Monday, 4 January 2016

Creature Feature No.11

So. Happy New Year Everyone!  After all the pies, Stilton and moshing over our cake to Metallica's Enter The Sandman, we go through the first gate into the first Unmitigated field of 2016. Above is a delight discovered on our Cheese Run. This entails getting lost (everytime, it's a Christmas Custom) in the quiet pastures of the Nottinghamshire / Leicestershire borders trying to find Colston Bassett. SatNav not allowed, we always seem to find ourselves facing the wrong way as Noddy Holder belts out Merry Christmas Everybody. (Noddy won't be drawn on what he makes every year, just says it's his winter fuel allowance.) But once the best Stilton in the world was stowed away we progressed to the tiny market town of Bingham. A town suffering somewhat from inappropriate out-of-scale development but still retaining good buildings around its market square. Except, as usual, for a Co-Op that pays no respect to anything around it.

But in a little side street were these gems on the frontage of J.Butler's butchers. It was, I think, still operational as a shop, but maybe not one with cows' and sheeps' heads knocking about. What I found amazing was that the two animals are on individual whole tiles, with a decorative border that's worthy of Walter Crane. (You can gauge their size by comparing them with the normal tiles surrounding them, which of course are square.) I think they're fabulous, and a reminder that there was once a time when the link between animals in the fields and the joints in our ovens wasn't so blurred.


Hels said...

Happy New Year!

I don't eat meat (but I do eat fish and eggs... go figure). So while I impressed with the two animals on the tiles and their decorative borders, it is not to build up a connection between the fields and my stomach. Rather it is because somebody put a lot of artistic effort into a very utilitarian purpose (a butcher shop).

I am managing the History Carnival for January 2016 and need nominations, for your own blog post or someone else’s, by 31/1/2016. The theme I have chosen for this month is History of the Visual, Performing, Musical and Literary Arts. But I want to reiterate that nominations for any good history posts will be welcomed.

Examine previous History Carnivals at

The January 2016 nomination form is at

Philip Wilkinson said...

What beauties! Some of the drawing on Victorian and Edwardian tiles was very good indeed. Firms like Doulton and Minton employed artists of very high calibre, many of them still unsung, and shop-owners were often glad to put that bit of extra effort in – both to give their business some promotion and because they wanted to work (and their customers to shop) in decent surroundings. We can still learn a thing or two from them.

Stephen Barker said...

Beautiful tiles. One admires the confidence of shop owners in the past that they would be in business long enough to make the investment in the tiles worthwhile.

The History Anorak said...

Lovely example, and good to see them still in place in the high street, rather than a reconstructed shop in a 'living' museum somewhere.

Peter Ashley said...

Thank you all. Yes THA, I'd much rather stuff like this got conserved in situ rather than hauled into a museum. To probably lie in bits in the storeroom.

Sue Imgrund said...

Lovely! I agree with Stephen Barker - shops and stores - or indeed factories were built to last in those days, to the extent of fixtures and fittings, and even external brickwork bearing the name or business of the company.