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The market town of Ledbury in Herefordshire is a place I visit fairly frequently, and over the past few years I've collected quite a few photographs of the place, only a few of which please me. This one was taken in early March on a cold, cloudy day. It attempts to encapsulate the town in a single photograph. That's isn't something that is easy to do, and my image doesn't do it to my satisfaction. However, as a streetscape it isn't a complete failure, with visual interest across the frame.
The photograph shows the main street where it widens to accommodate the weekly market. It shows the unwelcome intrusion of cars and the shoppers and tourists attracted to the visually appealing independent shops that flank the route. The black and white, timber-framed structure is the Market House, the town's most prominent building. It was begun after 1617 and completed after 1655. Herefordshire is an area where timber-framed buildings dating from the 1400s through to the 1700s are relatively common, and Ledbury has several such of which this is the most prominent. The first storey rooms are raised on posts of local Spanish chestnut and the space below was designed to give market traders some shelter. It is still used for its original purpose today.
The other prominent building on the left of the photograph is the Barrett Browning Memorial Institute and Clock Tower. It dates from 1892-6 and is the work of the Brightwen Binyon. Pevsner doesn't pull his punches, describing it as "really terrible", observing that though it acknowledges the local timber-framing it does not harmonise with it. He's right that it isn't a great building but it is a tall, visual punctuation at this part of the town.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Photo Title: Market House, Ledbury, Herefordshire
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (36mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.2
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On