Nostalgic grocery shopping

St Fagans National Museum of History is an open-air museum in Cardiff chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people.

Gwalia Stores is a retail premises originally built at Ogmore Vale, Glamorgan, in 1880 and relocated to the St Fagans National Museum of History.

The stores closed for business in Ogmore Vale in 1973 and reopened at St Fagans in 1991. Part of the shop is still a retail premises; the rest of the ground floor is set up as it would have been during the 1920s

Photographs taken when we visited in August 2010.

Visiting Chepstow Castle in 2009

In 2009 we visited Chepstow Castle which is just over the original Severn Crossing. It was a beautiful sunny day and we really enjoyed walking around and exploring the castle.

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain.

Chepstow Castle

Construction began in 1067, just after the Norman conquest by the Norman Lord William FitzOsbern.

Chepstow Castle

In the 12th century the castle was used in the conquest of Gwent, the first independent Welsh kingdom to be conquered by the Normans.

Chepstow Castle

By the 16th century its military importance was diminished.

Chepstow Castle

The castle saw action again during the English Civil War, when it was in the front line between Royalist Monmouthshire and Parliamentarian Gloucestershire. It was held by the Royalists and besieged in both 1645 and in 1648, eventually falling to the Parliamentarian forces on 25 May 1648.

Chepstow Castle

Although re-garrisoned during and after the English Civil War, by the 1700s it had fallen into decay.

Chepstow Castle

It has been used for filming TV and films including the Day of the Doctor when David Tennant’s tenth Doctor was “wooing” Queen Elizabeth I.

Chepstow Castle

A treasure of retail ephemeral

Oakham Treasures old groceries and packaging

Most people throw away their packaging (well hopefully today they recycle it) but at Oakham Treasures in North Somerset there is a treasure trove of retail ephemeral showcasing a snapshot of grocery history that would probably otherwise have disappeared.

Oakham Treasures old groceries and packaging

It reminded me if similar displays at the Castle Museum in York.

Oakham Treasures old groceries and packaging

The reconstructed shops at St Fagans near Cardiff also have collections of old grocery packaging.

Oakham Treasures old groceries and packaging

Do we keep todays rubbish for future generations? Will they reminisce over the stuff they use to buy? Will they be shocked at the enormous use of single use plastic? Who is going to be the guardian of today’s unwanted stuff, that will be the exhibits of the museums of tomorrow.

Remembering the Bristol Temple Way Flyover

I moved to Bristol in the 1990s and living in Southville and working at Ashley Down meant that driving home I had the fun that was driving over the Temple Way flyover.

I remember the first time I did it, thinking, what is this, is this a real road? I would often decide to drive over it even if it wasn’t quite the best way to get where I was going.

It was never for the faint hearted, though I never heard of a car driving off the side of it.

The flyover was taken down in 1998 as part of road changes in that area.

Demolition of Temple Way Flyover

I believe it was actually sold to another council.

Of course today there are ongoing roadworks in that area in order to improve traffic flows.

Camping in the Vosges in 1929

Camping in the Vosges

Going through some old photographs I found this one of my grandfather camping in the forests in Vosges in Eastern France in 1929.

I had no idea he did this, it must have been interesting to travel in Europe at this time. Just driving around in his car, parking up, pitching the tent and camping overnight.

This is the only photo I have of that trip.


Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts 2016

Across this blog I wrote fifteen posts in 2016. As might not be expected most of the top ten posts that year were from 2016, and I was pleased to see how popular my 1990s photographs of the Bristol Harbourside were.

I visited Legoland in 2013 and felt that it was A bit tired and this was the tenth most popular post, dropping one place from last year.

Also about Legoland Miniland was the ninth post.

The eighth post was about Time travelling by train which was a post on the newly painted GWR High Speed Train in the classic 1970s blue and yellow.

Inter City 125

The seventh popular post was inspired by a newspaper article and talked about the many Changes at the railway station in Weston-super-Mare.

The sixth placed post was from my 2012 series of Cinematic Advent Calendar posts, this one was #07 – The Eagle has Landed. There were quite a few films in the advent calendar that have significant memories over and above the film itself. Queuing for Star Wars was significant for example. With The Eagle has Landed I went to see it at the Aldeburgh cinema with my grandparents.

When I used film, I didn’t take than many photographs, but I did take a fair few of the Bristol Harbourside, so the fifth post was of the Bryan Brothers’ Garage Demolition, Bristol, circa 1999.

Three of the next four posts were similar and all contain photographs from the Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

Construction in the Bristol Harbourside

Fourth was this post Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s and third was this one: Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s (second part).

The second most popular post was a comparison of Trenchard Street, Bristol, circa 1970s and the view today.

