Friday 30 March 2012

Lost & Found - The Eighth Wonder of the World

The White Terraces, pre 1886 -  From a tinted Postcard dated 1908
[From my own collection]

Classed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" [1] until believed destroyed in 1886, it now appears that substantial elements of the famous Pink and White Terraces in New Zealand's North Island thermal wonderland have miraculously escaped total destruction.

Both sets of terraces were 800 metres apart on the shores on Lake Rotomahana, their distinctive shape and colour being formed by cascading hot water containing silica emitted from two large geysers above.

The Pink Terraces, as painted by Charles Blomfield in 1884.
[Source : Wikipedia]

By the time they were believed destroyed in a massive volcanic eruption on the 10th June 1886 they had already become a "must see" tourist destination. This was despite the difficulties of reaching the area, but still tourists flocked to see this natural phenomena. Māori guides took visitors in whaling boats across the lake from the village of Te Wairoa which grew as a result of the increasing number of visitors to the area.

Eleven days before the eruption both local Māori and European tourists reported seeing a phantom Māori war canoe sailing across Lake Tarawera. This was considered by Māori to be an ill omen. Māori guide Sophia Hinerangi [Te Paea] also observed disturbances to water levels in Lake Tarawera prior to the eruption.

The White Terraces, as painted by Charles Blomfield in 1884.
[Source : Wikipedia]

At around 2 am on the morning of the 10th June 1886, a fissure on Mount Tarawera erupted, and by 2.30 am the craters along the summit were venting fountains of glowing scoria and a cloud of ash up to 10 kilometres high, through which intense lightning flickered. At 3.20 a.m. the explosions spread. Craters were blasted open on the south-west side of the mountain and through to Lake Rotomahana and the Waimangu area. A 17-kilometre rift spewed steam, mud and ash. The eruptions were over by about 6 a.m.

A map of the general area published in
"The Central Thermal Springs of the North Island", 1888.
The 17 kilometre rift is clearly visible from bottom left
to right centre. Lake Rotomahana has not yet filled.
[From my own collection]

The Māori and European villages of Te Wairoa were buried, and throughout the area approximately 120 people were killed. The explosions were heard as far away as Auckland to the North and Christchurch in the South Island, whilst many in the Manawatu believed that the visiting Russian man-of-war, 'Vestnick' was bombarding Wanganui.

The fissure clearly evident on Mount Tarawera, as sketched in 1886 and
published in "The Central Thermal Springs of the North Island", 1888.
[From my own collection]

After the eruption, a crater over 100 metres deep encompassed the former site of the terraces. Over the next 15 years this slowly filled with water (as shown below) to form a new enlarged Lake Rotomahana 30 metres higher and five time larger than the old lake due to volcanic debris blocking its outflow to Lake Tarawera.

And there supposedly ended the story of the renowned Pink and White Terraces, mourned for the loss of such unique natural beauty but always remembered by period photographs and evocative paintings.

A modern map detailing the extend of the eruption.
[Source :  The Encyclodia of New Zealand]

But fast forward 125 years to 2011 when a team of scientific researchers completed mapping of the lake floor. Their startling findings initially revealed that lying 60 metres below the lake surface and covered in mud appeared to be at least two tiers of the actual Pink Terraces and evidence of a 150 metre long section of the White Terraces. But more exciting news was soon to follow.

Further mapping just completed by GNS Science using sonar equipment has concluded that a substantially intact portion of the Pink Terraces lie under two metres of sediment on the lake floor. The White Terraces, being in an area of greater seismic disturbance, appear to be less intact. The actual condition of both terraces cannot however be accurately determined.  

A GNS Science Video explaining the Latest Search

Last year we found the two bottom tiers of the buttress adjacent to main staircase of the Pink Terraces. This year the seismic data is telling us that there is a 40-meter-wide and three-storey-high stack of very hard material exactly where we estimate the Pink Terraces should be."

"We believe this represents a substantial portion of the Pink Terraces, although we were not able to determine their state of preservation. We were unable to image individual terraces. The stack of hard material is covered by a 2m-thick layer of sediment that could not be penetrated by the sonar equipment used in last year’s survey."

The White Terraces, taken by Charles Spenser, 1880.
[Source : Julian's Blog - Julian is the Outreach Educator for GNS Science]

Current mapping of the lake bed has used the most up to date equipment available. Further imaging may only become possible if and when higher resolution sonar imaging equipment becomes available. What remains of the Terraces however will never ever again be seen in their original form. But the realisation that this famous 'Eighth Wonder of the World' had not been entirely blown to pieces and a substantial portion merely rests on the lake bed under layers of sediment has created both excitement, wonder and curiosity.

One hopes that at least a small portion of the Terraces may be uncovered to at least ascertain their condition after having been buried for 125 years. But 'burial' may be their best protection and in future we can hopefully view what remains by the use of digital imaging.

Footnotes :
1 = there are actually seven natural wonders in this category, two being in New Zealand.

Bibliography :

- Wikipedia
- "The Central Thermal Springs of the North Island", 1888 [From my own collection]  
- Where stated images are from my own collection but may be freely copied for non-commercial use (only) provided a link is given back to this page.

Saturday 24 March 2012

The Anniversary of Two World Famous Bridges

A Steam Train crossing the Forth Railway Bridge, Scotland. Circa 1900
Note the horse-drawn covered coach with passengers waiting at the
South Queensferry terminal in foreground.
[From my own collection]

March 2012 marks the anniversary of two iconic masterpieces of engineering - but at opposite ends of the Earth. The Forth Railway Bridge in Scotland has reached the milestone of 122 years since its opening on the 4th March 1890 and the equally iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia of 80 years, having been opened on the 19th March 1932. Both are without doubt highly significant examples of structural engineering.

The Forth Railway Bridge, Taken c. 1905-1910
[From my own collection]

The Forth Railway Bridge

The Forth Railway Bridge was designed on the cantilever principle by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker and built by the Glasgow based construction company Sir William Arrol & Co. A massive engineering project, the statistics are fascinating but also sobering. Spanning a length of 8,296 ft at a maximum height of 361 feet above sea level, the bridge was the first major structure to make use of steel instead of wrought iron. At its peak, approximately 4,600 workers were employed day and night in its construction which took five years. But records also show that over 450 workers were injured with 98 losing their lives [one record states 63].The weight of the bridge superstructure as constructed was 51,324 tonnes with 6.5 million hammered rivets being used. The bridge also used 640,000 cu ft of granite for pier supports and approaches, the deepest foundation being 91 feet. The total cost came to over £3,500,000 pounds.

The Forth Railway Bridge Under Construction
[Source : The National Archives of Scotland]

After completion of construction in December 1889 load testing then took place in January 1890. Two trains, each consisting of three heavy locomotives and 50 wagons loaded with coal and totalling 1,880 tons in weight, were slowly driven to the middle of the north cantilever, stopping frequently to measure the deflection of the bridge. This represented more than twice the design load of the bridge with the deflection under load being exactly as expected.

A Steam Engine Crossing the Forth Railway Bridge, Pre 1905
[From my own collection]

The bridge was duly opened on the 4th March 1890 by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) who had the honour of driving home the last rivet, which was gold plated and suitably inscribed. In 2006 the bridge carried between 190 to 200 trains per day and despite a speed restriction of 50 miles per hour can handle trains weighing up to 1,422 tonnes.

Repainting of the bridge was completed in December 2011. This involved removing all previous layers of paint then applying 230,000 m2 of new paint at a total cost of £130M. This is expected to now last a minimum of 25 years before repainting will be required. An engineering report estimates the bridge will have a life span (with regular maintenance) in excess of a further 100 years. The industrious Victorian builders would never have doubted that their bridge would last the test of time.

The Piers of the Sydney Harbour Bridge under Construction, circa 1931.
Believed to have been taken from the deck of the 'S.S. Mataroa'.
[From my own collection]

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an equally recognisable and famous structure.

Built under the directions of Dr J.J.C. Bradfield of the New South Wales Department of Public Works, the bridge was designed in structural steel, being built by British firm Dorman Long and Co Ltd and opened in March 1932.

With a span of 1650 feet and height of the arch at 440 feet, this makes it the fifth longest span arch bridge in the World. Large rotating steel pins fitted at each end enable the structure to expand and contract by as much as 7.1 inches without causing damage. The complete bridge weighs 52,800 tonnes and the arch itself 39,000 tonnes. Six million Australian made rivets hold the structure together, being heated to red hot then riveted into the structural steel beams using pneumatic guns. Structural welding had not been sufficiently developed at that time.

The completed bridge, as viewed from the deck of the S.S. Orontes, 1937
[From my own collection]

The four 292 feet high concrete pylons at each corner - which are purely aesthetic and serve no structural purpose - are faced with around 635,664 cubic feet of Moruya quarried granite, being designed by Scottish Architect Thomas S. Tait. The stonemasons at Moruya cut, dressed, and numbered the granite blocks, which were then transported to Sydney by specially built ships.

The Bridge Latticework, as viewed from the
South East Pylon Viewing Deck, 1937.
The railway and tram tracks are clearly visible.
[From my own collection]

Built as a combined road, rail and tram bridge, load testing took place in February 1932 with the four rail tracks loaded with as many as 96 steam locomotives. During construction 16 workers died, although only two of those from actually falling off the bridge. In later years many workers experienced deafness caused from the noise of inserting and hammering the rivets. The total financial cost of the bridge was [in Australian Pounds] £6.25 million, which was not actually paid off in full until 1988.

Each coat of paint on the bridge requires around 6,600 imperial gallons [30,000 litres] of paint, covering an equivalent area of around 120 acres [485,000 square metres].

The Bridge, as viewed from the Pedestrian
Walkway. The extended arms hold up wires
for electric rail services. Taken 1937.
[From my own collection]

The formal opening ceremony took place on the 19th March 1932, the ribbon being cut by the Hon. Jack Lang, the Labor Premier of New South Wales. But the opening was not without drama! Just as he was about to cut the ribbon a rider on horseback rode across and slashed the ribbon with a sword "in the name of the people of New South Wales". The man was arrested and the ribbon hurriedly re-tied.

The bridge is now synonymous with Sydney, also having quickly become an iconic structure which stands as a permanent monument to the inspired vision of its designers and builders.

Bibliography :

- Wikipedia
- Unless otherwise stated all images are from my own collection but may be freely copied for non-commercial use provided a link is given back to this page.

Monday 19 March 2012

Captain Patrick Hamilton of the Royal Flying Corps - A Tribute

Captain Hamilton in his two seater 60 h.p. Deperdussin Monoplane
 ready to fly to headquarters upon his appointment to the
Royal Flying Corps in April 1912

100 years ago on the 6th September 1912, a 100 h.p. Deperdussin Monoplane piloted by Captain Patrick Hamilton and Lieutenant Athole Wyness Stuart, both of the newly established Royal Flying Corps, took off from Wallingford on a reconnaissance exercise. Both men were killed when the French Deperdussin's Gnôme rotary engine suffered a catastrophic failure at an altitude of about 500 feet causing an unsurvivable crash near Willan in Hertfordshire, England.

Captain Patrick Hamilton of the Royal Flying Corps
3.6.1882 - 6.9.1912

Having served as an Infantry Officer with the Worcester Regiment in India, Captain Hamilton had returned to England on leave in Easter of 1911. He had only been home a few days when he announced his intention of taking up flying, considering that he had the required qualifications, "A good nerve, a light weight and a good turn for mechanics." 

After attending aviation schools at Hendon and Brooklands Captain Hamilton decided to join a Mr Dyatt flying in America, investing his modest capital on a plane of his own. Again he ably justified his actions by stating that "he could not get the [flying] experience any other way". His plane was a French made 30 h.p. single-seater Deperdussin Monoplane, being quickly named by his family "The Golden Eagle".

Captain Hamilton flying the single seater Deperdussin Monoplane,
"The Golden Eagle", 1911

Flying in America had it's challenges, with unprepared "airfields" requiring much preparation and even an instance where an unruly crowd threw stones because he would not take off due to high winds - which would have meant certain death. He wrote to his family that he had been more worried about stones hitting and damaging his plane than himself ! 

Video of a 1910 35 h.p.Deperdussin belonging to 
the Shuttleworth Collection in England.

The inherent dangers in early aviation finally proved their point in December 1911 :

" right wing got into a fearfully bad air pocket (a hole in the air), and dropped right down. I warped and did everything possible, but failed to right the machine, and she turned completely over in the air.... having turned upside down, myself still on board, and the engine running full tilt, she struck the ground on the nose of the machine at about an angle of 45 degrees. There was a fearsome crash and rending of wood, etc. The propellor was not even good for matchwood, the tops of the skids went like paper.... I watched the oil and petrol pouring out of the tank, and wondered if it was going to fire, but nothing happened... I crawled out and started looking over the wreck, and then began to realise I'd had about the most wonderful escape anyone could possibly have. The aircraft fell about a hundred feet.... I was not even shaken, and I cannot realise how I could have escaped."

"The Golden Eagle" upside down after falling 100 feet, Dec 1911

"The Golden Eagle" proved repairable, the mainframe and wings effectively only being wood, canvas and wire. Captain Hamilton praised the Deperdussin : "This plane has clearly demonstrated what a wonderfully safe one for the pilot it is in the event of a bad fall... I hope to never fly any other machine except a Deperdussin. They are absolutely marevllous."    

Flying had other hazards and Captain Hamilton mentions the difficulties of distinguishing landmarks "when looking down upon them from a great height" to get one's correct bearings and how such a difficulty could be overcome in time of war. Flying through rain proved "anything but soft and refreshing", the force of wind "being so great that his face felt almost pushed to one side", and the occasional bird "inadvertently killed by dashing themselves against the engine".  

"The Golden Eagle" - The Deperdussin Monoplane piloted by
Captain Hamilton, taken after being repaired, 1912

Returning to London at the end of February 1912 and with leave from his Batallion in India extended, he gained his formal "Brevet" Pilot's Certificate on the 16th March 1912. Meanwhile he arranged for strengthening of his latest 60 h.p. Deperdussin plane, including fitting sheets of aluminium instead of canvas and duplication of warping and wing support wires. His flying orders from the War Office arrived on the 23rd April 1912, confirming his appointment to the newly established [13 April 1912] Royal Flying Corps, without probation, and to take up his duties as soon as possible.

The two-seater 60 h.p. Deperdussin Monoplane in flight.

On a flight from Beaulieu to Farnborough he recounted flying through fog by compass, spotting the landmark St Catherine's Hill protruding through the mist, following the railway line to Basingstoke before picking up his bearings at Fleet, then finally feeling some "very bad air eddies" while coming in to land. 

Based at Larkhill on the Salisbury Plain, Captain Hamilton took his "Special Aviator's Certificate" in July 1912 which included reaching 1,500 feet, a glide of at least 500 feet with the engine cut off, and to land within 100 yards of the [required] mark. A cross-country test involved flying to Weymouth and back within five hours, a distance of 50 miles :

"The journey there took 45 minutes, a rate of 73 miles an hour.... and the journey back took exactly an hour and a quarter. There was a thick mist and heavy clouds the whole way. To within five or six miles of the coast it is easy to recognise Weymouth, but on the return journey I could see nothing but clouds and the occasional glimpse of the ground behind me. ... by the time I got to Larkhill it was nearly dark, and they were going to light the flares... I just managed to recognise Salisbury, so knew I was near home but jolly nearly got lost between Salisbury and Larkhill...."  

A 1910 35 h.p.Deperdussin Monoplane preserved in the
Shuttleworth Collection in England.
[Source :  Rob 68]

Gaining his "superior certificate" would, he felt, certainly make him a Flight Commander on a wage of about £450 a year. To this position he was in fact appointed. He continued to fly his own Deperdussin although the Royal Flying Corps also used the British built Avro two-seater and Bristol monoplane. 

