Sunday, 17 November 2019

Wilnecote and Fazeley

Yesterday I headed up to Staffordshire and Wilnecote which is just South of Tamworth. I walked across into Fazeley and then finally to the end of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. This is the canal that passes my house and I have walked much of it over the years though until now have not been to the Fazeley end and the "terminus". It joins with the Coventry Canal and I walked that for a bit, rather muddy towpath though not as bad at Burton-on-Trent a few weeks ago!

You can see my canal walk photos here. Photos of Wilnecote station and a few of Wilnecote and Fazeley can be seen here.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

BGLR : Return of Ruby

Ruby has returned from the reserve fleet to replace Tango as the BGLR shunter / light duties loco. Now there is a question mark over Ruby as it's two sister locos are both stricken with motor issues. Lets hope it's a case of third time lucky!

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Churches (42) : All Saints, High Wycombe

All Saints is a large church in the centre of the Buckinghamshire town. There has been a church on the site since early Norman times, this early church was completely rebuilt and replaced by the current church in the late thirteenth century. Much of what was left of the Norman church was the tower but this was replaced itself in the early sixteenth century [1] after concerns it might collapse.

The church was greatly expanded from it's original size during the rebuilding, especially the nave and chancel which was extended. Nave arcades were added in the fifteenth century and a chantry chapel though this was later demolished.

The church was restored in the mid-1870s. The church is flint faced except the tower which is stone faced.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 161

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

History of the World in Apple Objects (13) : Macintosh IIcx

The Macintosh IIcx was introduced in 1989 and sold for two years. It was similar to the IIx though in a smaller and easy to open case which was also used by the more powerful Macintosh IIci which succeeded it. The IIcx came with a Motorola 68030 running at 16Mhz and could support up to 128MB of RAM (though that would have cost the GDP of a small country back then).

The IIcx ran Mac OS 6 up to 7.5.5. Unfortunately this one is unlikely to run anything anymore though still has the cute case!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Tanworth third time lucky

I have planned to visit Tanworth-in-Arden for a number of weeks now. Two weeks ago I had to postpone the trip due to adverse weather, last week it was postponed again due to a cancelled train. Finally i made it there this week!

Tanworth has no railway station itself but is about a mile away from both Wood End and Danzey. I alighted at Wood End, walked to Tanworth to take some photos of the rather nice church before heading out to Danzey and the train home. Not a journey without hazard, i had to walk along the road most of the way and was caught out by ice a few times (luckily didn't fall!) You can see my photos here.

Friday, 8 November 2019

BGLR : First plan of the N project

It has been planned for some time now but I think th N gauge layout project will finally begin in 2020. After all I have the board already (a packing pallet) and all the rolling stock. All I need is some new track and somewhere to place the layout... well maybe by next year the space will be available. I have begun designing the layout, it will be fairly simple but should be interesting.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

The Lost Key

There should be more blog posts about typewriters, well here is one anyway. The Lost Key of QWERTY explores a key which had three dots in a vertical line. It appeared on the very earliest commercially successful typewriter, the Remington Number 1, back in 1873 but then vanished on subsequent models and has never been seen since. It certainly isn't on my Brother Deluxe.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Churches (41) : St Mary the Virgin, Rickmansworth

The church of St Mary the Virgin is the parish church of Rickmansworth and also used by the Methodist Church. It is an example of a church completely rebuilt in the nineteenth century so that not much of the original church was left.

The church was built on the site of an earlier church which dated to the late thirteenth century. The church was rebuilt in the 1820s to a fifteenth century style with most of the medieval church pulled down and replaced. The West tower however dates from 1630CE and is a fine example of the Gothic style built from flint and stone.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Derbyshire Places (5) : Ambergate

Ambergate is an example of a settlement that can remain sleepy and unchanged for centuries before new technology in the form of transport links can change it profoundly, even changing the name!

Although the village of Ambergate is situated where the river Amber joins the Derwent it is infact named after a gate on a turnpike road. Until the early nineteenth century the village was known as Toadmoor and was a tiny collection of cottages for many years until the arrival of transport links and change.

Amber Gate was the name of the tollgate on the Nottingham turnpike, the name was adopted by the North Midland Railway when they built Ambergate station in 1840. The Cromford Canal also passed through Ambergate though these days Ambergate marks where the canal "ends" on the stretch from Cromford before coming back to life again near Langley Mill.

The village grew greatly in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the church of St Anne being built in 1892 for local worshippers who up until then had had to use a variety of different venues for worship, even the pub!

