There are lots of little details to be found when looking round towns or villages, and getting a closer, slower look at something you don’t quite understand can be very rewarding.
If you are still not sure what you are seeing, take a photo; it can help you to find out more once you get home.
Here’s a few examples I found, on just one day this week.
The blue door up the steps next to the chapel is long disused, and as a window with a shallow brick arch above once sat next to it, there would have once been an outbuilding here; according to an old map, part of the chapel.
The shrub on the wall above is another confirmation that the outbuilding has gone, together with a look from above via Google maps.
Further right there’s a vertical joint in the brickwork and another set of steps that once lead up to a doorway. On either side of the doorway are signs that windows were once there, and another look at the same old map confirms there was another small building here.
But the tell-tale vertical joints in the wall only go up so far; if you look closely you can see they all stop where the appearance of the wall changes. It’s because the top part of the wall has been rebuilt, and looks different from the lower part because it’s not built so neatly.
Some of this I didn’t really notice at the time, but realised later while checking my photos. As the old insult for people staring at you goes, “Take a picture; it’ll last longer!” : )
This had been Hilton’s shoe shop when I was a boy, and this is where Mum bought our Tuf brand shoes; It’s now a deli.
For years I had believed that this shop and another in Horn Street had been owned by the same company, and the shop fronts built in the same style. But I’d never got round to having a closer look.
Well the designs are similar, with fluted columns and what seems to be the same design of ornate grill above the plate glass, but I now realise they are just not the same. They were not owned by the same firm at all.
How embarassing! I’d even told the owner of the deli the story, and if she is reading this, I apologise for steering you wrong!
This shop front dates from around 1900, but Hilton’s shoe shop had been in Winslow since about 1861.
It isn’t quite the same as the one in the High Street, is it? A 1909 photo show this shop frontage in place when it was E.A. Illing, grocer’s.
Perhaps this was the popular style of the time, and they just happened to go for the same grill style above the glass. It’s now a cafe, just down from the square.
Hardly noticeable just under the noticeboard in Church Street, Stony Stratford, is this benchmark. The horizontal groove is an accurate location point for a support bench, so that the Ordnance Survey surveyor can position his levelling rod to take measurements.
The three triangular grooves forming the Government broad arrow below are to identify it as a benchmark.
From the days before road surfaces were sealed, boot scrapers were a useful thing to have by your front door, to remove as much muck and mud as possible.
This boot scraper in Stony Stratford High Street is one of four in the building, which comprises two houses with a scraper on each side of the front doors. But look closely and you’ll see, right at the back of the little alcove, a vent to keep the space under the wooden floor aired. Each scraper has one.
I didn’t know what I & P stood for, but I found just one mention in a book in the reference section of the library.
There I found that this shop, 76 High Street, was the home of the Stony Stratford Industrial and Provident Society Limited, a mutual society.
The society was in existance from 1873 to 1926. Industrial and Provident Societies were either a co-operative society, or run for the benefit of the local community.
The “SS I & P Socy Ltd” was at 86 High St in a 1910 postcard, but whether that was before or after it was at No. 76 I don’t know. No. 86 has a simple chequered mosai in the entranceway.
That’s all I could find out. But I’ve wondered for ages about the meaning or this mosaic, so at least I know a bit more now.
You’ll find this sometimes, but it’s quite nice to have a bit of a mystery. Perhaps I’ll find out more one day.
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