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

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Derbyshire Places (1) : Duffield

Duffield is a village in South Derbyshire in the Amber Valley. People have lived in the area since at least 400BCE. The Romans also had a settlement in the area dating from the first century CE. A Saxon settlement is listed in the Domesday Book as Duvelle.

In Norman times the area held the hunting grounds of Duffield Frith owned by one of William the Conqueror's knights Henry de Ferrers. He built Duffield Castle to protect the Northern outpost of his lands. Not a huge deal of the castle survives apart from the foundations and outlines of some of the buildings.

The parish church of Duffield is St Alkmund's. It is located to the South of the village and may have been on the route of travellers between Nottingham and Ashbourne where they needed to cross the river.

The major industry of Duffield for most of it's existence was agriculture though there were some ironstone mines too. The railway reached Duffield in 1840 and Duffield became a junction of, what became, the Midland Main Line and the line to Wirksworth. The latter was closed in 1981 but was re-opened as the Ecclesbourne Valley heritage railway in 2002. Duffield railway station serves both mainline and EVR.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Highley Engine House

Although I attended the Severn Valley Railway last Friday for a diesel gala I also took the opportunity to visit the Engine House in Highley where the SVR stores it's spare steam locomotives which await recommissioning (though some have been waiting a long time). You can see my photos from the Engine House here.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Postcards from the past

This afternoon I went to a talk held by Tom Jackson, the guy behind the Postcards from the past twitter account, podcast and book (which I have got). The twitter account presents old postcards along with a sentence or two of the message written on the card.

The messages, out of any context, are often funny, surreal, poignant or all of these at the same time. There are some fascinating aspects of social history revealed though these messages often you'd love to know more about the people involved especially in cases like the message below. Quite how did Mum get stuck in the toilet and what was so great about it?!

Upper Arley

One place I have wanted to visit for some time is the village of Upper Arley which is just over the river Severn from Arley station on the Severn Valley Railway. I took advantage of the much higher frequency of trains on a gala day to also pop over to the village and take some photos. A rather lovely village and church. You can see my photos here.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

SVR Autumn Diesel Gala

I headed up to the Severn Valley Railway yesterday for it's (inaugural I think) Autumn Diesel Gala. Not much in terms of guest traction this time but that was fine as their home fleet is large and varied. I just wanted to do some travelling about behind heritage traction. I visited Highley and Arley (of which more in future posts) as well as Kidderminster. You can see my gala photos here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Churches (36) : St Mary, Haddenham

St Mary's church in the Buckinghamshire village of Haddenham dates the twelfth century and has it's origin in a Norman church owned by the Benedictine abbey of Rochester. The church was likely built on the site of an earlier Saxon church and some traces of this church may remain.

The chancel, tower and arcades date from the thirteenth century, the tower is to the Early English Gothic style. The church was restored in Victorian times with a plastered ceiling added [1]. The church received a major refurbishment in 2008.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 149

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Castles (15) : Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury castle is a well preserved castle which dates from fortifications in the town first built by Roger de Montgomery in 1070 which included extensive town walls as well as the castle. Being on the border area between England and Wales the castle saw it's share of conflict, being held for a time by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales in 1215.

The castle was rebuilt during the English Civil War and also restored by Thomas Telford in 1780. Not much of the original castle now survives though the current castle is a fine building made from red sandstone which is the home of the Shropshire Regiment museum.