Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Sir Stanley and the Needle

My thanks to Kelvin & Rachael of nb Serafina for their offer to entertain me by allowing me to service the engine on Serafina which is moored in the adjacent Festival Park Marina.  It always gives one a boost to know others are thinking of your welfare!  This is typical of Aussie generosity.  Unfortunately I’m finding too much to do and am therefore unable to take up their kind offer!

This morning we walked up to the centre of the town to the central market which is under the Intu Shopping Mall.  Jan couldn’t find what she wanted so we had a wander around part of the town before having lunch in the Reginald Mitchell pub which is the local ‘spoons’.   I couldn’t help notice the statue of Sir Stanley Mathews.

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I’d have never known who he was except in 1957 I arrived in the UK with my parents for three years and during that time became a keen soccer player.  At the time Stanley Mathews was a famous player and I received his autobiography as a gift one Christmas.  He was born here in Hanley and was the only active player to ever be knighted.  Stanley played his final competitive game aged 70, which is long after I gave up playing.

On the way back to the boat we passed this interesting three storey red brick building which has four mini turrets and a glass atrium.

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Its origins became apparent when we were opposite the front of the building.

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It’s the Telephone Buildings of the National Telephone Company (NTC) and was built in 1900.  The building is Grade II listed.  The NTC existed between 1881 and 1911.  It was taken over by the Post Office in that year.  You can read more about the NTC in the above hyperlink. 

We were rather amused to peer across the street and through the open front door where there was a sandwich board on display

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It’s a photo take using the phone and blurred. The building now contains a cocktail bar! Smile

Whilst a few of the trees are showing spring buds, the majority are still bare.  This lack of foliage is what enabled me to see a thin needle like structure through the trees opposite the Toby Carvery.  I had to walk over and get a better look.  From a distance I thought it might have been a chimney but the roof on top didn’t look right.  Then I thought with the row of holes running up the shaft it might be a pigeon roost.

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Having got closer I could see the holes were actually rebates and the brickwork looked too new for it to be part of a ruins.  Behind it was an abandoned looking area containing a couple of round ponds with a large gateway in the distance.

20160202_140827Back to Google for some research and it appears this might be part of the original Stoke on Trent Garden Festival Park completed in 1986 and opened by the Queen.  Plenty of interesting information in the link.

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