Archive for June, 2013

Being a history buff, the British Museum is probably my favourite of the many museums in London. The collection dates back to the middle of the 18th century when the physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane bequeathed his collection of over 71,000 objects on the condition that it was not broken up. The government accepted this and the British Museum was founded. In 1757 King George the second donated the Royal library to form part of the new collection. The first British Museum was housed in a 17th-century mansion in Bloomsbury on the side of the current building and the open for public viewing on 15 January 1759. In the early years the annual attendance was about 5000 people per year. The museum continued to acquire important pieces related to world archaeology and cultural studies. These included the Rosetta Stone, which was the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphics amongst other ancient languages, classical sculpture and, perhaps rather more controversially, the Parthenon sculptures from Greece. In the mid-19th century, the existing building was expanded and the natural history collection was moved to its own location in South Kensington (now known as the Natural History Museum). The collection continued to expand and the late 20th century saw new developments to enable more, and better, display of the collection. This included a complete reworking of the centre of the museum building and the removal of the British library from the site to a new purpose-built library near St Pancras. This work continues today and a brand-new set of galleries, together with new conservation facilities will be opened in 2014.

Further details and vistor information can be seen at



Detail from the portico over the main enterance

Detail from the portico over the main enterance

The Museum in the 18th century

The Museum in the 18th century

The new conservation and exhibition building

The new conservation and exhibition building

Today I return to some shots of the Orion Nebula which is one of my favourite areas to photograph





These photos were taken using the Harvard NASA telescope

For further details on the Orion nebula see post of 29/4 –





The Red eyed Damselfly is common in Southern England where it can be found by lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. This male was sunning himself at Greenwich pennisular ecology park earlier this month and I was very pleased to be able to get some shots of it in flight

Only a couple of weeks to go. Have my tickets booked!

Chasewaterstuff's Railway & Canal Blog

National Railway Museum

The Great Gathering

3 – 17 July

2013_06130029  We’re nearly a week away from the start of our Mallard 75 celebrations as the nation prepares to mark Mallard’s world steam speed record. The support for this event has been absolutely amazing with people sharing images, poems and even songs dedicated to the world’s fastest ever steam loco. Two out of six A4 locos are on display in our Great Hall whilst a further three wait in the wings. Sir Nigel Gresley and Union of South Africa have both arrived at our museum and sit in our North Yard as they are prepared for display around our Turntable. The star of the show, Mallard, is also out of view being prepared for its grand entrance next Wednesday. As well as the chance to see all of Gresley’s surviving A4s make sure you book your place onto one of…

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MGB 81

Posted: June 27, 2013 in History, Post medieval history
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Motor gunboat 81 was built for the Royal Navy in 1942. It is believed to be the only gunboat in World War II restored to her original condition. These gunboats were fast with speeds up to 45 knots and were designed for the protection of shipping in UK coastal waters, particularly to guard against the threat of German E-boats, groups of which would cross over the Channel and attack merchant shipping.


In 1945 MGB 81 passed into private ownership. It was involved in a smuggling operation in 1958 and was subsequently sold for scrap, but ended up as a permanent mooring in the sailing school. In 1968 it was bought by a boat preservation trust and restored to its wartime condition.

MGB 81 is currently berthed at the Portsmouth historic dockyard.

Carrion Crow

Posted: June 26, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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The commonest of the black members of the Corvid family. The Crow like the related Magpie has a somewhat evil reputation in folk-lore and literature (eg Hitchcocks ‘the birds’), but it undoubtedly a very clever bird and able to adapt to new surroundings and opportunities.

GWR 9400

Posted: June 25, 2013 in Trains

Built in 1947 the first 94XX class locos were the last steam locomotives built by GWR before nationalisation and were used for shunting duties. The class was so successful that a further 200 locomotives were built under BR colours from 1948 onwards. There useful life was short-lived as within 10 years most had been replaced on shunting duties by diesel powered locomotives.


Two examples survive into preservation 9400 (pictured here) at STEAM Swindon and 9466 at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. Only the latter is in running order.

9466 in action
This is a little bit of a factual anomoly as 9466 was one of the locomotives built under BR and so never actually carried GWR colours during its working life

Today some more pictures of the Swan Nebula. These were taken using the Bradford Robotic Telescope




Anyone see a swan?

for further details on the Swan nebula see post of 29/5 –

These are Queen Victoria’s Royal carriages on display at STEAM Swindon



These remind me of a wonderful story about Queen Victoria. When she was still quite young she visited the city of Bath and someone wrote that they thought she had plump ankles. Now the Victorian ladies were very touchy about their ankles. Suggesting that a Victorian lady had plump ankles was a bit like saying she had a large bum or fat legs (but of course the Victorians would not have mentioned these in good company). Anyhow our young Queen Victoria was apparently so upset by this she said she would never visit the city again and went as far as having the blinds pulled down on her royal carriage as it went through the city so that she didn’t even have to look at the city ever again. And so the story goes she kept her word for the rest of her life. Queen Victoria 1 Bath 0 (OG)!

Bird Pictures: Moorhen

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Birds, Natural History
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The Moorhen is a common bird of lakes and marshes in the UK. They have a number of different local names including Water hen, Marsh hen, River Chicken, Black Gallinule and ‘Skitty Coot’.