Unlisted Lancaster.

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A weekend of absolutely glorious weather – blue skies and beautiful sunshine – but a very busy one for me, so another opportunity to make the most of whatever spare scraps of time were available. B was away with school, on a rugby tour, playing a game in Essex somewhere on the Friday and then at Twickenham watching England squeak past Japan in one of the Autumn Internationals on the Saturday. TBH was also away, I think on Guiding training, which left me as chief cook, bottle-washer and taxi-driver.

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I think that these are Muscovy Ducks. They aren’t native to the UK, but there were half a dozen on the canal that day, presumably feral birds.

Little S had BJJ in Lancaster on the Saturday morning and then a birthday party with a new friend (he’s moved up to ‘big school’) in the afternoon. I drove him in for BJJ and then took him for lunch afterwards and kept him company before his party.

I needed somewhere to leave the car; there’s not much in the way of free parking in Lancaster, but there are some spots on Aldcliffe Road, by the Lancaster Canal, which had the added advantage of leaving me with a bit of a walk to meet Little S after his grappling.

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Owl sculpture in a community garden sandwiched between Aldcliffe Road and the canal.

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Having passed through the town centre, my route to meet Little S took me along St. Leonard’s Gate. I wondered how properties which get listed are chosen and others are not. This building is fairly old, and the City Council have deemed it interesting enough to warrant one of their Green Plaques, but it isn’t listed.

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The Grand Theatre, just across the road is listed, but I didn’t photograph it, because it was in heavy shade. Another time.

Some of the properties in this area are looking a bit rundown to say the least….

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I walked past this building again recently and noticed that there was a pigeon stuck inside which was flying repeatedly into one of the few remaining panes of glass in a window.

This building…

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…is St. Leonard’s House, which is listed. It was built 1881-2 and was a furniture factory, for the Lancaster firm Gillow and Company. It too was looking a tad dishevelled, but has been hidden behind scaffolding for quite some time now and is clearly being tarted up for some purpose.

There’s been a fair bit of building work in Lancaster over recent years. This…

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…is part of Caton Court, which will provide student accommodation when it’s finished.

Little S was in no doubt about what he wanted for lunch – there’s a street market in Lancaster On Wednesdays and Saturdays and one of the stalls does a hog roast. Very nice it was too. After that we still had some time to kill, so I took S to the Music Room cafe and finally got to see the interior. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise at first that there’s seating upstairs which is presumably where we needed to go in order to see the ‘very richly decorated plasterwork walls and ceiling of c1730’. I would have known that if I’d thought to check the Historic England listing in advance. Oh well: next time!

Having dropped Little S at his party I went scooting home, hoping to get out again around the village whilst the weather was so benign.

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Unlisted Lancaster.

Listed Lancaster: Town Hall Computer Block

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Built in 1908 and designed, like the Town Hall, by Edward Mountford, this was originally a Fire Station. The windows on the left, presumably one-way glass or something equally fancy, were once the doorways.

Back to work! But at least the sun shone and I managed a lunchtime meander.

Listed Lancaster: Town Hall Computer Block

Listed Lancaster: Lune Aqueduct

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Stuck in Lancaster waiting for an exhaust to be replaced*, I decided to walk out along the Lancaster Canal as far as the aqueduct and then back along the north bank of the Lune. The aqueduct, decided by engineer John Rennie and completed in 1797, is 61′ high and 664′ long (that’s 18.6m and 202.4m in new money). Sadly, I’m not sure that my photos capture how imposing it is. Never mind, that gives me an excuse to try again sometime.

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The canal crossing the aqueduct.

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Looking back upriver to the aqueduct.

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The Lune looking downstream from the aqueduct.

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The Carrs -Billington plant next to the river. It, or something else nearby, was producing a foul smell.

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The Millennium Bridge.

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St. George’s Quay.

*Possibly a foolhardy enterprise, the exhaust cost more than the list value of the car it was fixed to. Still, the car has done us proud to now and, fingers crossed, has a few years left in it.

Listed Lancaster: Lune Aqueduct

Listed Lancaster: Friends Meeting House

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From a sign on the wall outside the Meeting House, on Meeting House Lane:

“There has been a Meeting House on this site since 1677. The original building was replaced and enlarged in 1708 and forms the core of the present Meeting House, making it Lancaster’s second oldest place of worship after the Priory Church. It was there that George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, preached in 1652 and was stoned through the streets by a hostile mob who objected to his challenging of established religious practices.”

The two-storey porch is a pretty distinctive feature.

I’m always pleased to learn more about George Fox. This was my last encounter with his legacy whilst i was out on a walk:

 

 

Listed Lancaster: Friends Meeting House

Listed Lancaster: Mill Hall

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From the English Heritage listing: “Former mill, now student accommodation. c1800, steam-powered worsted factory, converted into cotton spinning factory by 1828. Heightened by 3 feet and re-roofed, probably c1830, with south-east lift tower added by 1877. Production ceased 1975, and converted into student accommodation 1988-89.”

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“The worsted mill was built by Thomas Higgin & Co. Thomas was the second son of John Higgin Senior, Governor of the Castle. In 1828 it was recorded as a cotton mill owned by Burrow, Higgin & Co. In 1846 it was purchased by John Greg, who then owned Moor Lane Mill South. In 1861 it was sold to Storey Brothers, who operated it until its closure. The original engine house occupied the north bay of the mill and rose through 4 storeys, and evidence found during conversion work suggested that the mill was designed from the outset to house a beam engine. The engine bay was floored over in 1929.”

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The (now unused) iron fire escape.

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It’s good to see old buildings put to new uses like this.

Historic England listing is here.

Listed Lancaster: Mill Hall

Listed Lancaster: Town Hall

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On Thursday I had a parents’ evening, so had a couple of hours between finishing teaching and starting work again. I was eating my tea in the staffroom (very nice if I do say so myself: coronation chicken and a couple of salads) when I noticed that the light coming through the windows was glorious. I rushed up to Castle Hill but was too late for the sunset.

Castle Hill has a good view across Morecambe to the bay and the hills of the Lake District beyond, but it also has a fine view across the town.

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Here’s the view again, but this time from Friday lunchtime.

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You can make out three prominent tall buildings: the Ashton Memorial almost hidden by the branches of the tree, the tall spire of the Cathedral and the clock tower of the Town Hall. All of those are listed buildings as are pretty much all of the houses in the area around the Castle.

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Because time was short, I cut my usual route short, leaving out the canal, which gave me a chance to visit the Town Hall, where the low light was challenging for photography. The next day, I went back, but now the very bright sun was behind the building, which didn’t help much either.

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Pretty grand isn’t it? Quite nice inside too. It was built in the early part of the Twentieth Century and was designed by Edward Mountford, who also designed the Old Bailey. Apparently this is in the Edwardian Baroque style which he was noted for. That’s Edward VII in the middle of the carved figures. His mum is commemorated in the statue in Dalton Square in front of the town hall…

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The statue is from 1906 and is also listed, but there’s a lot of detail here to photograph, so I’ll come back another time.

That’s it for last week’s Lancaster strolls, except for the fact that I almost forgot the best moment: on Thursday lunchtime, when the sun was shining, I’d just joined the canal towpath when an unmistakable metallic green sheen, not dissimilar to the verdigris on Queen Vic only shinier, alerted me to a Kingfisher flying low over the water. First one I’ve seen in a couple of years. Marvellous.

Listed Lancaster: Town Hall