Category Archives: Our travels in England

Steetley Pier, Hartlepool

Yesterday we drove just down the coast to Hartlepool. After looking round the historic Headland area, we headed a little way North to take some photos of the Steetley Pier which was once part of the Steetley Magnesite Works ( Hartlepool Magnesia Works and Palliser Works ). The Works have now been demolished and all that is now left is the pier which was used to bring sea water to Steetley Magnesite Works.
The light was not very good so I decided to make most of the photos high contrast B&W.
We have seen the pier many times, but only from a distant while walking our dog on Crimdon Beach, but it has always been a bit far to walk to or more importantly, much to far to walk back from.
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Blog post by Richard Randall

Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley

We stayed at the Bromley Court Hotel in Bromley for two nights recently, while visiting South London.
The main reason we chose the Bromley Court Hotel was the fact that they welcome dogs.
The initial welcome when I checked-in, from the lady working on reception, was unfriendly, but we were given our room earlier than the usual 2pm check-in, so at least that was good.
The rest of the staff were professional and very welcoming, especially the barman who we had an enjoyable chat with one evening.

The photo below shows the old original building, but the hotel rooms are actually located in the modern (1970’s) extension.
Our room was quite small; there was hardly room to swing a cat, but the 3 of us fitted into it o.k. Leggy Lurcher dogs can curl up into surprisingly small spaces when necessary.
The beds were soft and comfortable, the room was very clean, and the shower had good water pressure and lots of lovely hot water.
There’s a restaurant, but we didn’t dine there so I can’t comment, and room service is available, we didn’t use that either, but several people in the neighbouring rooms to ours did, and they seemed to enjoy the food – if the empty plates left outside their rooms were anything to go by.

The hotel has a very pleasant garden to the rear of the property, and a decent amount of car-parking spaces at the front.
The hotel is within easy walking distance of Bromley town centre.
We enjoyed our short stay at the Bromley Court Hotel, and we would stay there again.

Bromley Court Hotel

The BEST WESTERN Bromley Court Hotel
Bromley Hill
Bromley
Kent
BR1 4JD
http://www.bromleycourthotel.co.uk/

Blog post by Richard Randall

Angel and Royal Hotel, Grantham

We had to go to London recently, and as we had Barley, our dog, with us we didn’t want to do the drive in one go, so we decided to break up the journey by staying in the Angel and Royal Hotel in Grantham.
The main reason we chose the Angel and Royal Hotel was the fact that they welcome dogs. The fact that the Angel and Royal is an historic hotel, right in the centre of Grantham, and with ample parking was a bonus.

Angel and Royal Hotel, GranthamFor our first stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel we arrived at midday, check-in is usually at 2pm, so we were pleased to be given a room straight away.
The room for our first stay was more like a mini-suite, it was well furnished and contemporary in style.
There was a small lounge, and a small bedroom, both of which had a TV, and a nice bathroom.
There was a kettle in the lounge with a few of sachets of coffee, a few teabags, one sachet of hot chocolate, a bottle of mineral water, and a couple of packets of biscuits.
All of the rooms were nice and clean.
The beds were quite small, narrow, but the mattresses were nice soft and comfortable.
Unfortunately all of the rooms were very hot when we first arrived, and despite keeping all of the windows wide open all night, it was still too hot for us to get a decent nights sleep. Barley didn’t seem to notice the heat though, as he slept very well.
Another issue was the shower, the water pressure was good and strong, which would have made showering a real pleasure. But the temperature of the hot water was so hot it was not possible to stand underneath it. It didn’t seem to make any difference how much we adjusted the taps, the water was boiling.
During our first stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel the complimentary WiFi was a decent speed, so we were happy with that.
The staff were welcoming and helpful.
Angel and Royal Hotel, GranthamOn our second stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel, a couple of days later on the drive back from London, we once again arrived at about midday. This time we were told our room would be available at 1pm.
Once we checked-in we were given a standard room, which was larger than the room we’d had on our previous stay. This time the beds were a little bit wider, but the mattresses were very thin, hard, and uncomfortable. Also the wooden bed frames made really loud creaking noises every time we moved, which was disturbing.
Thankfully the room wasn’t hot like the last room was, which we were pleased about at first, but by the evening it wasn’t pleasant, the room was very cold. Only one of the two windows shut properly, which obviously meant the room remained cold all night.
This room was not as clean as our previous room had been, I’m not sure if the cleaner had completely finished preparing the room before we checked-in.
There was a used bath towel chucked on the towel rail in the bathroom. The loo had poo around the rim of the bowl.
This room also had a kettle, and coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, but there was no mineral water, and no biscuits. Not that we particularly wanted them.
The WiFi didn’t work at all in this room, which was very disappointing.
Having said all of that, we did enjoy our stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel, it is a nice place in a good location, and we would stay there again.

