Category Archives: History

Rochford reflectors (?)


These appear to be four old runway (reflector?) signs. They are along the road at the point where Rochford Road becomes Southend Road (the A1169) beside the railway bridge at Southend Airport (in the county of Essex, UK) – Latitude 51.5668, Longitude 0.7041 – over which I think the southern end of the old cross-runway (no longer used) was approached by aircraft.

I don’t know but guess they either date from 1935 when the airfield become a civilian airport, or after World War II which would mean after 1945. I favour the former as they look very old. They could be any time from 1914 when the airfield was first established by the military shortly after the beginning of World War I. In 1919 the airfield was sold off to the Navarro Aviation Company who ran pleasure flights with two old Avro biplanes – apparently not for long however as the airfield was disused from 1920 to 1935, having reverted to farmland.

Perhaps they would not have had such obvious signs during World War II as airfields were camouflaged and signs removed, which would favour them being post-WWII, but they might be older – 1935? – and have been removed during WWII then replaced.

Of course the airfield was used as a fighter base during WWII but after that, in 1946, Southend Corporation took it on as an airport which they opened in 1947. There was major re-building including a control tower and runways in 1955. Perhaps the posts date from 1955, but to my eyes they look too old for that. Although maybe the pairs of red beacon lights went on in 1955.

Some paired red lights were stuck on to of them at some stage, these are also now defunct. They were also apparently used to mount streetlights. I don’t know if these lights still function, possibly not.

Wikipedia has a great page about the airport, including its history here

Another good source was at

My best guess is these posts originate around 1935. They could have been actually erected between 1933 when the airport site was purchased by Southend Council and when it opened in 1935.

Whilst I do not find Essex and Southend the nicest places in the UK, I will put in a good word for Rochford. What a lovely village (although it is really now a suburb of Southend) – olde-world shops, buildings, pubs. Good parking. Southend Airport also looked nice, which is pretty weird for an airport. Apparently it has in recent years been voted best Airport in the UK three times and it has a dedicated railway station. I think I would like Southend as an airport and Rochford is worth a visit if you are in that neck of the woods.



Odeon Arcade Building Leicester

There have been number of cinemas in Leicester called Odeon, indeed there is still one. However the one I spotted has not played a movie in a very long while, and it has certainly seen better days. There have been various plans for this old cinema, which have not yet come to fruition. Here was one such plan from Studio Four Architects

It was very hard to get an angle to include the frontage. There is something I like about this old building. I don’t much like the plans Studio Four had for it. Maybe the rendering on their website is just a low-res model, but if losing the windows and surface textures of the building is what Studio Four really had in mind, then no. They do say “whilst preserving a traditional façade on one side of the development” so hard to tell really. I think the detail on that façade is all the building has left now. The interior at ground level is long gone. What is upstairs I could not get access to. Perhaps there are former glories still inside up there, perhaps not – I could not tell. An estate agent (realtor) website says “The property comprises a retail arcade with former Odeon cinema above set over basement and 5 floors.” On another site here 
there are clues that there perhaps is still a cinema upstairs.

This NOT the famous Leicester Athena, former 1930’s modernist Odeon building.

A cinema history website at says: “Odeon Cinema, Marketplace –  This started off life in 1924 as the City Cinema, with The Covered Wagon the first film to be screen there. It had 2,200 seats in stalls and circle, an Apollo organ and also a cafe. But it was closed in April 1964 and the auditorium was demolished. Six months later a new cinema was built behind the original facade. The ground floor was the shopping arcade that you can still visit today, and the cinema was the on the first floor. It was notable for its 70mm presentations on the curved screen which measured 45ft wide by 26ft high. It became a ‘roadshow’ cinema, a term used by the film industry for cinemas where films opened in a limited number of cities for a limited time before they went on national release. And the The Sound of Music had a two year run at the cinema. But on May 31, 1975, the cinema closed. It then briefly became an independent movie house called the Liberty Cinema which screened Bollywood films. Since then, it has been used as a bingo club, amusement arcade and a music venue.”

I like this old 1920’s building.


What a Gas

Hey ho, I took a visit to the National Gas Museum <– click for their website. Yeah, sounds crazy but it is a really interesting tiny museum in the UK city of Leicester (famous for red cheese). IMHO it’s actually one of the best museums in England. Size isn’t everything.

