Tuesday 30 November 2021

Warwickshire Places (20) : Wood End

The village of Wood End is just to the North of Tanworth-in-Arden. The village is part of Tanworth parish to the West of Umberslade manor and South of Terry's Green. Umberslade was given in the reign of Henry II to Robert Archer and remained in his family for the next six hundred years.

Wood End is a small village mostly consisting of residential properties though there is a pub of course. The village has a railway station on the North Warwickshire Line.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Small railway adventure only

The bad weather meant i canceled my planned trip to Oakham today, we'll try again for Rutland next year. Instead i had some time to give my Birches Green layout a bit of a run. This included an empty stock move to finally take the tourist coaches to storage, bogie coaches (presumably with heaters aboard) have been bought back for the cold months.

Thursday 25 November 2021

Evolution of the scroll bar

This is an interesting website showing the evolution of the GUI scroll bar from the earliest days of Xerox to the modern day. Personally i think the Mac scroll bar reached it's peak with System 7 and 8. The scroll bars of the current day are rather anemic. 

Wednesday 24 November 2021

St Mary de Crypt revisited

A long time i blogged about the church of St Mary de Crypt in Gloucester. At the weekend i revisited the 12th century church, also seeing it from the other side too!

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Warwickshire Places (19) : Kingsbury

Kingsbury is a village in the North of Warwickshire which has Saxon origins and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The village was in a defensible position by the river Tame, indeed the "bury" part of the name means fort. Parts of Kingsbury Hall, a fortified manor house, still remain including parts of it's defensive walls.

Kingsbury is in the Hemlingford Hundred of Warwickshire, Hemlingford being a ford over the river Tame very close to Kingbury's church. The hundred's meeting place was at Hemlingford Green.

The church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul has been dated to 1200CE though an earlier church was likely on the same site, parts of the Norman church still remain. Kingsbury remained a small village until the 19th century when coal and mineral mining and the railways helped the village expand (though the station is now gone). Since the 1960s a large oil storage depot has been situated near the village. Also near the village is Kingsbury Water Park, a large leisure facility which re-used former gravel pits.

Monday 22 November 2021


On Saturday i visited to Gloucester, a city i have not been to for some time (except for a railway station only stop earlier this year). I had a walk around the extensive Gloucester Docks which is a bit like inland waterways heaven. Gloucester, like Worcester and Hereford, is a city full of ecclesiastical treasures including the rather superb cathedral. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 20 November 2021

Time for an ice cream

One of the joys of visiting a transport museum, like the Crewe Heritage Centre i visited a few weeks ago, is to discover part of their collection which is a bit out of the ordinary compared to the rest of the exhibits. So, as well as a fine selection of railway vehicles there was also this trio of vintage ice cream vans!

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Warwickshire Places (18) : Bedworth

Bedworth is a market town in the North of Warwickshire. Bedworth has Saxon origins and was listed in the Domesday Book as Bedeword. Bedworth was a small settlement until the early-modern period, local coal mines helping spark a boom in the town. In 1939 Bedworth had twenty coal mines but the last closed in 1991. Bedworth also grew due to ribbon weaving and textile manufacturers moving from Coventry. 

Both industries have now gone and Bedworth inhabitants mostly work elsewhere especially in nearby Coventry and Nuneaton. The parish church of All Saints has 14th century origins though was rebuilt by the Victorians.

The Coventry Canal, which flows through the town, opened in 1789. The railway arrived in Bedworth in 1850.

Monday 15 November 2021


I didn't go very far on my rail adventure at the weekend as i needed to do some Christmas shopping in Solihull. So, i went to Olton in Solihull, had a look at the station and church and then took a bus into the centre of Solihull. A modest day out then though the shopping was done and probably won't need to do any more off-line shopping now. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 13 November 2021

Heading off

Preserved Class 14 D9551 pulls away with a train at Bewdley on the SVR.

Friday 12 November 2021

Churches (125) : St Mary and St Leonard, Wombridge

The church of St Mary & St Leonard in Wombridge in Telford, Shropshire has been built on the site of the former Wombridge Priory. The priory was dissolved in 1536 and now little visible remains. The lady chapel of the former priory church remained standing until 1756 when it collapsed. The new church was built in 1757.

