Tuesday 28 February 2023

Kent Places (4) : Leigh

Leigh is a village in the West of the county of Kent near to Sevenoaks and Tonbridge.

Leigh (which is pronounced Lye) was originally spelt Lyghe. The name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon leah or forest glade. Leigh has existed since at least the 11th century when it was recorded as a hamlet owned by the Lord of Tonbridge. The land around the village was acquired by Sir John de Pulteney in the 14th century. The land passed to the Sidney family in 1533, they held the land until the early 20th century.

Leigh grew in the 19th century, the railway arriving in 1842. A number of notable buildings were built in the village in the 19th century by the Baily and Morley families including the village's pub, the Fleur de Lis. This was originally a set of cottages built by the Baily family in 1855 but bought to become a pub in 1870.

The original core of the village is now a conservation area which contains 49 listed buildings or structures.

Monday 27 February 2023

Model week : Ten years of the model railway

The exact anniversary i missed but on January 31st 2013 i finally resumed my adventures in model railways after stopping in my early 20s (which was the early 1990s). That day the Falcon and a couple of coaches, plus track and a controller arrived. I didn't have a layout board yet so tested the Falcon on the dining table. The boards were built in early April and the layout took shape properly in the Summer of 2013. 

The current layout is the third generation board. The Falcon is still working, indeed it had a run on Sunday. The Falcon does have a bit of an intermittent fault though so i don't know if its time to consider semi-retirement after ten years of operation. Circling the various layouts thousands of times. Here is to the next ten years. Maybe i will finish the current layout at last. But don't bet on it.

Sunday 26 February 2023


Last week i planned to go to Wales but it didn't go to plan, luckily this week everything went to plan! I went to Hope (Yr Hob) in Flintshire and the adjoining village of Caergwrle. It is a nice location in a valley with great backdrops both sides. I failed in my research though as there was a castle that i failed to visit, i went right past it too! For another time maybe. You can see my photos here.

Friday 24 February 2023

Churches (173) : St Mary the Virgin, Uttoxeter

The parish church of St Mary the Virgin in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire was built in the 14th century. The tower and hexagonal spire are surviving parts of the original church. The nave and chancel were rebuilt and enlarged in the 19th century due to the church being considered too small. When the chancel was rebuilt a gallery for the organ was also built.

The church is made from dressed and coursed sandstone.

Thursday 23 February 2023

High Wycombe

Although i didn't go anywhere on the railway on Saturday it wasn't so bad as i had a Monday trip to High Wycombe planned anyway! Although i have changed trains at the station a few times over the last few years i haven't ventured into the town itself for about five years so it was long overdue an update. You can see my photos here.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Kent Places (3) : Rochester

The town of Rochester is at the north of the county close to the coast on the river Medway. The town has Roman origins where it was known as Durobrivae. The name Rochester is derived from the pronunciation of the Romano-British name as Robrivis plus the latin for castle. By 1610 the name was written as Rochester.

The cathedral was founded in 604 though the earliest parts of the current building date from the early Norman period. Rochester castle dates from the 12th century and was involved in a couple of sieges in the following century. The castle was built due to the town's strategically important location near the mouth of the Thames. This meant the town could be in the front line of any conflict including as late as 1667 when the town by raided by a Dutch fleet in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. 

The Royal Navy later established one of it's major bases at nearby Chatham. The shipyard was a major employer in the area, it finally closed in 1984. The closure hit the local economy hard though has gradually recovered over the following years.

Sunday 19 February 2023

Shard End as a change of plan

Yesterday did not go to plan at all. I had intended to travel to south Wales but my first train was cancelled due to a fault, this meant all my connections would be broken. I decided to cancel the trip and instead went on the bus to Shard End in Birmingham, where i spent a good deal of my early childhood. It has been a number of years (13 in fact!) since my last photoshoot there and you can compare those shots to the new ones taken yesterday!

Friday 17 February 2023

Churches (172) : St Paul, Birmingham

St Paul's is just outside the centre of Birmingham in what is now called the Jewellery Quarter. The church was consecrated in 1779 and built in the Georgian style. It was the church for Birmingham's early industrialists, both James Watt and Matthew Boulton having their own pews.

