Wednesday, April 3, 2013

UK2013: Bury St Edmunds

I stayed with friends Paul and Sarah over the weekend. They live just around the corner from our old house in Bury St Edmunds. It was very nice to see them and catch up. The weather was cold and dreary - welcome back to the UK! - but I took a couple of walks around the town.

Here's the Corn Exchange. It used to be a market house as the name suggests. Last time I was in there, it looked a bit well-worn from years of use. Now the Wetherspoon company has taken it over and renovated it, turning it into one of their pubs. Wetherspoons are a bit like the Starbucks of beer in that they seem to be everywhere, but they do a few things right, and looking after buildings is one of them.

The front of the building.

Inside, the roof is all cleaned up and repainted. The great hall is the seating area, and they have built a pretty impressive free-standing bar at the far end. I suspect the space behind here is full of kegs and supplies.

Detail shot of some of the stonework by the arches visible on the right of the previous shot.

The Cafe Rouge building sits opposite the Corn Exchange. It stands out in town due to its red brickwork and ornate carvings. I always liked this building.

This is the base of the tower guarding the edge of the cathedral/abbey area.

Here is the statue of St Edmund. He stands in front of a row of 14th-century houses. As you can tell, they have been repaired over time, with different eras of architecture showing up along the frontage.

This is Moyse's Hall Museum in the centre of town. It's a nice historical museum; worth a visit.

Close up of the door and windows. I love these big heavy wooden doors with Proper Ironworks on them.

Now we wander up to the New Development. This used to be a parking lot. There was a wooden hut that was used as a coffee/tea shop, which always had the older townsfolk stopping by there for a chat. In the name of 'progress' it was all torn down and modern new buildings put in their place. I don't actually dislike these buildings but I do question their compatibility with a 14th century town. Bury now has two town centres; all the modern and trendy shops have moved into the new bit and left holes in the old centre. These are filling up with pound shops and charity shops, which really does the town no good at all. A bit sad, really.

One of many pillars blocking cars from entering

The street leading up to the new square. I think there are flats/apartments above the shops.

The curvy Debenhams building looks cool, I'll admit. To the left of this shot is a new theatre, which Paul and Sarah tell me is pretty good.

Time to scurry back to the old part of town...

Looking up towards the top of St John's Street. The pink-painted windows are those of Josef's Cafe, a very good vegetarian/vegan spot.

Looking down from almost the same spot

At the bottom of the street, looking back up. I like the windy nature of this road.

Same spot, looking down the road. There's a pub on the left and St Andrew's church in front. Just after the pub is a left turn; if you take this, you end up at our old house. Instead I turned right, towards Paul and Sarah's.

These houses are on the same street as Paul and Sarah's house. Typical old-style Bury house architecture. Very sturdy and pleasing to look at.

Some flowers trying to grow through the snow, outside Sarah's door.

Leo the cat making footprints in the snow :-)

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