A market town and a quiet beach

We managed to leave the house by 8:40 but just missed a 341 which would have taken us straight to Waterloo, and instead took three others to complete the same journey. Never mind; we got there in the end.

Sicilian Avenue
Sicilian Avenue
Looking smart after refurbishment

We changed buses at Holborn and walked through Sicilian Avenue which was partially closed for weeks during refurbishment. It’s nice to see it open again and looking smart.

Waterloo Station
Waterloo Station
Apt to become crowded on Saturdays

Waterloo, as is usual for a Saturday, was moderately crowded. Tigger went off to buy train tickets while I acquired a baguette and coffee breakfast from Upper Crust. This is a routine that we have perfected on our many trips.

Ready...
Ready…
Steady...
Steady…
Go!
Go!
Chichester Station
You need to cross the level crossing to reach town

We reached our destination, Chichester in West Sussex, just after 11 am. To reach the town, you need to cross the railway lines by the level crossing. We had to wait for two trains to pass so everyone was becoming impatient. When the barriers went up, it was like the start at Silverstone!

The Crown Court Turn and push
The Crown Court
Opening the door needs instructions

On the way, we passed the Crown Court. It is an unremarkable brick box, no doubt perfectly suitable for its purpose, but what amused us was that someone had seen fit to add instructions for opening the door. Doors can be tricky things to operate…

Pebble house
Pebble house
The façade of this house is faced with grey pebbles

We continued up Southgate and then into South Street. One of the pretty buildings along here is what I call the “pebble house” for want of a more accurate name. I don’t know how old it is but I am guessing it is Georgian and perhaps built as the home of a merchant. It is faced with grey pebbles and has steps to raise the front door from what would once have been a muddy street.

Mechanics' Institute
Mechanics’ Institute
John Barton’s Mechanics’ Institute building

Another building that caught my eye was this one. That is because it was built in 1849 for the Chichester Mechanic’s Institute and as my postgraduate education was funded by a mechanics’ institute grant, I have always been interested in them and their work. This building was provided by John Barton, a Quaker economist, businessman and writer who was one of the founders of this Institute in 1825.

Canon Gate
Canon Gate
This gate gives access the the grounds of
Chichester Cathedral

South Street goes past Canon Lane whose entrance is protected by this impressive gateway, called Canon Gate, giving access to the grounds of the Cathedral. Built in the 16th century, it was rebuilt in 1894.

View from the lane
View from the lane
Is the room above the gate still used?

I am intrigued by the room above the gate with its small leaded windows and wonder whether it is still used.

Chichester's Market Cross
Chichester’s Market Cross
The centre of the historic town

South Street also leads to the historic centre of Chichester, marked by the Market Cross. From it, four streets go off to the four cardinal points of the compass: North Street, South Street, West Street and East Street. A nearby plaque tells us the the Cross was given to Chichester by Bishop Story in 1501. It was used by market traders as a place to sell their wares.

Pallant House
Pallant House
Today part of the gallery of modern art

Another set of compass-directed streets is formed by the Pallants – North Pallant, South Pallant, etc. (No, I do not know what “pallant” means, if anything.) At their meeting point stands Pallant House, built in 1712 for a merchant. It is in late Queen Anne style and, being the first of its kind in Chichester, would have been considered the height of modernism if not somewhat overdone.

Ostriches
Ostriches
At least, I think that’s what they are meant to be

The gate is topped by two ostriches which look to me like ostriches designed by an artist who has never seen an ostrich. There is a certain cartoonish quality to them.

Pallant House Gallery
Pallant House Gallery
The new building, opened in 2006

Adjoining the original Pallant House is a new wing, opened in 2006. The gallery houses what is said to be an impressive collection of modern art. I will take their word for it as we did not go in.

Shipwrecked Mariners' Society
Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society
The canopy over the door is a feature of many of the local houses

I liked this house in North Pallant whose plain, classical-looking front offsets a gem of a doorway. It was built in the early 18th century and today belongs to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, a very worthy organization.

The man with the golden guitar
The Man with the Golden Guitar
Slim Lightfoot entertains in East Street

North Pallant leads into East Street, one of the main shopping areas. Here, one Slim Lightfoot was making a fine old racket with a golden guitar. (See Update below.)

Corn exchange
Corn exchange
Once a business and entertainment centre, today a branch of Next

We followed East Street as far as the Corn Exchange and then turned back to the centre to find lunch.  The Exchange, designed by George Draper, was built in 1830, funded by a consortium of local businessmen. From 1883, it could be hired for entertainments and other events. Chichester’s first moving picture show was held here on December 26th 1896.