He related to his family that he did not fear death, "He simply knew no fear for himself, but owned that he felt a little nervous when he carried a passenger". Three of his own brothers had in fact died in the [Second] Boer War, all of a like mind and not fearing death.

A French advert for 3 or 4 seat Deperdussin
Aeroplanes, 1911
[Source : Armand Deperdussin]

From his original 33 h.p. Deperdussin, he had progressed from flying 60 and 70 h.p. machines to the newly delivered French made 100 h.p. Gnôme engined Deperdussin. His biography records that "I think scientific men will realise something of the pluck and courage required to start off for the first time under orders in a machine, so little tried by him, of such terrific speed."  His own words describes his excitement at flying this new aeroplane : "She is a wonderful machine, climbs like a rocket."

A 100hp Deperdussin Monoplane, flown by  J. Vedrines in  1913
[Source : Armand Deperdussin]

Captain Hamilton as Pilot and Lieutenant Athole Wyness Stuart as Observer departed Wallingford at 6.10am in the Deperdussin with orders to make observations and land at Welwyn. Passing over Gravely at about 1,500 feet the machine was observed to rock violently, the wings collapsed, and it dived to the ground with the immediate death of both men upon impact.

"For the people of North Hertfordshire, flying machines were very much a cause of wonder and excitement; when one passed overhead, which was rarely, work stopped, housewives ran to their windows and small boys jumped on their bicycles to pedal off furiously in vain pursuit. Consequently, when Captain Hamilton brought his Deperdussin monoplane over Stevenage and began his descent over the villages towards Willian alighting ground, hundreds of eyes were upon him. There were many, therefore, who witnessed with horror the deaths of the two men."

The accident proved to have been entirely due to engine trouble, and that no amount of knowledge, experience or skill on the part of the pilot could have saved them : 

"A valve, being disconnected through the fracture of a valve-rod, was twisted round with the revolution of the engine, and probably tore out a piece of the engine which in turn smashed up the front diagonal strut. then the vertical strut became broken, and the wires which kept the wings in place, being liberated, flapped... loosely in the wind. The machine then fell like a stone."

A Newspaper Report, 7 Sept 1912
[Source : Frank.Cooke]

The funerals of both men took place with full military honours at St Saviour's Church in Hitchin. A hymn was specially composed for the men :

'Direct with thine all-seeing eye 
Watch each dread journey through the sky;
Through every storm and danger zone,
Bring each brave pilot safely home.'

Thence the coffins were carried on gun carriages in a procession to the Railway Station. Captain Hamilton's remains were interred in Hythe Churchyard in Kent and those of Lieutenant Athole Wyness Stuart at Wells in Someset.

"The Graveley air disaster brought home to the public with brutal suddenness the fact that the young men pioneering military aviation were engaged in an occupation that contained far more danger than glamour." 

The military funeral procession through Hitchin, Sept 1912
[Source : Frank.Cooke]

A small granite obelisk bearing the names of the pioneer aviators was erected about half a mile away from the crash site by the side of the road that runs between Willian and Great Wymondley. Captain Hamilton's mother laid a wreath of chrysanthemums upon it and his Flight Commander made a short speech after which the uniforms of the dead Officers were buried under the memorial stone obelisk. His Mother also received a letter of Sympathy from His Majesty King George V. 

The Memorial Stone, taken 20th Nov 1912
[Source : Frank.Cooke]

"Some people,' said Major Brooke Popham [at the service], 'may think a memorial stone a waste of money and that it would have been more profitable to give it to the hospital or some local charity. I beg to differ. We should be a poor nation without recollections of noble deeds and heroic deaths to inspire us. The careless child and the weary wayfarer will pass along this road, look at this stone, read this inscription and realise that they, too, have a duty to perform. They will know that patriotism is not an empty word and that Englishmen are still ready to lay down their lives in the service of their country." [Re-copied from Frank.Cooke - The Aviators]

Major Brooke Popham's [later Air Chief Marshall] words indeed proved prophetic as only two years later saw the start of World War One - which included the first use of aerial warfare. We pay tribute to all those pioneer aviators of the Royal Flying Corps.

