Saturday, 12 February 2011

A Line of Curiosities

I'm soon going to have to move onto something else. The black and white negatives I took in 1981 are almost inexhaustible! I'm into October now (but have been for a while) and whilst there's some good memories to be had there, I need to start seeing things in colour again for a bit!

Taken 21 October 1981 - but all still there for the taking in colour - in the Lancashire town of Poulton-le-Fylde, near Blackpool, there is an extraordinary line of old and curious things all with stories to tell of bygone ways of life.

The stocks were a cheap method of punishment where miscreants and law breakers were pinioned by the legs on market days where they could be pelted with rotten vegetables (or rocks, depending on how vindictive you were feeling).

At least in the stocks you could defend your face with your arms. The pillory, which pinioned arms and head was a much harsher punishment, not in itself but in the damage caused by missiles!

The market cross behind the stocks is set on a Jacobean pillar mounted upon steps.

The stone table affair behind the market cross is the "fish-stones", where bartering for goods took place.

Behind those is a whipping post where people were publicly flogged. We talk of poverty these days forgetting that people throughout history in this country knew that if a harvest failed then they were likely to starve to death. Stealing food was a serious crime in such times. People were as likely to be deported to Australia or hanged as they were to be flogged for stealing a loaf of bread. Deportation meant being chained in a crowded ship's hold for months on end, sitting, sleeping in your own and everyone else's filth and amongst those who had died on the way. Happy times...

Luckily for the crims, Human Rights ensures that these days it's only the innocent who have to suffer...

In 1981 the village centre was still open to traffic. This road was later returned to a cobbled surface and pedestrianised. Once we get some sunshine again I will go and retake these in colour!

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