Friday, October 3, 2014

Wareham, Dorset

Here for the bear

One of the pleasures of having this blog is the comments and messages and information I receive from readers. I’ve benefitted, recently, from interesting information and conversations about (among other things) the similarities between a rectory and a town house in Leicestershire, 20th-century school architecture and decoration, and the filmic activities of Michael Winner in Herefordshire – as usual, the comments confirm my conviction that writing about buildings involves much more than architecture. Now, having read my previous post about the Unicorn at Deddington, reader John Hartley has sent me some images of further three-dimensional inn signs: both the Dolphin Hotel at Chichester (which I blogged about long ago) and this, the Black Bear at Wareham, which is new to me.

So here’s a lovely 18th-century inn frontage, bow-windowed and parapeted, with a fine statue of the eponymous bear sitting on top of the porch. The pose, with one paw raised, is charming. However, I take it also to be a reminder that, here in Britain as elsewhere, bears were once trained to dance and perform, as well as being subjected to the practice of bear baiting. In spite of all this, Wareham’s black bear manages to maintain a certain dignity. When, one of these days, I make my way to Wareham, I look forward to making his acquaintance.

Photograph of the Black Bear Hotel, courtesy of John Hartley


E Berris said...

I think there used to be a 3D figure on The Bear at Esher - but memory may be playing me tricks.

bazza said...

It would be hard to pass by that pub on a Sunday afternoon wouldn't it?
And Wareham is a lovely town.
(Listening to a radio play of Macbeth on You Tube)
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Philip Wilkinson said...

E Berris: Yes, googling this inn, the pictures do seem to show a statue of a bear peering down from the parapet.

Joe Treasure said...

From the upper deck of the number 63, I always notice the Black Friar pub on Queen Victoria Street – one of those surviving Victorian buildings in central London, many of them pubs, that look even more gem-like set against the sparer modern buildings. The portly friar himself stands above the door on the sharp southward corner.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Joe: Yes the Black Friar is amazing. It's worth getting off the bus and having a closer look. There are friars, and other decoration, all over the interior too.

Joe Treasure said...

I'll do that. I've never been inside.

David said...

The Black Friar's Arts and Crafts interior is a true gem.

Reading the Black Bear's reviews on Tripadvisor, I think I would confine my inspection to the exterior, if I were you!