The A59 trunk road starts in Liverpool and ends in York. This is a road which I have travelled often and it is marked by historic buildings and locations along the way. I made this journey the subject of a painting project totalling 50 small ink and wash sketches. The project is now available in a paperback book at a cost of £12 per copy + P&P.
Royal Liver Building, Liverpool
The Royal Liver Building is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city of Liverpool and is home to two fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. Opened in 1911, the building was the purpose-built home of the Royal Liver Assurance group, which had been set up in the city in 1850 to provide locals with assistance related to losing a wage-earning relative. One of the first buildings in the world to be built using reinforced concrete, the Royal Liver Building stands at 90 m (300 ft) tall. It was the tallest storied building in Europe from completion until 1934 and the tallest in the United Kingdom until 1961. It is sited at the Pier Head and along with the neighbouring Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building is one of Liverpool's Three Graces, which line the city's waterfront.
The Albert Dock, Liverpool
The Albert Dock is a complex of dock buildings and warehouses designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick, it was opened in 1846, and was the first structure in Britain to be built from cast iron, brick and stone, with no structural wood. As a result, it was the first non-combustible warehouse system in the world. At the time of its construction the Albert Dock was considered a revolutionary docking system because ships were loaded and unloaded directly from/to the warehouses. Two years after it opened it was modified to feature the world's first hydraulic cranes.
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Liverpool Cathedral completed in 1978 is based on a design by Giles Gilbert Scott. The total external length of the building, including the Lady Chapel (dedicated to the Blessed Virgin), is 207 yards (189 m) making it the longest cathedral in the world, its internal length is 160 yards (150 m). In terms of overall volume, Liverpool Cathedral ranks as the fifth-largest cathedral in the world and contests the title of largest Anglican church building alongside the incomplete Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. With a height of 331 feet (101 m) it is also one of the world's tallest non-spired church buildings
Liverpool Catholic Cathedral
Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool and the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool. The Grade II* Metropolitan Cathedral is one of Liverpool's many listed buildings. It is sometimes known locally as "Paddy's Wigwam" or the "Mersey Funnel", especially for tourists, but these are less common terms locally within the City. The Cathedral was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd (1908–84). Construction began in October 1962 and less than five years later, on the Feast of Pentecost 14 May 1967, the completed cathedral was consecrated.
Lime Street Station
Liverpool Lime Street is the main station serving the city centre of Liverpool. The station terminates a branch of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston and Trans-Pennine Express trains. Construction of the station began in October 1833 and a tunnel was constructed between Edge Hill and the new station prior to station construction in 1832. The station was opened to the public in August 1836, although construction was not completed until the following year.
St. George's Hall
St George's Hall is on Lime Street opposite Lime Street railway station. It is in the Neoclassical style and contains concert halls and law courts. A competition in 1839 to design the hall was won by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, a London architect aged 25 years. The foundation stone was laid in 1838 and construction started in 1841, the building opened in 1854. Elmes died in 1847 and the work was continued by John Weightman, Corporation Surveyor, and Robert Rawlinson, structural engineer, until in 1851 Sir Charles Cockerell was appointed architect.
The Mersey Tunnel
The Queensway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey, at the time of its construction it was the longest underwater tunnel in the world, a title it held for 24 years. The tunnel is 3.24 kilometres (2.01 mi) long and cost a total of £8 million, was opened on 18 July 1934 by King George V; the opening ceremony was watched by 200,000 people.
There is now a second road tunnel, Kingsway which comprises dual bores and was opened in 1971.
Aintree Race Course
Aintree is the home of the Grand National steeplechase, one of the most famous races in the world. Steeplechasing at Aintree was introduced in 1839, though flat racing had taken place there for many years prior to this. It is regarded as the most difficult of all courses to successfully complete, with 16 steeplechase fences. Aintree has also been used as a venue for motor racing. The British Grand Prix was staged there on five occasions, in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962.
