Watts Chapel

I’ve been wanting to visit Watts Chapel, in Surrey, for a while and this year, I finally got there. Wow!

The chapel is a Grade 1 listed mortuary chapel built by the artist Mary Watts and the villagers of Compton between 1895 and 1904. The terracotta panels on the exterior are made from symbols taken from Celtic, Romanesque, Jewish and Egyptian traditions. The exterior is very striking but I thought the interior was absolutely stunning.

The interior had been created, in low relief, using felt, rope and other materials which were then covered with gesso and painted in rich colours. The design incorporated many symbols representing ‘growth and decay’, ‘the light and dark side of all things’ and the circle of the eternal ‘without beginning, without end’.

On the Watts Gallery website you’ll find a 360 degree view of the chapel.

The cemetery in which the chapel is located is itself Grade II listed, with many of the graves designed in the Arts & Crafts style.

It’s certainly worth a visit and, while you’re there, you can also see Watts Gallery, Limnerslease (the house where Mary lived with her husband George Watts) and take a walk around the village of Compton.

Visit to Dunham Massey, National Trust

Dunham Massey, in Cheshire, is an Elizabethan country house and deer park that is now run by the National Trust.

An old watermill in the grounds has recently been restored and opened to the public.

The leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn as autumn approaches.

One of the old trees lying on the ground had a very striking bark pattern.

The Motor House

When the 9th Earl of Stamford took possession of Dunham Massey in 1905 he instructed the conversion of the stables into a ‘motor house’. At the time only 16,000 cars were registered in the country and motoring was a hobby enjoyed only by the wealthy.

The Morris Ten-Four on display was a 1935 model, owned by Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford.

The stables were sympathetically remodelled to retain many of the original features and character of the buildings. I particularly liked the texture of the brick wall…

…and the beautiful high timber-framed ceiling.

Waverley Paddle Steamer Trip

For my mum’s birthday I booked a day trip on the Waverley Paddle Steamer, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world! We left mid-afternoon from the end of Southend Pier, arriving at Tower Bridge in London just after sunset.

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Photo: © Waverley Excursions Ltd

The Waverley was built on the Clyde in Scotland and was launched in 1947. After a long career she was bought for £1 in 1975 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society. She now makes regular pleasure trips around the UK throughout the year, which includes trips along the Thames.

It was fascinating to see the coastline and famous landmarks from a fresh perspective.

Tilbury Docks unloading a container ship…

The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge…

A view of the Docklands skyline in the distance…

The Thames Barrier…

The Millenium Dome…

Our first glimpse of the Shard and the City skyline at sunset…

Behind us was this stunning view of Canary Wharf, all lit up…

The Thames has many twists and turns on the approach to Tower Bridge, which can be very disorientating! Around the final bend we approached Tower Bridge, which opened to enable us to pass through…

…and under…

Wow! What a view!

Thank you Waverley. Until next year…