Thursday, 8 June 2017

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 27

Continuing the series of passport portraits from my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
Marjorie Crocker Fairbanks, a US citizen, at the age of 22 in 1916 took a ship to Europe. She stayed for a while at Cheyne Walk in London and then sailed for France where she worked as a volunteer ambulance driver. Her letters home she published, along with those of her friend, Esther Sayles Root, in a book entitled Over Periscope Pond.
Read it here
In 1925, now married with a son, she left her family and departed on a tour of France with a woman friend and two men. On her return to the USA she was divorced.
This is the photograph on her passport issued in Washington in 1948. In New York she obtains  multiple business visits visas for France and Belgium and arrives in Rotterdam on 30 August 1948. She is now 53 years old and her occupation is stated as 'writer'. Over the first five months of 1949 she is issued with ration coupons for a total of 2,000 litres of petrol. She visits Belgium and Germany and changes money in Paris, Montauban and Perpignan. She flies home to the USA for Christmas 1950 but is soon back, presumably on business. This passport finally expired in August 1952 at which time she was still in Paris. What an intriguing person.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Warwick Museum

Whilst in Warwick we visited the town museum. 

Most disappointing  

I understand that exhibits sometimes need to be kept in low light to preserve them, but do the commentaries have to be written in a small white typeface on a pink card pinned to the back of the cabinet? You need opera glasses to read them. 

One of the most interesting displays was the floor, about which nothing was said.

Bubbles in Canterbury

Well why not?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Broad Gauge Premier Inn in Wolverhampton

We recently stayed overnight at the Premier Inn in Wolverhampton and discovered that it was built on the site of the railway platforms of the original Great Western Wolverhampton Low Level station. The High Level station is still in use and overshadows the hotel from an imposing viaduct built of Staffordshire blue bricks. 

The Low Level station building is now grade II listed and serves as a function venue. 

The Premier Inn hotel incorporates part of the arcading of the original station.

To learn the fascinating story of this station, click here.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Shakespeare – the businessman.

I have spent the last two days in Stratford upon Avon which everybody knows is famous for its Shakespeare links. I had only known Shakespeare as a poet and playwright. It seems that he played a more complex role in Elizabethan England. Apart from seeing both his birthplaces I have also remarked that he either managed or owned the Shakespeare Cinema, the Shakespeare Fish & Chip Shop, the Shakespeare Tea Rooms, the Shakespeare Newsagents, the Shakespeare Service Station, the Shakespeare Bookshop, the Shakespeare Hospice Furniture shop, the Shakespeare Car Sales Centre and the Shakespeare Gift Shop.

So here is a picture of some exquisite brickwork above a doorway, and an interesting jumble of roof angles.

I have found no evidence that William Shakespeare ever built houses or constructed roofs.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Let's build on the orchards.

Enjoy the blossom whilst 
you can – 
this is destined for 3,000 houses and a new road junction on the A2.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no.26

Continuing the series of passport portraits from my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
Alfred Maximilian Perray, a 58 year old organist from France. It is 26 October 1918 and the end of the Great War is expected any day now. M. Perray is particularly impatient. Because of the war he has been unable to visit his son who is in prison in Kandersteg, Switzerland.

This is M. Perray's photograph on the French passport which has just been issued to him, 'valid for fifteen days to count from crossing the Swiss frontier, once it has been re-opened.'

He is waiting in his garden. Waiting to 'see' the son he has not seen for more than the four years of the conflict, for Monsieur Perray is blind.