though I've looked up their website and discovered that they have a shop on Level 1 of the North Mall in Westfield, I can't picture it at all!

Still, their sponsorship is obviously working. Let's face it, without it, you would probably never have heard of them!

More significant to me is the wording on the bottom of the sign; First for aerospace. One day, I must mosey along to the Rolls-Royce site and take a few discrete photos through the fence. After all, if Royces were to go bust again, unemployment in the city would rocket!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Derby - Westfield

On 9th October 2007, over 3 years of disruptive construction finally came to an end, as Derby's new shopping centre was opened.

The Westfield Centre, named after the Australian company which designed, built and manages it, has more than 190 shops, large and small, and an eating area which consists of outlets cooking food from around the world; everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to jacket potatoes, to Thai to Chinese, to Indian. The Westfield website describes the centre as follows:

Flooded with natural daylight the malls and public areas of Westfield Derby are the perfect setting for some of the country’s biggest brands, from fashion to lifestyle and leisure.

For goodness sake! It's only a shopping centre! But then again, shopping seems to be the new national pastime and I suppose that a fancy new 'mall' does bring in the out of town money. In its favour, it is clean and bright, warm and dry; even in the middle of a November white-out. On the downside, it is totally lacking in character or quirkiness or history of any kind! You could pick it up and dump it almost anywhere in the Western world and it would sit nicely amongst all of the others like it.

Once, the site on which this shopping centre stands housed a mill; Castlefield Mill, a lace mill built by John Boden in 1821. It was the heart around which the town had grown, but by the 1950s, Derby Corporation were looking to make changes, primary amongst which was the de-industrialisation of the town centre. In March 1961, the announcement was made that the mill had been sold and planning permission granted for a new shopping centre. The first such centre was the Main Centre, a 3.5 acre site consisting of an open pedestrianised core surrounded by shops. This opened on July 4th, 1963.

In 1975, the Main Centre was joined by the 12 acre, £7,000,000 Eagle Centre; Derby's first indoor shopping centre. It included the Eagle Market which was the UK's largest indoor market. The market stalls were arranged in a hexagonal honeycomb pattern and I remember it being a nightmare to navigate. People would spend ages going round and round in circles! (More accurately, I suppose I should say they were going round in hexagons, but that sounds plain daft!)

The Eagle Market still exists (though its layout is now a boring grid pattern) and much of the old Eagle Centre still remains; tagged on to the back of the Westfield and refurbished so as not to look too much the poor neighbour.

In their days, both the Main Centre and the Eagle Centre were considered 'state of the art'. I wonder how long the Westfield will be thought of in that way. Modern developments never seem to have the durability of the historic. They don't grow old very gracefully!

Monday 21 February 2011

Derby - The lady with the head

Outside the London Community Hospital on London Road, is this statue of Florence Nightingale. Florence has associations with Derbyshire and is remembered through three statues in the city. I posted information about Florence along with a photograph of one of the other statues of her, back in May last year.

This statue was sculpted by Countess Feodora Gleichen in 1914. The Countess was related to Queen Victoria and was the first woman to be a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. The statue and surrounding stone work are classed as a Grade 2 listed building.

In 2004, water pressure was used to clean the marble statue and the results were impressive; the marble showing in its original creamy white. I rather think it is ready for a little more love and attention!

It has undergone some work in  recent years however. In August 2006, a master craftsman had to replace the head of the statue after it was chopped off by vandals. The nose was broken and part of the cheek damaged. After repair, the head was reattached and secured with a metal bar.

Some people have no respect for property!

Sunday 20 February 2011

Derby - DRI

One of the largest and most significant buildings at the city end of London Road is the hospital.

It began life as the Derbyshire General Infirmary in 1810, but the building was completely demolished in 1890 after an outbreak of typhoid swept through it. The design of the hospital was blamed for the rapid spread of the disease and the decision taken to begin again from scratch.

1891 saw the laying of the foundation stone of the new hospital by HM Queen Victoria, and in 1894, the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary was completed. Built in the Jacobean style, it's main features were the domed towers you can see in the photo and also the corridor which ran the length of the hospital.

Whenever I have been to the DRI, the corridor has made me smile. All doors leading onto it bear a warning in large red letters. As far as I remember, it reads:


Small electric buggies would regularly trundle up and down the corridor pulling trains of food trolleys. I always imagined a perfectly healthy person stepping out from a side room and being run down by the evening meal. "How exactly did you end up covered from head to toe in fish fingers and custard, Mr Smith?"

Since its rebirth, the hospital has been expanded on a number of occasions, including the addition of a nursing accommodation tower block called Wilderslowe Tower; the city's second tallest building, and the A&E department seen in the photo.

