Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Shambles, Settle

click photo to enlarge
Today's photograph shows a building in the centre of the small market town in Yorkshire where I was raised. It is called "The Shambles". Like the more well-known Shambles in York this name is said to derive from "shammels", the Saxon for shelves, ledges or benches. It is in the centre of the market place, a location where, in towns across Britain, you invariably find old and interesting buildings. This structure has steps at the left and right that lead down to a basement level with six shops, above that is the next level seen through the arches, where there are six more shops. Over these, reached by stone steps at the right side of the building are six, small, two-storey dwellings. The two lower floors date from the seventeenth century whilst the upper dwellings are Victorian. Over the years a couple of members of my family have lived in the Shambles.

This building, along with the former town hall of 1832, the Georgian column and drinking fountain, and the buildings that mark the periphery of the market place, all offer much of visual and historic interest to the visitor. However, like many market places across the land, it is converted (for six days of the week) into a car park that is crammed with vehicles. The exception is Tuesday - market day - when it is crammed with stalls and vehicles. Whilst one must be glad that the space continues to host a market, the permanent presence of cars really does lessen the appeal of the area. There is no respite, even at night, from the infernal combustion engine, as my smaller photograph shows. In Britain some enlightened towns that are trying to rescue these civic spaces from the car, but they are few and far between, and in Settle, below the limestone crag of Castleberg, buildings are closely packed and space is at a premium. So, to fully appreciate the town's market place it is necessary to mentally expunge the vehicles - not an easy task!

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 20mm (30mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On