musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Category: Salisbury

Photo Essay: Just in Time

I won’t say I am an expert on clocks, but I do appreciate the engineering that goes on inside one. Many years ago I used to work for Transnet in Germiston and I was responsible for the very decrepit station clock; I was not amused. 

This short photo essay really starts out about an old clock in Tewkesbury, and then heads off on a tangent all of its own. 

Situated on the outside of what is now a funeral directors, the clock is mounted on an elaborate bracket that sticks out into high street.

I have seen a number of similar clocks in the towns and cities I have visited in the UK, and way back then a public clock would have been very useful to townsfolk that did not have the convenience of a wrist watch or cell phone with which to tell time. 

Age? in this we are lucky because affixed to the side of the clock is a small sign.

Does it still work? yes it does; because a bit further up high street is the clock above the Town Hall. Although this image was not taken today, the time on the clock above was the same as that below.

A bit higher up in town there is a nice clock on top of the Library. I do not know how many times I have walked past the building and never really noticed it before. 

Clocks elsewhere.

There is a very nice public clock on the House of Fraser in King William Street, London

and a station clock in Victoria Station.

and Waterloo Station.

Somewhere in London, St Paul’s is in the background and I was in the Bank area, so it is somewhere there. 

I photographed this beaut in Birmingham, and as a bonus it has the 3 balls that indicate a pawnbroker.

Now, about those other time pieces:  many towns had clocks in towers, and many are loosely based on Big Ben in London.

Salisbury had one on the outskirts of the town centre in Fisherton Street, and it is a very interesting structure.

On the side of the small structure at the base of the tower were two indicators of what used to stand on that site before. 

At the time I did a double take because that was not the sort of thing you expected to see on a building. However, on the other side of the structure, and half covered by foliage is another sign that explains why the image below was there.

I rest my case. Unfortunately, the placing of this plaque means that unless you are lucky you would never know what secret this part of the town was used for in days gone by. The proximity to the river would have made that gaol a damp and miserable place to be locked into.

There is a really nice clock tower in Worcester, although it is not in the centre of town.

Lichfield also has one of the grand clock towers, and one day I made a quick trip to it to see what it was like up close and personal.

There are two plaques that can date this structure.

The Crucifix Conduit? In St John Street, next to the Library is a water fountain that may provide a clue.

The filenames of the Lichfield images are all marked “Birmingham” and that is where we will head to now; because there is another clock tower of interest in that city.  Called “The Chamberlain Clock”, it was unveiled during Joseph Chamberlain’s lifetime, in January 1904.

This clock ties into South Africa and Joseph Chamberlain, and it is worth reading the article about how Joseph Chamberlain and Alfred Milner  helped to drag South Africa and Great Britain into a long and costly war that devastated the country; and created rifts that would never heal. “Chamberlain visited South Africa between 26 December 1902 and 25 February 1903, seeking to promote Anglo-Afrikaner conciliation and the colonial contribution to the British Empire, and trying to meet people in the newly unified South Africa, including those who had recently been enemies during the Boer War” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Chamberlain#Tour_of_South_Africa)

He is buried in nearby Key HIll Cemetery 

Heading back South again we are suddenly back in Southampton, and another clock tower of interest, although it is more of a monument than a dedicated clock tower. This clock is no longer where it was originally erected,  

The monument was designed by Kelway-Pope and bequeathed to Southampton by the late, Mrs Henrietta Bellenden Sayers, After 45 years in its original location in Above Bar it was then moved to its present site in 1934 when roadworks were being carried out in the city centre. 

There are two plaques on the clock, as well as a small drinking fountain. The first plaque dates from when it was inaugurated,

while the second is above the drinking fountain.

The clock is situated on a triangular island at the east end of Cobden Bridge in Bitterne, between St Deny’s Road and Manor Farm Road (Google Earth  50.924432°,  -1.376106°) . 

Southampton still has a clock tower in its City Hall, but I really prefer the one above.

While living in Southampton I attended a job interview in Surbiton, and it was there where I spotted the Coronation Clock. 

I did not really investigate the structure, but did manage a photograph of the plaque.

More information about the Coronation Clock many be found at http://www.victorianweb.org/victorian/art/architecture/johnsonj/4.html

The seaside town of Weymouth has a clock tower too, although again I did not really investigate it as I had limited time available.

