The Victorian Web reminded me that this allegorical figure, representing an engineer, sits at the base of the Stephenson Memorial. I think it was the beer bottle that attracted my initial attention, because I neglected to photograph the other three allegorical figures at the base of the sculpture or the larger than life George Stephenson which towers over them. Stephenson was a railway pioneer, I think it’s fair to say, since he was mind behind the Stockton to Darlington Railway and The Rocket locomotive. The statue is by Northumbrian sculptor John Graham Lough.
I remember watching the turntable demonstration on my very first visit to the National Railway Museum. On subsequence visits I didn’t have the patience to stand and watch it, but now, more than twenty years later, I like nothing more than to pause and watch the locomotive of the day take a spin; on this occasion “The City of Truro“.
“The City of Truro” was a product of the Great Western Railways Swindon works and Swindonweb, a website about all things related to Swindon, informs me that “The City of Truro” was “not only the first locomotive to reach and pass the magical speed of 100mph, but the first vehicle of any kind to reach such a milestone“. This record breaking time was recorded back in 1904, the same year, according to my “The Chronology of British History” by Alan and Veronica Palmer, that motor vehicle registrations and license plates were introduced and Henry Royce and Charles Royce unveiled the first Rolls-Royce.
When passing through Keighley on the train it is always tempting to get off there, run across the footbridge that connects the platforms and visit the steam railway on the far platform – especially when there is an engine bellowing steam all over the place! I think this was one of those occasions. I clearly wasn’t there for the day, because I didn’t get on the train. Here are the photographs of it leaving:
One of the joys of walking around a city rather than getting the bus is that you occasionally see something you otherwise would not have seen and you can make the time to enjoy it. It was my first visit to Cardiff and decided to walk to Cardiff Bay from Cardiff Castle, which proved to be quite a walk, but I wouldn’t have found this mosaic if I hadn’t embarked on this walk through the rain. The mosaic shows scenes from Cardiff’s maritime and industrial past, as well as the social history of Butetown, including these scenes below:
My favourite photograph, from the handful I purchased in Hull yesterday, is also the one that is in the worst condition, so I hope you can see it clearly. I love the wooden toy train; in fact I’m very jealous. The train, including the tender, is probably as long as the little girl is tall, so it must be on quite an impressive scale. It is also nice to see a young lady in charge of the steam engine rather than a doll in a pram or a dainty tea set. The back of the photograph is blank, so you can read as much into the photograph as you like.
You can see some other photographs from my collection here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121480122@N04/sets/72157643085991143/
Llangollen Station, I recall, sits beside the River Dee, which runs through an area of outstanding natural beauty; an area of natural beauty I’ve been meaning to go back to. On only my second holiday in North Wales I was accompanied by a friend of mine, who drove me to Llangollen especially to meet another friend I hadn’t seen in over a year. The plan was to walk through the town, have an ice cream, have a trip down the canal on a horse drawn barge (the horse’s name was Stan), visit a local ruined abbey and stand next to a famous landmark; all of which we did! Somehow, in amongst all that, I managed to get a cup of tea at the station buffet, which gave me time to write a couple of postcards and get a good look at the train preparing to leave.
Whilst I’d been drinking my tea the trains crew had somehow managed to turn the engine around and place it at the other end of the impressive row of carriages, at the opposite end of the platform from the buffet and my tea things. I must have used this as an excuse to walk along the platform a bit to take one last look at the beautiful locomotive before we continued our tour. Who suggested we go further, onto the bridge over the railway line I do not know, but we did and now it strikes me as something “The Railway Children” or naughty school boys in a Reverend Awdry “Thomas The Tank Engine” story would do. Lost in pre-Beeching Report, 1950’s, rose tinted, nostalgia, I waited for the train – completely forgetting about the smoke bellowing from the engines funnel!!! *cough, cough, splutter, splutter, cough, cough*.
The experience obviously did not put me off steam trains for life or phase two of my plan; running to the other side of the bridge to photograph the train heading away from. A classic example of being in the right place at the right time, but next time I’ll stand either a little to the left or a little to the right of the funnel!
If you’d like more information on the Llangollen Railway, here is the website: http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/page.php?id=2
I can’t remember what our eventual destination was, but I remember being driven down the Evesham Road, towards Cheltenham, and hearing the train. “Pull over! Pull over!” I shouted and, rather strangely, I thought at the time, we pulled into the race course car park. I was just in time to photograph the train leaving.