Latest News 2012 : 

The Letchworth, Hitchin and District Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association [click here for link], in conjunction with Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and the RAF No. 3 Squadron, are holding a service of dedication at the memorial site in September 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the crash.

Please Note : The spelling of Lieutenant Athole Wyness Stuart's name differs from some other sources and was not hyphenated. This error dates back to at least 1913. His birth certificate for 28 Dec 1881 (which I have sighted) gives the correct spelling. 

Bibliography : 

- "Soldier and Aviator - A Tribute to the Memory of Capt. Patrick Hamilton of the Royal Flying Corps", published 1912 (from my own collection)
- Frank Cooke - The Aviators
- Royal Air Forces Letchworth, Hitchin & District Branch  
- Various Internet resources.
- Unless otherwise stated all images are from the above publication and are not copyrighted.

Monday 12 March 2012

"In Memoriam" - Victorian & Early 20th Century Mourning

A winged angel holding flowers watches over a tomb
in the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin, New Zealand

"Mourning etiquette" dictated many established social customs during and after the death of a loved one and that these were rigidly adhered to. Many of these customs dated from well before the Victorian era but increased exponentially after the death of Prince Albert in 1861. Queen Victoria then plunged herself - and her country - into an over zealous and elaborate display of mourning. Woe betide anyone who chose to ignore the accepted 'rituals' of mourning! It was only from the Edwardian era that many of these rituals, such as the period one must wear mourning, were slightly relaxed but many elements of mourning are still practised today. The colour black is synonymous with mourning, being used in many ways to demonstrate the grief of the bereaved. This blog highlights a number of the established rituals of "mourning" over the last 192 years drawing mainly on items from my own collections.

"The Globe" newspaper with black borders,
published in London, 15th February 1820

Black bordered memoriam cards, stationery and even envelopes were a mark of respect for a deceased person. The death of the reigning Monarch would additionally be commemorated with black bordered pages in newspapers.

"The Globe" newspaper illustrated above and published in London on the 15th February 1820 displays black borders in mourning for the recent death of His Majesty King George III of the United Kingdom. The newspaper carries a full report of the funeral of the late King.

"The Edinburgh Evening Courant" newspaper with
black borders, published in Edinburgh, 15th July 1830

"The Edinburgh Evening Courant" newspaper published in Edinburgh on the 15th July 1830 and with black borders in mourning for the recent death of His Majesty King George IV of the United Kingdom. The newspaper includes a full account of the late King's life plus a rather explicit account of his post-mortem!

A "Fearful Disaster on the Clyde", SS Daphne, 3 July 1883

Disasters with grievous loss of life such as maritime or railway disasters typically brought forth an outpouring of public grief, often commemorated by specially printed pamphlets containing religious scripts or appropriately sombre but religiously uplifting poetical verses.  

The above pamphlet commemorates the loss of at least 124 men and boys when the S.S. Daphne capsized upon her launching at Govan on the Clyde on the 3rd July 1883. A large crowd witnessed this dreadful event with rescuers only able to save about 70 survivors. One of the outcomes of the subsequent enquiry was the limiting of personnel aboard a vessel being launched to only those necessary for mooring the ship after the launch.

A death at sea on a long voyage would have been particularly tragic as the body had to be 'buried' at sea and as soon as possible. The following diary entry is taken from the voyage of the RMS Ionic From London to New Zealand in 1910 and refers to a  man who had taken the long voyage "for his health" :

"Friday 23rd Dec : The burial of the passenger who died last night took place about 6.30 this morning. Most of the passengers were on deck. The corpse which was sewn up in canvas was laid on deck at the stern of the boat and the Captain and Officers were gathered round it. The service was conducted by a young Minister from the 2nd Class & after it was over the boat slackened speed for a minute or two and the corpse was slipped overboard. He leaves a wife & a family in England to mourn his loss." 

A black bordered letter written by a widower.

The above black-bordered letter is written by a grieving widower, Mr Robert Lawson of "Caledona" Juniper Green, near Edinburgh after the death of his wife Ann at Edinburgh in 1920. This was then posted in a black-bordered envelope, an example used by Queen Victoria being illustrated below.