Known as the Jubliee Clock, it was erected in commemoration of the reign of Queen Victoria in 1887. Originally positioned on a stone base on Weymouth sands, in the 1920s the Esplanade was built around it to protect the sands from the encroachment of shingle from the eastern end of the beach. The clock is a Grade II listed building.

Bath Abbey has a clock in the Spire that we saw from inside, I seem to recall it faced the municipal offices. 

It really reminded me of those days when I used to fix that clock on Germiston Station, although I am sure that the Abbey clock was less decrepit than the Germiston Station clock. 

And having said all that I shall now head off into the sunset. I am fortunate to have seen these buildings with their clocks and plaques. Generally they are ornate structures, and many are very old and have acquired listed status. Yet, in our modern world they are anacronisms from a different age. We are all so tied up in our plastic devices that can do almost anything, that we miss the beauty right under our noses. 

I am sure as I wade through my images of London I will find more clocks and towers to add to here, after all. I still have to consider the mother of them all…

But that’s another story for another time.

 

© DRW 2013-2017. Created 22/01/2017 

Updated: 11/04/2017 — 18:58

Looking for Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel looms over the transportation system of Southern England, his influence left a legacy that can still be seen today, many years after his death. His influence on the Great Western Railway (GWR) is easy to find if you know where to look. 

I suspect the first real discovery I made was when I found his grave in Kensal Green Cemetery in London in 2013 

Image from 2016

Image from 2016

My travels took me to Southampton, and inevitabley to Portsmouth too, and it was there that I found a monument to the engineer; that was unveiled on 7 April 2006 to commemorate the bicentenary of his birth on 9 April 1806 at Portsea. 

From Southampton I moved deep into GWR territory and relocated to Salisbury where I used GWR trains quite regularly.  The current station at Salisbury is not a Brunel building, however, the former GWR station still exists, albeit in a different role as the Railway Social Club.

A blue plaque proclaims the heritage of this small easily overlooked building.

One of my expeditions took me to Bristol in January 2014. And it was in this city that I encountered one of the very tangible relics of Brunel.

The SS Great Britain was one of the many ships I had read about as a child, I even remember seeing photographs of it on it’s way back to Bristol for preservation.  Standing on the decks of this grand old lady was really something, It is however one thing to read about a ship like this, and a totally different thing to stand on board her.  I have been hoping to get back to the ship, and almost got there in 2015 but got distracted along the way. 

Bristol is also home to Bristol Temple Mead Station, yet another Brunel creation. However, the current building is not the original Brunel station.  I have still to investigate the Brunel station, although it seems to be perpetually under renovation. The glorious wedding cake of a station that is currently in use was expanded in the 1870s by Francis Fox and again in the 1930s by P E Culverhouse. Brunel’s terminus is no longer part of the operational station. It stands to the left of the current station façade (where the coaches are). I do not have images of the entrance of the station yet, but hopefully one day. 

Bristol also houses yet another Brunel creation, the magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge that I visited in August 2015.

Between Bristol trips I was somewhere else, and while I was there I paid a visit to “Steam, Museum of the Great Western Railway” in Swindon. It was here that GWR had it’s locomotive workshops. You can also come face to face with the great man and one of his broad gauge creations. 
Actually those drive wheels are from Brunel’s broad Gauge Locomotive “Lord of the Isles”, built in Swindon in 1851. They are 8 feet in diameter and weigh about 4 tons. Brunel was just over 5 feet.

Inside the museum I came to a replica of  the 1837  “North Star”, and it is really a comparatively simple loco when compared to the machines that rule the rails 100 years later.


The original was purchased by GWR and ran one of the first trains between Paddington and Maidenhead in 1837. There is no consideration for crew comfort in this machine, although I am sure these locos did not break too many speed records. This locomotive was not a Brunel design though, but it was modernised to run on his Broad Gauge (7 ft (2,134 mm), later eased to 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm)). Unfortunately Broad Gauge was not too good an idea and was not universally accepted and GWR had to change all of its rolling stock and relay its track down the line.

Leaving Bristol the train passes through Bath Spa, and the station there is also attributed to Brunel.

In June 2016, travelling South East from Cheltenham I passed though Swindon, Reading and finally into London Paddington Station which is where GWR terminated. The station today is quite a hodge podge of design, having to cater for the massive expansion of rail into the capital.

