Tag: heritage

Visit Wales content via Telegraph Travel

Wales is lovely in autumn.

While everyone is back into work mode, I love escaping to Snowdonia [atop Y Eifel pictured above] and marvelling at the changing colours of the landscape.

This was the idea behind a series of editorial posts I worked on recently. It was sponsored content for Telegraph Travel and commissioned by Visit Wales.

The themes were adventure, days out and hidden gems. I also wrote a couple of more narrative-based posts about the heritage of Conwy Castle and walking trails.

You can read the full set of articles at Find Your Epic in Wales.

Or catch the individual posts as follows:

Alternative activities in Wales for the whole family

Ten of the best walks with rewards in Wales

 

Nation of Shopkeepers: Chester for the Daily Telegraph

I’m always on the look out for story ideas around Chester. My daughter spotted this antique doll shop and the interview with the owner was fascinating. This story first appeared in the Daily Telegraph.

Mo Harding, owner, Dollectable, says:

“I was born in Cheshire and, after running a hotel in Manchester for years, we were looking for a new business based around my love of antique dolls.

I had always loved dolls but my parents told me I was too old for them when I was 12.

We found this Tudor townhouse in Chester, dating from 1621, in the early Eighties. Originally we wanted to make a doll museum upstairs but the building is Grade II listed and needs a lot of work.

As far as we know, it’s the last remaining shop of its kind in the UK.

Early days

I started collecting pre-1930s dolls when my husband, Steve, was working the antique fairs. I still remember my first one. Polly was a German doll from around 1900. She had a lovely face.

Sometimes you look at a doll’s face and it’s just like a painting.

The heyday of doll making was from the 1870 to 1900 with best dolls made in France and Germany. Most of the dolls in the shop are Victorian.

Children played with dolls differently in those days. They brought the dolls out on Sundays and girls learnt to sew by making clothes for them.

Prized possessions

Every doll in the shop has a story. Henrietta is wax doll with beautiful boned underwear; she belonged to a suffragette. We also have some rare items.

The twin French dolls from the 1870s, both with glazed china heads, are worth upwards of £2500 each. A Shirley Temple doll of the American child star, dating from 1934, is one of our few American dolls.

We have travelled the world to international doll fairs and auctions. When you find a rare doll, it’s still an incredible buzz.

I’d sell the house and the car rather than loose my dolls, both the stock for the shop and my private collection at home.

I’m still always searching for the ultimate doll. I’ve wanted a Schmidt, a French doll from around 1870. They would sell at auction for around £18,000.

Future plans

We hope my daughter will take the business forward eventually, maybe creating a website and taking us onto social media.

My granddaughter loves my Victorian doll houses, too. But there are no plans for retirement yet.

I still love decorating the window every Christmas with a themed display and half the fun of running the business is the community of like-minded people at the auctions.

For me, you are either a doll person or not. It’s a way of life.

A doll person would never dream of collecting teddy bears.

 

Liked this? Try also Move into top gear at Cars and Coffee Chester.

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The golden age of cruise travel with P&O Heritage

A peek behind closed doors last week.

I was at the London Victoria  offices of DP World, the global logistics company that now owns the lion’s share of P&O (minus the cruises).

It’s also home to the P&O Heritage Division with its extensive collection of ephemera — paintings, model ships, silverware and more.

Some of the most colourful items were the printed menus and postcards from the 1930s [pictured above].

I was there to interview the Senior Curator, Susie Cox, as the company celebrates its 180th year in 2017.

It was amazing to see items rarely accessible to the public that take us back to another age. It’s like Susie told me:

“There’s a huge romance around ocean liners and the aesthetics, the posters, the fashion, the visuals, are all fantastic. That’s why it’s the golden age of cruise.”

Read the full feature in a forthcoming Telegraph Cruise.

Just back: In Flanders Fields for Telegraph Cruise

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The first assignment of autumn then.

It was a return journey to an old favourite destination — Flanders — but with a new perspective.

I’ve been before to Bruges, Ghent and several times to Antwerp.

But I had never visited the WWI heritage sites of Flanders Fields, nor previously witnessed the moving Last Post ceremony [pictured above] at the Menin Gate in Ypres.

It was also my first river cruise assignment after several previous ocean-cruising commissions.

The story is for Telegraph Cruise and will appear in the spring of 2017, timed with the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

But here’s a preview:

What struck me most about the surrounding countryside was the dramatic juxtaposition of historical sites and regular suburban houses, where people lived everyday lives untouched by war. Amongst the shrines, monuments and memorials, I sometimes spotted little commemorative crosses, marked with red poppies. One read simply: “Harry. In Loving memory.”

Check out a Flickr gallery of images from the trip.

Or watch a Vimeo of the Last Post:

More from: Flanders Fields.