Christmas In The Cities - Derby & Nottingham
w/e 9 December 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

We visited both Derby and Nottingham last week in search of some Christmas images and found in both places an attitude towards photography not experienced, thankfully, for quite a while.

Nottingham's Ice Rink

The temporary ice rink (above), erected for the Christmas and New Year period in Nottingham's Old Market Square was launched in a blaze of publicity and television coverage. There is also a similar one in Derby (left) that has attracted much less publicity but when I Big Screenasked if I could take some photos Derby's Ice Rinkfrom the side of the rink, I was refused permission. This, despite the fact that it is in the open air outside the Assembly Rooms where live images were being shown on the adjacent Big Screen (right) and simultaneously broadcast on the internet. The reasons given were that they "had their own photographer" and it had received a lot of publicity on the local radio station. As far as I know pictures don't show up too well on radio.
Westfield Derby

Westfield BroadmarshWestfield BroadmarshIn Nottingham's Westfield Broadmarsh Centre (left and right) I was approached by two security personnel and informed that photography was not permitted because of "company rules" and they were concerned about "photos of children" being taken and they did not want "structural" information being seen but if I were to get permission from the Centre Manager then there would be no problem. Surely "structural" information is the same whether permission is granted or not so why the big secrecy? There were no such problems in Westfield Derby (above) where queues formed to see Santa and you will find that both the shopping malls in Nottingham and Derby are operated by the same company. One set of rules for Nottingham then and another for Derby! Someone somewhere is being paranoid and I don't think it is me!

As for photos of children, there were many cameras of all types in use in Nottingham's Victoria Centre (above top half) including digital, video, mobile phone cameras and maybe even a conventional film camera or two as well as onlookers captured images of a choir made up entirely of children. In Derby - Westfield Centre again - (above bottom half), cameras were again evident as another children's choir performed their repertoire and another stood nearby waiting to take part in a Christmas Competition.
Street Entertainment

Music was also to be heard on the streets of both cities. Outside St Peter's Church in the centre of Derby, a group of musicians all the way from St Petersburg Russia were playing whilst in Nottingham the sound of pan pipes played by what looked like a Peruvian Indian echoed around the Bavarian Christmas Market at the side of the Council House.
Exchange Arcade

In Exchange Arcade under the Council House, the tree, lights, greenery and decorations have transformed the normally austere shopping area into a tunnel of Christmas festivity.
Indoor Market Hall

Back in Derby, the same could be said of the indoor market hall where garlands link the stalls and delicate strings of tiny lights hang from the ceiling.
Corn Market

The streets of Derby too are delightfully decorated where Christmas decorations hung across the pedestrian areas are enhanced by winter flowering plants in the hanging baskets. This is the view along the Corn Market as seen from Iron Gate.
Peter Pan Display

In a picture near the top of this page we saw in Derby's Westfield Centre a recreation of Santa's home at the North Pole complete with polar bears and Christmas trees. It has become a tradition for shopping malls to install a display of models like this as an additional attraction at this time of year. For Santa's temporary abode in Nottingham's Victoria Centre the theme of the display is Peter Pan. Lost boys, pirates, Indians, a crocodile plus Peter and Tinkerbell suspended above are all there in a snowy setting as youngsters wait to see the man in red.

That concludes our look at Christmas in the cities. We've only seen Derby and Nottingham but the story will be much the same in other places too - hustle and bustle - but hopefully the true meaning of Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ will also find its way into the lives of everyone. And maybe that spirit of peace, harmony and good will will find its way into the hearts of security personnel and ice rink workers as well.

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