If you known where to look you will even encounter Brunel seated on a chair watching the comings and goings. What would he have to say about what they did to his station?

And if you tarried long enough in London you could always retire to your hotel that was a part of the station.

This imposing building is the London Hilton Paddington, or, as it was known: The Great Western Royal Hotel and it was opened in 1854. 

And that sums up my Brunel discoveries for now, I know there are others, because most GWR stations had a hotel attached to it, and I am quite sure that Brunel was involved in at least one of them, but that is another exploration for another day.

Brunel was an engineer. He was a man who could turn his mind to bridges, ships and tunnels. He left behind a legacy that has endured, and his work will probably be here long after this blog has closed down. He created and designed and influenced, he was an inspiration, and the world sadly has been replaced by accountants who create nothing, or managers who could not manage their way out of paper bags, and directors who dip their hands into tills with alarming frequency. Where did we loose the engineers?  why do we not have engineers that create on a scale like this? Brunel made mistakes, but his success outweigh his failures. He was a man of legend and we are so much richer because he was in the right place at the tight time.

© DRW 2016-2017. Created 01/11/2016  

Updated: 11/04/2017 — 19:43

Closing the door on Salisbury

In September 2013 I started full time work in Salisbury, and moved there in late November 2013. This afternoon I left it for good. It has been quite a year for me, but I guess I have to look at opportunities and developments and occasionally these may require change. Leaving Salisbury and my job was one such change.
 
Initially I was not too keen on Salisbury, its only really redeeming feature seem to be that it had a cathedral in it, and that magnificent building was really an experience on its own. 
 
 
Initially I stayed very close to work, in an area called “The Friary”, which had somewhat of a chequered reputation. But I did have a nice spot but when an affordable place came available to rent I grabbed it like a shot, moving in in mid April this year.

My new walk took me from one end of Salisbury to the other, through town and the many shops and business that would become almost second nature to me. It was a 25 minute walk and by the time I got to work (or home) I was usually bushed.

This odd structure is the Poultry Cross, and it marks the site of the former markets. It was constructed in the 14th century, and is a popular hang out for pigeons, smokers, cellphone weenies and sitters arounders, The market is usually held on a Tuesday and Saturday, and while not my favourite place did net me a few interesting odds and ends. The market square is also home to the Guildhall and the War Memorial; where I commemorated Remembrance Day this year.

Naturally I would gravitate to the local cemeteries, there were two larger ones in Salisbury, namely Devizes Road and London Road cemeteries. Both are quite old and I did have lots of fun walking through them. London Road in particular was a very nice visit, and I did find all the war graves and got very muddy while doing so. (It’s an occupational hazard)

Salisbury was a very large training area during the war years, and still has a number of military bases and facilities on Salisbury Plain. Unfortunately the furthest I seemed to get there was Old Sarum and of course Boscombe Down Aviation Collection. I had visited Stonehenge with my landlord from Southampton during 2013, and while I was suitably impressed I did not get there a second time.

We also visited Woodhenge on the same day, and it was quite a strange place to see.

I even attempted a panoramic stitch of it, and while it is not perfect you get the general idea. (Image is 1500×426).

Salisbury is really a tourist attraction, and somewhat of a retirement home, with its narrow pavements and strange alleyways it can sometimes lead you to surprisingly pretty buildings. In general though the city is a mix of olde, old and recent, but there is not a lot of work available so it does tend to be a destination commuted to (and from). The station is not a pretty building at all, if anything it is somewhat of an ugly place, although occasionally steam powered specials would make an appearance. It was also the site if a very bad train accident in 1906 but there is nothing to see that commemorates the accident,
blacks 038

 

The rest of the time South West Trains and First Great Western make the station their junction. There are 3 lines converging on Salisbury. One heads towards Southampton/Portsmouth, the other heads towards Andover, Basingstoke, Woking, Clapham Junction and London Waterloo, while the third heads west to Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads, and Cardiff Central. I did a lot of odd visits on these lines, and probably once winter had finished would have gone a bit further, although an ankle injury really messed up my travels towards the last few months.

There were a number of interesting museums and churches worth occupying myself with, and I did the rounds of most of the accessible ones.  The prettiest must have been St Lawrence in Stratford Sub-Castle  as well as St Andrews in Laverstock.

