Bristol Cribbs Causeway – Wednesday 1st March 2023

Cribbs Causeway is an area of South Gloucestershire located to the north of the city of Bristol.  Its location makes it popular as it is close to two motorways and has plenty of parking.  There are lots of large shops in the area, as well as a cinema, bowling and an ice rink.  The Mall shopping centre, which opened in 1998, is also on the site, and the Waterstones is here on the ground floor.  It’s one of a few stores I’ve come across with a fish tank!

Bristol map

On the top floor of the Mall is a statue of two men (one of whom I think looks like Einstein!). I haven’t been able to find out any information about this, but according to, it’s called ‘The Architects’, and one of the men appears to be holding a sketchpad, so I imagine it’s to do with the architects who planned the shopping centre.    

Currently reading:  Ticket to the World by Martin Kemp and Hide and Seek by Andrea Mara

Swindon – Saturday 25th February 2023

In the early 1800s Swindon was still a small market town. The Great Western Railway Company’s ‘Swindon Railway Works’, which opened in 1843, saw enormous expansion within the town and, at the height of its production, the site employed 12,000 staff. Today, as a result of this, and although the industry is long gone, Swindon is now the largest town in Wiltshire.   The Waterstones is located in a new shop (having moved from the Brunel shopping centre in late 2022) in the middle of the town’s shopping area.

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Swindon map

Below, clockwise from top left.   1. Diana Dors statue.   Diana Dors (born Diana Fluck) – an actress and singer who was born in Swindon in 1931. She appeared in many theatre productions and films – one of which is one of my all-time favourite films, The Amazing Mr Blunden. 2. and 3. Isambard Kingdom Brunel statue. Brunel was the Chief Engineer for Great Western Railway – the Brunel shopping centre is named for him.  4. And 5.  Some of the houses in the Railway Village, built to house the workers at the GWR Works. 

Currently reading: Full Tilt by Dervla Murply.

Barnstaple – Saturday 4th February 2023

Barnstaple is a town in North Devon on the mouth of the river Taw.  It’s a market town, but the Pannier Market, which opened in 1856, is currently being refurbished, so is closed at the moment, which is a shame as it looks like an attractive building from pictures I’ve seen of it online.  The Waterstones is located in the High Street in the heart of the town.

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Barnstaple map


Clockwise from top left:  Smurfs!  They were doing some kind of escape room.  The Albert Clock (1862), Salem Almshouses, Penrose Almshouses

After leaving Barnstaple we headed north to Ilfracombe on the coast to visit two statues. 

The first is of a teenage girl called Ekaterine Frolov who tragically fell to her death in fog whilst studying in England in the year 2000.  Although sad, I think the statue, which stands on the top of a hill surrounded by great views, is a beautiful tribute to her and has an Art Deco feel. 

The second is by artist Damien Hirst (possibly best known for his artworks preserving dead animals in Formaldehyde!) – she’s called Verity and stands some 20 metres high! She is an allegory for truth and justice, and stands in the harbour overlooking the sea.  Installed in Ilfracombe in 2012, she is on loan to the town for 20 years.  Love her or hate her, she’s certainly striking!

Currently reading Black Gold: The History of How Coal Made Britain by Jeremy Paxman

London Broadgate – Saturday 10th December 2022

Saturday of our trip away saw us heading back into London as we were meeting friends for a meal in the evening.  We met them near Liverpool Street Station, and Waterstones Broadgate is situated nearby (there’s a Waterstones on the station concourse too, but that one doesn’t open at weekends). It’s located in a modern shopping centre called 100 Liverpool Street.  It opened in 2022.

London Liverpool Street map

Below is an image of the sculpture Kindertransport – The Arrival by Frank Meisler which stands outside Liverpool Street Station.  It commemorates the 10,000 Jewish orphans who arrived at Liverpool Street Station between 1938 and 1939, having fled the Nazis. 

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Our first stop of the day was to the Museum of the Home in Shoreditch.  The building was formerly almshouses, built for widows of ironmongers by Sir Robert Geffrye, a merchant who made significant wealth from the slave trade.  The museum was originally called the Geffrye Museum, but his name was dropped in 2021.  The photo top left below is of a painting by J H Lynch and the subject is ‘Tina’.  My parents had a copy of this on the wall of their dining room for many years!

