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.