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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

A bimble round Burley 2: Greenholme Mill

Leaving the centre of Burley in Wharfedale, I had a wander down to the river. Just a short walk takes you out into fields, looking back to Burley/Ilkley Moor that rises behind the village. At that stage there was no sign of the raging fire that engulfed a large area of the moor later the same day. Such a shame. Someone was arrested; the news report didn't say if it was a wilful act or an accident, though I did read it may have been teenagers with a campfire. Silly, if it was. The habitat destruction is tragic; it takes some time for the plants and wildlife to recover.

For those of you that like maps, I plotted my little walk in green. It was less than 2 miles but a very pleasant amble. The walk began down a road called Iron Row (above), full of now-gentrified cottages. Originally 'one up, one down', they were built for millworkers in 1800 by the mill company.

At the end of Iron Row, some gateposts mark the former entrance to Greenholme Mill. 

A little further on, the path passes under the Burley bypass; Iron Row then continues down to the large complex of mill buildings. It was originally a cotton mill, built around 1800. It was taken over by Fison and Forster in 1850 and was converted to worsted (wool) production. That too ceased, and these days the site is home to a number of small businesses. I've read of plans to convert it to housing but I couldn't detect anything being done to progress that.

In its heyday, it must have been a prosperous operation.The lodge house is quite impressive. I couldn't get a picture of the big mill itself, as there were trees between the footpath and the building. Some rather elegant iron fencing remains.

The walk then becomes leafier, peaceful and more countrified, following the line of the goit, a canal-like waterway that brought water from the River Wharfe down to the mill to power the works. There is now a hydro-electric generating plant utilising the water.

Monday, 29 April 2019

A bimble round Burley 1: the village

Easter was sunny and very warm - summery rather than springlike - and glorious for everyone on holiday to enjoy. I decided one of the places I'd explore was the village of Burley in Wharfedale. I usually dash past on my way to Ilkley or further afield. Burley, though, is a settlement worthy of exploration, vastly improved by a bypass opened in 1995, that now takes much of the traffic away from the village centre. It started out as a small agricultural community and there are some buildings dating back to the 1600/1700s. The datestone pictured below, though worn, appears to say 1613.

The cottage below has 1785 on its sundial.

Then came a time of growth during the Industrial Revolution when a large cotton mill opened, so there are many 18th and 19th century houses and public buildings. The building below is Burley Grange, originally built in 1840 as a private residence and used by Bradford Council and Bradford College more recently. I think it is back in private ownership again now.

St Mary's Church (top photo) is Victorian and was built on the site of a 17th century chapel.

Nowadays, with good rail links to Leeds and Bradford, Burley in Wharfedale continues to grow as a dormitory village and, like nearby Ilkley, is also popular with retirees. There are some beautiful houses, and many of the oldest have been sympathetically renovated. Someone (below) is using a rescued Victorian postbox as their mailbox. It does warn people not to use it as a public box!

The Malt Shovel Hotel (below) was originally a coaching inn, sited next to the church, and was rebuilt in 1880, serving as a pub and restaurant for many years. It was split and converted into private homes in about 2012, after the business went into administration. Burley does have a few remaining pubs though, and a sprinkling of nice, independent shops. What makes it a particularly pleasant place is the abundance of green spaces, parks and watermeadows in and surrounding the village. 

I meant to take a photo of Burley House, built in the18th century in the neo-classical style by Thomas Maude, a poet and local landowner. In the 20th century it became a private school and then variously a restaurant, hotel and business headquarters. It has recently been redeveloped, turning it back into private housing, incorporating the original house, stables and mews with some new builds. I say meant to... I got seduced by the magnificent copper beech tree just coming into leaf in the adjacent meadow. 

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Ilkley Camera Club Exhibition 2019

Local people, may I warmly invite you to visit 
Ilkley Camera Club's biennial exhibition
in Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley 
from 4 May - 14 July
It's free and open during the museum's normal hours (see HERE). I have several prints exhibited, alongside all the wonderful work from my fellow members. 

