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Great War Exhibition ‘Map’, Black Watch Museum, Perth

Great War anniversary map of Scotland made of boxes with exhibits illustrating aspects of the war relating to the area depicted.

This was an on display in the room adjoining the restaurant at the Black Watch Museum when we visited in October last year.

Great War Exhibition 'Map', Black Watch Museum, Perth

Black Watch Museum Great War Exhibition 'Map'

Memorials, Black Watch Museum, Perth

Last October we again visited the Black Watch Museum in Perth. This time I took better photos of the various memorials in its grounds.

Iraq Cross, 2003 and 2004. Great War anniversary fence behind:-

Iraq Memorial, Black Watch Museum, Perth

Iraq and Afghanistan 2007 and 2009:-

Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial, Black Watch Museum, Perth

Great War Memorial. In memory of the 300 men of the Black Watch who died in the Great War. “Their name liveth for evermore”:-

Great War Memorial, Black Watch Museum, Perth

Second World War Memorial. “Greater love hath no man”:-

Second World War Memorial, Black Watch Museum, Perth

Northern Ireland and Kosovo Memorial:-

Northern Ireland and Kosovo Memorial, Black Watch Museum, Perth

View From Ypres Tower, Rye, East Sussex

From the top of Ypres Tower (Rye Castle) there is a view across the River Rother – into which the River Tillingham flows just by the Tower – out to the sea. As seen in this photo.

View from Ypres Tower, Rye

Turning left to look east the building in the foreground below used to be a Women’s Prison:-

view from Ypres Tower (Women's prison), Rye, East Sussex

The Ypres Castle Inn also lies just below the Tower:-

Ypres Castle Inn, Rye, East Sussex

I mentioned before that Ypres Tower is a museum. As well as containing exhibits relating to the history of Rye – including a relief map showing how the sea used to lap around the town in Roman Times and its gradual retreat thereafter – there is a broadsword from which part of the Cross of Sacrifice in British War Cemeteries was modelled by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Original Cross of Sacrifice in Ypres Tower, Rye

Rye, East Sussex

Rye has a long history. It was once a seaport but the sea has long retreated/silted up.

The older part of the town lies on a hill above the coastal plain. One of the approaches still retains the ancient Landgate:-

Landgate, Rye

Closer view:-

Rye Gates, East Sussex

View down towards gate from higher up the hill:-

The Landgate, Rye, East Sussex

Another very old building is the Ypres Tower/Rye Castle which now houses a museum. The tower has nothing to do with the Belgian town of the same name. It once belonged to a cloth merchant, Jean d’Ypres, and the name has stuck.

Ypres Tower, Rye, East Sussex

Ypres Tower, Rye

Ypres Tower, Rye, East Sussex

There is an old pair of stocks still standing just outside the east end of the Tower:-

Ypres Tower , (stocks), Rye, East Sussex

War Memorial, Aberdeen

Aberdeen’s main War Memorial is located at the end wall of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums. I believe Aberdeen’s Roll of Honour is housed inside the museum.

The Memorial comprises the wall and a stone lion. The wall is inscribed, “MCMXIV – MCMXIX, To Our Glorious Dead, MCMXXXIX – MCMXLV.”

Unfortunately in August last year there were refurbishment works going on.

Wider view. Refurbishment works in evidence:-

War Memorial Aberdeen

Closer view:-

Aberdeen War Memorial

The Glorious Thing by Christine Orr

Merchiston Publishing, 2013, 235 p, plus i p Acknowledgements, iii p iv p Introduction by Yvonne mcCleery, iii p Afterword by Alistair McCleery, ii p About the author, ii p Discussion Questions. First published 1919.

The Glorious Thing cover

This novel is set on the Home Front during the Great War. David Grant has been invalided out of the Army and has returned home to Castlerig near Edinburgh to convalesce and build himself up. His path crosses with that of the Sutherland sisters, Effie, Nannie, Marion and Jullie.

Marion is unobtrusive and divides men into Bounders (too objectionable,) Selfish Lumps (too absorbed in their conversation to thank you when you passed them tea,) Silly Asses (attempting either to be funny or, worse, sentimental,) Nice Boys (foolish beyond expression) and Dear Old Things (usually friends of Uncle Alexander.) Only her brother Pat was an exception and she realises David Grant too doesn’t fit any of the bills.

Nothing very out of the ordinary occurs in the book: it is a quiet examination of ordinary lives carried on in uncommon circumstances. As soon as David encounters Marion it is obvious where the story will lead but there are complications along the way. “There is nothing more bitter than to have the sweetness of a friendship turned sour by a few interfering words, or the jests of thoughtless outsiders.” However, David’s early thought that “Life is a thing too glorious to be enjoyed” is not borne out except in the circumstances of Nannie’s fiancé’s death in the war and her subsequent attempt to find solace via spiritualism.

This sits somewhat at odds with David’s musings on “the artistic temperament” which he conceives “is a real and wonderful thing; nothing less than the power to understand and love the eternal beauty of the world.” Of course, it is; but the eternal beauty of the world can be an elusive thing to grasp.

The blurb describes Orr as a true hidden gem on the Scottish literary scene. Hidden certainly. I had never heard of her until a recent (though well pre-lockdown) visit to the Scottish Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh; an institution dedicated mainly to Burns, Scott and Stevenson but on one of whose walls was a description of Orr’s career – enough to spur me on to seek her writings out. Unfortunately most are long out of print; and scarce.

