A Piece of history

Piece Hall, Halifax

It was a gloriously sunny day a couple of weeks ago when we took a trip to nearby Halifax. It’s a long time since we’ve been and we wanted to pay a visit to the recently restored, historic Piece Hall.

Piece Hall, Halifax with the spire of Square Church in the background | H is for Home

It’s incredible to think that when the Hall was first opened, trading within was only allowed for 2 hours per week – and just on a Saturday. In his book, A Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis writes:

Early engraving of Piece Hall, Halifax

The Piece Hall was erected by the manufacturers and is a large quadrangular building of freestone occupying an area of ten thousand square yards with a rustic basement storey and two upper storeys fronted with two interior colonnades which are spacious walks leading to arched rooms where goods in an unfinished state were deposited and exhibited for sale to the merchants every Saturday from ten to twelve ‘clock. This structure which was completed at an expense of £12,000 and opened on 1 January 1779 unites elegance convenience and security. It contains three hundred and fifteen separate rooms, and is proof against fire.

First floor colonnade, Piece Hall, Halifax | H is for Home

The Hall is on 3 floors, now housing a range of little independent shops located along the long, beautiful colonnades. Shops such as Yorkshire Soap Company, Loafers Vinyl & Coffee – there’s even a gin bar in a corner on the ground level. The large central square is being used for concerts, gigs, markets, workshops and so on. The Antiques Roadshow takes place there this summer.

Adelle standing at one of the huge gates leading into Piece Hall | H is for Home

We couldn’t leave without taking a couple of photos of the impressive, restored cast iron south gates manufactured in 1871.

Detail from one of the gates leading into Piece Hall | H is for Home

The white rose of Yorkshire is one of the prominent symbols. The gates are inscribed with the Latin, “Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem” from Psalm 127 meaning, “Except the Lord keep the city”. They bear a figure of a lamb, a nod to the fact that Halifax was an important centre of the woollen trade in England. The head of John the Baptist is also present, he’s the patron saint of wool weavers’ guilds.

 

Designer Desire: Sheila Bownas

Mosaic of Sheila Bownas textile designs | H is for Home

What a coincidence that, just a week after our trip to the Yorkshire Dales, we’re featuring one of its local creatives.

Sheila Bownas (1925-2007) was a fine artist and surface pattern designer from the village of Linton in Craven near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. In 1946, she won a scholarship to London’s Slade School of Fine Art where she won further awards which included a year’s extension to study History of Art in Florence. She freelanced as a textile and wallpaper designer for companies such as Liberty and Co., Marks and Spencer and Laura Ashley. She also worked for the Natural History Museum in the 1960s, creating botanical studies. She returned to Linton in the 1970s, where she settled unobtrusively for the rest of her life. She was the only child of the village shopkeepers, she never married nor had children of her own.

Some of Sheila Bownas’ design archive was rediscovered by Chelsea Cefai, an art gallery professional, when it came up for sale at an auction house in Ilkley in 2008. Cefai purchased some 210 of her original textile pattern prints and slowly set about researching the designer and celebrating her designs.

Bonas was indefatigable in her efforts to secure salaried employment. She apparently applied for around jobs in the 1950s and 60s. In 1959 in yet another rejection letter, this time from Crown Wallpaper, Bonas was told:

Thank you for your letter enclosing your design… I have decided to retain this design so would you please let us have your invoice? With reference to your desire to obtain a position in our studio, the Director feels that should an appointment be made at all, a male designer would be preferable…

Last summer, a retrospective of her work was shown at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum and is currently showing at Harrogate’s Mercer Art Gallery until 7th January 2018. If you’re unable to make it, a catalogue of the exhibition is available.

Cefai has set about collaborating with artists & designers reintroducing Bonas’ work in limited-edition prints, furniture, ceramics and other homewares.

In an interview with the Yorkshire Post, Cefai shared:

It’s been hard work and there have been times when I felt like giving up but then I feel like it’s something I have to do. I love her work and it saddens me to think that an artist with such wonderful talent could so easily slip through the net of recognition That’s what drives me. Sheila Bownas is not just a number in a file now, she’s a name in the limelight.

Have a look at the Sheila Bownas website for many more of her wonderful designs.

Portrait of Sheila Bownascredit

Additional image credits:

The Guardian | The Northern Echo

A birthday week in Malham

Sheep in Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We’ve just returned from Malham in the Yorkshire Dales – a little getaway to mark Adelle’s birthday!

Tennant Cottage, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We stayed at Tennant Cottage, a traditional stone house which we found online.

Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It has a wonderful location, right in the heart of the village, the bubbling beck flowing out front.

Dry stone walls, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It’s only a short drive from our home in Todmorden to Malham (just over an hour); however, Malham is a magical little place, so you still feel like you’re having a holiday!

