Mar 052011
 

Three days on from Matt Cardle and it’s back to Meadowhall Shopping Centre, celebrity spotting again. This time it’s Chris Moyles sidecick from Radio 1 “Comedy Dave” Vitty.  Now a Dancing On Ice Star “Comedy Dave” was signing autographs and meeting fans in the lower arcade close to Marks & Spencer as part of the  promotion for  Torvill & Dean’s Dancing on Ice 2011 Tour which has its opening night on the 9th of April 2011 at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena. As part of the promotion fans were also given the opportunity to win Torvill & Dean skating costumes as worn by the superstar skating couple, a signed skating boot and free tickets.

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Feb 082011
 

Grimsby Couple Sue and Lee Mullen are celebrating a life changing £4.8 Million win on last weeks EuroMillions (4th February 2011).  The couple only started playing the national lottery Six weeks ago after Sue had a dream they were going to win. At the press conference Lee explained how they used to play the national lottery but gave up some years ago when they missed out winning the jackpot because they couldn’t afford a ticket to play their usual line of numbers. Disillusioned by seeing their six numbers drawn but not having bought the ticket they said they would never play again, that is until Sues dream.  The couple began to play the Monday and Wednesday National Lottery draws and the Friday EuroMillions Draw it was Saturday morning when Sue checked the laptop to see if they had won.

“I thought hang on a minute, my ticket looks exactly the same as that! I dragged my husband out of the bathroom to take a look and then dragged my eldest son out of bed too! We just couldn’t believe it! we jigged around the living-room together for about an hour before I could call Camelot. we have been on cloud nine ever since!” said Sue.

Sue who is registered disabled and Lee who was medically discharged from the Royal Navy and are both unable to work told how “money has always been tight” but Lee said they will not be cavalier with their win. He said of his old 1999 T registered Mondeo

“I will keep the car and when I feel I need to I will go and take a look it, It will remind me of how things used to be and keep my feet on the ground”

Sue and Lee Mullen from Grimsby are just one of three UK Winners celebrating  a £4.8 Million EuroMillions win, their share of the £24.3 Million pound Jackpot, which was split between a total of  5 winners.

Jan 302011
 

I bought my partner Black Diamonds for Christmas. Not  the ‘Black Star of Africa’ or ‘Table of Islam’ type, she isn’t that lucky because I’m not that rich, it’s one of the downsides of being a professional photographer. What I did buy her was the book “Black Diamonds: The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty” by Catherine Bailey. It tells the epic and stranger than fiction story of the Fitzwilliams, who claim descent from William the Conqueror and once owned what was, in fact still is, the largest privately owned house in Britain, Wentworth Woodhouse.

I have lived in South Yorkshire all my life, I have heard of the Fiztwilliams, Wentworth House and that there was something special about the place but as is often the case with things you grow up around I hadn’t really given it that much thought. Even when one of my first assignments as full-time professional press photographer was to cover the wedding of  Wensley Haydon-Baillie, one time owner of Wentworth Woodhouse who married at Wentworth’s “new” Victorian Church with Prince Michael of Kent reportedly as his best man, I didn’t really think beyond that immediate story.

Above left: Former owner Wensley Haydon-Baillie and his new bride are congratulated by a local as they walk the footpath back to Wentworth Woodhouse from the Fitzwilliam family Church. Above right: Prince Michael of Kent attends Haydon-Baillie’s wedding in Wnentworth.

Below: Commissioned by the 6th Earl of Fitzwilliam in 1872  at a cost of around £25,000 in memory of his parents, with a spire of almost 200 feet tall Wentorth Church is visible for miles around. Dedicated to the Holy Trinity it was designed in Gothic revival style by leading Victorian church architect James Loughborough Pearson who later designed Truro Cathedral.

Wentworth Woodhouse, the size of the building is breathtaking.  Built by Thomas Watson-Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham, added to by his heir, in the nineteenth century it was  inherited  and became the family seat of the Earls Fitzwilliam. It took a Scots Lass Born in Glasgow, who strangely enough can trace her ancestral linage back to one of  William the Conqueror’s Noblemen to pique my interest in the place enough to try and capture the grandeur of its East façade. This is really the only shot that can be taken of the house as it is a privately owned house and not open to the public.

