Black Country news and blogs Monday 29 December 2014
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Staffordshire Daily Photo

332 stories

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Wonderful (if sentimental) tomb-sculpture 

28 Dec 14

The week between Christmas and New Year is when many of us take a ‘brisk walk’ in the countryside.

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Naive nativity 

26 Dec 14

I am not convinced that this shop in Blythe Bridge has actually seized the essence of the Nativity with its shop-window display.

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United in Silent Night 

24 Dec 14

One of Staffordshire’s nicest Christmas stories is associated with this church – St John The Baptist at Great Haywood.

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Toffee knot 

22 Dec 14

Toffee – believe it or not – is a Stoke-on-Trent delicacy.

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Winter solstice, all at low ebb 

20 Dec 14

It’s the winter solstice tomorrow – the shortest day of the year.

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Eyeless mannequins 

18 Dec 14

Spooky stories are part of the Christmas spirit, but sometimes even Christmas shopping can be spooky.

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Panther in Staffordshire 

16 Dec 14

The grandiose stone fireplace in the main saloon room at the stately home of Chillington Hall reflects an outstanding story from the owning family’s past.

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Leaded lights nostalgia 

14 Dec 14

‘Leaded lights’, such as in this example, always give me a strange nostalgic feel for the past.

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The best fish & chips you can get 

12 Dec 14

Fish Chip shops don’t usually appear in the form of an eighteenth century building (that was once a bank).

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10 Dec 14

We were walking by the River Dane, the river that separates Staffordshire from its northern neighbour of Cheshire, near a place called Gig Hall .

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Last in the county for livestock 

8 Dec 14

The Leek Cattle Market , which takes place every Tuesday, is the last livestock auction venue left in the whole of Staffordshire.

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Hot wet marshes in 2014 

6 Dec 14

Well, it is now virtually a certainty that 2014 will be Britain’s hottest, and possibly wettest year since records began 350 years ago.

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Wedgwood in Mumbai 

4 Dec 14

Talking of Josiah Wedgwood, it’s really extraordinary that, in virtually just one generation, he turned a small pottery concern in an insignificant North Staffordshire town into a worldwide business.

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Wedgwood statue is a lie 

2 Dec 14

This is Stoke-on-Trent’s most famous statue – it is the potter Josiah Wedgwood , on a plinth outside Stoke Railway Station.

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Knitting is spreading 

30 Nov 14

The craze for knitting goes on.

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Puzzling vandalism 

28 Nov 14

Now and again one comes across an instance of mindless vandalism that is so stupid it’s startling.

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Watching the gravestone 

26 Nov 14

This graveyard angel is different to most in that, instead of standing above the grave, it is attached to and looking at the gravestone itself.

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Not so secret society 

24 Nov 14

The idea of freemasonry is still vaguely controversial…

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Tribute to pottery industry 

22 Nov 14

The Lancaster Building in Newcastle under Lyme, was built, in the late 1930s, right in the middle of the town, as an expression of local pride and to indicate the town’s modernism.

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It’s not what it seems 

20 Nov 14

Local maps simply indicate that this building in fields near Creswell is an ‘abandoned chapel’.

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Knot in a twist 

18 Nov 14

This rather handsome iron girder holds up the roof of the Cheadle Indoor Market – the manufacturer is Silvester Hopkins, a firm which specialised in iron winding machinery for the area’s coal-mines.

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Abandoned chimney 

16 Nov 14

Chilly old autumn has definitely set in and all is damp miserable – though it doesn’t feel cold enough to be called Winter yet.

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Cafe with built-on gravestones 

14 Nov 14


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Solar panel runs ditch 

12 Nov 14

Solar panels seem to be popping up everywhere as a form of cheap(er) energy, especially for small projects.

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Occupy! … to save war memorial 

10 Nov 14

Heritage issues can, and do, cause emotions to get to boiling point – much to some people’s surprise.

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Memorial without dignity 

8 Nov 14

It’s Remembrance Sunday tomorrow; a solemn day in this 100th anniversary year of the start of World War One.

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Lady hiding from the cold 

6 Nov 14

Poor girl ! Yes, I guess she’s modestly covering up – but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s shivering too.

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Power to the people 

4 Nov 14

The last post was about the fate of rural villages, most of which are seeing their local services diminish, dwindle and disappear.

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The smallest ‘shop’ in Staffordshire 

2 Nov 14

As small rural communities dwindle, facilities – including village shops – disappear.

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It doesn’t frighten me… 

31 Oct 14

There’s a very fine line, when it comes to monsters, between terrifying and plain silly.

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Walk at Hanging Rock 

29 Oct 14

It may be nearly November, but the weather is still very mild – even if the sky is permanently light-gray.

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Secret sixties garden revealed 

27 Oct 14

Some fascinating places are opened up to the public for the National Open Garden Days.

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Nothing matters 

25 Oct 14

The small island in the centre of Hanley Park boating lake has a low perimeter wall around it, carrying words.

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Deceptive bus station 

23 Oct 14

Like all bus stations, the main feeling on entering the main bus-hub in Stoke on Trent is of encountering an atmosphere of lost hope.

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Seighford angel flies 

21 Oct 14

This grave angel appears about to fly; it really is a fine piece of stonework.

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Sainted bee 

19 Oct 14

The urge to leave graffiti seems to be a strong one – even if the subject matter appears to be incomprehensible, like this one (…

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Staffordshire against slavery 

17 Oct 14

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Walking on pigeons 

13 Oct 14

When you walk along Cheadle’s pavements, you walk on pigeons.

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Being watched in the woods 

11 Oct 14

Apparently Britain’s population is one of the most ‘watched’ in Europe , with more CCTV cameras in surveillance on us than in other countries of the continent.

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Elvis Presley … in Staffordshire 

9 Oct 14

What’s this? The head-quarters of the Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain ? Down a side-street in a small market town in North Staffordshire? Yup.

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The Spode who got the girl 

5 Oct 14

Josiah Spode was one of the great potters of the eighteenth century, who, alongside men like Wedgwood, made the Potteries famous.

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Grooving with arrows at Alrewas 

3 Oct 14

Erosion? No.

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Pump it up 

29 Sep 14

In Oulton village, the person restoring this cottage came up with an interesting solution to the problem of what to do with an old but historic item lying around the property.

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Mysterious megalith for virgins 

27 Sep 14

The mysterious ‘Webb Stone’ in Bradley may (or may not) have come from a local, ancient stone-circle, now dispersed.

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Castle… at Blithfield 

25 Sep 14

Blithfield Hall is often described as one of the “oldest castles in England” though it’s clearly been restored and built upon many times.

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Dunghill of the past 

23 Sep 14

The land we live on has been inhabited for centuries — yes, not a very profound statement, but we human beings live in the present, and “the past is a different country” as someone said, so it’s sometimes an odd shock to think that the land is not …

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Tombstone quip 

21 Sep 14

I’m not sure whether the writer of the epitaph on this tomb at Penkridge Church is being rather learnedly-clever or writing with tongue-in-cheek.

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Buried for eight centuries 

19 Sep 14

The medieval seal of the ancient priory in Stone turned up a few years ago – buried in a field in Surrey.

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Clayhanger – book and cottage 

17 Sep 14

Anyone from Staffordshire will immediately react to the word Clayhanger – it being the name of the first of Arnold Bennett’s trilogy of novels of family life in the Potteries.

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Truck knot 

15 Sep 14

As people may know, I collect sightings of the ‘ Stafford Knot ’- it being the symbol of Staffordshire.

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