Saturday, 24 July 2010

Well I never knew that!

This year is the 100th birthday of the humble OXO cube.

What I did not know was that it originated here in Kent. Having lived in Kent all my life I had never even heard of the developer or knew that he lived in nearby Hawkhurst.

Charles Gunther was the owner of the parent company that developed the cube and his house is now a private school.

The name of the company just trips of the tongue, 'The Liebig Meat Extract Company'

Off to have a cup of Bovril!


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Upstairs is the new Downstairs

I think we all know of the signs allegedly displayed abroad saying things like 'Ladies come and have a fit upstairs'. Well it is nice to know that such customs are alive and well in the UK as this picture taken at a shop in Gabriels Hill in Maidstone shows. Sorry about the picture quality but it was taken rather quickly on my mobile phone


Thursday, 8 July 2010

History continues

In todays age you often hear about compulsory purchase schemes etc in conection with road improvements. But did you know that this was happening in the 19th centuary only for railway rather than road construction.

In the mid 1880's when the London Chatham and Dover Railway wanted to open a branch from its main line at Herne Hill to the City of London it decided to build the line entirely on viaduct rather than an embankment to save on land costs. When the parliamentary bill for the line was being discussed in Parliament the LCDR offered to run trains at cheap prices for the workmen and artisans displaced. This they did and they ran trains at Workman's times and charged minimal fares. Needless to say other companies were forced to follow this example and trains were shown in the timetable as 'parl' for parliamentary.

Even today the railway is forced to run trains under similar conditions although with out the cheap fares. Todays examples are more to do with keeping lines open with just a token service. An example of this can be seen in London where Cross Country trains withdrew there Birmingham to Brighton service. We now have to run a daily train from Wandsworth Road to Ealing Broadway which carries no passengers whatsoever! The reason for running it is to keep the Latchmere South curve open for passenger traffic and not have to go through the statutory closure procedures which are very long winded and even if accepted causes problems if it was decided to re open the line at a later date.

I wonder if any other industry has to put up with this kind of idiosyncrasy?