Sunday, 24 August 2014

Hartlepool .... biographical post number 150.

Usually on a saturday I can allocate myself to an event, a walk with friends, gardening :-( or be rostered in for a work shift. Occasionally I have a free saturday when I can check the weather forecast, jump in the car and chase the .... err  ... sun. However like the parallel biographical story here, the location, weather or plans don't always turn out the way you think and there are benefits of character building when the gloomy unexpected turns out better. Maybe you might have to read the twin parallel post twice with different eyes :-)

I've been with this blog for just over four years now and it may be difficult for the regular readers to believe that this is only post number 150. This is an appropriate opportunity for a brief thanks to all commenters for your time and to say I enjoy your material too. Secondly, anybody else who finds their name on the sidebar of my page are appreciated too for a variety of reasons. I did promise some local material every 50 posts but strangely enough this was not the post I had originally earmarked to depict here.

After the uncertainty of 2012, the middle third of 2013 was a peculiar one for me as I had to come to terms with many changes that occurred in both friends and family life leading up to this day out in October 2013. A potentially influential person that crossed my path early in 2012 decided to move on to other things out of my world in a parallel zone the same weekend that these shots were taken.  A lot of my friends opted to go with him and as a result have effectively lost contact in reality. There was much confusion and hurt from those that were left behind over the disunity and the trail of devastation or questions being felt by some, long into 2014.


Historically, Hartlepool has had an identity crisis on which county it belongs to as it has links to both County Durham and Teesside. The coastal and shipbuilding town of County Durham was incorporated into a new and short lived County of Cleveland from 1974 - 1986. Although having identity with the new area of Teesside, many locals still prefer to be part of County Durham ...


Hartlepool hasn't been the best of towns for many a year and may seem to be a strange place to go for an afternoon out, however it is fighting back thanks to its maritime heritage. The uninitiated may find difficulty in knowing what to call the multi faceted maritime site as a trip to Hartlepool Marina once incorporated a visit to The Hartlepool Historic Quay, the free Museum of Hartlepool and a nearby outlet shopping centre (now closed) selling branded labels called Jacksons Landing.


The adjacent museums were later incorporated under the title of Hartlepool's Maritime Experience with continuing separate identity and entrances. The HMS Trincomalee resides at the Historic Quay while the PSS Wingfield Castle is overseen by The Museum of Hartlepool. On a side note, Jacksons Landing has been a thorn in the side of the development of the area as it has been vacant for 10 years at the time of writing. The council have purchased the site and are planning the less favourable of the options available of housing.


On the this particular day I arrived to find that The Historic Quay was closed for a wedding and I wasn't welcome ... ! Time to think of a plan B as this was meant to be my main subject for the afternoon.


First port of call is the Museum of Hartlepool next door which wasn't quite the place I wanted to be with the camera.


A Crumb of comfort was The PSS Wingfield Castle which is just outside the back of the museum. The Paddle Steamer was built in Hartlepool, launched in 1934 and used as a passenger ferry in The Humber Estuary until the construction of the road bridge.


After retirement and during the early 1980's the ship was due to be used as a floating restaurant in Swansea, South Wales but the final resting place was The Museum of Hartlepool as the paddle steamer was too wide to get through the gates into Swansea marina.
It seems poignant that the ship was welcomed home to a place where it would be loved and accepted amongst it's own.


The PSS Wingfield Castle may not have become a restaurant in retirement but a coffee shop for the museum given the circumstances is an acceptable substitute.


The afternoon was quickly coming to an end and my thoughts turned towards sunsets and silhouettes.  I decided to give the main town of Hartlepool a miss and drive to the Headland in search of new material and the entrance of Victoria Dock.


Hartlepool Headland is essentially the original town on a peninsula of land land borders The North Sea and the Victoria Dock area. The image above is taken slightly to the right of the previous picture depicting the 14th century town walls that once enclosed Old Hartlepool.
The importance of Hartlepool grew as a fishing town and was the scene of skirmishes, wars and threats from The Scottish (Robert The Bruce - The English Civil War) and the French. The Headland started to decline as a fishing port during the early nineteenth century and business men tried to revive it with the coal and railway industry. A"new" Hartlepool (otherwise known as West Hartlepool) was born due to the dock adjacent to the present day museum being more accessible. Shipbuilding became prominent which caused a subsequent bombardment from the German Navy in the first World War. Heavy industry and shipbuilding declined after the second World War but the town doesn't give up despite adversity and the redevelopments of the marina and museum area breathed new life into the old dog !


