On Saturday 10th June 31 members and friends went to Lichfield, the first outing of the 2017 Summer Season. The weather forecast in the days preceding our visit was not promising, but on the day we were blessed with fine weather. On boarding the coach passengers were given a booklet –‘Visit Lichfield 2017’ together with amplifying notes on things to see and do during the visit.
After a comfortable and uneventful journey, we arrived at the drop off point close to the Cathedral and proceeded to “Chapters, – The Cafe on the Close” for coffee/tea and biscuits. Suitably refreshed, we assembled at the Cathedral’s main entrance for a group photograph before going on a 90 minute guided tour, which was not an unqualified success. Being a Saturday, there were many visitors and lots of ‘goings-on’ in preparation of planned events. Consequently, the resulting noise level detracted from the guides’ offerings.
Lichfield is a very pleasant city and well worth a visit. The Cathedral with its Close is exquisite. The views of the Cathedral from the south, across the two pools provide an impressive vista. Its collection of glass, artefacts, sculpture, furnishings and its historic library and Anglo-Saxon treasures render it uniquely interesting, architecturally significant (Grade 1 listed) and of outstanding historical importance. The Cathedral was consecrated on Christmas Day 700 AD and is among the earliest centres of Christian worship in the UK. After the invasion of 1066 the Normans built a new cathedral (of which only few traces remain), and a century or so later that was rebuilt in the Gothic style, and completed by c.1340. Besieged three times in the Civil War it suffered drastic damage, more than any other of our Cathedrals. Rapidly repaired in a mere nine years its interior was rearranged at the end of the eighteenth century, and then ‘restored’ in the 19th century by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and that is the Cathedral you see today. It is the only English medieval cathedral to have three spires – known locally as the ‘Ladies of the Vale’ – and is one of the most elegant in the country.
After the tour we were free to roam and visit other attractions of historical importance, which included: the “Erasmus Darwin House”, the “Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum” and the “Old Guildhall Prison Cells”, all with free admission. Sadly, St Mary’s in the Square, which houses the city museum and TIO, was closed for refurbishment.
We assembled at the pick-up point and departed promptly at 5.00 pm. After a comfortable journey and a grateful “thank you” to Peter Raikes for organising the trip we arrived back at Melton at 6.15 pm, tired but in good spirits.
Peter Raikes – Group Leader.