Sunday, 28 June 2015

Out and about

Well, I finally dropped my camera one too many times :(  Those of you who know me will know that I take that trusty steed with me everywhere I go, eager to snap sights of local interest, or odd things from odd angles, and as I don't have a phone with much capacity (well, it is 7 years old!) I need a camera to do this!

The most major slip was blindly putting the poor thing down on a chair after listening to "76 trombones" at the recent Hathern Band and Loughborough Male Voice Choir concert. Only I didn't. Didn't put it down on the chair, that is. I actually put it down the gap between the two chairs, and quite frankly it's never been the same since! I've persevered though, taking pics of things in broad daylight that have come out as though they've been taken in the darkest of nights, but the odd one has come out and I thought I'd got away with it.

However, yesterday we had a 21st birthday in the family, and I didn't want to take the risk of not being able to have some snaps to remember the occasion by, so I bit the bullet and went out and bought a new camera. I wanted something simple: they don't make such things. It seems to work, but my youngest child has already discovered it has more features than a flock of sheep. Way beyond my capabilities!

Anyway, this blog is not supposed to be my personal diary, but this week has been another very busy one which has seen me whoop for joy at my daughter's degree success, cheer loudly at my youngest's last ever concert with Senior Brass Ensemble at De Montfort Hall, breathe a huge sigh of relief when the team away day at work went off without a hitch, spend my day off work in Newport Pagnell learning about process improvement (for work, I hasten to add), welcome back the eldest for the weekend, celebrate my middle child's 21st birthday with a lovely meal at The Plough in Normanton-on-Soar, listen to my youngest's concert with the Junior Conservatoire Wind Orchestra in Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham, and nearly forget to take him to Birstall tonight to play with Hathern Band in the Gala!

Oh, and I'm still trying to get to grips with this new camera!

I will do better next time!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Ascot Stamford and Loughborough!

Well, I hadn't intended to write a blog post today, as I anticipated feeling too tired, and not really having enough time. However, here's a quick picture diary of the last 4 days:

This was my Thursday:

I went along with this young lady

to this place

  to see some of these

and some of these

but I wasn't expecting to see these

and I hadn't thought I might see some of these, either

Then, on Saturday I went to Tolethorpe. In the afternoon I saw this

And in the evening I saw this

Then I spent the night here

The following day I took  a trip on this

and saw this

and this

I tried to be a bit arty with the camera

and then snapped these

Luckily, I didn't need these

Later that same day, I went along to the Loughborough History and heritage Network Community Local History Day, at which there were stalls, talks and panel events, focussed around the topic of the Future of the Past. Well done to the organisers for a well-attended, interesting, informative and exciting event! Although I arrived very late, I was still able to chat to people I knew, listen to a couple of panels, chat to people I didn't know, and buy a few books. From what people said to me, the event was well-attended, and there was a real buzz in the rooms. History, particularly the local history of Loughborough, is alive and well, and if any of us who attended the event have anything to do with it, it will continue to live for a long time to come.

These are some of the books I bought:

Ian Porter's The last of the Luddites

Neil Fortey and Robert Sparham's Angels and Dragons

Christopher Matchett's Ale houses of Whitwick

Hoping for a quieter week next week!

Monday, 15 June 2015

This week's post ...

Hello! Thanks for popping by! If you're looking for this week's blogpost, hop over to the Sculpture, Art & Architecture Trail which I created for you this week instead of a post. You can also find it on the right on the top bar of the blog.

Happy walking!

See you in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

250 years of Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank: General history, and Lloyds in Loughborough

I popped into the Loughborough branch of Lloyds earlier this week to find staff pedalling away on a static bicycle. Intrigued, I enquired and discovered that Lloyds Bank is celebrating its 250th birthday this year, and staff were cycling to raise money for good causes. Well, having just written a couple of articles on banking in Loughborough during the nineteenth century, I thought this might be a good topic for a blog post, so I did a bit of research.

Lloyds Bank was created in 1765 as a private bank in Birmingham, by one John Taylor, a button maker, and the iron founder, Sampson Lloyd. Its original symbol, a beehive, was chosen as it represented hard work: the black horse, with which we are quite familiar these days, came much later in the bank’s history. This private bank operated in Birmingham for nearly a hundred years, before opening another branch not far from the city centre in 1864. To perhaps put this into a local context, the “Loughborough Bank” (originally founded by William Middleton) was created as a private bank in about 1790.

In 1865 Lloyds became a joint stock bank, and in 1884 it took over Barnett, Hoares and Co, and this is where the black horse logo came from. Over the years, Lloyds, like some of the other big banks, took over many of the smaller banks to become one of the Big Four banks that we know today, and the more recent history of Lloyds, the retail and commercial bank, is probably known to most of us.

After I’d done this research, I needed to pop back to the bank to conduct some more business, and I discovered they were giving away a set of postcards featuring important parts of the Lloyds Banking history: When I got these home, I discovered that most of what I had spent a couple of hours researching was actually included on the back of these cards!!!

Anyway, English Heritage (as it was called in 2008 when this article was written), had this to say about bank buildings:

“Late 19th century investment in bank buildings endowed many towns and cities with their finest commercial buildings, and their external architecture and interior fittings vied with the improved public houses and hotels in their architectural eclecticism and richness of ornamentation.”

This means that there are many, many good examples of bank architecture that have survived, in a variety of towns, particularly since the buildings were often constructed of good material, and made to last. But what of our local branch? It is located in a prominent position on the corner of Market Place and High Street, and has some, what seems to be fairly typical if English Heritage is to be believed, but nonetheless, interesting adornments.

I’m not sure when Lloyds first came to Loughborough, but the building which the bank now occupies on the corner of Market Place and High Street was built in 1907, to a design by, I believe, Arthur Ernest King, an architect working in Loughborough at the time. A E King, as he is usually known, was born in, and died in Mansfield, and did indeed live most of his life in Mansfield, but on the 1901 census he was living with his wife, Isobel, and daughter Dorothy in Ling Road, off Park Road in Loughborough, and was listed as a civil engineer’s assistant. He was also responsible for the design of the NatWest Bank in the Bullring, Shepshed (now a dental practice, I believe).

The Lloyds building in Loughborough has been enlarged on each side, and until very recently the entrance was on the High Street side. Rather fittingly, the entrance, which was in the centre of the building, making it rather symmetrical, has now been reinstated as the main entrance. The inside of the bank has changed quite dramatically since 1907, and very little ornamentation from that time has survived, which is evident when compared with this image of the inside of the branch of Lloyds on High Street in Leicester. Outside is, however, a different story.

The building is constructed of red brickwork (probably made by a local brickmaker, like Tucker), and is decorated with Hathernware terracotta. Above the entrance there is a parapet upon which are terracotta urns, carved dolphins and an allegorical female figure. In one hand the figure is holding a scroll, in the other a moneybag. Well, actually, as late as 2008 she was holding a moneybag, but more recently it would appear that sadly she has lost both the bag and the lower part of her arm.

The English Heritage assessment concluded that the building was not worthy of listing, however, it has made it to the Charnwood Borough Council listing, making it a locally listed building, meaning it is a building of local historic or architectural interest, and has been acknowledged for its contribution to the local environment.
The postcards: