Gotta Go to Gloucester (1)

Today I had to go to Gloucester. It was the first time since last year, and the irony is that I have to go again in 2 weeks time because once again I am stricken with a bladder infection. That started last week and I am hopefully on the heal, but today’s trip was to submit my documents for my visa application. Last time I did that was 2018 and I only had to visit the Post Office, today I could not even remember where the Post Office was!  I am still battling the effects of medication and of course the high temperatures (It’s over 30 degrees in Town at 6pm.). My appointment was for 14H00 and I left Tewkesbury just before 12.30. It is roughly a 40 minute trip winding through villages and areas that I have never visited, but if all went well I would have some spare time to kill before I had to get back. I dusted off my camera and could not help thinking that it had been very rarely used these past 2 years.

Anyway, that’s the Cathedral in the distance, let me get ready to disembark. The bus terminates at the bus depot and it is a soulless (and toiletless) place. 

My end destination was not too far off although I had to make sure that I picked up the correct road or I would end up head first in the construction that is going on around the Wetherspoons.  Will they ever stop digging this town up? On the map below you can see more or less where I was, and of course where I had to be (Number 23,28 on the map)

I had to head down Clarence Street and then into Brunswick Road.

Clarence Street

Russell Street

Brunswick Road

My end destination was the Gloucester Library which is next to the Gloucester Museum (which I have yet to visit).

Gloucester Museum

Gloucester Library

It was only due to open at 14H00 so I had roughly 35 minutes to kill. I decided to head in the general direction of the docks which was reachable by continuing down Brunswick and turning right at Parliament Street.  I did not really intend to go into the harbour but once I knew were it was would turn my bows back towards the Library and see whether I could find a loo. I have been to the harbour before so there was probably not too much that I wanted to see, but it would be nice to see boats and watercraft again so it was on my list if I had enough time after the appointment.  

Not long later that I spotted a familiar landmark, the Kyneburgh Tower was created by Tom Price and the inspiration is “St Kyneburgh, a Saxon princess who, according to medieval legend, ran away from an arranged marriage. Intent on serving God, she fled to Gloucester and was adopted by a baker whose wife killed her out of jealousy and threw her body down a well. The well became known as St Kyneburgh’s Fountain, a place of pilgrimage famous for its healing powers.” (http://www.tom-price.com/kyneburgh-tower-and-wall-info) Personally I was not sure how to interpret it and to be honest did not have the time or inclination on this occasion.  If I had turned left at this point I would have ended up at the harbour, but I decided to forgo that and turn right instead and cross onto what is known as Kimrose Triangle and then into Southgate Street.

It was hot though and I was literally wilting.  I needed to increase my fluid intake but also needed to find a toilet and possibly more water too. As I walked up the street I noticed a familiar name:

The Clean Plate was in the news this year as police dug up the cellar in search of the remains of Mary Bastholm,  a teenage girl last seen in Gloucester in 1968 whose disappearance is linked to serial killer Fred West. No remains were found.  Fred and Rosemary West lived close by in 25 Cromwell Street where so many of their victims were buried.

Black Swan Hotel. South Gate Street

St Mary de Crypt

Gloucester is an old city steeped in history and the church above was first recorded in 1140 as The Church of the Blessed Mary within Southgate. It just seems to seep history and I have never been able to get inside of it.  The present building is the result of a major reconstruction in the late 14th century and the crypt alluded to is below the west end of the nave. The crypt was probably used as a charnel house and then later converted into a tavern!  The churchyard always seems to be a mess but it does support a population of urban fauna and flora and probably a few homeless live here too. The best attraction in the graveyard is the “Storytellers Bench” 

There are a number of legible headstones too but I doubt whether they are in their original places. One especially caught my eye.

I have been to the churchyard before and for some reason or other I always feel unsafe in it.  It’s probably one of those cases where the living are more dangerous than the dead.

Continuing up Southgate Street…

I would have liked to get a better image of the jewellers but there were just too many people around so I ended up with a skew pic instead. 

What caught my attention was the clock.  This was created in 1904 and represents each of the four countries of the United Kingdom plus Old Father Time who stands in the centre. The figures strike their bells at each quarter and they are usually known in the trade as ‘jacks’. 

HSBC on the corner of Southgate and Westgate Streets

I decided that with only short time to go it was time to head towards the library again, but I paused briefly at the Eastgate Market, scoping out potential loos just in case. 

There was not much going on in the market though but I could not help but ask myself: what was this?

Remember Vynil? do words like LP or Single mean anything to you? well they flog ’em here too.

With that out of the way I put away my camera and headed to the Library for my appointment.  

I was finished by 14H35 but would not make the bus station in time for the bus home so would have to waste some time till the 16H00 bus instead.  Guess where I was heading?

I was hoping to find a Bantam Tug at the National Waterways Museum and of course any ships were a bonus. Alas I could not remember where the museum was and there were only a few ships of interest. 

I always find that bucket dredger fascinating, and had I read what was written on the side of the building would have found the museum.  Across from the dredger were some yachts and a 3 master that I could see was the Kathleen and May.  She  is the last remaining British built wooden hull three masted top sail schooner. 

There was no real way to get a better pic of her though so I decided to cross the water and have a look at the other set of masts to the left of her.  

An empty harbour is a depressing site.  The ship in dry dock was the sailing barge Gladys that dates from 1901. She is a real beauty and I would have loved to have had a look over her. 

The other dry dock was empty unfortunately, but it is always nice to see them like that so that you can appreciate the size of it.  T. Nielsen & Co lease these two dry docks and adjoining workshops. The company is managed by Tommi Nielsen and specialises in the restoration and repair of wooden sailing ships.  

As an aside, I spotted this mooring ring and you can see a nicely worn groove in it. I ask myself: How long did it take for that to happen? now if only mooring rings could talk!

Continued over the page

DRW © 2021. Created 21/07/2021

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