Angel and Royal Hotel, Grantham
Our First Room
Angel and Royal Hotel, GranthamAngel and Royal Hotel, GranthamAngel and Royal Hotel, Grantham
Our Second Room

Angel and Royal Hotel, Grantham

BEST WESTERN Angel & Royal Hotel
High Street
Grantham
Lincolnshire
NG31 6PN
Telephone +44 (0)1476 565816
http://www.angelandroyal.co.uk/

From Wikipedia
In 1812, Lord Brownlow sold his property in Grantham to William Manners, including another pub, The Angel Inn, which had taken its name from stone carvings of angels on the front of the building.

The gateway arch of the Angel Inn, as it stood in the 19th century, was older than the rest of the front of the building. On either side of the arch were carved heads of Edward the Third and of Queen Philippa his consort. These, with an oriel window above, can still be seen today. Also still to be seen today is the gold-painted carved wooden figure of an angel over the entrance, beneath the oriel. Such a wooden figure, dating as it does to earlier than the seventeenth century, is rare for an inn. The entrance dates to the Tudor period, as do portions of the courtyard buildings. Other rarities to have survived in the Inn include the stone twin-panel vaulting in the interior ceilings of the bay windows. The front of the building is built in ashlar, of local oolithic stone. The Angel thus lays claim to being the oldest surviving Inn in England, sitting on what was once the Great North Road.

It is widely held that the Angel Inn was once a “commandery of the Knights Templar” (as reported in both White’s 1846 History, gazetteer, and directory of Leicestershire and Allen’s 1834 History of the county of Lincoln). However, the Reverend B. Street, curate of Grantham, stated in 1857 after his own investigations that “such is not the case”. “I have read a document drawn up at Grantham, October 15, 1291,” he wrote, “which certainly refers to the property, as belonging to the Knights Templars, but not as being a Preceptory of the Order.”.

According to Street, the Angel Inn was Knights Templars property that was a hostelry for travellers and pilgrims. It was seized from the Templars, by the Sheriff of Lincolnshire, on 7 January 1308, in accordance with the following writ issued by King Edward the Second on 15 December 1307:

The King is about to proceed to parts beyond the seas for a short time. During his absence, he wishes certain matters relative to the peace of the kingdom to be explained to the Sheriff in a writ which the Sheriff will shortly receive. The Sheriff of Lincolnshire is therefore commanded to warn twelve discreet and trustworthy men, Knights or others, upon whose fidelity he can best rely, to meet him at Lincoln, on the 7th of January 1308, very early in the mornin; at which place and time the Sheriff is to be in person to do and perform what shall be contained in the said write, and also what he shall be directed to do by the bearer of it.

The second writ, born to the Sheriff by one of the King’s Clerk’s of Council, which the Sheriff and the twelve men all had to swear to follow before being told its contents, was:

On Wednesday, 10th January, 1308, very early in the morning, the Sheriff of Lincoln, with the twelve men summoned and sworn, is to attach and arrest all the Knights Templars in his Bailiwick. All their lands, goods, tenements, chattels, charters, writings, and muniments, are to be seized and secured, and an inventory of them made, in the presence of the Custos of the Templar’s house, and two witnesses. The Knights are to be kept in safe custody, but not in a straight or loathsome prison; and to be maintained out of the revenues of the Order.

Street believes that the Angel Inn, having been seized by the king, probably then became the property of the Knights Hospitallers. He bases this conclusion on the presence of the arms of the Hospitallers on the East window of Grantham church in 1662 (as recorded by Gervase Holles in Notes of Arms in Grantham Church, a manuscript held in the British Museum), in place of the arms of the Templars that had been there, indicating that the Templars’ property in Grantham had passed to the Hospitallers.

