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Islay – a round church, a square lighthouse and other architectural highlights

Portnhaven Church, Isle of Islay

Portnahaven Church was designed by Thomas Telford and built in 1828. The two doors are reputed to allow the populations of Portnahaven and the neighbouring village of Port Wemyss to enter separately and remain segregated when inside. Very Christian!

It is one of the best remaining examples of a ‘parliamentary church’, part of a wave of church-building (funded by Parliament) designed to better serve churchgoers in remote areas. Thanks Maraid for the tip-off.

The Round Church in Bowmore, Isle of Islay

Kilarrow Parish Church, more commonly known as The Round Church sits at the top of Bowmore’s main street. It was built in 1767 and is one of few round churches in the UK. The story goes that it was designed to be round so the devil couldn’t hide in any corners, but this seems to be more fiction than fact.

The church is not usually open apart from Sunday mornings, but you can arrange a visit by contacting the parish clerk on the number at the entrance.

Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay

Carraig Fhada Lighthouse on the Mull of Oa is a beautiful thing from any angle. We visited at 7.30am on the hottest day of the year.

It is Scotland’s only square lighthouse, and was commissioned by Walter Frederick Campbell, the Laird of Islay, in memory of his wife Lady Ellinor Campbell who died young in 1832. There is a beautiful dedication to her on one side of the lighthouse.

You can walk across the little path to get right up close (except at high tide). The lighthouse itself is not usually open to the public.

Further reading: a great tour of the lights of Islay and Jura by a very dedicated lighthouse-bagger.

The Royal Arch Masonic Hall, Bowmore, now the Bowmore Lodge

And finally… a pleasing doorway. Bowmore’s Royal Arch Masonic Hall has been beautifully restored and is now Bowmore Lodge holiday accommodation.

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The lonely petrol pumps of Islay

Concrete garage, Port Askaig, Islay

I’ve been on the Isle of Islay for a few days. This Brutalist shelter was the first thing I saw after getting off the ferry at Port Askaig.

Concrete garage, Port Askaig, Islay

I thought it was a bus stop, but it’s a lone petrol pump. The shape of the island is cut out of one side.

Port Charlotte Garage, Isle of Islay, Scotland

After that, I couldn’t help noticing other tiny garages. This one was in Port Charlotte.

Bowmore Filling Station, Isle of Islay, Scotland

Bowmore Filling Station, in the middle of one of the main town’s streets seemed like a megastore in comparison.

All operated by Gleaner, a family-owned Scottish fuel supplier.

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Weston-super-Mare – Wonkey Donkey

Wonkey Donkey, Weston-super-Mare

After leaving the pier, sadly Wonkey Donkey was closed.

Crazy golf scene, Weston-super-Mare

Weston-super-Mare has at least three crazy/adventure golf courses in close proximity. The old ones are the best.

“Person per tramp” – an example of business speak that doesn’t quite translate outside the business.

Haile Selassie was here, Weston-super-Mare

Good story on this blue plaque in Weston’s local newspaper – “Although invited to, he never jumped the queue and would happily chat with other visitors.”

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A Parade of Shops: Window shopping

Mannequins in Ernest Whiteley's shop window, Bridlington

Some more photos from new photobook, A Parade of Shops. This time, a selection of shop windows. Above is Ernest Whiteley & Co in Bridlington, a truly stunning ladies outfitter, comfortable in its time warp. More photos at Modern Mooch.

J.M.Barnardo's shop window, Dublin

This is the window of J.M. Barnardo in Dublin, who claim to be the world’s oldest furrier. Opened in 1812, the founder’s son Dr Thomas John went on to found Barnardo’s charity.

Ladies' outfitter, Biggar

I find this arrangement, from a ladies’ clothes shop in Biggar, very soothing to look at.

Tam Shepherd's Trick Shop window, Glasgow

Finally, one of the few remaining joke shops, Tam Shepherd’s. Serving Glasgow’s guisers, partygoers and budding magicians since 1886. Still family run, its windows are always a treat to look at.

A Parade of Shops is available for £8 including UK P+P. See more of what’s inside.

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A Parade of Shops: The Specialists

George Mackay, Bowling Green Bowl Maker, Edinburgh
A beauty from Edinburgh.

The first run of Little Shops is now sold out – thanks for your orders. A Parade of Shops can now be ordered for delivery next week.

Mevagissey Shark Angling Centre

An unexpected find in Mevagissey.

Victoria Watchmakers, an old shop from Victoria Road in Glasgow

One from Victoria Road in Glasgow.

sid & jane camera, Warwick

I love everything about this, from modesty of the lower case names, to the wooden frontage and the lettering that looks like it’s made from giant Letraset (from Warwick)

Burgess Decor & Thimbles, Dingwall

A niche offering from Dingwall.

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A Parade of Shops: The Maximalists

The Aquarium, Glasgow
Pet shop / Eye test, Glasgow

Following on from The Minimalists, here are the Maximalists, where more is definitely…more. These all feature in new book A Parade of Shops – a celebration of little shops and shopfronts.

Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Great Yarmouth
So good they named it twice, Southport

You’ve got to admire the dedication of the shopkeeper who hauls this in and out every day.

Fancy Fair 59
What’s it called? Er, not sure, Great Yarmouth

Classic British combination of summer paraphernalia with easy to grab umbrellas.

Best Steak Pies in Glasgow

A Parade of Shops will be out next week. Early copies with the title Little Shops are currently on sale for £6.

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A Parade of Shops: The Minimalists

Westport, Cupar
Cupar

After yesterday’s big announcement, I had a brainwave and decided to change the title from Little Shops to A Parade of Shops. That seems more fitting. Unfortunately I had the brainwave after ordering some copies, so the first batch (called Little Shops) is reduced to £6 until the reprints arrive. If you don’t mind a different title, it’s the same book inside.

R. L. Broom, Stromness

Anyway, to business. As well as historic and photogenic shopfronts, I wanted to include some where there is barely any shopfront at all. This one from Stromness in Orkney looks like it was designed to withstand the elements.

Hole in the Wall, Stoke-on-Trent
Hole in the Wall, Stoke-on-Trent

The Hole in the Wall in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent was the last remaining oatcake shop of its kind. Staffordshire oatcakes, (very different to Scottish oatcakes) were sold out of the window of a terraced house. The whole area was being redeveloped and we got there just before it closed for good. The oatcakes were delicious, and happily, they’re back under new management.

John Bell, Electronics & Vape Shop
John Bell, Oban

Honourable mention for selling both gadgets and gizmos.

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Coming soon: Little Shops

Little Shops - a photobook by Anne Ward

After much swithering, I’ve finished photobook 3: Little Shops. As the title suggests, it’s a book full of little shops, shopfronts and shop windows – from the historic to the hysterical.

Here’s a sneak peak of what’s inside – Part 1: The classics

John R. Ferguson, Gatehouse of Fleet
C. Antoniou tailors, London
C. Antoniou, 248 Gray’s Inn Road, London
J D Adam, Brechin
J.D. Adam, 29 St David St, Brechin (shopfront now gone)
Optometrist, Burntisland
Ferrier & Mackinnon, 129 High Street, Burntisland

Little Shops is available to pre-order for £8 including postage. It will be published in early May.