08 April 2018

April Fools' Car Show 2018

The sixth running of the April Fools' Car Show was held at Whittington Castle. The castle, portions of which date from the twelfth century, is the only one in Britain cared for and operated by a private trust of volunteers. The event, sponsored by Oswestry Classic Car Garage, hosted over 110 vehicles - the largest show yet.

As in prior years, the show attracted a number of rare and unusual vehicles, including a BSA Scout coupé de luxe (above), and Norman Crisp's 'Reaper' campervan, based on a hearse and complete with a working kitchen in the pull-out casket - as featured on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.

Third place went to Matt Potts' Mirage GT, production of which is planned to be brought to the Oswestry/Wrexham area. Vic Morris scooped second place with his fine Ford Model A of 1929. The show winner was Steve Hazelwood, who collected the now traditional handmade trophy for his immaculate 1961 Vauxhall Cresta (above).

04 March 2018

Karan Anne Porter

Thursday 4 March 1965 to Wednesday 4 February 2009.
Photograph: Berwick-upon-Tweed, September 1991.

28 February 2018

Modern Leaded Lights

Leaded lights are commonly seen as an art only of the past. Indeed, the vast majority of the work undertaken by Jonathan Lill, owner of Harlequin Leaded Lights, of Oswestry, is restoration of old lights. Just two or three projects per year are new work. One such is a light to mark the anniversary of YMGW and partner - conjoined initials and a Roman X, signifying ten years. Leaded lights are formed of small pieces of stained (as in this case) or painted glass, supported by lead cames joined together with a mixture of tallow and tin solder. Tin is the traditional tenth anniversary gift.

12 February 2018

St Joseph's, Wigan

The current incarnation of St Joseph's was designed by George Goldie, who specialised in Roman Catholic churches. He was of Mssrs. Goldie and Child, of Kensington, London.

The construction contract was awarded to Mr J. Wilson, of Wigan. The foundation stone was laid in 1877, and the church completed in 1878. It opened on 30 June of that year. Music hall star George Formby, denizen of Wigan, attended here, perhaps admired the windows.

The church was de-consecrated and sold in 1995. Planning permission was granted in 2014 for conversion into an indoor rock climbing facility, but the building remains derelict. The only holy ghost now in residence is in the form of hundreds of pigeons.

06 February 2018

Holy Trinity, Newcastle-under-Lyme

The Church of the Holy Trinity, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, is a glorious architectural oddity. It was designed by its first priest, Father James Egan, and built 1833-34. The style is Gothic, common for the period, but it is the materials used that are unusual.

Following an offer from a local brick maker of all the bricks that might be required, Egan undertook the design work, right down to the moulds for the shaped bricks. The façade is constructed of Staffordshire blue vitrified brick, made from the local Etruria marl. As is the case for all engineering bricks, Staffordshire blues are fired with limited oxygen, which produces a hard brick with a high resistance to water penetration.

There are tiers of blind arcading, moulded bricks, embossed bricks, and bricks laid in diaper formation. On completion, the church was described as "the finest modern specimen of ornamental brickwork in the kingdom" (White's Directory of Staffordshire, 1834). First listed in 1949, the church now boasts Grade II* listed status.

20 December 2017

Wavox - Milk Monitor

Manufactured by Truvox, of Wembley, London, the Wavox is an Art Deco-esque extension speaker of the 1950s. Truvox manufactured public address systems, cinema speaker systems, industrial cleaning machines, and heaters. In 1949 it acquired Rola Celestion, but disappeared in 1969 through a reverse take-over. Celestion Industries Plc now uses Truvox as a brand name for loudspeakers.

Housing a Merco speaker, the case is made of a casein-based polymer. Casein is a phosphoprotein present in milk, more commonly used in making cheese. Casein polymer is these days used in any volume only for making buttons. Wavox extension speakers were available in a small range of rather unpleasant colour-ways, including blue/pink. This example is a much more sedate combination of gloss black and matte off-white.