Reg Smythe, the creator of the newspaper cartoon Andy Capp lived in Hartlepool, no doubt bringing some influences to his work from the town. Looks like Andy is not enjoying watching the sun go down on Hartlepool.


Victoria Dock was rather sparse of industry and closed to the public for safety reasons, however I did manage to catch a scene through a hole in the gate ... before being spotted and stalked by an on site security van. The dark clouds weren't being helpful although the strong wind ensured that the ever-changing cloudscapes kept my interest as I waited for the sun to drop. Circumstances can seem gloomy at the time but there is strength and depth given to overcome them as things are not always defined by history or even what was going to happen the following morning.


The next location on the agenda I was making up as I went around the town was Hartlepool Marina (above and title image)


Usually I have an idea in mind at the start of any photographic day what one of the shots is going to be in the post, (the final image in this case), however the fun of a new location is to take in new experiences, angles and scenes. Having visited the Museum areas many times before with friends and The Headland on a couple of occasions, the new marina development didn't strike me as one that was going to be a glorious photographic moment. Knowledgable regular readers will realise that from my previous work that surprising material can be achieved from locations that don't seem possible.

It was a mystery to me why this stag was in a prominent position on a plinth at the side of a modern harbour.

"Life in the old ... err ... deer"
Growing up in a neighbouring county, the names of these towns are often taken for granted. I researched it later and foolishly discovered that it was a Hart which is the old English name for a stag or a deer. Additionally, the term Le Pool means beside the sea. It turns out that people came here to hunt deer and decided to stay and build a settlement.


Lastly that leaves me with the the silhouette of the Historic Quay and Britains oldest floating warship in Preservation, HMS Trincomalee built in the post Trafalgar and Napoleonic 1817.
A ship with a long and varied career that has too much history to write about here, except to say that like Hartlepool, it is a survivor ! ...


Sorry if this post has been a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and bits of it look the same but life is sometimes like that ... different perspectives on the same view.

As a result of something that happened in July 2014, I'm looking forward to putting these events behind me and that just leaves me to quote one last phrase ....   "Every cloud has a silver lining" ...

The sun sets on some of the recent past !

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.

Stables ... GJC_003882

Chatsworth House is the home of the Duke of Devonshire and is arguably the Jewel in the Crown of the attractions of Derbyshire. This is a county that I haven't visited in this blog before and the second of three occasional posts that I have pulled out of my Photo archives.

I had three friends that I knew in a social group in South Yorkshire and had been observing their programme of events for some time and eventually opted for this day trip in the car. It so happened that one of my friends, who I shall call the Doncaster Dame, was the organiser of the event and tried to dissuade me on the telephone about distance travel issues. I have known The Doncaster Dame for 12 years and didn't catch up with her often enough in more recent times. However I chose to ignore her advice as I informed her that this opportunity doesn't come up often and historically she was professional in organising events.

(Sorry folks, I struggled to get this post out for many reasons ... something for July at least. I'm still dealing with the computer issues and the shop have now recommended to buy extra Ram to be able to upload images from the camera. I'm in Scotland at the moment and have been tied up with other things recently, so I'll sort that out next week and catch up with all your blogs. The place where I'm staying may turn the wifi off at some point, haha, so I'm on borrowed time here :-)
This set is so old and dated in time due to the art exhibits depicted here that I had to struggle with inspiration. Some of the original batch didn't make it and I over edited another 5 or 6.
Lastly the bicycle I bought has been a little distracting during some warm June & July evenings.)

The motorway journey to Chesterfield was long but acceptable and my traffic knowledge of delays on the outskirts of the town was minimal. Although I didn't regret my decision to travel, her words of wisdom proved to be right as the last 20 mins was more like 50. On arrival at The Chatsworth Estate I was disappointed to discover that the house was partially covered in tarpaulin for maintenance purposes. The landscape view from near Edensor village and the classic bridge in the foreground scene would have to wait for another occasion and to date still hasn't happened.

