Visits and walks 2013
The Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, have developed and manufactured explosives for over 300 years. Since its closure in 1991, a charitable trust has been set up to safeguard the site in perpetuity.
The site contains a canal network of some 10 miles, which was used for transporting material around the site. Here is one of the many footbridges over the canals and one of three cast iron aqueducts.
Nitroglycerine production was carried out in a 'nitrating' house built on the top of high mound so that the mixture could be rapidly dumped into the pond below in an emergency.
A Victorian press stands in isolation, its wooden housing long since gone. To the right of the massive traverse stands the pump house; the cast iron waterwheel, once driven from the canal, drove an hydraulic pump to power the press.
In 1925 the BBC constructed a transmitting station on Borough Hill, Daventry for broadcasting long and short wave transmissions. The first Royal Christmas message was broadcast from here in 1935. The station operated 24/7/365 reaching out to all corners of the world.
In 1950 a 720ft mast was erected at Dodford for the BBC Third Programme. This service closed in 1978 and the mast removed in 1984.
A single operational mast remains out of the 44 similar structures once seen on the hill.
Aynho: The River Cherwell feeds into the Oxford Canal from the right. The tow path goes over a multi-arch bridge under which flows the river and over a weir. The wooden structure protects the multi-arch bridge.
Looking north from the bridge as a long freight train passes the former Aynho station on the Oxford to Banbury line.
Northampton's two remaining gas holders were demolished in December 2013. The row of houses on the right of the picture had been demolished earlier.
A visit to an engineering company in Kettering that operates the last commercial casting facility in the county.
Whilst outside a drain gully cover bears the stamp of Kettering Urban District, one of a diminishing number.
'Northampton: The Works': large 3-storey plus basement shoe factory with 8 bays and a datestone for 1875; two of the bays were added in 1901. John Marlow & Son occupied the factory from new until c1893. From c1919 until WW2 John Emmett Ltd and Youngents Ltd were in occupation. Now converted to apartments.
Small 4-bay, 2-storey factory/workshop built in the 1890s. First used by John Jackman boot & shoe manufacturer, then James Palmer lether merchant.
Victoria House: 3-storey plus basement, 7 bays with 5-bay rear extension giving a T-shaped plan. Datestone for 1873. Used for the manufacture of boots & shoes until the late 1960s. Still in commercial use.
Culworth: This six-hour clock has been constructed by the village blacksmith using only the skills that would have been available in the early nineteenth century.
The white disk in the centre of the mechanism is the repeater dial.
A pleasant afternoon was spent in the company of Northampton Society of Model Engineers in Delapre Park, Northampton.
They regularly attract visiting engines from other societies for their open days.
The lower image shows two engines during a pit stop in the steaming bay.
Extraction of ironstone took place all around the villages of Cranford. With the exception of the quarry edge showing the depth of overburden that had to be removed, little remains to the untrained eye. A tunnel used by the narrow gauge tramway to transport the ore to the tipping dock on the main line is just visible.
Like many of the county's towns, Raunds once had a thriving shoe industry. This image shows the loading door with its crane on Ernest Chambers' heel factory. The building is currently used by an engineering company.
The Wolverton Valley company built the first brick aqueduct over the Great Ouse river in 1805 between Cosgrove and Wolverton. This collapsed three years later and was replaced by the Iron Trunk opened in 1812. During our visit the water level was low enough to see the brick piers of the original Thomas Harrison structure.
The structure is 101ft long, 15ft wide (the oldest broad canal iron trough aqueduct) and 6ft 6in from top edge to inner floor.
It was restored by the Canal and River Trust in 2012 at a cost of £300k.
A train care facility in Northampton was the subject of an afternoon visit. A complete 4-car unit can be lifted using the jacks positioned either side of the track.
Advertising seen on houses in Shotton, North Wales during the annual rail tour.
Liverpool's Lime Street train shed.