Windermere Jetty Museum

Inside the Windermere Jetty Museum

A modern building about half a mile from Bowness and beside the lake.

We walked from the centre of Bowness having parked elsewhere. Not too far and on the way back we found a quieter lane for much of the way.

It’s a large metal building like on Grand Designs with a car park that is quite expensive although with all the people looking for space in Bowness it needs to stop casual parking. Our first stop was the cafe, it’s a nice place stylishly designed with a good choice of well presented food. Plus a panoramic window over the lake.

The museum is a big space and the exhibits are well spaced. The boat of Beatrix Potter is fascinating with it’s very unusual style. The Swallows and Amazons boat is also a novel form. The history of performance boats on the lake is an interesting exhibit. Next door is a conservation studio for boats with a few in work which presumably will be displayed in the museum.

The Windermere Jetty Museum

There is a steamer trip on the lake.

The Windermere Jetty Museum Steam Trip

Overall this is a nicely designed building with good content and a good experience.

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British Commercial Vehicle Museum now re-opened

A visit to the BCVM at Leyland on 5th February 2019 shortly after its re-opening. Posh new ticket office and cafe strike you on arrival. Nice coffee as well. The upstairs area has gone and it’s a lot lighter inside. Nicer arrangement too with electronic displays about each vehicle.

Ribble Seagull
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
Cafe Emma at the BCVM open outside museum hours
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
Call the mid-wife
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
Nice Ribble bus
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
Leyland Diesel engine
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
Steam Vehicle
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
Leyland Beaver
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
Ford Model T van
British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland. February 2019
The Leyland Paints story.
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Blackburn Cathedral

A trip to Blackburn on the train. The cathedral is almost next to the station. It was Monday and Blackburn Museum was closed so we went round the shopping mall, called The Mall. Quite a big place, looks like the mall took out most of Blackburn centre. Nearby is a fine looking old building with the name Technical College next to King Georges Hall which is the musical venue. There is also a modern bus station outside the Mall.

Our final stop was the Cathedral. A building of two parts, one old and the other more modern. It was a beautiful day and the sun was streaming through the coloured stain glass in the lantern above the altar. The side windows are plain glass made with a grain giving an impressionists view of the outside. The walls are hung with modern art depicting sacrifice. Over the altar hangs a huge crown of thorns.

Blackburn Cathedral January 2019
Blackburn Cathedral
Blackburn Cathedral January 2019
The Altar and sunlight above at Blackburn Cathedral
Blackburn College January 2019
Blackburn College
Blackburn King Georges Hall
Blackburn King Georges Hall
Blackburn Bus Station
Blackburn Bus Station
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Lancashire Mining Museum, Astley Green

A trip to Astley Green on Saturday 24th November, fortunately a nice day.   Astley Green is a village near Leigh just off the A580, a major road.  The mine was closed in 1970 after some 60 years of work.  The whole area was full of mines and the tunnels of this mine spread around 3 miles east at a depth of a mile.  There’s still plenty of coal down there.

The Mining Museum has been around a long time and the greatest feature is the Mine Head Gear, closely followed by the winding machine which has been carefully restored.

On arrival we were greeted by Marilyn who enthusiastically told us about the mine and then brought in Alan who did a guided tour.   Alan showed us the mining equipment scattered around the site.  The mine walls were held up by metal tunnel structures and the trains that carried coal and miners to and from the pithead were there, as well as cutting machinery.

The pithead structure needs around half a million to restore it and it certainly is impressive.  Next to that is the winding machine that pulled the lifts at up to 60mph, 20mph if with men, which has been magnificently restored.

Lancashire Mining Museum, Astley Green

The Lancashire Mining Museum Pit Head and Winding Room

At the moment work is proceeding on getting the shunting trains going on a track around the site.

Here’s a photo of the pit lift winding machinery, big:Lancashire Mining Museum, Astley Green

There is a dining room and a re-created mining family home and various mining items to see as well.  A tea or coffee was offered at the pop up cafe.

Here’s a photo of guide Alan showing a coalface roof support:Lancashire Mining Museum, Astley Green


Here’s a photo of the carriage that took the miners to the coal face which could be few miles:Lancashire Mining Museum, Astley Green

Map to Lancashire Mining Museum at Astley Green

Map to Lancashire Mining Museum at Astley Green

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Blackpool Illuminated Tram Parade 2018

Plenty of lights with the Blackpool Illuminations and the Illuminated Tram Display.   The old illuminated trams are operated by Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours and include the Western Train, The Fisherman’s Friend Trawler, The Frigate: HMS Blackpool.  Making up the line in the parade is one of the Boat Trams with its pretty lights and Box 40 a 100 year old Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramway tram.   Rides on the illuminated trams at this event are booked ahead and sold out.