You really do have to stand in front of this Grade I listed country house in Wentworth, South Yorkshire to fully appreciate its size. The East Front, 606 feet (185 meters) long, it is the longest country house façade in Europe. With 365 rooms the house covers an area of over 2.5 acres (10,000 square Meters).  Currently it is owned by a retired architect in his 80s called Clifford James Newbold who, if what I have read is to be believed….

  • Paid in excess of £1.5 Million pounds for Wentworth Woodhouse.
  • Paid £1.5 Million pounds for Wentorth Woodhouse
  • Moved from a “family sized home” in Highgate to Wentworth Woodhouse.
  • Lives there alone.
  • Is a recluse
  • planned to convert it into three homes for his family.
  • Is is progressing with a defined programme of renovation/restoration.

I’m only guessing here but I think its probably fair to say some of the things written about Mr Newbold may not be quite accurate.

  • What seems fairly certain is in 1998 he was Master of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London.
  • In May of 2010 the guild held three events
  • Thursday 13 May 2010 – Weekend Visit to Wentworth Woodhouse
  • Thursday 13 May 2010 – Reception & Gala Dinner – Wentworth Woodhouse
  • Friday 14  May 2010 – Day Visit to Wentworth Woodhouse

If Britannia Historical Attractions are to be believed when the house went up for sale for £1.5 Million pounds it would “require ten times that to restore”  and  “In Early May 1999, Wentworth Woodhouse was purchased for a figure substantially in excess of the guide of £1.5m”

While I haven’t seen them apparently Country Life Magazine published evidence of the restoration and renovations in issues dated 17 February and 24 February 2010.

Its seems as though some people are always willing to believe the worst, something borne by the graffiti on the sign at the entrance to Wentworth House. Surrounded by a 150 acre (0.6 km²) park the numerous “Private”  and  “Keep off the Grass” signs gave me the feeling that my presence was being  suffered because it is a public right of way rather than welcomed. If like me the mysteriousness of Mr Clifford James Newbold has raised your curiosity levels a photograph of the present owner can be found here under the heading “Presentation to the Guild 27 February 2008”

Dec 242010
 

A Christmas Eve walk with my partner and our dog Wallace.

Quite an odd collection of images thanks to the weather, some look like they were shot at  Christmas with snow and everything while others look they may well have been shot in autumn, it  Just goes to show the camera can lie but all the images were taken today the 24th December 2010 although I must confess that  to the last two images were not actually taken while out on the walk, they are close up shots of our Christmas tree.

Dec 232010
 

Its Christmas Eve Tomorrow so I would like to wish you all A Very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you all exactly what you asked for!

Merry Christmas and very best wishes for this festive season

Paul…..


Back stage and Eliot Kennedy gets a Christmas kiss under the mistletoe from Geraldine McQueen, winner of Britain’s Got the Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice. AKA the British Comedy Genius Peter Kay

Dec 012010
 

I could use this post go into how this is the earliest, coldest, most widespread, worst snow to hit Britain since 1985, 1993, in 20 years or more than 20 years, living memory, the exact details seem to depend upon  where your source your news. I could also continue by listing, warning of areas not to drive, rail disruption, airport closures, school closures, accidents, at least 3 deaths, record low temperatures and how the odds have been slashed by bookies on a “White Christmas” but I wont. I will let these few photographs taken around the Ecclesfield and Chapeltown area of Sheffield, South Yorkshire over a period of 2 hours on the evening of 30th of November and a further 2 hours from around 10:00am on the 1st of December 2010 speak for themselves.

Aug 052010
 

Covering the recent funeral of Trooper James Leverett, at Sheffield Cathedral last week,  reminded me that back in February of 2010 I was invited to Salisbury Plain military training area to attend the 4th Mechanised Brigades press  day. The day was held to demonstrate some of the training and equipment the unit would employ during their forth coming deployment to Helmand Province which was to be in April of 2010. Amongst the troops who put on the display for us were members of the Royal Dragoon Guards. Below is a slide show of images I shot on the day…