Street also records the Angel Inn as having been used to hold court by Kings John (on 23 February 1213) and Richard the Third (on 19 October 1483). He also states that it was probably used by King Charles the First on 17 May 1622.
At the time of Richard III, the large room over the gateway of the Angel Inn was called La Chambre le Roi (the King’s Chamber). Street concluded that this room’s name came from Norman French, and probably from the visit to Grantham that John paid in 1213 (during which he delvered Letters Patent at Grantham granting the release of Lucian of Arquill). The evidence for Richard III’s visit he took from Rymer’s Fædera, as quoted in Halstead’s History of Richard the Third, which said that the Great Seal, used for issuing a death warrant, was delivered to the king by messenger “in a chamber called the King’s chamber in the Angel Inn, in the presence of the Bishops of Worcester, Durham, St David’s, and St Asaph, and of the Earls of Northumberland and Huntingdon, and of Sir Thomas Stanley”.

As is still recorded today on the charity board of Grantham church (in the ringing chamber of the church’s bell tower), in 1706 a Mr. Michael Sullivan left a benefaction to the church for a sermon against drunkenness, to be paid by the Angel Inn. As recorded in the Grantham Register the benefaction was:

Item, I give to the alderman of Grantham and his successor for ever, a rent charge of 40 shillings a year to be paid out of the Angel Inn in Grantham aforesaid every Michaelmas day, upon this trust, that he procure some able divine to preach a sermon in the afternoon the Sunday after every alderman’s choice for ever, wherein the subject shall be chiefly against drunkenness and then pay the preacher 40 shillings for the same, I looking upon that sin to be the inlet of almost all others.

Blog post by Richard Randall

The Royal Standard, Croydon

The Royal Standard in Croydon is a proper pub for proper people.
Many many years ago it was my local for a time, and it has not changed a bit.
Recently while I was visiting Croydon, I decided to pop in to have a ‘Trip down Memory Lane’. I was not disappointed. It was still the same friendly pub I remembered from 20 years ago when I lived just around the corner. No fancy decor, music, or fruit machines. Just good beer, friendly staff and fellow drinkers. So friendly, I popped in for one beer but got chatting and ended up staying for three.
If you ever end up in Croydon and want to enjoy decent beer in a convivial environment The Royal Standard is well worth a visit.
© http://randallssoapbox.com/© http://randallssoapbox.com/
The Royal Standard
1 Sheldon Street,
Croydon,
Surrey
CR0 1SS
http://www.royalstandard-croydon.co.uk/

Blog post by Richard Randall

Durham City, Walking and not Plummeting

It has been six months since we had a day out, just for the pleasure of it.
So, on Sunday we decided to drive to Durham and have a wander about the city. It was a very cold morning but the sun was shining, so it was a perfect day to be outside. It was made even more perfect by the fact that we managed to park directly in front of Durham Cathedral, and for free. Result.
DURHAM, ENGLAND
We parked up, unloaded the dog, and set out to explore Durham on foot.
Barley was very excited to be out among so many people. If fact the excitement was almost too much for him, he attempted suicide. As we were walking across one of the bridges over the River Wear he tried to jump over the wall on the bridge. Luckily I had a good hold on him, and Mrs.R also grabbed him. It was a very close call, and no doubt the fall (over 5 metres) from he bridge into the ice-cold fast flowing river would have been fatal.
Disaster averted, for the remainder of our wandering we made sure to keep Barley away for any walls and long drops.
DURHAM, ENGLANDWe enjoyed wandering round Durham, snapping a few photos, and soaking up the atmosphere. It was like old times. Being tourists. The only difference was the fact that we visited Durham early, too early to be able to stop for a pint. In preparation for our day out I had asked fellow CAMRA members on the CAMRA Durham facebook group for info on dog friendly pubs. Next time we visit Durham, we’ll have to make sure it is a little later in the day. Being a tourist is thirsty work. 😀
DURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDURHAM, ENGLANDDurham, EnglandDurham, England

Blog post by Richard Randall

Newark-on-Trent, England

We stopped off in Newark-on-Trent while heading north to to Doncaster for the night. We spent and hour or so wandering round the town. There is a castle ruin and a nice town square. It is a town I would be very happy to visit again and for longer.

Photos of Newark-on-Trent, England

Video of Newark-on-Trent, England

Peterborough

We came, we saw and we drank beer. We spent a day/night in Peterborough, while heading north to County Durham. We arrived at lunch time and parked at the hotel, and then walked into town for a beer or 3 and some lunch. Peterborough is a nice town to wander round. Decent enough shops if that is your thing and some interesting historic buildings.

The Guildhall or Butter Cross
Peterborough, EnglandPeterborough, England

Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough, EnglandPeterborough, England

St John the Baptist
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Short video of the centre of Peterborough

Peterborough, England