My account of the homeward journey from Fort Picklecombe.
We have reached the penultimate post about my Cornish holiday – the last day. This post details the long journey home.
The length of time it took to get from Plymouth to Fort Picklecombe on the Thursday was playing on my mind, and I wanted to be sure that we were away before 9AM, since my train was due to depart Plymouth at 10:44, and I reckoned that a single ticket from Plymouth to London bought on the day (London-Lynn would still have been valid on the original ticket) woulkd probably cost more than my original ticket (in this assessment, to borrow from history, there was the proverbial “cubit of error my way that does not obscure the 99 cubits of error the other way” – actually said ticket would have been fractionally less. Nevertheless, I did get a few lasy pictures before leaving the fort:
On the journey into Plymouth I managed to snap two pictures from the back of the camper van:
I had some time to kill at Plymouth station and did so by taking photographs…
PLYMOUTH – LONDON
This train was a service called “The Cornish Riviera”, which starts in Penzance and snails up through Cornwall stopping pretty much everywhere and then makes up time by calling only at Exeter St Davids and Reading between Plymouth and London. Although I had an aisle seat on this journey, and no opportunity to move to the window seat I was not going to be denied at least some photos. I got a good few between Plymouth and Exeter and a handful thereafter…
LONDON TO KING’S LYNN
I crossed to the Hammersmith and City line platforms, nos 15 and 16 of the main station, and waited a long time for an eastbound train, then discovering that it was terminating at Edgware Road (very odd indeed for a train from Hammersmith), so I had to change again. I arrived at King’s Cross and was just in time to catch the 14:44 to King’s Lynn, which was not overfull (as the 15:44, the next service, certainly would have been). This means that I was at home and unpacking by 5PM.
An account of the journey to Penzance, setting the scene for my next post, about Penzance itself.
This is continuing my account of my visit to Cornwall. We have reached Saturday, which for me featured a trip to England’s westernmost commercial railway station (note England not Britain – Arisaig on the Glasgow-Mallaig line in Scotland is further west), Penzance. The closest station in time terms to my parent’s new home is St Germans, and that is where my train journey started.
St Germans is completely unstaffed, and therefore, since there is no one to maintain it, has no ticket machines either. Tickets are purchased from the conductor once you are on the train. You are only allowed to do this at unstaffed stations – boarding without a ticket at a station where you can purchase one renders you liable to a penalty fare of £20 (I heard another passenger who had done this escaping with a warning not to do it again).
I had a bit of time at St Germans (given that the next train to call at St Germans was two hours later this was indubitably the sensible position to be in. Here are some photographs from the station…
The ticket issued by the onboard conductor is much bigger than a standard train ticket.
THE JOURNEY TO PENZANCE
Taking pictures through the windows of a moving train is not especially easy, although I did at least have a window seat for the entire journey, so was never shooting across people. After leaving St Germans the train called at Liskeard (change for the Looe branch line), Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel (although the name might suggets otherwise as far as I am aware no elves live here!), Par (trains to Newquay depart from here), St Austell, Truro (Falmouth services diverge here), Redruth, Camborne, Hayle, St Erth (branch line to St Ives from here) and Penzance. Here are the pictures from this journey…
These pictures were taken both on arrival at Penzance, and towards the end of my time in Penzance.
Continuing my personal account of #Marxism2017 with two disability themed meetings.
Welcome to this continuation of my series about Marxism 2017. This post focusses specifically on the two meetings on disability, which took place during the second and fifth slots on the Saturday.
DISABILITY AND RESISTANCE
This meeting was scheduled for room 3E, but when the main lift at Student Central broke down and resisted all efforts to get it working again it was rescheduled for the ground floor. As soon as it was known that the lift was busted the organisers of the festival made it clear that refunds would be available for those who thought they could no longer enjoy the event (there was only one ground floor location remotely suitable for meetings, and three meetings in each session were scheduled for rooms on the 3rd floor, which was inacessible to the physically disabled without the lift working.). Although the ersatz meeting venue was not ideal it was the least bad solution for this meeting.