Maghull Ancient Chapel
This chapel lies in the grounds of St Andrews Church adjacent to the A59 in Maghull, Merseyside. No records survive of the building of the Chapel which, therefore has to tell its own early history. It was probably built at the beginning of the thirteenth century, possibly during or just before the reign of Henry III, in which there was a renewal of piety and church building in England. This followed the Lateran Council of 1215 and the wise leadership of the Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.
Ormskirk Parish Church
The Church of St Peter and St Paul dates from no later than the 12th century, it is one of only three churches in England to have both a western tower and a central spire, and the only one to have them both at the same end of the church. Parts of the present church existed in the 12th century, although the building has been altered and added to over successive centuries. The north wall of the chancel dates from c. 1170. A chapel was added to the south c. 1280. The steeple was added in the late 14th century. The large west tower was built c. 1540–50 to house the bells from Burscough Priory, which had been suppressed c. 1536 as part of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The name ‘Ormskirk’ is Old Norse in origin and is derived from Ormres kirkja, from a personal name, Ormr (which means "serpent" or dragon), and the Old Norse word kirkja for church. Ormr may have been a Viking who settled here, became a Christian and founded the church but there are no other records or archeological evidence to support this and Ormr's identity is unknown. The market was established by a Royal Charter that was granted by Edward I of England in 1286 to the monks of Burscough Priory. An open market is held twice-weekly, on Thursdays and Saturdays
The Buck i'th Vine
The Buck i'th Vine in Ormskirk is a 17th/18th century coaching house which had it's own brewery and theatre. It is a highlight of Burscough Street, one of four streets which lead to the Cross (now a bell tower).
Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Construction of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal began in 1770. It was originally projected and surveyed by Mr. Longbotham of Halifax as a waterway link across the Pennines, linking the great industrial area around Leeds with the great port of Liverpool. During its hey-day in the early 19th century the canal carried large amounts of freight, and played a major part in the development of industry along its route. Cargo boats carried grain direct from the docks at Liverpool to mills and flour was carried from the mills and delivered to farms at all points along the canal, and other common cargoes were coal and manure.
Lathom Park Chapel
In April 1500 a Chantry was founded in Lathom Park by Thomas Stanley, the first Earl of Derby. Its history up to 1924 was much involved with the families of the Stanleys (Earls of Derby) and later the Bootle Wilbrahams (Earls of Lathom and Lord Skelmersdale). Since 1924 it has been attached to the parish of Ormskirk. The chapel has lovely windows and carvings The screen came from the dissolution of Burscough Priory under Henry V111 and is scarred with what are said to be bullet holes made by Roundhead muskets during the English Civil War(1642 – 1646)
Rufford Old Hall
Rufford Old Hall (National Trust) was built in about 1530 for Sir Robert Hesketh, only the Great Hall, survives from the original structure. A brick-built wing in the Jacobean style was added in 1661, at right angles to the Great Hall, and a third wing was added in the 1820s. Until 1936, Rufford Old Hall was in the continuous ownership of the Hesketh family who were lords of the manor of Rufford from the 15th century. There is some evidence to suggest that Shakespeare may have performed in the Great Hall.
St. Mary's Church
St Mary's Church, Tarleton, is a redundant Anglican church which stands on the A59. It is a Grade II* listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It is described by the Churches Conservation Trust as a "picturesque early Georgian chapel" with "a lovely unspoiled interior". In 1719, Henrietta Maria Legh of Bank Hall, donated the land on which the church was built. The building costs were met by other benefactors. Legh and her heirs held the right, with the rector of Croston's approval, to nominate the curate but patronage of the church was subsequently acquired by the rector.
