Tuesday, 12 December 2017

More from the Essex album

A few more photographs from the 1920s family album i bought on a whim on eBay. As Clacton-on-Sea features in a number of the photographs i have made the assumption it was a family from Essex who once owned the album. It might not be of course, and if you recognise any of the photos let me know!

Farm animals feature in a number of photos including these lovely cows. This makes me think the album once belonged to a farming family. We need to be always wary of assumptions of course, it could easily be the family were city folk and the photographer just liked taking photographs in the countryside!

Assuming this lovely car belongs to the family then they probably were pretty well off.

This photograph is unfortunately uncaptioned but shows a wedding cake (another photograph shows the cake a bit more clearly).

Finally another photograph from Clacton-on-Sea, this shows the Venetian bridge and the pier behind it. Both are still extant.

Review of 2017 : May

If April was canal heavy May was railway super heavy! The month began with a couple of diesel galas at Chinnor (CPRR) and Wirksworth (EVR). Then i headed up to York to stay for a couple of nights so i could visit the National Railway Museum's two sites in York itself and also Shildon up in County Durham. I was also able to visit the iconic Darlington station and managed to squeeze in a short visit to Harrogate too.

Returning South there was no time to rest as i attended the SVR's diesel gala. One of the highlights of the year for sure. If that wasn't enough i also managed to fit in visits to Walsall and Buckinghamshire including Chesham - the furthest point of the tube map. Quite a well travelled month.

Song of the month was the slightly aptly named "long holiday" by Flyying Colours.
Harrogate station

Aboard a Northern Pacer, proper Pacer!

NRM York

SVR diesel gala



Saturday, 9 December 2017

Review of 2017 : April

After the rail heavy March the next month saw a number of visits to canal stretches for the first time. The Oxford Canal at Tackley canal was visited, the station is also interesting as it has a foot crossing over the line guarded only by a gate.

I also visited Ledbury for the first time and at the end of the month returned to the Oxford Canal, this time a stretch of it at Rugby, and visited the station too of course! I also returned to Ambergate to walk some more of the Cromford Canal.

Song of the month was "Noosphering" by The Ice Choir.
Enslow near Tackley


Rugby station

Canal aqueduct in Rugby


Stratford and a final trip on London Midland

I headed down to Stratford-upon-Avon today. I don't go as often as i used to but i think its still my fourth visit of the year which isn't bad. My main reason to go though was because i wanted a final trip on London Midland before it hands over to the new West Midlands Trains company tomorrow.

Now there is no need to get too mushy over the demise of London Midland, the same trains and staff will be operating tomorrow and it will take years to relivery all the trains. However it is a bit sad personally as when i returned to regular train travel first to go to Stratford for my frequent visits to the archives during my masters and then to work in Worcester for a few months it was with the company i travelled. So i'll miss them, even though really just the name has changed!

I didn't do a great deal in Stratford, just venture around the canal basin though its interesting that some work is taking place there. You can see my photos here.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Visicalc and the origin of spreadsheets

Spreadsheet programs are one of the major types of application on personal computers today, millions of people use the likes of Excel and Numbers daily. The first spreadsheet for a personal computer however was Visicalc which was written by Daniel Bricklin and Bob Frankston in the late 1970s. The program, released for the Apple II initially and other computers like the IBM PC later on, was an immediate success and is said to have kick started the idea of personal computers as things you could do work on instead of playing games or experimenting/developing.

Visicalc's time in the Sun was fairly short, after a few years it was eclipsed by Lotus 1-2-3 and in turn that was eclipsed by Excel but its place in computing history is safe.

An executable version of Visicalc for DOS (including DOSbox on the Mac) can be downloaded and works fine. Whats fascinating is how Visicalc defined so much of basic spreadsheet usage right at the start. Formulae like @SUM and @COUNT which i still use nowadays in Excel and Numbers were defined by Visicalc. Without fonts and formatting getting in the way its also rather quick to set up a spreadsheet in it too...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Review of 2017 : March

March can honestly be described as a massive month. It started normal enough with trips to Stafford and also along the Snow Hill lines. That was followed by my first trip to the Severn Valley Railway of the year to attend the Spring steam gala.

Then at the end of the month a 3 day trip to Guildford. I used the town as my base to visit Woking, taking in the Basingstoke Canal and the Mid-Hants Railway down in Alton. There was also a walk along the Wey Navigation in Guildford. Interestingly my trip down to Guildford was via Reading but back via London so took in some interesting railways. I really enjoyed my trip down to Guildford and hope to return soon, maybe in 2018.

If all that wasn't enough i also built the board for my new HO9 scale model railway (the paint was left to dry while i was off down in Surrey!)

Song of the month was "girlfriend" by Trevor Something.
Class 455 at Guildford

Wey Navigation, Guildford

Woking signalbox

Ropley, Hampshire

Basingstoke Canal, Woking

Sunday, 3 December 2017

An Essex album

Completely on a whim i bought, last year, "Vintage Photograph Album Containing 92 Black & White Pictures 1920s" off Ebay. The photos were interesting though completely baffling as there was no information included as to where the photographs had come from and whom they were of. Most of the photographs had no captions though a few did and as Clacton-on-Sea figures a few times in the album i am guessing the photos are of an Essex family in the 1920s. Of course they could be from somewhere else entirely and Clacton is just where they liked to go on holiday!

I'll scan a few photos and display them here over the next few weeks. They seemed a fairly affluent family as they seemed to have a car. Farm animals figure a few times so maybe a wealthy farming family?
We'll start with the pier in Clacton-on-Sea in 1924
Also included this rather lovely bridge over a river

This little one could still be alive perhaps though would be over 100 now!
I couldn't read this, at somewhere in 1922 anyway!

Review of 2017 : February

February is the shortest month and the weather wasn't that good but it was still a busy one. It began with a visit to Nuneaton, not far away but the first time i had been to the station since my Dad took me there in the days of British Rail! I also headed up to Lichfield to visit both stations.

Mid-month i made my first visit to London of the year and checked out the Grosvenor Canal (the last London canal i had yet to visit) and visited the railways in the South of London out of Cannon Street. Song of the month was Leitbur's "lost cosmonaut".
Cannon Street

Pimlico tube station

Grosvenor Canal, lock on the Thames

Most of the Grosvenor Canal in one photo!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Review of 2017 : January

The traditional review of the year, this year i have decided to do a month by month review because there is simply so much to fit in! The year's theme must surely be visiting new places and we made a start in 2017 with a trip to Bedford, the first of many rail adventures in 2017.

Later in the month were trips to Derby and to Stourbridge. Its been so long since i visited the latter it might as well be a new place! The Stourbridge Canal was a new waterway to me, the first of a number of new waterways i've visited this year. Song of the month was "designs in rhythm" by The Ice Choir.
Stourbridge Canal

Another view of the Stourbridge Canal

Class 700 at Bedford

Class 377 at Bedford