The Buttery at the Crypt
The Buttery at the Crypt
A good place for tea or a light lunch

For lunch we went to the Buttery in South Street, We have been there several times before and hoped it was still as good. I am glad to say it was.

The crypt
The crypt
The premises are part of the Cathedral estate

The building occupied by the buttery originally dates from the 12th century. It’s part of a group with the Canon Gate and Vicar’s Hall.

Tigger had once been to East Wittering and wanted to take me there, so we caught the bus and went.

Cottages at E. Wittering
Cottages at East Wittering
Cottages and small houses abound here

East Wittering (there is a West Wittering as well) is a small seaside town. It has small shops and houses, some houses so small as to suggest they were built as holiday chalets. There is surfing but no fairground rides.

Small houses
Small houses
Houses or holiday chalets?

Drawing swimmers, surfers and sunbathers is the beach. It is a shingle beach but it seems to go on for ever. The sun had come out and the temperature had risen, making the beach more attractive still.

Looking east
Looking east
You can see all the way to Selsey

The beach allows distant views along the coast. Looking east you can see as far as Selsey.

Looking west
Looking west
On the horizon is Portsmouth Harbour and the Spinaker

For some reason, there were more people on the western stretch of beach than on the eastern. Plenty of people were in the water while others paddled boats.

A flight of aircraft
A flight of aircraft
Probably on the way to Bournemouth

We were surprised by a sudden flight of four aircraft going past, holding formation. They were probably on the way to the Annual Air Festival at Bournemouth. It was only later that we heard the sad news of the fatal crash of one of the Red Arrows.

Wittering spider
Wittering spider
One of the smaller residents

I was, as usual, watching the animals. The spider was quite still in his web, perhaps resting in the heat. Then I spotted this dog, the very image of frustration.

Frustration!
Frustration!
The ball is just out of reach

The lead was just too short to allow the dog to reach his ball and his people were busy chatting and ignoring him. He kept trying but failing. After taking the photo, I rolled the ball to him.

Public library
Public library
Closed or we would have gone in to take a look

After enjoying the beach and the animated scene for a while, we went off to look for a cup of tea, passing the minuscule public library along the way. Unfortunately, it was closed as I would have liked to take a look inside. I have worked in big and small libraries and know that a small library often provides a greater service than its size might suggest.

Calamity's
Calamity’s
The cafe has a vast collection of tea pots

For tea, we chose Calamity’s cafe (the name refers to problems encountered when it first opened in 1989). A characteristic of this establishment (apart from the surly service that made us feel we were intruders in a family gathering rather than welcome customers) was the huge collection of tea pots, of which just one section is shown above.

Beach bee
Beach bee
We watched this bee working the wild flowers along the edge of the beach

We took the bus back to Chichester bus station and straightaway transferred to one to Midhurst. Why? Well, why not?! It might have been an interesting place to visit. In the event, we found that after 6 pm the bus services were greatly curtailed and so we deemed it safer to go back onto the bus and return to Chichester. Maybe we’ll get around to Midhurst another time.

Midhurst (From the bus)
Midhurst (From the bus)
I think in the distance is Cowdray House, the Tudor house destroyed
by fire in 1793

We went for a final walk around Chichester. Everything was closing down for the evening but that was to our advantage as there were fewer people to get in the way. One of the main points of interest, of course, is Chichester Cathedral, known also as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity.

The Spire
The Spire
Currently undergoing repairs

Originally consecrated in 1108, the Cathedral was greatly damaged by fire in 1197, rebuilt and re-consecrated in 1199.

Bell Tower
Bell Tower
An unusual feature

An unusual feature is the free standing bell tower, built in 1402.

Sundial
Sundial
Not the right time!

I liked the 18th century sundial, even though it wasn’t showing a time that was remotely correct, and…

Bewigged gargoyle Bewigged gargoyle
Gargoyle
This bewigged figure is obviously a modern addition

… some characterful gargoyles, of which I show one above. This bewigged gentleman is obviously much younger than the Cathedral, perhaps a later replacement for a damaged one.

Cloister
Cloister
Just one of the many passages

The Cathedral itself and the extensive grounds form a huge complex. It would need a book, never mind a blog post, to do it all justice. An introduction to its history and architecture may be found here.

The Market Cross
The Market Cross
Revealed at last

Free of the daytime clutter of people, the Market Cross could be seen, along with its various decorations, such as this shield-bearing angel.