Bank Hall is a ruined Jacobean mansion. It was built on the site of an older house in 1608 by the Banastres who were lords of the manor. The hall was extended during the 18th and 19th centuries. Extensions were built for George Anthony Legh Keck in 1832–1833, to the design of the architect George Webster. For centuries Bank Hall was the manorial home of a branch of the Banastres, lords of the manor descended from the Norman Roger de Banastre. The Hall received National Lottery funding in 2012 to enable the hall to be reconstructed to form living accommodation
St. Walberge's Church
St Walburge's Church, a Roman Catholic church in Preston was built in the mid 19th century by the Gothic revival architect Joseph Hansom, designer of the hansom cab, and is famous as having the tallest spire of any parish church in England. Externally, St Walburge's spire, rising to 309 feet (94 m) is the dominant landmark in Preston and is one of the tallest structures of any sort in Lancashire. After Salisbury and Norwich Cathedrals, it is the third tallest spire in the United Kingdom, and is the tallest on a parish church.
Harris Museum and Flag Market
The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Preston Free Public Library has the largest gallery space in Lancashire. In 1877, a Preston lawyer called Edmund Robert Harris left instructions in his will that a sum of £300,000 be used to establish a trust that would provide funds to build a library, museum and art gallery. The council decided to make a purpose built building to house the Public Library and Museum. Building work officially started on the museum in 1882 during the Preston Guild and it officially opened in 1893.
Preston Bus Station
Preston Bus Station is the central bus station was built by Ove Arup and Partners in the Brutalist architectural style between 1968 and 1969, to a design by Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson of Building Design Partnership with E. H. Stazicker. It has a capacity of 80 double-decker buses, 40 along each side of the building. Some claim that it is the second largest bus station in Western Europe. The design also incorporates a multi-storey car park of five floors with space for 1,100 cars. It has been described by The Twentieth Century Society as "one of the most significant Brutalist buildings in the UK.
The Preston Guild Hall is an entertainment venue in Preston, Lancashire. It officially opened in 1973. The complex has two performance venues, the Grand Hall which holds 2,142 people and the Charter Theatre which holds 801 people. Artists that have performed there include Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, The Jackson 5 and Thin Lizzy, among others. It also hosted the UK Snooker Championship for many years. As of 2013 there is talk of bulldozing the complex due to its high cost to run.
Clitheroe Castle is a motte and bailey castle built on a natural carboniferous limestone outcrop. It was built around 1186 by Robert de Lacy as an administrative centre for his estates in the area but later passed by inheritance to the Crown. It consists of one of the smallest keeps in the country and at one time it was surrounded by a curtain wall. It was anciently the seat of the Lords of Bowland. There is a legend that the Devil threw a boulder from Pendle Hill and hit the castle creating the hole visible in its side today, but this hole was made in 1649 as ordered by the government.
Pendle Hill is renowned for its links with the Quakers and the Pendle Witch Trials. In 1652, George Fox claimed to have had a vision while on top of Pendle, during the early years of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The story of the Pendle witches is one of the best-known and well-documented examples of alleged witchcraft in 17th-century England. The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history, and some of the best recorded of the 17th century. Of the eleven who went to trial – nine women and two men – ten were found guilty and executed by hanging; one was found not guilty.
Known locally as "Whalley Arches", the Viaduct is a 48-span railway bridge crossing the River Calder and is a listed structure. It was built between 1846 and 1850 under the engineering supervison of Terrence Wolfe Flanagan. It is a red brick arch structure and the longest and largest railway viaduct in Lancashire. It carried the Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe and West Yorkshire Railway 21.3m over the river for 620m. Over 7 million bricks and 12,338 cubic metres of stone were used in construction. 3,000m of timber were used. Whalley has the ruins of Whalley Abbey, a 14th-century Cistercian abbey.
Gisburn Cattle Market
Gisburn Cattle Auctions is hard on the A59 as you approach Gisburn from the west. It serves the large rural area of the Ribble Valley and is the centre for sheep and cattle trading.
Cross Keys, East Marton
A landmark in the journey across the Pennines is the Cross Keys coaching house at East Marton. Alongside the A59 and also the Leeds and Liverpool canal which is just to the right. This is the canal we last saw at Burscough. The A59 crosses the canal over a double bridge where one bridge is built atop the other to raise the road surface.
