Sunday 30 April 2023

Droitwich Spa

Its been some time since i last visited Droitwich Spa, apart from a brief stop-over at the railway station a couple of years ago we need to go back eleven years since the last visit! This time i finally visited the church atop the hill over the town and also took some photos along the canal. You can see my photos of Droitwich Spa here.

Friday 28 April 2023

Churches (182) : St James, Gerrards Cross

The parish church of St James in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire was built in 1861 in memory of the MP for Windsor, Colonel George Alexander Reid. The church has a number of design influences including a Byzantine dome and an Italianate bell tower or campanile attached to the nave. The church is built from yellow, red and white brick.

The actress Margaret Rutherford is buried in the churchyard. In 1969 Lulu and Maurice Gibb got married in the church. 

Thursday 27 April 2023

Model week : J-5

An update on the current model project, #103 a Shenyang J-5. It has now entered the painting stage and is going pretty well. This model will be wheels up for a change. The paint scheme won't be prototype but i got dozens of paints i need to use up to be honest rather than get new ones all the time!

Monday 24 April 2023

Warwickshire Places (22) : Offchurch

Offchurch is a village to the east of Leamington Spa just off the Fosse Way. The village is not mentioned in the Domesday Book but other evidence indicates the village was in existence in late Saxon times. The name is derived from Offa's Church, near to the village is a manor house called Offchurch Bury said to be built on the site of the former palace of the Mercian king Offa.

The most notable building in the village is the parish church of St Gregory. The church is 12th century and possibly built on the site of Offa's Saxon church though no confirmed trace of this earlier church has been found. Traces of a Saxon cemetery have been found to the south of the church.

The area around the village is mostly agricultural.

Sunday 23 April 2023

Long Itchington

After a few weeks of far flung rail adventures i stayed in Warwickshire this weekend, travelling by train to Leamington and then by bus to the large village of Long Itchington. A nice place too with the requisite medieval church, several pubs and other items of interest including a duck pond! You can see my photos here.

Friday 21 April 2023

Churches (181) : St Michael, Willington

The parish church of St Michael in Willington, Derbyshire was first mentioned in 1185 and has some Norman remnants despite extensive rebuilding in the following centuries. The biggest change to the church came in the 19th century when it was restored and a west tower added.

The church has a nave with aisles, south porch, north transept. chancel and a vestry. The church is made from random coursed sandstone.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Merseyside memories

On Saturday i headed up to Merseyside to revisit a couple of places from my past. I went to Formby where i have been a couple of times before but not for a long time. My Dad's best friend lived there, i remember playing football on the beach though didn't visit the beach here this time. I then went to Waterloo and Crosby beach, the first place i ever lived though i was too young to remember it. Apparently my mum took me to the opening of Waterloo Marina by Princess Anne back in the early 1970s, i wish i had some memories of back then! Anyway good memories from now, you can see my photos here.

Monday 17 April 2023

Warwickshire Places (21) : Preston Bagot

Preston Bagot is a village to the west of Warwick and east of Henley-in-Arden. The village has existed since Saxon times and was listed in the Domesday Book. The village was known as Prestetone and was granted to Ingeram Bagot by the Earl of Warwick in the late 12th century. This is likely how the name Preston Bagot was derived.

The most notable building in the village is the 12th century church of All Saints which is located on a high spur with steep slopes. The road between Claverdon and Henley-in-Arden passes through the village as does the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. The land around the village is mostly agricultural.

Friday 14 April 2023

Churches (180) : All Saints, Bloxwich

The parish church of All Saints in Bloxwich in the West Midlands (once Staffordshire) dates from the early 1790s where it was dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury. It was rededicated in 1875 after some alternations when a new chancel and west tower were built. An earlier church may have existed on the same site.

The church is built from brick in a Gothicised style.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Guildford trip day 2

Saturday was the main day of my Guildford trip of course. It started with a trip to the little Hampshire village of Bentley which looked rather nice in the morning mist progressing to places like Farnham and Bagshot. It ended with a walk along the Wey Navigation in Guildford as well as visiting many new railway stations in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. Can't wait till i'm back next year!

Tuesday 11 April 2023

London freight

Some freight action in London, passing through Brondesbury. 

Monday 10 April 2023

Guildford trip day 1

This bank holiday weekend i made the latest in what seems to have become my annual pilgrimages to Guildford. As usual i used Guildford as a base while i travelled around Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. On day 1, after arriving and checking into my hotel, i stopped off at Blackwater in Hampshire as well as visiting stations in Dorking and Clandon. You can see my photos for railway stations visited here and Blackwater (and another Hampshire village i visited on day 2) here. This was just the warm-up though, day 2 would be a full day's adventuring but that is a story for another time.

Cigarette Card Stars (15) : June Hatfield

June Hatfield specialised in Cuban dances, discovered at the age of eighteen playing with a night club band in Texas by the top stage producer Billy Rose. As well as dance she was proficient in three different musical instruments. She appeared on stage in London as well as the USA. 

Friday 7 April 2023

Churches (179) : St Mary, Stafford

The parish church of Stafford was a collegiate church (and thus large) dating back to the late Saxon period though the current church's oldest parts date to the 13th century, the nave and aisles. The church was collegiate when recorded in the Domesday Book and remained so until the dissolution of colleges and chantries in 1548.

Transepts were added to the church in the 14th century, in the following century clerestories and a crossing tower were built. The church was restored in the early 1840s. The church is built from coursed squared stone with an ashlar dressing.

Thursday 6 April 2023

Wednesbury Oak Loop

An extra day off before the Easter break (and the annual Guildford pilgrimage) allowed me to do a canal walk. I went by tram to Loxdale and then walked most of the remaining Wednesbury Oak Loop i had left to cover from my previous trip a few years ago. Although it isn't the most interesting canal in the world it was a nice sunny morning and the waters were clear! You can see my photos here.

Monday 3 April 2023

Cigarette Card Stars (14) : Bonita Granville

Bonita Granville, born into an acting family, began her career in film aged 9 in 1932's Westward Passage. In her early career she was often cast as a naughty little girl. In the late 1930s she starred as teenage detective Nancy Drew in a series of films including Nancy Drew... Reporter from 1939. She is best known for these Nancy Drew films though also appeared alongside Mickey Rooney in a number of films.

Her film career as an actress mostly ended in the 1950s, though she went on to produce and appear in the Lassie TV series and films. She married oil millionaire and producer Jack Wrather and became an executive in his company. She died in 1988.

Sunday 2 April 2023

Bletchley and Fenny Stratford

A return to Buckinghamshire this week, just a little up the line from Cheddington where i was last week. I went to Bletchley, now part of Milton Keynes and walked up to Fenny Stratford to see the station (which does not currently have any rail service). I also did a canal walk along the Grand Union. You can see the canal pictures here and the other photos here.