Now BE CAREFUL if you want to visit about whether they are REALLY open. The website might say they are, but the curator has been known to go away and close the museum and not update the website. Phone ahead and ask a human. I drove 100 miles to be there, having checked the website, to be told they were closed for that very reason! However a kind volunteer happened to be there and allowed me to have a private viewing. Wow. Megathanks.

I have only put a very few photos – you need to go see it. They have a Gas Powered radio. Yep there is such a thing (but no photo here – no spoilers).




Thunderbird 2

I revisited the stricken Ford Thunderbird that I recently posted – see

Abandoned Ford Thunderbird 1960’s

I took some new photos, concentrating on details I had not captured last time. I hope you like these.


Archaeologists Think They’ve Found First-Ever Evidence of a Legendary Biblical Prophet

Wow! Go see this:

As if anyone could seriously have ever doubted.



Abandoned Ford Thunderbird 1960’s

Abandoned American car Premier Inn A1 Huntingdon UK 2018.jpgI discovered this beautiful American dinosaur, that died a long way from home. Digging in the internet I believe it is a 1964 (or 65/66) Ford Thunderbird Coupe. It sits decaying at Brampton Hut Premier Inn motel car park on the junction of the A1 and A14 at Huntingdon UK. It is so sad to see such an aesthetically pleasing and obviously classic American car in such a stripped condition. Clearly all the external parts of any use as souvenirs or restoration parts for other autos have been taken, so restoring this old giant would be a difficult task. The paint color is I believe called Silver Monk. Who knows who owned it or why they left it there? Probably an airman from one of the many local USAF airbases. I suppose it will eventually be carted away to a scrap yard. I hope someone sees it and decides to restore it. Fully restored it could be worth 20,000 UK Pounds if sold here in England I would estimate. You can see more about the Ford Thunderbird cars at The jack-frost on the trunk (UK readers say “boot”) has made patterns. So sad such a beautiful old automobile may be lost. It probably could tell a tale of the cold war and the many good times we in Britain have had with our visiting American cousins. A lovely poignant thing.

UPDATE: I went there again. When you have looked below, click here for more: Thunderbird 2



Catatonic Catalunya

I have visited Catalunya three times. Each time I stayed in a big hotel in Malgrat for two weeks. I am not a club or beach tourist. I saw some of the tourist sites of course, Barcelona, La Rambla, Picasso’s place, Sagrada Familia, the architecture of Gaudi. I got pickpocketed, probably by one of the many Somalian pickpockets in the area. I liked the people apart from the thieves.

Now here’s a thing.

The Catalan people seem to want to be separate from Spain but Spain apparently does not want to let them go.

Last year poor young Catalans were demonstrating about not having jobs, and were blaming the Spanish government.

Now poor young Catalans are demonstrating against tourists because they say they don’t get the money but it goes to AirBnB owners, pushing up housing costs and all the jobs go to East Europeans.

The poor young Catalans have had no luck with protests against their government, so they are now scapegoating the tourists.

So here’s what I think. I am sad that I am no longer welcome in Spain/Catalunya, but I saw Spain/Catalunya before it became an unfriendly country. As usual, once again (as per history – civil wars, Basques etc etc) Spain is tearing itself apart. Fortunately I don’t need to go back there – I’m looking outside the EU for my holidays – maybe South Africa, China, Canada, Japan.

I think the people demonstrating in Spain are wrong, because the money the AirBnB owners get is spent mostly in the Spanish economy and pays Spanish taxes. I also think Spain is wrong because it lets Europe allow cheap labour to flood its market unlike Britain, that has said it will leave Europe so it can stop that problem and control the labour supply to the UK.

British tourists react very quickly – think of Tunisia. The IS attack in La Rambla has frightened some away. Spain’s attitude to the EU negotiations and Gibraltar is making more Brits think of boycotting Spain. The anti-tourist protests and attacks on tourists that are spoiling British, German and Dutch people’s holidays really are the last straw.

I think that maybe many British tourists, and maybe German and Dutch ones as well, might teach the foolish anti-tourists a deep hard lesson and very few at all will go to Spain as a tourist for many years. Then I think the East European cheap labour would go away from Spain as there would be no jobs in the empty hotels, bars and restaurants. There would be no income to all the AirBnB properties to be spent in Spain. There would be no taxes from the hotels, bars and restaurants and tourist shops. There would also be no subsidy from the EU to support Spain any more as the EU would be supporting all the extra jobless East Europeans that Spain would have created, and would be doing that without a third of the EU income – only Britain, Germany and France have any money, and Britain is taking it’s money away.

