Thursday, 21 May 2015

Mevagissey, Stair Light and Garden Gateway

Mevagissey :- The village of Mevagissey is a fishing port in Cornwall with a rich and interesting history. Fishing was once the village's main industry that has been replaced now by tourism as coach loads of people are shipped in on a daily basis to weave their way through its narrow streets to consume copious amounts of fish & chips, cream teas and ice creams. Evidence has been found that suggest the area was already settled in during the Bronze Age but the village's first recorded mention was in 1313. The harbour itself is built on an old medieval quay. In 1774 the inner harbour wall was constructed. In 1888 an outer harbour wall was added (Which was where this shot and image was taken from) which was damaged a few tears later and rebuilt once more in 1897. There was a time when much of Mevagissey was involved in the smuggling trade and one of its residents was a shipbuilder named James Dunn (1755 - 1842). Dunn owned a few boats and one of them was named the "Clausina" and she was well known to be a smuggling vessel. Dunn also (with his business partner Thomas Henna) built many fast 'cutters' that were also instrumental in the smuggling business.

Stair Light :- A moody and atmospheric shot of the grand staircase that's in the main hall at Scotney Castle in Kent. The Jacobean-style Victorian country house was commissioned in 1835 by Edward Hussey III and was built on higher land which overlooks the old 14th century Scotney Castle that stands ruined on the same land. I had to wait a while to get this shot as many tourists trudge through the house en masse observing its rooms, decor and furnishings etc. Interestingly enough the contents of the house The house include many original items of furniture, ornaments and artefacts that belonged to Christopher and Betty Hussey. Before any of you, that's not a ghost at the top of the stairs shrouded in ethereal light, it's a photographer in shorts who was taking a lieftime to take the shot. Scotney Caslte is not haunted. No ghosts, no apparitions, no clanking chains, no moans ... just a daily onslaught of tourists. Scotney Castle is owned, run and looked after by the National Trust.

Garden Gateway :- When I was a child a read a book by Philippa Pearce which was titled "Tom's Midnight Garden". The story is about "Tom" who's sent to stay with his Uncle and Aunt in their usptairs flat because his brother has the measles. The upstairs flat is in a big house that has no garden. At midnight he hears the Grandfather clock strike 13 and goes to investigate only to dicover that there's now an open back door and that it leads to a large sunlit garden. This happens continually throught to book and he befriends a young girl who he meets in the garden which turns out is set within Victorian times. Anyway...everytime I step through the gate of Kipling Gardens in Rottingdean Village to the East of Brighton on the South coast of England I can't help but think of that book and story. These were indeed once the gardens of Rudyard Kipling when he lived for a short period (1897-1902) in Rottingdean. His Uncle was Sir Edward Burne-jones the famous Pre-Raphaelite painter who lived just opposite so it highly likey that he also wandered these gardens from time to time and that some of the other members (William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti etc) of the PRB (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) who visited him also spent some time here. It's quite shocking and disturbing to find out that in the 80's the gardens were at risk from vanishing altogether as plans were drawn up to build flats and other properties on the land. Fortunately for us all in April 1986 the area was saved from development by the Rottingdean Preservation Society and after restoration work and some landscaping was opened to the public as the "Kipling Gardens". The gardens have held the prestigious Green Flag award for several years which is awarded for the best parks and green spaces in England and Wales.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill