Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle – again – a quilt exhibition

Bowes museum, Barnard Castle,

One of the reasons we visited the Sunderland area so quickly again was because we discovered too late that there was a quilt exhibition on there, we had to go home before we could see it. So we drove back down there before the exhibition ended in late November. As you can see from the photo above the museum is very grand, and built in the French style as the architect was French.

The top floor of the museum housed the quilts. When I think of quilts from the North-East of England it’s the one piece of fabric Durham quilts which are decorated with all over stitching that I envisage, so I was surprised that they also have what they call strippy quilts. The quilts date mainly from the early 20th century.

north-east Quilts, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

And the more traditional patchwork quilts. I must admit that I started to make a patchwork quilt about 40 years ago, using hexagons, I didn’t get very far with it and bits are still languishing at the bottom of one of my many craft baskets!

Quilts, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

So I am filled with awe when I see patchwork quilts, I suspect that they would be easier to make if it was a communal effort though.

Quilts, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

The quilts below are proper Durham quilts – I believe. No patching together but still an awful lot of sewing involved.

Durham Quilts , Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

Below is an intricate quilt design and matching curtain. Pink,blue and orange seem to have been very popular colours, I suppose they brightened up what was otherwise quite a dark existence.

Patchwork Quilts, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

Patchwork Quilts, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

I must admit that I thought that the exhibition would have been bigger than it was, but it was worth seeing and there is an interesting permanent exhibition of period women’s clothing from the 16th century to Mary Quant and Laura Ashley. I took lots of photos of the clothes, but they have all disappeared from the camera somehow, quite spooky really.

The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, England

When we visited Glamis Castle (childhood home of the Queen Mother who was a Bowes Lyon) a couple of months ago it led to us planning a visit to The Bowes Museum which was set up by relatives of hers.

The museum’s most famous artefact is a pure silver automaton swan which dates from 1772, it’s a replica of a female mute swan. If you just want to see her moving you can skip to 4.50 on the You Tube video below. The swan catches a silver fish and eats it, but of course swans don’t eat fish as they are vegetarians! The silver work is amazing though.

You can read more about the museum here.

Beamish Folk Museum, County Durham, N.E. England

We visited the Beamish Folk Museum in County Durham – north east England in June last year and I could have sworn that I had done several blogposts about it soon after the visit, but it seems that I didn’t get around to it. Either that or the computer has somehow deleted all evidence of them. It could just be that as I have a habit of writing blogposts in my head while I’m doing mundane things around the house and garden in the daytime – I never did get around to actually writing any. It’s a mystery, anyway, if you remember Beamish blogposts and I’m being repetitive – sorry! I did do one, though!

Just as we got into Beamish we could see a big crowd of people, some dressed in period clothing and it transpired that we were lucky enough to be there at the start of a procession which was making its way to a new 1950s part of the folk museum which was just being opened for the first time. The north-east of England was a coalmining area, so the old miners’ banners were being given an airing, something which doesn’t happen often nowadays I suppose as there are no miners left to march with them. The banners themselves are works of art.

Miners' Banner, Beamish

Every coalmine had its own band. Given the state that their lungs must have been in it’s amazing that they had the puff for the brass and silver bands. Fife was a coalmining county and some of the bands are still going, years after the last mine has been closed down permanently. I must say that the ones I’ve heard have been very melodic.

Procession, Beamish

For some reason a flotilla of old-fashioned prams – or perambulators if you want to be fancy were taking part in the parade. I love these Silver Cross type enamelled prams, it was the type I was wheeled about in as a youngster, not that I remember it. In those days kids travelled in real style. They must have been much comfier and cosier than modern day buggies.

old prams, Beamish Folk Museum

After that we took a trip on a tram, a couple of different steam trains and an ancient bus.

Trams, old bus, Beamish Folk Museum

Trams, Beamish Folk Museum

We certainly got our money’s worth on that day out!

Beamish Folk Museum, County Durham, England

We are members of lots of arty and historical organisations such as the National Trust, Scottish Heritage, Friends of the Edinburgh Galleries and such AND we got annual passes to Beamish folk museum when we visited there last year, it’s situated near Stanley in County Durham. We were sure we would go back as we had such a good time there but we didn’t manage to get there as planned at Christmas and after the winter it didn’t open because of the Covid-19 situation of course. Anyway it turns out that I didn’t blog about it although I could have sworn that I did. Here are some of the photos I took. In the beginning Beamish was just farmland, you can read about the history of the place here. The buildings have all been moved to the site brick by brick and stone by stone to be saved for posterity rather than being demolished.

