Dollar – The Bald Eagle

Anyone who follows my Facebook page or even follows my posts here knows, one of my favourite places to go is the Raptor Foundation.

My first visit was back back in January 2012, just after I had purchased my Fujifilm HS20. From that very first day one of my favourite birds was Dollar, a bald eagle. He was one of the first birds I saw, and couldn’t help but be captured by his presence.

Dollar made an impression on all of my family. My daughter (who wasn’t quite 4 at the time of our first visit) referred to him for the next few visits as ‘the grumpy bird’. Needless to say he wasn’t grumpy, it was just the natural look of eagles – fierce.

This was one of the first photos I took of Dollar, and is still one of my favourites.

2012-01 copy

Dollar had already been resident for some time having been rescued from an abusive home. There were a number of health issues as a result, these were now being looked after properly at the foundation.

Unfortunately towards the start of July Dollar passed away at the age of 14 years after a short illness. I won’t write anymore about Dollar as I could not do him justice – you can read the post from the Raptor Foundation on Instagram announcing his death (linked below) and you will see the impression he made of all of his carers and visitors alike.

The Raptor Foundation on Instagram: “Dollar 30/9/2006 – 3/7/2021 ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ This is a eulogy we had not imagined writing for many years yet to come, but here we…”

Instead I have spent time looking through the collection of photos I have of Dollar, and have re-worked some photos shared before, and also worked on some photos I haven’t shared before.

The following photos were taken at various times between now and September last year, which was the last time I was able to go to the Raptor Foundation.

Raptor Photography Day 452 copy
2017-10-25 Raptor Foundation 367 copy1
Raptor Photography Day 446 copy
Raptor Photography Day 454 copy
Raptor Photography Day 184 copy
Raptor Photography Day 166 copy
Raptor Photography Day 185 copy
X-E2 Raptor 608 copy
2020-09-19 Raptor Photo Day 933 copy
2020-09-19 Raptor Photo Day 941 copy

Having started with one of the first pictures I took of Dollar, I will finish with one of the last I took.

2020-09-19 Raptor Photo Day 951 copy

Dollar will be missed by all those who have visited the centre, and particularly by the staff and volunteers that have looked after him over the years.

The staff and volunteers spend a lot of time with the birds that are permanently resident at the Raptor Foundation as well as the birds they nurse back to health and re-habilitate in their hospital. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for any loss like this.

A Pleasant Surprise

So I had a pleasant surprise today. I occasionally enter the monthly photography competition run by Picture Frames Express.

June’s months theme was Gardening. Having been taking a few photos of flowers in the garden recently I thought I’d enter one of these, and ended up choosing this one:

I had an email today saying that I had received the Runner Up prize – a £50 voucher to spend with Picture Frames Express. Needless to say I was pretty chuffed by this.

You can see the winner and the other top 10 entries on the Picture Frames Express blog post here: Gardening Photo Competition Results

This is the second time I have won something from Picture Frames Express, the other time being back in August 2015 when I was one of the top 10 in the Symmetry competition.

Now it’s time to get looking to see what frame (or frames) to get and what to print to go in it (or them).

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #4

With all the uncertainty at the moment and lock downs as a result of COVID-19 I thought – as have a number of others – it might be nice to shine a spotlight on places that you miss going to because you are currently not allowed.

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again. Please see the end of this post for further details.

This time is our nearest heritage railway: Nene Valley Railway – https://nvr.org.uk/

2020-03-07 NVR 036 copy

Whilst I am by no means knowledgeable about trains, steam trains are fantastic to see, hear and smell. I’m happy to find an excuse to go and have a wander around the Wansford station home of the NVR even if I don’t necessarily go on them – platform tickets are always available even if it’s a day when the trains aren’t running.

So a bit of a history then first off.

In 1968 steam power was withdrawn from British Rail service. Local clergyman Richard Patten bought Class 5 steam locomotive 73050 for its scrap value, intending to have it put on display outside the Peterborough Technical College as a tribute to Peterborough’s railway history.

NVR 73050 and 92212

As it turned out 73050 was still in good working order so instead of being moth-balled for display the train was restored to full working order, leading to the Peterborough Locomotive Society being formed by enthusiasts to do it. Work began at Baker Perkins Ltd before the locomotive was moved to the British Sugar site on Oundle Road which had an internal railway system. It was also adjacent to what would become part of the Nene Valley Railway.

One of the locomotives resident at the British Sugar site was a small, hard working, and blue Hudswell Clarke numbered 1800. Reverend W Awdry was relatively local to the area and being a keen train enthusiast for a long time was aware of this little train, and in 1971 he named it Thomas. Locomotive 1800 was built in 1947, 2 years after the first Thomas books were published, so whilst it was not the train Thomas was based on, it is often considered the ‘real’ Thomas.

2016-08-27 X-E2 NVR 075 copy

2016-08-27 X-E2 NVR 060 copy

After being named Thomas, 1800 was looked after by the PLS which had been replaced with a diesel engine by the British Sugar Corporation.

Soon after this PLS was renamed as the Peterborough Railway Society and purchased another locomotive (a Hunslet called Jack’s Green) and what was to become the Nene Valley Railway began its life.

As you would expect there was a lot of work to be done including rebuilding missing sections of track, restoration or building of new station buildings as well as purchase of the relevant land. But gradually the line extended, more stock was obtained, and eventually reached the stage it is at now, with stations at Yarwell, Wansford, Ferry Meadows, Orton Mere, and Peterborough. The line is currently 7.5 miles (12.1km) long.

