Friday 30 July 2021

Churches (110) : St Mary, Hinckley

The parish church of the Assumption of St Mary in the Leicestershire town of Hinckley dates from at least the 13th century, a beam has been found marked 1246, though was probably built on the site of a Saxon church. The West tower dates from the 14th century, the clerestory probably from the 15th.

The church was restored in the late 1870s, the North and South aisles and the transepts were demolished during this work, an 18th century gallery was also demolished. The church is built from freestone coursed blocks and rock faced ashlar.

Thursday 29 July 2021

Model Week : Mustang

After a month or so without any activity finally i have resumed project #096 a North American Mustang. I build my models in the conservatory so in the middle of Summer its too hot to do anything of course! Now to try and get this model finished quickly, i'd still like to reach a hundred completed kits this year.

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Shropshire Places (5) : Albrighton

Albrighton is a large village in the East of the county. The village was listed in the Domesday Book as Albricston, the farm of Albric, though the village's origins are 6th century. Albrighton received it's Borough charter in 1232 allowing it to form a Corporation and hold markets and courts. The charter was renewed by Charles II in 1664. 

The parish church dates from 1181 though much of the current church is from a Victorian restoration. Very close to the church is the parish church of St Cuthbert in Donington. The border between the two parishes being Humphreston Brook, this now feeds a nature reserve.

Albrighton's industry was mainly agriculture though brick, clock and button making was also well-known at different times. The railways arrived at Albrighton in 1849.

Monday 26 July 2021

Business in Banbury

On Saturday i paid my first proper trip to Banbury in well over a year (a few weeks earlier i changed trains at the station but didn't leave). I visited the Grimsbury part of the town and had another walk along the Oxford Canal. Of course i also bought some Banbury cakes! You can see my canal photos here and other Banbury/Grimsbury photos here.

Saturday 24 July 2021

Model Week : Surviving the heat

It's been a hot week and enthusiasm for operating Birches Green was low until temperatures got a bit lower! The layout survived the heat without any apparent warping of the track (which did happen in a previous heatwave). Maggie has been used to test the track with a passenger and a freight train. Shard End has also been tested.

Friday 23 July 2021

Churches (109) : St Laurence, Meriden

The parish church of St Laurence in Meriden (the centre of England, apart from the other ones) is Norman, and was built on the site of an earlier Saxon church. The nave and chancel were built in the late 12th century. The chancel was extended in the 13th century. A South aisle and tower were added in the 14th. A North aisle was added in the 15th.

The church was restored a couple of times in the 19th century.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Shropshire Places (4) : Bridgnorth

The town of Bridgnorth in the South East of the county and is named after a bridge over the river Severn. Bridgnorth is first mentioned in the early 10th century, possibly originally a camp or settlement formed by the Danes. The town was formed in 1101 with the building of Bridgnorth castle and a church. In the 13th century Bridgnorth gained town walls and gates though only one gate now survives. The church was replaced by the current church dedicated to St Mary Magdelene in the 1790s.

Bridgnorth was a royalist town in the Civil War, Cromwell's forces finally defeated them in a siege though the surrendering royalist forces set fire to the town, nearly destroying it. After the siege Cromwell ordered the castle to be demolished.

Bridgnorth is split into high and low level, the two are connected by a funicular railway (and some steep steps!) Bridgnorth was the original home of the Severn Valley Railway preserved railway and the town's railway station is still the SVR's Northern terminus and centre for steam engine maintenance.

Sunday 18 July 2021

Gerrards Cross

Yesterday i went to Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire. I have been once before but it was on a day with heavy rain. This time I had better weather, for photography at least if not for humans, baking hot sun! You can see my photos here.

Friday 16 July 2021

Churches (108) : St Giles, Nether Whitacre

The parish church of St Giles in Nether Whitacre, Warwickshire mostly dates from an 1870 restoration. However, there are traces of the church's earlier days, which is thought to be 14th century, especially the 16th century West tower and some parts of the East wall. There is also some stained glass, thought to be original.

