Monday, 25 August 2014

The Peoples Park, Halifax

 
The Peoples park is a Grade II listed Victorian recreational and leisure ground in Halifax, West Yorkshire designed by Joseph Paxton who was better known for designing the Crystal Palace. The park was paid for by Sir Francis Crossley and cost £50,000. The park was opened in 1857 and transferred to the Halifax Corporation in 1858.
 
The park features a small canal which is crossed by 2 iron bridges, a children's play area, a number of marble statues, bandstand, and a terrace area with pavilion.
 
The park was in a sorry state of neglect during 1980's / 90's and was restored and reopened in 2002 hanks to a £1,000,000 grant from the national lottery.
 
The park is open daily from until dusk and is secured by iron railings, gates, and CCTV cameras.
 
 The park entrance from Hopwood Lane.
 The Thorp Fountain.
Joseph Thorp donated the fountain in 1857 and it bears the following inscriptions,
Thank God For Water.
Water Is Best.
It no longer dispenses water.
 The Bandstand.
Built in 1872 and made from cast-iron, wood, and a zinc roof.

The Saville Fountain.
 The original Crossley fountain was the centrepiece of the water feature from 1864 until it was replaced by the current Saville fountain in 1914. The fountain is now known by both names.
 The Pavilion.
The Pavilion was opened in 1860 and features a statue of Sir Frank Crossley inside.
The Terrace area features a number of marble statues sculpted by Francesco Bienaime
The Smith Sundial.
Donated to the town of Halifax in 1873 by Matthew Smith.
 

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Halifax Gibbet

 
The Halifax Gibbet was a guillotine used for executing people publicly in Halifax, West Yorkshire from the 13th century to the final execution though to have been in 1650.
 
The current gibbet is a replica built near the site of the original one which was uncovered during building works in 1839 and the current platform upon which it stands was built in 1645. The gibbet platform stood about 4ft high and 10ft square and was reached by a flight of stone steps. In the middle of the platform stood the gibbet which was made up of 2 parallel beams approx. 15ft high, a traverse beam connecting the upright post's, and grooves down the parallel beams which features a block of wood with an axe head. The blade was not sharpened and the condemned prisoner would lie on there back and face the blade as it fell towards there neck. There are known to have been 52 executions on the Halifax Gibbet but it is thought the number is closer to 100 men and women.
 
Gibbet law stated that any condemned person who withdrew his head as the blade fell and escaped over the nearby Hebble Brook he could not be brought back against his will to face justice. 2 men are known to have escaped the gibbet in this way, they were a man called Dinnis and another called Lacy who returned to Halifax in 1623 and was executed.
 





 The last view a condemned prisoner would see.
The original gibbet blade which is on display at the Bankfield Museum.
 

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

A visit to Shibden Park and Hall, Halifax.

 
Shibden Hall and Park grounds are approx. 1 mile from Halifax Railway Station, it takes about 20mins to walk there from the station and it is up quite a steep hill. There are buses passing regularly on the A58 that runs past the park. There is plenty of car parking on site but there is a small charge for this. These pictures were taken on June 1st 2014.
 
Shibden Hall.
 
The hall is a Grade II listed building that was built in 1420 and is now operated as a museum. The timber framed buildings most famous resident was Anne Lister a noted diarist who died in 1840. The house and grounds were bought from the Lister family by Arthur Selby McCrea and immediately given to the Halifax Corporation in the 1923. The hall is open to the public and costs £4.50 for adults and £3.50 for children and senior citizens. There are also offers for group bookings and families.
 

 
Shibden Park.
 
Shibden park was opened by the Prince of Wales on 15th October 1926 and was restored during 2007 / 08. Activities available in the park include a boating lake, pitch and putt, miniature railway, children's play area, pond, tunnel, and plenty of area for walking and relaxing.
 
 Recently reopened tunnel that runs from the hall to what was the kitchen garden.