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Gone for a Burton

After last week's weather caused last minute change of plan I decided to go to Tanworth-in-Arden this weekend instead. However when I got to Birmingham Moor Street I saw that the train I intended to catch was cancelled and as I didn't want to wait an hour for the next one decided to change my plan again. Instead I went to Burton-upon-Trent, somewhere I have travelled through many times but never stopped at until now.

I had an enjoyable if muddy towpath curtailed walk along the Trent & Mersey Canal and also took some photos in Burton-upon-Trent as well, as can be expected the town is dominated still be breweries. You can see my photos here. Photos of the canal are here.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

BGLR : A little ballasting

Many modellers do not like ballasting the tracks though personally I don't mind doing it in short doses. I ballasted between the station storage siding and the first goods yard siding. Unfortunately the vacuum cleaner seems to have expired so I haven't yet been able to remove the excess and see how it looks!

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Churches (40) : All Saints, Oakham

All Saints' Church is the largest church in the county town of Oakham in Rutland the smallest county of England!

The church has elements dating back to the thirteenth century though the tower and spire dates from the fourteenth [1] and other parts of the church the fifteenth. The tower and spire, which dominate the town of Oakham, are in the Decorated style though much of the rest of the church is Perpendicular Gothic. The church exteriors are made from limestone ashlar.

The church was restored in the late 1850s.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Leicestershire and Rutland (Penguin, 1960) p. 314

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Derbyshire Places (4) : Langley Mill

Langley Mill is a small town on the border with Nottinghamshire. The town was originally known as the village of Long Lea and has existed since medieval times with a water mill recorded in the Domesday Book. The village was a crossing place for the river Erewash since at least the twelfth century.

Langley Mill is most known as an industrial centre and this was facilitated by the arrival of transport links including the canals - the Cromford, Erewash and Nottingham Canals meet at Langley Mill and the railways, the current station is a stop on the Erewash Line. The village grew into a town thanks to industries like the Midland General Omnibus Company, Aristoc and G.R. Turner which employed thousands of people.

As with many places these names are now long gone though industry remains in Langley Mill but on a smaller scale.

Monday, 28 October 2019

The early PC keyboard

An interesting look at the development of the IBM PC keyboard up to the PS/2 in the 1980s when the key layout we often still use today on PC desktops was largely finalised. I've always liked IBM PC keyboards (and I'm not alone, they have a cult following), i remember fondly using XTs at university, pounding away for hours typing Pascal, COBOL and less serious stuff while connected to a minicomputer. Keyboards today are less interesting and certainly quieter! I do have an IBM PS/2 but have no idea what happened to the keyboard...

Saturday, 26 October 2019

A wet morning in Derby

With virtually the whole country covered with rain I decided to postpone my original planned activity for another Saturday as it would have involved walking along country roads and thus getting rather wet. Instead I went to Derby station and took some photos of trains keeping dry underneath the generous canopies! You can see my photos here.

Friday, 25 October 2019

BGLR : The heritage train is complete

The third (and probably final) coach for the heritage train has arrived. Next may be a steam locomotive to haul them but that will have to wait for next year. I might get a another coach of this type so i can run three red ones together but that again will be a 2020 decision.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Churches (39) : St Michael, Woburn Sands

The Church of St Michael is in the county border straddling village of Woburn Sands, the church being inside Bedfordshire. The church was built to serve the new ecclesiastical parish of Woburn Sands with building beginning in 1868 and being completed the next year for the comparatively small budget of £5000. The church was built from coursed limestone with an ashlar dressing.

The church was enlarged in 1889, the chancel was lengthened and a large East facing stain glass window added. To celebrate the church's centenery the church was reclad in 1968.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Derbyshire Places (3) : Matlock Bath

Matlock Bath is a relatively recently formed community especially compared to nearby Old Matlock. However people have lived and worked in the area for thousands of years, with mines on the hills overlooking Matlock Bath having been worked in Roman times. These hills are known as the Heights of Abraham and a cable car takes visitors up to them.

The discovery of warm springs in 1698 on a road alongside the Derwent river near Matlock led to the construction of a bath house. A village began to be built up around the springs which had royal patronage in the early nineteenth century and became a fashionable Victorian spa. Matlock Bath was called Little Switzerland thanks to Lord Byron comparing it with Alpine retreats. The Swiss feel is reflected in some of the architecture of station buildings at Matlock Bath railway station which are clearly inspired by Alpine chalets!

Matlock Bath remains a tourist destination well known for it's many fish and chip shops and arcades. It is also home to the Peak District Lead Mine Museum.