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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Model Army.

As soon as we thought that we would come to Liverpool at this time of year Helen booked some tickets to see the Terracota Warriors exhibition. It was a good job she did as they are almost sold out for weeks ahead. However, apparently, they keep 20 tickets back for each day to sell on the door. They go on sale when they open at 0930 and on a first come, first served basis. Therefore book on line well ahead or get to the ticket booth early on the day you go.

The terracotta figures were buried to travel with the Emporer Qin Shi Huang to the afterlife that they thought was just the same as this life, in 210-209BC. They were buried in pits around the central mausoleum where the Emporer was interred. Above is a horse keeper, on on eleven buried in a pit that seems to have represented the Royal Stables. The horses had their tails plaited and had fancy saddles. In the pit were also 12 bodies of real horses that seem to have been killed before being buried.

This is actually a replica of the actual one of two chariots that were found. They were made of bronze and embellished with gold and silver. This one is the lead chariot that went ahead of the Emperor as he traveled his kingdom. All the terracotta figures seem bare, but when buried they were very brightly painted

This is a bronze cauldron that weighs 212kg that is the largest found. It was actually found on top of a pit where strongmen and acrobat figures were buried. It seems that part of the strongman's act was lifting such vessels.

This is the other bronze chariot, or a replica of, that was found near the mausoleum. The driver knelt up to drive. It is said that when the Emperor's body was brought to the site it had a cart of salted fish travelling behind to hide the smell of decomposition!

The figures are about 6 foot tall. This one is a man commanding a chariot and he would have been holding the reins in his hands. Originally he was buried with real wooden chariots that have obviously rotted away. On either side of him on the chariot would two armed guardians, and chariots were found in all the armies pits.

This is a kneeling archer who would have been holding a cross bow rather than a long or short bow. They were found in pairs surrounded by standing archers.

This chap was a General as can be decided by his uniform and armour. I think there were six full figures in all to represent several of the different kinds. The figures were produced in a production line of artisans. Around 100 of their names have been found engraved on their feet. There was a combination of moulds joined together with coiled clay. The legs and feet are solid. The nose ears and hair were added to the two part head and fine detail added by sharp stick. It seems that the hair and faces are all different. They were fired in near by kilns.

The figures were found in 1974 when local farmers were drilling a well. So far three pits covering around 22000sq mt have been uncovered. Each pit was divided into corridors with a brick floor and were covered over with wooden planks and bamboo matting with earth on top. When the planks rotted the pits filled. So far about 2000 warriors and horses have been uncovered along with 130 wooden chariots. They think there may be around 8000 in all! The warriors were found in battle formation, two pits with the bulk of the 'army' and a smaller one with the head quarters staff. There were infantry, cavalry, charioteers, archers, general, officers and a guard of honour. In other pits there were officials of the court, eunuchs and horse keepers etc.

Also in the exhibition are grave goods from a later period the Han Dynasty 206 BC to 220AD. In this case the 2000 infantry figures were not full size, but  a round a foot tall. They would have held wooden weapons.

There were also about 500 figures of horses and riders. They would have had  reins and a weapon in their hands and other details would have been painted on to them.

these anatomically correct figures are from a General of the Han Dynasty's tomb. When buried they had wooden arms and were dressed in silk, leather and linen. Sadly they have rotted away.

The Tomb of Emperor Jing, 188 BC to 141 BC, was buried with hundreds of clay models of many different domesticated animals, both male and female. They were mass  produced in moulds and were realistic. They were placed in the tomb to ensure the occupant had plenty of food etc when he got to the after life.

The 'Golden Horse of Maoling' was found in the burial pit of Emperor Wu 141 BC to 87 BC, or maybe that of his elder sister Princess Pingyang. It is that that it represents the type of horse that Emperor Wu had breed using stock from Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan. They were breed for speed, endurance and intelligence to assist him defeat the nomadic people to his north and help him achieve immortality. It is about 2 foot high.

It is one of those exhibitions that you may feel you need to see, and we were there for about 80 mins. There is a little queuing to get in as they are only allowed so many in the exhibition at a time, but you can stay within the space as long as you want. It is interesting to note that the actual Mausoleum of Emperor Qin, the First Emperor, has not really been revealed yet but is said to reveal an area set out with cities, as in a map. There are rivers and seas of mercury and the roof is painted with the celestial sphere. It is the tantalising thought that there is so much more to be revealed from this accidental find in 1974.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Liverpool Under and Over.

We had a busy day today planned and it would have been nice if the 'heat wave' had arrived, but here in Liverpool it was draughty and cool with light rain periodically. We were booked in to the tour of the old, or original dock in Liverpool.

