WE'RE HAVING a bit of sleety rain and snow is forecast for the Pennines but today
is our last opportunity to use our Metro Day Rover before it expires at the end of
There's a pigeon's eye view of Westgate - including Clark's Brewery, established
in 1906, from the waiting room in Wakefield Westgate Station. This view is more inspiring
than the view you get of the city on a train approaching from the north; a few months
ago you'd have seen the stone towers of County Hall and the Town Hall and the medieval
spire of the Cathedral. Now those have been blotted out by a wall of black - interspersed
with yellow - of the new multi-storey car park.
There's more development in Wakefield than I can ever remember. The phrase that Private
Eye used to use in their Nooks & Corners column comes to mind: 'the city has been
dragged kicking and screaming into the 1960s'.
Saltaire, by contrast, has gained World Heritage Status. Salts Mill, built by Victorian
industrialist and philanthropist Sir Titus Salt, has everything we need for a winter's
day out; a spacious bookshop, an inspiring art shop and exhibitions of work by local
artists and by David Hockney. In the current show, Hockney's use of colour in the
half-size replicas of some of his stage sets, for Rakes Progress and The Mikado are
an inspiration for me as I prepare to start work on the scenery for the pantomime
by our local amateur dramatic society.
The Mill is right next to the station so it's ideally placed for a winter's visit
using our Day Rover.
Here are my customary sketches made on the train.
As I scanned my sketches, I discovered a useful new button in my scanning program
'Deletes all cropping frames'. Cropping frames in this case means the frames I put
round my individual drawings in the program to indicate which I want to scan.
In the days before Sir Titus made his fortune from the mechanisation of textile
production, ‘Delete all cropping frames' could well have served as a rallying call
for the Luddites as in 1812 they targeted the cropping frames that were putting the
hand shearers out of work.
Shearing and cropping were ways of taking the nap (rough projecting threads) off
woven woollen cloth.