A black bordered envelope used by Queen Victoria.
[Source : Internet]

Many widows and widowers would continue to use black bordered stationary for the rest of their lives.  Even the then popular "calling card" would become permanently black-bordered for a widow or widower.

A Military Funeral for Private John Watson, Winton, New Zealand,
18th September 1915

The above Military Funeral of Private John Watson at Winton New Zealand on the 18th September 1915 included Territoral Soldiers (leading at front and carrying rifles), Cadets, members of the National Reserve, and also Boy Scouts. The Winton Municipal Band played the Dead March as the funeral cortège made its way from the Army Drill Hall to the [old] Winton Cemetery. Behind the Soldiers and Band is the coffin being carried on a horse drawn cart and most probably draped with a Flag. Had the coffin been carried in a horse drawn hearse it would ordinarily have been decorated with black ostrich plumes.

Following the coffin above are female members of the family in the undertakers covered carriage with male family members and friends following behind. The service at the graveside was concluded with a volley of fire into the air from the firing party. As Private Watson had died [of illness] in military service, his death notice in the newspaper received the additional honour of black borders.

A commemorative medal for the life and service of Private John Watson
who died in military service, 14th September 1915

Those who died in Military Service during "The Great War" of 1914-1918 were honoured in the form of a large commemorative bronze plaque, also known as a "Dead Man's Penny". This was then sent to their next of kin. Designed by Edward Carter Preston, it shows Britannia with a trident and offering a wreath, with the British lion at her feet. The medal, of which over one million were made and personalised with the names of the deceased, was accompanied by a printed letter from His Majesty, King George V.

Mr James Watson of Heddon Bush, New Zealand wearing
a black armband in mourning for his Brother. Taken 1915

For some time after the decease of a parent or close family member mourning etiquette dictated that a black armband must be worn by men. Women would dress in mourning black. Attending social activities such as dances would be curtailed, often for some months, with such 'merriment' being viewed as unseemly and inappropriate. 

(L to R) Mrs Jane Letham (née McGowan), Marion Watson & Mrs Eliza
Watson (née Letham), Taken at Candermains, Stonehouse, Scotland,
Taken circa 1908

The above photo is not only illustrative of changing fashions for the late Edwardian period but also typically illustrates "Widows Weeds". Mrs Letham, a widow pictured at left of the group, is wearing subdued colours lined with black including a black bonnet and ruffled arm bands. Her clothing is also typically late Victorian in style which was not unusual for a person from an older generation. Contrast this with her Granddaughter's attire at rear. While not full mourning which would have included all black and a veil, Victorian mourning etiquette dictated that widows would continue to wear black or subdued colours and avoid bright colours for the remainder of their lives. The requirement to publicly demonstrate mourning was truly unrelenting.    

Larnach Family mausoleum, North Dunedin Cemetery

Mourning could also visibly demonstrate love, as we know with the Taj Mahal. The above impressively large mausoleum was initially built in 1881 to house the remains of Eliza Jane Guise, a French heiress and wife of financier and Member of Parliament, William Larnach. Designed by the noted Architect Robert Lawson, it mimics the style of the iconic gothic styled Presbyterian First Church in Dunedin.

Doorway of the Larnach family mausoleum,
North Dunedin Cemetery

Recently restored and surrounded with electronic security features, this magnificent edifice now also houses the remains of William Larnach himself, his second wife Mary Alleyne (a half sister of his first wife Eliza), his daughter Kate and son Donald. His third wife outlived him. Tragically both William Larnach and his son Donald took their own lives.

The Memorial to Ethel Preston at Lawnswood Cemetery
in Leeds, England. Taken Feb 2012
[Photo Credit : S Carroll]

This memorial is either a story of great love or of remorseful guilt! It is reputed that Mrs Preston of "The Grange" in Beeston England waited at the door every night for her husband and after her death aged 50 in March 1911 her grieving husband had this striking memorial erected to her memory at Lawnswood Cemetery in Leeds, England. Her husband Walter finally joined his wife in 1930.

