Saturday, 12 May 2018

Rooftops of Shrewsbury: The Library (In the snow)

(DISCLAIMER: As an overall nice human being, I do not force entry, vandalize, steal, or disclose means of entry or location if it isn't obvious. I do this to protect locations and respect them. Trespass without forced entry is a civil offense rather than a criminal one, which isn't worth acting on unless one causes damage, steals, has ill intent, etc. I simply photograph and leave everything as I find it. I do not condone breaking and entering, and I do not condone what I do. I'm a danger to myself and a terrible role model )

While the UK is enjoying some nice warm weather, it seems difficult to believe that it's still possible to strike fear into any British persons heart simply by whispering into their ear "Snow is coming."
After many years of people complaining that it never snows over Winter anymore and that the whole concept of a White Christmas exists only on Christmas cards, we had some heavy snow earlier in the year, and then just when we thought it had all gone away, it all came back again, and again, until we were sick of it, except for my scary good friend, Ouija LeMay. She's so badass the snow was afraid to touch her. She got a part-time job at a nearby canal where her very presence freed up the water so that boats could get through, but other than that each time it snowed the British people responded as if they had never seen it before, freaked out and civilisation came to a halt.
A week after the snow was gone civilisation came to a halt again willingly on Easter Sunday, but that's because Jesus came back from the dead, so it was important.

And what did I do during the snow? I climbed the library, of course!
And I always open my blogs with an external shot of the building in question, usually taken from street level. But because it's Shrewsbury, I've been on more rooftops than Santa, and I like to brag, todays external shot of the building I'm climbing has been taken from the roof of another building I've climbed.

*Cue dramatic music*

I have climbed the library before, but that was in the summer of 2015, during the day. In complete contrast, these photos today are going to be during the trying-to-be-spring-but-winter-wont-go-away of 2018, at night. As such the shots are completely different, and somewhat unique

The library used to be a school, and dates back to 1550. It was a school right up until 1882, and then did nothing for a bit before it opened as a library in 1885, which it has been ever since. The end closest to the street was actually the schools built-in chapel, which wasn't at all unusual for the era. Its historic relevance as a school is all down to Shrewsburys Lord and Master, Charles Darwin, being educated here. I'm not particularly bothered by that. I'm just relieved that someone who influenced the modern world in such a way was educated at all. Nowadays we're educated by really boring television, and more insultingly we pay the BBC for the privilege through the outrageous TV license.

I personally don't pay TV license and haven't since 2012. I found out that I didn't have to, under the Terrorism Act 2001. During 9/11 the BBC quite oddly reported one building going down twenty minutes before it did. This has been the fuel for conspiracy theories, and we could talk about it all night but that's not why we're here. The point is, one can, and did, argue that this was evidence that the BBC had prior knowledge of a terrorist attack and failed to act, and under the Terrorism Act, I cannot legally give money to any organisation that I "believe" to be in cahoots with terrorists. Not that I watch much TV anyway, I'm too busy climbing Abbeys and whatnot. There's a show on TV about watching other people watch TV. That's what TV is like right now. I've made some questionable decisions in my time but I think staying away from every households Loving Eye of Education is one of my best.
But TV licencing have left me alone. Try it yourself.
Noel Edmonds doesn't pay TV license either, and they don't go after him because he's rich. I'd recommend you try that yourself too, but if that fails, write them a friendly letter discussing 9/11. Write, don't call.

But I digress.
In my opinion, the best historic feature of the library is the vintage vandalism in the former classroom, by the Victorian students.

Yes, I know, I thought it said that too.

Right outside the library is a glorious statue of Charlie D, who mysteriously gains a party hat every year.

Rumour has it the party hat is put onto Darwins head every year by religious extremists wanting to make old Charlie D look like a buffoon. But the truth is every statue in Shrewsbury gets party hats on the exact same day. It's a statue thing, not a Darwin thing. You could replace Darwins statue with a statue of Josef Fritzl and it would still get a party hat. And it would look great because Fritzl just has one of those kind of heads, a bit like an angry Doctor Phil.

But anyway, on with the view. For those wondering about the positioning, the photos are displayed clockwise.

 Over there is the castle next to the train station.

 And at the far end of the castle ground, just sticking out from the trees is Laura's Tower. And then just in front of the castle walls, obscured by the trees in the foreground are some military cannons from World War 2. There appears to be a snowman down there but that's actually a stone sundial. What few people know is that there used to be houses there, but they were demolished and their cellars were turned into air raid shelters, and later public toilets accessible from the street, until the doorway was bricked up. If you live in Shrewsbury, you might remember the toilets. I think they were closed in the 1970s or 1980s, certainly before my time, but recent enough to be in living memory of a lot of people. But fewer people will know that they were air raid shelters first.

 That church-like structure on the top left is St Nics, which is now a restaurant and nightclub, and also the vantage point from where I took my external shot of the library. I've never actually been in there but it does look like a pretty cool place.

 And over there is the modern Darwin Shopping Centre. And if you're only just noticing the repetition of the Darwin theme in Shrewsbury then I don't believe you've ever actually been here. If noticing references to Charlie D was a drinking game I wouldn't be able to write such a coherent sentence.
I did, however, do a blog post a while back about the Pride Hill rooftops, which does include the Darwin Shopping Centre. Also in the background, one can just about see the spire of St Chads Church.

And down there is the bus station.

It's pretty cool being up here, and I'm glad I got to get some photographs of Shrewsbury in the snow, because who knows when it will snow again? The weather in the UK is so messed up, anyone would think it was playing the Charles Darwin drinking game.

I actually didn't want to come down off the library, because it's such an epic building, and I genuinely find rooftopping to be very therapeutic. It's also my most commonly done activity on the forbidden tourism subject even if it's the most scarcely blogged about. The rooftops of Shrewsbury are mine. Or at least it feels like it because I find them so homely. Obviously I can't tell anyone not to go up there. However I do get protective. I explained to someone recently that I once met some urban explorers who were quite amazed that I'd never urinated off a rooftop. They'd all done it, they said, and it was great. It's a worrying thought that people are running around doing that, especially when so many of these places are of historic significance, such as Sundorne Castle.

What I explained in a recent interview was that I'm not the only person doing this, but I am the loudest, which means I need to distance myself somewhat. And I do this by behaving like a super villain, and looking fantastic. I can honestly say that here in Shropshire I am the most handsome person you'll ever find in a sewer. Although I've only ever been in one. See? I got the super villain ego AND lair down. Now all I need is a superhero arch nemesis.
Shrewsbury did once have a costumed vigilante, the enigmatic Shrewsbury Man. Don't believe me? He's was in the news all the time!

 You idiots, Shrewsbury Man isn't from Uganda, he's from Krypton!

Whoa. Actually Shrewsbury Man is a terrible superhero. I can't arch this guy. I'll look too heroic. My super villain days are off to a terrible start.

However, joking aside, if you liked this blog, share it. And don't forget to follow my social media, by liking my excellent Facebook, following my awesome Instagram, and following Twitter. I'd put a positive prefix to that too, but I'm not sure it will allow that many letters.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

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