After leaving the museum we walked to Arnold Circus in Bethnal Green.  This park sits at the centre of the Boundary Estate, one of the first social housing estates which was built on the site of one of London’s most notorious slums, known as the Old Nichol Rookery.

Our final visit before meeting our friends was to have a quick walk around the City.  Below, clockwise from top left are [1] The Lloyd’s Building, [2] The ‘Gherkin’, with St Andrew Undershaft church in the foreground and [3 & 4] two entrances to Leadenhall Market.

The photograph of the rear of the Museum of the Home above is copyright Cmglee and used with permission under the creative commons license.

Westfield London – Friday 9th December 2022

Having arrived in Ealing for a couple of nights, we immediately hopped on a tube and headed into central London.   We planned to visit Westfield Shopping Centre on our way back, but first we did a bit of sightseeing.  After a few hours walking, with a pitstop at the new Brewdog at Waterloo station (it has a slide!), we headed west and got to Westfield, which is near Shepherd’s Bush, at about 2.30pm, but we took ages to find the Waterstones, as the centre is vast! It was pretty busy too, so I don’t think we’ll be heading back any time soon (we don’t go to London to go shopping), but the Waterstones was a nice one.

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London Westfield map

Being in a huge shopping centre, there wasn’t anything other than shops to look at, so I’ll share a few (quite a lot, actually) shots of the rest of our day!

First, we visited the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station.   This was unveiled in June ’22 and is by sculptor Basil Watson.  The accompanying poem is an excerpt from You Called … and We Came by Laura Serrant, a nurse and poet.  You can read the rest of the poem here.

London Westfield

After that we went to see if we could go inside St Paul’s Church in Lorrimore Square, as we wanted to see the beautiful stained glass, but sadly the church was locked. The older church which originally stood here was destroyed during the Second World War.  This replacement is of modernist design built from reinforced concrete.  It’s not a style that’s to everyone’s taste, but I like it. We’d like to go back and look inside someday – if we can find it open!

Then to The Dog and Pot Sculpture. At the age of about 12, Charles Dickens used to walk past a statue of a dog and pot which hung outside a shop, and he later mentioned it in his autobiography.  This new statue was unveiled on 6th February 2013, the end of the year celebrating the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth.  The old statue still exists.  It was in the Southwark Museum, but I’m not sure if it’s still displayed there.

Below, clockwise from top left. [1] An old entrance to Blackfriars Station, which used to be part of the Charing Cross Railway Company. [2] Roupell Street – near Waterloo Station, this is a conservation area and is pretty much unchanged since the workers’ houses were built in the early 19th Century.  [3] Leake Street Arches – an authorised graffiti tunnel hidden near Waterloo Station. [4, 5 and 6] back in Ealing!

Barnet – Thursday 8th December 2022

Barnet (officially High Barnet or Chipping Barnet) is a market town in North London, at the northern end of the High Barnet branch of the Northern line.  The cockney rhyming slang for ‘hair’ comes from Barnet (Fair)!  Famous people born in Barnet include cricketer Phil ‘The Cat’ Tufnell, actress Stephanie Beecham, musician Mike Skinner (The Streets) and presenter Mark Kermode.  The Waterstones is located in a modern shopping centre in the Spire shopping centre just off the High Street. 

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Barnet map

The Tudor Hall (pictured below) was part of the Queen Elizabeth Free Grammar school and was used as a classroom until 1932, when the school relocated.  The building became a meeting room for the Jesus Hospital Charity until 1958 when it passed to Hertfordshire Council and became part of Barnet College.  These days it’s used for weddings and other celebrations.

Barnet has a small museum which looks very interesting on their website, but unfortunately it was closed when we were there, which was a shame, as we’d have liked to visit.

