29 April 2013

Echo of an Ekco

In 1931 Ekco introduced the RS2 wireless, available in AC and DC versions, in a cathedral-style Bakelite cabinet by the company's Head of Design, J.K. White. In February 1932 a major fire at Ekco's Southend-on-Sea factory destroyed, amongst other things, the R&D facilities and, with these, the prototypes for 1932/33.

In 1932 Ekco brought out the pictured M23 (AC), also available in a DC version, with medium-wave and long-wave, using the same cabinet as the RS2, but with concentric knobs to provide for the greater number of controls. The new model, using a prior year's cabinet design, was unpopular and had to be heavily discounted, and Ekco only just avoided bankruptcy.

20 April 2013

Cambrian Heritage Railways - Steam

Cambrian Heritage Railways is making steady progress against its aim to ultimately operate trains between Gobowen, where there is a mainline station, and both Llynclys Junction and Blodwel, the latter along the Tanat Valley.

Prior to formation of the Cambrian Railways Society, one part of what is now CHR, the last passenger train from Oswestry station ran in 1968. There is an interesting little museum in the old goods shed, around which is stored a selection of parts, large and small, to be used in the CHR's enterprise.

This currently includes short sections of operational track alongside the station, and between Llynclys and Penygarreg Halt, at either end of which have been constructed new buildings in keeping with the style of Cambrian Railways.

Cambrian Heritage Railways - Diesel, Petrol & Tar

Cambrian Heritage Railways each year runs a transport festival in Oswestry. Among the commercial vehicles on display were a 1962 ERF (Edwin Richard Foden) KV and a 1954 Fordson Thames ET6.

At the other end of the size scale was a Paul Smith special edition Mini, registration P5 MNY. Just 300 were made for the UK, from 1998, all in Paul Smith Blue. The one on show tows a fold-down camper trailer, fitted out to match the car.

A 1961 Leyland Tiger Cub bus, ex Trent Buses, now in Tanat Valley colours, ran from Oswestry to Cambrian Heritage Railways' site at Llynclys.

At this last the new-built station and platform has been decorated with vintage enamel signs. One such is clearly from, depending upon one's view, an age either more innocent, or more misleading, or perhaps both.

14 April 2013

White Nancy

Built by John Gaskell in 1817 atop the Saddle of Kerridge, above Bollington, Cheshire, White Nancy is a rendered sandstone rubble folly that commemorates the Battle of Waterloo. There was originally an entrance, to a single room in which perimeter stone benches were ranged about a round stone table in the centre; but the doorway is now blocked. Grade II listed, the folly, about 18 feet tall, is reputedly named after the principal horse used to haul the building materials to the site. However, its colour must play a part in its name: the folly was not painted until about 1925, since when it has generally been white.

11 April 2013

Hoover, Damned

The Hoover company's UK washing machine factory was established in Pentrebach, just south of Merthyr Tydfil, in 1948. Hoover's British division ran a disastrous promotional scheme in 1992, promising free airline tickets to the USA for customers spending over £100, far less than the cost of the tickets. It was overwhelmed by demand, tried to duck its contractual obligations, was sued in 1994, and by 1998 had lost some £50m on the deal. Candy took over.

The Merthyr plant, (in)famous for also manufacturing the Sinclair C5 - "Built by Hoover, driven by suckers" was a common joke - ceased production in 2009. Although the Hoover brand is very much alive and kicking, and hoovering synonymous with vacuuming despite the rise of Dyson (by whom Hoover were successfully sued for patent infringement), this was an ignominious end for the UK production operation.