Ten places that tell the story of Eng­land

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Ir­re­place­able: A His­tory of Eng­land in 100 Places aims to find the places that best tell Eng­land’s story. We’ve been ask­ing the pub­lic to nom­i­nate the places they think should be on the list and through 10 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, each judged by an ex­pert, from Mary Beard to Robert Win­ston, all 100 places will be cho­sen and ex­plored through a new pod­cast se­ries. Here are my top 10 nom­i­na­tions. Un­til the Ro­man in­va­sion of Bri­tain around 43AD, roads were lit­tle more than un­paved tracks. With their cus­tom­ary ef­fi­ciency, the Ro­mans quickly built and main­tained a net­work of paved and gravel roads which equated to around 15,000km (9,320 miles) in length, link­ing key mil­i­tary and ad­min­is­tra­tive lo­ca­tions. The Fosse Way was one of the most im­por­tant and one of the long­est, run­ning from Ex­eter to Lin­coln. The A46 fol­lows the old road al­most ex­actly from Le­ices­ter to Lin­coln and some of the route sur­vives as road or path south of Le­ices­ter and through the Cotswolds (tele­graph.co.uk/ttfos­se­way­drive). One of Bri­tain’s ear­li­est sur­viv­ing amuse­ment parks and home of the coun­try’s old­est oper­at­ing roller­coaster, the wooden, Grade II listed Scenic Rail­way, which first be­gan en­ter­tain­ing sea­side crowds in the 1920s with its mile-long loops and curves. The site of Dream­land (as it was re­named in 1920) dates back to the Bri­tish rail­way boom and the early 1870s when, in its orig­i­nal form, the “Hall by the Sea” was op­er­ated by a circus ty­coon, the self-pro­claimed “Lord” Ge­orge Sanger.

From Dec 1 to Jan 3 Dream­land will be­come a Frosted Fair­ground, with an ice rink and grotto (dream­land.co.uk). Span­ning the River Sk­erne in the cen­tre of Dar­ling­ton and close to the Head of Steam Rail­way Mu­seum (01325 405060), this is the old­est rail­way bridge in the world in con­tin­u­ous use. In 1825, when the Stockton & Dar­ling­ton Rail­way opened, Ge­orge Stephen­son’s Lo­co­mo­tion No. 1 passed over the bridge and be­gan the rail­way age that was to change Bri­tain and the world. Dar­ling­ton was the epi­cen­tre of ev­ery­thing com­ing to­gether – the en­gi­neer­ing, the fi­nance (which helped cre­ate the bank­ing in­dus­try), the vi­sion­ar­ies, the pub­lic sup­port. For a time, the bridge was on the back of the £5 note. The rail­ways changed Eng­land for­ever, link­ing dis­tant towns and bring­ing the pop­u­la­tion closer to­gether. Opened in 1869, dur­ing the great age of pier build­ing, Cleve­don Pier was built to re­ceive pad­dle-steamer pas­sen­gers from Devon and Wales. A spec­tac­u­lar ves­tige of a once thriv­ing Vic­to­rian sea­side re­sort, it is now the coun­try’s only sur­viv­ing Grade I listed pier. De­scribed by Sir John Bet­je­man as “the most beau­ti­ful pier in Eng­land”, and con­structed with rails from one of Brunel’s rail­ways, it was also the set­ting for the video of One Di­rec­tion’s sin­gle You & I (cleve­donpier.co.uk). This was the home of Wil­liam Brew­ster, one of the Pil­grim Fa­thers who jour­neyed on the Mayflower to New Eng­land. Brew­ster was a lead­ing mem­ber of a group of Sep­a­ratists who, in 1606, broke away from the es­tab­lished church to live a sim­pler life. Scrooby Manor House be­came a meet­ing place for the new con­gre­ga­tion and in 1620 a group of Sep­a­ratists, led by Brew­ster, trav­elled to Southamp­ton to sail to the New World. The in­flu­ence of the small, ide­al­is­tic colony they es­tab­lished on land­ing in Province­town can still be felt in the be­liefs of Amer­ica today and has had a last­ing im­pact on the world. The re­mains of the orig­i­nal manor have been in­cor­po­rated into a farm­house (not open to the pub­lic), which can be seen from nearby Sta­tion Road, to the south of the site. You can also visit Scrooby’s St Wil­frid’s Church, where Brew­ster wor­shipped be­fore his break with the Church (scrooby.net/page/his­tory). When it was com­pleted in 1867, this Grade II*-listed build­ing ng was one of the largest ho­tels in the e world, as well as one of the first gi­ant pur­pose-built ho­tels in Europe. The Vic­to­rian build­ing is de­signed around round the theme of time: four tow­ers wers to rep­re­sent the sea­sons, 12 floors for the months of the year, 52 chim­neys sym­bol­ise the he weeks, and orig­i­nally there were ere 365 bed­rooms, one for each h day of the year, though fol­low­ing wing ren­o­va­tion this was re­duced duced to 280. The ho­tel it­self is in the shape of a “V” in hon­our onour of Queen Vic­to­ria. Drop p by and ad­mire the pe­riod ar­chi­tec­ture; for places s to stay in the area, see tele­graph.co.uk/ tt-york­shire­ho­tels. Grand Ho­tel in Scar­bor­ough, left, and Dream­land Mar­gate, above; Bet­tany Hughes, be­low, nominates her his­toric hot spots Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem claims to be the old­est inn in Eng­land, with its es­tab­lish­ment stated as 1189. The word “trip” for­merly meant stop­ping point on a jour­ney, sug­gest­ing the inn may have been orig­i­nally used by trav­ellers, pil­grims and cru­saders on the epic jour­ney to Jerusalem. It is built be­side and into the sand­stone rock upon which Not­ting­ham Cas­tle stands and among the cu­riosi­ties in­side are a wooden chair, which is said to in­crease the sit­ting woman’s chances of be­com­ing preg­nant, and a model galleon in a glass case, which is said to be cursed so that any­one who has dusted it has met a mys­te­ri­ous death (tripto jerusalem.com). Bath’s ther­mal springs have made this site a cen­tre of hu­man ac­tiv­ity and a des­ti­na­tion for trav­ellers for thou­sands of years. The first shrine here was built by the Celts and ded­i­cated to the god­dess Sulis. When the Ro­mans ar­rived, the tem­ple com­plex was de­vel­oped and the name evolved into Aquae Sulis (the wa­ters of Sulis). The great Ro­man build­ings fell into dis­re­pair af­ter the Ro­mans with­drew, but thank­fully they were re­dis­cov­ered in the late 19th cen­tury and are now one of the most pop­u­lar (and fas­ci­nat­ing) visi­tor sites in Bri­tain. Bath’s for­tunes as a spa town were re­vived in the Ge­or­gian era when the neo­clas­si­cal Pump R Rooms were built around the springs and fash­ion­able so­ci­ety vis­ited to ba bathe in the hot springs and drink the su sup­pos­edly cu­ra­tive and foul-tas foul-tast­ing spa wa­ter (vis­it­bath. co.uk).

To learn more mo about His­toric Eng­land’s cam­paign A His­tory of Eng­land in 100 Places, see his­tori­ceng­land.org.uk/100places his­tori­cen Bet­tany Hughes’s H new TV se­ries, is curre cur­rently on Chan­nel 5 at 9pm on Fri­days. For Tele­graph Travel’s be best places to visit in E Eng­land see tele­graph. c co.uk/tt-eng­lands b best

Sk­erne Bridge, be­low

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