Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Broadway

Because my usual workplace was flooded and is closed, I've had to travel into the nearby city of Bradford rather more often than usual. I haven't had much time to look around but I did manage to have a quick peek at the new shopping centre, The Broadway. Chiefly notable for being a project that has taken years and years to bring to fruition.... the developers mothballed it when the recession hit, leaving a literal hole in the centre of the city (see here). It has finally been finished. I (uncharitably) wonder why they bothered. It is functional rather than exciting, just an L-shaped mall with the usual high street shops, most of which already existed in the city anyway. Better than a hole perhaps, but only just! It does, however, frame a rather nice view of what was once the Post Office, a Victorian building that managed to survive the wholesale destruction of the 60s and 70s, which many feel ripped the heart out of the city.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Jonathan Silver Building

The new extension to Shipley College was opened in September last year by Mrs Maggie Silver. You may recall my posts about it before the work started (here) and as the build was in progress (here). It was designed by local architects Rance, Booth, Smith and incorporates modern eco-technology.  I can't say I'm hugely impressed with its appearance. There's nothing wrong with it and the colours vaguely marry into the surroundings but it isn't terribly exciting. Maybe it will look better when softened by some planting at the front. To the rear are some large, modern greenhouses, since the building caters for horticultural students and those with learning difficulties and disabilities.

It is, however, really good that it has been named after the late Jonathan Silver, one of the most influential men in the history of Saltaire after Sir Titus Salt himself. Jonathan was the entrepreneur who, aged 37, took the gamble to buy the closed and deteriorating Salts Mill in 1987, and transformed it into a successful retail, cultural and business hub. In doing so, he transformed Saltaire too. There is no other memorial to him in the area, although his widow, Maggie, donated a set of church bells to the United Reformed Church on the 150th anniversary of Sir Titus's birth, to replace those removed and made into ammunition during WW1.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Oh, hi everyone!

I spotted this little fellow grinning through a window in Saltaire. It was above the butcher's shop, so I suspect he is a signboard that normally stands outside the shop.

Friday, 5 February 2016


On one of my regular walks, I pass a couple of my favourite trees and I have photographed them in all seasons. They look especially good in winter when you can see their 'bone structure'. Walking in the opposite direction from my usual route one day, I thought this one looked good from this side too, though I don't know how it will feel about being separated from its twin. To see the pair, click the 'two trees' label below.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Little Free Library

The committed group of people who make up the Hirst Wood Regeneration Group do some excellent work on the small Hirst Wood estate, a pocket of relative deprivation just outside Saltaire. Several years ago they succeeded in getting funding and Council backing for a nice play area, which is great for the many families and young people in the area. It also has this 'Little Free Library' from which children's books can be borrowed and returned. Sadly the little box keeps getting vandalised (as does the nature reserve down by the canal that the Regen Group also recently established). It's such a shame that there are those who cannot value such initiatives and seem to want to spoilt things for everyone, for the sake of a moment of daredevilry. Hard to understand such attitudes.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Swan Rescue

Had my usual battle with the mute swans. As soon as they see my camera, they do precisely the opposite of what I'd like them to do. They might be in a tight little huddle and then suddenly all disperse, or they turn their backs or even dive partially under the water.

This couple and the two offspring they managed to rear last summer, now coming into their adult plumage, are still hanging around as a family group. They are usually on the canal somewhere between Saltaire and Dockfield in Shipley, where I think their nest site originally was.

Some while ago (before Christmas) I saw them one evening. One of the adults had a long thread of fishing line trailing from its bill. It seemed to be distressed and was trying to claw at it with its foot. Quite upsetting to see... I came home and googled 'swan rescue' and found that there is a local charity called Yorkshire Swan Rescue, based near York, so I contacted them. Local volunteers knew of the particular swan family and their approximate location. First thing the next morning, two volunteers came out and checked on the swans. They even reported back to me, to say that they had seen them all and that all were in good condition and none of them had any fishing line trailing. The bird must have managed to dislodge it by itself, thankfully. I was very impressed with the organisation and made a donation to them to help with their work.  Swans are such beautiful birds, and so faithful to their mate. I love to see them on the canal and it's good to know there is someone available to help when necessary.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Ironwork on the lock gate

Monday, 1 February 2016

Native American

I couldn't see a name on the narrowboat I showed yesterday but it did have this lovely picture painted on the side: horses and a handsome native American Indian in a fine feather warbonnet headdress. I know shockingly little about American Indians, apart from what you see on cowboy films. Just googling for information about the headdress is very interesting. The feather bonnets are worn by chiefs and warriors of only about a dozen tribes and are made of eagle tail feathers. They have a spiritual and ceremonial significance; each feather has to be earned by an act of bravery. So this man must be courageous as well as handsome. Who knows why he is painted on a narrowboat in Yorkshire? Interesting, anyway.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Winter boating

The mild weather has meant more boat movements on the canal than is often the case in winter. When the canal ices over, they are forced to stay put but that hasn't happened yet this season. This narrowboat, moored temporarily by the towpath in Saltaire, seems to be someone's permanent home, not just a leisure craft.

The Leeds-Liverpool Canal through Saltaire was mercifully unscathed by the recent heavy rain and flooded river. It runs through at a level higher up the hillside than the river level. Though it is pretty full, to some extent they can regulate the amount of water it holds. The Rochdale Canal in the Calder valley was not so lucky. The Calder overflowed and merged with the canal and there were narrowboats left strewn like toys and stranded at odd angles all down the canal.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Riffing on a bench

When the days are short and the weather dull I have to work much harder to find subjects worthy of photographing. I was drawn to this wooden bench in Lister Park. It seemed to present a few possibilities in terms of structure, texture and colour (or not). Variations on a theme...

Friday, 29 January 2016

Three leaves

I noticed this rather pleasing natural arrangement of leaves on the ground in Lister Park. I didn't compose it, this is just 'as is'.

Thursday, 28 January 2016


I've been looking the photographs of Eliot Porter recently. Inspirational stuff. He takes a lot of photos of trees and 'little landscapes' - lichens on rocks, pebbles and suchlike. Many of his photos are in portrait format with something (water, a tree, rocks) that makes a roughly vertical 'slash' through the image. I had a go... but I think I have a bit to learn.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Under starter's orders

Milling around at the starting tape, three Canada geese...  Actually the starting tape is, in reality, a line marking the limit of boating on Lister Park lake. I was hoping the geese would actually line up for me but, though I waited a while, they just swam round in circles. They don't take any notice of the line, happily criss-crossing it.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A pinch of Salt

Lister Park is also 'home' to a few influential men. The ornate monument at the northern end of the park (shown here from the back) holds a statue of Sir Titus Salt. See here for an earlier photo I took of the statue itself. The castellated gatehouse behind commemorates a visit of the then Prince and Princess of Wales, Edward and Alexandra, in 1883.