This meeting was packed full of inspirational stories from various campaigns. As an autistic person I identify particularly strongly with struggles for disability rights. I am a member of group of whom (UK figures – feel free to give me others from elsewhere in the world if you know them) 74% are unemployed, and 85% are under-employed.
Here are some pictures:
HOW CAN DISABLED PEOPLE WIN LIBERATION – RODDY SLORACH
The lift appeared to working again during lunch, but then packed up again and could not be coaxed back to life again, so again we were in the ersatz venue. There was an additional problem this time in that the machines in the cafe outside which we were based were shutting down, creating a lot of background noise. Although 6 hours had elapsed since the end of the panel meeting covered above this meeting felt in many ways like a continuation of the other, with every contribution being inspiring. Although I did not speak myself I was pleased to note that three other autistic people did make contributions. I conclude this post with a few photos:
A brief account of James and Sons’ October auction with some photographs.
James and Sons’ October Auction took place in the Erpingham Room in the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich on Wednesday. Lots 1-450 were fairly normal James and Sons auction fare, and then lots 451 onwards were a lifetime collection of posters. Thus the plan was to have a break after lot 450.
A DIFFICULT START
We started the day with the internet not working properly. We were able to connect using Wifi, but our card reader requires a cable connection to function properly. Nevertheless, the auction got underway on time, and there were some notable successes early in the auction, especially the militaria.
As well as imaging pretty well all of the posters I had described most of them, so it was with interest but little expectation that following a short lunch break that I awaited the outcome of this part of the sale. A few posters sold well, but the majority did not. Slightly frustratingly in the circumstances with so much not finding buyers all four of the railway themed posters I had been considering went way beyond my price range. Here are the fab four in question:
The auction done, it was time to load the van back up. This task accomplished I was able to go my own way (the van would be unloaded the following morning, so I would not be needed in Fakenham). I had just enough time before the last bus I could catch home using my dayrider plus to make a trip to the library worthwhile. I got home 13 hours after setting out.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Fortunately enough good things happened during lots 1-450 to more than cover the disappointing outcome of the poster sale, and it was overall a very good sale.
How does this poster connect to the Museum of London? To find out follow the link below.
AN AUTISM RELATED PIECE ON WWW.INDEPENDENT.CO.UK
This story is about a 4 year old boy who was hospitalised after being fed a ‘holistic cure’ for autism on the advice of someone describing themselves as a ‘naturopath’. The notion of any sort of ‘cure’ for autism is of course offensive nonsense. Equally, the idea that a ‘naturopath’ should be entitled to prescribe remedies for anything should probably be considered offensive nonsense. The combination of one person’s belief in the offensive nonsense of a ‘cure’ for autism and one person’s cynical willingness to exploit this gullibility created a situation that was very dangerous for an innocent child. The full piece can be viewed here.
SAJID AND THE FRACKERS
Some of you will know that the Dishonourable Sajid Javid has recently made a decision to ignore the will of a community and give Cuadrilla the go ahead to frack there in defiance of clearly expressed local wishes. Mr Javid receives big money from fracking companies and as such should have had the decency to admit to a conflict of interest and say that this was a decision that he could not be involved in making, but of course Tory and decency do not go together, and so unsurprisingly he made a decision in favour of his rich mates and against the community and against the environment. I end this section by linking to a piece that details the environmental impact of fracking.
I am presenting this pictures in two tranches, starting with the general…
I bring this post to a finish with some pictures of the new £5 note, which before I got this one in change I had not seen in the flesh…
An account of james and Sons’ September auction, with a spotlight on the October auction.
James and Sons’ September auction took place this Wednesday at Fakenham Racecourse, while apart from on that day my recent work has mainly been focussed on the October auction (Wednesday 26th, Maids Head Hotel, Norwich.
THE SEPTEMBER AUCTION
I was not involved with setting this auction up on the Tuesday due to having other work to do back at base, but I did make a flying visit to the racecourse that day to resolve some queries that people had raised at the last minute about auction items (one potential customer wanted an image that had been missed and another wanted a detailed condition report on pair of vintage spectacles – the fact that both items sold to the customers who had made the inquiries was final proof that their queries had been resolved). That just left…
THE DAY OF THE AUCTION
My work day did not get off to the best of starts, because I fell victim to a recent timetable change and arrived at the racecourse a little later than I would have liked (I now have a copy of the timetable that will come into force from this Sunday). Fortunately there were no serious issues with the IT, and the auction started on time.
