Snowdon Railway, Wales


Snowdon Railway Train at Llanberis Station
Postmarked: 1942
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (approximate).

The Snowdon Mountain Railway is a narrow gauge rack and pinion mountain railway in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. It is a tourist railway that travels for 4.7 miles (7.6 km) from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. The SMR is the only public rack and pinion railway in the United Kingdom, and after more than 100 years of operation it remains a popular tourist attraction, carrying more than 140,000 passengers annually.

1894-96 Snowdon Mountain Railway was constructed between December 1894, when the first sod was cut by Enid Assheton-Smith (after whom locomotive No 2 was named), and February 1896, at a total cost of £63,800 (equivalent to £6,775,000 in 2016). 150 men with picks, shovels and dynamite laid almost eight kilometres of track up the mountain – all in fourteen months.
1895-96 The technology for safely transporting carriages of people up and down a mountainside had existed in Switzerland for some time, so that was where the newly-formed Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Ltd. went. They purchased five Swiss steam locomotives — L.A.D.A.S, Enid, Wyddfa, Snowdon and Moel Siabod – three of which are still in service today.
1922-24 Three more steam locomotives were built in Switzerland — Padarn, Ralph and Eryri — along with two more carriages. All of the railway’s steam locomotives were built by the Swiss Locomotive & Manufacturing Co. of Winterhur at a cost of £1,525 each (which would have the equivalent purchasing power of around £120,000 today). In 1924, the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Ltd sold the Royal Victoria Hotel and formed as Snowdon Mountain Railway.
1958-63 During the 50’s and 60’s the four original locomotives were sent to Hunslet to be overhauled, No.2 in 1958, No.5 in 1959, No.3 in 1960 and No.4 in 1963, and the original open carriages were remodelled so that they became enclosed, in an attempt to better protect passengers from the elements.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Kitchen, Grande Chartreuse Monastery, France


Intérieur du Convent de la Grande-Chartreuse. – La Cuisine (état actuel)
c.1920

Google Maps.

Musee de Grande Chartreuse (other rooms)

Grande Chartreuse is the head monastery of the Carthusian religious order. It is located in the Chartreuse Mountains, north of the city of Grenoble, in the commune of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (Isère), France. Originally, the château belonged to the See of Grenoble. In 1084, Saint Hugh gave it to hermit Saint Bruno and his followers who founded the Carthusian Order. The recipe of the alcoholic beverage Chartreuse is said to have been given to the monks of Grande Chartreuse in 1605[1] by the French Marshal François Annibal d’Estrées. For over a century, the monks worked on perfecting the 130-ingredient recipe. In 1764, the monks expanded their distillery for the first time to meet the demand of their popular Elixir Végétal de la Grande Chartreuse. The distillery has then been moved several times in more remote areas because it represents a major explosion hazard for the surrounding habitations.

The château went through many severe casualties, reconstructions and renovations. The building standing today (2020) was erected in 1688. In 1789, following the French Revolution, the monks were expelled from the monastery, and waited until 1838 to be reauthorized on the premises. Following the establishment of the Association Law of 1901 and its interpretation that effectively banned religious associations en masse, many notable religious institutions across France, including Grand Chartreuse, were closed by the French government.
Wikipedia.

Tea House, Valley Gardens, Harrogate, England


The Tea House, Valley Gardens Harrogate.
Postmarked 1910
Publisher: Woolstone Brothers, London (1902-1933)

Google Street View.

Valley Gardens was developed as an attractive walk for visitors to the Spa town, part of their health regime between taking the waters, and as a means of access to the mineral springs of Bogs Field. The waterside walk with flowers and trees became a place for promenading, socialising and taking exercise. Photographs of the gardens in the early 20th century testify to their enormous popularity with crowds around the tea room, boating lake and bandstand. The Sun Pavilion and Colonnades were built as an added attraction and facility for the spa, intended as the first phase of a covered way linking the Pump Room and Royal Bath Hospital. Visitors to the mineral springs declined but the horticultural reputation of the Gardens grew with the staging of the Northern Horticultural Society’s Spring Flower Show in the Gardens and the addition of special garden areas. . . . A rustic thatched teahouse with veranda was erected on the slopes of the former Collins Field overlooking a bandstand sited near the new Magnesia Well pump room. . . . Plans were drawn up to redevelop the Pump Room at the entrance to Valley Gardens, create a covered colonnade following the north boundary beside Cornwall Road to a Sun Pavilion and develop a further link to the Royal Bath Hospital. The proposals involved the acquisition of the remaining privately owned properties at the entrance to the gardens and the replacement of the teahouse with the Sun Pavilion. The work was to be carried out in three phases, the first phase being the construction of the Sun Pavilion, colonnades and two sun parlours. Despite considerable opposition, notably by Duchy residents, the first phase was opened in June 1933.
Friends of Valley Gardens

The Palace Ruins, Dunfermline, Scotland


The Palace Ruins, Dunfermline
c.1910
William Allan, Society Stationer, Dunfermline

Google Street View (approximate)

Medieval abbeys typically had several grades of accommodation, and it’s likely that the guesthouse was a royal residence right from the start. After the Reformation, a new palace was created out of the guesthouse and the west range of the abbey. Dunfermline Palace became the personal residence of James VI’s queen, Anna of Denmark.
The future Charles I was born here in 1600, the last monarch to be born in Scotland. Royal interest in Dunfermline waned when James and Anna left for London in 1603, and the palace fell into disrepair.
Historic Environment Scotland