The DRI has a couple of notable 'firsts' in its history.
1955 - First Flying Squad Ambulance service of paramedics trained to offer assistance at the scene of a medical emergency.
1976 - First National Demonstration Centre for Rehabilitation. Eventually, over 20 such centres were established by then Secretary of State, Sir Keith Joseph. They were designed to be focal points for the development of rehabilitation services, teaching principles and practices and setting standards. These centres were the forerunners of the British Society for Rehabilitation Medicine which serves doctors today.
In addition, in 1992, the Pulverton Hand Centre was opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II and, in 1999, her grandson Prince William was treated here after an injury playing rugby.

At the turn of the Millennium, the Derby hospitals merged to form the Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and plans were drawn up to develop the Derby City Hospital (in the suburb of Mickleover) into the main facility in Derby; reducing the DRI to a community hospital. In April 2010, the redeveloped and much enlarged City Hospital was opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II, with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, and renamed the Royal Derby Hospital. The DRI became the London Road Community Hospital and now only occupies a small section of the former site.

Most of the original DRI buildings are now disused and there are plans to redevelop the site, including a proposal for an Olympic sized swimming pool and 450 new homes. Watch this space.

Opposite the hospital are these almshouses. Owned and managed by the Liversage Trust (which, dating from 1529, is Derby's oldest charity) this beautiful listed building provides housing for elderly people.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Derby - London Road

I finally found I could spare a bit of time which co-incided with sunny weather (because Derby does look much more attractive in the sunshine) and nipped into town for the sole purpose of capturing a flavour of the place where I live.

Actually, I say 'town', but more accurately I should be calling Derby the 'city', as it was awarded city status in 1977, the year of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. 'Going into town' is an expression which I grew up with and, like many such, it has stuck; even when I lived in Manchester, which is a fusion of cities!

Usually, when I drive into Derby, I enter down London Road. This photograph is actually taken looking away from town, towards Alvaston, just over 2 miles distant. It's a busy road lined with shops, restaurants and businesses and the double yellow lines along the road edge discourage parking. Once, this would have been the main road to London. Hence the name! Although it retains its road number, the A6 is not the vital long-distance route it once was, having been superseded by motorways; in this instance, the M1.

The mature trees which line this stretch of the road were appropriately chosen, being of the species London Plane. When in leaf, they are not dissimilar to the more familiar sycamore, but the distinctive bark is a big giveaway; it is layered and sheds throughout the year, showing the fresh pale grey of its underskin. It's this feature which makes the London Plane a great tree for a roadside location because the shedding of the bark makes it very tolerant of atmospheric pollution. Personally, I love the way these trees soften what would otherwise be quite a harsh environment.

A splash of colour is added by the bright red pillar box. Those who read my G post for alphabe-Thursday, will remember the wall post box which was marked GR and dated from the reign of King George V (George Rex 1910 - 1936). This box is also GR, but you will notice the style of the lettering is far more ornate and includes a small VI, indicating that this box dates from the reign of our present Queen's father, King George VI (1936 - 1952).

Friday 18 February 2011

Snowdrops 2011

I'm always pleased to see the snowdrops. I'm not daft enough to believe that they mean spring is here; we could still have icy cold weather or even snow, but they do mean that we're at the right end of winter.

Another few weeks will see a variety of bulbs beginning to emerge and flower, the nosing out of fresh green leaves and the buds on the trees turning into blossom.

And, the slowly lengthening days will also mean I'll travel to and from work in the light!

Anyone know when the clocks change?

Thursday 17 February 2011

S is for sneak thief!

...otherwise known as the grey squirrel

  who is rather fond of helping himself to the food I put out for the birds.

You have to admire his agility,

his cheek,

and his persistence!

He has a few more seeds to go yet, so while he's finishing their dinner, maybe you would like to saunter over to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday to see what else is on offer.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

The saga of the fireplace

In the beginning, there was this...

It was here when we bought the house and I've hated it since the day we moved in. It wasn't even straight!

Then, back in November...

out came the fire, revealing the long defunct and disconnected back boiler.

It's probably occuring to you that a lot of time has passed between November and now, and you're right! I won't bore you with the full saga of the delayed and incorrect deliveries resulting in the returned fire, resulting in starting all over again. Nor will I harp on about the wrongly sized hole! Suffice it to say that the stages gradually moved on

The hole was prepared

The chimney around the flue was stuffed with rockwool and covered with a securing plate. (Note to self, never ever touch rockwool again! Even the thought of the stuff is making me itch!)

Scratch, scratch, scratch,  scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, scraaaaaaaaaaaatch - ARRRGGGHHHHHH!!!  scratch, scratch...

This time, it fits!!!

And finally, yesterday, it was fitted!

And it works!

Obviously, the next step will be to decorate the chimney breast, but after that, I'm declaring war on that disgusting carpet! I've hated it since the day we moved in...

Tuesday 15 February 2011

B&Q Sculpture

Street art seems to be the fashion these days and, while I love to see creativity brightening up our cities, some examples of street art are better than others.

