Monday, 4 March 2013

History on Our Doorstep

My reading group book of the month is The Life of Pi.
 G read this book ages ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, I've never been drawn to it and when it was announced that it was to be our next book I inwardly groaned at the thought of having to read something I had deliberately avoided.
I'm half way through the book and I have to say that if it weren't for the fact it was for book group this may have become one of only a handful of books I have started and never finished.
I'm not spoiling things for those who haven't read it by saying that the name of the tiger in the book is Richard Parker.
This led us to the start of a little history jaunt around the area we live in yesterday morning.

Our first stop was Peartree Church which is the oldest Anglican church in the world 

and where there is a memorial to the (part) inspiration for the tiger's name.  Richard Parker was a Southampton boy who was killed and eaten by his shipmates in 1884 when they were the only survivors from a shipwreck. A very grisly business indeed.

With the aid of a local history book I bought last year we then wandered along to Bitterne Way where Captain Haddock lived. Not the character from Tintin, but the real live Captain of the RMS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic. We don't know which house he lived in but wondered if this gate held a clue or if it just belonged to someone who likes sailing.

Just around the corner is Chessel Avenue where there is a house which was lived in for 7 years by Roy Chadwick who, as the blue plaque explains, was the designer of the Lancaster and the Vulcan aircrafts.

As you can see by this plaque the main road we were walking along to get us to our various destinations has been used for many, many centuries.

These pillars were once part of the main entrance to Chessel House, I would have loved to have seen it in all it's glory, and it's most famous visitor was Jane Austen.

The guide book I was using was produced by the local history society and they have a shop housing their collection which I haven't visited but really, really should.
I must admit to exclaiming very loudly when I saw this collection of yogurt pots amongst their window display. Does anyone else remember the Mr Men yogurts? I do, especially the Mr Lazy fudge one.

Another thing which caught my eye was this old till, I don't remember these though!

It was quite chilly by the time we were back home again a hour or so later and we were pleased to be back indoors enjoying tea and one of these coffee cakes S and I had baked on Saturday.


  1. Sounds like you had a lovely time discovering all that history on your doorstep. I love finding things out about where we live.

    Yum those cakes look worth coming home to!

    P x

  2. What an interesting post! It's great that the book led to such and interesting day out - and even better if you come home to delicious cake!

  3. What an interesting post! A great walk and cake afterwards - a fab day!

  4. What a lot of history you have nearby, fascinating. The coffee cakes look delicious, they're Mick's favourites.

  5. So cute those yogurt pots!
    Have a lovely week!

  6. That was a really interesting post; I bought Life of Pi ages ago (before I'd heard of the book or film being made) from a jumble sale but haven't yet read it. I thought it was going to be really good but maybe not...
    I didn't know the history of Richard Parker but I do remember Mr Men yogurts! Cakes look gorgeous by the way although I'd have to pick the nuts out - don't like any kind of nut (except my husband!!)

  7. I have the life of Pi to read sometime... you don't like it?
    Thanks for the interesting info, and the cake porn. They look lovely!

  8. I love discovering history on my doorstep(as you know!) You found some fabulous things! That book (and film) doesn't appeal to me either. xxxx

  9. History on your doorstep so interesting - thank you for the tour !
    Not read the book. When I was in a book group I groaned at some of the choices & went on to enjoy some & not others but made me read out of my comfort zone. I just could not get through Harry Potter - I didn't even start it !

  10. Oh. I have just 'reread' yep thats reread Life of Pi. I love it!
    I think the first part is a little heavy on philosophical thought, but after that it's fantastic!!!

  11. I've tried twice to read it but have been unable to finish it.

  12. No.4 Bitterne Way was the home built for Captain Herbert James Haddock and his family. I know this well, because we are buying it :)

  13. Chris,
    Thanks for visiting and leaving a message about Cpt Haddock's house. I hope you'll be very happy in your new home. I have popped over to the Echo site and read the article you left details about too.