Angel
Angel
Looking solemn and bearing a coat of arms

The light was beginning to fade and we felt it was time to be making for the station. Inevitably, though, other distractions awaited along the way. (Not that we minded!)

Butter Market
Butter Market
The Butter Market, now a shopping precinct

The Butter Market opened in 1808 and was designed by no less an architect than John Nash. Selling more than just butter, it replaced the Market Cross which was then closed off with railings to prevent trading there. An upper floor was added to the Butter Market in 1900 as an arts institute.

Inside the Market
Inside the Market
Modern shops

In the 17th and early 18th century, the town Council met in an upper room of a market building in North Street, which I think no longer exists. It was eventually decided that new premises were required and, with the cooperation and financial help of the Duke of Richmond, a Council House, designed by Roger Morris of London, was built in 1731.

Council House and Assembly Room
Council House and Assembly Room
More fitting and dignified than an upper room

In the 1780s, a need was felt for a venue where cultural events could take place and an Assembly Room was added at the rear of the premises.

Arcade
Arcade
The Council House is fronted by a covered court or arcade

Like all self-respecting public buildings, the Council House has a dedicatory panel in Latin. This one is guarded by a lion.

Latin Dedication
Latin Dedication
Possibly one of the Duke’s lions

The Duke of Richmond, who contributed what we might call the lion’s share of the building expenses, kept lions at Goodwood. This lion has perhaps been added as a reminder of these and, more especially, of the Duke’s generosity.

Chichester station
Chichester station
Level crossing closed for the approaching train

Back at the station at last (after more distractions not logged above) we caught a Victoria train and changed at Gatwick for London Bridge where we took a bus to the Angel and home.

Chichester, an ancient city, has much to interest the visitor – more than you can see properly in one day. In addition, Tigger introduced me to East Wittering and we almost visited Midhurst. A good day put? Most definitely!

Silver fish
Silver fish
Seen in a shop window in Chichester

Update 15/09/11

I originally stated that the “Man with the Golden Guitar”, Slim Lightfoot, was using a backing tape. I was mistaken. Slim has been in touch (see his comment below) to tell me so. As he considers it important to dissociate himself from the use of a backing tape I am keen to set the record straight and to apologize to Slim for any embarrassment caused. Please read his comment.

Copyright © 2011 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
This entry was posted in Out and About and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A market town and a quiet beach

  1. WOL says:

    Off topic here: I lost your “real” email address when my computer crashed, so I’m having to put the URL here of a series of pictures you’ll enjoy.
    http://yewtreenights.blogspot.com/2011/08/quick-sketch-in-blurred-photos.html

    • SilverTiger says:

      Yes, they are very appealing pictures.

      With regard to the email address, I did email you on Aug 20th (about the trapping of one of your comments). Did you not receive that email? There is also the email address in the sidebar.

  2. WOL says:

    I love the instructions on the door at Crown Court. Must be for the “portal-ly challenged.”

    The coat of arms the angel on the market cross is displaying — 3 lions quartered with 3 fleurs-de-lys — was the royal coat of arms from the time of Henry IV to Elizabeth I. 1501 would be the year Arthur, Prince of Wales married Katherine of Aragon. The lions came from Richard I and the fleurs-de-lys came from Edward III.

    The Cannon gate looks like it was once part of a wall — interesting that they would tear down the wall to build houses, but not tear down the gate as well.

    In the picture of Midhurst from the bus — is that blue and orange the bus upholstry? Rather a rampant color combination.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Most public buildings these days during business hours keep their doors open or have glass doors you simply push open or even, increasingly, automatic doors that open themselves as you approach. Perhaps people find the solid wooden door of the courthouse confusing. Perhaps the writing was added by some exasperated soul tired of responding to people banging on the door for admittance.

      The angel in the photograph was one of several present on the Market Cross. This is a very elaborate structure, responding to civic pride and also advertising the wealth and prestige of the donor.

      The crypt currently occupied by the Buttery is attached to the Canon Gate, so I don’t think there was a solid wall along the street – unless of course they later pierced it to make the doors and windows.

      The upholstery of the seats is about standard in modern buses. Tube trains also have bright upholstery.

  3. Brian says:

    It would appear that your guess that they are ostriches is correct.

    http://carolineld.blogspot.com/2010/11/eighteenth-century-ostriches.html

  4. Hello this is Slim Lightfoot here…in the caption to my photo you state that I’m using a backing tape. This is not the case I am using a stomp board and foot tambourine to back my fingerpicking style guitar. I would appreciate if you would amend this as i do not wish to be associated with backing tapes as I play all my music physically.

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