Archive for July, 2016

Snigs End

July 31, 2016

Snigs End was a Chartist community. The chartists sought better conditions and rights for working class people in the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign. A few communities of simple houses with land to support a family were built and one is called Stigs End which is at Corse in Gloucestershire.

I put this page together after we visited in 2008.

The museum in Corse church had told us that bungalows had been built to suit the incomers who hoped to be happy working on the land. The bungalows may seem small and simple but by 1847 slum standards they were mansions.



The houses were laid out for smallholders with more space for animals and storage than for mere living.


These former Chartist homes still exist.


image008They have been modernised, but the basic structure remains the same. The area name of Snigs End is remembered as well.


There really were quite a lot of these bungalows built.


This was a fascinating insight into a failed scheme for us. We certainly enjoyed taking it in.

Back home, an extra interest cropped up for I found, on, a list of the original holders of sites at the Snigs End Chartist colony.

Snigs End Land allocated in June 1848
Two acres Three acres Four acres
Emma Andrews, Banbury
S.Whalley, Manchester
J.Holt, Manchester
J.Hudson, Leicester
J.Carter. Upton-on-Severn
C.Frith, Greenwich
W.Curtis, London
W.Peckitt, office list
C.Jay, Hull
R.Wilson, Walsoken
C.Firth, office list
J.Harmer, office list
J.Smith, Birmingham
S.Needham, Derby
T.Sutton, office list
J.Langley, Norwich
F.Staples, J.Staples – family ticket, office list
J.Teague, Bilston
Mary Clarkson, Addingham
I.Goodhall, Market Lavington
W.Gray, Market Lavington

C.Buddecombe, Southampton
E.Edesbury, office list
W.Dart, Exeter
T.Hope, Ledbury
T.Ashman, Mells
R.Heppenstall, Hull
R.Bains, Newcastle-on-Tyne
J.West, office list
J.Robertson, Stalybridge
R.Halsale, Chorley
R.Daniels, office
D.O’Brien, Alva
J.Kay, T.Buckby – family ticket, Ashton-under-Lyne
J.Watson, Dewsbury
J.Buswell, Banbury
A.Cleland, Glasgow
G.Close, Nottingham
T.Saville, Halifax
R.Winter, Hull
H.Oliver, Newport Pagnall
Matthew Brown, office list
Donal Robinson, Edinburgh
W.Gent, Wellingborough
Doyle, O’Connorville
Baker, Birmingham
G.Wheeler, Reading
Cornwall, Bradford
Rawson, Manchester
Smith, London
Kindell, Bradford
W.Colston, Derby
J.Wakeman, Torquay
T.Newson, Dewsbury
D.Powell, Merthyr Tydfil
J.Brand, Sleaford
J.Rice, Bradford
T.Franklin, Limehouse
J.Kinross, A.Kinross – family ticket, Alva
J.Lawton, Retford
J.Simpson, Esther Hunt – family ticket, Manchester
R.Jarvis, office list
J.Smith, Rouen, France
E.Gee, Wigan
W.James, Merthyr Tydfil
J.Miller, Newton Abbot
J.Carew, Manchester
J.Ramsey, Glasgow
W.Jarrett, office list
T.Launchbury, Kidderminster

So two of the land holders, successful in the ballot for a plot at Snigs End (highlighted) came from my home village.


Devil’s Dyke

July 30, 2016


On our way to a holiday in Suffolk we chanced upon Devil’s Dyke, which to most – certainly to me –  would be on the South Downs, near Brighton.


This Devil’s Dyke is a 12 kilometre long defensive barrier – separating the Saxons in the east from Britons and other folks (Romano British) further west. It is a massive man-made ditch. It is in Cambridgeshire. Explanation boards told us something about it.

 image002  image003


Here’s a first view on the east side where only the dyke or spoil heap, and not the ditch can be seen. – and an aerial one from the sign board. This shows the long line of the dyke.



It really is a massive earthwork.




A couple of walkers pose on the Devil’s Dyke


Cowslips grew on the dyke.


There was a view back under the pylon lines to the two windmills at Swaffham Prior.


A third mill, as well as a big church, could be seen in the opposite direction at Burwell.

A Bakelite plug

July 29, 2016

Most folks wouldn’t think of an electric plug as being interesting but this archaeological find certainly pleases me.


This might look ordinary enough except that its past ‘in the soil’ life means that mud is spilling out of it. It was clearly made by MK – still in business but it is made of elegant brown Bakelite. I see similar plugs described as art deco in style.


Here we can see that the three pins are round. This was a large size plug rated at 15 amps. Once upon a time houses had different sockets for different purposes and smaller 5 amp plugs and sockets were available and even smaller 2 amp systems as well.

A third photo shows the typical brown Bakelite best.


We can see the three pins are labelled L(ive), N(eutral) and E(arth). The grip screws are labelled as well. Back in the day we were expected to be able to put our own plugs on appliances. They were often sold with bare wire ends with the good excuse that they, the manufacturers, didn’t know what style of plug you’d want.

15 years ago

July 28, 2016

A few days ago I looked back ten years. Today I’m looking back 15 to 28th July 2001. It was the day of a stunning sunset.


