Sunday, 6 February 2011

Half Term

Time flies by and half term is imminent. Previously in this blog I explained how a stick of rock had been used to incentivise me, this time it was a chocolate frog. So I am delighted to endorse the visit of Hogwarts Castle to the NRM York between 19th and 27th February. Hogwarts Castle AKA Olton Hall is a genuine GWR express engine which has been used in the filming and in this guise has encountered railway icons like Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Highlands. A range of complementary activities will be taking place. These will ensure no child will lack entertainment if they take advantage of what is one of the Nation's free museums. I cannot say for sure but it must be quite likely that the museum shop will be able to sell you a Hogwarts Castle as well. Models from Corgi, Hornby and Bachmann have appeared over the years. It gets delightfully confusing because the actual engine is a Hall pretending to be a Castle. Hornby used the former Airfix Castle to get their Hogwarts whilst Bachmann used an actual Hall model. Meantime nearer home a group of Newcastle students have asked me to lead a tour of their own past Shildon and up Weardale on March 19th. With any luck this will enable me to see the Turkish Stanier 8F recently repatriated and currently in residence at Locomotion Shildon.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Histories of Travel and Tourism Network

Yesterday I was at Manchester University speaking about the Forsythe Collection in the NRM Search Engine archive to Histories of Travel and Tourism Network. I must congratulate Rebecca Conway and her colleagues. This was a most convivial and engaging conference which despite a start and finish time at Newcastle Station of 0613 and 2222 held my attention in a packed day. Especially noteworthy was the geographical spread of the delegates who had come from Scotland, Ireland, East Anglia, the USA, Germany and Poland for a one day conference. There are numerous follow ups and by posting here some of you will find a route back to me. Specifically one to Susan Major to whom I chatted about sourcing mid Victorian railway handbills. Michael Freeman's Railways and the Victorian Imagination, Yale University Press 1999 draws extensively on Bodleian Library's John Johnson collection at Oxford University. His book is very well referenced and relates to several of yesterday's subjects. On these counts it is an excellent tool with which to take research forward. For Elizabeth Koprowski looking at Scottish pilgrimage some fascinating nuances comes in following these two links to the cultural influence of the great Yew Tree at Ormiston in Lothian. and . Googling will also get the Battlefield Band's song lyrics and other references to the tree.