Stroll the river.
Staines entire raison d'etre is that it was an ancient crossing place of the River Thames. Readers of my other pages will know that I have a great love of walking and waterways, and the Thames is a great favourite of mine, so it is no surprise that on a recent lovely spring day I decided to take a bit of a ramble, camera in had, heading downstream towards London. I should mention that the upstream walk to Windsor is great as well.
There are good transport links in the area so a linear walk is quite possible. The entire Thames is covered by a long distance path, known unsurprisingly as the Thames Path, and I have walked the vast majority of it. I do commend it to you for as many sections as you feel inclined to do and this section is covered here. A brief couple of miles from the bridge at Staines will bring you to the sleepy village of Laleham. I will make another page for that place, another VT first, I am glad to say. Let's put everywhere on the VT map!
The photos show a couple of statues in the pleasant park in Staines, and then the wonderful old lockkeepers house at Penton Hook Lock, a mile or so downstream, and then the lock itself. The keepers house is interesting. Built in 1814 (as you can see on the wall) it is the furthest upstream built by the Corporation of London, which is many miles downstream. The coat of arms you see on the wall is that of the Corporation. Go and have a look at this part of the river for yourself, you'll enjoy it.
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Not exactly what it seems.
Isn't it strange how you can think you know a place and not really know it at all? I visit Staines pretty regularly, and I must have walked past what I believed was the Town Hall literally dozens of times. Not an unreasonable assumption I thought given that, as the photo shows, it has the words Town Hall emblazoned on the front of it. Certainly, it looks like so many other Town Halls in the UK.
I was somewhat surprised, therefore, to find out that the place was a pub. Indeed, more than surprised, I was somewhat annoyed as I pride myself on being able to find a pub under almost any circumstances! Anyway, having found it's true present function, I was determined to visit.
I should preface this by saying I visited on an early weekday afternoon, so the place was fairly quiet. The young lady who served me was very friendly and polite. When I explained that I would like to take some photos, she invited me to go up tp the balcony level and photgraph what I wanted, albeit that the upper level was closed to customers at the time. I was very glad I did, as it really is a very impressive building, albeit in need of a lick of paint and slightly marred by the ubiquitous advertising banners. Have a look at the photos and decide for yourself.
All in all, not a bad place for a drink, although I would suggest there are better places like the Bells or the Swan in the area.
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A very strange statue.
If you have a wander along the pedestrianised walkway in the centre of town, you can't miss this statue. It is, I think, quite strange, although very nicely done. As you can see from the photo, it is a statue of two working men carrying a huge roll of lino. For the benefit of younger readers, lino was a floor covering very popular some years ago. Can't remember the last time I saw it myself.
The reason for this statue is that the nearby shopping centre is on the site of what was the first lino factory in the world, opened in 1864. I think it is actually a nice reminder of a part of the town's history.
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