Horse ... GJC_003886
War Horse by Dame Elisabeth Frink
We met up in The Stables (title image), which in itself is a tourist magnet for those not wishing to pay the additional fee to visit the main house.

Restaurant ... GJC_003888
Restaurant !
The area has related specialist shopping, cafe and a restaurant of such a standard that it is suitable for wedding receptions.

Chatsworth & Grounds ... GJC_003946

Despite a residence being on the site since 1549, Chatsworth House and Estate has been a work in progress over the years since it was rebuilt in the 20 years up to 1707. There are however buildings on the estate that pre-date the main house such as The Hunting Tower and Queen Mary's Bower.

Chatsworth Wing ... GJC_003960_edited

Chatsworth Profile ... GJC_003949

The North Wing was added to the main body of the house in the early nineteenth century.

Lake ... GJC_003910

The gardens and the estate were designed by Lancelot Brown (otherwise known as "Capability Brown") in the 1780's.


He had an amazing C.V. and seemed much sought after due to his other garden projects at Blenheim Palace, Bowood House, Harewood House, Broadlands, Highclere Castle and Longleat.

Emorer Fountain ... GJC_003932

The fame of Chatsworth House took on an International flavour when in 1843 Nicholas I (Tsar of Russia) promised to visit sometime. The 6th Duke of Devonshire who was residing in the house at the time employed his gardener Sir Joseph Paxton to construct the tallest fountain in the world for his arrival. This incorporated an 8 acre lake on the moors high above the level of the house to acquire the desired water pressure. It was unfortunate that despite the project being completed in six months, the Tsar never managed to see the fountain before he died in 1855.

Interestingly the Hydro electric power technology was used to to supply the house in the early 20th century before the connection to mains electricity in 1936. Ideas change and it was decided to upgrade the equipment with a new turbine in 1988 to supply 1/3 of the electricity needs.

Cascade Fountain ... GJC_003947

One of the main features of the garden that everyone comes to see is the Cascade Fountain. It was designed and built from 1690, extended to include a Pavilion at the top waterfall, then re-aligned by Paxton to compliment the garden plan in relation to the House.

Pavillion ... GJC_003902
Thomas Archer Pavillion 1703

Conservatory ... GJC_003956

Paxton seemed to specialise in Greenhouses, some successful and some he would choose to forget, however the Conservative wall Greenhouse stretching 331 ft (101m) stands the test of time.

Avenue ... GJC_003934
Time for a wander around the estate !

Dual View ... GJC_003916

The features in the estate are at times a little unusual, some unusual features with dual viewpoints ...

Downstairs ... GJC_003918
Upstairs ... GJC_003913
A rare capture of two social group leaders ... the Doncaster Dame and the Leeds link ( taking a break to see the success of other events outside her region).

Chloe's World ... GJC_003935
The distorted ... Chloe's World by Jaume Plensa
After the disappointment of the Tarpaulin covering the historic part of the house there was the surprise of The Beyond Limits sculpture exhibition that were dotted around the estate.

Head ... GJC_003921
Lord William Burlington by Angela Conner
Royalty ...GJC_003922
Two other people making up Angela's collection !!

Dual Pegasus ... GJC_003928

The main exhibits were a Unicorn (called Myth) and this Horse (called Legend) sculptured by Damien Hirst.

Red Pegasus ... GJC_003927

The partly surgically exposed sculpture was a development of Hirst's interest between science and religion. Hirst said "I like the way that even by showing these creature's insides they still feel majestic and hopeful, so they seem more real and not just creatures from fantasy"

Pegusus ... GJC_003930


The Owners like the works of Barry Flannigan who seems to specialise in Hares. This one is known as left handed drummer. Personally I felt it stood out more as a silhouette, hence my take on it.

Bin ! ... GJC_003940
Time for an Ice Cream break
Binless ! ... GJC_003940(1)
OK, it.s becoming an obsession with me .. but time to remove the bin !!

Chatsworth Window ... GJC_003962

That leaves me with three shots, the first is an occasional one that struck me at the time

Chatsworth Gate ... GJC_003964

... and the remaining two are of entrances, the first is probably a little underused whilst the second is a little overused  !! ...

The Ladies !  ...GJC_003955
"The Ladies"

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