Club members are also offering a series of 90 minute workshops, at 12 noon on eight weekend dates, as shown below. These are a great opportunity to learn and improve your own camera and processing skills. Also free. 

You may also like to note that there is an exhibition of photos by the Yorkshire Photographic Union in
Bingley Arts Centre, from 5-19 May (10am-4pm), 
which is a wonderful opportunity to view some of the very best images from photographic clubs across Yorkshire, including a number from Ilkley CC.

I'd be thrilled if you took the time to visit either or both of these events.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Sundowner Lantern Parade

As part of the World Heritage Day celebrations in Saltaire, the talented people at Cecil Green Arts organised a Lantern Parade around Roberts Park as the sun went down. They had some of their large scale paper lanterns, like the fox above, which are exquisite. Then there were scores of children and local people carrying pyramidal lanterns that they'd made in workshops in the weeks leading up to the event. It was rather a wonderful sight. 

Musicians wrapped in coloured lights led the parade, and then came a lantern like a jellyfish, with coloured streamers:

There was an owl, a turtle, seagulls and a pig on a bike. They had one of their large figures:

and a huge bee or wasp too. It's amazing how much character they manage to invoke with just paper, paint and a willow framework.

The evening ended with fire jugglers and the burning of a paper hare, representing Spring I suppose. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be the Easter bunny!!

Friday, 26 April 2019

World Heritage Day 2019

World Heritage Day was celebrated in Saltaire (a World Heritage Site) this year with a Sundowner event in Roberts Park. It happened to be Easter Saturday and a wonderfully sunny, warm evening as well. The park would have been busy anyway but it was absolutely packed, as people enjoyed jazz in the bandstand, Shakespeare Comedy Mashes (whatever that means... people were performing but I couldn't hear it), the obligatory Easter Egg hunt and plenty of street food and other market stalls. There was a cricket match too. The park looked wonderful with all the trees in blossom, almost as though they'd dressed up for the occasion. 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

The first .... of spring

Spotted this week: the first bluebells of spring in Hirst Woods. They're not yet at their peak but the recent sunshine has brought them on fast.
And: the first ice cream van of spring outside Saltaire URC. There is nearly always one parked at the far side of Roberts Park, and of course there's the ice cream boat permanently moored now on the canal. Occasionally we see a travelling one doing the rounds of the streets. Their sudden chime often makes me jump! This one was parked outside the church and opposite Salts Mill, but there wasn't a queue for his wares.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Art in Dean Clough

At Dean Clough, I particularly wanted to see an exhibition of photographs of Haworth and other places linked to the Brontës: A Brontë Reader, by Helen Burrow. They're black and white images, taken with a Holga camera, so they have a characteristic blurriness and grittiness which rather suits the subject matter. The exhibition is partnered by a book of the photos paired with quotes from the Brontës' books, letters and other reflections.

Whilst I was there, I explored the other galleries, and these were some of the artworks I enjoyed:

Exquisitely coloured and complex bas-reliefs, made of folded and crimped paper - by Pierrette Vergne (lovely name too!)

A series of life drawings made by Doug Binder, painter in residence at Dean Clough.

Playful ceramics by Ian Stewart, including Gorilla with kitten (above).

An oddly compelling sculptural installation by Connie Lo Ho Yee: In the Absence Of... that involves illusion (how is it held up?), sound and 3D printing. One of my friends remarked that it looked like 'toothpaste in space' - well, yes...

My favourite exhibit, possibly, was a photo of Dean Clough taken in the 1930s by the famous photographer Bill Brandt: Catchpoint - Hail, Hell and Halifax.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Dean Clough in Lego

The Dean Clough Lego project came about as the result of a discussion amongst staff about the difficulties of depicting the huge site (see yesterday).  The individual mills are so close together, in a deep valley, that it is difficult to photograph them or convey their size. An aerial view would show the whole site but lose the historical details. Someone - perhaps jokingly - suggested building it in Lego. Thus it was that in 2009, Michael Le Count (a primary school teacher) and Tony Priestman (a computer data specialist) began to construct a model, in their spare time, using only commercially available Lego pieces. They are still at it! It's a huge model and astonishingly detailed, well worth seeing.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Dean Clough

Once the world's largest carpet factory, Dean Clough in Halifax is, like Salts Mill in Saltaire, a triumph not only of the Industrial Revolution but also of the entrepreneurial vision of men in more recent times. As with Salts Mill, one of those men was the late Jonathan Silver.

