Wednesday, July 07, 2010

West Yorkshire In Ten Squares

One of the interesting things about blogging is that you get to know so many interesting parts of the world.  My regular "reads" give me insights into life in Ohio, Rhode Island, Sydney, Ottawa and so many other fascinating places and I build up pictures of the look and feel of these places from the pictures and the words published. And on the assumption that I am not too unusual ("eccentric" I will accept, "unusual" I will argue against), there must be people out there wondering what this West Yorkshire place is. (That is on the assumption that my readers actually exist and are not represented by a stream of cyber comments sent out by a powerful blogger.com computer - you have to wonder after blogger was feeling ill yesterday and no comments were generated!).

Where was I? Right, West Yorkshire. If you want to know about West Yorkshire you can turn to Wikipedia and it will tell you that it is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England with a population of 2.2 million. Read on and it will give you pictures of Kirkstall Abbey, Harewood House and even the Emley Moor Mast (which, when the leaves fall from the trees I can see from my window). But is this the real West Yorkshire, the typical West Yorkshire, the essence of West Yorkshire?

So I have a plan for a new project. I have a street atlas of West Yorkshire. The entire county is covered in a series of maps covering 239 pages. Each map is divided into forty small squares, each square representing an area of 500 square metres. That is 9,560 squares. Each of those squares is a part of West Yorkshire and each, in its own way, is typical of West Yorkshire. So let us pick ten of those nine and a half thousand squares at random and see what they look like. The mechanics is relatively easy, all you need to do is to turn to one of the many on-line random number generators. And then it is counting and plotting. And then comes the fascinating bit - the visiting and the recording.

Each week over the next ten weeks or so I will visit a square picked at random and try to give you a feel of the place in images and in (a few) words. We start tomorrow. The random number machine came up with the first square on Monday and I went there yesterday. Is it typically West Yorkshire?. You will have to visit tomorrow to find out.

17 comments:

  1. That is so neat! I have long romanticized your part of the country...

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  2. Leah : Whether you will still romanticise it after the tenth square is revealed is the interesting question.

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  3. How fun! I am looking forward to this Alan.

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  4. Wonderful project! Are you aware there's a site (the name or URL I can't recall now) where readers photograph the UK one GPS coordinate at a time? For what it's worth, I've never been too impressed with the contributions. I venture yours will be infinitely more interesting and give us a much better feel for each square!

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  5. JanaGenie : Yes I have come across the site which involves photos by GPS co-ordinates. The interesting thing about the 10 square project will be discovering where I am being sent to be the random number machine and the new interpretation it will give me to what is typical.

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  6. Sounds potentially great fun - let me know if you get despatched to Saltaire!

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  7. Jennyfreckles : Will do. I am sure you will be intrigued by my first destination.

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  8. Great idea, Alan! Will look forward to this series!

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  9. IT's tomorrow already . .Great idea, it's really hard to get a true picture of a place unless posted by a local. OF course I've been lucky enough to see West Yorkshire and most I have to say is rather beautiful. Cities on the other hand . . the're basically the same everywhere. Looking forward to it!

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  10. Oh goodie!
    I suppose you'll use your Ipad for this

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  11. What a creative idea! This is why I adore reading your blog- it is so spirited and unique! (A kinder word for unusual.)
    Pleased to report I am a real live reader and not a blogger cyborg.
    Look forward to seeing West Yorkshire through your blog and in person one day!

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  12. Interested to see where the fickle finger of NFN will fall! :)

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  13. This sounds like fun! And I hope that when you get to Leeds you give a nod to the greatest rock & roll concert in history - The Who at the University of Leeds in 1970.

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  14. Roy : If I get to Leeds Roy. Who knows where the fickle finger of the random number generator will send me!

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  15. Good heavens !That is ambitious!My ancestors came from Saltaire so all things Yorkshire are of interest.Drop by sometime to rural South Australia!

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  16. How about "unusually eccentric?" ;)

    I love the history and geography I learn here. One of the reasons I started coming! And the beer, of course.

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