The tour starts is the Maritime Museum lobby that is obviously close by the moorings. There is a little talk at the museum and then you walk across the main road, The Strand, to the Liverpool 1 complex. The Old Dock was the first enclosed dock in Liverpool, and it seems the World, that was used entirely for commercial purposes. The dock gates were roughly where the pelican crossing from the Dock to the shopping centre is. When they built Liverpool 1 they came across the remains of the old dock and the Duke of  Westminster, whose company were the developers, were instrumental in preserving what they found, despite the cost. The photo above you can see the far end of the dock, away from the river. You can also see that the dock was actually built on the actual bedrock of an actual inlet into the city, the Liver Pool, meaning muddy creek.

In this picture you can better see the bricks that were added on top of the natural sandstone bedrock. As this wasd the first dock bricks were used as the engineer who built the dock, 1710 to 1715, was Thomas Steers who has an acknowledged canal engineer. The archway was discovered when they started building and it turned out to be an old sally port that was a 'secret' tunnel to the old Liverpool castle about 400 mts away. It was uncovered at low water, the HW mark being about halfway up the bricks. The wooden bung was a sycamore post that was hollowed and used as a drain after the blocked it up when the dock was dug. The same sort of post was used as mooring bollards at the surface

Bricks were used for a dock for a first and last time as apparently they didn't wear well with the inundation of salt water. However they were at one time covered with lime mortar that was waterproof, and could be applied under water too.  It was also applied to the wall for protection.The bricks were further protected by having vertical wooden fenders every 10' down the face of the dock. This first dock was about 75yds x 200yds and could moor about 100 ships of the day. It is said that before the enclosed dock, due to the change in heights of the quay as the tide went in and out twice a day, could take two weeks. With the advent of the dock in only took a couple of days!

This is under the quayside and is an old sewer that went into the dock that had a sluice on it. One of the main causes of the death of the dock was the fact that it became the dumping ground of ship and household effluent. When they commenced the archaeological they found that the dock was full of S--T. So much so that the depth in the dock was so restricted it became unusable and was closed in 1824 and filled in. 

On the top of the bricks can be seen a square block of sandstone. These were used as coping stones to protect the top of the dock wall. many of them came from the old castle. They were pushed into the dock when it closed and then filled with sand. The dock, it could be argued was the start of the Industrial Revolution in the North, the making of America and obviously of Liverpool. With the increase in turn round town of the ships it meant that more products from the New World could be traded bringing more money to them. These products, like sugar and cotton, were than spread about the area and development took place. The tour is free, but needs to be booked. It is very informative and well worth going. It is on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 1030, 1200 and 1430. I would recommend it as well worth an hour or so of anybody's time as it certainly puts Liverpool into perspective.

The Radio City Tower, or St John's Beacon was built in 1969. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and is 138 mts tall. It had a revolving restaurant at the top originally, but it was closed in 1979. It was re-opened in 1983 but quickly closed again. It reopened in 2000 as Radio City. You can go up to a viewing gallery for a fee. We didn't!

The Queensway Tunnel was the first road tunnel under the Mersey and was opened in 1934. It took 9 years to build. 17 men were killed in its construction. The tunnel, toll booths etc are Art Deco and are listed Grade II. It is 2 miles long and costs £1-80 per journey.

We had a little time to kill so went to look round the Walker Art Gallery. It was opened in 1877 and is named after the main benefactor that was a Scottish Brewer. Amazingly, following the year of City of Culture in Hull, we were expecting to be overwhelmed by the size and quality of the collections in this massive gallery, compared with Ferrens Gallery in Hull. In fact we were disappointed with the quality of the art as well as the hanging. The lighting of the pictures was terrible.

Next door to the Walker Gallery are the Picton Reading room and Lecture Hall. These were completed in 1879 and named after the Willaim Brown Library and Museum, the fore runner of the Walker gallery, Sir James Picton. It is this shape to disguise a change of alignment of the buildings.

This facade of buildings was originally the William Brown Library and Museum, mentioned above, and with the Picton Reading Rooms and Lecture Hall make a complete run of Grade II* buildings. This building was opened in 1860. The right hand wing was the library and the rest the museum. In 2010 it closed to be brought up to date behind the facade. The left hand side is now know as the Liverpool World Museum.

The interior of the newly altered library remind me of the new Birmingham Library and was re-opened in 2013.

More tomorrow.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Boats, Beers and Boozers 1.

I am sometimes allowed out to conduct a survey of pubs along, and around our route around the canal and river system. Pubs are one of those things that are very individual. What one person would like another may not, and the same goes for beers. Since the 'Real Ale' revival there is an ever growing number of breweries and beers, some of which are bound not to be to my taste. But it will be great fun finding the ones a find palatable.