Walking around town on my rounds was always interesting, especially since there are 5 rivers converging on Salisbury. In January we had a flood scare, and I must admit it was quite interesting watching the levels rise and the flood plain become a lake. The Avon used to flow past the back of the house where I was staying, and it was fun feeding the ducks when I had some spare bread.

 

Naturally there were also coots, swans and pigeons, but the water birds had the advantage when it came to food.

I think that one of the all abiding memories I will take with me from Salisbury are of the people I worked with for just over a year. They made Christmas fun and often inspired me to do things. A new workplace does mean making new friends and that is always difficult. But I will have to make a go of it irrespective. Tomorrow is week 2 of my new job and new home. So lets see what I can find in Basingstoke.

And so I close the door on Salisbury. I will miss it, and I take fond memories with me. I never did get to the spire of the Cathedral, or revisit Bemerton, neither did I get back to Arnos Vale in Bristol. Oh, and that pub that forgot my breakfast? you probably lost a lot of money from me, much more than the lousy 3.19 that you nicked from me. I will miss my little home that I had, and will look for a new one. London is closer and I have cemeteries to visit. But first I must unpack all this stuff I brought with me; where did it all come from?

Random Photographs.
War Memorial

War Memorial

The Guildhall

The Guildhall

 

© DRW 2014-2017. Images recreated 21/04/2016

Updated: 15/12/2016 — 19:55

Remembrance Day, 09/11/2014

By the time I finish this, Remembrance Day will be fading. I am in a new city, starting a new job tomorrow, and it has been an overall hectic weekend. My plan was to attend the commemoration in Salisbury, and immediately afterwards to head for Basingstoke. The weather on Saturday had been wet and cold and I was really worried that the day would be rained out. However, like last year in Southampton, the sun graced us with its light. It was a glorious, if not slightly chilly day. 

The Wreath Laying would take place outside the Guildhall and at the War Memorial on the market square. Because of its placing I have always struggled to get decent images of the war memorial. Usually the sun rises behind it so any morning shots just don’t work, and then it gets really busy around here and there are gazillions of people around. I guess I have always been meaning to get better shots, but I never have.

Because of my moving I arrived just as the column of old soldiers and servicemen and women were moving off and there were crowds lining the streets to see them go. Poppies (and puppies) abounded. 

The crowd around the memorial was 5 deep in places, and security was everywhere. I have to admit that  I was glad to see so many parents bringing their children along, and how many were wearing their poppies with pride.

 

And once the columns had arrived, the dignitaries came out of the Guildhall and joined the ceremony. It was not a long drawn out one, but the poignant call of The Last Post made everybody aware that we were here at a special time, and that there were no old soldiers from the First World War to join in. 

 
After the 2 minute silence there was the Kohima Epitaph, which really sums it all up.
When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today.

After the official wreaths were laid, and the soldiers and scouts marched off, it was time to approach the memorial and if need be pay our own tribute. 

 

The memorial was bedecked with the familiar red and black wreaths that are used on these occasions. And there was a green poppy field to plant any poppy crosses on.

I laid a cross to represent my family members who had served, and for the friends that lost their lives in the border war. They are the ones I remember. Each of those small plywood crosses represents many things, but often it is tangible link between those today and those who never came back.

 

And then it was time to go, I had a train to catch and I would be leaving this city where I have lived for just under a year to start anew elsewhere. But I left a small part of me behind,  and when I pass this way next weekend I shall stop and check on the memorial, and hopefully it will still be bright and filled with the reminders of those who went before.

In memory of Robert Owen Turner,  Herbert Turner, David Walker, Mathys Slabbert, Lionel Van Rooyen, Johan Potgieter, Peter Hall and Hennie Van Der Colff.

 

© DRW 2014-2017. Created 09/11/2014. Images recreated 20/04/2016

Updated: 15/12/2016 — 19:56

Ready to move on

At end of the first week of November I will be leaving my current job to start a new one in Basingstoke. It was not an easy decision to make given how I have settled down here in Salisbury, but there are a number of reasons behind my decision which I will not list here. 
There are a number of things that have to be done, and looking for new accommodation in Basingstoke will be high on my list of priorities. Until the end of December I will be commuting between there and here while I pack my goodies and settle my affairs. Unfortunately my goodie collection has become somewhat bloated and so I will have to make some hard decisions in that regard too. 
Until such time as I am settled things will be chaotic and as such I wont have time to do many regular posts to this blog, although I have already seen a cemetery close to the station that is going to be one of my first visits, although when that will be I cannot say.
I was hoping to make a last trip to Southampton to see Quantum of the Seas when she arrives on the 30th, but I do not have leave available to do that in. 
So, watch this space, hopefully I will be able to start filling it up once again once I am back in business.