The church consists of a nave and a West tower and is made from brick and dressed stone. The church was expanded in 1824 with the addition of North and South aisles and galleries. A chancel, organ chamber and vestry were added in 1869.

Thursday 11 November 2021

Happy 500th (station)

My railway station blog Calling At... has reached a notable milestone. London Liverpool Street is the 500th station to be covered on the blog. It will take some time to reach 1000 at the current rate as currently new stations are added weekly. Maybe in just over nine and a half years time!

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Model week : Slow progress

There haven't been many model railway or model kit updates lately, not because this blog is stopping doing them but because there hasn't been much happening to report on! There has been some slow progress on the Shard End N gauge layout, some ballasting has been done and will slowly proceed down the line from the station.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Warwickshire Places (17) : Leamington Spa

Leamington Spa, near to Warwick, is a spa town which grew rapidly during the nineteenth century. Leamington has existed since the Domesday Book where it was listed as Lamintone. The village was later known as Leamington Priors and remained a small village until the rediscovery of the spa waters (they had been originally known during Roman times) in the late eighteenth century.

The village greatly expanded and became a town during Georgian times. In 1838 Queen Victoria granted the town a "Royal" prefix, the town being renamed officially Royal Leamington Spa. The Queen herself having visited the town a couple of times in the mid-19th century. Leamington grew from a village of 315 people (according to the census) in 1801 to over 15, 000 by the mid-century!

Transport links at Leamington Spa include the Grand Union Canal which flows through the town and the railways which reached the town in 1844, the current station dates from 1852.

Monday 8 November 2021


On Saturday i visited Beeston, a town on the edge of Nottingham. I have been to the station before, very briefly, when i was changing trains once. I went into the centre, unfortunately the trams were not running. However, i did walk along the Nottingham & Beeston Canal. You can see those pics here. Other pics from Beeston are here.

Friday 5 November 2021

Churches (124) : St James, Norton

The parish church of St James in the Worcestershire village of Norton has existed since at least 1180 though may have been built on the site of a Saxon church. The church has a West Perpendicular tower and a nave with a South aisle. The church retains a Norman doorway and window, parts of the chancel may also be Norman.

The church was restored in 1874-75.

Thursday 4 November 2021

A tale of CD-ROM formats

As with most things in computing, with CD-ROMs there is a standard (ISO9660), but also other formats one of which was another defacto standard. 

When computing started using the then-new CD format for data storage in the early 1980s, a standard was needed for organising the data. In 1985 a number of leading computer companies came together to create the High Sierra format (named after the hotel where the companies' representatives met).

High Sierra became the defacto CD-ROM data format until the finalised ISO9660 standard a couple of years later. However, software support for the standard lagged it's introduction for a while which meant the High Sierra format continued to be used. As the format was supported even after ISO9660 replaced it, companies like Microsoft and IBM continued to publish CD-ROMs in High Sierra format well into the 1990s. This article is an interesting look at the format.

Not actually having an active computer with a CD-ROM anymore i don't know if my copy of OS/2 Warp is High Sierra or not, though as the follow-on version apparently was still in that format there is a good chance it is.

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Warwickshire Places (16) : Middleton

Middleton is a village at the North of Warwickshire not too far from Sutton Coldfield and Tamworth. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book when it was owned by a Norman overlord called Hugh de Grandmesnil. The manor of Middleton was later owned by the de Freville family and later still the Willughbys including the noted ornithologist William. The owners in the manor lived at Middleton Hall since Norman times though the current house is mostly from later centuries. The house and estate was sold in the 1920s and is now maintained by a charitable trust.

Middleton's parish church dedicated to St John the Bapist dates from the 12th century. Middleton is near a number of leisure places including the Belfry golf club, Drayon Manor theme park and Aston Villa's training ground at Bodymoor Heath. 

When (or if) HS2 is extended North from Birmingham it will pass by very close to the village.