Visit Siani's Other Blogs

Visit Gower Strange Days

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shrewsbury, first leg

Despite feeling severely travel sick, I tried to take a few shots from the train window en route to Shrewsbury, but the only one that came out even vaguely viewable, is this one, looking back at the Knucklas viaduct, which the train had just passed over.

I finally arrived in Shrewsbury forty five minutes late, due to an oil leak and subsequent engine failure on the Heart of Wales train. Somehow, Arriva Trains had managed to find another train from somewhere, which was waiting at Llanwrtyd station, or I doubt I'd have made it to Shrewsbury at all. I took one quick snap of Shrewsbury station before heading off to find the nearest pharmacy.

I came across a few olde worlde houses like this one on the way to the town centre. The archway incorporated into the building's design leads into one of Shrewsbury's many "shuts" - narrow, medieval passageways and alleys that are a world unto themselves.

After locating a branch of Boots, and obtaining advice from a pharmacist about taking travel sickness pills with my painkillers, I bought some Stugeron. I was determined I wasn't going to spend the journey home in the train loo. After Boots, I followed signs to the Market Hall and Square. I had a print-out of guided walk of Shrewsbury, which commenced at the Square, and I needed to press on, as I'd already lost more than an hour out of my schedule, due to a train breakdown and a detour to Boots.

The Square housed some interesting old buildings, but was very hard to photograph, due to the sheer volume of people around. One thing that immediately struck me about Shrewsbury is just how congested its pedestrian areas are.

I was instructed to commence my guided walk with my back to the Clive of India statue. This is him, below. I couldn't get a good shot of him because a local college had parked its information van right in front of him.

Heading right, and across the road, I followed directions to Grope Lane, one of Shrewsbury's medieval shuts. Apologies for the quality of the pics, but this alleyway is extremely steep and narrow, and lined by very high buildings. As I don't have a wide angle lens, photographing it was quite tricky.

There are some interesting theories as to how Grope Lane got its name. Some historians say it's because the narrow, steep nature of the lane meant people had to grope their way along it. Others put a bawdier spin on the name's origin, insisting that Grope Lane was a medieval red light district. Whatever the truth, walking up it was a fascinating, if somewhat claustrophobic experience. The oak-beamed buildings that line it are truly ancient.

I emerged from Grope Lane into Fish Street, which also looked like a medieval shut. The guided walk urged me to visit St. Alkmund's, the church you can see at the end of Fish Street, but I really didn't have the time to spare.

From Fish Street, I headed up Bear Steps, another shut, and emerged near a grassy area adjacent to St. Alkmund's. This old building caught my eye. I think it housed a gift shop and a cafe, but can't quite recall, as I had only moments to spend here, before pressing on with the next stage of the walk.

After locating the Prince Rupert Hotel, I followed the instructions in my guided walk, and continued along the road past it.

Turning off this street, and down another narrow little lane, I emerged opposite this rather striking and ornate building. I think it housed some kind of upmarket furniture or interior design shop. Or maybe it was a hostelry. I really don't remember, because I was too interested in the architecture of its upper storeys.

Here's a closer look at some of the ornate plasterwork around the windows.

From here, my itinerary directed me to Shrewsbury Castle, the entrance to which I'd passed not far from the railway station, on my way into town.

1 comment:

The Pig's Lip said...

Looks a beautiful pace, Sian. Never even considered going there before.