Updated: 04/05/2016 — 06:43

Moving house again.

It is probable that this blog will quieten down considerably over the next few months as I move house again. Moving house also means I will not have access to the net until I can get my broadband sorted out, and who knows how long that might take.

However, I will probably have something to say once I have moved, and hopefully I will be just a tad happier than before. So, don’t loose hope!!

Oh, and somebody please tell me why my blog started speaking French?

Updated: 13/12/2016 — 20:15

Random Churchyards: St Lawrence, Stratford Sub-Castle.

I have been meaning to visit St Lawrence for quite some time, but it is a bit of a long walk so have been able to blame the weather for not going there. On my trip to Old Sarum in February I was literally in stone throwing distance of the church, but could not quite spot what I was after, however I could probably find it now without too much trouble (as well as find the footpath that connects the two)
 
 
That’s Old Sarum in the distance, and it doesn’t seem that imposing from here, but its a different ballgame looking down on this area from the complex. But by the time St Lawrence was erected (1711), the church had moved to Salisbury Cathedral and the castle/fort had been abandoned. 
 
The church seen from old Sarum

The church seen from old Sarum

The church is quite a pretty one, although not too large and not too ornate. you could almost say it is a dead ringer for the typical English country church. The area around it is mostly farmland with some very impressive houses on the way. 
 
  
I had not done any homework on the CWGC graves at the church, I thought there were only a few, but it turns out that there are 49, and there is a Cross of Sacrifice.
 
  
Most of the burials are Australians who died in local hospitals during the First World War, and there are also two WWII burials too. 
 
The churchyard isn’t a big one, and by the looks of it is still in limited use. However, I expect there is more unseen than seen in this case, after all, the church dates back to 1711. Headstones are not too spectacular, and most of the older ones are not legible. 
 
 
The church was locked, although while I was there the bells tolled the hour, and the organ was playing, but I could not find any door that I could enter through as all were burglar barred. I was able to look through the windows but there wasn’t too much to see. 
 
 
It was a weakish sort of sunlight that filtered down on the landscape, and we were definitely heading towards Spring as there were quite  a few flowers on the footpath leading to the church.
 
 
While in front of the church there is a World War I Memorial, which could do with a but of restoration.
 
 
A last round of the churchyard and it was time for me to go. I am sorry I was not able to see inside the building, or to climb the tower, but maybe another time?
 
 
  
From a gravehunters perspective it was a bit of a disappointment, but from a war graves perspective it was a good find. Most of the graveyards I have visited in Salisbury have CWGC graves in them, although never on this scale. This is probably the third biggest CWGC plot in the city, and I am glad that I finally have it under my belt. 
 
Then it struck me that I have a long way to walk to get home, and I was not looking too forward to that. 
 
© DRW 2014-2017. Images recreated 17/04/2016
Updated: 13/12/2016 — 20:16

Random Churchyards: St Andrew Laverstock

A misheard name, and an informed resident. Voila! a new graveyard to visit. This one was in an area I had not explored before, so with the weather becoming increasingly more pleasant I dashed off to take a look around St Andrews in Laverstock.

 Like so many of these parish churches I have seen this one is beautiful, and it really fitted in with the warmish spring day we were having. I was very impressed by the tree on the right, it had a huge flat canopy, just a bit taller than I was and it was really pretty. I have no idea what sort of tree it is though, it is the first I have seen like this.
 

I chose to approach the graveyard from the right, (as I tend to do). and almost immediately came across an angel. Usually these are quite rare in a churchyard like this, but I am not complaining. This one is a beaut.

 

Of course angels are not the only highlight of a cemetery, although they do make for great images. Very close to this was a fenced off grave, the cross of which was inscribed “Make her to be numbered with thy Saints”, unfortunately a lot of the inscription on the grave is not legible due to vegetation, but it seems that this was the wife of an important clergy member.

 

Surprisingly there are five CWGC headstones in the graveyard, and unusually for me I managed to get them all! 

 

The graveyard isn’t very big and it is in regular use, but the newer headstones do seem to be a bit too regular in size and shape for my liking, although there are the odd older stones scattered amongst the newer. 

