This is the Reading Room of the Rylands Library. Having lived my student years in central Manchester. I am a little ashamed to say that 2019 was my first visit inside the library. It’s a late-Victorian neo-Gothic architectural style. Opened in 1900 it has Harry Potter style vibes to the place. The library was founded by John’s wife in his memory. John Rylands was an English entrepreneur who owned large textile manufacturing mills. At its peak, the Rylands family firm employed 15,000 people across 17 mills and factories, producing 35 tons of cloth a day. In the past this type of interior photograph would have required a tripod to keep the image sharp. Modern cameras can now handle such low light settings with ease.
Blue whale Skeleton in Natural History Museum
One of the largest and most impressive specimens in London’s Natural History museum is this blue whale skeleton, nicknamed Hope. Installed in 2018, it is 82 feet (25 metres) long and weighs about 4.5 tonnes. Having been to London half a dozen times I am embarrassed to say this year was the first time I’ve visited this museum. Which is free and well worth a visit. I had planned to grab the shot of the whale and move onto my next location but once I had my picture I explored. I ended up spending a few hours exploring the museum and it is incredible. The museum has been there since 1881. There is more than a days worth of things to see and explore. This photograph was taken from the second floor. I like the way the morning sun was shining through the glass ceiling and the stained glass window. The white statue at the back of the main hall is of Charles Darwin.
The Strand Arcade, Sydney
Built in 1890 this Victorian style retail arcade is in the heart of central Sydney. It’s quieter and more picturesque than the nearby Queen Victoria Building. One thing that stands out to me the most is the shop signage. No big red SALE signs. No huge shop brand logos. Simple small signs above each shop front. Helped by the ornate cast iron and carved balustrades, and timber framed shopfronts. It did take some time to compose this photograph to be as symmetrical as possible.
Gardeners potting room
Walking around Calke Abbey gardeners was fantastic. Bright flower beds and well designed vegetable gardens. I took many photographs but this was one many others missed. In the middle of the garden is a large brick house. I assume this would have been the head gardeners home. Walking up to a dark doorway it felt like I was stepping back in time. I looked through to find the head gardeners office. Scenes like this with the old, rusting tools hanging up are great record photographs. The crumbling plaster and paint on the wall behind add to the feeling of stepping back in time 100 years.