Canal approaching Skipton
As you approach Skipton town centre from the A59 the road rises to run alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. In the distance is a swing bridge which is operated by the canal boat users.
Skipton Castle was built in 1090 by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron, and has been preserved for over 900 years. The cliffs behind the castle, dropping down to Eller Beck, made the castle a perfect defensive structure. The Romille line died out, and in 1310 Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford who was appointed Lord Clifford of Skipton and Guardian of Craven. During the English Civil War the castle was the only Royalist stronghold in the north of England until December 1645. Today Skipton Castle is a well preserved medieval castle and is a tourist attraction and private residence.
Skipton is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. It played roles in history during the English Civil War. Home to one of the oldest mills in North Yorkshire. High Corn Mill dates to 1310 when it was owned by Robert de Clifford. Skipton became a prosperous market town, trading sheep and woollen goods, which also led to its naming, derived from the Old English sceap (sheep) and tun (town or village). Skipton emerged as a small mill town but during the 20th century Skipton's economy shifted to tourism, aided by its historic architecture and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales.
Lord Thanet in Skipton owned both Skipton Castle and the local limestone quarries. He proposed the construction of a quarter mile branch canal to connect the quarries with the new Leeds Liverpool Canal, after the refusal of the canal company to alter the line previously surveyed. An Act was passed in 1773 in support of this. The Spring Branch canal was built quickly. In 1785 the canal company took over the lease. The canal was extended by another 240 yards and a tramway built to move limestone more easily from the quarries. There was more and more demand for limestone to be used in the new Low Moor Ironworks, Bradford, for iron smelting.
Bolton Abbey, an estate in Wharfedale takes its name from the ruined 12th-century Augustinian monastery now generally known as Bolton Priory. Led by a prior, Bolton Abbey was technically a priory, despite its name. It was founded in 1154 by the Augustinian order, on the banks of the River Wharfe. The land at Bolton, as well as other resources, were given to the order by Lady Alice de Romille of Skipton Castle in 1154. In the early 14th century Scottish raiders caused the temporary abandonment of the site and serious structural damage to the priory. The nave of the abbey church was in use as a parish church from about 1170 onwards, and survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
After leaving Bolton Abbey the road rises to Blubberhouses Moor with signs of past lead mining in a ravine to the side of the road. The road eventually dips and in what seems a remote area next to Fewston Reservoir there stands on the hillside a small, beautifully built church which serves a small scattered community.
It was built in the 1850's by the Frankland family of nearby Blubberhouses Hall for the use of estate workers and navvies constructing the adjacent Fewston Reservoir.
Menwith Hill "Golf Balls"
Royal Air Force Menwith Hill is a Royal Air Force station near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England which provides communications and intelligence support services to the UK and the USA. The site contains an extensive satellite ground station and is a communications intercept and missile warning site and has been described as the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. The site acts as a ground station for a number of satellites operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office, on behalf of the NSA, with antennae contained in a large number of highly distinctive white radomes, and is alleged to be an element of the ECHELON system
Cupid and Psyche
Approaching the town centre from the A59 one passes Crescent Gardens where there is a glass pavilion with a beautiful statue of lovers Cupid and Psyche by Geovanni Maria Benzoni.
Royal Pump Room
The Royal Pump Room is a museum and former spa water pump. It sits over the Old Sulphur Well. The current building was designed by Isaac Thomas Shutt and was finished in 1842. The previous cover of the well was removed to Tewit Well, where it still stands today. As a result, the popularity of sampling the waters and hence visiting Harrogate soared: 1842 it had 3778 drinkers; in 1867 it was 11,626; in 1925 it was 259,000. Promoted as having healing qualities to cure anything from gout to lumbago, visitors included Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and the novelist Charles Dickens, who described Harrogate as: "The queerest place with the strangest people leading the oddest lives!"
