Category Archives: England

Towneley Hall

Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum was the last place we’ve been to in Burnley. It might be a little too much to have 3 posts about one day trip, but I like to talk more about each place without having to cramp everything in a single post. It’s also an opportunity to look again at the pictures taken and read a bit more about the places we’ve been to. Towneley Hall lies within a beautiful parkland. In the parkland there are 3 or 4 car parks and plenty of fields to walk. I think there is a map at the Hall with different routes.

Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum

The hall was the family home of the Towneley’s for nearly five centuries. In 1901 it was sold to Burnley Corporation, and it was opened to the public the following year. There are so many interesting things on display.

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Lunch at The Inn On The Wharf

Last week we had lunch at The Inn On The Wharf, a lovely pub in Burnley. I mentioned in my previous post that the pub is housed in an old warehouse, just beside the canal. Cotton and other fibers would have been stored here, before being shipped to nearby mills. The warehouse was built in early 1800s. It was used as a building materials shop, until 25 years ago when it was transformed into this beautiful pub. In the same building as the pub it’s a small museum that should be very interesting, but it was closed on the day.

Lunch at The Inn On The Wharf

The pub looks beautiful on the outside too. There are a few more pictures at the end of the post. The interior is a mixture of old features along with some memorabilia hanged on walls. It’s very nice. The staff was friendly and another guest told us the history of the pub when we asked, as the staff was not sure about the details. It’s a nice atmosphere.

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This week we’ve been to Burnley and we had a wonderful time. Burnley is a very old market town north of Manchester. There are references to it from the 13th century. During the industrial revolution, Burnley was important in the weaving industry. Now we can enjoy lovely walks on the canal due to that industrial past. There is a small museum, but it was closed when we visited the town. I imagine it’s quite interesting, near a pub we’ve been to, more about the pub in tomorrow’s post.

Burnley also has two historical buildings that can be visited: Towneley Hall and Gawthorpe Hall. I’ve been to the first one and I will blog about it next week. It also has a beautiful countryside. I think there are a few walks to be done there, as there were a few signs with public footpath. We might go on one of those walks one day.

01 Burnley

Our first stop was at the Singing Ringing Tree. I just love that name, it’s so catchy. The Singing Ringing Tree is a musical sculpture, part of Panopticons, a series of 4 sculptures in East Lancashire. It was very windy so the sound wasn’t as expected. Completed in 2006, is a 3-metre tall construction comprising of steel pipes.

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Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle is the last attraction we’ve been to on our trip to north Yorkshire at the beginning of the month. Middleham Castle is owned and managed by English Heritage.

The nephew of William the Conqueror built a wooden castle in the 11th century, after the Norman conquest. Only the circular earthwork that surrounded the castle still survives today. In the 12th century, a stone castle will replace the wooden one. In late 13th century, the castle passed to the Neville family. It stayed in the Neville family until Anne Neville married Richard, who will become King Richard III.

Middleham Castle

Maybe the most important thing about Middleham Castle is that it was the childhood home of Richard III. Richard and George, his brother, were cared for by the Earl of Warwick at Middleham from 1460. There they meet Anne and Isabel, the ladies they will marry later in life. The Earl of Warwick was called The Kingmaker for his instrumental role in getting Edward IV on the throne. After less than 10 years later, King Edward IV was imprisoned in this castle during an uprising led by Warwick and his brother George.
Warwick would die in 1471 in the Battle of Barnet, after his death Richard will marry Anne and he will acquire the castle through marriage. Richard was Protector of the Realm after King Edward IV’s death in 1483. He would usurp the throne from his 12 years old nephew, Edward V. Edward V and his brother will be known as The Princes in the Tower, after they disappeared. To this day is unknown what happened to them. Richard III’s son, Edward, will be born and die at Middleham, aged one, a year later.
After Richard’s death in battle, in 1485, the castle was property of King Henry VII. It fell into disrepair.

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Royal Armouries Leeds

The Royal Armouries in Leeds were on my list to see for a long time. I jumped at the opportunity to see the Royal Armouries Museum when we had to go to Leeds earlier this month. I thought that a couple of hours will be enough to see the whole museum. I was so wrong. It’s huge and it’s interesting and I need to go back to see more.

Royal Armouries

One of the staircases in the museum is decorated with breast plates and swords and it looks beautiful.

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Mount Grace Priory

In our trip north we ended up visiting Mount Grace Priory, an interesting and beautiful priory. According to their website, Mount Grace Priory, the unusual monastery, is the best preserved Carthusian priory in Britain.
I have to admit I didn’t hear about the Carthusians before visiting the priory. The funny thing is that now that I’m reading the last book in The Cousins’ War by Philippa Gregory, I learned that the son of Margaret Pole lived and studied at Sheen Priory, a Carthusian monastery.

Mount Grace Priory

This is a new built, from the 17th century. The Priory was set in the woodlands and was founded in 1398, a small monastery with 23 monks and a prior. The priory was closed in 1539 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. The priory was sold and buildings were dismantled. The guest house, in the picture above, was repaired and it was a manor house.
In 1953 the Bell family gave the house and priory to the nation, now owned by National Trust and managed by English Heritage.

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York Cold War Bunker

One of the most unusual English Heritage properties can be found in York, it’s called York Cold War Bunker. Considering it was decommissioned in 1991, it’s very different than the castles and abbeys we can see in the English Heritage booklet. This is not the first bunker we visit, as we’ve been to Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker a few years ago.
The bunker can be visited only with a guided tour. I think that is the best way to see the bunker.

York Cold War Bunker

Unlike other bunkers, this one had a different purpose. Bomb strikes would have been mapped and coordonates would have been sent to the HQ bunkers where the important decisions were made. It is preserved as it was when it closed in 1991.
At the York Cold War Bunker, group 20 of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC).

60 people would have been in the bunker for 30 days. It wasn’t a place for saving people, but for getting data and transmitting it. 120 people would have been trained to work in the bunker, but only 60 would have been able to get in, the first ones to arrive. The rest would have been left out, people were expendable and everybody was aware that this was the situation. After the 30 days they had to work in the bunker, the doors would have open regardless of the situation that was outside. Sounds bleak and cruel, but it had a vital role if the WWIII would have started.

The situation in the bunker wasn’t meant to be pleasant. Water was scares and people wouldn’t have been able to shower. They all would have slept in the same beds, in 8 hours shifts. They had a generator that had enough fuel for the 30 days.

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