This will be an occasional series, (in other words, when I haven't got anything better to say!), and to sort of try to standardize them for purposes of comparison I have come up with some headings. General description, Beer Choice, price, ambiance, staff and position.

The Ship Inn at Lathom, also know as the 'Blood Bucket'.

This old pub has been done up quite nicely and still has separate areas or rooms. There is a 'mucky' room for walkers etc. and plenty of outside seating too. The name 'Blood Bucket' is said to come from locals and navvies fighting, or of the bucket that the landlady had for collecting blood from local farmers with which to make her famed black puddings.

Beer Choice:- There were six local beers on hand pull, including the Ship's Special that is brewed by Moorhouses of Burnley, 4.2% and £2-90, that was pleasant drink while not setting the mouth a jig. I also tried the Hop Chocolate from Beer Brothers of Preston, a small micro brewery that was set up in 2015. It had a nice head on it and a nice smooth taste, but not quite full enough. A beer you could have two or three of. 4.3% £3-20. I also tried a pint of Pipe Dream from George Wright Brewery of Rainford on Merseyside. It was a pleasant bitter with a hoppy taste, again 4.3%, £3-20.

Price:- We had food, Helen had gammon and I had steak pie. The food was very nice but was a little over priced a little. The beer was perhaps the right price for the place

Ambiance:- the area close to the bar is kept for drinkers and there are several cosy rooms around. The ceilings are quite low. It wasn't too busy the evening we went but at weekends you have to book if you want to eat.

Staff:- there were plenty of waitresses and I didn't have to wait long at the bar. It is only a small counter so when busy it must get very congested. All the staff engaged in conversation and smiled!

Position:- The canal is a little below the level of the first lock on the Rufford Arm of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Burscough Junction. A quick couple of minutes from the bridge.

Will definitely go again if we moor here again.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Chemin de fer.

I had to pop home over the weekend. Helen was gutted to be left moored close to the shops in Liverpool 1, and the massive Marks & Sparks, but she suffered in silence. She managed to book herself on a walking tour of Liverpool and I am hoping to benefit from what she learned when I get back.

Helen 'set' me from the boat to Lime Street Station. The place was really starting to fill up with folk on the way to Aintree for the National, many were dressed up, in appropriately in my opinion, but I'm old now. Many seemed to be well on the way to missing the race as they wouldn't be able to stand by 5 o'clock! The original station for Liverpool was Edge Hill outside the centre. Lime Street was opened in 1836 and until 1870 the engines were removed at Edge Hill and the carriages descended to Lime Street via gravity, controlled by a brakeman. To return up the hill a stationary steam engine pulled them up via a rope. Lime Street is the oldest Grand Terminus mainline station still in use, in the World!! The beautiful curved roof was added in 1849. The station was closed last year for a few weeks to build two new platforms and lengthen and widen others. It is going to be closed again in June this year too.
The route of the trip took me to Warrington but I could see the Runcorn bridges in the distance. As we came into Manchester we passed Castlefield Basin and spied the canal at stages through the buildings. If anybody is interested there are moorings available! From Manchester we followed the Huddersfield Canal to Stalybridge and through the Standedge Tunnel to Huddersfield so got my fix there. As we approached Leeds we passed the start of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal too.

There were two stations serving Leeds after the rails came to the City in 1834. These proved to be not best suited and a new one was built in 1869 called, with typical Yorkshire humour, was called New Station! It is partly built over the River Aire. It has undergone several major changes over the years. In 1938 a neighbouring parcel depot was incorporated in to the Leeds City Station. Another major update occured in 1967, but by 2002 that was thought to be inadequate and again was remodeled. The 1967 metal panelled roof was replaced with the current glass one to bring more light in. The new HS2 terminal will be added to the railway but at 90deg to the current lines and partly over the River Aire, if and when it gets built.

You know you are close to Hull when you travel along the edge of the Humber and the Humber Bridge comes into view. If you get the timing right, about 90 to 60 mins to HW Hull, or the same after HW you may be lucky enough to ships travelling up and down to the Trent or Goole via the Ouse. The Humber Bridge may no longer be the longest suspension bridge in the world but it is still a stunningly beautiful and graceful one.

I also ook out for these brick pictures in the gable ends. This one of rugby players going for the tackle.

And this one of a trawler. They have been there a good few years now and make a great addition and do show a bit of the skill of the brickies.

