Throwback Thursday: Boadicea and Her Daughters Sculpture, Westminster Bridge, London

Representing Boadicea (or Boudica or Boudicca or any other manner of spellings), the queen of a British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the Romans in AD 60-61, this sculpture can be found by Westminster Bridge opposite Big Ben. It was created by Thomas Thornycroft with help from his son William and was commissioned in the 1850s but not completed until 1898, over ten years after the sculptor had died. It was installed at the bridge in 1902.

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Canons Ashby – The Gardens

The gardens at Canons Ashby present a lovely first impression of the estate. Edward Dryden, beginning in 1908, was largely responsible for the development of the gardens as it looks today. He wanted to create an organised landscape of geometric shapes.

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Throwback Thursday: Andrew Fraser Memorial Clock, Colwyn Bay, Wales

This striking clock in Colwyn Bay was presented to the town by Andrew Fraser’s parents in 1989. Andrew was a musician who played violin in the Welsh National Youth Orchestra. He died in Brussels in 1984 at the age of 33.

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Canons Ashby – The House

Canons Ashby is a National Trust property in Northamptonshire that we visited over the early May Bank Holiday. I’m splitting the visits into three sections with posts on the gardens and the church to follow in the coming weeks. Ashby is an old word for farmstead so Canons Ashby (note no apostrophe) literally means the farmstead of the canons (priests) from the Augustinian priory that was established in the mid-12th century. Over the years the Black Death and Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries lead to the area falling into disrepair until the remains of the building were bought first by Sir Francis Bryan in 1537 and then a year later by Sir John Cope.

In the 16th century Sir John Cope gave the estate to his son-in-law John Dryden and using masonry from the old priory buildings built the distinctive tower part of the building. The Dryden’s continued to live in the house for the next 400 years, adding and removing bits of the interiors and exteriors which has left it with a rather interesting shape where some of the rooms aren’t really aligned.

The house came under National Trust control in 1981 when parts of the building were close to collapse. They did a significant amount of work to preserve the building and uncovered some real gems that previous generations had covered up. One such discovery was that of an 18th century painted mural depicting scenes from the Bible that had been covered by panelling.

One room in particular with unexpected grandeur was that of the drawing room. Not only does it contain an amazing fireplace but also an impressively decorated plaster ceiling – the drop pendant in the middle would have been where a chandelier was hung.

It’s an interesting place to visit especially to see the way improvements and changes to the house have shaped its appearance today. You can find more photos here.

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Throwback Thursday: Vrouw met Stola (Woman with stole), Amsterdam

This lovely statue was created by Pieter d’Hont and was placed here next to the Singel Canal in 1996. She’s apparently inspired by someone the artist knew and he’d made several copies by the time this one was part of a sculpture route around the city and then later moved to its present location.

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Martine Hamilton Knight: Pevsner on Camera, Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham

On until 28 August this exhibition by Nottingham based architectural photographer Martine Hamilton Knight features buildings from around Nottinghamshire, part of the newly updated Pevsner guide by historian Clare Hartnell. Nikolaus Pevsner came to England from Germany in 1933 and created the Buildings of England series of county guides, still an important go to guide for architectural insights – I often refer to them when I’m researching architectural posts. I always think taking photos of photos is a bit redundant but I did take some at the exhibition, a couple of which are places that I’d like to see in person. The first is from St Mary’s Church in Clifton.

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Throwback Thursday: Doors, Liverpool

Part of an ongoing series, here are some doors from Liverpool. The first is the door of the Octagon Chapel which dates from 1763.

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Whipsnade Zoo

At the beginning of May we went on a trip to Whipsnade Zoo – one of two zoos (the other being London Zoo) that are owned by the Zoological Society of London, a charity devoted to wildlife conservation. It’s the UK’s largest zoo covering over 600 acres and we were very impressed with how much space the animals had to roam around.

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Throwback Thursday: The Palace Theatre, Newark

The Palace Theatre was built in 1922 by a local business woman called Emily Bragg. It sits on the site of the Chauntry House which was a former residence of Queen Anne. Originally it was opened as a cinema but also with a stage and an orchestra pit.

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Ancient Iraq: New Discoveries Exhibition, Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham

On until 19th June this free exhibition at the Djanogly Gallery on the University of Nottingham campus is on tour from the British Museum. It’s aim is to highlight the challenges of protecting Iraq’s cultural heritage following decades of conflict. It had some very interesting objects on display such as this statue of Gudea who was the king of Girsu, one of Ancient Iraq’s earliest cities. Gudea had the statue of himself placed in one of the city’s temples as evidence that he worshipped the gods.

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