With the auctioneer needing regular breaks from the rostrum, and the only person capable of substituting for him being also the only person who could substitute for my role on the rostrum I was at my post while the first 650 lots went under the hammer, finally getting to consume my sandwiches at 2:20PM, before resuming my post for the last 50 or so lots (the auction ended at lot 781). This, combined with the heavy lifting work at the end, made for an exhausting and stressful day.
THE TALE OF THE HAMMER
The auction began with banknotes and coins, which fared pretty well overall. Then there were a large number of stamp lots, which predictably enough did not attract huge attention (www.the-saleroom.com while good for many things are poor on stamps, and there were not many people there in the room). After that there were a variety of different items, some of which sold well. In among the medley of items in this middle and latter part of the auction was lot 461, four decorative plates produced by Coalport, all in their original boxes with paperwork. This might not sound like the kind of lot to catch the photographer’s eye, but the the images below may provide some explanation…
My opening bid of £12 proved sufficient to secure the items (I had prepared for the possibility of success by bringing a stout, empty, fabric bag with me to transport them).
The auction ended with some ‘Bradbury’ stamp pages, which may as well not have gone under the hammer at all since by then there was no one left in the room save staff.
Overall it was a successful sale.
THE CLEAR UP
While two of my colleagues took a few items to our storage unit near the village of Syderstone (principally the rostrum and the stools that we sit on behind it) I moved as much stuff as I could (almost all of it) over to the door so that it could be loaded straight on to the van once they were back. The van duly loaded it was time to head back into town, and thanks to my colleague dropping me on Oak Street I was just able to catch the 16:38 bus home. The bus to work yesterday morning was 20 minutes late leaving King’s Lynn, so by the time I arrived there were a mere five boxes of stuff left to carry in to the building, a task I accomplished in not much more time than it took the kettle to boil for my coffee.
SPOTLIGHT ON OCTOBER
Wednesday apart, since September 15 I have been engaged on a major project at work – describing and imaging a vast number of posters – a task that is not quite finished, but which is responsible for almost 250 lots so far. The first 230 or so of these lots were film posters, ranging in size from a colossal 40 inches by 30 to 16.5 inches by 16.5. Here are a few examples…
Yesterday, after a few more film posters I finally got some variety…
An account of today at work, featuring the creation of a poster, a laminated copy of which is on display in our shop window at 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham, NR21 9AF
Today as well as producing the poster which forms the first part of the title I did some more postal history imaging and imaged a couple of lots for a small militaria sale in which i have otherwise had no involvement. Also, I assembled a metal detector for display in the shop.
ASSEMBLING THE POSTER
The purpose of this poster was to advertise the hats and helmets I blogged about yesterday. This required selecting the images which would work best, getting brief descriptions of the items chosen to feature and fitting the whole together in a visually appealing way. The three images I selected were:
I went for the white helmet to provide a contrast withe dark colour of the other two. Putting these together with the descriptions and appropriate top and tail pieces gave this final product:
The title of this post comes from the title of Piers Connor’s history of the District Line, which is getting the aspiblog treatment this week…
As with that of it’s second youngest, the Victoria, almost precisely a century later, London’s second oldest underground line’s initial opening occurred in three phases between 1868 and 1871. After the third and final phase of opening the Metropolitan District Railway (as it was officially called at that time) looked like this:
A running theme of these early years were squabbles between the District and the Metropolitan over the completion of The Inner Circle (now the Circle line) and who could run their trains where. In the 1870s the District started producing maps for the benefit of their passengers, as these pictures show…
I do not know what these very early maps looked like, but here is a picture of my facsimile of a pre-Beck geographical map…
The Richmond and Wimbledon branches were both opened during the 1870s, followed by branches to Hounslow (the origin of the Heathrow branch of today’s Piccadilly line), Uxbridge (again handed over to the Piccadilly in the 1930s) and between 1883 and 1885, before being pared back to Ealing Broadway, Windsor (more on this later). The current eastern terminus of Upminster was reached (by a grant of running powers rather than new build) in 1902, and for a brief period as this reproduction postcard shows occasional District line trains ran to Southend and Shoeburyness…
Additionally, a branch to Kensington Olympia was created, which linked to a corresponding branch south from whatt is now the Hammersmith and City. Also, sometimes services ran from the district line north of Olympia to Willesden Junction. Additionally, there was a spur to South Acton and even briefly a terminus specifically to serve Hounslow Barracks.
