1 EAGLETON NOTES: An Afternoon in Durham



Wednesday, 8 June 2011

An Afternoon in Durham

Last Friday I spent the afternoon in Durham.  I've probably told you that already.  If you know Durham then you will know that I made a bee-line for the Cathedral which is by the Castle and the old part of the University on a hill in a u-bend in the River (I'm not sure whether it qualifies as an ox-bow, I suspect not) not more than 10 minutes walk from the hotel.  

I had been in the Cathedral several times before but had absolutely no memory of it.  As I tend to recall things by their emotional effect or things I have translated into words it had obviously not left a significant mark.  It did this time but for the wrong reasons.  Firstly I felt absolutely no emotion when I entered and it left me cold.  Secondly it is plastered everywhere with 'don't do' notices.  Don't take photos.  Don't have your phone on.  Don't..... I can't even recall the rest.  It didn't have a single positive message:  no suggestion that one might take time out and think (or pray - it is, after all, a church), nothing.  Actually that's not true.  It did ask for a positive financial contribution towards the £3m annual upkeep.  I shall not be returning in a hurry.  Having said all that I did keep a promise (the person concerned understands).  I also received a completely opposite view to mine from Pat.  So nothing's ever the same for everyone.

As I walked out of the hotel I had to cross this bridge over the River Wear to get to the City Centre
From the bridge I looked South towards the U bend in the river with the Cathedral on the left this was my view:

and as I looked North with the hotel on my left I saw:

The Green outside the Cathedral was absolutely crowded with students and tourists but I managed to get these photos of University buildings on one side of the Green and make it look as though it was deserted:

From The Elvett Bridge looking North there was plenty of activity on the river

and in the hostelries on the river bank.


  1. How strange to see historic buildings still standing and used!
    Lovely place :)

  2. It's still on my list but hasn't really appealed that much. Finchale priory just upstream is fine and if you drive you pass through the evocatively named Pity Me.
    Like the university images.

  3. I totally agree with you about the cathedral. A completely soul less money grabbing place.

    It's a few years since i last visited (during Easter holiday's when foot-and-mouth meant I couldn't easily go walking) and the number of calls for money just really turned me off.

  4. I know the feeling, sometimes those really big cathedrals seem to speak more of earthly power struggles than of heavenly peace. Interesting observation that the impression may also be founded on details such as the wording on the modern signs.


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