It has rained all day, but the nice English rain that doesn't really get you very wet, if you choose to ignore it. However it was a good job that we were near Leek and not at Froghall as there was plenty to see rather than tramp about the country side walking. We started the day with a good clean through. This was when the bathroom sink plug decided to pack up. It is one of those that you push down to close and push again to open. I couldn't work out how it worked, and what ever I did didn't seem to fix it. It took it out and decided to look round some plumbers merchants later. We walked in to Leek via paths and ended up on Derby Street. It is a very nice market town with a great diversity of architecture and a mixture of shopping. On the way we passed so Victorian Alms Houses that were dedicated by Elizabeth Condlyffe in 1882. They are built in a 'Old English' style and are unusual as they has religious texts on the barge boards.
Condlyffe Alms Houses, Leek.
The main feature at the bottom of Derby Road is the Nicholson War Memorial. This is said to be the tallest war memorial in England and was commissioned by Sir Arthur Nicholson after he lost one of his son's in WWI. I found it interesting that there was a plaque that was dedicated to seven people that had been forgotten to be added to the WWII plaque and another plaque that was dedicated to the one civilian who was killed by enemy action in Leek. A stray bomb fell on his house. and he was killed. His family survived. By a terrible stroke of fate he was directly hit by the bomb but it failed to explode!
Nicholson War Memorial, dedicated 20th August 1925.
We had a lunch of pie, chips and gravy at Lawton's pie shop. There was certainly plenty of trade as folk constantly came in to buy the pies that are made on the premises to a secret recipe.
Lawton's Pie shop and Bakery, Derby Street, Leek.
We walked down to see Bridley's Mill but unfortunately it was closed. James Brindley, the famous canal engineer, built this mill in 1752. He was born in 1716 to quite a well off family and was apprenticed to a millwright. Following the completion he set him self up in business as a wheelwright. He soon got a reputation for being very able with machinery. He built this mill in 1752. It had been derelict but has been brought back to life. There is another connection with his life, or rather death, as when he was surveying the leek and Caldon canal he got a soaking but being unable to get properly dry he caught a drill. It seems the friend of Josiah Wedgewood and his Doctor, Erasmus Darwin, visited and found that he had diabetes as well as a chill. He died at his home at Turnhurst in 1772. Turnhurst is within sight of the Harecastle tunnel which we will be passing through in a few days.
Brindley's Mill, Leek.
After a troll of the shops picking up this and that we went for a pint at the Cock Inn. It was very quiet but the pint of Joule's Pale Ale was the best pint I have had for a long time. You may remember that Joule's Brewery was originally at Stone and I had a couple of photos of the buildings. It was sold to a major company that closed it down. The name, and brew recipe has been revived and several pubs are owned by them in this area. The bar man was very knowlegdable about the whole business and gave me samples of all the ales on tap. In the market square when we were on the way home they were already putting up the stalls for the market tomorrow.
Lamp standard, Market Place, Leek.
Looking down Derby Street to the Nicholson War Memorial.
Saint Edward Street, Leek.
On the way home we called in to a couple of Plumbers merchants and to replace my plug would be at best £12. I will have a think about it as I got a standby plug from Yorkshire Outlet shop for £1. In fact I got two. We have decided to go back in to Leek tomorrow to go round the outdoor market, butter market and Trestle Market.