Sunday 30 May 2021


Yesterday i visited Leominster in Herefordshire, a nice little market town though quite similar to a number of others i have visited. There is indeed a bit of a template these towns largely follow; Medieval church, Victorian buildings, old signs, antique shops, ruined by too much traffic! At least in Leominster's case there was a bit of a one-way system so it avoided the endless roar of Range Rovers that ruins places like Moreton-in-Marsh. The church, a former priory, was also rather fine. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 29 May 2021

My week(ly) in 1979

A couple of months ago we uploaded some scans from a Living magazine from 1973 found in Mum's loft. Another magazine has been found, My Weekly from March 1979 and here are a few scans from that. Its not as funky as the 1973 magazine to be honest but old adverts are always of interest.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Model Week : The good old days

With not much going on model railway wise at the moment i thought i'd put up these two photos of my OO gauge layout from the mid to late 1980s. The photos were damaged so only about half was scannable but it does show how the layout used to look when i had it in my parent's garage.

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Cathedrals (6) : Lichfield

Lichfield's first cathedral was built in 700 to house the bones of St Chad. In 1085 the original Saxon church, which was made from wood, was replaced by a stone one. However, this church was in turn replaced by the current cathedral in 1195. The building was completed in the 1330s. The cathedral was badly damaged during the Civil War including the destruction of one of the spires and all the stained glass. Restoration began in the 1660s but was not finished until the 19th century.

The cathedral is the only English medieval cathedral with three spires though is one of the smallest cathedrals. The cathedral was built from local sandstone and contains a large number of statues of kings, bishops and saints on the exterior.

Saturday 22 May 2021


After a couple of weeks on Merseyside it was nice to go somewhere else, and that somewhere else was Uttoxeter in Staffordshire. A nice market town with the usual medieval church, various other old buildings and lots of pubs. I'm always impressed at the density of pubs in places like this considering there are none within easy walking distance of where i live in Birmingham! You can see my photos here.

Friday 21 May 2021

Churches (105) : All Saints, Hereford

The church of All Saints in Hereford has existed since the early 1300s it replaced a church from the previous century which collapsed. The church has a nave, chancel, North and South chapels and a tower with a spire. The spire learnt over for centuries due to problems with the church foundations until extensive rebuilding work in the 1990s. It's spire still has a twist due to the rusting of the metal fixings of the stone in the spire.

The church is built from coursed rubble. The church has the second largest chained library in England, the largest being in the cathedral a short walk away!

Tuesday 18 May 2021

West Midlands Places (5) : Erdington

Erdington is nowadays a suburb of Birmingham though the village has existed from Saxon times and was listed in the Domesday Book as Hardintone. Erdington was mostly arable farmland with a mill at the bottom of a hill where the river Tame flowed at Bromford.

Erdington Hall manor house was also next to the Tame, the river used as part of it's defences. The manor house was demolished in the 17th century. The parish church of St Barnabas dates from 1822.

Erdington remained a rural farming village until the arrival of transport links including a turnpike road, the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and the railways, Erdington and Gravelly Hill being two railway stations in the Erdington area. Erdington gained a number of industrial works including Fort Dunlop, once the largest tyre factory in the British Commonwealth.

Monday 17 May 2021

Liverpool success

After last week's failure to achieve "Plan A" i headed back up to Liverpool on Saturday to give it another try! This time the plan worked perfectly, my carefully worked out plan to see four new stations on the Wirral was correct, which pleased me of course. I even had enough time to see a fifth new station! You can my photos from the two Liverpool trips here.

Friday 14 May 2021

Churches (104) : St Peter and Paul, Aston

The parish church of St Peter & St Paul in Aston is now in Birmingham though when the church was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, Aston was surrounded by fields and indeed was a larger place than Birmingham! When the church was completed in the 12th century it was one of the largest in the Midlands at the time and may have been the ministry church for the large Aston parish.

The church was rebuilt and reordered in 1480 including the current tower and spire. The church was rebuilt again in 1879.

The church was where my Mother was christened and her parents married.

Thursday 13 May 2021

Model Week : Adding some rubbish

Unlike my 1:1 world, Birches Green is quite tidy and doesn't have piles of rubbish hanging about all over the place. Well let's change that. I've turned a couple of wooden coffee stirrers into piles of timber. These will be placed at various points around the layout.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

West Midlands Places (4) : Harborne

Harborne is an area of South West Birmingham. The oldest area of Harborne is centred around the parish church of St Peter. The church is mostly Victorian (the tower is 14th century) though has been built on the site of earlier churches dating back to Saxon times. St Chad of Mercia is thought to have preached here. Harborne is listed in the Domesday Book.

Harborne became part of Birmingham in 1891, it was also transferred from Staffordshire to Warwickshire. Since 1974 it has been part of the West Midlands.

Saturday 8 May 2021

Liverpool frustration

I headed up to Liverpool today with a carefully worked out plan to get four new stations, but when i got to Lime Street my plans were thrown into chaos by train problems. I quickly worked out a plan B and visited two stations and a church in Roby, though getting the second station did involve cutting it very fine with my return train! Well i will try again next week. You can see my railway photos here.

Friday 7 May 2021

Churches (103) : St Nicolas, Nuneaton

The parish church of St Nicolas in the Warwickshire town of Nuneaton dates back to around 1340CE, though was possibly built on the site of an earlier church. The church has an aisled nave, a chancel with chapels, a vestry and a West tower which was built in the 15th century. The church was restored in the 1850s where the chancel was extended.

The church is built from dark grey sandstone.

Thursday 6 May 2021

Model Week : Railway progress

After a few weeks of little progress on the railway front both layouts saw some progress this week. The carriage siding on Birches Green has been ballasted, next will be the goods sidings. On Shard End the layout has been finalised and scenery can begin there too soon! We'll probably wait until the new sidings have been finished on Birches Green first, one load of ballasting at a time!

Wednesday 5 May 2021

End of the Shark

I've only ever owned three cars in my life, and until today I still owned the last two. My second car was the Shark, an L-reg Skoda Favorit. For the last ten years it has been rusting away on my Mum's drive. I should have had it scrapped years ago but have always resisted, maybe i thought i would one day be able to restore it. Today it went, to be honest it was beyond hope. The steering broke when it was being dragged onto the truck to be taken away! It is sad that the Shark has gone, i have happy memories of being in it. But like most things, it must end eventually. At least i kept the number plate!

Tuesday 4 May 2021

West Midlands Places (3) : Meriden

Located between Birmingham and Coventry, Meriden is often regarded as the "centre of England". More modern calculations have placed the centre in Leicestershire but Meriden still has it's monument which is supposed to denote the centre (though it has been moved anyway!)

Meriden has Saxon origins, being listed in the Domesday Book as Alspath and was the property of Lady Godiva. Alspath was a settlement atop a hill where the parish church is now, with Meriden settlement at the foot of the hill. Over time the settlement at the foot of the hill overtook Alspath in importance especially due to the Chester road passing through it.

Meriden was identified as the centre of England in 1829 with a sandstone cross built to mark the exact point. It has been moved a couple of times since then.

Sunday 2 May 2021


Yesterday i made my longest rail trip for quite some time when i headed down to Lydney in Gloucestershire on the Severn estuary and not that far from the Welsh border. I had an enjoyable walk in Lydney including the Dean Forest Railway preserved line, photos of which you can see here. Other Lydney photos can be seen here.