Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Ginnels and alleys


I really enjoy 'being a tourist' in my own area, exploring with my camera and getting the feel of a place.  Although I lived on the Thornton side of Bradford for a few years, Thornton village is somewhere that I have only ever driven through on the main road.  So it was fun to have a good old poke around.  I ended up with mixed feelings about the place.  It has a lot of history.  Some of the buildings are clearly very old and you can see, with close observation, how newer ones sprang up and gradually filled in the spaces (and continue to do so).  


This photo shows quite clearly how an old (18th century?) stone-mullioned window and a doorway are now almost buried beneath the road surface, which must have been laid much later, but is itself probably mid-19th century.

One of my main impressions was of how this ad-hoc development has left the village with no real centre and with a maze of little winding alleys (ginnels, in local terminology) and streets.  You can quickly get lost!  It's quite a contrast to the carefully planned layout of Saltaire, though many of the buildings date from around the same time.  In general it isn't a wealthy area and it has to be said that some of it would look better for a bit of sprucing up.  Somehow in these cool northern climes, decay looks simply grimy and (to me anyway) lacks the charm of those narrow old streets you find in, for example, Mediterranean areas.  (See here for one that Malyss recently featured.)  Or maybe I'm just not enough of a 'tourist' in my own patch.

This is the Thornton Challenge, Day Three - in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'.  For Alan's eye view, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE.

19 comments:

  1. I am not sure if I wandered up that same back street - who knows there are so many of them. And you are right, there is something which stops them being quaint. I missed that filled-in window and door however : a fine photograph.

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  2. No place to ride a bike! Somehow it's harder to appreciate the familiar - those ginnels look quaint to me from my southern perspective.

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  3. Yes indeed there are lots and lots of ginnels/passage-ways and inter-linking foot paths in Thornton . . I have lived here for 12 years now and can still find myself lost and dis-orientated. Thornton is a place to loose oneself in, whereas Saltaire, as much as I love the place and its history, is laid out in such a way as to give the impression there is no hiding place and that one is being "looked after" and neatly filed away in the grid of streets all bearing the names of Titus Salts famiily . . . "he who must be obeyed" . .
    Incidentally the mullioned windows you captured go back to the 15th century . . . . . . nice work.

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  4. Sorry . . make that the 16th century . . . .

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  5. Although the town looks tatty through Alan's eyes and yuor text, your photo of the winding street/ginnel is lovely. The cobbled road and brickwork give it an enchanting look and as you say one could easily get lost there. It has a certain charm to rival the one on Mayliss' blog.

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  6. Found this via Alan Burnett's blog which I've been following for a while now. Great photo's and commentary here and I am now a follower ... think I need to retire though, as there's so much good content out there it's hard to find time to read through it all.

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  7. A bit of bright sunshine makes the dreariest of places seem more cheerful and friendly.

    Down here, ginnels are known as jitties (but have to be narrow enough to exclude cars).

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  8. Architecture and especially the red bricks, make the difference with mediterranean aeras.But the narrow and broad streets have the same kind of charm,and I'd be happy to stroll there.
    It's really interesting to follow the two discoveries side by side, you and Alan have different eyes on things.

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  9. The fascination continues. It's really interesting to see the contrasts between yours and Alan's photographs.

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  10. Thank you for the addition to my vocabulary. Ginnels... I like it. And I, too, like being a tourist in my own area. It's amazing to me how much more I see with every visit to a nearby place. Jim

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  11. Love the stone, love the curve of the street, love the red. It all brings back such fond memories of all the things I loved about Yorkshire.

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  12. Alan seems to photograph more of the green spaces and you the hard spaces..interesting. I would like to go inside that red door in the top photo:)

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  13. I love a good wander down a ginnel - lots to be discovered. What a difference in your 2 views of the same place.

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  14. Ginnels,jennels,gennels,twitchells,jitties,gitties,jiggers,gulleys, dialects are fun!

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  15. OK, I see with your eyes now, so it is time to go over to see what Alan has come up with today . . .

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  16. Time to go look at Robin Hood's Bay for more narrow alleys -- or is that too touristified? I've always wanted to follow those Little narrow places but felt like I would be trespassing.

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  17. Hi Jenny - "a Ginnel" - fun name - love these old words .. down here we have "twitten" ...

    Then the way life buries previous life .. the roads are built up - fascinating ...

    Thanks - love both Alan's and your takes on Thornton .. cheers Hilary

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  18. I don't know, it looks pretty quaint to me. Perhaps because I'm wondering what's right around the curve and up the incline. ~Lili

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  19. I would love to walk there. This street seems to be lovely.

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