Scenes from Stafford, Part 1

So it’s come to my attention that I’ve not been posting many pictures lately, since I’ve been reading the blog “Lovely Bicycle” and seen how many pictures she posts. I was in town today at a loss for what to do with myself with all this time off, so I snapped a few photos of places that might interest my readers (and hello to both of you). 

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This is one of Stafford’s most scenic streets, Church Lane. In the background you can see the top of St Mary’s church, the main CofE church in Stafford, and the place where my parents got married and I was christened. Some very old buildings in the foreground, probably over 400 years old. On the left is the (modern built) Methodist church. Further up the street on the right is the Soup Kitchen, an old English tea shop.

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Here’s a bike advertising the tea shop. I’ve seen lots of these old bikes used for advertising, particularly in Leamington and Stratford, perhaps inspired by an old Hovis advert from the 1970s that featured this type of bike. The tea shop signs on the side of the building advertise “Tea with Hovis”. This one’s usually locked up in the town centre, but the Christmas market’s on today.

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This is Jackson’s County Fruit Stores, a charming little thatched-roof building. Again, this building’s over 400 years old and it’s nice it’s still performing a traditional function selling fruit and veg.

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Further down Mill Street is Peter Rogers, a photographic shop. This has been here many years, they photographed my parents’ wedding, and in August they’re going to photograph mine. There wasn’t much of a debate between myself and my fiancée about it, just “who are we going to have as photographer? Peter Rogers?” “Yep.” Around this time of year they stock a few of the smaller astronomical telescopes. I bought my own telescope here.

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The clock in the foreground is a relatively recent addition. It commemorates a Stafford-born soldier who won the Victoria Cross in India. The “VC” is the most prestigious medal it’s possible to be awarded, and in my lifetime they’ve awarded only a dozen or so. The British Army certainly kept itself busy in the 19th century…

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Henry Burton Cycles is directly opposite Peter Rogers. Opened in 1950 and still going strong. Recently they have been recieving rather large amounts of my own cash… I have a feeling my first proper bike came from here, though they don’t stock children’s bikes anymore. Anyone in the market for a cheap bike goes to Halfords, so Burton’s now focuses on higher quality bikes, spares and maintenance work.

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These are the Almshouses. I don’t know much about them except they’re pretty old and were built to house the poor. I have a feeling they’re maintained with a large bequest that is administered by the Borough Council.

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Finally, the Borough War Memorial and behind it the Crown Court. Crown Courts handle the most serious crimes like murder, so this building sometimes features on the news when a big trial is in progress. The soldier on the war memorial used to face in the opposite direction, towards the train station since this is where the soldiers departed from. Now he faces towards St. Mary’s church, as having him point towards a court didn’t seem appropriate. It’s a very handsome memorial I think, nicer in my opinion than the County War Memorial which is closer to the station. At the top it says “The Great Task Accomplished”, and further down all the names of soldiers who died, including three brothers from the same family. The wreaths will be from this year’s Armistice Day ceremony, which comprises a service in St Mary’s, then a wreath-laying ceremony at each of the war memorials, followed by a procession through the centre of town of dignitaries including the Mayor, the MP, councillors, and servicemen from the barracks on Beaconside.

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