The parade has a variety of illuminated vehicles and drummers.  Plus an illuminated dog.

Blackpool Illuminated Tram Parade 25th October 2018


Blackpool Illuminated Tram Parade 25th October 2018

Blackpool Illuminated Tram Parade 25th October 2018


Blackpool Illuminated Tram Parade 25th October 2018

Blackpool Illuminated Tram Parade 25th October 2018

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Keighley Bus Museum and K&W Railway

Keighley Bus Museum Sept 2018

Keighley is halfway between east and west coasts so not a bad trip along the A59 or the M65.  There is a heritage railway, The Keighley and Worth, which has 3 museums and a shed.  There is also a Bus Museum and a real museum called The Cliffe.

We visited the Bus Museum and the Railway Museums in September 2018.  Also the Cliffe Museum a couple of years ago.

Keighley Bus Museum is only open on certain special days.   In September it was a Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning.  The museum is contained in what appears to be an old Bus Garage next to a large stone mill.  Quite an attractive mill with a Tower if you like the stone architecture.   Inside is a collection of running buses mainly ex-Leeds Corporation with a couple of ex-Morecambe and Heysham Buses and some ex-East Yorkshire Buses.  There is also the last Leeds Trolley Bus and plenty of old buses awaiting restoration.   It’s a definitely a garage experience but if you like the old buses worth a trip.

The Keighley and Worth Railway is a stretch of track from Keighley to Oxenhope about 7 miles, with a station at Haworth.   Also a station at Ingrow just outside Keighley where there is a Carriage Museum and a Loco Museum.   At Oxenhope is a Carriage and Loco Museum while Haworth has an engine shed that is occasionally open.   Throughout the year there are timetables for services on the line using steam or diesel and often with a theme such as Halloween, Christmas and Beer trips.

The Bus Museum took about 45 minutes while some 4 hours were spent at the Railway including a return journey.

Keighley & Worth Railway Sept 2018



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Blackpool Air Show 2018

Two great days at the Blackpool Air Show, Saturday and Sunday 11th and 12th August 2018.   A big line up with the  RAF providing the Typhoon, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Pilatus and The Red Arrows on Sunday.    Saturday opening with the Aerosuperbatic Wing Walkers and Blades.

The weather was better on the Saturday although Sunday just had medium cloud locally it prevented the Battle of Britain squadron taking off in Lincolnshire.

Big crowds filled the promenade from North to Central Pier along with stalls for the various teams and supporters.  Trams including the Heritage Trams operated with a walking guide in front due to the crowds.


The programme was:



Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

The Blades


Extra 300L



P51D Mustang



Turbo Team




Extra 300L



P51D Mustang


Battle of Britain Memorial Flight


The Blades

Turbo Team

Red Arrows


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Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2018

Thursday 19th July 2018

Another good year at Tatton Park.  From a spectator point of view it seemed better than usual.  Was it less crowded, it seemed so in the flower tent although it seems to get bigger each year.   Before the show I wondered if there was a fire risk with the dry grass on the car parks and then our journey was blighted by a lorry accident on the M6.  After that the show went well.

Here are some of our photos of the show…



Designer Gardens

School Gardens

Fruit and Vegetables

National Associations


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Very Enjoyable Lake Windermere Boat trip

After a fabulous stretch of weather in May and early June it seems to be turning.   On Tuesday 12th June we decided to take a ‘green’ route boat trip on Windermere.  This takes about 45 minutes going from Ambleside to Wray Castle, Brockholes and then back to Ambleside.   The boat was the Princess of the Lake, sister to the Queen of the Lake and is an attractive old wooden motor boat.

The boat was packed to Wray but many got off there presumably to walk to the Castle or walk along the lake to the Ferry across to Bowness.    Just before departing, at 10.55, the much larger Teal left Ambleside for Bowness and Lakeside,  and on the return we were side by side with Tern, the 1891 boat, so beautiful, very nice styling.

There’s a bit of announcing during the cruise mainly about buildings and a wedding at the Langdale Chase Hotel.  I was most conscious of the scenery being fond of the Fairfield Horseshoe north of Ambleside and the Langdales to the west.  On this day the Langdales were looking superb but no-one else seemed to notice.