There is also a connection to the mainline which makes it easier for those mainline certified steam engines to come to NVR rather than having to be brought in on a lorry.

2017-05-14 NVR 031 copy

There are a number of societies based at Wansford now which all work with or are a part of NVR, continuing to restore stock and other parts of the railway.

There are a number of projects either on the go or in the pipeline, one of which is to restore the old listed station building at Wansford. Part of this plan is to recreate a Victorian ticket office and also to have a museum in the building.

For information on this and other projects and also some of the groups at Wansford please see the NVR website.

The NVR line has been used in a number TV shows, films, and music videos over the years.

In film, two notable uses were on the James Bond films Octopussy (starring Roger Moore as Bond) and Goldeneye (starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond).

The train that crashed into the car is still at the Wansford station (below) though this has not run for some years – not because of the film though. The train appears at 2:09. In fact, just after this where the car is seen landing in the water this is the bridge over the River Nene just outside Wansford station.

There are numerous TV appearances made by NVR, in documentaries, news, drama and even in reality TV. Such examples including London’s Burning, Casualty, Murder on the Orient Express (starring David Suchet as Poirot), Silent Witness, Cash in the Attic, and many more.

Probably the most notable appearance in a video was for Breakthru by Queen (though the train had was from the collection at Didcot and not part of the NVR):

A list of all filming done at NVR can be found here: https://nvr.org.uk/article.php/17/filming-at-nvr/

All of these appearances together with the money raised by visitors goes towards the ongoing preservation of all of the locomotives, carriages, and wagons as well as the buildings and trainline itself.

Locomotive City of Peterborough itself is currently undergoing a major overhaul and restoration. The boiler is in need of some major work and the cost the last I heard is expected to be about £500,000 for the boiler alone.

The picture below is of City of Peterborough soon after it went in for the overhaul and was only just being taken apart. The locomotive is currently in a very large number of pieces.

2017-05-14 NVR 040 copy sig

Whilst Thomas is in good working order (having returned to service in 2016 following a 2.5 year restoration) it only pulls trains from Wansford to Yarwell and back.

The rest of the services to Peterborough and back are pulled by either visiting locomotives or by locomotive 34081 ’92 Squadron’. This is a Bulleid ‘Battle of Britain’ class pacific locomotive 34081 ’92 Squadron’ owned by Battle of Britain Locomotive Society which is based out of Wansford.

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2017-02-26 NVR 103 copy

Throughout the year (normally, obviously not at the moment) there are a number of special event weekends and experiences available. Details for all of the upcoming events and experiences can be found on the website.

As mentioned above there are often visiting engines, especially for these event weekends.

Below are a few pictures of locomotives that have visited in recent years.

Below is A4 pacific class 60009 Union of South Africa. This is the same class as the Mallard, the worlds fastest steam powered train. I believe the class holds a selection of other records as well. Only 6 are left in the world out of the 35 built.

Union of South Africa in Peterborough

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Tornado is a regular visitor to the NVR. This is a replica A1 class – the last A1 was scrapped in 1966 – with the project being started in 1990. The construction started in 1994 and was completed in 2008.

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In 2018 Tornado had an extended stay at the NVR after it broke down near Peterborough. With the mainline connection and a very knowledgeable maintenance crew it was a good place to go for repairs to be made. Below you can see Tornado after the repairs had been made and it was waiting for some running in to check repairs before return to service.

Tornado in for Repairs

This also happened to the Flying Scotsman in October 2017.

Scotsman in for repairs

Flying Scotsman has visited the NVR on occasion as well. The last time – October 2019 – saw sell out trains all day. In addition to this during the time it was in Wansford you could also visit the foot plate for a chat with one the team that came with Flying Scotsman from the NRM. After this you could then walk down the passage alongside the tender that the crew used to use to leave the foot plate to get some rest on the longest journeys it would do.

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The last event before lockdown began was for the 70th anniversary of the last Pannier engine leaving the Swindon Works.

2020-03-07 NVR 060 copy

2020-03-07 NVR 005 copy

My son is often by my side for these trips as he loves seeing the trains.

2020-03-07 NVR 024

In addition to the Pannier at this event, there was a Class 14 diesel – this was the locomotive that replaced the Pannier in service.

2020-03-07 NVR 067 copy

These aren’t just limited to steam locomotives either. Heritage diesel locomotives are also at NVR and particularly at the height of summer when steam use is restricted are joined by visiting diesel locomotives. The use of the steam locos is sometimes restricted in the summer some years (when the weather has been particularly hot and dry) to reduce fire hazards.

2017-04-29 NVR 034 copy

2016-08-27 X-E2 NVR 103 copy

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again.

Donations can be made through the NVR website – a link is available on the home page to where you can make donations:

https://nvr.org.uk/

If you like any of these photos and would be interested in purchasing any prints please let me know via the comments below, Twitter, or Facebook. I also have a substantial number of photos that have not been posted anywhere so if let me know if you would like to know what else is available. A portion of the profits will be sent to NVR on your behalf.

2016-08-27 X-E2 NVR 078 copy

Thank you for reading, the next part in this series will follow in the next few of days.

You can find the other parts of this series here:

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #1 – The Raptor Foundation

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #2 – Peterborough Cathedral

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #3 – Hamerton Zoo Park

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #3

With all the uncertainty at the moment and lock downs as a result of COVID-19 I thought – as have a number of others – it might be nice to shine a spotlight on places that you miss going to because you are currently not allowed.

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again. Please see the end of this post for further details.

