diamond geezer

 Friday, July 23, 2010

Day out: Chichester
Close-ish to the English Channel, about as west as West Sussex gets, lies the cathedral city of Chichester. The Romans were first to set up camp here, the Church arrived about a millennium later, and today the place is home to a cultured outgoing crowd. Chichester Harbour is close by, thought not actually adjacent to the town, which means there are more yacht owners per square mile than most other parts of Britain. And this is where I went yesterday, for a midweek value day out, which turned out to be very pleasant. Highlights follow.

Chichester Cathedral
Chichester CathedralSome English Cathedrals are stuffy and off-putting, with a ticket barrier at the entrance and a lot of vergers scuttling around making sure visitors behave. Chichester's not like that. It's welcoming and friendly, and nobody forces you to pay anything. They even open their doors before half past seven in the morning, because their cathedral is a place of community and worship. "Here, have a free leaflet," said the nice lady by the west door, "and yes of course you can take photographs, and maybe you'd like to join that free tour over there." Cheers, don't mind if I do. The building's impressive, and unusually broad inside, although not quite as amazing as certain larger UK cathedrals. There's the usual nave, transepts and chapels, plus some rather lovely stained glass of a late 20th century vintage. As for the spire [photo], that's a Victorian replacement, because the original collapsed one Thursday lunchtime (creak, bulge, crack, tumble) while the townspeople gathered round and watched. Act of God, no doubt. On my visit there was no such peril, just the cathedral's organists practising for some imminent event. The sound of mighty pipes echoing around the medieval vaults was heart-stirring, and all the better for being a two-instrument duet. And they played "Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" too, because they're fun like that here.

Chichester Old Town
Much of the medieval city wall survives, providing an elevated stone walkway for anyone who fancies walking round the inner edge of town. Most residents don't. The view's sometimes excellent (ooh, 13th century Guildhall in the middle of a park) and sometimes not (ah, 1970s apartments). The four main roads within the walls are named after the four compass points, and meet at the old market cross in the centre of town [photo]. Nice place for a bit of pedestrianised shopping, this, with ugly concrete malls thankfully nowhere in evidence. One retail outlet in East Street is (or ought to be) famous, because it's the place where a potted meat empire began. Charles Shippam had a butcher's shop at number 48, behind which he branched out into factory production. Fishpaste in glass jars with a special lid, it caught on big time, and WWI soldiers lived off the stuff. Expansion continued until 1995 when the business was sold off - it's now owned by Mitsubishi Industries, no less! Shippams now trade out of a giant shed on a trading estate on the edge of town, and the old butcher's shop sells shoes. At least the company's old clock survives, hanging out over the street with a trademark wishbone dangling down below. [photo]

Pallant House Gallery
Pallant House GalleryThe Pallant's not like most provincial art galleries. It's two buildings in one, the first a Queen Anne townhouse, the second a very recent extension. Its focus is modern art, of which has one of the finest collections outside London, but still with a bit of the old scattered throughout for good measure. Hence you might find an old Georgian portrait next to a Picasso, or a cabinet full of of Bow Porcelain (ooh, local) close to a framed Henry Moore. I liked the 20th century emphasis, including a long gallery of Pop Art and a special current exhibition showcasing Surrealism. Several rooms of Mexican art proved slightly less gripping, but they're temporary too, and there'll be something completely different along in September. One of the gallery volunteers engaged me in excitable conversation about the various works, both what she loved and what she hated, which was unusually refreshing and much appreciated. Admission's not cheap, but I was much taken by the buzz of imagination running through the place.

Chichester Festival Theatre: This concrete mushroom can be found to the north of the town, and hosts a famous spring/summer festival every year. Thursday lunchtimes there's not so much going on. [photo]
Chichester District Museum: Next year, this motley collection of local stuff is moving to a spanking new building on a former car park. About time too, because the old place looks like it's in desperate need of a refresh.
Chichester Ship Canal: Yes, Chichester has a Ship Canal, who knew? Its six mile length was part of an ambitious plan to link the upper Thames to Portsmouth Harbour, but proved woefully unsuccessful and hasn't seen a ship since the 1840s. The canal preservation trust run daily sightseeing trips from the city basin down as far as Chichester Harbour, although I suspect a proper harbour tour is far more interesting.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards