Saturday, 31 March 2012
This small locomotive is typical of a Victorian or Edwardian small tank engine, used for various duties on the British railway network - from shunting in yards, to hauling good trains, marshall larger passenger trains at main stations, or hauling suburban passenger services. This locomotive, number 87, was built in 1904 and is of the S56 type, nicknamed 'Buckjumpers' designed specifically for passenger work (when amalgamated into the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923 they were redesignated the J69, which they are better known as) for the Great Eastern Railway, one of 20 of the same class built in 1904 - for more information on the class, see this link to the superb LNER website - http://www.lner.info/locos/J/j67j69.shtml
This class of locomotives operated a highly intensive suburban passenger service out of London's Liverpool Street Station, hence the destination board on the front of the locomotive
Friday, 30 March 2012
In 1909, the Star Engineering Company, a Wolverhampton based car manufacturer, bought the Star Cycle Company, it's own parent company, who were making a range of low priced cars since 1905 under the Starling name. These low cost Starling cars were then discontinued, and replaced by cars made under the Briton name by the Briton Car Company, differentiating the name from the more prestigious Star name.
This 1914 built 10-12hp Briton 4 seat Tourer was restored by the Black Country Living Museum Vehicle Volunteer Group, who completed the restoration of this rare vehicle in July 2011. For more information on Briton cars, including a large number of period photographs and images of the Briton factory, see this superb webpage http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/Museum/Transport/Cars/Briton/Briton.htm
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
To cater for Ladies wearing skirts who wanted to enjoy motorcycle, Humber produced this 'Ladies Autocycle', using methods identical to those used in ladies bicycle construction to allow for their clothing - a drop frame allowed easier access and the facilitation of a skirt, and a clothes guard over the rear wheel and chain drive minimised the risk of clothing getting caught
Monday, 26 March 2012
Maps were, and still are, essential for aviators. In an open cockpit, with a confined sheltered space just enough for the legs, torso and arms of the pilot and occupants, opening a large map is not practical, and so one of the earliest navigational aids to early aviators was this, the roller map. A relatively thin but long map would be in a box with two rollers, so as the pilot flew along, he could roll the map to show his present position and planned route - this meant that maps had to be prepared for specific routes, but was still an ingenious device and very practical. This roller map shows the course from Hendon, north London, to Harrogate, north Yorkshire, and was used by one of the competitors in the July 1911 Daily Mail 1010 mile circuit of Great Britain Air Race
Saturday, 24 March 2012
This unusual looking device is an example of the Blackett's Aerophor, a portable breathing apparatus (the name 'Aerophor' is derived from the Greek term for 'air carrier'). It uses liquid nitrox to enable the wearer, using a mask, to breathe properly when breathing the normal air where the wearer is would be hazardous, and was widely used by mine rescue teams where the air may be dangerous to breathe, possibly with no or too little oxygen. It was invented by Colonel VE Blackett in the Durham area in 1910.
It was filled immediately before use with five and a half pounds of liquid nitrox which contained at least 50% oxygen in a heat insulated tank, and at the bottom of the backpack contained a canister which was filled with two pounds of either potash or soda. The front of the Aerophor, which from what I can gather is on the right side of the apparatus in my photograph, was the breathing bag
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Now just the passenger compartment body on display at the Midland Railway Centre, this was once a horse-drawn omnibus, owned by the London & North Western Railway, based at Birmingham New Street Station and used for onward travel from there. The black and white photograph shows an identical Omnibus based in London for transporting passengers betwen the main railway stations. This Omnibus body was found in a Coventry garden, and is a very rare survivor. It is typical of similar Omnibusses that would have served large railway stations in the late 19th and early 20th Century
Sunday, 18 March 2012
Saturday, 17 March 2012
2012 sees the 100th anniversary of the deaths of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the rest of the Polar Party after reaching the South Pole, beaten by the Norwegian team under Amundsen. This clip from the film 'The Great White Silence', by Herbert Ponting using film footage taken during the Expedition, shows Captain Scott and Dr Wilson, both members of the Polar Party, with one of the Ponies used to haul sledges, Nobby
Friday, 16 March 2012
The Standard Car Company was founded in 1903, but this 1907 built example is believed to be the oldest surviving. When built it was exported to Australia, discovered in a barn on a tobacco farm in the 1950's and brought back to Britain in 1959 and restored by apprentices working for Standard which was still in business at the time. The body style is known as 'Roi de Belges', which means 'King of Belgium', named after a type of body commissioned by the King of Belgium which became a popular body style afterwards. This Standard 30hp is now in the Coventry Transport Museum which has a large collection of early motor cars
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
This fine example of an Edwardian Bicycle was built by Triumph, now more well known for their motorcycles (which they made together with their biycles in the Edwardian era, and motor cars post-WW1), at their works in Coventry in 1912. New, it would have cost £9, and like other old bicycles has a fixed back wheel, meaning that you can't 'free wheel' on it as you can with modern bicycles, as the pedals and wheel are always connected so the pedals will continue to go around as the rear wheel does.
The low handle bar position shows that the bicycle was made for racing - the lower handle bar position makes the rider naturally go into a more streamlined position
Monday, 12 March 2012
The forerunner of modern electric multiple units, this unit was built by the London & North Western Railway in 1916 as part of the electrification of commuter services in the north London area. This particular unit was built by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Company in Birmingham, with the Oerlikon Company in Switzerland providing electrical equipment. The last set wasn't withdrawn until 1960
Saturday, 10 March 2012
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
One of the first major films, when released in 1905 'Rescued by Rover' was so popular in demand that it had to be re-shot in it's entirety as the original film wore out, and then again as the first remake wore out!. It was made by Cecil Hepworth and starred his family too - his wife played the part of the mother, and his daughter the child that gets kidnapped. It is considered one of the first films to use paid actors (for the soldier and the kidnapper), and also gave fame to the world's first dog film star - Blair, the Hepworth family dog. Interestingly the now common, even stereotypical name of 'Rover' for a dog came about due to this film, as it wasn't particularly common beforehand. The wikipedia entry for the film contains a good deal of information here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescued_by_Rover and you can watch the film on the link below
Sunday, 4 March 2012
During the First World War, many women took on jobs to replace their male equivalents in the vital transport industry (amongst others, particularly munitions), to keep the country moving and allow men to join the armed forces. These female cleaners are seen in 1917 cleaning one of the North Eastern Railway's electric locomotives. The photograph is from the KL Taylor collection
Friday, 2 March 2012
A common sight on British roads in the early 20th Century, the Charabanc (sometimes seen written down as 'Char-a-banc', and pronounced 'sharra-bang', and from the French term 'char a bancs' meaning carriage with wooden seats) was a common way of moving large numbers of people, often on outings to the seaside or countryside, or just as an early bus service. Charabanc bodies were very popular as they meant a large amount of people could be seated in a relatively small area, seated in rows of benches with an entrance/exit for each row, and as they were open topped (usually with a foldable canvas cover, as seen here), they were lighter and cheaper to build than a motor bus with glass windows and tall wooden bodywork.
The railway companies often used Charabancs for local services, and this Charabanc is such a vehicle. Built in 1914 by the famous bus and lorry company Leyland for the London & North Western Railway, from July 1914 it operated a service from Colwyn Bay Railway Station to Rhos on Sea Pier. When the First World War broke out, the Charabanc was requisitioned by the War Department and used for transporting troops, as many Charabancs were. After the war, it was used as a goods vehicle, but was restored by Mike Sutcliffe who has restored a number of early Leyland busses, and is seen here at the Crich Tramway Museum Edwardian Weekend in June 2008