Dunfermline was a favourite residence of many Scottish monarchs. Documented history of royal residence there begins in the 11th century with Malcolm III who made it his capital. His seat was the nearby Malcolm’s Tower, a few hundred yards to the west of the later palace. In the medieval period David II and James I of Scotland were both born at Dunfermline. Dunfermline Palace is attached to the historic Dunfermline Abbey, occupying a site between the abbey and deep gorge to the south. It is connected to the former monastic residential quarters of the abbey via a gatehouse above a pend (or yett), one of Dunfermline’s medieval gates. The building therefore occupies what was originally the guest house of the abbey. However, its remains largely reflect the form in which the building was remodelled by James IV around 1500.
. . .
Charles I returned to Scotland in 1633 for his coronation but only made a brief visit to his place of birth. The last monarch to occupy the palace was Charles II who stayed at Dunfermline in 1650 just before the Battle of Pitreavie. Anne Halkett described meeting him there. Soon afterwards, during the Cromwellian occupation of Scotland, the building was abandoned and by 1708 it had been unroofed. All that remains of the palace today is the kitchen, its cellars, and the impressive south wall with a commanding prospect over the Firth of Forth to the south.
Wikipedia.

Vivary Park, Taunton, England


Taunton, Vivary Park, “Feeding swans”
Postmarked 1907
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

Google Street View (approximate, stream is in the other direction)

The public park came about because it’s so close to the centre of the town. The land had been used as for public events since at least 1851 when the first Taunton Flower Show was held there. It was sold to the council in 1894 and a year later it was laid out. The front gates, bandstand and one shelter date from this time. In 1902 an oak tree was planted close to the bandstand to mark the coronation of Edward VII. With money left over from the celebrations, the fountain was commissioned as a memorial to the late Queen Victoria. It was unveiled in 1907. The park originally formed a part of the open setting to Wilton house. The park was extended to include part of the garden of Wilton House in 1924. Vivary Park is a good surviving example of a late Victorian public park.
Somerset West and Taunton Council

The park stands on land that was formerly a medieval fish farm, or vivarium, for Taunton Priory and Taunton Castle. Although nothing remains above ground of these lakes, they are the origin of the name Vivary. . . . Long before the park was publicly owned, it was known as Vivary Park and was used for some public events. It was lent by William Kinglake to provide the site of the West of England Show of 1852. He was also sympathetic to the Bristol and Somerset Total Abstinence Association and allowed the park to be used for its Public Tea Meeting and Demonstration on 17 August 1852. The first exhibition of the Vale of Taunton Deane Horticultural and Floricultural Society was held in the park on 21 and 22 June, 1855, and in 1883 a ten-day ‘Temperance mission’ was held in the park, at which “as many as 1,500 new pledges” of abstinence from alcohol were made. . . . Two decades [after 1875, Vivary Park was still owned by the Kinglake family, but in 1894 they sold it to the Municipal Borough of Taunton for £3,659 (equal to around £230,000 in 2010), to encourage healthier lifestyles and to provide recreational opportunity for the urban working class, as set out in the Public Health Act of 1875.

The arrangement of the park is still very much as was when first laid out in 1895. It is entered through a pair of cast iron gates, dating from 1895, made by the Saracen Foundry of Glasgow, who also made the Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain of 1907. Since 2000 the fountain has been restored, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the park was re-opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May 2002. The bandstand also dates from 1895, while two huge oak trees were planted in 1902 to mark the coronation of King Edward VII. Just within the main gates, the war memorial was erected in 1922.
Wikipedia.

War Damage, Ypres, Belgium


La Grande Guerre 1914-16 – Ypres (Belgique) – Rue d’Elwerdinghe
Postmarked 1916


Ruines d’Ypres
The ruins of Ypres
Ruines des Halles et Grand  Place
Ruins of the Hlls and Market Place
c.1920
Publisher: Nels (Ernest Thill)

Google Street View (approximate).
Prior to war


Ruines d’Ypres Place du Musée et Conciergerie
The ruins of Ypres Museum Place and Conciergerie

c.1920
Publisher: Nels (Ernest Thill)

Gelert’s Grave, Beddelgert, Wales


Beddelgert, Gelert’s Grave

Google Street View.

A short walk south of the village, following the footpath along the banks of the Glaslyn leads to Beddgelert’s most famous historical feature; ‘Gelert’s Grave’. According to legend, the stone monument in the field marks the resting place of ‘Gelert’, the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great. The story, as written on the tombstone reads:

“In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent. On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here”.
Beddelgert Tourism

To this day, a cairn of stones marks the place, and the name Beddgelert means in Welsh ‘The grave of Gelert’. Every year thousands of people visit the grave of this brave dog; slight problem however, is that the cairn of stones is actually less than 200 years old!

Nevertheless this story has great appeal. History and myth appear to have become a little confused when in 1793, a man called David Pritchard came to live in Beddgelert. He was the landlord of the Royal Goat Inn and knew the story of the brave dog and adapted it to fit the village, and so benefit his trade at the inn. He apparently invented the name Gelert, and introduced the name Llywelyn into the story because of the Prince’s connection with the nearby Abbey, and it was with the help of the parish clerk that Pritchard, not Llywelyn, raised the cairn!
Historic UK