This time is another local wildlife park: Hamerton Zoo Park – https://www.hamertonzoopark.com/

One of the funniest memories was from an early visit so I’ll start with that. Getting out of the car we could immediately hear some clamour of some sort but didn’t know what it was. After entering Hamerton we decided to follow the noise to see what it was. It turned out to be these Lar Gibbons:

This is a continually developing place and has changed a lot over the years with more changes in the pipeline as well.

As you would expect of any zoo type establishment, there is a wide variety of animals to see, so there are plenty of things for everyone to see, so I’m not going to say too much more, but here are a selection of pictures from over the years.

Whilst the photos have only just been uploaded they have been taken at various times over the last 6-7 years.

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again.

There is a page linked on the Hamerton Zoo Park website for donations to be made:

https://www.hamertonzoopark.com/news/donate_please/

If you like any of these photos and would be interested in purchasing any prints please let me know via the comments below, Twitter, or Facebook. I also have a substantial number of photos that have not been posted anywhere so if let me know if you would like to know what else is available. A portion of the profits will be sent to Hamerton Zoo Park on your behalf.

Thank you for reading,the next part in this series will follow in the next few of days.

You can find the other parts of this series here:

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #1 – The Raptor Foundation

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #2 – Peterborough Cathedral

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #4 – Nene Valley Railway

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #2

With all the uncertainty at the moment and lock downs as a result of COVID-19 I thought – as have a number of others – it might be nice to shine a spotlight on places that you miss going to because you are currently not allowed.

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again. Please see the end of this post for further details.

This time I am taking a look at somewhere that I have probably spent time photographing more than anywhere else: Peterborough Cathedral – http://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/

Some of the following photos will be new to the blog, but as you will see they are not necessarily new photos. Most of these have been shared from my Facebook page – a little different to my usual sharing habits to see how it works.

Having lived in Peterborough most of my life I have always known Peterborough Cathedral, but when I was younger I never went in there for anything other than school trips or services (I went to The King’s School, which is also known as The Cathedral School and was still in the Cathedral precincts until it moved in 1885).

After getting my camera I started going for a few visits and was soon hooked. There’s so much to see that as many times as I have been I still spot something new every time.

Formerly a great abbey, the Cathedral was formally established in 1541. The present building, however, is much older. It was begun in 1118 after a fire destroyed the previous building in 1116. The monastery had been founded in 655.

I’m not going to go too much more into the history as you can read it all in a previous post of mine (https://neiltorrphotography.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/peterborough-cathedral/), and most of the information there can from the Cathedral website on the history page (https://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/history.aspx).

If you want to read some more in depth information and recent research into Peterborough Cathedral then Peterborough Cathedral: A Glimpse of Heaven by Dr Jonathan Foyle is well worth a look:

Review: https://thetudortravelguide.com/2018/06/09/peterborough-cathedral-a-glimpse-of-heaven-by-jonathan-foyle/

The Cathedral is often host to events and displays of various sorts.

In 2018 one of the highlights for me was the a visit from the Soyuz Capsule that brought Tim Peake home from the ISS together with the spacesuit he wore whilst travelling,

Tim Peake's Soyuz

Tim Peake's Space Suit

This was also joined for a couple of weeks by Luke Jerram’s spectacular Museum of the Moon.

With the capsule now being on permanent display at the Science Museum this remains a unique pairing of the the Soyuz capsule and Museum of the Moon in the same place at the same time.

Along similar lines last year saw Luke Jerram’s Gaia being displayed.

You can find out more about Luke Jerram and his work on his website: https://www.lukejerram.com/

This year was to see the visit of the T.rex: The Killer Question exhibition by The Natural History Museum. Currently it is still expected to go ahead as this is not to start until 20 July. This could change depending on how the situation unfolds but hopefully this is far enough away that it won’t be affected.

Here are a few of my favourite photos from Peterborough Cathedral.

Looking Up without zoom

Peterborough Cathedral from the South

One more quick story before I finish this blog post was a very pleasant surprise I had towards the end of last year.

I have done a few jobs in passing for the Cathedral, taking a few photos here and there for them. A few of these they have used in various publications aside from their own which has been very pleasing. But last year whist visiting my Dad in Peterborough I spotted an envelope not long put through the door.

Just from a quick glance I thought I recognised the photo, and on closer inspection it was one of mine, complete with credit on the envelope.

That was very pleasing in itself but perhaps more so because of the charity involved. My Mum lived with kidney failure for many years before she passed away a few years ago. To see one of my photos being used to advertise an event being held by Peterborough Cathedral in partnership with Kidney Research UK really made my day.

I have a number of photos from the Raptor Foundation, this is only a very small selection. You can find more on my Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/NeilTorrPhotography/

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again.

There is a page linked on Peterborough Cathedral website for donations to be made:

https://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/home/donate.aspx

Should you be so inclined here is the page for the Kidney Research UK donation as well:

https://kidneyresearchuk.org/support/donate/

If you like any of these photos and would be interested in purchasing any prints please let me know via the comments below, Twitter, or Facebook. I also have a substantial number of photos that have not been posted anywhere so if let me know if you would like to know what else is available. A portion of the profits will be sent to Peterborough Cathedral on your behalf.

You can find the other parts of the series here:

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #1 – The Raptor Foundation

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #3 – Hamerton Zoo Park

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #4 – Nene Valley Railway

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #1

With all the uncertainty at the moment and lock downs as a result of COVID-19 I thought – as have a number of others – it might be nice to shine a spotlight on places that you miss going to because you are currently not allowed.

