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George Cross

Part Time Spotter

No, not the brother of Gerrards Cross.

Wiki tells us “The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded “for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger”, not in the presence of the enemy, to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians.

These are recipients of the GC realted to the railways in Britain.

John Axon GC (4 December 1900 – 9 February 1957).
Born in in Stockport, John was a driver for British Railways and on the day in question John was working a freight train from from Stockport to Buxton in Derbyshire. The train was formed of an ex-LMS Stanier Class 8F consisting of over 30 wagons and a brake van. He has discovered a leaking brake en route to Buxton where a fitter attended…

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Riches-to-rags-to-riches tale of South Croydon publican

Inside Croydon

The redemptive quality of rags to riches tales never fails to fascinate and inspire. In the case of Austin “John” Whelan, though, his story goes around a full circle again – from rags to riches to rags, and then back to riches – as he admits that after working hard through his 20s to “have it all”, he “fucked up, made wrong decisions wrong judgements, I didn’t have any respect for myself so I didn’t have any for other people either”.

Bad company: apparently, they will serve anyone at least one pint in Whelans pubs, even the local MP…

Only a rare moment of clarity – at 3am on a New Year’s morning, as it happens – helped Whelan realise what he needed to do to turn things around.

This week, Whelan announced ambitious plans to spend £400,000 on the disused South Croydon pub The Baskerville, and transform it…

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Canterbury Cathedral:- The murder and martyrdom of Thomas Becket

Stephen Liddell

Recently on the 29th December, a remembrance service was held in Canterbury Cathedral. The service is held every year as it has been for centuries, in memory of one of most dramatic and tragic figures of early Medieval English history, Thomas Becket.

Canterbury Cathedral Home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Head of the Anglican Church

The death of Thomas Becket. is one of the most dramatic and well-known moments of English history of this period and whereas I have previously written about The Magna Carta which occurred a few decades later, this is definitely a highlight, in name only.

Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury did at one time have very good relations with King Henry II of England and indeed even cared for his son for a time. However Henry II was a very ambitious and ruthless ruler. He wanted to increased the size of his kingdom by conquering much of…

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Thomas Harrison – Executed whilst cheerful!

How blood thirsty we once were

Stephen Liddell

Whilst walking around the City of London earlier this week, I came across a sign that I had seen several times before.  It had always made me smile, perhaps a little perversely given the circumstances but also as I admired the steadfastness of Major General Harrison… whoever he might have been.

Major General Harrison, Hung Drawn & QuarteredMajor General Harrison, Hung Drawn & Quartered

I’d always vowed to look up about Major Harrison but had always forgotten by the time I got home.  Apart from displaying the legendary British stiff-upper lip to perhaps unparralled levels, I realised I knew nothing at all about the man.  Now I know all about him, he seemed to be quite a gap in my knowledge!

General Thomas Harrison had played an incriminating role in the execution of King Charles I. After fighting at several major encounters in the English Civil War, he was entrusted with the military escort that brought…

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A six-point plan to enhance our precious, under-threat parks

A worthy cause

Inside Croydon

Lloyd Park caters for the full range of activities and interests in an open space

Conservationist PETER UNDERWOOD says that we need to support a Parks Charter to help guarantee the future of local open spaces

I love spending time in nature, and we are blessed with a large number and variety of parks and green spaces in Croydon. We all know that our local parks and green spaces are a vital part of our local area. They provide opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and they bring people together. Whether you are out for a run, walking the dog or just enjoying being out in nature, they are important in making us all feel happier and healthier.

But unfortunately we are also getting used to hearing complaints about how poorly managed our parks and green spaces are.

In Croydon, the council spent thousands of pounds to commission masterplans for improving our…

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I met perhaps the most famous tree in the world at Sycamore Gap

Stephen Liddell

If you think of how many trees are famous; there are quite a few of them but compared to the countless billions of trees on the planet they are really few and far between.  Some famous trees are no longer here such as the cherry tree that Abraham Lincoln cut down or the famous Californian Redwood tree that you could pass through until a storm brought it down in 2017.

Robin Hood and the Major OakRobin Hood and the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest.

Some trees are famous for the longevity and many of these trees with longevity have historical tie-ins such as the Burning Bush which I once saw in Egypt, the Glastonbury Thorn tree or the Major Oak tree in Sherwood forest where Robin Hood is said to have hid and I’ve been fortunate to see them all.

36669885_1080700455416612_678732294512443392_nThe moors of England and Scotland are being plagued by wildfires.

Last week however I…

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