Monday, 17 March 2008

Monday, 17th March 2008


I took the bus into Birkenhead this morning and was cheered by the plentiful Primulas that Wirral Council have been planted around the borough at roadsides – as here at Arrowe Park, on roundabouts and in Hamilton Square.

Hamilton Square dates from 1826 and has the most Grade 1 listed buildings in one place in England, except for Trafalgar Square in London.

The Town Hall – which now serves as the Wirral Museum - was built in 1887 of sandstone taken from Storeton Quarry.

In Hamilton Square is a replica Eleanor Cross. Edward I had ornate crosses like this erected at twelve places where the body of his Queen, Eleanor of Castile, rested on the route to Westminster after her death at Harby in Northamptonshire in 1290.

The grief-stricken Edward ordered that she should be embalmed and her entrails buried at Lincoln Cathedral before her body was carried in a sombre procession to Westminster Abbey. The crosses at Geddington, Hardingstone, and Waltham Cross survive to this day. The last cross on the route was at Charing Cross where a highly imaginative reconstruction of the original 13th Century structure now stands.

Attracted by the primulas in Hamilton Square I saw my first butterfly of the year – a Peacock. I saw my first bumblebee yesterday, at home in Pensby.

This modern obelisk is one of a number which have been erected to mark the boundaries of the Hamilton quarter.

Just by this obelisk are a few young London Plane trees which, at this time of year, can be distinguished by their fruits even when the bark is not obvious.

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