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again. Please see the end of this post for further details.

I’m starting off with a place where I had one of my first days out after buying myself a camera: The Raptor Foundation – http://raptorfoundation.org.uk/

The following photos will mostly be new to the blog, but as you will see they are not new photos. Most of these have been shared from my Facebook page – a little different to my usual sharing habits to see how it works.

In honesty I have’t been here for a while, but it is coming to the time of year that I would usually try to have a couple of days out.

 

I have always liked visiting here. There is a lot to see with two or three flying displays depending on the time of year, friendly staff, nice layout, and beautiful birds to see. There is also a small reptile and insect house with some meerkats as well.

In addition to being a good day out there is also the satisfaction of knowing you are helping support a rescue centre and hospital for wild birds as well as re-homing pets that owners have decided they can’t cope with any more.

 

There is a wide selection of birds to see, almost all of the birds of prey with the exception of a kookaburra.

 

There are lots of varieties of eagles, hawks, and owls in all sizes, ranging from burrowing owls to a golden eagle.

 

 

Here is a selection of some of favourite shots from The Raptor Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm watching you!

 

X-E2 Raptor 491 copy

 

Tempest the Red Tailed Hawk

 

Dollar the Bald Eagle

I have a number of photos from the Raptor Foundation, this is only a very small selection. You can find more on my Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/NeilTorrPhotography/

Part of the reason for sharing the places I will be listing is that in the current climate they will be struggling to survive as they all rely on income generated by visitors and wanting to share ways that they can be helped, or even just raising awareness of these places so that when restrictions are lifted people may go to visit them again.

There is a page linked on The Raptor Foundation website for donations to be made:

https://raptorfoundation.dahosting.co.uk/index.php?route=product/category&path=68

Donations can also be made from purchases on Amazon Smile by selecting the Raptor Foundation as your chosen charity.

If you like any of these photos and would be interested in purchasing any prints please let me know via the comments below, Twitter, or Facebook. A portion of the profits will be sent to the Raptor Foundation on your behalf.

Thank you for reading, you can see the other parts of this series here:

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #2 – Peterborough Cathedral

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #3 – Hamerton Zoon Park

Places I Miss Because of COVID-19 #4 – Nene Valley Railway

English Heritage 2nd Year of Membership – still bloody great value

Re-posting of an old blog from 2013.

We have a family membership for English Heritage. We originally joined back in 2011, and apart from a couple of years in the middle we have been members ever since.

I have previously reposted a blog from the old Fujifilm site about our first year of membership (English Heritage membership – what bloody great value!). I also did one for our second year which I recently realised I did not re-blog here as I have with the other old blogs.

In an attempt to get started on the blogging again I am posting this below now as I am also going to do a similar thing for recent years memberships because, as the title suggests – English Heritage membership is still bloody great value.

As with other old posts the photos have been unchanged and there was no editing at the time. The only minor changes are to a few bits of text.

Needless to say prices were correct at the original time of writing this post and have since changed.

So another year of English Heritage membership has been and gone. We didn’t manage as much as last year but it was still worth every penny of the £82 for joint membership without the shadow of a doubt. If you didn’t see last year’s blog it can be found here:

English Heritage membership – what bloody great value!

As with last year (which was actually 15 months thanks to an introductory offer) I thought I would give a round up of what we have done with our English Heritage Membership to show just how good value it is. Below is Kenilworth Castle, more on this later.

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First stop was Warwick Castle. Not actually an English Heritage site.

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But as with last year it is still an associated site, and still 2 for 1 entry for EH members.

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So as well as the castle we got to see the jousting…

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…and associated horse…

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…and fighting skills.

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There was a talk given by The Warwick Warriors about differences between Hollywood fight scenes and how it would really have happened.

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With a few japes along the way.

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The a birds of prey display.

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And the firing of the trebuchet. So one day and already we had saved £22.80 towards the membership.

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The next stop was another associated site – IWM Duxford. Seen here is the Junkers Ju-52.

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Duxford is a place I hadn’t been to in a long time. This is Sally B, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.

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With lots of new (since I last went that is) exhibits to see like this Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird in the American Air Museum. The American Air Museum was itself new since I last went.

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This was another 2 for 1 entry with EH membership and so another £17.50 saved towards the EH membership. Running total £40.30 – already almost halfway to making the money back.

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Next up was the first EH site – Kenilworth Castle.

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Beth enjoyed listening to the audio tour here.

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A castle was first built on this site in the 1120s by the royal chamberlain, Geoffrey de Clinton, who built the Norman keep and nearby priory. This was then extended by King John adding the outer walls and a dam to hold back a man-made lake.

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After this the castle was developed as a palace.

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The gardens were part of a number of elaborate improvements made at the behest of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to receive Elizabeth I. The gardens were recently restored by EH from contemporary descriptions of the garden.

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The fortifications were pulled down after the civil war in 1650.

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The only part of the castle left largely in tact is Leicester’s Gatehouse. This was actually occupied until the 1930’s.

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This will be one we definitely want to go back to as there have been new viewing platforms opened on the levels of a building built specifically for Elizabeth I’s visit. This is quite a big property, entry would have been £9 each for Jo and I – Beth would still have been free as children do not need to pay until 5 years old – two years older than most other places seem to be these days – so thats another £18 towards the membership. Running total now £58.30.

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The next EH day was one I did on my own in March. The reason being it was a photography day I had been bought by my family. It was at Bolsover Castle and cost was about £70 – this was however only open to EH members.