The most popular post of the year on the Stuff blog was a series of photographs of Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

So quite a few posts from 2016 in the 2016 top ten.

Changes at the railway station

Though I am more likely to spend time at Worle station, I have been known to catch trains from the main station in Weston-super-Mare. Despite being a smallish town, Weston has three railway stations. The main station which opened in 1884 replacing the original station which opened in 1841. Weston Milton opened in 1933, a small halt to serve the then expanding Milton area. Worle station was opened in 1990 and unlike the other two stations, which are on the Weston loop, Worle is on the main Bristol to Plymouth line.

Over the years the railway station at Weston-super-Mare, well in terms of tracks, has changed quite a bit, even if the buildings and platforms have remained as much as they have since the line was built. This photograph from the local paper reminded me of how much has changed.

Weston-super-Mare Railway Station

Back then there was an up and down line on the Weston loop. There was also multiple sidings for good and carriages. I suspect a lot of the coal wagons for the local gas works were stored there awaiting return to the Welsh collieries.

By the late 1970s (the BR HST is still in blue and grey), when this image was taken on 28th March 1978, most of the sidings have now been taken away and replaced with a coach park. Lots of visitors to Weston-super-Mare were now coming by coach. The light brown building on the right of the photograph in the background is the Odeon cinema which is still there today, but Weston is getting it’s own multiplex at Dolphin Square.

Weston-super-Mare Railway Station Copyright Roger Winnen

You can see a lot of the points had been removed too.

By the time of this Google Street View image, the sidings have all been removed and replaced with a Tesco store and car park (which was the focus of the story in the local paper). Hildesheim Bridge was built in 1991 and crosses the eastern end of the platforms.

Weston-super-Mare Railway Station

Hildesheim is the German town which Weston is twinned with.

Change happens and over the next few years I suspect we will see more change.

“The Old New World”

Wonderfully clever photo based animation of American from the early 20th Century.

Each image required the creator to remove the moving and static elements to create a 3D model for the animations. Once completed, he began the second stage: creation of full computer graphics of various animals, people, vehicles, and other relevant details.

Lovely stuff

Trenchard Street, Bristol, circa 1970s

We have been going through some old papers recently and we found the following photographs of Trenchard Street and Lodge Street in Bristol. I have taken screen grabs from Google Street View of a more recent view.

This is the view looking down Trenchard Street towards the corner with Lodge Street. The buildings seem to be rather dilapidated with boarded up doors and windows. The render is peeling off the walls. Only the modern streetlamp and double yellow lines betray that this is quite a modern photograph.

Trenchard Street Bristol

More recently the buildings seem to have been refurbished, new doors, new windows, more glass, though sadly still some graffiti.


This is the view in the other direction says a similar story, the peeling render looks even worse from this view.

Trenchard Street Bristol

Today the view shows a cleaner, tidier look. There is new pavement, but we still have double yellow lines!

Trenchard Street Bristol

Similar to the Trenchard Street images, this view of Lodge Street has the buildings with peeling render, boarded up and bricked up doors and windows. In the foreground is a sign to Garage Parking and a Hertz Rent A Car dealership. There is a Ford Granada which betrays the age of the image (as do the flairs).

Lodge Street Bristol

When I saw this photograph of Lodge Street I had no idea where this was in Bristol. It became obvious that part of the reason is the trees which now block that view.

Lodge Street Bristol

I do like comparing old and new and it’s interesting to see what has changed and what hasn’t.

Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Two

As mentioned previously, back in the 1990s when I was teaching at a college in Bristol, I use to undertake regular field trips to the Bristol Harbourside as part of a unit on urban regeneration. There was at the time to much happening down there after years of inaction that it was an ideal place to demonstrate the impact of investment and change of use. Bristol had been an important port for hundreds of years, this all came to a halt in the 1970s and regeneration plans were developed. Not much happened for twenty years, but in the last twenty years we have seen major regeneration of the area, massive building of offices, business, residential and entertainment, as well as visitor attractions such as at-Bristol (where incidentally I worked for a while when it opened).

During one of those field trips, I took my SLR camera with me, and digging around a box in the garage I found the prints, which I have since scanned in.

This is now Za Za Bazaar, but has been many different establishments over the years.


Over on the other side of the river is Narrow Quay with The Architecture Centre and The Bristol hotel.


Longer view down the harbourside, in the distance is the old Bristol and West building, now the Radisson Blu Hotel.


Wet and muddy building site.


In this view (on the left) are the Old Leadworks, you can see the chimney. This initially became offices as part of Wildscreen-at-Bristol, and I worked in those offices when I worked at at-Bristol in 1999-2000. After Wildscreen became Wildwalk and then closed, the buildings were empty for a while, but now house the Bristol Aquarium.


Sometimes Bristol changes and sometimes it doesn’t.