Ambleside Small Boat Jetty:Ambleside Boat Tour Princess of the Lakes

Tern, 1891, beautiful boat goes the length of Windermere

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Iconic Harris Art Gallery, Preston, Visit

The Harris in Preston was having a storming week with no less than 5 special presentations during our visit.

The full account is on our Made in Preston blog, click here


Below are some of the photographs from our day:

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Kendal’s Art, Museum, Church

A visit to Kendal in April 2018 specially to go to the Abbot Hall Art Gallery on the way to the Lake District.   The gallery is displaying a Monet which is on loan from the National Gallery of Scotland until 28th April. It also contains a display of impressionists, local art, Gillow furniture and some work related to the Clifford and Romney families who were big in the area.   Another display was of women’s work on farms with video and audio.  The gallery has a cafe which has been updated and serves nice food.


Next door is the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.  It’s main theme at the moment is suffragettes and introducing a term new to me of Suffragist, which is a law abiding women’s right campaigner.  The museum has some nice pieces and a display about Swallows and Amazons written by Arthur Ransome of the Lake District.

Next door again is the parish church of Kendal, Holy Trinity, which is an attractive church open to visit.  It dates back around 900 years in places.


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East Lancashire Railway day out

An enjoyable day at the East Lancs Railway on Thursday 29th March.   Tornado, the 100mph steam loco, was the star of the show hauling full carriages on many trains. Also on duty was the Crab and diesel.  On static display at Bury Bolton Street Station was The Flying Scotsman, steaming and allowing groups onto the footplate, looked popular.  Also City of Wells, which the ELR is hoping to buy, was standing at the platform next to a diesel shunter.

Across the road from the station at Bury is the Bury Transport Museum.  Located in old railway building it contains half a dozen old buses and coaches and railway memorabilia.  Free entry and a cafe.

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Ambleside and Loughrigg

A visit to Ambleside, 2hrs walking on Loughrigg Fell, 1hr lunch at Zeffirelli’s, 1hr shopping.

Our favourites Cunningham’s Outdoor Clothing shop opposite the old bridge house, The Detail shop opposite a pub for nice design items, The Old Bank Chocolate Factory Shop walking towards the garage on the main road, not to be confused with other chocolate shops.

Loughrigg is quite a low fell overlooking Ambleside.  It overlooks the Langdales on one side and Grasmere on the other.

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A sunny February day at Blackpool 2018.

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Blackwell Arts & Craft House, Bowness, nice lunch

Blackwell is a large house overlooking Lake Windermere, built as an arts and craft house in 1900 by the Holts brewing family of Manchester.   We visited in December to have a Christmas Lunch, very good it was, booking essential as it’s not very big and they don’t make many lunches.

The house is styled by Baillie Scott a famous arts and craft architect and designer using a theme of natural products and shapes.  After the meal we had a guided tour which is one of the activities on Friday, with different ones each day.   We learnt a lot about the family and how they lost their eldest son in WW1 and the younger son took over making a big success and founding Christie Hospital in Manchester as well.

On a sunny day the views and light are excellent.  The house was built so the main windows look south and over the lake to make the most of the light.  There are other exhibitions in the house, the current one is Women in the Art and Craft Movement.

Blackwell Arts and Craft House, near Bowness

Blackwell Arts and Craft House, near Bowness

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The Fylde Gallery, Lytham, bright display

The Fylde Gallery is an attractive and small place upstairs in Booths store at Lytham.  It has a regular change of exhibition.   In November 2017 a display by Jeffrey Hammond showed us his bright and large acrylic paintwork of local scenes and some further afield.   To add flavour let it be known that Jeffrey played bass in Jethro Tull for a while in their heyday and lives locally.

Blackpool features strongly and these are really in your face when you first go in:

The Fylde Gallery Lytham, Jeffrey Hammon Exhibition,  Nov 2017

The Fylde Gallery, Lytham

The Fylde Gallery, Lytham


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Gresgarth Hall Gardens near Lancaster

Gresgarth Hall, where is that?  That’s what I said.  About 5 miles east of Lancaster on the road to Kirkby Lonsdale, turn right at Caton and there it is.   On a bend the long tree lined drive hides the house.

It’s only open once a month and closed in winter and only the gardens are open.  They’re very nice gardens though.  Designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd; a valley laced with paths, follies, trees planted to show off their bark, pretty bridges over a stream and sudden views.  12 acres.

