As I can’t see what’s happening behind the security hoarding that now surrounds the site at Cliffe Castle (we’re still waiting for viewing windows) I thought I’d turn my attention to the old toilet block above the children’s playground, which will be the next thing to be demolished after they’ve finished taking down the café. I stood beside the tower to sketch, and the view across the Aire valley from here is stunning. 

I made a lot of mistakes in the drawing – quite a lot of the proportions aren’t right and there’s something very wrong going on with the roofline of the extension at the back, but I’ve learnt that things that go wrong with urban sketching are just as valuable as what goes right, or perhaps more so. You learn by making mistakes, and I now understand a lot more about the structure, though I’d like to know more.

This little building is in a sorry state, but because of that it’s full of bits of delectable rich urban decay, and I had a wonderful time taking photos of the rusty old iron downpipe that has gorgeous peeling layers of different shades of blue paint (why are old drainpipes hereabouts often painted this lovely turquoise blue colour?) and the extraordinarily beautiful iron bolt on the railings that secure the entrance. I know this project of mine is a sketching record but there are times when only a photo will do.

Cliffe Castle Park in Keighley is being restored with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Work started on site in June and I’m following progress and sketching whenever I can.

More updates on the work, photos, plans, and background information at: and at the Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group website.