2020 has been a write off in a lot of ways, particularly for travelling, so on the weekend I should have been attending my third Open House London I headed out with my Dad to Colwick Country Park for some walking amongst nature which a lot of people have been appreciating more and more this year. I’m lucky to have a nice back garden to sit in and Nottingham has a lot of green spaces that are walkable from where I live, but a place like Colwick Country Park requires a car to get to for me as I’m still avoiding public transport right now.
We’ve had foxes in our garden before but during lockdown we had a more frequent visitor than usual in the case of this lovely fox with an injured back leg. At first I assumed he (he’s rolled over onto his back so I’m fairly certain it’s a male) had hurt his leg in an accident but doing some research it actually seems likely this has been caused by mange – other symptoms he has are constant scratching, slitted eyes, being out during the day and a noticeable lack of fear around humans. He seems pretty healthy otherwise and is certainly moving about fine (at one point he jumped right over our pond) and I found a charity (Wildlife Aid) where I could buy some mange treatment and add it to some food for him – though keeping very much in mind to be careful he doesn’t become reliant on me/humans as a source of food. I’ll keep you posted about how this works out, but for now some of my favourite shots of our photogenic visitor.
Gedling Country Park is built on the site of Gedling Colliery which started producing coal in 1902 and closed in 1991. It was opened in 2015 as a 580 acre park with lots of open space, a choice of walks of varying difficulty and two viewing platforms that on a bright day allow for views across to Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.
Today for the first time since March I ventured into Nottingham City Centre in order to photograph the 10 owls that make up the Wise Owl Walk. It was quite a good work out as the owls are spread out around the city centre and I walked there and back to avoid using public transport. The owls are really well designed and it’s a nice way of getting people back into the city centre, though personally I didn’t stick around other than to take photographs which is probably what I would have done pre-pandemic as well! You can find a map of the trail to download here.
St Mary Abbots Church on Kensington High Street was built in 1872 and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (architect of the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office among many others), though church buildings had been on the site before then.
I wandered into Christ Church, Spitalfields mostly to shelter from a sudden downpour. Built between 1714 and and 1719 it was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor who worked alongside Christopher Wren. It was one of the first “commissioners’ churches” which had been established by Act of Parliament in 1711 to build fifty new churches for London’s expanding population.
After my very successful tour of Highgate Cemetery I decided that I would like to cross off all the so-called “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries in London, starting with Brompton. Opened in 1840 over 200,000 people are buried here and it is the only cemetery in the country managed by the Royal Parks on behalf of the nation. At over 40 acres it was specifically designed to resemble the layout of an open air cathedral and has some stunningly impressive architecture as well as being the final resting place of a large amount of interesting and notable people.
As I was in the Shoreditch area by the time I’d finished my planned Open House London visits I decided to have a wander around and look at some of the street art the area is famous for – with apologies that I didn’t make note of where exactly each photo was taken, here are some of my favourites.
I visited Sandys Row Synagogue in Spitalfields as part of Open House London and was impressed both by the warm welcome and the interior which is much more beautiful than its exterior would suggest. The building started out as L’Eglise de L’Artillerie (the Artillery Church) in 1766 being consecrated as a synagogue in 1876 for the Dutch Ashkenazi Jews, economic migrants who had begun moving to the area in the 1840s.
The Masonic Temple inside the Andaz Hotel on Liverpool Street was the only place during Open House London where I was required to queue to get in. When the hotel was sold for refurbishment it was so run down that the previous owners had no idea that this Grade II listed marble temple built in 1912 was boarded up behind a fake wall.