Monday, 30 April 2012

Edwardian Pub

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I'd be lying if I didn't say I really enjoy visiting this part of the Beamish Open Air Museum - located in the 1913 town is this faithful recreation of an Edwardian pub. I didn't take any photographs of the interior as I was too busy enjoying the fantastic ales on offer in there



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Saturday, 28 April 2012

HMS Saxifrage, Anchusa class Sloop, 1918

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Located on the River Thames in London, close to Blackfriars Station and moored behind the WW2 equivalent (HMS Wellington in case you were wondering), is this very rare survivor from the First World War. Launched in 1918 at the Lobnitz & Company Shipyard in Renfrew, Scotland, HMS Saxifrage was an Anchusa class Sloop which were built as Q Ships.



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Q Ships were used in the fight against the German U boat threat. To comply with various laws (as well as the fact U boats didn't carry many torpedoes, so it was easier to sink an unarmed ship with shell fire), U boats tended to surface to warn a merchant ship and give the crew time to escape in Lifeboats before the U boat would open fire with a gun mounted on the deck to sink the ship. A Q Ship was a Royal Navy Warship, disguised to look like a civilian ship, and play along with the U boat's intentions, until side panels and cargo would fall away to show an array of armament, which would be used to sink the surfaced, and unprepared, U boat.



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Around 200 Q Ships were used by the Royal Navy in the First World War, and they sank 14 U boats and damaged another 60, with a cost of 27 Q Ships lost. HMS Saxifrage was moored on the Thames after the war and used as a drill ship, for which it was renamed HMS President, a name it retains to today. Above deck it looks very different from when it was in service. I've been aboard, and although I have no images, below deck you can get a real feel for what it would have been like aboard HMS Saxifrage in the First World War.



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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sopwith Tabloid, 1914

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This smart looking streamlined biplane is a Sopwith Tabloid, first flown as a two seater in November 1913 and built by the Sopwith Aviation Company, famous for their later rotary engined single seat Scout First World War aircraft such as the Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Camel. Powered by a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine (this means the entire engine spins around, and the propellor is simply bolted onto the engine, very powerful and common in early aircraft but with the disadvantage of only having two speeds - on or off!



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The streamlined cowling is very distinctive, and also rare for a rotary engine, which are usually left mostly open to the front to allow for maximum cooling (the cylinders of the Monosoupape engine can just be seen underneath the cowling). A floatplane adaption, called the Sopwith Schneider, won the Schneider Trophy Air Race in 1914. In the First World War the Sopwith Tabloid and Sopwith Schneider were popular with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service until made obsolete. This replica is in the RAF Museum, Hendon



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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Swift 7hp Cyclecar, 1913

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As well as catering for the luxury market, making large, powerful motor cars to be fitted with Tourer or other large bodies, motor car manufacturers were also striving to make smaller cars for the lower end of the car buying market, and the late Edwardian era saw a lot of popularity for light or cycle cars. This 1913 built Swift 7hp has a light, tubular built chassis, using Swift's prior experience of bicycles and motorcycles. The light chassis and body construction means the two cylinder 7hp engine gave enough power for the Swift to live up to it's marque's name.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

BSA Model K Motorcycle, 1918

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BSA, or to give their full title Birmingham Small Arms, started off as the name suggests making firearms, but in the 1880's branched out into bicycles, and in the 1910's motorcycles. This is a very nice example of an Edwardian era motorcycle built by BSA. BSA went on to be one of the best known motorcycle manufacturers in the UK and is still fondly remembered today



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Friday, 20 April 2012

Battery Powered Locomotive, 1917

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This unusual small locomotive was built for the North Staffordshire Railway in 1917. Fitted with batteries supplying electricity to the electric motors, it could run for six hours between charges, and was used for shunting wagons at a factory that produced electrical components and a nearby railway station for forty six years. It is now in it's original paint scheme in the National Railway Museum, York



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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Rover 12hp Coupe, 1915

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The two seat coupe styled body, as fitted to this 1915 built Rover 12hp, was often known as a 'Doctor's Coupe', owing to it's popularity with Doctors or other wealthy professionals who would use such a car in the course of their duties. Such professionals even included men of religion - this quote from a Bishop in the 1915 Rover sales brochure describes a Rover 12hp;



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'Dear Sir,

I think you will like to know that the 12hp car has been a spendid success
here. It's running has been wonderfully smooth and flexible, while there has not
been the slightest difficulty on the hills, some of which have been 1 in 5 in
places (say Buttermere Hawse). I am more than fully satisfied with my purchase,
and it has been greatly admired.

