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Cheshire Landmarks


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What is it?

A map of Cheshire, showing some of her landmarks in micro-builds across the traditional county’s landscape.  The "teapot" shape is shown from the north-east "handle" to the "spout" at the Wirral peninsular to the west.  The Wirral is bracketed by the rivers Dee to the south and Mersey to the north.  The Irish Sea is to the west.  This map is the same one I previously submitted as a project showing the folktales of the county, but I have updated it (including removing the patchwork of fields, so that now the land is one solid shade of green).

The individual items, roughly anti-clockwise (“counter-clockwise” for our American members) from top left, are as follows:

1.  Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton – Designed to protect the Mersey from raiders, and now home to a local maritime and aviation museum.  It is the sandstone diamond jutting out into the river from top of the Wirral and is nicknamed “The Gibraltar of the Mersey”.  Leaving the Mersey, she is the last part of home a sailor like myself would see, and the first bit of Cheshire glimpsed upon return.

2.  Bidston Observatory – With the two white domes at her front.  This important institute’s tide predicting machines are world-famous.  As a seaman, she is important to me as reflective of the importance of maritime life to Cheshire.

3.  The Ship Building Hall & Slipway at Cammell Laird’s main yard in Birkenhead – Nestled amongst the basins and graving docks of the world-renowned shipyard is the massive construction complex where the icebreaker, Royal Research Ship “Sir David Attenborough” was built.  The ship can be seen moored in the river, having had her superstructure added at the outfitting berths in the wet basin.  This yard has always been an important landmark, and I have been privileged to see many ships & rigs take shape here, as well as serving in some of those vessels.

4.  Chester Zoo – The second largest zoological gardens in the UK, and a place I remember fondly from visits as a child, she is represented here by a giraffe sticking his neck out of his house, and a chimpanzee swinging about his outdoor enclosure.

5.  The City of Chester – The “County Town” of Cheshire is shown with her Roman Walls partly cleared in order to show The Rows: The unique Tudor galleries where shops are housed on walkways above street level.  Chester was always a favourite place to visit during my youth.

6.  Beeston Castle – One of many Cheshire castles and forts, this impressive edifice is represented here by a model of her gatehouse and the curtain wall of the main accommodations, accessed by a walkway leading from the walled outer ward (which structure I have not constructed).  I have built this to show some of the rich local history I grew up amongst.

7.  Oulton Park Motor Racing Circuit – Seen in a clear grey outline, this is where me & my father spent many a weekend at motorcycle meets, and where he used to be a marshal at motorbike races.  In part, this bit of the model is in honour of Dad, who passed away last April.  Included here is a small build of a Maxton racer: A locally-built motorcycle (the factory is in Kingswood, Frodsham, where today they focus on frames, suspension, and tuning) we used to enjoy watching triumph at Oulton.

8.  A dairy farm – One of our many farms, with her Friesian cows herding into the cattle shed beside the farmhouse, ready for milking (to keep us supplied in wonderful Cheshire Cheese).

9.  The Salt Union Shaft Tower & salt mountains at Winsford – Showing the pink salt extracted from Winsford Rock Salt Mine (the largest and oldest working mine in Britain), ready for transport by road or by river.  One of the massive underground caverns created by the mine here is now used by “DeepStore” to preserve archives & valuables for the nation.  This is yet another bit of Cheshire’s industry, and contributions to the nation’s wealth, that I am fiercely proud of.

10. Jodrell Bank Observatory, Macclesfield – The radio astronomy centre, which I have previously honoured in a build for the “Keep it Basic!” activity.  I used to be able to see this enigmatic site from my home and was always fascinated by her.

11. “White Nancy” on Kerridge Hill – This folly is a bell-shaped dome that used to be treated to a facelift each Christmas, wherein she would be painted as Father Christmas (“Santa Claus”) or a Christmas pudding, for example.  I love this bit of local culture and I think it shows our friendly & jovial character quite well.

12. The Anderton Boat Lift – Nicknamed “The Cathedral of the Canals”, this impressive structure lifts boats from the River Weaver Navigation to the Trent & Mersey Canal (over an incline of fifty feet).  Both waterways are shown in the build, the Weaver being the southernmost, which flows past Winsford and her salt mines (see above), from the “Winsford Flashes” to the south (large lakes created by subsidence from the salt mining).  On the Weaver is a small ship, representing the coasters from Europe that often sail her.  Even from the high vantage of my parent’s house on Frodsham (or “Overton”) Hill, you could not see the water and they looked like they were sailing through the fields!  I have sailed these waters, and visited these places, several times over the years and they hold a special place in my heart.

12A. The Stockport Pyramid – This is a steel-framed blue-and-clear glass building.  Whenever I drive over to visit Mum, this is the first bit of Cheshire that leaps out of me as I pass through Greater Manchester.  It is, therefore, an important landmark for me.

14. Sci-Tech Daresbury Enterprise Zone, Runcorn, and her Van Der Graff Generator – The huge white mushroom-like tower of the generator is the focal point of this multi-functional research and business park, linked to the UK Space Agency as part of the North West “Space Hub”.  I am very proud of this facility being in my home town.

15. Halton Castle, Runcorn – Subject of a previous project of mine, she is seen again here because I couldn’t build Beeston Castle without showing my home town’s own ancient fortress!

16. The bridges linking Runcorn to Widnes, across the Mersey – The green arch of the road bridge (once the largest single-span arch in Europe) can be seen alongside the older sandstone railway bridge (which was included in another earlier work of mine, “Runcorn Waterfront”).  These two landmarks are synonymous with my home town and HAD to be included here.

17. The National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port – Formerly known as the “Boat Museum”, this fantastic place hosts a number of preserved boats, including narrowboats, like the one sat on the shore in this model to mark the institution’s location.  I have always enjoyed visits here to see vessels built in my home town and other Cheshire settlements.

18. I have added an extra bonus in.  It’s not a landmark, but it IS related to number 3 on this list…  If you spot it, leave me a message with a guess as to what it is!

Why did I build it?
Cheshire is my home county, and Runcorn my home town, and I am proud of our history & industriousness.  I made this to show a small sample of that and to share it with the LEGO Ideas community.  Like many people currently, I am unable to travel like I would wish to, and I miss visiting Cheshire and all of her wonderful sights.  This is a little bit therapy for me! 

Will it make a good LEGO set?
I believe that it will as it is a simple enough build and a concept that could be applied to any town, dale, county, state, or country.  It would make a nice display and could be framed in a LEGO border to add to its look (I did not do so in this instance, as I thought it would make it even more tricky to photograph).  Similar builds could be made to show other local features (such as industrial centres or factories, for those interested in industrial archaeology or current business) and I think this could be a nice new line for LEGO.

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