The church also has a nave, chancel, South porch and North vestry. The tower is built from red sandstone ashlar.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Shropshire Places (3) : Oakengates

Oakengates is a town in the East of the county which is nowadays part of Telford. The name is said to have Celtic origins and is derived from the Brythonic Usc-con gata after the ancient name for the valley the town sits in. The town has Roman origins, Watling Street runs through it with a Roman fort being nearby.

By the medieval period Oakengates was host to a priory for St Leonard. The remains of the priory can still be seen in the churchyard of St Leonard's church in the Wombridge area of the parish.

The town grew in size due to mining and industry. Transport links including the Ketley Canal and the railways were built to serve the mines and industry. The current Oakengates station is on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line. Oakengates was incorporated into Telford New Town in the 1960s.

Monday 12 July 2021

Model Week : The boards

Despite the new goods yard with it's HOe track there are still a few pieces of N gauge track on the Birches Green layout, including a short straight on the main loop. I've started building a crossing out of coffee stirrers to cover this piece of track so none will be the wiser. I just need to manage to find a way to not have the pieces snag on rolling stock as it passes overhead, the track cleaner wagons are causing some problems.

Sunday 11 July 2021

Bearley there

Yesterday i went to Bearley in Warwickshire. I have been to the station once before, though by car. This time i came by train and visited the village as well. Bearley is a rather pleasant little village with an interesting church and in my favourite part of the world so a truly lovely place. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 10 July 2021

The joy of old computer fonts

This is a great selection of 1980s (and earlier) computer fonts from well-known microcomputers like the Apple II and C64 to some less well-known machines. The original bitmap fonts have been converted to Truetype so they can be used on modern computers for some retro fun. Below are some of the fonts used on the Apple Lisa.

Friday 9 July 2021

Churches (107) : St Cuthbert, Donington

The parish church of St Cuthbert in Donington (in the North of Albrighton) in Shropshire dates from the 12th century. The church has been much rebuilt over the centuries with the chancel dating from the 14th century and the nave the 17th. The original 15th century tower collapsed in 1879 and was rebuilt though the base of the tower remains original. A North aisle and South porch were added during the church's restoration in 1879-80.

The church is built from red sandstone ashlar with coursed rubble used in some areas such as the chancel.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Shropshire Places (2) : Church Stretton

Church Stretton is a market town in the South of the county. Church Stretton was the largest of three settlements which formed the manor of Stretton and was listed in the Domesday Book. There have been people living in the area for far longer though with traces found of an Iron Age hill fort on Caer Caradoc which overlooks the town.

Church Stretton was granted a market charter by King John in 1214. The market is still held though now is on a different day after a new charter granted by King Edward III. Most of the town was destroyed in a fire in 1593, a number of buildings survive from the rebuilding. The parish church of St Lawrence dates from the 12th century.

Due to it's proximity to the Shropshire hills which overlook the town, Church Stretton became a popular health resort in Victorian and Edwardian times and gained the nickname Little Switzerland. The town is served by Church Stretton railway station.

Sunday 4 July 2021

Tackley and Kirtlington

Yesterday I went to Tackley in Oxfordshire. I have been once before, a few years ago, and did a long canal walk along the Oxford Canal. On this trip i wanted to visit the village of Kirtlington which is on the other side of the canal, as well as exploring more of Tackley itself. The two villages really are lovely places surrounded by farm fields and nature reserves. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Friday 2 July 2021

Churches (106) : St Editha, Polesworth

The parish church of St Editha in Polesworth was formerly Polesworth Abbey, a Benedictine nunnery founded in the 9th century. Little of the nunnery cloisters now remain after the Abbey buildings were dismantled following the dissolution (much of the stone was used to built Polesworth Manor) though the 12th century church survives as does a 14th century gatehouse.

The nave and North aisle are 12th century with the large tower being added in the 14th century. The top of the tower dates from restoration work in the 17th and 18th centuries. A chancel and a North porch were added during a restoration in 1869. The church is made from sandstone ashlar.