In the 1930s a lot of the western services (Hounslow and Uxbridge specifically) were transferred to the Piccadilly line, while the Hounslow Barracks service ceased to exist, and the South Acton spur was abandoned.
Nevertheless, with main western termini at Wimbledon, Richmond and Ealing, and a cross branch serving Wimbledon, Edgware Road and Kensington Olympia the District remains a very complicated line.
Although I leave the eastern end of the line unchanged, my suggestions for the District involve some very dramatic changes. My plans for the Wimbledon, Edgware Road and Olympia branches will form the subject of a later post, and for the moment I will settle for saying that these branches would cease to form part of the District line, and that as with my changes involving branches that would remain part of the District line the plans involve making use of a feature that might otherwise be problematic (see The Great Anomaly), the fact that being one the older lines, this line was built to mainline specifications. Although my plans for the Richmond and Ealing branches are big, they involve only a small amount of new track – enough to link the lines that serve Windsor and Eton Riverside and Windsor and Eton Central forming a giant loop at the western end of the line. This loop would link with my suggested London Orbital Railway at Staines and at West Drayton. Thus in place of the current fiendishly complex District Line there would be ‘horizontal frying pan’ line, with Upminster to Turnham Green serving as the handle in this model. It would also make possible a reissue with appropriate modifications of this old poster…
A GUIDED TOUR OF THE PRESENT-DAY DISTRICT LINE
From Richmond to Gunnersbury the District and London Overground share a route, which features one of only two above-ground crossings of the Thames on the entire network (the other is Putney Bridge – East Putney on the Wimbledon branch of the District). Richmond features a deer park, as advertised on this old poster…
Kew Gardens actually has a pub that is built into the station, and serves a world famous botanic garden…
Gunnersbury is not very significant, although the flying junction that this branch forms with the rest of the District line just beyond here and just before Turnham Green is very impressive, to the extent that it too has featured in a PR campaign back in the day…
The section from Ealing Broadway to Acton Town includes a depot which features the steepest gradient on the system at 1 in 28 (passengers are not carried over this gradient – the steepest passenger carrying gradient is 1 in 32). At Ealing Common the District and Piccadilly lines converge, not to diverge again until the Piccadilly goes underground just east of Barons Court and even then, the Piccadilly follows the District at a deeper level until South Kensington. Between Acton Town and Turnham Green the District calls at Chiswick Park. After Turnham Green the District has stations at Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park. From the latter the remains of the viaduct that once carried trains from what is now the Hammersmith and City lines onto these tracks can still be seen. Beyond Hammersmith and Barons Court the District calls at West Kensington before arrving at the grand meeting point of Earls Court. Immediately east of Earls Court is Gloucester Road (pronounced glos-ta not glue-cess-ta – Americans please note), which at platform level has been restored to something like it would have looked in 1868, while the frontage at surface level is as nearly restored as the creation of a new shopping centre permits…
One stop further east at South Kensington is an original shopping arcade of the sort that several stations were provided with back in the day, complete with some splendid decorative ironwork (pictures photographed from London underground: The Official Handbook…)
One stop on from South Kensington is Sloane Square, which I remember from growing up in London is the station that served Peter Jones (a huge department store). Also, a large pipe above the platforms here is the only routinely visible sign of the river Westbourne (for more detail click here). From Sloane Square, the line visits Victoria (the ultimate transport hub). We are about enter a section of the journey featuring a lot of landmarks, so I will be giving each station I cover a section heading, starting with…
ST JAMES PARK
This station is the local station for London Underground’s official headquarters, located at 55 Broadway. It is also, along with Temple and Mansion House one only three stations on this section if the district to be served only by the district and circle lines.
