Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Hungerford Arcade BBC Wildlife Producer's Expertise

A gentleman with his wife came to the desk and said that his son was looking at a bronze fish. Their son happened to be BBC Wildlife Producer, Adam White.  Adam has been making Wildlife films at the BBC for almost 20 years and it was fascinating talking with him.  You must watch Wild Brazil and his other films, they are amazing programmes, showing on BBC2 and probably Discovery.  I am sure you can watch them on iPlayer if you missed them.  It is best if Adam tells you about his work himself but what you are seeing below, is but a small fraction of what he does.

I have been making wildlife films at the BBC for almost 20 years.
I have worked with Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham & Steve Backshall, on series like Life of BirdsLife in Cold Blood and Secrets of our Living Planet. I joined Wild Brazil as one of the series producers, and spent a lot of time in 2013 on location.
No-one could believe what we had witnessed
Adam White
Filming wild jaguars was a real highlight, as for so much of my career they were viewed as un-filmable. Although they didn’t give up their secrets easily, we had to spend 9 weeks on location, and search around 10,000 miles of riverbank to find them.
But my favourite part probably has to be following the capuchin courtship story. There was one breath-taking moment when after four days of this poor female trying to persuade the male to mate with her, they looked at each other and kissed. No-one could believe what we had witnessed.
Now, back to the bronze fish.  I thought it was a trout or a carp when in fact, as was pointed out by Adam, it is a rare fish called an Arowana.  The Asian Arowana (Scleropages formosus) is a freshwater fish indigenous to South-East Asia where it inhabits slow moving waters, rivers and streams.  Entirely carnivorous, it has become an icon of cultural significance for its grace, longevity, incredible colour and stature and has earned the name Dragon Fish, referencing the Chinese Dragon.  Currently, as an endangered species, it is bred under licence and close monitoring by the Asian agricultural authorities and each fish exported outside of Asia is microchipped, certified and licensed for transport.

Beautiful Arowana

Thank you Adam for all the valuable information you have given to us on this marvellous fish.

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Hungerford Arcade Wishing You All A Very Happy New Year 2015

Hungerford Arcade owners, managers, staff and stallholders wish all our customers, readers of our Newsletter, Blogs on Facebook, Google+,Twitter and Pinterest all around the world a very...

Hungerford Arcade will be open on New Years Day, from 9.15 to 5.30.  We look forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Hungerford Arcade: Merry Christmas

Adrian, Hazel, Managers, Staff and Stallholders at Hungerford Arcade, wish you all a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Hungerford Arcade Mary Hare School For The Deaf

Hungerford Arcade
Carol Singing
Sunday, 21st December 2014

The staff and stallholders of Hungerford Arcade will be Carol Singing on Sunday, 21st December at 2.30 p.m. raising money for the Mary Hare School for the Deaf. Do come along and support this wonderful school. You can even join in with the singing if you would like to.

Reg Charity No. 1048386

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Hungerford Arcade Carol Singing

LtoR: Adrian Gilmour, Choir leader Alan Bartter 
and wife Jennifer, James Hill, Ann Parker, 
Rose Newbury and her
business partner
There is a real Christmas atmosphere here at Hungerford Arcade.  Co-owner, Adrian Gilmour, staff and stallholders gathered inside the Arcade at 2.30 for our annual Christmas Carol event, raising money for charity. We started by singing in the big square then moved down to the Christmas tree at the front by the counter.  We all sang Christmas Carols, lead by stallholder, Alan Bartter. Customers stopped to listen and gave generously to our sponsored charity, Walking With The Wounded for which we are extremely grateful.  Thank you very much. 

We will be having another Christmas Carol event next Sunday, 21st December at 2.30.   If you would like to come along and listen or even join in, please do, it would be lovely to see you.

Lovely stallholder, Ann Parker
In a Festive mood

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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Hungerford Arcade: Victorian Extravaganza

The Victorian Extravaganza had been building up all day.  The funfair arrived with the Big Wheel, Helter-Skelter, cup and saucer roundabout, candy floss, shoot the target and lots more all right outside Hungerford Arcade.  There was the most beautiful steam engine powering the lights and rides and an amazing old fairground organ.  There was plenty to eat with hotdog and burger stands, roasted chestnuts and a red hot atmosphere.  The Arcade was packed with people - we were still open at 9.30 pm and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

By 5 o'clock the High Street was packed with people, many dressed as Victorians and looked fabulous. The children were all excited waiting for the arrival of Father Christmas!  In the meantime, they enjoyed the fairground rides and amusements and of course, candy floss.  A jolly stilt walker 'The Professor', dressed in his very smart, colourful clothes, stopped to have a laugh and a chat with everyone.  He was so tall, it made your neck ache looking up at him.

At 7 o'clock a firework lit up the sky signally the start of the procession which started off from the bottom of the High Street, headed by Scottish bagpipes, stilt walkers and then the man himself, Father Christmas.  The children screamed and called out to him as he was drove passed waving and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.  The possession carried on with people dressed up as reindeer, there was a beautiful multi-coloured bus from Thailand and the excitement was there for all to see and here.