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The weather unfortunately was not great, but that did mean the opportunity for some rather atmospheric shots. We spent the morning outside before having the main lessons for the day in a bit of a re-arrangement of the normal day as the weather for the afternoon was due to be rain.

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Details about Bolsover Castle can be found in my previous English Heritage blog.

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The keep is in wonderful condition, with lots of decorations still in place.

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And some very elaborate fireplaces.

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Leaving Bolsover, dusk was setting in and the mist left me with this parting shot. I’m not going to add this to the total as it would skew it unfairly, but will mention this again later.

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The next EH day was a very short stretch of the legs around Berwick-upon-Tweed Castle towards the end of March as a break from the car journey up to Edinburgh.

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Originally built in the early 1100s the castle changed hands between the Scottish and the English for several times in the following centuries.

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Though already in ruins a lot of the castle was removed during building of the rail line. The castle was superseded as the main defensive tool by extensive earthworks all around the town and the full circuit can be walked, though we only walked around the site of the castle. This was free to look around.

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The next EH related day was another associated site. As a member of EH for more than one year we get free entry into the Historic Scotland sites – in this case Edinburgh Castle.

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This is the site of settlements from as far back as approximately 900BC with evidence of bronze age homes on Castle Rock. The first castle was built in the 1100s, though there were hill forts before this.

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The castle was a royal residence from being built until around 1600 after which it became more important as a military base and it still garrisons troops today as well as the numerous exhibits about the history of Scotland and the castle.

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Being in such a prominent position on Castle Rock you can see the castle perhaps from more places than not in Edinburgh.

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This was a quite spectacular saving of £16 each giving a running total now of £90.30 towards membership. Already more than we actually spent on the membership.

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The next EH day was in early May, and back to a firm favourite of ours – Kirby Hall. Details can be found in the blog of last year’s membership.

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The peacocks were showing off well this time.

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Large grounds for little people to wear their legs out.

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This was another £5.60 each towards the already recovered membership. Running total now up to £101.50

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On to July and the next stop was a first time visit to Brodsworth Hall and Gardens. The hall itself has recently been passed to EH for management and restoration. There are areas of the house unfortunately damaged through years of neglect from hard times, but now further damage is being prevented.

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It was two pictures from fellow Fuji user Paul Jensen that prompted me to look at Brodsworth Hall. One a not too dissimilar shot to this one:

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The gardens at Brodsworth are quite spectacular.

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This was another £9.60 each towards the membership, now totalling £120.70

 

The final EH day from this year’s membership was a brief visit to Ashby de la Zouch Castle to see some friends. This was a jousting day although we did not actually stay to see the jousting.

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Built as a manner house in the 12th Century it reached castle status in the 15th Century, though the final design was never full built, with only one tower being completed.

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You can still access the top of the tower as there is one staircase still in tact with the help of some restoration. It is one of the tallest towers of its type in the UK and you can see for quite some way. It is 98 steps to the top.

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A set of stairs in the adjoining chapel – they don’t go much higher than this any more

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This was a further £4.60 each towards the membership.

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This was the end of another great year’s membership. Though we did not do anywhere near as much as last year, you can see we comfortably made the money back. The final total being £129.90 saved towards membership – £47.90 more than the membership cost.

Even including the photography day it was only about £25 additional to the membership when offset against the money saved. Comparing the two years together that still meant an overall saving of £70 over the two years. How amazing is that?

More detailed blogs are available from my visits to IWM Duxford (A Day at IWM Duxford) and Warwick Castle (Jousting at Warwick Castle – Sept 2012).

We are EH members again this year and so I dare say there will be another blog like this at some point after July next year. Once again I cannot state enough just how much we have enjoyed our membership and are looking forward to another great year.

I hope you have enjoyed this whistle stop tour as much as we did, any comments you have would be greatly appreciated.

A Few Photos of Peterborough

i recently had a few photos featured on the Peterborough Loves website – you can see the specific post at the link below:

http://www.peterboroughloves.co.uk/peterborough-loves-great-photos-local-photography-neil-torr/

 

I sent them in as I had been asked to send a few as I keep in touch with the person who runs the site. It’s nice to see someone promoting Peterborough and particularly local societies and clubs. I have previously had my blog post about Peterborough Cathedral re-blogged on the site (http://www.peterboroughloves.co.uk/brief-timeline-history-900-year-old-hidden-gem-peterborough-cathedral-neil-torr/ – my original post here: https://neiltorrphotography.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/peterborough-cathedral/) and having done the promotional photography for the Peterborough Gilbert & Sullivan Society I also arranged for them to publish an editorial written by the society which used some of the photos (http://www.peterboroughloves.co.uk/peterborough-gilbert-sullivan-players-celebrate-94th-year-two-semi-staged-performances-mikado/)

 

There weren’t many photos I sent and they are of some quite different things so I thought it might be nice to explain some of the photos to those who don’t know the area or perhaps don’t even know what some of the photos are of.

I’ll leave the header photo for the time being and come back to that as it features later in the thread.

 

Gunwade Lake

The photo above was taken in Ferry Meadows, a part of Nene Park, this particular lake being Gunwade Lake. It is the largest of the three in Ferry Meadows and is used for the water sports centre, so if you go during the day there will often be boats or canoes and so on.

 

Cathedral Square Feb 2018

This photo is of the Guildhall (or Butter Cross) and St John’s Church (the historical parish church of Peterborough) in Cathedral Square right in the centre of Peterborough.

The Guildhall was built in 1669 as a market building, but has also served as the town hall (1874-1933). The building is Grade II listed.

