Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Important places around Grantham

This is my little corner of Wetherspoons pub.   
It's the one table close to an outlet, so I can plug in my laptop.  The fireplace is just to my left.  And I've got a pint Diet Pepsi sitting on the table next to me.  Perfect.  (Well, not as perfect as Diet Coke would be, but I manage.)

Alan found the B&Q store, which is eerily similar to Home Depot, right down to the orange theme colors.

This next photo really is a place of national importance in Grantham, and I'm sure Coop will someday be quite glad to have this momento:
What?  You don't know why?!

See that small brown rectangle up to the right of the second story window?  It's this:
That's right, Maggie Thatcher was born in this corner building, presumably before it was a "Chiropractic Clinic and Holistic Retreat."  And that small plaque is all there is to mark the spot.  Apparently, as one of the locals tells it, there's no love lost between Mags and the town of her birthplace, although Grantham does historically vote for the Conservative Party candidate, perhaps as a nod to its famous (if estranged) political daughter.

Another famous Grantham native is Isaac Newton.  He was born and raised outside of town at a place called Woolsthorpe.  (Woolsthorpe by Colsterworld, not Woolsthrope by Belvoir, just fyi.)  Here is Carol outside of Isaac's childhood home:

And here is Cooper "Gravity" Grant thinking some deep thoughts beneath the very apple tree that inspired Isaac Newton's revelation about gravity.
(There's some dispute in our party about whether it's actually THE tree.  Alan's always a skeptic.  Apparently Isaac's tree fell over in 1820, but this current tree grew out of the roots that took hold where the trunk fell.  I call it good enough for bragging rights.)

Finally, when Carol and Ellen were here visiting, I went back to St. Wulfram's Church in Grantham with them.  This time, the church's Chained Library was open.  The library was established in 1598 when a local reverend gave £100 for the purchase of books.  It was the first public reference library in England.  The reverend provided that his library was to be kept in the porch room at St. Wulfram's (where it remains to this day) and that the books were to be chained to desks and read in the library.  Over 80 volumes are still attached by chain to the shelves, preventing their loan or theft.

The books are Bible commentaries, sermon collections, church histories, in addition to books about law, medicine, and history.  The majority of the books were printed in the 16th Century, but there are about ten books printed prior to 1500.

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