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Well I’m back after a brilliant four days in Scarborough.  I landed back at Leeds Bradford airport and the stewardess greeted us with the ‘welcome to another glorious August day in Leeds – it is 15 degrees outside and raining’.  This didn’t bode well for the trip but in fact it turned out to be wonderful.  After taking the train down to Castleford to pick up a car and managing to cross the new bridge, a really spectactular piece of art/engineering.  It’s hard to believe that the river there is the same one that trickles past my house in the Dales.   I arrived in Scarborough in glorious sunshine and immediately went up to the cricket ground and managed to blag myself in for a reduced rate as it was half way through the afternoon session.  Yorkshire were playing Kent and had got off to a good start.  This was the first time I was going to sit through a full four days of cricket – a bit of a test for me also.  The next few days saw the game go backwards and forwards with Yorkshire eventually throwing an easy win away and only just managing a draw.  I learnt a few lessons – when you are sitting watching a match for essentially 7 hours you need a range of clothing from shorts, t-shirts and sun sceen in the sun to thick jackets and woollies for the late afternoon hours.  The Yorkshire crowd were nothing if not amusing and friends there had a number of choice if rather politically incorrect names for various regulars in the crowd.  Some members where not afraid of shouting advice to the Captain (Darren Gough) the team and even to the PA announcer.  We stayed in a lovely little hotel called Interludes.  It is a theatre themed hotel with each room decorated in the style of different theatres – we were in Odeon so it was all art-deco and mirrors! It also had a magnificent view of the harbour and South Bay which changed all the time.

View from Odeon Room in Interludes Hotel

View from Odeon Room in Interludes Hotel

We did manage some traditional holiday stuff, fish and chips on the beach, visit to Anne Bronte’s grave and a trip to the theatre to see an Alan Ayckborn play.   S’been a fab holiday.

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I was on a training course in York yesterday and it was a nice treat to be able to walk down to my local station and catch the train.

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It was a lovely misty morning so thought I’d take a photo of the sun rising over the Johnson and Johnson (Wound Management) Factory.

Once in York I was a bit early for the start so took the time to walk around the Minster. What a spectacular building and it was nice to see the whole frontage – the last time I was there it was covered in scaffolding.

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In fact the last time I was there a student in our party who when upset, had a tendancy to take off his shoes and hurl them as far as he could – did just that and a clergyman in full regalia (not sure if that is the right term) did a flying leap worthy of David Seaman and caught it mid air. It is one of those postcard moments that will stay with you forever.

So that’s my seven wonders – just to recap they are:

A pretty good selection I think, though obviously showing a massive leaning towards industrial architecture, but it’s my list and that’s what I like.

My final seventh wonder is a marvellous construction which carries the Leeds to Carlisle railway line north.  The portion of the line between Settle and Carlisle was in danger of being closed in the 1980s and a vociferous campaign was lauched to keep it open.  It is probably the most scenic route in the country and the viaduct is a highlight of the route thorough part of the Yorkshire Dales.

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A pal an I travelled on a ‘music train’ last year where there were live bands and beer for sale along the route.

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Spectacular scenery and worth a visit – bearing in mind, the weather is frequently not this good!

I have debated long and hard which building to choose in Liverpool.  The Liver building, the Cunard building, The Albert Dock or the Anglican Cathedral but I eventually decided on the Cathedral (full name Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool).  The young Giles Gilbert Scott, who has already got one building in my seven – Battersea Power Station, won a competition for its design when he was only 22 and had no real experience of building design.  Long a butt of comedians jokes on Merseyside for not being completed it was eventually finished in 1978 18 years after Scott’s death.

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It had the largest pipe organ in the country until the Royal Albert Hall’s organ was reconstructed.  It is free to enter but there is a recommended subscription of £3.  A fantastic soaring ceiling will make you feel at one with the world even if you have no religious beliefs.

Back to my seven wonders – Glasgow School of Art is the utmost delight. It was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh who won the commission as a result of a competition against already established architects. It was started in 1897 and the West wing was eventually completed in 1909.

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His style combined traditional Scottish architecture with a softer more Art Noveau style, epitomised by the Mackintosh rose. He designed fixtures, fittings and the furniture and the library at the school of art has been described as ‘one of the finest rooms in Glasgow’.

 

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It is an extraordinary building and one worth visiting. Although still a working art school, there are frequent guided tours of the entire building.  I’ve since discovered that as a major fund raising scheme, you can buy individual bricks, windows or even some of the brackets.  They are hoping to raise £8million to preserve and protect this fine historic building.  I’ve checked and most of the interesting bits are already sold, but you can buy a stone from round one of the windows for £20.

The world’s first cast iron bridge was built over the River Severn in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire in 1779.  It attracted visitors from all over the world, not just engineers and bridge builders but artists and tourists in general. The technique of smelting iron with coke was perfected nearby by Abrahm Darby who used the product to build the bridge.

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This is a picture of the bridge in about 1800.  You can see the large stone pillars either side supporting the bridge.  As early as 1784 there were reports of the iron cracking as a result of the movement of the banks and the pillars or abutments sqeezing the bridge.  These were removed in the early part of the 19th Century.

As soon as the bridge was built, a community started to form around it and the town of Ironbridge was born.  Another one of my seven wonders and it’s just as pleasing to the eye, which is the main criteria!

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One of the most striking Art Deco buildings in the country was built in 1932 as a factory and offices for the Hoover Company. It was designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners and is easily seen as you drive into London on the A40 just before the Hangar Lane Giratory. It is built with a special concrete which stays white despite the ravages of the British weather and is a stunning landmark. It is astonishingly beautiful even though it is a factory – so it goes into my seven wonders.

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The company continued to manufacture vacuum cleaners there until the 1980s. There was concern about the condition of the structure as the steel frame supporting the concrete rusted and pushed apart the concrete. It is listed as a Grade one building and bought by Tesco in 1989 and they have successfully restored the frontage and the canteen using a pioneering re-alkalisation technique ensuring that the future of the building is assured.

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It was reported earlier this week that after an internet poll a new seven wonders of the world have been announced. They are – Machu Pichu, The Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Christ the Redeemer statue at Rio, Mayan ruins at Chichin Itza, The Colleseum in Rome and Petra in Jordan. The final one is one place I would really like to visit. Stonehenge in Britain and the Eiffel Tower in Paris both failed to make the final seven.

So I thought I’d invent my own seven wonders. I haven’t nailed the final couple but will start with a building that I just love even though she is very run down and last time I went past looked well beyond her best – Battersea Power Station.

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It’s sleek elegant lines just make my heart sing – ahhh. Built in 1939 to provide power for London it was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott who was also responsible for the red telephone box and Liverpool Cathedral (which I think will also get in my top seven).

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It originally only had two towers with one at either end.  A mirror image of the original generating plant was built in the fifties giving it its famous four towers.  It has had several owners since it stopped producing electricity and as yet no-one has managed to find a suitable use for it.  Its final owners are an Irish company that bought it for £400m in 2006.   I do hope they manage to redevelop it – it’s too iconic and elegant to be left to decay.

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