Novotel, Cardiff

This is the Novotel Hotel on Herbert Street, Cardiff. It looks north out over what was (until recently) the Tyndall Street Industrial Estate, and south it overlooks the surviving Junction Canal, which linked Sea Lock Pound with the two Bute Docks.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

Kristi and I spent our weekend down in Cornwall, making a return visit to the Eden Project for the first time since 2007. I’ve got hundreds of photos still to process from the visit, but I’ve picked out some of the shots that have already caught my eye to be my choice of wallpaper this week. I hope you enjoy them!

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The Photos

This Way To Callaghan Square

Callaghan Square was built in 1999, on the site of the old Sea Lock Pond – the very end of the Glamorganshire Canal, just south of the GWR line between Swansea and London.

It has its own blog, and its own Facebook page. I think it’s the first subject I’ve featured in my Merthyr Road project that has its own Facebook page.

British Gas at Callahan Square

These are the new British Gas offices in Callahan Square, home of the European Call Centre of the Year (Sept 2009), and the best call centre in Europe to work for (Sept 2009).

British Gas have had a call centre in Cardiff since 1986, employing up to 1,700 people, making them a major employer in the city. They moved into this new building in 2009. Their old building on Churchill Way has been converted into a Premier Inn hotel.

The Fountains Outside Eversheds

Callaghan Square was built along with the nearby Lloyd George Avenue specifically to link the city centre of Cardiff with the regeneration of Cardiff Bay. One of the key features of this design is its square and water features.

The Fountains Outside British Gas

Although British Gas and Eversheds are the two highest profile tenants of Callaghan Square (they have the logos most prominently seen from the trains from London pulling into Cardiff Central Station …), the offices here are home to other organisations too, such as the British Transport Police.

The Fountains Of Callaghan Square

This is why you buy high-quality, fast glass for your camera, so that you can get shots like this 🙂

Callaghan Square And The TVR Beyond

In the background, you can see the one-car train trundling along the old TVR line from Cardiff Bay station.

Amazingly, when the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation (closed in 2000) drew up the original plans for Callaghan Bay / Lloyd George Avenue, those plans included ripping up the TVR railway line down to Cardiff Bay. It seems that their opportunity has now passed, but you never know … one day the train in this shot might be part of history rather than the present.

Like Anyone Takes Notice Of That

A couple of the lamp posts in Callaghan Square have prohibition signs (banning skateboarding and larking about in the water) attached to them, for what little good they do. I didn’t see anyone in the water, but the skateboarders were certainly enjoying themselves.

Kinda fits in with the history of this area, which reportedly was once the red light district of Cardiff.

The Marquis Of Bute

Callaghan Square was originally going to be called Bute Square (after the Marquis of Bute, who was responsible for building Butetown and the Bute Docks), but partway through construction, Cardiff City Council decided instead to rename it to honour the former Labour Prime Minister, who was a Cardiff MP for many years.

I wonder if anyone noticed the irony of naming the regenerated wharfs of the Glamorganshire Canal after its longtime rival? Perhaps they should have called it Crawshay Square.

Water Feature In Callaghan Square

When I visited, the water features of Callaghan Square were dormant, simply making little spurts like this one. That allowed me to get up close to photograph them in detail.

Callaghan Square

And here it is, in all its glory – Callaghan Square.

In the distance to the left, you can just make out the Herbert Street bridge, over which runs the old TVR line down to Cardiff Bay. On the far right hand side is the statue of the Marquis of Bute. And in the middle, we have the water features that you’re prohibited from playing in.

My Abiding Memory Of Callaghan Square

I’ve been commuting into, and through, Cardiff for many years now, and sadly my one abiding memory of Callaghan Square over the years has been seeing empty offices from the train.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the property developers and agents seeking rents of 20 GBP per square foot these days, in a city that traditionally has paid a lot less for its office space?

The Curves At Callaghan Square

In all honesty, I think Callaghan Square has made the same mistake that most of the redevelopment in Cardiff has made. If you want to create something that can be talked about the world over, please please please make it possible to take interesting photographs of it!

This is what sets the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff’s glorious civic centre apart from the Millennium Centre or indeed Callaghan Square.

But there is one saving grace – although I have not done it justice at all – and that’s the way that 1 Callaghan Square (home to Eversheds) curves around.