Beamish, Church + from waggonway

There are all sorts of buildings there, below is Pockersley Hall which has a lovely chocolate box garden.

Pockersley Hall, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

A teeny wee thatched cottage, this photo was taken from an ancient steam train as we were riding on it.

thatched cottage, Beamish from waggonway

And this is the train we were on, I remember seeing illustrations of a train like this one when I was ‘doing’ the Industrial Revolution at school, I never thought I’d actually have a trip on one!

Puffing Billy and train, Beamish, County Durham

You can go inside all the buildings, a few of them I would quite happily have lived in.

Farm terrace, Beamish, County Durham

Volunteers are on hand, living the life, rolling out pastry or whatever and answering questions.

1930s fireplace, Beamish, County Durham

Actually it all seemed very homely to me as most of the ‘stuff’ was very similar to the furniture that we had had to get rid of when we downsized to a more modern and manageable house – all of six years ago now. I looked at a Victorian bed chest and could have sworn it had been ours! And the gate below is exactly the same as the back gate of the 1930s house that I grew up in, except ours was in better condition and painted rural green.

1930s gate, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

1930s chairs, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

Do you remember those halcyon days when we didn’t have to worry about crowds and social distancing? Below is the queue for the working bakery at Beamish but we didn’t bother to join the queue, it looked like they might run out of stuff to sell anyway! I was really taking the photo of the lovely Edwardian?Victorian window. There’s also an old sweetie shop selling authentic sweets, we DID queue up for that one. Indian Limes anyone? They were delicious.

Beamish, Edwardian  windows,

We hope we’ll be able to visit again – sometime.

Pockersley Hall from road, Beamish, folk museum, County Durham

The V&A at Dundee

V&A Sign, Dundee

We’ve been to the V&A at Dundee a couple of times now since it opened recently, the second time we had hoped that it wouldn’t be quite so busy – but it was. I think it’ll be quite some time before the visitor numbers settle down a wee bit. Below is a close up of one of the walls so you can see how curvaceous it is. We’ve watched this building grow very slowly for years and it seemed at times that it would never be finished so it’s no surprise that people have been chewing at the bit to get into it.

Exterior Curve, V&A Dundee

In parts it overhangs the River Tay and I’m not sure if it’s meant to be inspired by a ship or Scottish cliffs, or a conglomeration of both. Dundee was famous for shipbuilding in the past. It looks like a perfect nesting place for seabirds of which there are plenty around here, but apparently they are being kept at bay by the use of sonar.
Overhanging River Tay, V&A Dundee

The weather in Dundee does get pretty wild at times so I hope that the planting has been chosen for hardiness. I think it’s supposed to be prairie planting. It’ll be interesting to see if it survives.
Exterior Planting , V&A Dundee

The interior is definitely different with this angled slatted shingle effect which is reminiscent of an old ship.
V&A Interior

V&A Interior

V&A Interior,  Dundee
The staircase is elegant I think.
V&A Interior ,staircase, Dundee

I’m not sure if the stone of the floors and stairs is natural or some kind of man made substitute, but it looks like it has all sorts of fossils embedded in it.

Interior Stairs, V&A Dundee

V&A Interior floor, Dundee

If you want to see more photos you should click over to Jack’s post here.

Dove Cottage, Grasmere, Lake District

Dove Cottage

By the time we reached Grasmere last week dusk was beginning to fall, and as our hotel was a mile or so outside the village we drove into Grasmere and parked outside Dove Cottage, the home of William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy to begin with and then after he got married they had to eventually squash five kids in there too.

Dove Cottage
When the Wordsworths lived in the cottage there were none of the buildings around it that you see now, and they had an unrestricted view of the lake.

Dove Cottage
I was really glad that we decided to have a snoop around after the cottage was closed as we had it to ourselves and were able to look around the garden in peace.

Dove Cottage
The garden is situated on a sloping site, it’s a bit neglected at the moment, I think they must be in need of some gardening volunteers, it’s a pity I live too far away!
Dove Cottage back garden 1
Steps lead up to what was a favourite spot with Wordsworth, this refurbished summer gazebo.
Dove Cottage back garden 5
Back down close to the cottage some vegetables are being grown in the area where apparently an outhouse had stood in Wordsworth’s day. As it’s only a few steps from the cottage it must have been the earth closet. That would have been particularly handy as originally the cottage had been a pub and William and Dorothy were the first people to live in it as a home.
Dove Cottage side garden 1

It’s a tiny cottage and it’s very dark downstairs and would have been even darker in Wordsworth’s day as the windows have been enlarged since then. We didn’t manage to get any photos of the downstairs but it consists of a small kitchen, a buttery which is a teeny wee room where they stored perishable food and a small living room which must have been used as a bedroom when all the children began to arrive. It feels a lot colder than the kitchen and you can hear the stream which flows underneath it. When it was in use they probably prised one of the slates up from the floor so they could place a container of milk in it to keep it fresh. They must have got their water from there too. There’s a small living room, quite cosy really.

