September 4th, 2008 admin

Spent the day in the Northumberland coastal town of Seahouses….




September 1st, 2008 admin

Continuing my weekly dispatch in The Times, week 14 was taken at Ennerdale and Kinniside Show, Cumbria.

Ennerdale and Kinniside Show, Ennerdale, Cumbria, 27th August 2008

Owners retrieve their hounds on the finish line after a race at the Ennerdale and Kinniside Show. Although sometimes referred to as ‘the poor man’s fox hunting’, hound trailing is one sport that may be said to challenge wrestling and fell running for the affection and loyalty of Cumbrians. Rarely seen outside of the county, hound trailing has no long history yet it has become one of the most characteristic sporting events in the Lake District social calendar.

This week we’ll be in Northumbria.



August 26th, 2008 admin

I couldn’t resist posting up another picture from the nudist weekend at the Tan Hill Inn. This was the scene that greeted my daughter from the motorhome!



August 26th, 2008 admin

Continuing my weekly dispatch in The Times, week 13 was taken in Tan Hill, Yorkshire Dales.

Tan Hill, Swaledale, North Yorkshire, 17th August 2008

Members of the British Naturism Society attend a pub weekend at the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in Britain. Despite the torrential rain, members took advantage of the fact that nudity was permitted in a private area of the pub as well as the camping area. The British Naturism Society has over 16,000 members and naturism is growing in popularity all the time.

This week we’ll be in Cumbria.



August 18th, 2008 admin

Continuing my weekly dispatch in The Times, week 12 was taken in Hutton-Le-Hole, North Yorkshire Moors (although, thanks to extended coverage of the Olympics, the picture won’t actually be appearing in the newspaper this week. Back to normal next week).

Hutton-Le-Hole, North Yorkshire Moors, 14th August 2008

A Gun stands in the purple heather on the North Yorkshire Moors during a grouse shoot. August 12 marks the start of the grouse shooting season. From then, until December 10th when the season ends, shooters from all over the world head for the moors of northern England. This party, who were from Dorset, were shooting in the traditional method by walking up grouse over pointers.

This week I’m in Tyneside and Cumbria.



August 12th, 2008 admin

Rather amusing poster outside Silks nightclub in Redcar-


August 11th, 2008 admin

Continuing my weekly dispatch in The Times, week 11 was taken in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire (although, thanks to extended coverage of the Olympics, the picture won’t actually be appearing in the newspaper this week!).

Uttoxeter Race Course, 4th August 2008

A group of teenagers play basketball during the Newday christian youth festival. It is run by Newfrontiers and occurs annually, having started in August 2004, attracting over 6,000 young people from across the country. It is renowned for healings, prophesies and powerful worship services.

This week we’ll be in North Yorkshire and Tyneside.


August 4th, 2008 admin

Continuing my weekly dispatch in The Times, week 10 was taken in Gordale, Yorkshire Dales.

Janet’s Foss, 28th July 2008

Holidaymakers cool down on one of the hottest days of the year in Janet’s Foss, a small waterfall near the village of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. Foss is a Nordic word for a waterfall and Janet was believed to be the queen of the local fairies who lives behind the fall in a cave.

This week I’m going to be in Staffordshire and Derbyshire.



July 29th, 2008 admin

Continuing my weekly dispatch in The Times, week 9 was taken in New Brighton, Merseyside.

New Brighton, 21st July 2008

Spectators gather on New Brighton beach as the last of the Tall Ships sail out of Liverpool on the River Mersey. Over 60 sailing ships were moored in the city’s docks for the start of the annual Tall Ships Race, creating scenes reminiscent of Liverpool’s historic past.



July 26th, 2008 admin

So the humble postcard is back in fashion having survived the internet age, emails and e-cards. This month Royal Mail announced soaring sales of postcards with 135 million being sent last year – an increase of 30 million on five years ago.

According to an article in The Guardian today, the postcard boom began around 1900, thanks to two developments- improved printing methods combined with reduced postal charges – and 419 million were sent that year. This had doubled by 1918. Mostly, then as now, people sent cards from their holidays. Proof that they were there, showing off their good times. It’s become an inherited tradition.

Blackpool, the popular coastal resort in Lancashire, has had a rich association with the postcard. Mainly thanks to Donald McGill a graphic artist (and respectable Victorian gentleman) who created the smutty postcards sold mainly in small shops in British seaside towns. Between 1904-1962 McGill produced an estimated 12,000 designs of which an estimated 200 million were printed and sold. In 1939, one million were sold by one Blackpool shop alone! His postcards even came under the scrutiny of the Conservative government in the 1950s.

Here are a few contemporary postcards I came across in Blackpool this weekend (along with a potted history of the town’s attraction as a tourist destination).

The bygone postcard…

The growth of Blackpool is best understood in the context of conditions in the industrial North of England and with contemporaneous developments in communications. The history of Blackpool has been largely determined by its geographical position in relation to the heavily populated towns and cities of Lancashire, and by the rapid changes in transportation and economic conditions that took place there. The city began attracting holiday visitors in 1735, when the first guest house opened. However it was when the railway arrived, in 1846, that holidaymakers began to arrive in their thousands.

The retro postcard…

There was a practice among the mill owners of Lancashire towns to close the factories for a period every year to service and repair machinery. These became known as “wakes Weeks”. It is interesting to note that these holidays were not principally intended to give the workers a rest but were mainly to service the equipment.

The feline postcard…

Time off work together with cheap and convenient travel led to large numbers of visitors taking their holidays outside the towns they lived in. Each town would have a different wakes week during which almost the entire population would board the trains and decamp to the coastal resorts of Morecambe, Southport, and of course, Blackpool.

The donkey postcard…

 From the 19th century, Blackpool became a popular working-class destination and it grew at a phenomenal rate. In 1881 it had a population of 14,000. By 1901 the population was 47,000. By 1951 it had grown to 147,000. 

The humorous postcard…

Blackpool is famous for its tower, which was built between 1891 and 1894. However, much of Blackpool’s growth and character from the 1870s on was predicated on the town’s pioneering use of electrical power. In 1879, it became the first municipality in the world to have electric street lighting, as large parts of the promenade were wired. The lighting and its accompanying pageants reinforced Blackpool’s status as the North’s most prominent holiday resort. It was the forerunner of the present-day Blackpool Illuminations.

The boring postcard…

Another major development came when the post-war Labour government introduced paid annual holidays for all employees, boosting tourism in the resort. The inter-war period saw Blackpool attain pre-eminence as a holiday destination. By 1930, Blackpool claimed around seven million visitors per year, three times as many as its nearest British rivals, still drawn largely from the mill towns of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

One for the boys…

Blackpool was spared serious damage during World War II and in the decade afterwards, it continued to attract more visitors, reaching a zenith of 17 million per year. However, several factors combined to make this growth untenable. The decline of the textile industry led to a de-emphasis of the traditional week-long break. The rise of package holidays sent many of Blackpool’s traditional visitors abroad, where the weather was more reliably warm and dry, and improved road communications, epitomized by the construction of the M55 Motorway in 1975, made Blackpool more feasible as a day trip rather than an overnight stay.

My personal favourite…!

Today Blackpool’s economy remains relatively undiversified, and firmly rooted in the tourism sector. It’s a favourite location for hen and stag weekends and is Britain’s second most popular tourist attraction (over 6 million visitors a year) and was only recently knocked off the top spot by the British Museum.


  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments