Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Warwickshire Places (3) : Lillington

Lillington is a suburb of Leamington Spa. However until 1890 it was a separate village which had existed since Saxon times. Lillington is mentioned in the Domesday Book [1].

Since incorporation into Leamington, Lillington has been greatly expanded with a new centre at Crown Way. The old village centre is around the parish church of St Mary Magdalene which, although rebuilt in Victorian times, still has some medieval features.

Also in Lillington is the Midland Oak. This is an oak tree (the original tree has gone but a new tree has been grown from an acorn of the original) which is supposed to be the "centre of England"*.
Midland Oak park

St Mary Magdalene

Entrance of churchyard of St Mary Magdalene


* Other centres of England are available.

[1] "Parishes: Lillington." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6, Knightlow Hundred. Ed. L F Salzman. London: Victoria County History, 1951. 161-164. British History Online. Web. 9 February 2019. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol6/pp161-164.

Monday, 15 April 2019

BGLR : Rolling stock plan for 2019/20

The financial year from 2018/19 which has just ended was a big one for the Birches Green Light Railway in terms of motive power. If we include Black Beauty which arrived in early April last year there were four new locomotives in the year including Maggie as shown below. As well as locomotives there was another coach (to give a total fleet of seven), and a couple of new wagons added to the fleet including the standard gauge wagon trolley which arrived last week.

So what about the new year? The BGLR will probably not get as many new locomotives this year, though a railcar is high on the list. A works shunter for the HO scale tram line is also wanted. A short rake of heritage coach stock would also be nice...

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Seeing a bit more of Hatton

I have been to Hatton in Warwickshire a few times but it's always been to walk the canal or stay at the station. So today I decided to actually see something of the village itself. I only got as far as Hatton Green as the main part of the village is actually quite a walk from the station but I did get to see the lovely church there which must rank as one of the loveliest old churches I've ever seen.

You can see my photos of Hatton here, including the railway there. You can see my photos along the Grand Union Canal at Hatton here.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

BGLR : Little Big One

If you have a standard gauge wagon loaded with goods which are needed where there are only narrow gauge rails what do you do? You can transfer the load of course to a narrow gauge wagon but this is time consuming. One option is to load the standard gauge wagon onto a flatbed narrow gauge trolly and transport it that way! This happens on the Central European narrow gauge networks which Birches Green is modelled on and with the arrival of this new Roco combination it can happen on the BGLR too!

The standard gauge (HO) wagon is a bit wobbly though on the HOe trolly. It is also a bit heavy. Ruby is pictured with the wagons but was unable to make a lap of the BGLR loop without a little help from a 1:1 scale finger! The Bear was able to pull the wagons and this was it's final duty before joining the reserve fleet.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Warwickshire Places (2) : Danzey Green

Danzey Green is a small village near to Tanworth-in-Arden (just over a kilometre and a half away to the North). Danzey Green is rural and it's most notable buildings is Danzey Green Farm which dates from the mid to late eighteenth century [1]. There was also once a windmill though this was already derelict by the late nineteenth century [2] having been damaged in a storm. The windmill was dismantled and moved to the Avoncroft Museum of Buildings in Bromsgrove in 1969.

Danzey railway station was opened in 1908 and still exists despite the small local population, however it was mostly intended for residents of Tanworth as the station bore the name Danzey for Tanworth for a time [3].
Stood on the railway platform, the view emphasises the rural nature of the station surroundings

The wonderfully named Pigs Trot Lane stretches away to the left

A road sign thats seen some life

Danzey Green Lane


Danzey station

[1] "Parishes: Tanworth." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 5, Kington Hundred. Ed. L F Salzman. London: Victoria County History, 1949. 165-175. British History Online. Web. 9 April 2019. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol5/pp165-175.
[2] Nikolaus Pevsner & Alexandra Wedgwood, Warwickshire (Penguin, 1966) p. 431
[3] Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith, Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham (Moor Street) (Middleton Press, 2006) Fig. 55

Saturday, 6 April 2019

CPRR Diesel Gala

I hope to attend four or five diesel galas at preserved railway lines this year, today was the first at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway (CPRR). I've been to the CPRR a few times in the past but this was the first visit since they have opened their platform next to the network Princes Risborough station which makes access to the line much easier!

You can see my photos from the gala here. I also took some photos in Chinnor and some of Bledlow as the train went past, these can be seen here.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

BGLR : Return of Growler

Growler has returned to the BGLR as the locomotive rotation policy continues. One day the BGLR may be replaced by a much bigger layout where every loco can be present at once but until then time on metal has to be shared out. The Bear will make way for Growler within a few days once testing of Growler has been completed.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Warwickshire Places (1) : Wootton Wawen

The Warwickshire village of Wootton Wawen dates from Saxon times with the first records of the village dating back to the early eighth century. Æthelbald of Mercia granted Earl Aethilric twenty hides of land for a minister between 723 and 737CE [1]. A church was built on the land though the current church of St Peter & St Paul was established late in the tenth century by Wagen an Anglo-Danish landowner. He gave his name to the village, Wootton Wawen meaning a farm near a wood belonging to Wagen.

It is no surprise that the church is the oldest in Warwickshire and has some of the most notable Anglo-Saxon features of any church in the country. Another notable building in the village is the stately home Wootton Hall built in 1687 [2] though with some parts from an earlier Elizabethan house incorporated into it. The Hall is now part of a caravan park.

Another notable building is the Bull's Head pub near the church. This dates from at least the sixteenth century. As well as the A3400 road which passes through the village Wootton Wawen is a stop on the North Warwickshire railway line. The Stratford Canal passes through the edge of the village, the canal crossing over the main road via an aqueduct.
Former mill in Wootton Wawen

The Bull's Head, with the church behind

Passing through Wootton Wawen

A wheat field near the village

Canal mooring

A GWR sign alerting people crossing the canal

[1] "Parishes: Wootton Wawen." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred. Ed. Philip Styles. London: Victoria County History, 1945. 196-205. British History Online. Web. 2 April 2019. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol3/pp196-205.
[2] Nikolaus Pevsner & Alexandra Wedgwood, Warwickshire (Penguin, 1966) p. 482