St John’s Church has been serving the city since 1407 and is still in use today. The church is Grade I listed.

 

Cathedral Square Through the Norman Arch - Feb 2018

This photo as you can see also features the Guildhall and St John’s Church, but this time the photo is taken from with the Cathedral precincts looking through the Norman Arch. The arch dates back to the 12th century, with the gates dating back to the 13th century and at roughly 800 years are believed to the oldest pair of working gates in England.

 

West Front - Feb 2018

This is the west front of Peterborough Cathedral. This was taken just after a talk given by Dr Jonathan Foyle as part of the release of his new book A Glimpse of Heaven which delves into some of the history of Peterborough Cathedral including new findings from recent research conducted.

 

Peterborough Cathedral from the South

This photo is taken from the embankment to the south of the Cathedral. I was asked to take a photo of the view with the possibility of it being used in the book named above, A Glimpse of Heaven. Unfortunately it was not quite what they were after but never the less it was a photo I was very pleased with.

 

City of Peterborough

This is locomotive 73050, City of Peterborough. This was the first train to be retained at the start of what was to become the Nene Valley Railway (NVR). Originally bought for scrap value to go on a plinth outside the local technical college, it was found to be in good condition and so money was raised to restore it. This photo was taken as work was beginning on an overhaul to bring it back into working order. 73050 was withdrawn from use on NVR in 2014 due to the expiry of its boiler ticket and was in storage at the Wansford NVR yard whilst funds were raised to begin the restoration. Since this photo was taken the locomotive is now in many pieces in the shed as work progresses. City of Peterborough is not expected to return to service until 2021.

 

Swedish Class B 4-6-0 No. 101

The train above is a Swedish Class B 4-6-0 Express Locomotive. Built in 1944 to a design from 1909 it was withdrawn from service in 1958, and after being mothballed was to be scrapped in 1979. NVR bought the locomotive and after a short restoration it was entered service on the NVR and became a favourite with film makers.

The NVR has often been used for filming, featuring in a number of TV series, films, and documentaries – a list can be found here: http://www.nvr.org.uk/filming

Amongst the many listed appearances there are two Bond films, the first being Octopussy, featuring Roger Moore as James Bond.

This particular locomotive was used during a chase scene where it was to collide with a Mercedes that Bond was driving along the tracks. You can see the clip below – the train appears at 2 minutes 9 seconds.

This particular train is currently awaiting some much needed restoration, but is open to access the drivers cab – this is a favourite of my kids to go and see.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, I hope you have found it interesting.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transformation

I decided that perhaps responding to the weekly photo challenge in the correct week was actually quite nice, so I thought I’d do it again. So here is my response to this weeks challenge: Transformation.

Water is perhaps one of the more obviously changeable things around. Whether it’s as a gas, liquid or solid, water is around us all the time.

In between Christmas and New year last year we had a particularly cold snap (for our area of the UK at least). In the garden was an empty sand table that the lid had blown off and filled with water. Over night the temperatures dropped very low as you might expect in winter and the water froze. Being a curios soul I decided to see how thick the ice was. It was perhaps an inch and a half thick, so not really that bad. But there were some very interesting shapes that had formed leading down from the surface ice along the side of the sand table. Part of the reason it had been so cold overnight was a complete lack of cloud, so early morning came with bright sunshine.

The camera came out at the suggestion of my wife and I decided to do what shouldn’t really be done. I was taking photos looking very close to the direction of the sun, this gave some very interesting light patterns  It also meant that these delicate shapes started to melt quite quickly so as well as the ice and sun shining through there are also water drops forming.

Ice Formations 3

Ice Formations 2

Ice Formations 1

One more quick example using water again. The same day these photos were taken I went for a quick walk around the village. Bunches of flowers had been out overnight and so a thick layer of frost and ice had formed on them. Again as I was taking pictures the ice was melting to water:

Frosty Rose

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed these photos.

Peterborough Cathedral

Those of you who have read much of my blog will know that one of my favourite subjects to photograph is Peterborough Cathedral. Right in the centre of Peterborough, it is something of a hidden gem. I thought it was time to show some more photos of the Cathedral and that now might be a good time to give a (brief) history timeline to the Cathedral and the part it played in Peterborough’s beginnings. The information that follows is largely from the Cathedral website (http://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/), with some additional items from the visitor centre on the Cathedral grounds.

The photos in the blog won’t necessarily relate directly to the text around them, but those that do should be obvious. Should you have any questions about them please do not hesitate to ask and I shall do my best to answer any questions.

Galilee Porch - New Doors

The site of Peterborough Cathedral (more properly Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew, but also known as St Peter’s Cathedral) first became a religious site in 655AD when a monastery called Medeswell (later Medehamstede which translates to “the home in the water meadows”) was founded by Saxulf with the aid of Peada, King of the Middle Angles and son of Penda the King of Mercia. During this time Mercia was a pagan Saxon kingdom. The founding of a religious house by Christian missionaries was allowed as part of a marriage contract with neighbouring Christian kingdom of Northumbria.

Reflections on the Cross

This original monastery was attacked and destroyed in 870AD, likely by Viking invaders possibly led by Ivar the Boneless, though there is some doubt as to exactly who was responsible. There is a relic of this monastery visible in the Cathedral today, the Hedda Stone, and can be found in the New Building.

Hedda Stone

In approximately 970AD a new monastery is founded by King Edgar and Bishop Aethelwold of Winchester as a Benedictine house, part of a programme to evangelise the Danelaw. During this time a township starts to appear on the east side of the precincts. The precincts are enclosed by a ditched and embanked wall.

