The London fences made from stretchers

A piece of history

Stephen Liddell

Famously many of the iron and steel railings in the U.K. were removed and melted down to help the war effort in WW2.  Whether a large city park or a private residence, chances are if there was a traditional style railing or gate then it would have been melted down and recycled into things like Spitfires, guns, ships or tanks.

These old iron railings were very expensive to replace and both money and metal were scarce commodities in the 1940s and 50s.  However, life moved on and people needed new fencing, particularly in the social housing estates in East and South London that were sprouting from the ashes to house the homeless and refugees.

As it happened, there just happened to be a ready to hand and free replacement, ARP stretchers.  These stretchers were originally made so that Air Raid Protection officers could carry injured people during bombing attacks in…

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A walk along the Grand Union Canal

Stephen Liddell

It’s been a very warm and sunny Bank Holiday weekend in London and I managed to wangle it so that I didn’t spend every minute of it working.  During a few hours of spare time I decided to go on a 9 mile (15km) circular walk, the majority of which was through parkland and along a short strectch of the Grand Union Canal.

I took around 40 photos but here are just a few so you can a little of what it is like.

The first photo below is of The Grove, a luxory hotel just outside of London.  It is frequently used by international stars who want to get away from the cameras.   For a thousand years, main Grove estate was the residency for an aristocratic family.  Even in the Victorian time they remained very powerful, so much so that they refused to allow railways to be visible from…

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The Cavell Van

Pete's Favourite Things

Van 132, known as the Cavell Van was built in 1919 as a luggage van to run on passenger services on the Chatham and South-Eastern Railway. Within a few weeks of service, it was selected to convey the body of Edith Cavell, a nurse who was working in Brussels at the outbreak of World War I. When the Germans captured Brussels Cavell and a few colleagues were allowed to remain. She became involved in the underground resistance and played an important part in the escape network for British servicemen trapped in Belgium. She was arrested in August 1915 and tried by a German military court. She and 4 others were executed by firing squad on October 12th. In 1919 it was decided that her body should be brought back to the UK and buried in Norwich Cathedral and van 132 played its part by carrying her coffin from Dover to Victoria on 13th-14th…

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Beds ‘n’ Buck at Leighton Buzzard Railway

Steve's 009 and 09 Adventure

The boys from the Beds and Buck Narrow Gauge Modellers put on an exhibition at the Leighton Buzzard Railway today. Pages Park station was a great venue, there were lots of layouts and the visitors (young and old) were really interested in the displays.

Pride of place, right opposite the enterance, with a welcoming smile went to John Rees and his Old Oak layout. Everytime I see his layout John has done more work on it. John has added grass and sheep. All good layouts have sheep on them!

David Gander brought Green End which featured the ‘Narrow Gauge is Fun’ sign you see at the beginning of the blog. David mentioned this was the last time Green End will be exhibited. I think I’ve heard that before, but I was worried it might be true so I asked if I could operate. David kindly let me. It’s a nice…

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Fish n Chips on the Bluebell

Friday night saw a ride on the Bluebell and a Fish n Chip supper  organised by my friends at Croydon MRS who kindly invited me along.

Hauled by the O1 a very enjoyable trundle up and down the line. Unfortunately could not indulge in the ale as was driving (maybe a half go on then). Thanks to Ray Butler, Hon Sec for the invite.


Gone in a puff of smoke: Barwell’s office becomes vape shop


Inside Croydon

It was often accused of being the source of an inordinate amount of hot air and noxious gas, so it is perhaps in some way fitting that now, less than three months after Gavin Barwell was kicked out of Parliament by the voters of Croydon Central, his constituency office is being turned into a vape shop.

The shop front on Wickham Road, being transformed from Barwell’s constituency office to something far more useful

Some might see this development as a metaphor for the career of Barwell, who in a puff of smoke after his election defeat re-appeared in Downing Street as the Chief of Staff to the interim Prime Minister.

It is certainly a bit of a come down for Croydon’s Tories.

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