Pirate with Arcade co-owner Adrian Gilmour
Arcade Manager, Alex Rogers -
a very handsome Victorian Gentleman

The stilted Professor
Our stunning Arcade window designed and decorated by
our very own Ann Parker (Unit 42P)

Our Judy of Rafters Cafe outside cooking up
fabulous hotdogs

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Hungerford Arcade: H G Wells and the Bridge over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Our wonderful author, Stuart Miller-Osborne has written yet another wonderful article - a piece of Hungerford's history.  Our small market town is steeped in history and thanks to Stuart, it is kept alive.  We all learn a little more about our town with each story Stuart writes and we owe him a great deal of gratitude for keeping the history of Hungerford to the fore. Thank you Stuart.

On page one hundred and twenty four of the H.G.Wells' novel The Secret Places of the Heart published in 1922 there is a rather memorable passage which appears to mention the bridge over the canal in our lovely town. 

It concerns a journey that Sir Richmond and Dr Martineau are making towards Avebury and Stonehenge and although short gives a feel of the area at the time.

“They ran through scattered Twyford with its pleasant looking inns and through the commonplace urbanities of Reading, by Newbury and Hungerford’s pretty bridge and up long wooded slopes to Savernake forest, where they found the road heavy and dusty, still in its war-time state, and so down a steep hill to the wide market street which is Marlborough.”

What interested me was the mention of Hungerford’s pretty bridge. Twyford most probably still has hidden away its pleasant looking inns although I think you would be tasked to find them. Reading’s urbanities have in my view become even duller but thankfully the roads in the forest are better and Marlborough and its wide street may have improved with age. 

But what of the pretty bridge, was Mr Wells considering our canal bridge? Well I hope so, as if you sit down and think about it, there must be upwards of twenty bridges in and around the town if you take the railway bridge on Hungerford Common and the railway bridge that crosses the canal not far from Froxfield as your limits.

For such a small town Hungerford does have a large number of bridges. I wonder if any town of a similar size as Hungerford has as many bridges? It would be interesting to find out.

Before it was replaced in the mid-sixties Hungerford had a fine railway bridge and although the current one is quite grand I do not think that Mr Wells would have referred to either as pretty. 

It might be the sturdy bridge at Eddington but for some reason I think Mr Wells meant our small but memorable canal bridge which carries the road over the Kennet and Avon Canal. 

Quite why Sir Richmond and Dr Martineau would have crossed the canal bridge if they were on their way to Marlborough is open to question as to continue along the Bath Road would have been more sensible. Maybe Mr Wells had enjoyed the hospitality of the town on a previous visit.
The Kennet and Avon Canal was opened in sections and in 1798, the link between Kintbury and Hungerford was opened. The Bath Chronicle reported the following;

On Tuesday the ninth instant, a Barge, having on board a staircase of wrought Portland Stone for J. Pearce, Esq., of Chilton Lodge, several casks of Russian tallow, . . . making in the whole about 40 tons weight, was navigated on the Kennet and Avon Canal from Newbury to Hungerford.''

The section from Hungerford to Great Bedwyn was opened the following year and the navigation of the canal was fully open by 1810.

The bridge over the canal apart from one addition looks very much as it did when it was constructed. It reminds me of the canal bridge near my childhood home in Bradford on Avon and like the Bradford one has its own unique echo (try hearing yourself think if the canal ducks get excited).

In common with the Bradford on Avon bridge, it has had a necessary addition that of a pedestrian footbridge to ensure that one does not get squashed by a lorry. But whereas the footbridge in Hungerford is a thing of beauty, the one over the canal in Bradford is an eyesore and spoils the line of the original bridge.

The Hungerford footbridge which cost some £400,000 was put into place in March 2012 and was opened later that year and is called the Jubilee Footbridge for obvious reasons

Both the newer and the original bridge are well worth a look. 

If you are in Hungerford and have visited the Arcade, then the canal is easy to find. Just turn left out of the Arcade and walk under the railway bridge and follow the road. The canal bridge is not too far in front of you and is clearly visible.

The footbridge is on the Wiltshire side of the bridge and like the bridge itself gives wonderful views of Hungerford Wharf and given the right light can result in memorable photographs especially when the sun is low. 

Even on the newer footbridge you can appreciate the beauty of the original bridge with its subtle curves and its soft worn stone.

You can also appreciate both bridges from the adjacent wharf which is a great experience on a warm summer’s day. Or you can walk under the structures and see what I consider to be the darker more mysterious side of the bridge which is not often photographed but shows the detail of its original construction. 

There is also a barge called The Rose which offers leisurely trips along the canal normally to Kintbury and its prices are very reasonable.

Whether H.G.Wells leant over the low wall of the canal bridge and sadly viewed the then derelict canal is open to debate.

But today we can enjoy the restored canal from the vantage of the footbridge or view both the new bridge and its aged parent from the grassy wharf .

Perhaps one might have been lucky enough to have picked up a copy of Mr Wells' novel somewhere in the town. 

Whichever way, the day would have been memorable. 

Stuart Miller-Osborne