Friday, 30 May 2014

Stones & Inn, Top Secret and Sea Behind

"Stones & Inn" :- I was going to say that this is a unique bit of England but it's's a unique part of the entire planet. This is the village of Avebury in Wiltshire and it's situated in the middle of an ancient henge and cirlce of standing stones that's said to be 2000 years older than Stonehenge! Like most villages there's a village pub which makes the 400 year old "The Red Lion" the only inn in the world to be located within a stone circle. You can sit, chat and slowly drink whilst gazing on the stones that are just outside the window! It's also said that the pub has a ghost that goes by the name of "Florrie" and that she was a former landlady of the Inn. The story goes that Florrie's husband returned unexpectedly from the English Civil War (1642-1651) and discovered her with another man. In a state of anger he shot the man dead, cut her throat and then threw her body down the 86ft deep well that is still within the pub to this day. The Red Lion Inn is reputedly one of the UK's most haunted hotels. Just to give you a sense of scale regarding the size of the stones you can see a small lamb lying down at the base of the stone on the right. The stones vary in height from nine to over twenty feet and can weigh up to 40 tons!

"Top Secret" :- This felt like I'd got my very own TARDIS and that it had plonked me down somewhere in England in the 1940's. The somewhere happened to be Milton keynes or more precisely "Bletchley Park"... home of the code breakers. I spent an entire day (from 09:30 am when it opened up until they threw me out at 17:00 pm when they closed) there last week looking around the original huts, units & Mansion that became so famous but were for many years a closely guarded secret (it wasn't until 1974 that Bletchley's secret was finally revealed). Anyway, this room was one of the rooms in Hut 6 which was built in 1940 and used for the decryption of Enigma messages.

"Sea Behind" :- I have posted many images of Brighton's famous Victorian Bandstand but thought I'd treat you all by showing it from an angle that's rarely seen or photographed. Most (if not all) photographers stand with their back to the King's Road and face the bandstand (nicknamed "The Birdcage") with the English Channel providing the backdrop. I thought I'd reverse everything by standing with my back to the sea allowing the Grade II listed buildings of Bedford Square to create the background. The creation of Bedford Square began in 1807 and it was not completed until 1828. The ornate iron bandstand was manufactured by the Phoenix Foundry in Lewes and opened to the public in 1884. Many wealthy residents that lived in Bedford Square objected to the new structure and voiced their disaprovals. They thought it would spoil the view of the sea and possibly encourage the congregation of "disreputable crowds of lower-class holidaymakers". It is now regarded as one of the best examples of a Victorian bandstand in the country. A few years ago the entire structure was painstakingly restored and the eight cast iron pillars were removed and transported to a foundry in Derbyshire where 40 layers of paint were grit blasted off!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill