Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Yorkshire Mason

Walk around to the back of the York Minster and a craftsman might be found plying a trade that would be as familiar today as is was back in the middle ages when the great cathedral was built.  Today the limestone, as then, is from a Yorkshire quarry. 
Many skilled craftsmen and women look after York Minster, not only to restore and recreate the historic masonry but also to replace those objects and grotesques that have been worn away by the Yorkshire weather.  The little area at the back of the minster is to show the public the mason's art. This particular Yorkshire mason said he likes being out here, although it seems some of his colleagues are more reticent as he was the only one on the day we visited. 
From a plain piece of  magnesium limestone comes a work of art, ready to slot into place on the Minster facade  

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at Y

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Happy Holidays

Hope the reindeer landed on your roof without any damage.  These ones are lightly perched waiting for the take off at the Manchester Christmas market.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

X Rated

 Manchester Museum model Viper  with the heat sensing pit organ between the eye and nostril on either side of the head. An ambush predator with a preference for nocturnal hunting.  As we  know well the protagonists in x rated horror films always leave it until night-time to visit scary places.   Hiss.
 The disembodied arm holds a warning by a quarry.  Just in case someone wants to leap over the fencing.
And lastly some x rated radioactive nuclear waste encased somewhere beyond the fence, the long term government strategy of which seems to be to ignore it and leave it to future generations, after all, it is located some distance away from the political centre of London.  

And on that note I wish you all - A Happy Xmas

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at X

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Wellington at Whitehaven

The instruction is clear, dismount your bike before wending your way down the slope to Whitehaven harbour on the Cumbrian coast.
Having an interest in industrial archaeology this chimney (known locally as 'The Candlestick') takes centre stage in my photograph.  Today it is just a landmark but its original purpose was as the ventilation chimney for the Wellington Mine which was sunk in 1838/40 and ran out under the sea.  Known as a what is called a "fiery pit", that is it suffered from fire damp (flammable gases), which made it a difficult pit to work and potentially dangerous with numerous accidents.  The worst disaster underground occurred in May 1910 with an explosion and  fire which took 132 lives.  There is a plaque dedicated to the men, women and children that lost their lives that day by the Candlestick.  The pit closed in 1933
 The other remnant of the mine is Wellington Lodge (seen here with the harbour light) which was the mine entrance and today the home of the coastguard.
It appears here in the artist's impression of the Wellington mine hanging outside the pub that takes its name.  

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at W

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Village Views

The Over Kellet Village Post Office in Lancashire is a family concern and supplies the usual eclectic mix typical of village shops,  although at the time all I was buying was ice cream and a newspaper.  On our way here we had passed by
the chimney and bell tower of the
  old village school, now converted into a private dwelling and at the time up for sale.
Walking up the hill was this group of buildings which I imagine would at one time have been a old farm house and attached workers cottage typical of the area.  The meaning of 'Kellet' in Over Kellet means 'spring' and probably refers to this and the neighbouring village of Near Kellet's water springs on different parts of the hill, one of which runs to the village well.  In the 18th century this provided drinking water for the horse troughs.  But no horses to take the strain here
as a little group on a training run cycles up the hill. It was a lovely day for doing just that
with clear views over the valley and perhaps they took a route past this
farm weather vane in Near Kellet. 

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet sojourning this week at -  V 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Underground Overground

This year was the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the London Underground Metropolitan Line and the Royal Mail issued a set of stamps exactly 150th years to the day on 9th January.
I move forward some years to the Russell Square Station which for any lover of tiles or fonts is a great one to visit, that and the fact that it is near the British Museum.  One of many surviving stations designed by Leslie Green in an Arts and Craft style it opened in 1906 and although the upper ticketing areas have been altered some of the station level tiling survives
The last count was 1.2 billion passenger travelling on the various lines every year.
Although I'm not going to show you any of them because I had a bit of a camera glitch so here are the approaching train lights
Goodge Street station built in 1907 was closed for alterations when we were in London but it is one of the rare stations that has a different exit to the entrance. It is also one of eight London stations that had a deep level air raid shelter built underneath it.  Unlike this one
A postcard of a 1940s book cover with everybody carrying their gas masks in a sort of idealised blitz spirit kind of way, although perhaps reality was more like this
which looks rather more uncomfortable.  The Aldwych*  Station in 1940, one of 79 Tube stations used as air raid shelters

*UPDATE:  By one of those strange coincidences of life I just noticed that one of my favourite bloggers has written about his recent visit down to the long closed Aldwych Station (pictured above)  here (with pics and Doctor Who references).

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at U