The church has a rectangular plan. The tower and spire were added in the early 1820s. The church was restored in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Thursday 16 February 2023

Royal 200

A new typewriter arrived this week, here is it in action.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Model week : Tank

Well we are now in the second century of model kits having finally finished number #100 last week. Project #102 is a Tiger I tank (Project #101 is another tank but i started 102 first). It is almost completed and has gone well, i think i will be doing plenty more tanks and other military vehicles in the second century.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Kent Places (2) : Marden

The village of Marden is near the centre of the county, about thirteen kilometres south of Maidstone. The village has existed since Saxon times and was recorded in the Domesday Book as Maere Denn which is derived from the Old English for a clearing by the marsh. The name became Marden by the 17th century.

Being amid a prime fruit (especially apples) growing area of the country its no surprise Marden became known for this agricultural produce. The Marden Fruit Show Society began holding an annual show for fruit growers in 1933. This fruit show is nowadays called the National Fruit Show and is still held nearby (if not in Marden itself anymore).

The parish church dedicated to St Michael and All Angels dates from the 12th century and is next to Marden railway station which dates from 1842.

Monday 13 February 2023

Ellesmere Port stations

On Saturday i headed up to Liverpool for the first time this year. My aim was to visit the three stations in Ellesmere Port, including Ellesmere Port itself, Little Sutton and Overpool. This was successfully achieved, and you can see my photos here.

Sunday 12 February 2023

Friday 10 February 2023

Churches (171) : St. Michael and St Wulfad, Stone

The parish church dedicated to St Michael and St Wulfad in Stone, Staffordshire dates from 1758, It was built on the site of a priory church dedicated to St Mary and St Wulfad (St Wulfad was an English saint who died, according to legend, in Stone in about 675CE). 

The church was in the Early Gothic Revival design. The chancel was added in 1887. The church is made from ashlar. Inside the churchyard is a mausoleum dedicated to the Jervis family. Also in the churchyard are effigies of William II Crompton, whose father purchased the former priory lands after the Dissolution and his wife Mary Aston. The effigies were originally inside the priory church.

Wednesday 8 February 2023


At the weekend i headed off to Nottinghamshire and visited Lowdham. This is a nice village not far from Nottingham itself along the Trent. I visited the interesting church and also the station itself has some historic features including a great signal box. You can see my photos here.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Kent Places (1) : Tonbridge

The market town of Tonbridge is in the south west of Kent. The town was listed in the Domesday Book as Tonebrige which may mean the bridge which belonged to the manor. The town was known as Tunbridge until 1870 when the name was changed by the Post Office to avoid confusion with nearby Tunbridge Wells!

A castle was built at Tonbridge in the 11th century. The gatehouse is still fairly well preserved as is the motte. The castle was used as an official residence by King Edward II and during the later medieval period the town was considered to be important strategically. King Henry III wanted it to become a walled town though the walls were never built, the castle defences being considered sufficient in the end.

The river Medway which flows through the town (indeed next to the castle) was made navigable as far as the town in the 1740s. This allowed for water borne trade from Maidstone and the Thames. Commercial traffic continued on the river until 1911. Tonbridge railway station opened in 1842 and remains a busy station to this day, a large goods yard and depot is next to the station. An interesting transport first for the town was that in 1896 the first ever speeding fine to a motorist was handed out, the motorist had been travelling 8 mp/h in a 2 mp/h zone!

Saturday 4 February 2023

Hundred and done

Way back in 2009 i started building model kits again after a gap of a couple of decades. Finally i started my hundredth kit late last year and today completed it. Project #100 is an Airbus A321neo and has turned out pretty well, especially the decals which did look formidable but turned out to have few dramas. This is the first kit i've done entirely with acrylic paint as well. Now for the next one hundred.

Friday 3 February 2023

Churches (170) : St Mary de Lode, Gloucester

St Mary de Lode is a parish church in Gloucester adjacent to the cathedral. Some believe it was built on the site of the first Christian church in Britain. It was built over a couple of Roman buildings, one was a baths, the other was a mausoleum. Some think an early post Roman-Britan church was built on the site. The current church dates from the 11th century. The church consisted of a nave, chancel and tower.

The church was badly damaged by fire in 1190. A new chancel was built in the 13th century. The central tower is Norman though the nave was rebuilt in 1826 in the Early Gothic Revival style.