Sunday, November 26, 2006

Durham & Snowdomia

Durham CathedralDurham Cathedral
On my last day in the North I wanted to pay a visit to Durham, and to the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. The Norman-built (1093) cathedral in Durham is a World Heritage site, once voted "Britain's favourite building" and houses the remains of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede. Thomas, Cardinal Wolsey was made Prince-Bishop of Durham in 1523 by Henry VIII.


The Sunderland area has a long connection with glass manufacture and art. The new National Glass Centre, overlooking the mouth of the river Wear provides exhibition space, studios and tertiary education facilities through Sunderland University. At the time of my visit there were some displays of snowdome collections, and photo-portraits of the collectors themselves. The actual displays of glassware were smaller than those at the House of Marbles, and paled next to those I'd enjoyed at the Tacoma Museum of Glass a few years back. Let's home the Sunderland centre builds a comparable collection. Today marks 18 months since Bondi and I arrived in Europe for our grand tour which excuses me for seeing the glass as only half full (3 years being the glass/crystal anniversary).



Dusk on the roof of the Glass Centre.
When I was in sixth class, my teacher Norm Gilchrist would present one short biography each week, usually of some selfless citizen or dedicated scientist. One week it might be Marie Curie or Grace Darling, a Microsoft program manager or perhaps a quiet hero from Australian history, like John Simpson and his donkey. Apparently born in South Shields in 1892, making him 25 at the time of the Gallipolli landing, he is memorialised by this statue by the "Where you save much more" sign over the ASDA doorway.
Five and half hour drive back to London this evening.

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