Daunt Books, Marylebone, London

Daunt Books is a chain of independent bookshops founded by James Daunt with the Marylebone branch being the first acquisition. It was bought by Daunt in 1990 – before that it was an Edwardian bookshop built in 1910 which claims to be the world’s first custom-built bookshop. It’s one of those places that turns up all the time on best bookshops in London lists and as I happened to be walking past it on my most recent trip to London I decided to pop in and have a look for myself.

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Backstage at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

On 27 November 1982 Elton John performed the inaugural concert at the Royal Concert Hall and to celebrate its 40th anniversary they opened up their doors today (12 November 2022) for a free open day which included backstage tours, music performances and an exhibition on the construction of the building and past performers. It proved very popular, more so than I think the venue was expecting. I got there at just after 10am and joined an already long queue and it took about 40 minutes or so to snake through the building to the start of the tour but it was very good natured, I got chatting to strangers as we waited and the staff were lovely and very organised.

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Throwback Thursday: Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, Liverpool

This church is the parish church of Liverpool and is also referred to as the Sailor’s Church, for its relationship to the Mersey and its shipping. There’s been a place of worship on the site for more than 750 years.

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The Wallace Collection, London

Back in May I went to the Wallace Collection to visit the Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts exhibition. In collaboration with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art this exhibition, which finished recently, focused on how 18th century French art influenced Disney animators, particularly for the original Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. I enjoyed the exhibit, particularly the hand drawings of the transformation of Cinderella’s dress from rags, and the audioguide which was included in the £14 for adults admission price was really well done. Somewhat inevitably photography wasn’t allowed in the exhibition. Photography is allowed however in the Wallace Collection itself, which is free to enter.

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Autumn 2022 at Woodthorpe Grange Park, Nottingham

Not long ago I went for a walk around Woodthorpe Grange Park, which I’ve blogged about before. The park recently celebrated its centenary having been opened by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham on 1 June 1922. The weather was bright and sunny and did not at all feel like October, but some of the trees were wearing their autumn colours at least.

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Highfields Park, Nottingham

Owned by Nottingham City Council this 21 hectare park is so close to the University of Nottingham that it is often confused for being part of the campus. It is probably decades since the last time I spent any time here, despite trips nearby in recent years, but over the spring we managed a long overdue walk around the lake.

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Stonebridge City Farm, Nottingham

I’m a fairly regular visitor to the farm though I haven’t found time to visit since this trip in the spring. There were lots of baby animals, my favourites definitely being the very cute piglets, called Truffles and Penelope.

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Lotherton Hall Gardens

The Edwardian gardens at Lotherton Hall cover eight acres and were designed as a series of enclosed gardens by Mrs Gwendolen Gascoigne between 1893 and 1914. The Terrace Gardens near the house were planted with roses (we visited at the wrong time of year to see them in bloom) and are also the sight of this impressive bronze statue of Sho Haku, nicknamed the Peony Priest. He was a Japanese holy man known for his love of peonies.

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Lotherton Hall

Lotherton Hall and its estate was presented to the City of Leeds in 1968 having previously been the family home of the Gascoignes. They bought the hall in 1825. The Gascoigne’s money largely came from coal mining and farming and passed through many generations until Sir Alvary and Lady Gascoigne decided to give their home up as a museum, though they still resided in a specially designed flat in the house until their deaths in 1970 and 1977. (Their son Douglas died in the Second World War, leaving no more heirs).

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Throwback Thursday: 1-11 Regent Street, Nottingham

Six terraced houses, now offices, these were largely designed by Nottingham architect Thomas Chambers Hine in the Flemish Renaissance style. Built around 1848-1851 they are a striking set of buildings and are Grade II listed. Hines himself died at 25 Regent Street in 1899.

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