Betty's Tea Room
The story of Bettys began in Harrogate in 1919 and they have been welcoming locals and visitors to the café tea rooms ever since. Once inside the shop you are spoilt for choice with over 300 breads, cakes and chocolates, as well as 50 different teas and coffees. In the downstairs Spindler Gallery you can enjoy views of Yorkshire in a collection of exquisite Marquetry scenes of Yorkshire from the studio of Charles Spindler in Alsace.
Knaresborough Castle is a ruined fortress overlooking the River Nidd. The castle was first built by a Norman baron in c.1100 on a cliff above the River Nidd. There is documentary evidence dating from 1130 referring to works carried out at the castle by Henry I. In the 1170s Hugh de Moreville and his followers took refuge there after assassinating Thomas Becket. In 1205 King John took control of Knaresborough Castle. The castle was taken by Parliamentarian troops in 1644 during the Civil War, and largely destroyed in 1648 not as the result of warfare, but because of an order from Parliament to dismantle all Royalist castles. Indeed, many town centre buildings are built of 'castle stone'.
From the castle green there is a wonderful panorama over the River Nidd and the Victorian railway viaduct. The station is by the black signal box. The impressive railway viaduct was completed in 1851, finally ushering in the railway age to Knaresborough - three years after the first viaduct had collapsed into the river as it neared completion. The viaduct was vital in establishing efficient communications with the town.
"Blind Jack" Metcalf
In the market place at Knaresborough, adjacent to the market cross is a statue to commemorate the life of John Metcalf, known as "Blind Jack". John Metcalf (1717–1810), also known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough or Blind Jack Metcalf, was the first professional road builder to emerge during the Industrial Revolution. Blind from the age of six, John had an eventful life, which was well documented by his own account just before his death. In the period 1765 to 1792 he built about 180 miles (290 km) of turnpike road, mainly in the north of England.
Mother Shipton's Cave
On the opposite side of the river from the Castle is a unique attraction - a petrifying well. Visitors hang mementoes, teddy bears and all kind of things from the wire and in the course of a year or so they become coated with limestone from the water dripping down the cliff face. The petrifying well has been a tourist attraction since 1630 due to its association with the legendary soothsayer and prophetess Mother Shipton (c. 1488 - 1561), born Ursula Southeil, wife of Toby Shipton. According to legend she was born in the cave. The cave and dropping well, together with other attractions, remain open to visitors.
Finally we reach York, the ancient city and the seat of the County of Yorkshire. The town is largely surrounded by walls, pierced by six fortified gates or "Bars". The A59 enters by Micklegate Bar. The name means "Great Street", "Gate" coming from the Old Norse gata, or street. Micklegate bar holds the southern entrance into the city through which many monarchs have entered. Following the Battle of Wakefield, a battle during the Wars of the Roses, the heads of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (father of Edward IV and Richard III), Edmund, Earl of Rutland (another son of Richard) and Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury were displayed on Micklegate Bar.
York Castle in the city of York, England, is a fortified complex comprising, over the last nine centuries, a sequence of castles, prisons, law courts and other buildings on the south side of the River Foss. The now-ruinous keep of the medieval Norman castle is commonly referred to as Clifford's Tower. Built originally on the orders of William I to dominate the former Viking city of York, the castle suffered a tumultuous early history before developing into a major fortification with extensive water defences. After a major explosion in 1684 rendered the remaining military defences uninhabitable, York Castle continued to be used as a jail and prison until 1929.
The "Rocket" Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum at York is an essential visit. Stephenson's Rocket was an early steam locomotive of 0-2-2 wheel arrangement, built in 1829 at the Forth Street Works of Robert Stephenson and Company in Newcastle Upon Tyne. It won, the Rainhill Trials held by the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1829 to choose the best design to power the railway. It is the most famous example of an evolving design of locomotives by Stephenson that became the template for most steam engines in the following 150 years.