 
On the other side of the graveyard are the remains of the original church that stood at this site, it had been erected somewhere between 1080 and 1200. However, by the 1850’s the church was described as being “damp and ruinous” and it was demolished in 1857 and the current building was erected in its stead.
  
The current church still has a number of artefacts from this building although I was unable to go into it because a service was being held at the time. Interestingly enough, the outline of the old church and one of its walls still exists, and within the outline are a number of graves. 
  
while outside the church there were a number of graves too, although at the time the churchyard was probably much larger, but it is possible that the buildings next to the fence are now partly built on parts of the original churchyard. 
  
 
The church sports a pair of bells in its belfry and surprisingly these were tolling away, calling the faithful to get out of bed and get themselves across to church. Most of the parishioners that I saw were elderly, and I expect many had attended here since they were born.  Many of these parish churches see the a complete lifespan of an individual, and are really fixtures in their communities. This particular one has been around for over 150 years, and looks set to be around for another 150.
 
 
It was almost time for me to head off home, and I took a quick circuit around again, grabbing any other graves of interest. 
 
 
And then I was off home. Another churchyard under my belt. And a very pretty one it was too.  This used to be farming area, and judging by street names possibly there was a mill and a fishery close by, but the road I walked along to get here was called Church Lane, and I can see where that comes from.
 
 © DRW 2014-2017. Created 23 March 2014, images recreated 17/04/2016
Updated: 13/12/2016 — 19:56

The Cathedrals Express in Salisbury

During my time in Salisbury I saw many odd trains come and go, and one of the more memorable visits was that of the Cathedrals Express. Unfortunately I always have the dilemma of either taking stills, or shooting video. On this occasion I took both.

The occasion was a Cathedrals Express passing though the city where the loco, a Stanier Class 5, number 44932, would pause for a drink, and pick up passengers.

It was not exactly a great day for train watching, in fact by the time I got there it was still misty and chilly.

The end of the platform where the train stands is probably one of the better spots to wait out a train coming from that direction, however, you need to be alert as it is really just a short distance from the curve where the trains comes around from. On this particular morning I seem to recall the train was running slightly late, and an outbound DMU was heading past us when she popped up around the corner. I was fortunate that I was already shooting video when it happened, and managed to upload it to my youtube channel, but, there is more footage of the DMU than there is of the steamer. 

By the ingenuity of modern technology here are two screen caps of the loco going past. 

 

The loco at the opposite end of the train was diesel-electric 33207 “Jim Martin” in West Coast Railways livery.

Now for some reason one little boy would not get out of my frame, he just wanted his father to take a pic of him and I wanted a pic of the loco, and so he ended up in my shot and I always have to clone brush him out. I hope that one day he has a love of railways because he was really enthusiastic about being there.

People were climbing in and out of the train and a vast horde were heading towards the waiting steamer. Unfortunately Salisbury no longer has water facilities for steam trains, so the loco stops at the end of the platform and they run a hose from a fire engine parked in the street outside the station to the tender of the loco. 

There was quite a throng of rubber neckers at this point and I was really struggling to get a decent shot.  

But, eventually I found it, and I am quite pleased with the results. It is just a pity there was no sun on that day.

I was ready to wait it out at this spot as she left, and would probably end up being covered in the hot steamy breath of her, but, when departure time came I neglected to hit the shutter, or did a double shutter so my video did not happen! Much to my disgust!

And then she was gone, the end of the train passing me and heading off towards her next stop.  This whole process took very little time, in fact I think we waited longer for the train to arrive than we did for them to water her and load her passengers. She was in and out and gone in the brief few minutes of that misty Saturday. But then that is what train spotting is about: that brief moment when the train fills your viewfinder and then goes past you. 

This was not the only Cathedrals Express visit that we had. In December of 2013 a double header came through and I watched her too, but my pics were lousy (and so was the weather).

I was also fortunate enough to arrive at the station one evening to find the Cathedrals Express parked in the station and the loco at the head was Tornado.

 

My dilemma was: would I hang around and watch her leave? or cross to that platform and get pics from that side? My own train would also be arriving soon and I also risked missing that. I crossed to that platform but was too late as the train started to pull out as I emerged, so all I got was a few seconds of footage of coaches. Sadly, that is just how things go. 

 © DRW 2014-2017. Created 17/05/2016

Updated: 11/04/2017 — 19:11

Boscombe Down Aviation Collection.

