Down on the Watercress Line

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Drive mechanism on loco No 92212 Cheltenham

Last Thursday, I had a free day and cast about for something interesting to do.  On the road atlas I noticed a heritage railway that seemed reachable.  This turned out to be the Mid-Hants Railway, aka the Watercress Line.  This railway has featured in Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys, a series of BBC TV documentaries about railways in Britain.  Repeats crop up from time to time.  The name derives from the role of the railway in transporting watercress from Hampshire up to London, where, in Victorian times, it was sold by street vendors in small packets.  It was a source of vitamins and general goodness, essentially a health food, for people whose diet was lacking in basic nutrition. Continue reading “Down on the Watercress Line”

Leicester City

The other day I had some business at Hinckley, Leicestershire, but bought a return train ticket to the county city.  I had no map or scheme, just turn up and wander about.  Here are a few pics, but first Hinckley.



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Leicester Continue reading “Leicester City”

X marks the spot

Prime Minister from Liverpool to May

I have featured this coin before. These pictures were the first I took with a new lens that acts as a short range telephoto (90 mm) and macro, or close-up. But what was going on when it was minted two centuries ago?

As mentioned in my blog about the year without a summer, 1816, the country was suffering. Wages were in decline, harvests failing, the price of grain rising and with it the cost of daily bread. There remained a surplus of labour following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. Continue reading “X marks the spot”

1939 and all that

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Rear view of 43 Chapel Street, Brownhills, by Joan Jackson.

A while back I looked at my father’s family as war approached – also 1939 and all that.  Now I visit my mother’s family, name of Brown, who lived at 41 Chapel Street.  Number 41 is the house beyond the hedge on the right of the painting.  The artist was Joan Jackson, who lived later at 43 with her husband Les.  Number 41 was where I spent the first year of my life and where my mother grew up.

I pointed out that searching the 1939 Register, online via Findmypast, can be a frustrating exercise, as the records of many people who are long dead remain locked because they have not been updated to anything like the present.  This time it would be more difficult.  I would have to break in by the back door.

Continue reading “1939 and all that”