Between the years 1006 and 1055 Abbot Aelfsy collects holy relics including those of saints Kyneburga, Kyneswitha and Tibba. Also during this time  in an effort to gain favour from with his abbot a monk from Peterborough Abbey stole the arm of St Oswald (a convert to Christianity and King of Northumbria from 634-642AD) from Bamburgh Castle and took it to him. This was the primary relic of Peterborough until it disappeared from the chapel during the reformation along with its silver casket. The chapel of St Oswald in the South Transept still has a watch-tower where the monks had safeguarded it day and night.

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In 1070 the monastery and town is raided by Hereward the Wake and an army of Danish mercenaries to stop the wealth of Peterborough from falling into the hands of the new Norman Abbot. By now the town has become known as Burgh St Peter – Peterborough.

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During Hereward the Wake’s resistance to the Norman takeover many of the abbey’s ancillary buildings were destroyed, but the abbey survived.

After Hereward the Wake was forced to retreat in 1071 William I imposed the living of 60 knights on the abbey and its estates and construction of a motte and bailey castle is begun. The motte still remains as Tout Hill in the deanery gardens.

Peterborough Cathdral Altar

In 1116 a fire breaks out, apparently from an unattended fire in a bakery. This destroyed much of the monastery and town including the abbey which had survived the destruction of the rest of the town in 1070. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the key source for much of the medieval English history was written at Peterborough Abbey in this period) says “all the minster of Peterborough burned, and all the buildings except the chapter-house and the dormitory; and besides, the most part of the town also all burned. All this happened on a Friday; that was 4 August…”

Work begins on the third abbey in 1118. This was to be the start of the present cathedral building. The structure of this original part of the building remains largely as it was on completion.

In 1143 King Stephen visits the monastery and grants a market charter. Then,  around 1150,  Abbot Martin de Bec creates a new market area to the west of the precincts to bank roll the building of the new abbey. New streets are created around the outside and this street plan largely still exists as the city centre today.

In 1154 the Anglo Saxon Chronicle ends. It is the last chronicle to be written in English for 300 years.

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In 1177 relics of St Thomas Becket are brought to Peterborough from Canterbury by Abbott Benedict bringing many pilgrims to the abbey. Around this time building of the Becket Chapel and adjacent hospital begins to house many of the holy relics including those of Becket.

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In 1238 the new abbey is consecrated and the structure remains essentially as it was on completion. This includes the original wooden ceiling of the nave – the only one of its kind in this country and one of only four in Europe. The ceiling was completed some time between 1230 and 1250. It has been painted over twice since then but retains its original style and pattern.

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In 1307 the monks commission a bridge to cross the river Nene, this was the first Town Bridge. This suffered from bad workmanship and had to be replaced the following year. This second bridge lasted until the 19th Century. A bridge still in the same site today.

In 1308 the main monastic gateway and King’s Lodging (the Norman Arch) is fortified.

Over the wall

Over the following years there are a number of royal visits and stays. Then in 1349 the Black Death arrives in Peterborough, killing one third of the townspeople and half of the monks at the monastery.

In 1370 alterations were made to the central tower of the monastic church. The main beams and roof bosses still present today date back to this time.

Looking Up without zoom

Further work in 1375 saw the addition of the Galilee Porch on the west front.

Welcoming Entrance

In 1381 during the peasants revolt local rebels assaulted the monastery. This was put down by intervention from the troops of the Bishop of Norwich.

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In 1392 and 1394 the two daughters of King Henry IV are born at the monastery, the youngest of which, Philippa, eventually becomes Queen of Denmark.

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In 1402 the abbots of Peterborough become ‘Mitred Abbots’, granting them the powers of a Bishop.

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In 1461 the town and monastery are sacked by a Lancastrian army during the War of the Roses.

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Between 1496 and 1509 the Presbytery roof and in addition the ‘New Building’ is created, an excellent example of late Perpendicular work with fan vaulting probably designed by John Wastell. Wastell went on to work on King’s College Chapel in Cambridge.

New Building Lady Chapel

In approximately 1510 Abbott Kirkton confiscates land on Boongate to create a private deer park. The entrance to this is now the deanery gateway.

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In 1536 Katherine of Aragon – the first wife of Henry VIII – is buried in the monastic church.

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In 1539 the abbey of Peterborough is closed and the lands and properties are seized by Henry VIII.

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To increase his control over the church in this area Henry VIII created a new bishop (the former abbot John Chambers) and Peterborough Abbey church became a Cathedral by letters patent. The foundation charter of the Cathedral, formally established on 4 September 1541, constituted a chapter of a dean (appointed by the crown) and six canons. At first all six prebends (identified solely by number) were also in the crown’s gift, but Queen Mary transferred this patronage to the bishop during her short reign, and thus it remained to the end of the period covered by the Database. In addition the charter established six minor canons, a deacon, sub-deacon, eight singing men, and eight choristers, two schoolmasters serving 20 scholars and six almsmen. In 1541 the prebends were each valued at £20 (£7 unless resident) and the deanery at £100; taking account of fines and renewals in the 1720s canons could expect an annual income of between £49 and £281.

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Henry also founded a grammar school in the precincts of the Cathedral – The King’s School. This was one of 7 King’s Schools founded/given a royal charter by Henry VIII at this time (the others are Ely, Canterbury, Gloucester, Chester, Worcester, and Rochester).

