Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Churches (29) : St Michael & All Angels, Beaconsfield

St Michael & All Angels is an early twentieth century church built in the New Town area of Beaconsfield. The Old Town of Beaconsfield has existed since at least the early Norman period but the New Town was built about a mile to the North of the original town at the end of the nineteenth century when the railway reached Beaconsfield.

St Michael & All Angels was built in 1914 [1] though because of the First World War original plans for the church including a spire and sanctuary were never realised. A nave and aisles were built in Kentish ragstone in the Decorated style.

A sanctuary was finally built in the 1950s and a lady chapel in the 1960s.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 62

Monday, 18 March 2019

Hello again to Henley-in-Arden

Yesterday I visited Barnt Green for the first time in a number of years, today I did the same to Henley-in-Arden which I last visited way back in 2012. My first visit was memorable as I made the mistake of climbing the hill that overlooks the town not thinking that as it was muddy it might be tricky coming down again. I slipped and fell in my arse in the mud! Luckily there were no mishaps this time.

Some things haven't changed, some buildings haven't changed much in the town since the Middle Ages to be honest, but the station has changed a bit since my last visit so it was good to update my images. You can see my Henley-in-Arden photos here.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Back to Barnt Green

A number of years ago, after a few months of working in Worcester and commuting by train every day, my interest in railways was reawakened. It had lain dormant for a number of years, though I did read the occasional magazine to keep reasonably up to date, but the spark was back and so now it was time to start making trips on a train to take some photos! The very first trip I made was to Barnt Green, and today I returned to update my photos.

I also had a walk around the village which is near to the Lickey Hills. It is a nice area just inside Worcestershire. You can see today's photos here.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

BGLR : Short form

This week on the BGLR I have been experimenting with shorter passenger trains. Apart from the philosophical question about whether a single carriage constitutes a "train" or not some of these shorter trains have been tried and work out pretty well. The push-pull unit is a single coach of course though as it's quite a bit longer it doesn't look quite as modest as a single Roco coach as shown below.

The BGLR is a small layout so shorter trains are the norm anyway, a single coach train is a perfect length. Obviously one day I'd love a much bigger layout and have lengthy trains of six or more coaches but until then...

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Churches (28) : St Peter & St Paul, Godalming

The Church of St Peter & St Paul is the parish church of the Surrey town of Godalming. A church has stood on the site, in a meadow next to the river Wey, since the ninth century with the current church being a re-building in the twelfth century. Some remnants of the earlier Saxon church survive especially the Eastern nave and around the base of the tower.

The church has North and South aisles either side of the nave and North and South chapels either side of the chancel [1].

The church gained it's spire in the thirteenth century plus North and South chapels were added. Further changes occurred in the following centuries including a lengthening of the nave and a widening of the aisles in the nineteenth century.

The church was built from Bargate stone rubble with hard chalk and Bath stone in later additions.

[1] "Parishes: Godalming." A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Ed. H E Malden. London: Victoria County History, 1911. 24-42. British History Online. Web. 12 March 2019. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/surrey/vol3/pp24-42.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Long Eaton

Yesterday I headed up to Long Eaton in Derbyshire. I had a walk along the Erewash Canal which terminates at Long Eaton when it meets the river Trent. The Erewash thus joins the select group of canals which I have visited both ends (the other end of the canal is in Langley Mill). Though most of the canal has yet to be walked by me, hopefully i can explore more of it in future. You can see my photos of the canal here.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

BGLR : The BGLR setting

So where exactly is the Birches Green Light Railway set? It is not actually prototypical to Birches Green in the UK which has no railways (well the Birmingham-Leicester line might just scrape the edge depending on where you draw the ward boundaries).

When I re-started railway modelling several years ago I went for HOe narrow gauge and rolling stock from the Austrian Zillertalbahn railway. Later on I got rolling stock from other Austrian narrow gauge railways, and some German wagons. I've also got an East German locomotive. So I suppose Birches Green could be some kind of preserved narrow gauge railway somewhere in Austria. It doesn't really matter, the main point is to enjoy what you are doing. Seeing lovely locos like Maggie and the Falcon pass by makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Churches (27) : St Nicholas, Great Kimble

The church of St Nicholas in Great Kimble dates back to the twelfth century originally being a simple church with a nave and a small chancel. The font is of the Aylesbury type and dates from around 1190. Arcades were added in the following century.

The chancel was enlarged in the fourteenth century. The tower and clerestory were also added in the fourteenth century. The church was rebuilt in the late 1870s giving it the current flint exterior [1].

St Nicholas' proximity to the Prime Minister's official residence at Chequers means that the odd leader has signed it's visitor book over the years.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 144

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Raised bed 2.0

It has taken me a long time to get around to actually planting anything in the second raised bed but finally four perennials and a small conifer have been put in. I'll probably add three more plants in a few weeks. This raised bed will be a memorial garden for those we have lost and will be kept nice and neat unlike the other raised bed which has been taken over a bit by the rosemary and lavender!

