Macclesfield – Friday 8th July 2022

Macclesfield is a small and hilly market town in Cheshire. Once famous for its silk production, there is a museum to the silk trade in the town centre which charts the rise and fall of the industry.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit, which is a shame as it looks very interesting.  We stopped for a quick late bite to eat before heading off to Shropshire where we were staying that night.  The Waterstones is in a modern building in the main shopping area at the top of the town.

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Macclesfield map

The photos below are (clockwise from top left): 1. Looking down Church Street. 2. Macclesfield Town Hall. 3. Chapel Mill (built as a chapel in 1880 and converted to a mill in 1946 – now an interior solutions business).  4. St Michael’s Church, viewed from Church Street*

After leaving Macclesfield we drove through Congleton, where I spotted a statue of a dog from the car, so we pulled up to take a look.  It’s of Treo, who served in Afghanistan. She ended her days in the town with her former handler when the pair left the army – she was awarded the Dickins Medal – the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross.  Although not Macclesfield, I thought I’d share it anyway.

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Currently reading:  The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

*The photograph looking towards St Michael’s church was taken by Daniel Case and is used with permission under the GNU Free Documentation License – click here to see original image.

Reigate – Sunday 19th June 2022

We stopped for an early lunch in Reigate as we headed home from a trip to Kent.  Reigate is an historic market town in Surrey with the main shopping area centred on two roads, running at right angles with each other, and featuring plenty of independent shops, as well as the larger chains you’d expect in a busy town.   The Waterstones is in a Grade II listed building dating from the early 1800s, which was originally just a dwelling.  Before Waterstones took the building over, it was run as a Draper’s shop by the Knight family, opening in 1885 until the shop closed in 2017.

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Reigate map

Reigate Castle Grounds

The castle in Reigate fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished in 1648.  The site is now a park.  In 1777, a folly – a mock gateway – was built on the location of the old castle buildings.  The inscription on the folly, which is in English on one side, and Latin on the other, reads “To save the memory of William Earl Warren who in old days dwelt here, and was a loyal champion of our liberties from perishing like his own castle by the ravages of time, Richard Barnes at his own expense erected this gateway in the year 1777.”

The Old Town Hall (now a Caffè Nero Coffee shop)

Currently reading:  A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon and Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson

Weybridge – Monday 18th April 2022

Weybridge is a pretty town in Surrey, that takes its name from the River Wey, a tributary of the River Thames.  There has been a bridge crossing the river here since the first Elizabethan Era.  Weybridge professes to have been the first town in Britain to have electric street lighting, although Googling suggests that Newcastle and Godalming also make this claim!  We visited here briefly just to pop into Waterstones, which here is called The Weybridge Bookshop to fit the aesthetic of the town.   

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Weybridge map

Brooklands Museum

Near to Weybridge is Brooklands – the first purpose-built race track – which is considered to be the birthplace of British motorsport and opened in 1907.   The site is now a large motor and aviation museum which opened in 1991.  The museum’s mission is “To preserve and interpret the heritage of Brooklands, to use that heritage to inspire and educate and to provide a sustainable world-class visitor attraction accessible to all.”, and having visited I would say they fulfil this brief really well!  We paid extra to visit the Concorde Exhibition (currently £6) which was very interesting.  The museum is also the site of the London Bus Museum, for which entry is included with the Brooklands’ Museum ticket, and is also worth fitting in.  We spent 4.5 hours at the museum, but could easily have spent longer.

Walton-on-Thames – Monday 18th April 2022

It was time to leave Ealing and head home.  Before leaving I decided to go for a walk up to see the Hoover Building, as it was such a lovely morning.  The Hoover Building opened in 1933 and is Art Deco in style.  I’ve seen it from the car many times, so thought I’d go and take a proper look.  It’s a gorgeous building, which has now been developed into luxury apartments – the smaller building, which was also part of Hoover, is now an Indian restaurant.  After my walk we headed towards home, stopping on the way at Walton-on-Thames, which is a market town in Surrey close to the Thames.  We didn’t have time to explore – we had a bite to eat, and visited Waterstones which is in a modern shopping centre.  With its pale shelving and high ceilings, it has a nice light and airy feeling.

Walton-on-Thames map

The Hoover Building

St Mary’s, Perivale

St Mary’s is a redundant 13th Century church, now used as an arts’ centre.