Just before the station is the first of several wall murals that have been painted. This one is of Lilian Bilocca who was the leader of the so called 'headscarf revolution when she led the women of the fishing community to agitate for better safety conditions on the ships following the Triple Trawler Tragedy in the winter of 1968 when three Hull trawlers were lost in a couple of weeks and 58 men lost their lives.

File:Paragon Station, Anlaby Road, Kingston upon Hull (geograph 3551985).jpg
Bernard Sharp
Hull Paragon Station was originally opened in 1849 as the station for the city. The original Manor House Street station was down by the river. This was closed to passengers and used as a freight only terminal. The five arched roofs over the platforms were added in 1904. Queen Victoria stayed at the Station Hotel, becoming the Royal Station Hotel, in 1853. In the 1960's a modern office block was plonked right in front of the station. This has recently been removed and a bus interchange tacked on to the side of the station. The station is so unaltered that it has been used as a period setting for films in the past.

I am heading back to the boat on Monday for a couple of days, but this time changing at Manchester Piccadily. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018


We didn't have long to acclimatise at our new berth as we were off to the Phil. We did stop for a Pizza before hand though.

This hall is not the original one. That one was completed in 1849 but burned down in 1933 after a fire broke out in the roof. A new building was quickly planned but the Liverpool Council wanted to have it available for other events, rather than just a concert hall. A compromise was sorted and in the end the new hall was opened  in 1939. It is in a style that is like modern Art Deco called Streamline Moderne. The exterior is quite plain and of brick. Where as internally it has 'sensuous curves'. I expect that this is also an aid to the accoustics. You can just see some pierced images of female figures representing 'musical moods', in a more Art Deco style.  The building is now Grade II*. The stage looks large. We were in the upper circle but had a very good view. Helen had booked us on the end of a row so I could stretch my legs out in the steps as other wise there was not much leg room for me.

We were here to see a concert by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. It was founded in 1840 ans is the longest continuously running professional symphony orchestra. We were to listen to a concert called 'The Power of Love' with music by Verdi, Dvorak, Wagner and Brahms. We hadn't heard any of the pieces before and really enjoyed it. The violin soloist was also the Joint Leader of the Orchestra and she was very good. The conductor was Nathalie Stutzman who was great to watch. The music was lovely and the acoustics were such that we could hear clearly right at the back. It was a great evening and is a product of Hull's City of Culture as we love Orchestral pieces these days.

On Sunday it was raining all  morning so I got on with some computer tasks that I had to do. When the rain eased off I pushed the boat over to the next pontoon so that we had easier access to the water tap as I needed to fill up. After that we had a bite of lunch and then went off for a guided walk by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). The walk we went on was around the Ropewalks area. This is an area that was the original port area when the only dock was where Liverpool 1 centre is now. In the mid 1700's the place was a maze of ropewalks, chandlers, warehouses, merchants houses etc. In the photo above you can see the classic warehouse building with the hoists to get material to upper floors, small windows and protection to the corners around the cargo handling areas.

One of the survivors of the mid 1800's is the Argyle Street Bridewell. This was a police station with cells. It has a definite Italian style to it. Charles Dickens came here to carry out research for his book 'The  Uncommercial Traveller'. After it closed as a police station it became a recording studio and 'Frankie Goes to Hollywood used it's facilities among others. It is a now a bar.

Many of the old warehouses have been restored and have apartments now. The Ropewalks area became a development zone in the 1990's and is just starting to take off. In some cases just the facades of buildings have been retained and all modern interiors have been added.

These are the old Union Newsroom built in 1800. It was here that local businessmen came to read the trade papers and do business. In the end a library was also installed and it eventually became the first public library in Liverpool in 1852. It also housed Lord Derby's Natural History collection.

Further up Duke Street are the only literally back to back houses is Dukes Terrace. There was an identical row of doors behind these houses. The houses were three floors and a basement but each were only one room deep. identical with those on the other side of the party wall. Now this terrace has been altered to 18 flats I think, with all their rooms on one level. There is a nice quiet area around now, but originally the area would have been very different.

This was the mansion for a Mr. Thomas Parr. The centre part was the dwelling. The wing to the right was the stables and the left his counting house. He was quite boastful that he had the best house, the best horses and the best wife, in that order, in Liverpool. The portico was added when the building was purchased in 1814 for the Liverpool Royal Institution. It is now a Whiskey business and club. We were allowed in to see and there are many of the original features of this lovely building.

The Ropewalks area, so called as the street pattern owes something to the original ropewalks of the area, and was selected by poll when the development area was initiated, also has plenty of later Victorian factories. These have also been re-purposed.

Concert Street is now the heart of the night life of this thriving area of the Ropewalks near to Bold Street. This building was once another factory but now houses a pool club and bar.

