Memories of Congleton
I knew little of Congleton although it was only 20 miles away, but soon came to appreciate its historic nooks and crannies and the domestic scale of the town. Although in Cheshire, Congleton never struck me as typical of the county, it gave the impression of a border town — which in fact it is. Young people on a Friday night enhanced the border atmosphere as behaviour seemed wilder than I noticed elsewhere. The historic nickname for Congleton is 'Bear Town' which refers back to the bear bating days when an important bible was sold to pay for a replacement town bear. I imagine it was well supported entertainment at the time. The invading Scandinavians gave their name to the river the town lies on, the River Dane, and along its banks the remaining textile mills lie. The town rises to the 18th Century St Peters Church and this is reflected in the composition. The settlement rises again to the aptly named Hightown, but all of this is dominated by 'The Cloud', a prominent hill that afforded me a memorable view one spring day in 1992. On a pinnacle to the south lies the strange settlement of Mow Cop, which I had to find room for after a visit there. One shop has sold a lot of my pictures over the years, but being a clothing shop and not a gallery, the owner felt his profits should all go to charity — and so they have. Nice people in Congleton.