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Chesterfield Art Deco, Plus….

We stopped for the night just north of Nottingham and headed for Chesterfield in the morning as we knew from our previous visit it had a thriving street market as so many towns in England do.

Somehow I’d missed almost all the Deco in the town centre.

Greenwood’s:-


Greenwoods, Chesterfield

Note the beautiful detailing. Rule of three in the horizontal banding and great rectangle with diamond inlay pls horizontal banding throughout:-

Greenwoods, Chesterfield, Detail

McDonald’s has a hint of deco:-

McDonald's Chesterfield

Last time this was a nightclub called Escapade. Now it’s Department:-

Chesterfield Art Deco

Rule of three in the windows. Good brickwork:-

Tower Detail, Art Deco, Chesterfield.

Again rule of three; at least in upper windows which don’t seem to have been replaced. Good horizontal banding:-

More Detail, Art Deco, Chesterfield.

Deco corner site. Note the detailing between the upper and lower window layers especially on the unpainted brick gable:-

Deco Corner, Chesterfield

As is usual the town’s deco pièce de résistance is a former Burton’s (stitched photo) :-

Burton's, Chesterfield.

In amongst all this modern stuff could be found Tudor style timbering. The Twelfth Century Royal Oak:-

Tudor Style Timbering, Chesterfield

And an old bus, destination Brampton. We’d pass through Brampton later:-

Old Bus, Chesterfield

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Fourth Estate, 2012, 411 p.

Bring up the Bodies cover

From its opening words, “His children are falling from the sky,” to its final ones – a warning that there are no endings, only beginnings – this second in Mantel’s Tudor trilogy is a consciously literary endeavour. (The “children” are in fact falcons named after Thomas Cromwell’s offspring.) Not that it is in any way difficult. The narration is still in the third person but the use of “he” to refer to Thomas Cromwell does not induce as much confusion as in Wolf Hall – perhaps because the reader is more accustomed to it but also since Mantel uses “he, Cromwell,” more often than in the previous book. There are occasional flourishes of poetic language to leaven proceedings and emphasise the literariness of the endeavour.

The action covers the events surrounding Anne Boleyn’s trial and execution. The phrase “Bring up the bodies” is uttered to call her supposed lovers (all of whom have been in Cromwell’s sights since they mocked his patron Cardinal Wolsey during a masqued ball at court) in to their trial. Mantel does a fine job in portraying all this history (whose outlines are well known but for which few documents remain.) Her hero, Cromwell, is instrumental in securing confessions but the text still leaves open the possibility that Anne was innocent of the charges laid.

Anne’s crime, if any, would not have been adultery (though for her lovers it would have been.) Rather, her offence was “imagining the King’s death.” This tickled me since Mantel was herself recently criticised for imagining a Prime Minister’s death – some idiot Tory MP said Mantel ought to be prosecuted for it – even though the PM concerned had already died, and crime writers imagine people’s deaths all the time.

In the book, apropos of Thomas Wyatt (the poet) Cromwell muses, “You must believe everything and nothing of what you read.” Mantel is believable. Reading Bring Up the Bodies, a much better and more rounded book than Wolf Hall, may be the best substitute for being at Henry VIII’s court. (Better even; since there is no risk to life involved in the experience.)

And only one contender for Pedant’s Corner: when he had rode. Plus not a single typo anywhere. Remarkable for these times.

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