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Watford – Thursday 8th December 2022

Once a small market town, Watford grew with the arrival firstly of the Grand Junction Canal and later, the railway.  The biggest industry was printing, which started in the town when John Peacock opened a printworks in the 1820s.  The industry remained a feature of the town until its decline in the late 20th century.  The Waterstones is located in a modern building in the High Street.

Watford map

Photos below, clockwise from top left.  [1] The Watford Hornet.  [2] The Moon Under Water. [3&4] St Mary’s churchyard and church.

Watford Football Club changed their kit to black and yellow in the 1959-60 season and became known as The Hornets after a vote by supporters.  This statue by Heath Burrell is a tribute to the club (I actually thought it was a bee until I Googled it!).

The Moon Under Water pub is named after an essay by George Orwell, and the pub sign features his picture.  I did look to see if there was a connection between Orwell, who is a favourite author of mine, but I haven’t found one, but apparently, according to Wikipedia, there are currently 13 Wetherspoon pubs with this name!

St Mary’s churchyard has been renovated to provide a quiet, open space for use by anyone, and includes benches and a sensory garden. 

Enfield Crown Road – Wednesday 7th December 2022

After leaving the town centre we headed to Enfield Retail Park, where, in 2021, Waterstones opened a branch inside the Next store. This is one of a few shops that the company have opened inside branches of Next. It is located on the first floor and, being open plan, is light, bright and spacious.  It being an out-of-town shopping centre, there wasn’t anything else to photograph, so this is a short entry!

Enfield Retail Park map

Currently reading: Alison Uttley Stories for Christmas: Chosen by Kathleen Lines

Enfield Church Street – Wednesday 7th December 2022

We had a week off work in December, with a couple of nights booked in Ealing at the end of it, so we decided to tag a few extra days on and head to North London to visit some Waterstones.  Our first stop was in Enfield, which is a market town that is famous for being the location of the world’s first cash machine which was installed in June 1967!   According to Wikipedia (the fount (or font if you’re reading in the US) of all knowledge!) the name Enfield probably derives from the old English word Ēanafeld, but an Enfield is also a fictitious heraldic creature which had a fox’s head, front legs resembling an eagle’s talons, a greyhound’s chest, the tail end of a wolf and a lion’s body – there is a statue of this outside Civic Centre. The Waterstones is housed in a lovely red-bricked building, but sadly I haven’t been able to find any history of it.

Enfield map

The World’s First ATM

Silver Street White House

This was the home of Joseph Whitaker, who compiled and published Whitaker’s Almanack.  The Almanack was published from 1868 to 2021, when the company who currently produce it announced that it had been put indefinitely on hold due to falling sales as a result of Covid.

The Beast of Enfield

Salisbury – Saturday 12th November 2022

Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire.  Said cathedral was built between 1220 and 1258 and has the highest church spire in the UK, standing at 123m (404 feet).  It also boasts the largest cloister and cathedral close in Britain, and holds one of the four remaining Magna Cartas!  The author Sir William Golding whose book Lord of the Flies is probably his best-known work, was a teacher at a school in the city, and his novel The Spire is thought to be based on the cathedral.  Salisbury is very picturesque and one of our favourite cities within driving distance.  The Waterstones is located in a large attractive building which was an  Assembly Room between 1802 and 1960.  It became a W H Smith (as evidenced by the weather vane on the clocktower atop the building, pictured below). Ottaker’s book shop moved into the building in 1989 and were eventually taken over by Waterstones.

Salisbury map

Salisbury Cathedral

Below – clockwise from top left

[1] Former Conservative Prime Minister Edward ‘Ted’ Heath’s house and [2] the plaque outside. [3] Blue Plaque to Sir William Golding, and [4] Bishop Wordsworth’s School, where he taught.

Below – left to right

[1] Blue Plaque to Dr Andrew Bogle Middleton, credited with eliminating Cholera from the city. [2] Harnham Bridge, one of three medieval bridges in the city. [3] High Street Gate – this is the main entry to cathedral close.  It’s locked every night between 11pm and 6am the following morning.

The photo of the WHS Weather Vane above (far right) is used under the creative commons licence, and was originally taken by Chris Downer.  I have resized it slightly.  Photo © Chris Downer (cc-by-sa/2.0