Situated 100m southwest of Hardwick Hall is the ruin of the Old Hall. The Countess of Shrewsbury, Bess of Hardwick, was the second most powerful woman in England next to Queen Elizabeth. Gaining wealth through her four husbands, Bess was born in the Old Hall in 1527 and returned here in 1584 following the breakdown of her marriage to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Although planning her new hall opposite, Bess began to extend the Old Hall in 1587. The Old Hall was for Bess, her family and entourage whereas the new Hall would be for ostentation, entertainment and special guests.
Constructed of local sandstone and finished with rough plaster, the Old Hall was a radical modern mansion with the latest Italian innovations in house design. Evidence suggests that the south and west walls predate the rebuilding of 1587 indicating that the old manor house which stood on the site in 1525 had been incorporated into the building.
The Italian Renaissance villa layout was replicated with the great hall placed in the centre of the house in an attempt to create a symmetrical layout. The great hall retained its symbolic importance as the heart of the house and was still the first reception room for all visitors.
Impressive plaster work in the Hill Great Chamber
The hierarchy of room status is echoed in the layout – the higher the room, the better it was. The third floor of the building was the highlight for visitors and was made to impress. The Great Hill Chamber still features part of the deep plaster frieze of a double arcade, which was the fashion in northern Italian houses. With design elements taken from Roman architecture, the decoration was strongly influenced by Renaissance art. Hardwick Old Hall is Grade I Listed and maintained as a controlled ruin by English Heritage.
On display outside the Ruskin Museum in Coniston is the burnt remains of a Merlin engine. The engine was part of the wreckage at the crash site of RCAF Halifax Bomber LL505. During a night navigation exercise on 22nd October 1944, the eight crew became lost in thick cloud in the heart of the Lake District. Flying too low at the time, the Bomber hit a sloping grass fellside near to the top of Great Carrs. All crew members, one Scot and seven Canadians, were killed in the crash.
Donald Campbell was the first person to complete an officially timed run with a jet-propelled hydroplane. He completed the run on 23rd July 1955 at Ullswater. Both Donald and his father, Sir Malcolm Campbell, set several water speed world records on Coniston Water. Donald was killed on 4th January 1967 while trying to break his own world water speed record of 267mph. The Bluebird speedboat was recovered from Coniston Water early in 2001 with the remains of Donald finally laid to rest in September the same year. Buried in the new parish cemetery, the grave is marked with a slate stone with the image of a blue bird.
In the grounds of St Andrews Church in Coniston is a memorial dedicated to the men of Coniston who lost their lives in both World Wars. First erected in 1921, the monument is made of sandstone and was designed by W.G.Collingwood. The monument features a celtic cross and is inscribed with all the names of local men who lost their lives.
John Ruskin 1819-1900
John Ruskin was a Victorian poet, critic, conservationist and writer publishing his first work aged just 15. Writing on numerous topics, the influence of Ruskin is still evident today. His passion to protect old buildings led to a series of published works on the architecture of Venice and he inspired William Morris to found the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877
Ruskin brought the country house Brantwood in 1871 where he lived until his death in 1900. His grave sits in the churchyard of St Andrews Church in Coniston and is marked with a large carved cross. The cross is made from green slate from the local quarry at Tilberthwaite and was designed by W.G. Collingwood who was secretary to Ruskin from 1881. The memorial cross is Grade II Listed.
In the historic centre of Riga on Brīvības Bulvāris is the Brīvības Piemineklis – Freedom Monument. The colossal monument is symbolic of Latvia’s struggle for independence and freedom with several stages each representing significant figures and events during the history of Latvia.
The granite monument stands 42.5 metres high and is the work of the Latvian sculptor Kārlis Zāle. Financed entirely from public donations, the monument was unveiled in November 1935 with construction lasting four years.
Striving for freedom is represented with the ‘Chain Breakers’ attempting to break free.
The front of the monument features travertine reliefs of Latvian Riflemen symbolising the Russian Revolution and Latvian War of Independence.
The monument features a woman in copper above the marble obelisk. The three golden stars the woman holds represent the historic regions Kurzeme, Vidzeme, and Latgale.
Next to Okupācijas Muzejs in Rātslaukums (Town Square) is the Monument to the Latvian Red Riflemen. The monument is dedicated to the Riflemen who guarded the Russian communist Vladimir Ilyich Lenin during the Russian Revolution.
The red granite monument is the work of the Latvian Sculptor Valdis Albergs and was unveiled in 1971.
The inscription on the base of the plinth translates “For the Latvian Red Riflemen 1915-1920.”
Outside the Latvian Academy of Art on Kalpaka Bulvāris is the Venus of Willendorf. The sculpture is the work of the Latvian artist Brigita Zelca and stands 4.5m high.
The sculpture is made of glued foam rubber sheets and mirrored plastic and was designed to create a 21st century contemporary replica of the Stone Age masterpiece.
Sudrabu Edzus 1860-1941
In Kronvalds Park near to Riga Congress Hall is the sculpted monument of Sudrabu Edžus. Edžus was a Latvian writer and educator who was well acquainted with Russian and German classical literature.
The sculpture, which sits on a plinth, is the work of the Latvian sculptor Ojārs Siliņš and was unveiled in 1957.