Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Devizes Surprises

Sorry we had no internet access last night so the blog is a day behind.

Just opposite our overnight mooring is the Devizes wharf, used now as a hire boat base, and the wharf buildings housing a canal museum, gift shop and cafe.  The style of the building is similar to the one at Newbury.

The museum was interesting giving the history of the planning and building of the K&A as well as the more recent history of its regeneration and reopening in 1990.

Little narrow streets and alleyways with shops could be spied off the main streets.

This antique shop in Northgate Street was certainly a surprise, once we got through the stiff door into a smallish room, we wandered through discovering not so much the antique stock but the old house itself.  The rooms were full of original features; fireplaces, built in cupboards, scullery kitchen, stone flags on the floors or wide oak boards, narrow twisty stairs leading to rooms with sloping floors and undulating ceilings.  It was great we had a lovely time, oh and they a some good stock too, but rather pricey!  However we felt we had had a free visit around an interesting property.

Tucked back, next door was the Devizes Literary and Scientific Institute building.

Devizes is home to the Wadworth Brewery. Wadworth & Co. was founded in 1875 when Henry Wadworth purchased the old Northgate Brewery in Devizes.
Wadworths still use traditional shire horses to deliver their casked ale to local pubs in Devizes. The radius of the operation is roughly 5 miles square; beyond the 5 mile radius, motor vehicles are used. The ale can be delivered in metal or wooden barrels.
The brewery owns four horses which are stabled at the brewery and the horses receive 2 weeks' holiday every year in a nearby village. As well as delivering ale, the horses also compete in shows and events throughout the country. The sight of the shire horses is well known in Devizes and has become a defining image for the town.
Wadworth is one of only four breweries in the UK that still use horses to deliver ale, one of four that has an in-house cooper and the last brewery whose in-house master cooper makes nothing but barrels.

The Corn Exchange is on the Market Square opposite the Market Cross with a statue of Ceres, goddess of grain overhead.
Originally farmers would trade their corn at the site of the cross, but in 1837 petitioned for a covered building to protect their crops on wet market days. The Corn Market building was built in 1857 after funds were raised.

Devizes Castle, a privately owned mansion today, has much history attached to it and previous buildings on this site more information can be found here.

Long another little narrow street we came across this terrace of simple little cottages, tucked behind some of the grander buildings of the town. Really lovely.

And the Shambles Market Hall, which holds general and antique markets on several days of the week, but once was the meat market.  At one time also the cheese and butter market. It has a splendid new roof covering now.
We remembered that when in York, the famous streets known as the Shambles were so called because of the butcher's shops that they originally contained.
We decided to forego the takeaway special, I'm not sure I fancy ground coffee in a sandwich!

This post has taken ages as internet keeps going and pictures take ages to upload, so you'll have to wait for the trip down Caen Hill.

1 comment:

  1. A coffee and bacon sandwich, hmmmm! Chewy!