Sunday 30 September 2012

Kirkgate Market

Kirkgate (don't pronounce the middle 'k') Market has a good range of stalls, including one selling dried fruit (papaya and mango - drool), but is noted most for being the location of the first ever Marks and Spencer; a union between Michael Marks, a Polish Jewish immigrant, and Thomas Spencer, a Dewhirst cashier from Yorkshire.

Isaac Jowitt Dewhirst lent Marks £5 to establish his stall in the market and, in 1884, Marks invited Spencer to become his partner.

In 1984, M&S presented this clock to mark their centenary.

It was even telling the correct time :)

Friday 28 September 2012

Arcades - but pennies will not suffice

The Victoria Quarter in Leeds is an upmarket shopping area between Briggate and Vicar Lane, comprised mainly of classic covered arcades.

It was originally built around 1900, designed by architect Frank Matcham (1854-1920) who also designed the Hackney Empire. Prior to this time, the area was a mess of narrow alleyways filled with butchers shops and slaughter houses.

The arched glass roofs make the space airy, while the ornate marble, mosaic, wrought iron and faience features give a sense of old fashioned elegance

The Quarter is definitely popular with one hundred percent take up of retail space and some high end London stores choosing this location as their first branch out of the capital.

Between 1990 and 1996, the Quarter was restored, including the construction of a stained glass roof over Queen Victoria Street, which had previously been open to the sky.

Designed by architect Brian Clarke, at 8,041sq feet, it is the largest stained glass window in Britain and really does create a talking point. Clarke describes his medium as light, especially the way in which it brings kinetic life into a building.

What do you think - tasteful addition, adding to the overall beauty or slightly incongruous, modern colour-chart hanging over Edwardian facades?

Thursday 27 September 2012


This is the Leeds Cornmarket; rather more spectacular than the Derby equivalent!

As you can see, it has been refurbished to accommodate a series of small shops, both upstairs and down, with a restaurant sitting in the bowels.

The arched doorways, the wrought ironwork around the balcony and the graceful curve of the staircases all speak of elegance; a building made to be beautiful as well as functional.

Notice the tied sheaves of corn, either side of the clock.

and the glasswork in the roof.

The photo on the stairs shows the historic setting of the Cornmarket and you can see those two huge windows in the roof.

You'd never guess it was Jubilee year :)

Wednesday 19 September 2012


Refurbished in 1994, The Bourse, a Grade II listed building tucked away off Boar Lane in Leeds, has a spectacular wall of glass mirrors hiding its functional purpose as office space.

Anybody know the name of the reflected building? 

Sunday 9 September 2012

Bits of Bright Pink Plastic

The lads eventually got bored of watching gill and I make brown paper hats, so went off to investigate this stuff.

I think the long thing in the middle had started off as some sort of giant insect or lizard with multiple legs and spines.

The lads settled for rings...

Five of them...

which fell apart when picked up.

They rolled very well though and the little boys who were watching enjoyed being given hoops to play with.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Being creative with brown paper

Once past Security (which was more stringent than the Olympic Park itself!), and into the Victoria Park 'Live Nation' Site, Gill and I joined a group of people preparing to be creative...

with large squares of brown paper.

Step one was easy enough - fold the square along its diagonal. No problem :)

But it didn't stay simple!

And after a series of foldings, there came the depressing step of unfolding in order to do new foldings lined up at angles to the creases caused by the first foldings.

Are you keeping up here?

We did, and eventually...

The real question is whether or not you can tell what the hat is meant to be!

Well, can you?

Wednesday 5 September 2012

The World in London

The UK is currently enjoying the Paralympic experience and cheering on our athletes, marvelling at the skill and dedication required to perform so brilliantly against the odds.

Some of my nieces have been fortunate enough to go to venues to watch the events live. Sadly, I am back at work and unable to go, but I am grateful for my Olympic memories which continued with the big screen in Vicky Park.

Victoria Park is in the East End of London, close to the Olympic Park at one end and my family at the other. The day after our stadium experience, Gill, myself and the lads wandered over there to join in the activities and watch the men's 200m final on the big screen.

We walked the long way round because Gill wanted to show us this...

These hoardings were around the Live Nation Site within Vicky Park and show 204 people, each of whom lives in our capital city, but originates from one of the 204 countries competing in London 2012.

The portraits have been photographed over the past three years by a team of 204 photographers, British and international, established and emerging.

According to the website, 

The World in London celebrates London as a place where individuals from all over the world live side by side, each of them contributing to make London the unique city it is.

These are just a few samples.

'Exile'; an anonymous figure from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea reminds us that there are problems, even within nations competing in the Olympic Games.

If you would like to see the whole collection and read about some of the people whose pictures appear on this hoarding, click here.