Despite being set during the Great War, The Glorious Thing still has a kind of Victorian sensibility – much like the Findlater sisters’ Crossriggs, but better written, and underneath it all, with the prevalence of women in the narrative, a sense of the changes the war wrought.

Pedant’s corner:- Minnie Grant says, ‘Aren’t I swanky?’ (The Scottish form is ‘Amn’t I?) Chambers’ (Chambers’s.) “‘I wonder what be thinks of us’” (what he thinks,) a missing comma before or after a piece of direct speech (a few times,) shrunk (shrank.) “All telegrams do not bring bad news.” (Not true; some telegrams did. What Orr meant was, “Not all telegrams bring bad news,) a speech which was carried over into the next paragraph had an end quotation mark before the paragraph break, “hearts tae break and nine tae sell” (“hearts tae break and none tae sell” makes more sense,) appall (appal.)

1900s Town, Beamish

The 1900s Town at Beamish Open Air Museum is probably the most popular attraction in the vast grounds. It was certainly crowded. The queue for the sweetshop spilled outside onto the pavement. (We did queue up though.)

This old car was in the 1900s Town Garage which is described as a Stables:-

Old Car in Garage, 1900s Town, Beamish

In the same garage there was a very unusual delivery bike. I assume it’s called a Penny-four-farthings:-

A Penny-four-farthings, 1900s Town, Beamish

The “town” had a small park at the top of which was a War Memorial in the form of a large artillery piece:-

Artillery Piece as War Memorial, 1900s Town, Beamish

The dedication on the plaque reads, “This gun was placed in Redman Park as a memorial to the men who died in the war to end all wars 1914-1918. Unveiled by Lt Col R R Humphrys. (Hoodge Day MCMLXXXVIII.)” Would that be Hooge Day?

1900s Town, Beamish, War Memorial Inscription

We didn’t seem to take as many photos in the town as I’d have wished. So many of the exhibits were crammed with people.

This was the bakery. Lovely windows. We would have bought something from it but the queues again were huge – even bigger than for the sweetshop.

Beamish, Edwardian  windows,

More Beamish

One of the exhibits at Beamish is an old colliery and a terrace of Miner’s cottages. This photograph of the colliery complex was taken from the ring road round the museum.

Colliery from Road, Beamish

A line of old prams at the bottom of a large grassed area. They were waiting to take part in a procession. See below.

Old Prams, Beamish

Beamish holds special events throughout the year. The day we were there they had a Miners’ Gala parade.

Procession, Beamish

Miner’s Banner, Gala Parade, Beamish. Gypsy caravan behind. Banner reads, “National Union of Mineworkers, Durham Area, Leasington Lodge,” and below, “Health is Strength.”

Miner's Banner, Gala Parade, Beamish

Video of Miners’ Gala Procession:-

Video of Miners' Gala Procession, Beamish

1940s Farm, Beamish Open Air Museum

One of the most memory provoking stops we made at Beamish was at the 1940s farm.

Farm Terrace:-

Farm terrace, Beamish, County Durham

Just along the way is this pillbox made from a boiler and which was actually used by the Home Guard near Durham:-

Beamish, Pillbox Made From a Boiler

The Art Deco style “sunburst” gate on the terrace is mirrored at the back entrance:-

1930s gate, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

Across the road from the farmhouse there was a barn which had been converted into an eatery called British Kitchen. The menu had wartime “delicacies” such as Woolton Pie, which we passed on. I had a Black Market Bacon Stottie as I recall and the good lady a vegetarian pasty. See sample menu (not exactly the one we chose from) here.

Inside the farmhouse there was an Art Deco rug:-

Art Deco Rug, 1940s Farm, Beamish

The farmhouse’s interior reminded me of visiting older people’s houses when I was young.

A 1930s mirror:-

1930s fireplace, Beamish, County Durham

And chairs:-

1930s chairs, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

Horse at 1940s Farm, complete with “land girl” (and modern visitors):-

Horse at 1940s Farm, Beamish

Outhouse with “Do Your Bit” slogan on old machine inside it:-

1940s Farm Outhouse, Beamish

Another outhouse, with chimney:-

Beamish, 1940s Farm Outhouse with Chimney

Car with blackout headlamps – and haywain behind:-

Car with Blackout Headlamps, 1940s Farm, Beamish

A luxuriating pig (destined for the Black Market Bacon?):-

Pig at 1940s Farm, Beamish

1820s Wagonway and Pockersley Hall, Beamish

Puffing Billy and train:-

Puffing Billy and train, Beamish, County Durham

Puffing Billy, old steam locomotive at 1820s wagonway, Beamish:-

Puffing Billy, Beamish

Puffing Billy and carriages video:-

1820s Wagonway, Beamish

Video of Puffing Billy on the move:-

Puffing Billy, Beamish, on the Move

The Steam elephant – in engine shed at 1820s wagonway:-

The Steam Elephant

Thatched Cottage:-

Thatched Cottage from 1820s Wagonway, Beamish

Thatched Cottage and steam from Puffing Billy, Pockersley Hall in background:-

thatched cottage, Beamish from waggonway

Wooden structure at end of wagonway. Old winding gear?

Wooden Structure

Church and Pockersley Hall from wagonway:-

Beamish, Church + from waggonway

Pockersley Hall from approach road:-

Pockersley Hall from road, Beamish, folk museum, County Durham

Pockersley Hall and garden:-

Pockersley Hall, Beamish, County Durham, folk museum

Weathercock at the tram/bus halt for 1820s wagonway and Pockersley Hall:-

Weathercock on Engine Shed, Beamish

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