References

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Bryn Celli Ddu, Anglesey

Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

My last choice of desktop wallpaper this week is also the reason we were in Snowdonia back in 2003. There isn’t much to say about Bryn Celli Ddu; it’s one of those magical places that is best appreciated in person. Somewhere in the house, there’s a painting of this scene that Kristi was working on. I must remember tonight to ask her whether she ever finished it or not.

I hope you enjoyed my choices this week. I’ve certainly enjoyed the nostalgia 🙂 Have a safe weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday with more desktop wallpaper choices.

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Ribblehead Viaduct

Posted by Stuart Herbert on May 20th, 2010 in Photos, Shoot.

One of the great architectural sights of the North Yorkshire Dales, the Ribblehead Viaduct stands proudly in the windswept and bleak moorland of Ribblesdale (even the nearby road is called Bleak Moors Road!) Built in the 1870’s, it has outlasted most of its contemporaries, and after a restoration effort in the 1990’s, hopefully it will continue to stand for several generations to come.

I grew up in Yorkshire in the 1980’s, when British Rail (as was at the time) was attempting to close the Settle to Carlisle railway which runs over the viaduct. Thankfully they failed, and one day I hope to go over this in a traditional steam train.

A few miles to the north of the viaduct is Hawes, the home of Wensleydale Cheese, and a great place to grab a great lunch before heading out to the viaduct.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribblehead_Viaduct
http://www.visitcumbria.com/carlset/history.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wensleydale_cheese

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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Fairy Glen, Betws-y-Coed

Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

Continuing this week’s theme of trying not to wish I was in Chicago, I’ve picked this shot of Fairy Glen in Betws-y-coed as my desktop wallpaper today. This has always been a popular shot whenever I’ve shared it; there’s something about this place that draws people in.

Join me tomorrow for the last of my desktop wallpaper choices this week.

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Former Home of Welsh National Opera

On John Street, just opposite where the Cardiff Library found a temporary home during the construction of St Davids 2, is the former headquarters of the Welsh National Opera.

If I’m understanding the timeline on the WNO’s website correctly, they moved into these premises in 1984. Or it could be that they moved out in 1984 into the more modern buildings opposite that they still appear to occupy today?

In 2007, the Minister for Heritage in the Welsh Assembly Government went on the record saying that there were plans to sell the WNO’s site in John Street. Whether he meant this one, or the more modern one opposite, isn’t clear from his remarks.

If you can add more detail about this site, please leave a comment on my blog post.

References:

http://www.wno.org.uk/about-us/history-timeline/3682
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_National_Opera
http://wales.gov.uk/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2007/wmc/?lang=en

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Dolbadarn Castle, Llanberis, Snowdonia

Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

At the foot of Snowdon itself, guarding the Llanberis pass, stands Dolbadarn Castle … my choice today. I remember spending the morning hunting through the camera shops of North Wales trying to find a Sigma 15-30mm lens to purchase, and driving my wife nuts in the process. This was before digital photography was mainstream, and wide-angle lenses were both rare and expensive at the time. But find one I did, and this photo made it very worth while.

If you’ve never been to Llanberis, I strongly recommend it. There used to be (hopefully still is) this wonderful cafe that was popular with the mountaineers, and of course there’s the world-famous hydro-electric power station too. Oh, and a little mountain with a train station and a cafe on top.

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Menai Bridge and Snowdonia

Download the full-size image (1600 x 1063) to use as your desktop wallpaper.

My choice of desktop wallpaper today is one of the most beautiful sights in Wales, imho: the Menai Bridge and the mountains of Snowdonia beyond. As the sun sets, the shadows cast by the mountains bring this very popular (and much photographed) scene to life.

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Temporary Home of Cardiff Library

During the construction of the St Davids 2 shopping centre, Cardiff’s main library needed a new home. Their original site on Bridge Street was to be demolished to become part of the St Davids 2 complex, and their new site in what was the Marriott Hotel’s car park wasn’t going to be ready until towards the end of the St Davids 2 construction work.

The library ended up here, in a temporary building on John Street just south of the main Swansea to London railway line.

Today, the site is unused, and awaiting its next purpose. As most of the empty land around here (both at the end of John Street, and round the corner on Herbert Street) is being used as all-day parking, I wonder if it is just a matter of time before this too becomes a car park?

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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