This post takes me back to the historic canal village of Shardlow, Derbyshire.
We stayed here at the beginning of our travels in England and Ireland in the spring of 2019. Shardlow is a fascinating place, an inland port central to the nation's commerce since the time of the Domesday book. Given my passion for canals (if you're so inclined, search the blog for canal posts) it was inevitable that I fell in love with Shardlow and its history. Given that we stayed in the village over a week with dear cousin Elaine, inveterate traveller, walker and student of the wider world, we had the opportunity to wander the towpaths of this ancient canal town, and to get to know its distinguished architecture first-hand.
As one might expect in historic Britain, Shardlow history is well-documented. A walking tour map is posted on the breezy bridge, with details on many of the converted warehouses and grand houses that make the village unique. In 1770, the Trent and Mersey Canal was completed; Shardlow was the point where goods were transferred between carriers on the Trent River, to the narrow boats moving things about on the midlands canal network. The picturesque narrow boats, both restored antiques and newly manufactured, are a delight. The canal shipping era created great wealth and lovely homes.
A canal-side home caught my eye, Broughton House. Broughton House was built around 1790, by the scion of one of the well-off masters of canal commerce. It's situated on the old London Road (doesn't that conjur up the dashing arrival of coaches and fours?) and had some interesting history. Here's your chance to travel the London road via Streetview. Once you've had a good look at Broughton House, stay for a wander. It's a fascinating village. I'll share some other house stories sometime soon.video shot at a rather breathless pace by a rather breathless realtor, gives a glimpse of high ceilings with plaster cornices, fireplaces, reeded wood detailing, and a wonderful staircase.
Broughton House recalled a particular favourite in Niagara on the Lake here at home. The similarity resonated as we had spent a delightful time at NOL the previous year, when cousin Elaine visited with us. Each home boasts upright Georgian symmetry, although the materials are different, and elliptical Neoclassical elements. But the detail that caught my eye was the blind arches around the windows. Why, why? But it's stayed with me, so might as well share it. A challenge to the bricklayer's or stonemason's skills, I would think.