The real reason for my walkies yesterday was to visit the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection which is at Old Sarum Airfield. It isn’t a very long walk to get there, and to be honest I was very disappointed by the collection.
 
My first oooh moment was when I saw my first Hawker Hunter. It is a real beaut of an aircraft, with that strange otherness that many British aircraft had in the days when the UK aviation industry was still producing aircraft.
 
The aircraft behind it is a Jet Provost, and she isn’t looking as immaculate as the Hunter is. The problem with aircraft is that realistically they should be kept under cover, but that’s assuming you have cover to keep them under.
 
Of course the saddest find was the cockpit of a Comet MK2 that now stands forlornly on a corner. It is as close to a Comet that I would ever get, but this poor remnant is very sad. At one point in history these aircraft were the ground-breakers of long haul jet flight, but now it is relegated to a mere shade of its former self. 
 
Once inside the museum I was surrounded by cockpits and very few intact aircraft. I think that was one of the reasons I felt so disappointed; there are very few intact aircraft here. 
  
I do understand though the limitations of a collection like this, these museums are really operated by volunteers and people who have a love for these machines. Money is tight, space is tighter and exhibits are not always easy to acquire. If anything a cockpit is better than nothing. Boscombe Down was originally an aircraft testing site at Amesbury. The collection is probably part of the equipment that was at that original airfield.
 
The other intact aircraft are: 
Hawker Sea Harrier

Hawker Sea Harrier

Gloster Meteor

Gloster Meteor

BE2b

BE2b

Chipmunk WD321

 There is also a Jaguar under preservation, although it may be be a long time before  she is any sort of state to be displayed properly.
 
I did look around the cockpits, and the pair of Canberra remnants were very interesting, considering that the SAAF flew Canberras during the Bush War.
 

I have no idea how they managed to squeeze into those small spaces though, access to that transparent nose was almost impossible, never mind how they did it with their flying gear on and while in flight. That is the one thing that did strike me, all of these cockpits were really small and cramped and it does give a better appreciation for the men who flew them.

Not all aircraft here are fighters, there are two larger cockpits which are more my size. This particular aircraft is a Hawker Siddeley Andover and it was used for early trials of low light and infra red night flying.
 

The “front office” of a modern fighter is a mix of analogue and digital, although I cannot recall which aircraft this is. The museum was reasonably busy too, and trying to get a coherent set of images was difficult as people kept on drifting in and out of view, or popping up where you don’t want them to be.

Unfortunately the Lightning was blocked off so I could not get a look into her cockpit, but I was really amazed at how big this part of the aircraft was. It is just a pity that there was no complete Lightning to see.

That was about it, all that remained was photographing the two helicopters through the fence. One being a Wasp and the other a mystery.

For some reason I thought this yellow machine was Russian. But it turns out that is is a Sycamore XJ380. The Sycamore has the distinction of being the first British designed helicopters to fly.

Then I was ready to head off home, I did not include all my images here, there are too many. But like so many of these places you tend to realise that you missed seeing everything, or taking notice of some of the smaller exhibits. I do however feel a twinge of nostalgia for that Comet outside, and they do have a wonderful model of one of these aircraft

As well as a lot of seats from the Comet standing outside.

From the days when passengers were treated as travellers and not as cattle.

There is also a memorial to the Air Observation Post Squadrons that were based at Old Sarum Airfield during World War 2.

That concluded my photography, and I hung around at the airfield for awhile but there was nothing really exciting going on there so I headed off back to Salisbury.

Unsorted random photographs.
BAC1-11 Cockpit

BAC1-11 Cockpit

Lloyd Loom chair as used by Battle of Britain Pilots waiting to scarmble

Lloyd Loom chair as used by Battle of Britain Pilots waiting to scramble

GAF Jindivik target drone

GAF Jindivik target drone

Hawker  Harrier vectored thrust nozzles

Hawker Harrier vectored thrust nozzles

Rolls Royce Avon engine

Rolls Royce Avon engine

Back seat driver (Navigator?) of a Canberra

Back seat driver (Navigator?) of a Canberra

BDAC is a nice museum, but the lack of complete aircraft does let it down,but it is worth the trip anyway just to get a feel for those heady days of British aviation.  More images are available on my external gallery
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Updated: 13/12/2016 — 19:59
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