The local station for the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (officially the Collegiate Church of St Peter). The Abbey was originally founded by Edward the Confessor, who reigned from 1042-1066. While many look askance at the amounts of money trousered by folks in the House of Commons these people are at least elected, whereas in the House of Lords large sums of money go to people who are not elected, some of whom barely bother to attend and the vast majority of whom have demonstrated time and again that they are a waste of space. Even Baron Kinnock of Bedwelty, who has personally profited hugely from the existence of the House of Lords reckons that it is ripe for abolition. Since the opening of the warped (I will not dignify it with the word modified) Jubilee line extension in 1999 there has been an interchange here.
The station that has been through more name changes than any other on the system (people couldn’t decide whether Charing Cross, Embankment or both should be emphasised). The issue was put to bed for good in 1979 when the Jubilee opened, and its Charing Cross terminus created interchanges with what had previously been separate stations, Trafalgar Square on the Bakerloo line and Strand on the Northern, which meant that with Charing Cross definitively settled on for the marginally more northerly of the stations, this one had to be plain Embankment. The Embankment from which this station takes its name was designed as part of the building of this line by Joseph William Bazalgette, who also designed London’s sewer system. His great-great grandson Peter is a well known TV producer with some good series to his credit and Big Brother to his debit. This, photographed from the Piers Connor book is a diagram of the profile of the Embankment…
This is the only station name to feature both on London Underground and the Paris Metro (it also features on the Hong Kong network). In the days before the Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly line was axed there was an interchange here, as Temple is very close to Aldwych.
A station which derives its name from the Dominicans, who were referred to as black friars because of the colour of their habits. There is an interchange with both Thameslink and South Eastern here. Also, it is one end point of short scenic walk, which takes in a bridge over the Thames, Gabriel’s Wharf, The Oxo Tower, the Bernie Spain Gardens and the vast collection of attractions that between them constitute The South Bank, finally ending at Waterloo. Also if you go East instead of West after crossing the river you can take in the ruins of Winchester Palace (the former London residence of the Bishop of Winchester) and Clink Street, once home to a prison so notorious that ‘clink’ became slang for prison, a building that now houses London Dungeon, ending at London Bridge (you could continue yet further east – to Greenwich or even Woolwich were you feeling strong). I have done Waterloo – London Bridge and also Greenwich-London Bridge, and indeed Woolwich-Greenwich, so all these indvidual stretches are comfortably manageable. Also in this part of the world is Sainsbury’s main post-room where I once temped for a week (giving the agency feedback I took the opportunity to make it clear that I would not take any more work in that particular establishment – it was hell).
This name is either contradictory (a mansion is different from a house, being much larger) or tautologous (a mansion in a kind of large house) depending on your definitions. From 1871-1884 it was the eastern end of the District. The building after which the station is named is “the home and office of the Lord Mayor of the city of London” – an office filled four times by Richard Whittington (for once the story underplayed the the truth) in the fourteenth century.
A mainline rail terminus, albeit not a very significant one.
I mentioned this station in my post about the Central line because it is connected to the various lines that serve by Bank by means of escalators. This interchange was first created in 1933, but the current arrangement dates only from the opening of the Docklands Light Railway terminus at Bank.
