Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Back to quiet pleasures. The bf came over for a few days the other week, and on the first full day of his visit we headed west into Rutland. We ended up in the small, perfectly formed market town of Uppingham. Another one of those market towns that Britain is so blessed in possessing. Until recent development Uppingham was essentially a long winding street lined with stone built cottages and houses occupying the crest of a hill that falls sharply away to the south. It is very attractive - the older houses are made of oolitic limestone and mainly the orange-y ironstone (actually Middle Lias Marlstone). Both are Jurassic in origin. We had a great time wandering around the astonishing 'Goldmark Gallery'- I wish I had the money to buy something! The centre of the town is a small picturesque market place with the parish church to the south (The interior is far too dark to photograph and suffers from a harsh 19th century restoration and too much modern clutter does have a lovely window by Comper by the way of compensation. But not enough.) The west end of the High Street is dominated by Uppingham School, one of Britain's leading Public Schools. The architecture evokes that of an Oxbridge college. The main facade is by Sir Thomas Jackson, the architect who did so much to construct the modern face of Oxford, in his usual 'Anglo-Jackson' manner. In stark contrast the Great hall, which is based on that at Kirby Hall just over the border in Northamptonshire, is by that neglected Arts & Crafts architect by Ernest Newton - a much more severe, and indeed sublime, design. It dates from the 1920s. Arts & Crafts too is the diminutive town hall. Uppingham, which has this wonderfully calm atmosphere, is also blessed in still retaining a lot of its proper shops - butchers, ironmongers, bakers etc.