This was taken at the front of my house. I found the important thing was to use spot metering for light levels rather than averaged metering. Point the centre of the frame at a suitable bit of sky and half press the shutter. With it half held compose the picture you want to take.

This blacks out the land and gives us a nice silhouette of the shapes at the bottom. I could wish there wasn’t a double telegraph pole – but it is there. Yes I could clone it out very easily but on the whole I take what I can see. Personally, I think the end result is stunning.

By the way, my camera in 2001 was a pretty basic affair. The best assize was 1.3 megapixels – tiny by present day standards but it seemed to take good photos for which I don’t claim credit. I’m a recorder with a camera rather than an artist.

Up in the air

July 27, 2016

I have remarkably little flying experience. Flying to places just hasn’t fitted our life style which has favoured the car and, when needed, ferries. In fact I have only left the surface on one occasion and that was in a glider. There was (maybe still is) a gliding club at Upavon. On occasions they’d have a party of people who’d pay for a couple of brief flights in a two seater. It raised money for the gliding club and gave the group an experience. The team of staff I worked with did this once – one of my colleagues was a member of the club.

The Upavon club flew from the old airstrip situated on Salisbury Plain so the photos I took – on the little Canon Demi = were of that area. The view was good for the passenger gets the front seat.


This looks down onto the airstrip buildings


Another view of the area which is no longer RAF Upavon but is an army place called Trenchard Lines.

And this must be a part of Upavon Village. The River Avon, which this village is ‘Up’ can be seen.


I can recommend gliding. It was a wonderful experience to float slowly and noiselessly above the world. This must have been more than 30 years ago now.

The village Pump

July 26, 2016

This is an example of me liking simple mechanical devices. There are people who think I’m a computer expert but frankly I’m not. I’m as good as the next person at shutting a computer down and restarting it if it isn’t behaving properly. It usually sorts things out. Back in the 1980s I earned money writing programs and articles for magazines and even appeared on technical help desks at shows. But we are talking about more than thirty years ago and maybe back then I did have expertise.

But my preference has always been for simple mechanical things for I reckon I reasonably fully understand how they work. I like pumps – those village pumps that folks used to have to use to get their water. This one, with me alongside, is actually in Brittany at a lovely place called Camaret.


I suspect this is a lift pump. Your job in pushing the lever down was to reduce the air pressure above the water. Normal air pressure pushed the water up into the space and out of the spout. Such pumps could lift water from a depth of about thirty feet.

It isn’t the prettiest of pumps but it goes to show that I had these interests more than forty years ago for this was in 1974.

Kew in summer

July 25, 2016

This is another image advising us of the wonderful sights at Kew Gardens. And please get there by Underground!


This is a July calendar picture and it features water lilies. It was from an original painted by Wilfrid René Wood in 1926.

Now I’m quite fond of lilies – water or otherwise so here are some from my garden and elsewhere.image004Water lilies in 1998



A garden lily from 1999 – all early digital photos in my garden.

And how about a lily at Kew – my most recent visit in 2014.


Ten Years ago

July 24, 2016

24th July 2006

This may look like a scene from the 1950s but it isn’t. It is perfectly possible that I could take photos of a similar scene today. We have fairly local farmers who grow long straw wheats for thatching. Combine harvesters trash straw so harvesting is in 1950s style with a tractor hauled binder (correctly a reaper binder). The cut wheat is ‘stooked’ up to dry and later a threshing machine is used to remove the grain from the ears. The straw is fed to a reed comber which makes up neat bundles of straw for the thatcher to use.

I didn’t see any of the mechanical processes on this day – but stooks of corn just look lovely anyway.



The binder has left neat rows of sheaves on the ground. It needs a team of workers to erect the stooks.


And there they were, away in the distance. It’s a labour intensive business.



Doesn’t it look grand? Maybe it would loom more 1950s if we converted it to monochrome.


For the record, what I saw operating that day was a combine!


A woodpecker in the roses

July 23, 2016

I love the woodpeckers – and indeed the other birds that visit our garden. But woodpeckers, both green and spotted are special if not uncommon. We are accustomed to the green peckers getting down to business on our lawn, picking ants out of it. We are accustomed to them on tree trunks, telegraph poles or fence posts – just hanging out. But I was surprised by this one which perched in a rose climbing over a pergola.


The astute might recognise that this is not just rose. There is a grapevine as well.

What a marvellous scene and once again I can talk of my luck in being able to sit at our meal table watching this kind of thing.

I had a camera to hand because a few minutes earlier a red kite – not yet a common sight here = had flown over. By the time I had my camera it was gone and as yet I haven’t seen it again. But the camera was there for our woodpecker friend.

Cooper’s Marmalade

July 22, 2016

Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade was ‘invented’ by Sarah Cooper in 1874. It proved popular and became the main item produced by Frank Cooper in Oxford. It was sold in very lovely stoneware jars and we have one.


We can see the marmalade is claimed as ‘homemade’ and had a royal appointment badge.

I can’t date this jar. I guess at early 20th century but that is, as stated, a guess. If you know better then let me know.

The jar maker has impressed his name in the base.


The manufacturer was Maling of Newcastle.

Any further information will be gratefully received.

Please note that I do not buy or sell items like this. They just form part of my personal history.