At Aldgate East the Hammersmtih and City line joins the District and they run together as far as Barking. In between Aldgate East and Whitechapel there used be a line connecting to Shadwell (formerly East London Line, now London Overground). Whitechapel has been in the news recently because a museum that was given planning permission on the basis of being dedicated to the women of the East End turned out when it opened to be dedicated to Jack the Ripper. This has been the subject of a vigorous 38Degrees campaign seeking both to get the monstrosity closed and to establish a proper East End Womens Museum. Some of those involved in the campaign met with the mayor of Tower Hamlets recently, and he has apparently been sympathetic and has confirmed that he too is unhappy with the way the planning process was subverted by an act of calculated dishonesty. Beyond Whitechapel, the line has an interchange with the Central line at Mile End which is unique for an interchange between ‘tube’ and ‘subsurface’ lines in being cross-platform and underground, Bow Road, which has an interchange with the Docklands Light Railway station at Bow Church is the last station on the line to be in tunnel. East of Bow Road the line rises on a 1 in 45 gradient to emerge into the open some way before Bromley-by-Bow. West Ham is nowadays a major interchange, featuring mainline railways, the Jubilee line, the Docklands Light Railway (this section which runs from Stratford to Woolwich was once part of the line that became the nucleus of London Overground, which originally ran from Richmond to North Woolwich, but now terminates at Stratford) and of course the District and Hammersmith & City lines. The main line railway runs side by side with the District to Upminster, and then continues to Southend and Shoeburyness. Upton Park is until 2017, when the club in question move to the Olympic Stadium, the local station for West Ham United’s home ground. Barking in the eastern limit of the Hammersmith & City, also the terminus of London Overground branch from Gospel Oak and an interchange with mainline railways. Upminster is the easternmost destination currently served by London Underground.
EDGWARE ROAD, OLYMPIA AND WIMBLEDON
For this section I will be reverting to individual headings for station names…
A four platform station, where the Hammersmith & City line and the District and Circle lines meet (do not be fooled by the fact that both have stations called Paddington). This is the only one of the original 1863 stations to be served by District line trains.
PADDINGTON (PRAED STREET)
Why have I given this station a suffix that does not feature in it’s current title? Because the current plain “Paddington” designation is misleading – although the interchange to the Bakerloo line’s Paddington is a sensible one to have, you do far better for the mainline station and Hammersmith & City line to go on one stop to Edgware Road, make a quick cross-platform change to the Hammersmith & City and arrive at platforms that are structurally part of the mainline railway station (the two extra stops – one in each direction – plus a cross platform interchange taking less long between them than the official interchange up to the mainline station from here. Therefore to avoid misleading people the title of this station should either by given a suffix or changed completely, and the only interchange that should be shown is that with the Bakerloo. I have previously given Paddington a full post to itself, but failed to make the foregoing points with anything approaching sufficient force.
This station is on the north side of Hyde Park, and like the two on either side of it still has the same style of roof over the platforms as when it opened – a style now not seen anywhere else on the system.
This is the point at which this branch of the District diverges from the Circle line. The District branch continues south to the “Crewe of the Underground”, Earls Court, while the circle goes round to Gloucester Road (this section of track features in the Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans, being the point at which the body of Arthur Cadogan West was fed through a rear window of a flat occupied by one Hugo Oberstein onto the roof of a conveniently stationary train, where it remained until being shaken off at Aldgate. Mycroft Holmes was sufficiently discombobulated by the case to change his routine (a thing so rare that his brother the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes likened it to seeing a tram car in a country lane) and pay a visit to Baker Street to seek assistance.
Trains to all manner of destinations pass through this station, but for the District it is a mere side branch..
An interchange with a London Overground branch. This station is fully open to the elements, as are all the others we have still to pass through.
The local station for Chelsea FC’s home ground, Stamford Bridge.
This would become a District line terminus, with an interchange to the new Hackney-Chelsea line, under official plans. In my personal ideas for the future it would be an interchange point but no terminus.
The local station for Fulham FC’s home ground, Craven Cottage. This would also be the best station to travel to if you wished to catch the Boat Race, second oldest of all the inter-university sporting contests.
The oldest of all the inter-university sporting contests is the Varsity Cricket Match, first played in 1827, two years before the first Boat Race took place.
This station is the first of a section that used to be mainline railway.
Another stop with a sporting connection – this is the local station for the world’s most famous tennis championship – Wimbledon. Although I have already given this station a full post, I show this picture again…
The second to last stop on our journey.
As we approach this station, we first join up with the mainline services from Waterloo coming in from Earlsfield, and then with Thameslink services coming in from Haydons Road. Wimbledon is also one terminus of the London Tram system. Along the north side of the tracks as one approaches Wimbledon runs Alexandra Road, and we pass underneath a bridge carrying Gap Road across the tracks to a junction.
ODDS AND ENDS
I have a few promotional pictures still to share, and some maps to round out this post. Other than that, I hope you enjoyed the ride…