Perhaps the Spanish anti-tourist protesters would be left dirt-poor with no jobs to even compete for against the East Europeans, their rich class having no income from the AirBnB to pay tax for their welfare system, so their government would have no income to help the poor, the EU would not be able to help them and there would be not even jobs in fishing (because Britain is taking back its waters). These protesters would be left to share their country with their unwanted guests, the Somalian pick-pocket gangs. Maybe Germany could lend them some money then become hated as has happened in dirt-poor Greece. Meanwhile the drug dealers who lost their most valuable asset, lots of tourist customers for the clubs and bars, would probably be looking for the heads of whoever drove their customers away. Britain won’t even buy salad from Spain if the EU exit is not favorable. Britons can buy some nice salad from Africa and help to develop some nice new tourist places there, in the Commonwealth.

Catalunya could become a broken torn-apart land populated by poverty-stricken people, angry drug dealers and Somali pickpockets. Tourists would not want to visit, anti-tourist protesters would have got their wish.

So then it would be Hasta la vista Catalunya – oops I mean – a reveure Catalunya.

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Scotland trip 2017

The world may be your oyster, but Scotland is a pearl.

Inveraray, Oban, The Trossachs, Speyside, Loch Fyne, Loch Awe, Lock Tay, The Spey, The Tay, Loch Long, Dunbar…

Scotland is awesome.

All pictures in this blog article are Copyright 2017 by me, except two, which are Copyright 2017 by my Wife, which said exceptional photographs I use here with her permission. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without our respective permissions. All Rights Reserved.

One picture is from Yorkshire, England (The 1930’s “No Parking” sign).




I am protesting against lazy use of English language.

I will not “Protest lazy English” because that phrase is an example of the lazy English language usage that I am protesting against.

The problem with using the verb “To protest” without any qualification, is that you don’t know whether it is a protest against, or a protest for the matter.

“People are protesting wages.” Does it mean people are protesting against low wages, against high wages, for higher wages, for lower wages, or simply for or against having wages at a all. The sentance is wholly inadequate.

Cut-down telegraphic intransitive twitter-squeeze-to-fit Americanese verb-use is deeply annoying to me. I should write someone about it. LOL (in Britain we write to someone – well at a least for now, until the laziness reaches us on that one).

Another linguistic laziness I really dislike is the contraction of “cause for concern” (which was the only way you could say it back in the day) to “concerning.”

“That is really concerning me” NO! This is ambiguous because it doesn’t tell me if it causes me worry or if it is a matter that is applicable to me, or both!

“That is a really giving me cause for concern” YES!

At the rate lazy language is spreading in the UK it will devolve back to grunts before you can say “Ug!” This was of course caused by the BBC letting non-public school educated people (Americans read private school) into broadcasting, so the inadequately educated became our role models. My English is not perfect, I was not privately educated, but at least I care, and I try to get it right.

I guess that makes me an elitist. Well I do prefer aspiration to exasperation.







Looking outwards, forward, up.

Imagine a group of nations working together for the institution of world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; free speech; free trade; opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender; environmental sustainability; and freedom of movement between citizens of their countries.

Sounds familiar?

No, it is not the European Union.

Imagine something bigger than that, more diverse, bigger, more energetic and free of big brother technocracy. Firmly established for many decades, with 52 nations as members. With a flag and a real person with no power other than purely symbolic at it’s head. A group of nations that could have four times more trade with Britain than the European Union. A group covering 20 percent of the Earth’s surface, spanning all six inhabited continents with 2.3 billion citizens. With GDP of over 10 trillion USD accounting for 17 percent of the world’s economy.

You can stop imagining.

It exists.

Britain is a member.

Britain founded it.

The British Queen is its figurehead.

It is called the Commonwealth of Nations.

This is the flag. If you are a Brit like me it is your flag.

Embrace your citizenship and your bright future and rediscover the world full of friends you had almost forgotten you already have.


Flag image fair use from Wikipedia see
This blog article is a potted summary of some the most important facts about the Commonwealth, garnered from Wikipedia, which I consider to be a fairly authoritative source. No plagiarism is intended – fair use only (about 3 paragraphs of basic facts from about 50 paragraphs of detailed information in this case).

Here is a lovely radio station to listen to from one of our fellow commonwealth nations – Kaya FM from Gauteng, South Africa – website listen live at