The statue of Constantine is by the Minster in York. In the year 2006, York celebrated the 1,700th anniversary of the Proclamation of Constantine the Great following the death of his father in York. The ceremony took place in the Roman headquarter at Eboracum, as York was called in those days, on July 25th 306. Situated on the site of the present Minster, some of the remains of the building can be seen in the crypt of the Minster. A Bronze statue of Constantine erected in 1998, resides outside the South Transept of York Minster as a tribute.
The Shambles (official name Shambles) is an old street in York, England, with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century. It was once known as The Great Flesh Shambles, probably from the Anglo-Saxon Fleshammels (literally 'flesh-shelves'), the word for the shelves that butchers used to display their meat. As recently as 1872 there were twenty-five butchers' shops in the street but now there are none. Among the buildings of the Shambles is a shrine to Saint Margaret Clitherow, who was married to a butcher who owned and lived in a shop there.
There has been a gateway here for nearly 2000 years - Bootham Bar is on the site of one of the four main entrances to the Roman fortress. The existing structure is not Roman but it has been around for quite a while. The archway itself dates from the 11th century and the rest of the structure is largely from the 14th century. In 1501 a door knocker was installed as Scots were required to knock first and seek permission from the Lord Mayor to enter the city. The bar was damaged during the siege of York in 1644. Like Micklegate Bar, it was sometimes used to display the heads of traitors, the heads of three rebels opposing Charles II’s restoration were placed here in 1663.
Merchant Adventurers Hall
The Merchant Adventurers' Hall is a medieval guildhall in the city of York, England, and was one of the most important buildings in the medieval city. The majority of the Hall was built in 1357 by a group of influential men and women who came together to form a religious fraternity called the Guild of Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1430 the fraternity was granted a royal charter by King Henry VI and renamed 'The Mistry of Mercers'. It was granted the status of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of York by Queen Elizabeth I in the sixteenth century. The main part of the building consists of the Great Hall and the undercroft, which was originally a hospital or almshouse for poor people of York.
St. Mary's Abbey
The Abbey of St Mary is a ruined Benedictine abbey. Once the richest abbey in the north of England, it lies in the Yorkshire Museum Garden. The original church on the site was founded in 1055 and dedicated to Saint Olaf II of Norway. The abbey church was founded in 1088 for Abbot Stephen and a group of monks from Whitby by the Anglo-Breton magnate Alan Rufus. The monks moved to York from a site at Lastingham in Ryedale in the 1080s and are recorded there in Domesday. Following a dispute and riot in 1132, a party of reform-minded monks left to establish the Cistercian monastery of Fountains Abbey. The surviving ruins date from a rebuilding programme begun in 1271 and finished by 1294.
Jorvik Viking Centre
York was conquered by invading Vikings in 866 and they ruled until the Normans reached York in 1067. The Vikings were great traders and dominated northern Europe and by the 10th century York was second only to London in wealth and population. Exotic goods were imported along trading routes which reached beyond Byzantium in the east, Scandinavia to the north and Ireland to the west. Wine and lava quern stones came from northern Europe. Whetstones, soapstone cooking vessels, amber, furs and dyestuffs were shipped from Scandinavia. Silks travelled along trading routes from the Middle East and China.
We have reached our final destination.
York Minster is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England, and is the cathedral for the Diocese of York. It is run by a dean and chapter, under the Dean of York. The formal title of York Minster is "The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York".
The title "minster" is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches, and serves now as an honorific title. Services in the minster are sometimes regarded as on the High Church or Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican continuum.
The minster has a very wide Decorated Gothic nave and chapter house, a Perpendicular Gothic Quire and east end and Early English north and south transepts. The nave contains the West Window, constructed in 1338, and over the Lady Chapel in the east end is the Great East Window, (finished in 1408), the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. In the north transept is the Five Sisters Window, each lancet being over 52 feet (16 m) high. The south transept contains a famous rose window, while the West Window contains a famous heart-shaped design, colloquially known as 'The Heart of Yorkshire'.
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