Well worth the trip and afterwards we drove to Kirkby Lonsdale and wandered through the churchyard to see Ruskin’s View.  Lovely place Kirkby Lonsdale.   Other options are Devil’s Bridge which is a walk along the river bank or a walk from the market square along a ginnel doing both is a nice circle.Gresgarth Hall Gardens

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Williamson Park, Lancaster

Under a mile from Lancaster city centre up a hill is Williamson Park, a small lake and fountain, a wooded area, the Ashton Memorial, Butterfly House, aviary, mammal house and cafe.  Most of all there is a scenic view of the Lake District and Morecambe Bay across to Barrow, Blackpool Tower is visible.

On an cold November day we were privileged with a clear view.  Climbing up the Ashton Memorial gave an even better view.   The cafe was fairly busy as was the Butterfly House which is worth going to see.

The view from Williamson Park, Lancaster

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East Lancashire Railway and The Whitaker Museum

A visit to the ELR on Saturday 14th October for the Steam Event.  Running were ex Southern 34092 City of Wells and ex-LNER 60009 Union of South Africa plus some local locos.

We drove to Rawtenstall which is the nearest station and taking a wrong turning came upon a shopping area that has a big car park for the M&S Food, Aldi, Costa etc and a convenient path to the station.   Tickets on a steam day are £13.20 each and we boarded the 10.30 hauled by 34092 which was looking very smart in dark green.    Arriving at Ramsbottom it was found the loco had a ‘hot axle’ so after a short wait it was replaced by 52392 which must have been a big disappointment to the dozens of photographers strategically positioned on the hills along the track.  Well I’m thinking that could have been me as I was thinking of getting some trackside shots. I wonder who owns the loco and how much it costs to do a repair like that.

34092 City of Wells at Rawtenstall

Arriving at Bury the train was 25 minutes late so emergency measures were taken for those who wanted to take Union of South Africa back.  They were told to run across the track while stewards made sure they went safely.  The platform was packed with enthusiasts and 60009 was looking magnificent, the shape of the loco, its curves are beautifully designed and metalwork beautifully formed.

60009 Union of South Africa at Bury

We stayed at on the station and had refreshment, there were a lot of stall holders selling railway memorabilia.  Plenty of beer being drunk as well as the tea.   We waited for 13000 to arrive and some exchange was done to haul the train to Heywood.    We had intended to visit the Bury Transport Museum but had got behind schedule so decided to get the train back so we could visit The Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery in Rawtenstall.

Getting back to the car we were able to do some shopping then drive to the Whitaker which is about half a mile from the station.   It’s a smallish building in a park on the side of a hill.  Formerly a mill owners house it contains a cafe, museum and art gallery.  The cafe serves very good food and is quite stylish although service was slow on that day.  It was busy.  The art gallery had a local artist’s open display.  The quality was high and obviously selective with prices also quite high.  The museum is fairly small but interesting with some Horrocks displays similar to what I’ve seen at Queen Street Mill Museum in Burnley.  The museum is good if you’re nearby but not worth a journey.

Overall it was a good day and one that will be repeated although perhaps getting the 9.30 train would give more time as we like to be home by 4.

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Northern Powerhouse v Midlands Engine

Traditionally Birmingham has been known as the ‘second city’ after London.  For the last 20 years Manchester’s star has been rising and it now makes a valid claim to be second city.  The Northern Powerhouse seemed to support this call and the devolved powers given to Manchester both promoted by George Osborne.

Yet behind the scenes the Midland Engine project is getting a lot of infrastructure investment.  This covers Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester and the area of the Midlands between Shropshire and Lincolnshire.  Birmingham will be the first to get improved High Speed Rail services making it a nod away from London and freeing up other routes, and many banks are re-locating to Birmingham.

Manchester was King Cotton and Birmingham was the workshop to the world. Both are great centres.  Both have lost their original purpose.  Manchester has appeared to be more successful in re-inventing itself sometimes it seems on the back of its soccer teams and the music of the 90s.   The airport is much more successful than any in the Midlands and that is a driver of investment.  The transfer, reluctantly, of the BBC studios to Manchester (Salford actually) also brought some prestige.

Also in the north is Leeds which, with Yorkshire swagger, also makes claims to greatness.  Quite a number of financial companies are in Leeds.  Improving links between Manchester and Leeds is one of the Northern Powerhouse targets.  So called High Speed 3.  Viewed from the north lack of east-west transport investment has long been a difficulty yet it can seem local rivalries almost encourage keeping each other at arms length.

It seems that Birmingham is currently a place to watch although Manchester’s devolved powers might give it another surge and will links to Leeds create emphasis the powerhouse.  Interesting times.

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