Friday, July 15, 2011

Antiquing Trip to England: Day 8, Rochester

The city of Rochester was built on the site of earlier Neolithic, Celtic, and Roman settlements along the river Medway. Needless to say, it is rich in history. England's second-oldest cathedral is here, founded in 604 AD, right alongside an atmospheric ruin, a Norman castle dating to 1127.

Rochester Cathedral

This cathedral was filled with particularly beautiful and interesting doors. Here is a sampling:

An intriguing passageway in the Cathedral.

Rochester Castle, like its cousin in Lewes, suddenly pops up between two buildings in the shopping district:

 Rochester Castle

Unlike Dover Castle, which is in good repair and was used militarily until recent times, Rochester Castle is a spooky ruin, open to the elements:
A tea break with more scones was followed by a visit to a dollhouse miniatures shop, where I got a tiny tea cake stand filled with itty bitty pastries, the perfect thing to bring home to my dollhouse residents.

Real tea cakes.

Don't they both look delicious?

Not real tea cakes.

A second-hand bookshop had a wonderful surprise inside. In one corner, shelves, cabinets, and cases were filled with small items dug up from local river banks, Victorian outhouse sites and rubbish dumps, and old cellars, the places where people disposed of things in the days before trash pickup services. (The centuries-old clay pipes mentioned in an earlier post came from this riverside.) The shop had shelves and shelves full of dug up old stoneware beer bottles, Victorian quack medicine containers, and even poison bottles! I got a handful of miniature china doll heads and a dollhouse chamber pot here, all locally excavated.

Everything seen here was dug up locally. 
Note the "Poison Bottle" sign on the top middle shelf, 
and "Victorian Quack Cures" below.

Dug up dollies, all miniatures.

 A dug up dollhouse doll head and chamber pot.

Rochester had a number of antique shops, and this one turned up two wonderful vintage teddy bears well-spotted by tour leaders Terry and Doris, who pointed me to the store. (Thank you Terry and Doris!)

 I got this 1950s Chad Valley ted with lovely curly mohair,

and a characteristically goofy-looking 
Pedigree, made in Ireland.

Coming up next: Day 9, Faversham (our last day in England.)

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