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Class 47 – ‘Prince William’ – 2004. Science Museum Group Collection © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Class 47 No798 was built at Crewe and entered into service in 1965 and was employed on a wide variety of duties including heavy freight and express passenger services. It regularly pulled the Royal Train during its working life. It was originally without a name until August 1985 when it was named ‘Firefly’. It was renamed ‘Prince William’ in 1995. It was presented by its owners EWS Railways to the Science Museum collection when it was withdrawn from service.

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47798 ‘Prince William’ at National Railway Museum, York

No trip to York is complete, at least for me, without a visit to the National Railway Museum.

My first stop this time was the South Yard where 60103 Flying Scotsman was parked up in between trips on the mainline. Unfortunately, it was parked around a corner of a building so it wasn’t accessible for good photographs.

Next stop was the Station Hall which as its name suggests is set out like a large station with trains in bay platforms, enabling you to walk alongside them.

At the moment it is hosting a display of Royal Train carriages from different periods of history.

In the Grand Hall, there is a display on Express trains featuring the Eurostar (which runs between London, Paris and Amsterdam) and the Japanese Bullet train, the Shinkansen.

It is now over 50 years since steam was phased out on UK railways and so aside from the steam locomotives more diesel and electric locomotives are being added to the national collection for preservation.

But finally, no visit would be complete without a stop at my favourite class of locomotive, the Gresley A4 Pacifics, here represented by 4468 Mallard. Last time I was here was to see all 5 of the worlds remaining A4s together to celebrate Mallard’s record-breaking run.

Awesome Arachnids

Posted: November 1, 2018 in Announcements

Did some work on improving my Arachnid identification skills back in the spring. Fascinated by the variety of different spiders we found in a very small area. My favourites were the Cricket Bat Spider and the Cucumber spider.

 

Here is a post about some amazing Arachnids:

Roads End Naturalist

She asks me to kill the spider.
Instead, I get the most
peaceful weapons I can find.

I take a cup and a napkin.
I catch the spider, put it outside
and allow it to walk away.

If I am ever caught in the wrong place
at the wrong time, just being alive
and not bothering anyone,

I hope I am greeted
with the same kind
of mercy.

~Rudy Francisco

I led a full moon walk this past week at Mason Farm Biological Reserve, a wild and wonderful tract managed by the NC Botanical Garden, only a mile or so from my office. I love being outside at night, hearing the night sounds, and trying to catch a glimpse of the creatures that make darkness their time of choice. The night before the hike, I walked alone along the trail at Mason Farm, looking for things to highlight and…

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York 2018: Barley Hall

Posted: October 31, 2018 in History, Medieval History, UK, York
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Barley Hall is situated in the centre of York. Parts of the house date from around 1360, when it served as a lodging for priests and monks from Nostell priory visiting the Cathedral. In 1430 it was rebuilt and in 1466 was leased to William Snawshall, a goldsmith, who would become an Alderman and later Lord Mayor of York. In 1489 William moved away from York and a series of different tenants held the Hall. Following the dissolution of the Monasteries, it became the property of the crown and continued to be let to tenants. At some point in the 16th or 17th centuries, it was sub-dived into different dwellings and by the early 20th century had become used for workshops and storage. By the mid 20th century it was in a very poor condition and in 1984 it was bought by the York Archaeological Trust. In the 1990s following extensive excavations, the Trust took the decision to restore the Hall to its Medieval state. It was named Barley Hall after the founder of the YAT. they tried to preserve as much of the original building as possible but centuries of poor maintenance meant that some timbers etc was too far gone to be saved and had to be replaced.

As you walk around the hall today, it is set up exactly as it was when William Snawshall, Lord Mayor of York lived there.

As with many Cathedrals, the roof of York Minster sores upwards creating a sense of immense space. There was a lot of maintenance work going on including the restoration of the organ and so the centre of the Cathedral was full of scaffolding which rather obscured and spoilt the impression on this occasion though. Still, this work has to be done and I imagine it is one big headache trying to keep an 800-year-old building in tip-top condition.

There is some fantastic stained glass on display in the Cathedral.

York 2018: York Minster

Posted: October 29, 2018 in History, Medieval History, UK, York
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The first church on this site was built around 627 AD by the Kings of Northumbria and 100 years later the first Archbishop of York was recorded. The Saxon Church, which had been rebuilt in the 8th century following a fire, was seriously damaged by William the Conqueror’s forces in 1069 during the ‘Harrying of the North’. William appointed a new Archbishop who set about building a new Cathedral on the site. The present building was built between 1220 and 1472 in the Gothic style.

York 2018: Medieval Streets

Posted: October 26, 2018 in History, Medieval History, UK, York
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It is just a delight to wander down the Medieval streets of York city centre and see the wonderfully preserved Medieval buildings.

York 2018: King’s Manor

Posted: October 25, 2018 in History, UK, York
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One of the venues for the talks at the History weekend was the King’s Manor. The original house on this site was built in the 12th century as a lodging for the Abbot of the adjacent St Mary’s Abbey. There was a substantial rebuilding of the property in the 15th century and on the dissolution of St Mary’s in 1539, it became the headquarters for the Council of the North, a regional government set up by Henry VIII. When the council was disbanded in 1641, the Manor became the home of the Governor of York. From 1668 until the 19th century it was let to private individuals. In the 19th century, it was purchased for the Yorkshire School for the Blind, who remained in the property until they relocated in 1958. It was acquired by York Council and leased to the University of York, where it housed the Department of Architectural Studies and the Centre for Medieval Studies. When the former relocated, it was replaced by the Department of Archaeology.

York 2018: Weekend of History

Posted: October 24, 2018 in Announcements, History, UK, York
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A long weekend in the wonderful city of York to attend the York History weekend and the chance to hear some of the countries leading experts talk about history from the ancient world to Brexit.

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Also, it was a chance to re-visit some of the fascinating historical sights in the city. Apart from day trips to the National Railway Museum, it is probably 20 years since I spent longer than a day here and much has changed.

River Ouse looking towards Lendel Bridge (top left), Medieval Houses (top right), York Minster (lower left), and Bootham Bar, one of the old city gates (lower right) 

The weekends’ talks were held in the Yorkshire Museum and in the Kings Manor and my focus this weekend is on Anglo-Saxon England. I also visited the National Railway Museum (a must for any visit to York), York Minster, Barley Hall, The Yorvik centre and The Richard III Museum.

Fungi at Formby.

Posted: October 23, 2018 in Natural History

Some great fungi around at the moment.

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On Saturday I went for a walk in the pinewoods at Formby. The event was organised by the National trust and we were guided by Dave who is an expert on Fungi.

During our safari we spotted 61 different species. Dave encouraged us to touch, squeeze, smell, and in a couple of cases even taste a couple of the specimens. This seemed strange to me as from a photographic point of view as I am trained never to pick any wild flowers etc..

However, with Fungi it is different and close examination of the gills and the feel of the specimen is essential for identification. Even then it often requires close examination under a microscope to get a precise identification.

It was an interesting and informative morning out.

Here are a few of my images.

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I shall not even begin to try and identify them.

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