Thursday, 19 July 2018

Departing Little Kimble

A Chiltern 165 departs Little Kimble (just around the bend) heading for London.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

River Cole (West Midlands)

The West Midlands River Cole flows North West across the Birmingham plateau. The river source is at Hobs Hill near Wythall. The river then crosses across the South East of Birmingham through the likes of Yardley, Chelmsley Wood and Shard End before joining the river Blythe at Coleshill. From there the waters join the Tame, then the Trent and eventually the North Sea at the Humber estuary.

The Cole is a non-navigable waterway but at one stage it had twelve watermills along it. The Cole is usually shallow but due to the nature of the clay soil in the area the river can be changed quickly by heavy rainfall and can easily flood.

The earliest recorded name of the river from 972AD is Colle which is an old English word for Hazel.
At Shard End

At Wythall (rather swollen by heavy rain)

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Churches (22) : St Andrew's, Shottery

Shottery is a small village to the West of Stratford-upon-Avon, though nowadays there is continuous settlement between the two places. Most famously Shottery is the home of Anne Hathaway's cottage, purported to be the childhood home of William Shakespeare's wife. There is some doubt about this though it is certain she did originally come from Shottery.

The church of St Andrew in Shottery dates from 1870 [1] though to a thirteenth century style. The church is made from light brick with a stone dressing and has a nave and chancel.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner & Alexandra Wedgwood, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire (Penguin, 1966) p. 397

Sunday, 15 July 2018

All along the SVR

So another visit to the Severn Valley Railway yesterday, my second of the year. I was planning on going to a diesel event in the Autumn but as the lack of rain has made the ground tinder dry and steam locomotives have been setting off many line-side fires the SVR have gone diesel only for the next few days. Of course I thought it would be a good idea to go up and get some diesel thrash. I took photos all along the line, including the now closed Eardington Halt which i have finally got some decent photographs of. You can see my photos here.

Saturday, 14 July 2018


Today I took a trip on the Severn Valley Railway, this time I went all along the line from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth and this time visiting the historic old town. This is built amid the ruins of Bridgnorth Castle and is atop some cliffs. The best way to reach it is by funicular railway of course, I haven't been on the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway for many years. In fact the only time I have been on it before was the only time I have visited the old town before when I was with the cub scouts, in 1982!

Bridgnorth is a lovely old town. I must make sure my next visit is sooner than thirty six years! You can see my photos of the town here.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

IBM 7070

The IBM 7070 was a mid-range data processing system introduced in 1958. It was IBM's first stored-program computer to use transistors rather than vacuum tubes, the first of a new line of fully transistorised mainframes. The 7070 used around thirty thousand germanium transistors and could perform twenty seven KIPS (thousand instructions per second). The 7070 used machine words consisting of ten digital digits plus a sign. Each digit was encoded by 5-bits. The 7070 used core memory and could store up to around ten thousand words.

Unfortunately the 7070 was incompatible with the models (such as the 705) it was intended to replace. A simulator was needed to run programs written for older computers though the waste of resource and incompatibilities meant the 7070 was a bit of a flop. The later 7080 was said to be fully compatible.

Also coming later were the faster 7072 and 7074 in the early 1960s. They were replaced by the highly successful IBM 360 within a few years.
IBM 7074 (Public domain image)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Churches (21) : St Swithun's, Worcester

The Church of St Swithun is a former Anglican church in the centre of Worcester. The church's origins date to 1126 when permission was granted to build a church dedicated to St. Swithun by the Dean of Worcester. Little of the original church remains however. The tower was built in the fifteenth century. The church was completely rebuilt in the 1730s, the tower also being resurfaced. The church is thus considered an example of early Georgian architecture. There were further changes to the church in the nineteenth century.

The church was declared redundant in 1977 and since then has been preserved as a venue for concerts and ceremonies.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Sunday, 8 July 2018


Yesterday I went to Wendover in Buckinghamshire, a nice little market town near Aylesbury. The main focus for the visit was to walk the now-disused but still watered Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal. I walked this as far as the neighbouring village of Halton. Maybe a little too far on a hot day to be honest but it was a nice place for a walk. You can see my photos here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Ettington Park

A couple of my good friends got married on Sunday, the venue they chose was lovely: Ettington Park near Stratford. This is a fine Victorian Gothic manor house which is now a hotel. What was more interesting though was the ruins of the former church of St Nicholas mere metres away in the grounds. Of course I took a few photos of both, which you can see here.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Churches (20) : St Mary's, Melton Mowbray

"The stateliest and most impressive of all churches in Leicestershire" according to Pevsner [1] and it's hard to argue with that. St Mary's dates mostly from the late 1200s with fifteenth century additions. The lowest part of the tower is Norman and dates from 1170.

The church is built on a plan more usual with cathedrals, having a transept flanked by aisles - a rare feature for a "mere" parish church, and has a thirty metre tall tower. The church dominates the town of Melton Mowbray. By the twenty first century the church was in a poor state of repair and a two million pound appeal was begun to raise funds for renovations and improvements including improved accessibility. Work was completed in late 2017.

[1] Nicholas Pevsner, Leicestershire and Rutland (Penguin, 1960) p. 188

Monday, 2 July 2018

Claverdon and Bearley

Claverdon and Bearley are two small stations in Warwickshire near to Stratford-upon-Avon. They don't have a very good service so travelling to them by train has not been something I have yet attempted (though I have travelled through them many times, including on Saturday). As I was driving down to that part of the world on Sunday, to attend a friend's wedding, I decided to take a detour and visit both stations on the way. One way I will take a train to them but for now this will do.
Claverdon station sign



Sunday, 1 July 2018

Stratford River Festival 2018

The annual river festival in Stratford-upon-Avon is something I have attended a number of times now. I went yesterday and took in plenty of boats, morris dancers and people... so many people. I've never seen Stratford quite so crowded. The hot weather obviously bought people out. As it was so busy I didn't take as many photos as I usually do but of course I did take a few and you can see them here.