Thursday, 23 November 2017

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Walking the waterways (16) : Wednesbury Old Canal

The Wednesbury Old Canal is part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations and links the Walsall and Birmingham Main Line Canals. The canal was opened as part of the original Birmingham Canal in 1769. Later canal building replaced part of its stretch especially where it met the later Birmingham New Main Line.

Like most canals the Wednesbury Old Canal went into decline in the 20th century and was considered abandoned in the 1950s. The Ridgacre Branch and the canal from Swan Bridge Junction to the original termination point at Balls Hill Basin are no longer accessible to boats have due to a new road bridge which left insufficient headroom for boats. However the canal is still navigable for over a mile between Pudding Green and Ryder's Green Junctions (and a little beyond the latter).

Monday, 20 November 2017

40 years of the Xerox Alto

Just over 40 years ago the Xerox Alto computer was publically unveiled. Why is this important? Well this computer system basically revealed the future (and thus our present). A Windowing interface? Bit mapped display? Copy and paste? All these things and more, part of everyday computing now but in 1977 it was alchemy.

This article covers the 40th birthday celebrations of the Alto including live demos of restored Alto hardware. The Alto actually came out in 1973 though it took Xerox a few years to decide to try and commercialise the world beating technology being developed at PARC. However as everyone knows it fell to outsiders (especially Apple and Microsoft) to truly recognise the potential of what was being developed there (though not slavishly copy as some alledge) and not the Xerox executives and the rest is history.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Wood End

Today i headed up to Wood End in Warwickshire, first of all i need to narrow it down as there are no shortage of "Wood End"s in the country, there are 4 in Warwickshire alone! The one i went to is near Stratford-upon-Avon and is the one with a railway station, also called Wood End! The station is a request stop and is the fourth and final request stop on the Shakspeare Line for me to visit.

There isn't a huge amount around the station, apart from some rather large houses. It obviously is where the money is. Unfortunately it was a rather damp morning but i still got some decent photos. You can see them here.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Sankey Canal in St Helens

The Sankey Canal was opened in the mid-1700s to transport coal from the Lancashire coal mines connecting St Helens to the river Mersey. Like all canals the Sankey went into decline in the 20th century and was abandoned in 1963. Since then there have been efforts to restore it though as yet very little of the canal is navigable. In St Helens the remains of the canal are watered in a number of places though cut off from the rest of the canal. You can see my photos taken along part of the Sankey Canal here (and some in the town itself).