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Unexpected Malvern

My plan today was to go to Colwall but due to an emergency services incident by the railway near Ledbury my train was stopped at Malvern. I decided to visit Malvern instead instead of waiting for a rail replacement bus! I alighted at Malvern Link and walked up to Great Malvern. It is a lovely town, a spa town of course, with some beautiful churches including the priory. You can see my photos here.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

BGLR : Running

Due to the cold weather (and unheated house) there hasn't been a great deal of running on the layout this year so far though that changed at the weekend where the active fleet all got a decent run. The Bear still sounds like a bag of spanners when headed in one direction, it's sister loco Jam also makes a bit of a noise too though not as bad. Hopefully all Bear needs is a bit of running in. Though Bear only has a month before it is scheduled to be replaced in the active fleet by Growler so we'll need to maximise running opportunities with the loco over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Churches (26) : Holy Trinity, Lower Ettington

The church of the Holy Trinity was the former parish church of the now lost village of Lower Ettington (only Upper Ettington still exists about two kilometres away, nowadays just called Ettington) next to the river Stour. The ruins of the church are in the grounds of Victorian great house Ettington Park which is now a hotel.

The church of the Holy Trinity (sometimes also known as St. Nicholas') was built in the thirteenth century in the Norman style with later additions including a fourteenth century North arcade [1]. It had a West tower, a chancel, a nave and North and South transepts [2].

Lower Ettington was abandoned in the eighteenth century, the church had already by then been replaced as the parish church by one in Upper Ettington. In the early nineteenth century the church was partially restored to act as a private mortuary chapel for the Shirley family. Nowadays only the South transept and the tower are intact with the rest of the church in various degrees of ruin.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner & Alexandra Wedgwood, Warwickshire (Penguin, 1966) p. 290
[2] "Parishes: Ettington." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Ed. L F Salzman. London: Victoria County History, 1949. 77-84. British History Online. Web. 26 February 2019. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol5/pp77-84.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Getting on with gardening 2019

The mild start to the year meant that I was able to cut the lawn last week. However I think we should be a bit cautious before we think Winter is over as March last year saw a lot of snow. This year's major project will be the second raised bed which will have some shrubs. The original raised bed will also have a bit of an overhaul as it's starting to get a bit frayed and worn. At the moment though all there is to do is cutting and chopping!

Sunday, 24 February 2019


A few years ago I wrote my dissertation on how the horse-drawn tramway from Stratford to Moreton-in-Marsh affected the economy of Stratford-upon-Avon in the nineteenth century. Until yesterday though I had never actually been to Moreton-in-Marsh which is a rather delightful town in the Cotswolds. There arn't really any traces of the old tramway left but there were a lot of lovely old stone buildings.

Moreton is a bit touristy though like Stratford (a bit more than I'd like), signs at the railway station were in English and Japanese! But you can understand the appeal. You can see my photos here.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Churches (25) : St Michael & All Angels, Halton

Despite appearances the parish church of St Michael & All Angels in the Buckinghamshire village of Halton is a fairly modern construction dating to 1813 [1] though designed to some extent in the style of a thirteenth century church [2]. It was built on the site of an older church though little external trace of that church now remains, just some stone curbing which marked the old chancel wall. The current church was built from grey stone and flint.

St Michaels has a tower to the West, a nave and aisles (probably a later addition either side of the nave and a bit too slim for the style adopted for the church). Inside the church are traces from the older church such as a brass of Henry Bradschawe and his wife dated 1553 plus a church plate of a similar vintage.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 152
[2] "Parishes: Halton." A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 2. Ed. William Page. London: Victoria County History, 1908. 339-341. British History Online. Web. 19 February 2019. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/bucks/vol2/pp339-341.

Monday, 18 February 2019

BGLR : The tram line

As well as the narrow gauge Birches Green line my layout also has a HO scale tramline. This began as just a way to put something on the bridge over the layout. Originally it was going to be a static track just for scenery purposes but when I bought a great Roco tram I thought I'd expand it into a proper secondary layout...

Phase 1 of the tram is shown in yellow on the plan above, it was quickly followed by phase 2 which needed a board extension and gives the tramline it's current terminus. Phase 3 is shown in green and will require a new board which will be on top of the existing layout. This will also provide a good backdrop to the left side loop of the main line.

It shouldn't prove too difficult to built phase 3, the hardest part will probably be to find a suitable piece of wood!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Long Buckby and the walk to the wharf

Yesterday I went to Long Buckby in Northamptonshire. It is a pleasant little town (or maybe should I say large village) with a pretty church and remains of a castle. Though Buckby Castle nowadays is just a mound. I took photos of Long Buckby which you can see here.

I also walked down about three kilometres to the Grand Union Canal at Buckby Wharf, an "interesting" walk on a country road without a pavement! You can see my canal photos here.