Thursday, 28 May 2020

Former tram stop on Chester Road

Birmingham, like many of Britain's towns and cities, once had an extensive tram network. Like most places the tram network was closed down in the 1950s by short sighted transport and city planners who thought the motor bus was the way forward. Now little remains of the once city wide network. However here and there are unexpected traces and survivors.

At Wylde Green near Chester Road is a former shelter for tram passengers. The trams reached here in 1908. The shelter (rather more ornate and substantial than the type of shelter provided for modern day public transport users) still bears the name "Erdington Tramways" which can just about be made out (though Photoshop can help here) below the clock. After the trams were closed down the building was taken over by the gas board. Nowadays it is a barbershop.
 

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Cathedrals (1) : Derby

The Cathedral Church of All Saints Derby was originally built in the 14th century on the site of an earlier Saxon church. The oldest surviving part of the church, the three storey tower, dates from the 15th. The church was rebuilt in 1723-5 with everything apart from the tower replaced.

However the church was, at the time, a parish church. It did not gain cathedral status until 1927. The cathedral was extended with a new retrochoir built in the late 1960s.




Model Week : Il-28 approaches completion

Project #087, an Ilyushin Il-28, is now nearing completion with most of the painting done and clear sections added. All that remains is a little finishing here and there, decals and varnishing. I will then start the next kit straight away, i only completed 2 kits last year which is the lowest since i restarted making kits in 2009 so want to improve on that score. I doubt we'll ever return to the likes of 2012 when i completed 16!

Monday, 25 May 2020

Middleton, Wishaw and Canwell

Nothing like making up for lost time! Today I drove to the Warwickshire villages of Middleton and Wishaw and Canwell on the edge of Sutton Coldfield. All pretty close to where I live, the lockdown has reminded me that i don't necessarily have to travel on a train to go somewhere nice. Although i obviously can't wait to resume my rail adventures.

You can see my photos of the three villages here, all have nice parish churches.





Sunday, 24 May 2020

Lounging in Lichfield

This morning i headed up to Lichfield, a city not too far from where i live but for some reason i don't visit as much as i could/should. I took some photographs of the superb cathedral and two of the parish churches in the city as well as some other buildings.

I was also able to buy a latte from a cafe selling takeaway coffees. I sat on a bench near the cathedral with my first latte since March, a reminder of happier and simplier times. Maybe they will soon return. You can see my photos of Lichfield here.





Saturday, 23 May 2020

Popping up to Polesworth

This morning i drove up to Polesworth in North Warwickshire. This was a journey i planned to make one day anyway lockdown or no lockdown as Polesworth station has only one platform and a limited service despite being on the busy West Coast Main Line (so you can't return home the same way). Driving here is a lot easier. Polesworth is a lovely village with a former Benedictine nunnery and abbey.

The abbey is now the parish church of St Editha and a very fine church it is too. You can see my Polesworth photos here.





Friday, 22 May 2020

Churches (65) : St Edburg, Bicester

The parish church of St Edburg in the Oxfordshire town of Bicester may be built on the site of a Saxon church which was built around 850CE. A triangular entrance on the North wall of the current church nave may be a surviving part of the Saxon church. The origins of the church are a Norman church was built in the 1120s in cruciform shape.

As with many medieval churches there have been many additions and changes over the following centuries. A South aisle was added in the following century and a North aisle in the century after that. A clerestory was also added in the 14th century. In about 1420CE the North tower was built. The church was restored in the 1860s.



Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Model Week : A new look at the BGLR

Some time also I purchased a Polaroid Cube in order to make "line side" videos of operation on the BGLR, as if a little HO scale cameraperson was filming it! Unfortunately I never managed to get the Cube to work. However last week I purchased a similar little camera. It's a Cacagoo minicam and is really intended as a discreet security camera... but it fitted on the low-truck so why not give it a go? The videos are a little rough but maybe with a little practice that can be improved.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Calculators (5) : Commodore 887D

A typical mid-1970s calculator, and can be compared to the Commodore 776M from a year earlier. The 887D was indeed a very similar calculator in many ways though noticably wider. That extra girth allowed for an eight digit red LED display. The calculator was powered by a Commodore GRBP-89 CPU. As well as the four standard operations and percentage the calculator also had an Exchange key (EX) which reversed an operation. My 887D still has it's box, though fairly worn. The box has kept the calculator in good condition though.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Four Warwickshire churches

At last I was able to make a trip out of the Erdington - Four Oaks corridor i have largely been restricted to since lockdown began in mid-March. I went into North Warwickshire by car (which isn't that far away from where I live) in search of parish churches. I found four: in Water Orton, Shustoke, Over Whitacre and Nether Whitacre! You can see my photos here.




Friday, 15 May 2020

Churches (64) : All Saints, Bedworth

All Saints in the Warwickshire village of Bedworth dates from the 14th or 15th century was extensively rebuilt in the late 1800s. The West tower is the remaining original part of the church and is made from sandstone ashlar. Runcorn sandstone was used in the rebuild.

The church has an aisled nave, a chancel, a South chancel chapel and porches to the North and South.



Thursday, 14 May 2020

Model Week : Il-28 takes shape

Despite lockdown and extended time at home there hasn't been a great deal of activity on the BGLR recently. However I have finally restarted the building of model kits so instead of a weekly model railway update i will make a weekly modelling update. The current build is Project #087 which i began last year but has lain on the work bench untouched for months. It is a vintage Airfix kit of an Ilyushin Il-28 and is without much in the way of instructions which makes construction... interesting. However it is now finally taking shape.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Calculators (4) : Rockwell 24RD-II

From 1976 is this attractive calculator. Powered by a Rockwell A5901CA CPU the 24RD-II had square root and percentage functions as well as the basic four. Numbers are shown on an eight and a half digit vacuum fluorescent display. The calculator supported negative numbers and has the extra half digit to display the sign.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Along the Plants Brook

The Plants Brook is a stream that rises in Sutton Park and then heads off across Wylde Green and Erdington before joining the Tame. I had a walk along the Plants Brook last month and continued my journey along it today as far as the New Hall Valley Park. Although only a small stream there are still plenty of items of interest along it including quite a few bridges! You can see my photos here.





Saturday, 9 May 2020

Coming to Castle Bromwich

Yesterday I had a longer walk than usual down to Castle Bromwich village. I took some photographs of the parish church and Castle Bromwich Hall - the domed roof of which i can just about see on the horizon from my bedroom window! It was the first time i had really been to the old village area itself though as i grew up in Shard End i had been to parts of Castle Bromwich a lot in the past. You can see my Castle Bromwich photographs here.




Friday, 8 May 2020

Churches (63) : St David, Moreton-in-Marsh

The parish church of St David in Moreton-in-Marsh began it's life as a chapel of ease to which the dead of Moreton-in-Marsh were transferred. A church has been on the site since the 12th century though the current church is probably the third on the site and was built and consecrated in 1512CE.

Another rebuilding took place in the mid-19th century, the tower was replaced in 1860 as the church was enlarged. The chancel was also enlarged and a side chapel added in further work which took place in the 1890s. Little of the original Tudor church now remains. The church has a West tower with a thirty five metre high spire.


Thursday, 7 May 2020

BGLR : Engineering wagon

Having successfully had it's wheel wobble (due to being incorrectly switched from HOm to HOe in the first place) fixed the NWE wagon (as it has become known for obvious reasons) had begun it's career as the BGLR's prime engineering train wagon. Other wagons may also be used in engineering trains but this is this wagon's prime function.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Calculators (3) : Royal Digital 5-M

This pleasing calculator was made in 1972 for the Litton Imperial Typewriter Company under it's Royal brand. The calculator had five functions thanks to algebraic logic and memory. The calculator had an 8 digit green vacuum fluorescent tube display.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Shrubbery approaches capacity

The shrubbery (the second raised bed) is coming along well and has had three more plants added this year. Care will be needed that it does not become as unruly as the herb garden! There is space for just one more plant in bottom left. Eventually my Dad's ashes are to be mixed with the soil.