The Bishop of.....' (location not given)




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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Harriet Quimby Centenary Project


Brought to my attention today is this fantastic project to commemorate Harriet Quimby, who on 16th April 1912 flew across the English Channel from Dover to France in a Bleriot monoplane, the first female pilot to do so. Although Louis Bleriot had done it two years before, flying across the English Channel was still a great achievement, and was a groundbreaking achievement in the world of female aviation. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the video, the sinking of the Titanic overshadowed this event. 100 years on there are plans to unveil a very well designed memorial to Harriet Quimby.

There is also a website under deevlopment for the project http://www.hqcp.org.uk/

Monday, 16 April 2012

Mercedes 45hp Car (Lambert & Butler Motors 17 of 25)

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Avro 15hp Aero Engine, 1911

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This horizontally-opposed two-stroke engine uses the crankcase as a pump to draw in and partly compress the mixture. An unusual feature is the use of shallow grooves in the cylinder wall which act as transfer ports and pass the mixture to the combustion chamber via holes in the piston skirt.

One of these engines was supplied by A.V. Roe to Lillian Bland, the first woman to fly in Ireland. The engine appears to have been designed and manufactured by a Bolton engineer, HF Cowley



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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sinking of the RMS Titanic, 1912

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This week saw the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, a ship and event synonymous with the Edwardian era. Rather than repeat the well-known story, I thought I would instead post a few choice links of interest regarding the Titanic

BBC's Titanic 100th main page - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/17488357

Five Titanic myths spread by films - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17515305

Journey to the ocean floor - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17511820

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Benzole Tank Wagon, 1917

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With the increased use of petrol, oil, gas and other large quantities of liquids in the late 19th Century and Edwardian era, tank wagons such as this started to appear on the railways. This tank wagon with a capacity of 10 tons was built in 1917 for the Ministry of Munitions by Chas Roberts of Wakefield in 1917



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Thursday, 12 April 2012

High Force Waterfall

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Wonders of nature such as waterfalls have always been of interest to the public - High Force, in Teesdale on the edge of County Durham, is one that would have been of interest in the Edwardian era, especially with the coming of the railway to the area in the 19th century and the growth in tourism in the late 19th and early 20th Century. This photograph was taken with my 1913 model Kodak No 2 Autographic Camera

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Great Southern & Western Railway Poster, 1915

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Great Southern & Western Railway poster from 1915 advertising Liverpool, especially the Liverpool Overhead Railway. A reproduction of this poster can be bought from - http://www.past-reflections.co.uk/copy_of__liverpool.html

Leon Peugeot Voituerette Racer, 1909



This unusual looking vehicle with it's high, narrow radiator and distinctive noisy engine was seen at the Edwardian Race at the VSCC Mallory Park Race Meeting in August 2011. It's a regular attendee at this annual race, and as it's a handicap race, actually won this year, putting in a very spirited performance (the first time I saw it, in around 2005, it broke down on one of the first laps). Driving back home later in the day, I passed it coming the other way, the driver with his head looking out of the side along the body of the Peugeot for better visibility - not often you see an Edwardian racer on the road, and a big well done to the driver.




You may be surprised to see it's made by such a well known manufacturer, however there were two Peugeot brothers who both made cars, Leon Peugeot making smaller Voiturettes similar to this one whilst the other Peugeot brother made larger, more 'normal' cars, however they joined forces before the First World War.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Daimler 12hp A12 Tourer, 1911

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Daimler is Britain's earliest motor car manufacturer, and this is a typical late Edwardian car from them. It is fitted with Daimler's very successful 'Silent' Knight sleeve valve engine. The Knight sleeve valve engine was designed by Charles Knight, an American engineer, in the 1900's, and was quieter than a traditional engine as a sleeve was fitted between the piston and the cylinder wall.


The Daimler 12hp model was built in small quantities, as Daimlers of the time usually had a more powerful engine. This is believed to be the only surviving Daimler A12 12hp left in the world. The distinctive fluted top radiator is a Daimler trademark, and was still used by Jaguar when making Daimler badged cars in the 21st century

Friday, 6 April 2012

Horse Drawn Heavy Goods Dray, c1900

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Designed for heavy and unusually shaped loads and hauled by two horses, this is a typical late Victorian/Edwardian heavy goods dray as used by various transport companies, in this case the Midland Railway Company



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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Monday, 2 April 2012

De Dion Bouton 20hp, 1904

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This large four cylinder 20hp De Dion Bouton towers over the more usual two cylinder De Dion Boutons also present at the 2011 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run Concourse Event. De Dion Bouton was one of the largest early motor car manufacturers and still survive in large numbers to this day - in 2011's London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, De Dion Boutons were the most prolific marque present.



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