Adelle looking through a gap in a dry stone wall, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The high, upland moors of the Dales are very similar to our own Pennine moors, but at lower levels the area has a very unique appearance and feel.

Sheep paddocks, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The pale limestone rock plays a major part. In fact, it has the classic limestone scenery taught in geography & geology lessons in classrooms worldwide. Justin came here on school field trips in his youth – now an old man, he returned to sit on rocks where he had his packed lunch 40 years ago!

Justin in front of Gordale Scar, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There are lots of craggy outcrops, cliffs, gorges, pavements, streams and caverns – and the famous dry stone walls and farm buildings are all constructed from this local rock.

Solitary tree, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It’s very pretty in the summer; however, the winter months can be stunning too – it has a stark beauty.

Footpath, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We enjoyed our many walks with Fudge, especially when the sun shone. There were lots of tempting paths that drew us through the glorious countryside.

Tree beside Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Weather-wise, we had three nice sunny days and three ‘challenging’ ones. The scenery was still dramatic on the harsh days, but driving wind & rain isn’t great for taking it all in. You find yourselves hood ups, heads down, looking at your walking boots!

Adelle braving the wind, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Still, it was late November, so a mixed bag has to be expected.

Limestone pavement, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Back in the village, we had a choice of places to relax. Our cottage was warm & cosy so that was one option. We also had a choice of pubs and cafés on the doorstep.

Looking through the window of Tennant Cottage, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

And when we say on the doorstep, we really mean it. You could actually see most of them from the house – and a tempting sight they were too!

Bridge in the evening, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There are a couple of good pubs – The Buck Inn and the Lister Arms Hotel. We frequented The Lister Arms in particular – we loved its country style and traditional feel.

The Lister Arms Hotel, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It had a great fire too, where a fair few refreshing pints were supped!

A pint of bitter in front of the fire in the Lister Arms Hotel bar, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There’s also Beck Hall with it’s lovely wood panelled snug – that’s a must for your Malham shortlist. In addition to its snug and garden room, it has some outside seating areas alongside the river which will no doubt be glorious in the summer.

The lounge in Beck Hall, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Everywhere seemed to be dog friendly which made life much easier for us.

Justin and Fudge on a bridge over Malham Beck, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Despite his advancing years, Fudge was really in his element and loved the long walks.

Fudge drinking from Malham Beck | H is for Home

It’s perfect dog walking territory actually – paths, picnic spots and places to get drinks on the move.

Adelle and Fudge at Janet's Foss, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

In addition to the outdoor activity, he was equally fond of all the attention he got – not only from us, but fellow walkers, pub-goers, business owners and staff.

Ribblehead Viaduct on a wet, wintery day, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We could happily spend the days in and around the village, but we took a drive through the Dales midway through our stay, getting as far as Hawes in the north of the area. There are endless country lanes, villages and valleys to explore. We’ve always loved the Ribblehead Viaduct when we’ve seen it on photos – what a joy it was when it came into view on our little jaunt out.

Adelle with Malham Cove in the background, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a special place – Adelle will always remember this birthday in beautiful Malham.

Who’s heard of dock pudding?

Breakfast plate of egg, bacon and dock pudding | H is for Home

Have you ever heard of dock pudding? I hadn’t until this year. It’s a pudding – if you can call it that – that’s very particular to our neck of the woods and this time of year.

Colanders of dock and nettle leaves | H is for Home

It’s a local, Calder Valley dish made of dock leaves, nettles, spring onions and oats – and is traditionally fried in bacon fat. The name ‘dock pudding’ is pretty misleading, not only is it not what you’d consider a pudding, it’s made using Persicaria bistorta. More commonly known as bistort, common bistort, European bistort, meadow bistort, gentle dock or passion dock.

Dock identification | H is for Home

It does however, grow alongside what we commonly know as dock – Rumex obtusifolius – or bitter dock, broad-leaved dock, bluntleaf dock, dock leaf or butter dock. Bistort is quite a bit smaller than dock. I’ve included a photo I took to help you identify the difference. If you’re still not sure about it, wait until June or July when bistort is in bloom. You can’t miss its pretty pink flowers shaped like cotton buds.

Adding oatmeal to dock pudding mixture | H is for Home

There’s a World Dock Pudding Championship founded in 1971 and held annually in Mytholmroyd. It took place just last weekend. During the Second World War, William Brooke Joyce, the last man to be hanged in Britain for treason, mistakenly believed that the people of Yorkshire were starving due to food rationing and were resorting to eating grass. In fact, they were simply enjoying their dock pudding!