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Mary Queen of Scots is buried in the Cathedral in 1587, 5 months after her execution at nearby Fotheringhay Castle. Both execution and funeral were officiated by the Dean, Richard Fletcher. Her body was exhumed by order of her son James I, who moved her remains to Westminster Abbey.

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In 1594 Robert (or ‘Old’) Scarlett, the parish Sexton, dies at the age of 98. Old Scarlett was a celebrated local character who, having lived to such an old age, buried two generations from every household in Peterborough. He also claimed to have buried three queens. Katharine of Aragon, Mary Queen of Scots, and his wife Margaret. Though he described his wife as a queen he re-married a year after she died at the age of 89. He is buried just inside the Cathedral and commemorated with a painting and rhyme above the west doors. As you look now there are in fact 2 portraits of Old Scarlett, one a newer framed painting and one wall painting. The wall painting had been covered and forgotten until the newer painting was taken down to be cleaned.

Old Scarlett

Peterborough was a town with Royalist sympathies and as a result in 1643 the Cathedral was ravaged by Parliamentarian soldiers when the town was taken by Crowell. Nearly all the stained glass was destroyed and the altar and reredos, cloisters and Lady Chapel were demolished. Much of the Cathedral’s library was destroyed by Cromwell’s troops by being burnt in the cloisters. The following description appeared in the Royalist newsbook ‘Mercurius Aulicus’: ‘It was advertised this day from Peterburgh, that Colonell Cromwell had bestowed a visit on that little City, and put them to the charge of his entertainment, plundering a great part thereof to discharge the reckoning, and further that in pursuance of the thorow Reformation, he did most miserably deface the Cathedrall Church, breake downe the Organs, and destroy the glasse windowes, committing many other outrages on the house of God which were not acted by the Gothes in the sack of Rome, and are most commonly forborn by the Turks when they possesse themselves by force of a Christian city.’

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In 1648 the Church of England is abolished by Oliver Cromwell. With no bishop the Cathedral becomes a parish church until the restoration of the monarchy and the Church of England with Charles II in 1660.

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During this time Charles the I was briefly imprisoned for 2 nights whilst  on route to Holdenby House in Northamptonshire, and the masonry of the ruined monastic buildings is sold to pay for repairs. Much of the stonework was used to build Thorpe Hall, the new property for local magnate and Lord Chief Justice Oliver St John.

The last visitation of the plague to Peterborough happened in 1666. The Cathedral clergy flee the city leaving the parish priest of St John’s to bury approximately one third of his parishioners.

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In around 1690 Laurel Court is built (and was subsequently extended in the 1720s). Initially it was the Precentor’s house, and is then used for much of the 1700s as the Deanery. Cavell was later to become a war-hero smuggling from behind enemy lines early in World War I before being executed in Brussels in 1915.

In 1728 Earl Fitzwilliam builds the Western Range in the Precincts to house the headmaster, staff and boarders of the King’s School.

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Between 1822 and 1830 much of the damage done during the Civil War is repaired under the leadership of James Henry Monk as Dean, though much of his work would be undone during the restoration begun in 1880.

An order-in-council of 1837 reduced the number of prebends in the Cathedral to four, one of which from 1838 was annexed to the Archdeaconry of Northampton.

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In 1870 a girls school is established in Laurel Court by Miss Margaret Gibson, remaining open until 1928. Edith Cavell attends the school as a pupil teacher 1885-1886.

During the 1880s it becomes clear that the central tower was in danger of collapse. The Cathedral architect at the time – John Loughborough Pearson – has the tower taken down stone by stone, then re-built exactly as it had been on new foundations. This work also saw fitting of new choir stalls and furnishings, cathedra (Bishop’s chair), and choir pulpit.

In 1885 The King’s School moves from the precincts to Park Road where it still is today.

In 1895 the tomb of Katharine of Aragon is restored following an appeal by Katharine Clayton.

Looking Up

In 1941 Peterborough suffered a significant amount of damage during an air raid, but the Cathedral escaped with only minor damage. Similarly another air raid in 1944 only caused minor damage.

West Front Arches Christmas 2015

In 1975 Queen Elizabeth II gives Maundy Money at the Cathedral.

In 2001 the nave ceiling had recently finished being restored. But a fire amongst plastic chairs, despite being spotted quickly by a verger allowing a quick response from the emergency services, caused considerable damage covering much of the interior with a sticky black layer costing a considerable amount of money to get cleaned up over the following 3 years.

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In the 21st century the Cathedral still follows its traditional pattern of daily worship, as well as serving as a vibrant and developing community with outreach and education programmes, and performances and civic events.

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As 2018 approaches a number of programmes are underway to help restore and improve the facilities in the Cathedral, including a much improved visitor experience. This is all part of Peterborough 900 – celebrating 900 years since the current Cathedral building was begun. More details about Peterborough 900 can be found here:  http://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/home/peterborough-900.aspx

Anyone interested in the on-going development and preservation trust can find out more information here:

http://www.peterboroughcathedraltrust.org/

A number of the photos used on the Cathedral Trust site were provided by myself.

Should anyone fancy visiting the Cathedral after reading this and seeing the photos, information about visiting can be found here:

http://www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/home/visiting.aspx

Cathedral View

I am also lucky to have a few of my photos available from the online gift shop. You can see these at the link below:

http://shop.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/photographs

Thank you for sticking with it and reading this far, I hope you have found this an interesting and enjoyable read and can understand why I find this such an amazing place to visit and photograph. I would love to know what you think if anyone reading this has been please let me and others know your thoughts about Peterborough Cathedral.