The carpet factory, Crossley's, opened in the mid-1800s and closed in 1983. It was then bought by Sir Ernest Hall, along with the young Jonathan Silver, who began to develop it as a business and cultural complex. The partnership between the two men did not last long as they had very different ways of working. Jonathan left and in 1987 he bought and began to develop Salts Mill with a similar vision.

(There's another connection too. In 1866 Titus Salt Jnr married Catherine Crossley, daughter of the Halifax carpet magnate, Joseph Crossley, joining the two great textile dynasties.)

Nowadays the complex of mills holds over 150 different businesses with over 4000 employees. There is a hotel, a theatre and several gallery spaces, restaurants, a gym and retail premises. It is a busy working environment and a tourist attraction, with over 60,000 visitors a year.

It has certain similarities to Salts Mill on the exterior but is not as ornate. Though larger in total area, it was in fact several different mills in its heyday. Inside it has a rough industrial vibe in parts but it is divided into much smaller spaces and feels more contemporary. It has lost the sense of a Victorian mill, which Salts Mill still proudly capitalises on.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Spring notes for Easter Day

Photographs from a walk around the St Ives Estate above Bingley, on a fine, warm spring day. There are plenty of signs of spring, though everything goes at its own pace.

Primroses in the hedgerows:

 Trees bursting into leaf (this one's a beech, I think):

whilst the oaks are slower to respond to the warm sun:

I'm always glad that our northern hemisphere's spring coincides with the Easter festival. 
There's tangible evidence of Christ's resurrection power all around. 


Saturday, 20 April 2019

Otley to Fiji via Knotford Nook

The granddaughter of a friend of mine is planning to spend her summer volunteering for an organisation called 'Think Pacific' in Fiji, partnered with the Fijian government and aiming to improve health and educational opportunities for underprivileged children across the islands. She needs to raise some money to pay for her expedition costs, so a number of us got together for a fundraising walk.

We started by the clock tower and the buttercross in the centre of Otley, walking through the town to the River Wharfe, then downriver to some lakes known as Knotford Nook and back to the town. It was a gentle walk of about 4 miles though long enough for me on a very dull and rather cold morning. Tea and cakes afterwards soon warmed us up again.

I enjoyed it, though I usually avoid walking in groups as it doesn't really fit with stopping to take photos every few minutes. I'm always running to catch up!

I see that I've not shown many photos of Otley on my blog. I must go back sometime and take some more as it's an interesting little town, famous for its cattle market and for being the birthplace of Thomas Chippendale, the Georgian furniture maker.

There's a nice park beside the river, Wharfemeadows, which leads to a good children's playground and to the now-closed Otley Lido open air swimming pool. I gather there is a local group campaigning to have the Lido reopened.

The weir on the river beside the park has two hydro-electric Archimedean Screws installed to provide power for a new housing development. At one time there was a paper mill there and some of the old buildings have been repurposed.

The further downriver you walk, the more peaceful it gets, though there is a good wide footpath on both banks.

The mid-point of our walk was the lakes at Knotford Nook. At one time you could have a lovely walk right round the lakes, which were a haven for birds. Now, they are all run as private fishing lakes and have hefty fences around them, making it impossible to get near to the water or even see much. Annoyingly the fence's mesh was too small even to poke the camera lens through.

Walking back towards Otley, the route took us through fields at the base of Otley Chevin, the wooded ridge that overlooks the town.

There were lambs:

and blossom trees. This is a nature reserve called Gallows Hill, on the site where once there was a sewage treatment works (and perhaps before that, something even more unsavoury?)

They've planted trees, made footpaths and done some serious hedgelaying, a traditional country craft that aims to keep hedges thick and healthy, forming a stock-proof barrier and making them a haven for wildlife.