 Pond near Shibden Hall.
 Waterfall at the end of the boating lake.
 Looking down from the hall across Shibden Park.
 Stone feature at Shibden Park.
 Boating Lake.
Miniature railway crossing.
 
Walker Pit Tower.
 
Not in the park grounds but only a few minutes walk from the hall is the Walker Pit Tower. The pit was dug in 1835 and the tower is named after Ann Lister's partner Anne Walker. The coal supplied the town of Halifax.
 
 

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Vista Bahia Hotel, Portimatx, Ibiza.

 
I have recently returned from 11 nights at the Vista Bahia Hotel from the 6th / 17th July 2014. I took a number of pictures of the hotel, grounds, and views and thought I would share a few of them and give a small review about the hotel.
 
The Vista Bahia Hotel is about 15mins walk from the centre of Portimatx and about a 40min transfer from the airport. The hotel is situated on a hillside and is ideal for families but not advisable for people who struggle with walking as it features lots of steps and steep slopes to get around, the travel agent I booked with advertised there was a lift on site in the main building but this was not the case. There are 175 rooms split over 8 buildings and each building features 2 floors. The rooms are quite clean but could do with a little decoration to freshen up the look of them. They feature air-con, bath and shower, and were advertised as having Satellite TV, whilst this is true the satellite TV was German or Spanish the only British channel being the BBC world service news channel, whilst I do not go on holiday to watch TV I booked this hotel with the satellite TV in mind for my daughter. The walls between rooms are quite thin and I was woken by the kids being kids during my firdt week there, on the 2nd week the family staying were a lot quieter. There is a little terrace area outside the door but unfortunately the view from my room 208 offered only the back and roof of level 1 of the hotel room, I asked for a sea view and if I stood on the path at the front of the room I could see the sea, but whilst sat on my terrace this was impossible.
 The path that ran along the front of my room.
The steps up between the buildings to the rooms.
 
The hotel also features a main building that houses the reception, restaurant, bar area, lounge area and internet terminals. This is built over 3 levels with a mid level reception area, with lounge and shop. The lounge furniture is dated but is comfortable. There is a balcony area with pool table, table tennis, air hockey and this area offers extensive views of the hotel, pool areas, surrounding woodland, hills, and bay. The upper level is the restaurant area which is clean and comfortable, and features a terrace area for eating meals again offering excellent views of the surrounding area. The food in the restaurant is very boring with chips, pasta, and white rice offered twice daily and not much of the international offering my travel agent promised, I go on holiday to Spain I expect to eat Spanish food but this was only offered on the Friday evening menu. I booked all inclusive but ate out in local restaurant's 5 times during my stay due to the bland food offering, Another criticism of the restaurant when eating breakfast on the terrace if you left your table unattended then the seagulls tended to eat your breakfast for you and were always hovering whilst you ate. There were a lot of flies that became very annoying whilst eating but this was general to the area not just the hotel. The lower level of the main building had bar and stage area which also had a pinball machine, basketball game, and 2 pool tables, this bar area closed during the day but featured a tea and coffee machine and could be accessed to enter the upper levels or the terrace that overlooked the pool area.
 The slope down to the main building.

 The main building that houses the restaurant, reception, lounge, e.t.c.
The lounge area looking towards the reception.
 
When I booked the hotel was advertised as offering tennis, basketball, football, archery, and many other forms of on site activities, this was simply not the case the only activities offered during my stay were sunbathing and a choice of 3 swimming pools. There were a couple of kayaks on the rocky sea front area but no information on hiring them. The 3 pools area were generally clean and tidy but the sunbeds were quite dated, the sea front rocky area again featured a number of sunbeds which were dated but this area was covered in cigarette ends and empty plastic drink cups I never saw this area cleaned during my stay. There was a tennis court in need of repair, a football / basketball court that was covered in glass, and a archery court that I don't think has been used in many years despite being advertised by my travel agent at the time of booking as an activity to enjoy this has now been changed on there website. The hotel was also advertised as offering nightly entertainment this has also been changed by my travel agent to occasional entertainment. The evening entertainment offered was a Argentinian dancer, parrot show, singer, bingo and a quiz during my 11 night stay.
 The swimming pools.
 The rocky seafront sunbed area.
 The archery lane not been used in a long time.
 The football court which was covered in glass.
The tennis court in need of repair and covered in sand  and glass.
 