This arrived with the building of a new B&Q DIY warehouse a few years ago. At one end of the store is a garden centre. This was erected just outside.

Its base, which reminds me of a giant rubbish bin, is decorated with panels showing embossed pictures of agricultural crops and hardware

Close up, they have a certain appeal, but from a distance, I'm not quite sure what I think about this outdoor 'plant'.

I realise that it probably doesn't look its' best on a grey day such as this, but what do you think?

Monday 14 February 2011

Little yellow balls of fluff go 'live'

It amused me enormously how often these chicks fall asleep. A general air of stillness descends and slowly all eyes close. Legs give way and bodies sink down towards the sawdust.

On the other hand, it doesn't take much to wake them up again. The sound of someone new entering the room caused quite a stir. They may be sleepyheads, but they were also born nosey!

 Many thanks to Jen from Starting Over for the advice about uploading the video to You Tube and then embedding it into the blog :)

Sunday 13 February 2011

Little yellow balls of fluff

I deliberately don't often talk about work, but occasionally something happens which is worth sharing.

This half term, our children have been learning about birds and migration. One of the many things which has happened is the borrowing of an incubator and a clutch of eggs. The children have watched in anticipation until, finally, the miracle happened and we walked in one morning to see four tiny chicks. By the following day, there were three more, making a total brood of seven.

They have grown at an incredible rate. I took these photos when the eldest were just 2 days old.

I have been fascinated watching them. They sleep so much and so suddenly. One second they are scurrying around climbing all over each other, and the next, eyes are rolling, legs sink and they fall asleep. After school on Friday, one fell asleep in my hand!

They are also very wobbly. Just like a human baby learning to walk, they stagger and suddenly collapse with a bump. I saw one chick take a few steps, stop with one leg raised, stand for a second and then keel over sideways.

The children are loving having them in school and will have a chance to see them up close and personal during next week, when the incubator will spend a day in each of the classrooms.

As I can't invite you over to see them, I took a video. Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't seem to want to play ball!! Maybe it's too big. When, or if, I work out how to edit it, or persuade Blogger that it DOES want to upload it, I'll post it for you to see.

Saturday 12 February 2011

Skip huddle

Wednesday morning, I nip into my local Sainsbury's for a grocery top up. Half way down aisle three, there is an announcement:

 "This is a staff announcement. All available staff please gather for the skip huddle. I repeat, all available staff please gather for the skip huddle. Thank you."

 Three aisles later, I realise I've forgotten to pick up noodles, because my brain has been fully engaged with the question...

What on earth is a skip huddle?

Do they skip to the meeting and then huddle?
Are ropes involved?
One turner? Two turners? 
Do they chant skipping rhymes?

Bubble car, bubble car number 27
Went around the corrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
and slammed... on... his...

Or maybe it isn't that kind of skip.
Maybe it's a


Maybe they all climb into the big skip labelled


and huddle under the shredded boxes like a family of nesting mice, talking in hushed voices about the little old lady in fruit and veg who spent 15 minutes choosing a small bag of potatoes.

Or, then again, it could just be an acronym;


In which case...

What on earth does it stand for? 

Friday 11 February 2011

Skywatch Friday - It should have been fine

I've been thinking that it's about time I posted some more blogs about Derby. Anyone reading would think that I didn't really live here!

Unfortunately, I need a new wander with my camera, which means a sunny day co-inciding with some free time. Last Tuesday was beautifully sunny, a perfect day for taking photos. Was I free - No! So, Wednesday morning, I was all primed to be in the city centre first thing, taking advantage of this spell of dry weather. I woke up, pulled back the curtains and... DRIZZLE!!!

I'm afraid the Derby posts will have to wait a little longer.

The puzzle though, is this...

This was Tuesday's sunset, but Wednesday rained! What happened to 'Red sky at night...'?

According to the shepherds, it should have been fine!

This week, I'm linking to Skywatch Friday; skies from around the planet!

Thursday 10 February 2011

R is for rodent


more specifically, 



Cautious rat

Emerging rat

Spiky rat

Nibbling rat

Departing rat 

I'm linking my photos of this rare and wondrous rodent to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. For more rousing 'R' posts, follow the link.

Wednesday 9 February 2011


This unusually steep garden belongs to friends in Shipley, West Yorkshire. With its stone edged terraces and winding flight of steps, it weaves its way up to the wooden decking at the very top, finally stopping when it reaches an area of private woodland.

While I was there, the bird feeders were attracting a variety of small visitors, including a chaffinch and a long-tailed tit; apparently the first of this winter. By now, Mrs H will have made a note of him in her bird journal!

This cheeky fellow was sitting about a third of the way up...

...whilst this fellow was hiding, much closer to the top; made by Mr H and positioned as a surprise for those people who come during the 'Open Gardens' event.

Even in the depths of winter, this garden is attractive, but to see it in its late spring glory, click here.