Monday, 27 September 2010

Salisbury Cathedral - my first ever visit.

Last Sunday i went to visit my son and his girlfriend who have just moved into an apartment on the outskirts of Salisbury in Wiltshire. Salisbury is a well preserved medieval city with historic streets and alleyways. It also boasts the finest medieval cathedral and largest medieval close (80 acres) in Britain.
A view of the spire from the cathedral close.

When we approached the cathedral i was awestruck the shere size of the building. It is immense and very imposing. It was built in just 38 years (AD 1220 - 1258). The spire was added between AD 1310 - 1333 and is the tallest in Britain at 404 ft (123 metres). The cathedral has the oldest working clock in the world (AD 1386) and the best preserved of only four Magna Carta (AD 1215) on display in the Chapter House. Unfortunately (but quite rightly) we were not permitted to take photographs inside but hopefully the few photos that i was able to take outside demonstrates the pure magnificence of this amazing structure.
There are 67 statues on the west front.

Close up of the statues.
Part of the cathedral cloisters.

The cloister lawn.
The medieval close is also interesting in that it boasts a great array of English architecture dating from the 13th century right the way through to the 20th century. Some of the houses were designed by Sir. Christopher Wren. The original houses were given to the senior clergy, priests, canons and clerks who were recruited to serve in the newly constructed cathedral. Here are some photographs of just three of the magnificent houses that front the cathedral close.
Arundells. Home of former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.

The Hungerford Chantry on Choristers Green.

Wren Hall - circa 1714.
Here are some interesting facts that i got from the cathedral's web site.

The spire weighs 6,500 tons yet it only has foundations of 4 feet. It is still standing thanks to the thick bed of gravel beneath the cathedral which supports the immense weight.
70,000 tons of stone were used to build the main cathedral.
28,000 tons of oak were used to construct the roof.
420 tons of lead covering 4 acres were used on the roof.
The spire leans 27.5 inches (69.85cm) to the south.
The clock has "ticked" more than 5 million times since it was first built.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Salisbury and the cathedral make a point of going. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Battle of Britain Parade

I was privileged to attend the Battle of Britain parade at Brookwood Military Cemetery which regular readers of this blog will know is one of my favourite places to visit. The parade this year was more poignant because this is the 70th anniversary of the "Battle of Britain".
The cadets prepare to lay crosses at the graves of the fallen RAF airmen.
As always the parade was well attended with plenty of Air Training Corps cadets (one of which was my youngest son), Royal Air Force personnel, members of the public and proud parents. It was gratifying that a few veterans of the conflict (all in their late 80's and early 90's) were also able to attend. The Air Training Corps is made up of cadets aged between 14 and 18 and it was a wonderful to see so many of these young people devoting their spare time to honour the dead and living who participated in the Battle of Britain.

The cadets line up in front of the RAF memorial.

Here is a video of the march past. Sorry for the picture quality.