Overall whilst the hotel is supposed to be a 3 star I have stayed in better 2 star hotels, the views from the hotel are amazing and the sunsets even better, the staff are friendly and work hard but they do not seem driven to do any more than they need to, if they had more of a can do rather than a that will do attitude this hotel could be so much better. I did not book here expecting a 5 star hotel at a 3 star price but I did expect with a 3 star that I would have my towels and bedding changed more than once during my stay, I did not expect to have to go to reception for toilet rolls 4 times during my stay, I would expect the garden area outside my room not to be covered in plastic cups, cigarette ends, and even plates from the restaurant, and I would expect a better food offering with more variety. I would recommend this hotel for a short stay of up to 4/5 nights but 11 nights was far too long. This hotel is ideal if you want nothing more than to spend your holiday sunbathing, but the lack of activities on offer and there is not much to do in Portimatx either make it a poor choice if you are bored easily.
 The view looking south from the lounge terrace area.
 One of the amazing sunsets I view whilst at the hotel.
 Looking up towards the hotel from the rocky sea front.
Interesting piece of graffiti on a building site near the top of the hotel.
 
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Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Boat Cruise from Portimatx to San Miguel, Ibiza.

 
Whilst on a recent trip to Portinatx I took the aqua bus to the neighbouring town of Sant Miquel. The distance by road between the 2 resorts is 16.7 km ( 10.3miles ). The route taken by the boat runs along the northern coast of Ibiza approx. 1/2 mile out in to the Mediterrenean and takes approx. 30mins to cover the distance between the 2 towns. The service is provided by Aqua Bus ferry boats and cost's 18 euros return which also includes access to the Caves Can Marca.
 






 

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

The Abandoned Pickle Bridge Railway Line, Nr Brighouse.

 

The Pickle Bridge Line was a railway that ran through the outskirts of Brighouse in West Yorkshire. The construction of the line started in 1874 and it opened in 1881 and closed to all railway traffic in 1952. The line ran for 3 3/4 miles exiting what is now the Caldervale Line between Brighouse Station and the now closed Cooper Bridge Station passing through 2 stations ( Clifton Road & Bailiff Bridge) and over 2 viaducts ( Thornhills Beck & Wyke) and reaching what is now also the Caldervale line between Halifax and Bradford stations near Norwood Green.
 
The walk I took was in 2 stages and took me along the remains of the line from what was the Clifton Road Station near the A643 Clifton Common near the centre of Brighouse to the current Caldervale Line between Halifax and Bradford near Station Road, Norwood Green. This was approx. 3 miles and took 2hr 20mins at a steady pace taking pictures. Large amounts of what was the track bed still remain accessible but sadly you can no longer cross the top of either Wyke Viaduct or Thornhills Back Viaduct.
 
 The Remains of Clifton Road Station and the start of my walk.
 Thornhills Beck Lane running under the viaduct.

 Overgrown and hidden foot path bridge near Woolrow Lane. This bridge is on the edge of some farm fields at the back of a new housing estate called Farfield Rise. It was once a footpath down the hill but is now sadly overgrown and has a small stream running through it. It was quite difficult to access and I would not advise anyone doing so on there own as you will have to climb out from under the bridge.
 Birkhouse Road Bridge.
 Remains of the track bed between Bailif Bridge and
The remains of Wyke Viaduct. The viaduct is also known locally as the Red Lion Viaduct and was partially demolished in 1987.
Looking down on the Caldervale line at the point where the Pickle Bridge Line used to Connect. This was the end of my walk.

 
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