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.

Aviation history in Southampton

Solent Sky Museum

We were on holiday in East Dorset and it was raining and rather cold. So we decided to drive over to Southampton and with a little trepidation we decided to visit the Solent Sky Museum. The warm and friendly welcome was a welcome respite from the cold weather.

We’re not really into aircraft, but decided because of the weather it was the right time to visit an indoor museum. It was either this or learning about the Titanic at the SeaCity Museum. Solent Sky won out because it was cheaper!

White Quadplane

The enthusiastic volunteers were really friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. They really made our visit, helping us to sit in the various cockpits and describing the history of the different planes. As well as history they also talked about the science of flight and flying. Our children were engaged and learnt stuff. Actually we also learnt stuff too, the history of the blitz on Southampton and the Spitfire factory was moving and well told.

Our favourite plane was the huge Solent Sandringham, the Beachcomber, that dominated the museum.

Short Sandringham

With it’s huge wingspan you couldn’t miss it. What was really nice was that we were allowed inside the plane and sit on the seats and feel like what it would have been to be a passenger on a flying boat in the 1950s. One of the excellent volunteers allowed us up into the cockpit to sit in the pilot seats.

The children trail was fun, yet challenging, and actually a really nice prize at the end. Before we knew it we had spent two hours exploring the various aspects of the museum including a section on the local police and fire services.

RAF Tiger Moth

It was excellent value at £17.50 for a family of five and nice of them to recognise that sometimes families number five. We had an enjoyable time at the museum and would love to go again (as we gift aided our entry, we get free entry for a year), so we might.

Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s

Back 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.

Bristol Harbourside

They show a different harbourside to what you can see today, but also different to how the working docks were in the 1950s and 1960s. Above you can see the Watershed, which is still around. Here is another view of the Watershed, it hasn’t changed, but the bars and cafés underneath do seem to swap and change on a regular basis.

Watershed

This view hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years.

Bristol Harbourside

Whereas on the other side, we can see major construction work underway, on what is now Za Za Bazaar, but has been many different establishments over the years.

Construction in the Bristol Harbourside

At this time, there was no Pero’s Bridge either, so it was always a long walk from the LloydsTSB building amphitheatre to the Arnolfini round by the top of the harbourside. Another view, a bit further down the water.

Bristol Harbourside

Looking back over the photographs (and I may post more in a later blog post) shows how things have changed over the last twenty years (has it really been that long) and how somethings change and something remain the same.

Pembrokeshire Motor Museum

Back in the 1990s I visited the Pembrokeshire Motor Museum near Haverfordwest. This was a small museum, but very much a labour of love for the owner.

Pembrokeshire Motor Museum

I took those images with my film SLR back then and recently scanned the photographs.

Pembrokeshire Motor Museum

In those days, using film, I would conserve the number of shots I would take, as I would ration the 36 frames I had for each film. Whereas with today’s high capacity memory cards, I have been known to shoot hundreds of photographs in a single day.

Pembrokeshire Motor Museum

Sadly memory and time, as well as a lack of information on the web, means I have no real idea about which types of cars these are. Even googling the number plates doesn’t bring up much info.

Pembrokeshire Motor Museum

Pembrokeshire Motor Museum

Sadly due to the ill health of the owner, it is currently closed.

Royal Air Force Museum Cosford

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, located in Cosford in Shropshire, is a museum dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force in particular. On a recent trip up north for a holiday, we stopped off for a few hours to have a look around the museum. It is free to get in, and certainly a much nicer option over stopping at the motorway services!

There are lots of aircraft on display, and the Cold War exhibition certainly was quite haunting (especially for those of us who the 1980s isn’t history, as we lived through it).

RAF Cosford

Spitfire

Catalina

Me163 Komet

RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford

Well worth a visit if you like aircraft or modern history.

Our heroes are back!

“The slogan ‘Our Heroes are Back’ is used to announce that, after an absence of one decade, all major pieces in the Rijksmuseum’s collection are back where they belong. This is what happens when they suddenly emerge in an unsuspecting shopping mall somewhere in The Netherlands.”

Via @bobbyllew and @digitalmaverick

Dead and decaying helicopters

Dead and decaying helicopters

One thing I have noticed from afar travelling into and out of Weston-super-Mare are the old helicopters outside the Helicopter Museum. I have been to the museum on a fair few occasions, but these decaying helicopters are not part of the tour and you can’t as a general visitor access them.

Dead and decaying helicopters

On a bike ride the other day, the major roadworks and redevelopment has opened up the old airfield next to the museum, so I was able to get up to the fence to take a few pictures.

Dead and decaying helicopters

I have no idea what the plans are for them, are they just sources of spare parts, or are they awaiting restoration.

One thing that did stand out to me was the BAe Hawker Siddeley Harrier and Rolls-Royce Pegasus Engine Test Rig. As you can see it’s not a helicopter! It’s a pity it’s not on display.

Helicopter Museum Panorama

One of the local attractions in Weston-super-Mare is the helicopter museum.

One of the nice things about the museum is you pay once, and then you can revisit as often as you like for the next twelve months.

My only criticism is that there is very little interactive stuff to do and you can’t climb into or on the helicopters unless it is an “open cockpit” Sunday. On the open cockpit days you are allowed to sit in some of the helicopters and get an insight from the volunteers that are around – this is I guess why it doesn’t happen for the rest of the week as it is dependent on the goodwill of volunteers.

Saunders-Roe Skeeter

However if you like looking at helicopters and have an interest in the history of the evolution of the helicopter then I can recommend a visit.

The panorama above was created using Dermandar Panorama on my iPhone. I reviewed the app on e-Learning Stuff and I thought the stitching was quite seamless and a lot better than other panorama apps I have used.

You can buy it in the iTunes App Store for £1.49.