London Putney – Saturday 16th April 2022

After Wandsworth we walked down to the River Thames and then to Putney to visit the Waterstones, which is located in a modern shopping centre.  After that we walked to Barnes for lunch, which is a pretty part of London with a village feel.  From there we hopped on a bus, hoping to see the Taskmaster House (from the Dave/Channel 4 comedy panel show), but sadly it was blocked off, so we could only glimpse a bit of it!

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Putney map

The sculpture pictured below, located in Wandsworth Park next to the Thames, is called Pygmalion by sculptor Alan Thornhill and was installed in 2008.  Apparently it’s one of nine sculptures along this stretch of the river, but we didn’t spot any of the others.  It has no explanation as the artist wanted people to put their own interpretation on it. 

Taskmaster House

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London Wandsworth – Saturday 16th April 2022

Whilst walking across Wandsworth Common we spotted a building in the distance so diverted to take a look at it.  We thought it might have been a big church and were hoping to go inside, but when we got there we discovered it was a building called the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building.  Built in the mid-19th century, it was originally used as an “asylum for girls orphaned during the Crimean War” – despite the use of the word asylum, this was actually a school.  It now contains flats, some small businesses and a restaurant called Le Gothique.  After taking a couple of photos we headed to the Wandsworth branch of Waterstones, which is located inside the Southside Shopping Centre.

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Wandsworth map

The Royal Victoria Patriotic Building

London Clapham Junction – Saturday 16th April 2022

According to their website, Waterstones Clapham Junction is in Battersea!  The area is not part of London that we were familiar with, but is a nice area, especially the nearby Northcote Road, which has been (possibly temporarily?) pedestrianised and is full of independent shops and places to eat.  After that we walked across Wandsworth Common towards our next stop of the day.

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London Clapham map

Northcote Road (left) and Wandsworth Common (right)

Hayes – Thursday 14th April 2022

We were going to Ealing for the Easter weekend, so we decided to stop on the way to visit Next so that Peter could buy some new jeans, and also because this branch contains a WaterstonesThis is not the first to appear inside Next – we’ve already visited the one just outside Leicester and there is also one in Enfield.  This branch opened in December last year, so looks very new.  Obviously being located in a retail park there was not anything else to look at, although due to its proximity to Heathrow, we did see lots of low aircraft in the area!

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Hayes map 14.04.22

Godalming – Thursday 30th December 2021

Godalming is a pretty market town in Surrey, located near the River Wey.  The High Street featured briefly in the film The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as the location of the shop where Amanda goes shopping on her first night in the UK!  Godalming was also the first town to get electricity. The Waterstones here is located in an attractive red-bricked listed building, once Little George Inn.

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Godalming map

The Pepperpot

This distinctive building was completed in 1814 as a town hall, with the tower added about eighty years later.  These days the upper floor is used as a hireable meeting room and underneath is used for occasional market stalls.

London – Crouch End – Sunday 12th December 2021

Before heading to the theatre to see A Christmas Carol we had time for one more stop at the trendy north London area of Crouch End.  We didn’t stay here long, but would really like to come back and explore further – it has a number of interesting buildings including the clock tower, and the Hornsey Town Hall, which sadly was boarded up when we were there, as it was being redeveloped as a community hub with housing.   The Waterstones is in a beautiful building, but sadly I have been unable to find any details of the building’s history.

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Crouch End Map

Crouch End
The top two photos show the Couch End Clock Tower and were taken by me.  Below are the Hornsea Town Hall, taken by Christine Matthews and are used under the creative commons licence (see below).

Alexandra Palace

‘Ally Pally’, as it is sometimes colloquially known, originally opened in 1873 but burned down just two weeks later!  It was quickly rebuilt, opening again in 1875 as a public centre for the use of education, entertainment and recreation.  It succumbed to another fire in 1980, destroying the Great Hall, Banqueting Suite, roller rink and theatre dressing rooms and was once again restored, reopening in 1988.  The building stands atop a hill with lovely views across to London.   The photos below are mine, with the exception of the last one which is also used under the creative commons licence (see below).  It was taken by Jack Rose by drone in 2021 – isn’t it stunning!

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Creative Commons copyrights:
Hornsey Town Hall Photos © Christine Matthews (cc-by-sa/2.0
Alexandra Palace Aerial Photo Jack Rose (cc-by-sa/2.0