Concert Street is named after the Music Hall that was built on this corner of Bold Street in 1786.

This was last Waterstones Book shop but before then was Cripp's emporium of ladies clothing. The company started out as selling ladies shawls and then went in to a full inventory of ladies clothing. This building was on of the first to use plate glass windows and was almost the first purpose built department store.

The Ropewalks is a very interesting part of the city and is now the centre of nightlife and hotels and hostels. There is a lot of work still to go on and it will develop further. Meanwhile if you are looking for restaurants head for this area as you could eat at a different national food places for day after day.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Down to the docks.

We started down the Stanley fight of four locks along with a share boat 'Kingfisher'. The voluntary lock keepers helped us down, and then begged a lift to the Pier Head too.  As we went down the locks we entered Staley Dock that has fantastic buildings one either side. To the right is the new Titanic Hotel. The dock was opened in 1848 as was the canal link. Previously there was no connection with the dock system but a system of basins beyond Eldonian village. Jessie Hartley was the builder of the dock and the warehouses. Stanley is the only existing  dock that is built on the land, rather than on reclaimed land from the Mersey. To the north the warehouse has been converted in to the Titanic Hotel.

To the south the original warehouses, that were similar to the now Titanic Hotel were demolished and between 1897 and 1901 the Tobbacco Warehosue was built. The date on the building is 1900, but at this time it was the worlds largest brick warehouse with approx. with 27 million bricks. It fell out of use in the 1980's and it is only recently that a proper use has been found for it. The middle of the building is to be hollowed out to supply a light atrium for the proposed 930 apartments shops and offices.

 On the right is the Titanic Hotel and the left the tobacco warehouse. In the front is the bascule bridge that is a lifting bridge that allows access to Collingwood Dock. This dock was opened at the same time as Stanley Dock.

The Victoria Tower on the riverside of Salisbury Dock was designed to act as an accurate time piece for ships in the river to set their chronometers for accurate navigation. It also had a bell to sound the time of high water and fog etc. At its base it was also a house for the Pier Master of The Salisbury Locks. It was also known as the 'Dockers Clock' as all over the dock system they could see the time.

The 90deg turn into Sid's ditch. It was carved out of the old Clarence Dock that was built in 1830 and was designated just for steamships to keep them seperate from the sailing ships, and the possibility of fire. It was where the Irish Ferries berthed and 1.3 million Irsh passed through escaping the potato famine of the 1840's. In 1928 the dock closed and was filled in so that the Clarence Dock Power Station could be built. In turn that was redundant in 1994 and demolished, still waiting for a new use.

The isolation of the island of Sid's Ditch has meant that ringed plovers and lapwings can be seen nesting there. You can just see a female ringed plover on the nest in the photo above.

The Kingsway Tunnel ventilation shaft is modern was erected in 1971.

Waterloo Dock was built in 1834. It was split in into East and West in 1868. I just loved these steps that look like they are falling down but rather than being laid horizontally they are angled and the step cut at an angle.

We are in Princes Dock, named after the Prince Regent who went on to be George IV. The dock was opened on the day of his coronation in 1821, despite it not being completed. It has partly been filled in and you get a great view of the Liver Buildings. There was a railway station on the river side from 1895 and the building of the Pier Head.

The Museum of Liverpool was built in 2011 and is the second tunnel after a lock at Princes Lock. The first tunnel has a bend in it and is long enough to need your bow light on when transiting. This tunnel leads on to the second lock at Mann  Island that gives access to Canning Dock. Mann Island was the site of the Board of Trade sea school,in the 1970's and I had to attend here to take my Lifeboatman certificate that meant sailing, rowing and steaming round the dock and also I sat my Efficient Deck Hand cert. too, which I was more nervous about than sitting my Master's Certificate of Competency.

As you pass through Canning Dock you can look back this building is quite spectacular.

'Brocklebank' was built by Yarwoods in Northwich and was launched in 1964 and completed in 1965. She helped ships in and out of the Merseyside Dock system Just ahead of the blue vessel was the entrance into the Albert Dock, that is the resurgent dock area with loads of visitors all the time.

It was started in 1841 and was completed in 1846. The brick warehouses with stone columns are Grade I listed. They fell out of use for their original purpose after only 50 years but it was only in 1972 that it finally closed. It was revitalised in its present form from 1982. Just to  ahead of the launch is the cut through to the Salthouse Dock.

In the corner of Albert Dock is this corner where the buildings show through.

Once through into Salthouse Dock we had to find our berth which was S7 on the north wall of the dock. We were lucky that there was little wind and we were soon moored up, and plugged in to the free electricity too.