Frying dock pudding rounds | H is for Home

I used the recipe from A Yorkshire Cookbook by Mary Hanson Moore and used a metal ring to mould them into perfect rounds. I had mine as a vegetarian option; served on a hash brown with runny egg sitting atop that. Justin had his served with the crispy bacon and egg – his dock pudding fried in bacon fat. We can honestly say that it was really delicious in both dishes. Justin had it again with a full English breakfast and says that in addition to the bacon and egg, it combines well with all other options like sausage, mushroom, tomato, potatoes, fried bread and toast. Dock pudding is a real winner – not only is it naturally foraged, very healthy and virtually cost free – the flavour really enhances dishes. As said, it’s great with breakfast ingredients, but could be used for all manner of other starter dishes and light lunches – or as a main course accompaniment.

Dock pudding
Ingredients
  1. 1 quart snakeweed leaves
  2. 1pint young nettle tops
  3. 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  4. 1 handful oatmeal
  5. small knob of butter
  6. bacon fatDock pudding ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Clean and remove the thick stalks from the docks and nettles and boil with the onions in a little water until tender
  2. Add some seasoning and sprinkle in the oatmeal
  3. Boil again for 10 minutes, stirring all the time
  4. Add the butter
  5. Leave overnight
  6. Next day, fry large spoonfuls of the mixture in hot bacon fat and serve with bacon
Notes
  1. Don't forget to wear protective gloves when picking the stinging nettles and make sure you forage in a place where dogs aren't able to cock their leg!
Print
Adapted from A Yorkshire Cookbook
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Win tickets to York’s Festival of Vintage

Win a pair of Festival of Vintage tickets | H is for Home

We’ve teamed up with the award-winning Festival of Vintage to offer two of our readers a pair of tickets each to attend the upcoming festival. This April 22nd & 23rd it returns for its 7th year to York Racecourse and will once again be showcasing the best in vintage shopping, music, dancing and fashion.

Vintage shelves for sale at the Festival of Vintage, York

A fun and nostalgic weekend, it attracts thousands of visitors, giving a feeling of being transported back in time. There’s a packed programme with three large halls of vintage shopping including fashion, homewares and furniture, two dance halls and music stages plus an impressive classic car display outside all focusing on the 1930s-1960s.

Rack of vintage clothes for sale at Festival of Vintage, York

There are so many extra things to see and do over the weekend such as craft ‘Make, Do and Mend’ workshops where you can learn a new skill, dance lessons covering many styles such as Lindy Hop and Jive and a variety of fashion shows. The Marks and Spencer Archive team returns to share their fashion history with everyone in Q&As and talks as well as show casing their favourite designs on the catwalk. There’s even a ‘Best Dressed’ contest where you can wow the judges and win cash prizes.

Couples dancing at the Festival of Vintage, York

With over 200 hand-picked vintage sellers from across the UK as well as 50 top quality vintage reproduction brands, the event is a honey pot for collectors and enthusiasts. Be it fashion, homewares, music, jewellery – there’ll be something there for everyone.

Vintage fabric for sale at the Festival of Vintage, York

Doors open from 10am-5pm, both days. York Racecourse, York YO23 1EX. For more information visit www.festivalofvintage.co.uk or call 0113 3458699.

If you fancy this as a great day or weekend out leave us a comment below saying what you’d most look forward to seeing or doing at the Festival of Vintage.

Tickets to Festival of Vintage, York





Shared on: Superluckyme | The Prizefinder | Loquax | U Me and the Kids

Keelham Farm Shop

Keelham Farm Shop entrance

We had a lovely drive over to Skipton today to visit Keelham Farm Shop.

Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton

We saw the shop on television at the weekend on the Countryfile programme. We were really taken with the Huddersfield-produced halloumi that was featured.

Keelham Farm Shop floor, Skipton

So we decided to go buy some of that – and see what else was on offer. We filled a trolley with all manner of deliciousness!

Coffee shop upstairs in Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton

There’s also a large ground floor restaurant and mezzanine café with a vintage industrial vibe – now bedecked in its Christmas decorations.

Adelle in the Keelham Farm Shop coffee shop

We found a Hygge-friendly corner! Adelle had a cute little penguin to keep her company while relaxing with a cup of coffee and slice of carrot cake.

Stairway looking down on to the shop floor of Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton

We bought quite a selection of (mainly) Yorkshire produced food & drink… including two types of the Halloumi (or Haloum! – as they call it). A mint variety and a fiery chilli. Justin bought himself a pork pie – he always judges and establishment by its pork pies. To be honest, he bought four different kinds of pie! As well as bread, cheeses, soups, ales, biscuits and puddings.

Selection of (mainly) Yorkshire produced food & drink | H is for Home

We’ve been sampling items for both lunch and dinner – they’ve all got top marks so far! We’ll be making a return trip very soon as we really like Skipton anyway – and this shop is just one more good reason to go.