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.

Sunday 20 October 2019

Leicester and the King

Although I have been to Leicester station quite a lot, especially lately, it has been usually to change trains and I have only actually left the station once before! So yesterday I ventured into Leicester again, the main objective being to see the tomb of King Richard III who was famously found in an ex-car park a few years ago and finally reburied in the cathedral.

Leicester cathedral and the Richard III exhibition are both excellent and well worth a visit. I like the city too, I must go more often. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 19 October 2019

BGLR : Departure

It has been a quiet week at Birches Green though the third (and final) coach for the heritage train has been ordered. We have been playing about with an iPhone tripod to record video that's not as shaky. The effect isn't bad.

Friday 18 October 2019

Manchester rails and trams

Of course during the trip to Manchester there was some rail photography, at the two main Manchester railway stations. There was also some travelling on the Metrolink tram. You can see my photos of railways and trams here.

Thursday 17 October 2019

Ashton canal

It is always good to visit a new canal and in my trip to Manchester on Monday I did just that. Manchester (like Birmingham) has plenty of canals but while i had walked the Rochdale and Bridgewater canals already I hadn't been on the Ashton canal. I only walked a short way but still took in two arms, two basins and an aqueduct! You can see my Ashton Canal photos here.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Churches (38) : St Mary, Guildford

The church of St Mary dates from Anglo-Saxon times, the rough flint tower still survives from these times and dated to 1040CE it is the oldest surviving structure in Guildford, however a wooden church on the site predated the stone one by several hundred years.

The current plan of the church dates from a rebuilding in 1120CE with most of the current church dating from the late twelfth century. New windows were added in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the church was modified in 1825CE when the chancel was demolished to allow for the widening of a road. The church was restored in 1862CE.

The church is next to Guildford castle and, as the castle often hosted the monarchy, was used for royal worship. In more recent times Lewis Carroll, who was also an Anglican clergyman, sometimes preached in the church.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Derbyshire Places (2) : Willington

Willington is a village in South Derbyshire close to the Staffordshire border probably best known for the now closed nearby Willington coal fired power station. The five cooling towers still dominate the landscape.

Willington was listed in the Domesday Book as Willetune with the land consisting if two estates held by Ralph FitzHubert and the King. FitzHubert's manor passed to the de Willington family and later to the founder of the Repton school.

Willington was at one time one of the highest navigable ports on the river Trent and the Trent & Mersey Canal later ran through the village. The railway reached Willington in 1838, the station also serving the nearby Repton school. The station was closed in the 1960s but re-opened in 1995.

Meeting with Manchester

Yesterday as a pre-birthday treat I went up to Manchester, only the second time I've ever been to this fine city. This time I did more exploring around the centre itself including the excellent cathedral. I also did a bit of a canal walk and travelled on the trams but those will be subjects for later posts. My photos of Manchester can be seen here.

Sunday 13 October 2019

Great Central Railway

Yesterday I returned to Loughborough and made a proper visit to the Great Central Railway which runs between Loughborough and Leicester North. I visited all four stations on the line including Quorn & Woodhouse and Rothley. It was highly enjoyable travelling through this part of Leicestershire, the GCR is one of the best preserved railway lines around and my first visit was long overdue! You can see my photos here.

Friday 11 October 2019

BGLR : Tram stop

A tram stop shelter (or a bus stop one anyway) has been built. At the moment it is on the bridge stop though maybe it will move when the tram scenery is done next year.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Churches (37) : St Peter and St Paul, Coleshill

The Church of St Peter and St Paul is the parish church of Coleshill in Warwickshire. A church has been on the site since Norman times though the oldest parts of the current church date from the fourteenth century possibly 1385CE [1]. Most of the church dates from the following century however including the spire.

The church was rebuilt in 1859 including a replastering of the exterior and retiling the roof. The spire was also rebuilt. The spire is tall and slender and the tallest structure for some distance around Coleshill.

[1] Nikolus Pevsner & Alexandra Wedgwood, Warwickshire (Penguin, 1966) p. 235