Upstairs there are three small bedrooms. The one below was William’s, it was very cold upstairs as the fireplace couldn’t be used, the room quickly filled with smoke apparently.
William Wordsworth's  bedroom 1
Dorothy chose thie tiny room below. In her day she papered the walls with old newspapers, presumably in an effort to insulate the place. It has been repapered since then but as you can see the damp is coming through badly. There is no fireplace in this room and it is directly above the cold buttery. I can see why she chose it though as it’s at least private, you have to walk through the other bedroom to get into this one.

inside Dove  cottage  Dorothy's

The upstairs sitting room is lovely and bright and the furniture and china did actually belong to the Wordsworths.
inside Dove Cottage  sitting room 1

inside Dove  Cottage sitting room

Normally the cottage housed eight people, the five children, William, Mary his wife, Dorothy his sister and another female relative and Dorothy wrote in her diary that at one point there were fifteen people staying in the house, it’s one way of keeping warm I suppose!

Sir Walter Scott visited them and I can just imagine his astonishment at the size and simplicity of the place. But Wordsworth was very happy here and although they did later move to a house in nearby Rydal, in the end they all came back to Grasmere to be buried.

Wordsworth graves

Wordsworth graves

There are lots of Wordsworths in the graveyard.

The entry charge also includes a visit to the nearby Wordsworth museum which is very interesting and contains a lot of personal things, including Wordsworth’s dental ‘pokey’ things and some of his clothes.

We were really glad that we had visited the exterior of the house earlier as by the time we got there just before the cottage opened in the morning hordes of foreign students turned up just behind us, luckily we managed to get in just before they did, otherwise we couldn’t have taken any photos at all. They were Dutch I think, so surprising as I wouldn’t have thought Wordsworth would be well known there.

National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, North Berwick, part 2

The National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, North Berwick is home to commercial aeroplanes as well as military ones, and most of those ones you can actually board and have a look around.

Below is a Dan Air Comet.

Comet
Its interior.
Comet interior

And its cockpit.

Comet Cockpit

A British Airways BAC 1-11

Bac 1-11

Now I have to admit that I had never heard of Sheila Scott, but she flew solo around the world in 1966, in 33 days in her ‘plane Myth Too.
Sheila Scott

It’s a Piper Comanche and as you can see from the photo it’s quite bashed up, but this damage was inflicted on Myth Too by the man that it was sold to! You would think she would want to hold onto that ‘plane but maybe she needed to sell it to buy another one.
Sheila Scott's Piper Comanche

And now for Concorde.
Concorde

Concorde Nose

Concorde’s engines and fuselage.
Concorde Engines + Fuselage

Jack standing underneath Concorde.
Concorde

Concorde’s interior.
Concorde Interior

Concorde Interior

And Concorde’s cockpit which I have to say looks absolutely terrifying to me.
Concorde Cockpit

This Concorde had to have its wings temporarily removed when it was put on a barge on the Thames as part of its journey to East Fortune, the landing strips there aren’t quite long enough for Concorde to be able to fly there. You can see the photos here.

You can read about it here.

National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, North Berwick, Scotland

East Fortune History

One day last month we visited The National Museum of Flight at East Fortune airfield in North Berwick for the first time. It’s a great place, there’s so much to see, including an actual Concorde!

East Fortune buildings

Quite a lot of the original buildings are still in existence, during both world wars this place was bustling with activity, and had thousands of men and women from many various countries stationed here. It’s obviously on a large rural site and the closest town is North Berwick, not that that is exactly a metropolis.

Below is a photo of the control tower.

East Fortune Control Tower

There’s a good mixture of civilian and military aeroplanes, below is a Hawker Harrier jet.
Hawker Harrier

A Messerschmidt Komet.
Messerschmidt Komet

A Vulcan.
Vulcan

A New Zealand War Memorial.
NZ War Memorial

An ejector seat from the 1960s.
Ejector seat

And beside it is displayed this actual World War 1 Sopwith Camel seat which is made of wickerwork and looks like a cut down garden chair.
Sopwith Camel seat

We had to visit the cafe of course and it’s decorated with lots of stylish replica posters. I had hoped that they would have some for sale in the shop but of course they didn’t. The poster below is displayed in the museum, from the days when air displays were all the rage, this one took place not that far from where I live.
Flying Display Poster

I took lots of photos, next time I’ll show some of the civilian aircraft – including Concorde.

Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre , Scotland

I believe there’s an RAF flypast today in London, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. Of course in its earlier years pre-1918 it was known as the Royal Flying Corps. I thought it would be apt to blog about a visit we made to Montrose Air Station.

WW1 Air Hangars

It’s a couple of months now since we visited the small air museum in Montrose. The photo above is of some of the original aircraft hangars, dating from 1913. Montrose Air Station was founded in 1913 and it was Britain’s first military air station. It housed Squadron number 2 which was actually the first aeroplane squadron as number 1 was equipped only with a balloons. The Spitfire in the photo below is an exact replica of the Spitfire that was bought by the local community during World War 2. All over Britain communities were raising funds to buy aircraft for the war effort. There were Spitfire Funds and Tank Funds and they would usually be named after the area that raised the funds.
Spitfire Red Lichtie
The original aircraft hangars are still standing over 100 years on. In those days the most famous aircraft that they were training on was the Sopwith Camel. Hundreds of men were killed during training over the two world wars. There’s a Poppy Wall to commemorate them.

Poppies

There’s a piece of The Red Baron’s aeroplane in this display case. Apparently souvenir hunters stripped it of canvas in no time.

Part of Red Baron's Triplane

The photo below is of a Gloster Meteor.

Gloster Meteor

There are some very talented men making replica bi-planes and you can see them working on them. This is the wing for a Sopwith Camel.

Sopwith Camel Wing

It’s not all wartime aeroplanes though. The photo below is of a Sea Hawk.

Sea Hawk

The museum is run by local volunteers, but they’ve managed to pack it with plenty of things of interest and there’s even a small building full of model aircraft from various eras. This is especially of interest to those who spent their early years glueing tiny bits of Airfix models together.

We visited this air museum after hearing an interesting talk from one of the volunteers at a local history meeting. It was mentioned that as this place was obviously the location of many traumatic deaths over the World War 1 years there was talk of there being ghosts around the place, dressed in WW1 flying uniforms, sadly we didn’t see any though!

Last but certainly not least is a photo of a small display of some of the women flyers (in one of the sleeping quarters) who used to deliver World War 2 aeroplanes to various different air stations all over Britain. They weren’t allowed to be part of the fighting force but they could still do their bit. I’m quite surprised that they were allowed near the aeroplanes at all, never mind flying them!

Women Flyers

Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England

I had vaguely heard of Much Wenlock and there’s a bookshop there (it’s on a list) so we decided to visit it when we were staying in Oswestry for a few days. Sadly when we got there the bookshop was closed, but the town is so quaint we were happy just to have a look around it. Much Wenlock is the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games apparently.

The only shop that was open was a terrifying antiques shop. It’s the most jam packed shop I’ve ever been in with towers of ‘stuff’ everywhere, almost all of it very breakable too as the stock seems to consist of 99% china/pottery! We carefully negotiated the piles but were too terrified to pick anything up to look at it, we would probably have had to move six other pieces to get to anything interesting anyway. So breathing carefully, we squeezed out again – heaving a sigh of relief – no damage done.

Wenlock  Priory Board

Back out on the pavement we spotted a sign pointing to the priory and made our way there. There’s actually still quite a lot to see and some of the stonework is very ornate. What is left dates from the 13th century. Luckily English Heritage look after it, so as we’re in Historic Scotland at the moment we didn’t have to pay to get in.

Wenlock Priory Buildings  + Topiary

Wenlock Priory

Wenlock Priory
The priory must have looked fabulous in its day but over the years most of the stones have been recycled for use in local buildings as usually happens with these places.
Wenlock priory
Wenlock Priory
Walking back to the car I took a few photos of some not quite so ancient buildings. The one below is brick built.

Much Wenlock buildings
I particularly like the building below as I can just imagine people hanging over the balcony to chat to people in the street 500 years ago.

Much Wenlock

Much Wenlock Buildings
The building below is the Guildhall and is still in use.

Much Wenlock Buildings
There’s quite a variety of styles around though.
Buildings in Much Wenlock

The village has been used in a few film locations, including the John Cleese film Clockwise.
Much Wenlock Buildings

It would be nice to visit Much Wenlock when it’s actually open, so if we’re ever in that area again we’ll definitely go back.
Much Wenlock Buildings

It has quite an interesting history which you can read about here.