Friday 31 March 2023

Churches (178) : St James the Great, Churchill

The parish church of St James the Great in Churchill, Worcestershire (Wyre Forest) dates from the mid-19th century and is in the Decorated style. The new church replaced a simpler 12th century building and consecrated in 1868. The church has a four bay nave, chancel and a three stage tower at the north east. Plans for a spire were never realised. There is also a 14th century style porch.

The church is made from sandstone ashlar.

Monday 27 March 2023

Cigarette Card Stars (13) : Ruth Woolley

Dancer Ruth Woolley was said to have won admiration at the London Casino in the 1930s. She also appeared on stage and apparently in film too in the 1935 British film "Abdul the Damned" though uncredited (apart from on the back of the cigarette card!) She also appeared at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Sunday 26 March 2023


After last weekend off it was back to rail adventures this weekend. I went down to Cheddington in Buckinghamshire, a remarkably rural looking location on the West Coast Main Line. The adjacent village is pretty nice with a good medieval church and some footpaths through agriculture. You can see my photos here.

Friday 24 March 2023

Churches (177) : St Nicholas, Gloucester

The former parish church of St Nicholas is one of a number of historic places of worship in Gloucester. The church dates from 1190 and was known, in the early 13th century, as St Nicholas of the Bridge. The church was rebuilt in the 13th century though to largely the same layout of the original church. The west tower with it's spire were built in the 15th century. 

The spire was originally 61m high but was damaged by cannon fire in the Civil War. It was reduced in height and truncated in the 18th century. The church was restored in the 19th century and repaired after fire damage in 1901. The north aisle was rebuilt in the 1930s.

The church was made redundant in 1971 and is now preserved. The church is made from limestone with a six bay nave and a two bay chancel.

Typewriter 23

The latest typewriter has arrived in the collection. It is an Olympia Traveller de Luxe S and looks to have been well used over the years!

Wednesday 22 March 2023

The driverless bus

I travelled on the driverless bus being trialled at the business park i work at last week but of course i could not video it in action as i was aboard it, but this week i was able to as it happily trundles around the park.

Monday 20 March 2023

Cigarette Card Stars (12) : Lupino Lane and Sally Gray

Lupino Lane was an English comedian and actor who achieved Hollywood fame in the 1920s with his physical comedy due to being double jointed and very agile. After starting out on the stage, he starred in a number of silent movies though was unable to adapt to the talkies. He returned to the stage and had a successful career. He died in 1959. He was the second cousin of famous actress Ida Lupino.

English actress Sally Gray began her career on stage dancing in minstrel shows. She later moved into film and starred in a number of British films in the 1930s. Her career stalled after a nervous breakdown in the early 1940s but resumed in the late 1940s but after her marriage to a member of the aristocracy she made her last film in 1952. She died in 2006.

Friday 17 March 2023

Churches (176) : St John the Baptist, Coventry

The church of St John the Baptist in Coventry dates to 1344. It was founded by Isabella of France on land she gifted for a chapel. The church, which included a chantry, was consecrated in 1350. The church was a Guild chapel later a collegiate church. The church was desecrated in 1649 and became a prison during the Civil War. It is possible that this is the origin of the phrase "sent to Coventry"!

After the war the building was used for a variety of roles including a market. In 1734 it was restored to being a church. It holds a relic of St Valentine of Rome.

Most of the current church dates from 15th century work and is built from red sandstone.

Tuesday 14 March 2023

All aboard the autonomous bus

An autonomous bus is being trialled at the business park that i work at in Solihull. Today i had a ride on it around the business park, a ride into the future? Well yes but that future is some way off, the bus can only travel slowly around the business park, the driver taking over to help out with the roundabouts! My trip was also supposed to have taken place last week but the bus' sensors couldn't deal with the snow! 

But anyway that is what testing is all about and for, and the technology is developing fast. It was fascinating but also a bit scary being driven on the roads by a computer (the DLR and other driverless railways always seem fine but the rails provide the required reassurance perhaps). But one day it will be commonplace and i won't bat an eyelid.

Monday 13 March 2023

Cigarette Card Stars (11) : Helen Parrish

Helen Parrish, the daughter of a stage actress, began her movie career at the age of 4 in 1927's Babe Comes Home, playing Babe Ruth's daughter! By her teens she was making regular appearances on screen often in B-movies. These include the Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943) and X Marks the Spot (1942) where she played one of the operators of the Telephone Jukebox i have blogged about before.

Her movie career ended in 1949 but she moved into TV and appeared on shows such as Leave it to beaver. Unfortunately her career, which surely could have continued for many years, was cut short by her death from cancer at the age of just 35.

Sunday 12 March 2023


After a week of snow and ice my pre-booked trip to Corby seemed like it might be a mistake as it was a complicated rail adventure involving four trains and three connections each way, however everything went perfect with no delays, frozen points or broken down trains to ruin the day! Although slightly awkward to get to, Corby is worth a visit. You can see my photos here.

Friday 10 March 2023

Churches (175) : St Mary, Weaverham

The existing parish church of St Mary in Weaverham, Cheshire dates from the 15th century at least though was built on the site of an earlier church. The west tower is 15th century and much of the rest of the church 16th century. The church was restored in the mid-19th century, the porch and vestry were added at the same time.

The church has a five bay nave and a chancel. The north and south aisles both terminate in chapels. The church is built from red sandstone ashlar.

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Kent Places (5) : Headcorn

The village of Headcorn is in central Kent, near to Maidstone. There has been settlement in the area since at the Palaeolithic with flint stone axes found north of the village that may be 250,000 years old. There is also evidence of farming from the Iron Age and Roman periods. In the Domesday Monachorum there is listed a church at Hedekaruna. This name may mean the bridge of Hydeca. The location was an important crossing over the river Beult. 

The village grew in the early medieval period, being granted a market and an annual fair in 1251. A Trinitarian priory was established in 1224, this lasted until 1538. The village grew wealthy due to a weaving industry established during the reign of King Edward III.

The parish church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul dates from at least the 13th century and was built on the site of an earlier church. Headcorn was an important transport hub during the age of stage coaches, the railway reached Headcorn in 1842. A nearby aerodrome was opened in the 1920s and remains open for Air Cadets and flight training.

Monday 6 March 2023

Model Week : A tale of two tanks

The new model season is off and running as the first two projects are completed together, Projects #101 and 102 are a Tiger I and Sherman Firefly tank, I did they together to share on some paint and because it seemed logical! Both were simple to build and a nice change from the mostly aircraft i have done before, another tank kit has been ordered.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Radford Semele

Yesterday i decided to do a train-then-bus trip into Warwickshire. I went to Radford Semele which is a nice village just outside Leamington Spa. It has the usual features of such a village: nice old church, old pub and a few other things of interest! You can see my photos here.

Friday 3 March 2023

Churches (174) : St Laurence, Northfield

The parish church of St Laurence in Northfield, now a suburb of Birmingham, dates from the 12th century with the oldest surviving part being a round headed doorway from about 1170. The church chancel was built in the 13th century as is the south aisle which replaced an earlier one. A north aisle was a 1900 addition but in the same style.

The upper part of the tower is 15th century, a rebuild of the original. The church is built from sandstone.