However an alternative well known story perhaps paints a different picture! A staff member of the Prestons alleged that Mr Preston had been somewhat of a womaniser, abandoning his wife for days.

"The memory of returning to his wife's mournful vigil at the entrance of the Grange haunted him so much he effected it in marble. Ethel's health deteriorated due to her husband's habits and finally led to her death.... allegedly. The memorial is a guilty testimony to this."

Built of Italian marble, a life sized statue holding flowers stands under a classical porch supported by entablature, cornice and a ballustraded parapet. Black marble doors are slightly ajar at rear. The memorial is said to be a replica of the entrance to their now demolished home at "The Grange", Beeston.

Monumental Mason's letterhead

The above Monumental Mason's letterhead, being for "Kingsland & Ferguson" of Invercargill, New Zealand proudly illustrates an example of monumental work. Until cost became a consideration and council bylaws became more restrictive in recent years, many headstones were often exceedingly large and surprisingly elaborate. Sadly damage from weathering, instability of the ground, rusting iron supports and vandalism have taken their toll on many early and detailed headstones. The lack of funding does mean that little general remedial work can be undertaken. In the old Highgate cemetery in London the overgrown and crumbling nature of the tombs and mausoleums does lead a certain charm to the place. Conversely, in the large Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg Germany the headstones are removed after 25 years if a fee is not paid by the family and the plot re-used plus the "occupants" of mausoleums removed. The cemetery is however neat and tidy with beautifully kept gardens.    

Gold mourning ring owned by Mrs Mary Dougal, née Dykes.
 Circa 1840's

One of the most poignant and visible reminders of a loved one were pieces of jewellery containing woven human hair from a deceased relative. Above is a gold ring dating from the 1840's owned by Mrs Mary Dougal (née Dykes) of Lesmahagow Scotland and containing woven human hair visible under a clear "window" and set with pearls.

A ladies fob chain made of woven human hair (Watson estate)

The above ladies fob chain with gold mounts, small wax seal and watch winding key is one of the more unusual examples of this style of remembrance that I have come across.

Broach containing woven human hair owned by Mrs Eliza Watson
(née Letham) of Candermains, Stonehouse, Scotland. Circa 1880's

The above gold broach contains a large piece of woven human hair which may be viewed by many today as a rather macabre display of mourning and remembrance. But such an outward display of mourning has to be kept in the context of the time. Additionally, it would have been commissioned by the holder to wear and would not have appeared out of place in the Victorian world in which the wearer, Mrs Eliza Watson, lived. Keeping a lock of hair from the deceased would often suffice and I do hold such an example which had been placed in a black bordered envelope.

Bibliography :

- Internet sources
- Unless otherwise stated all images are from my own collection or taken by myself and may not be used for any commercial purpose without my express permission. Images may freely be used for personal purposes provided a link is given back to this page.

Thursday 8 March 2012

The Enduring Classical Beauty of the Venus de Milo

 A bonded marble facsimile of the Venus de Milo

My recent chance bargain find in a second hand shop of an unusually heavy 25cm high bonded marble facsimile of the famous Venus de Milo  led me to explore the origins and history of this classical Greek beauty.

The original Venus de Milo in the Louvre, Paris
[Source : Internet]

Sculpted in Parian marble sometime between 130BC and 100BC, the original statue is strongly believed to represent Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love. The original stands 6ft 8in high, and from an inscription on its plinth (now missing), is believed to be the work of Alexander of Antioch.

Famous for her missing arms, it is believed that her right arm was lowered across her body, the right hand resting on her raised left knee to "hold" her drapery in place. The left arm was held at just below the eye level of the statue with the hand holding up an apple. It would have thus appeared that the Goddess was looking up at the apple. Interestingly, as beautiful as she is in white marble, she would originally have been painted and adorned with jewellery, as was then the custom. Holes to attach the jewellery are still evident.

The original Venus de Milo - Three Quarter view
[Source : Internet]

The Venus de Milo was originally found by a peasant inside a buried niche within the ancient city of Milos on the Aegean Island of Milos in 1820. Parts of her fragmented arms were also located, including her hand holding the apple, and an inscribed plinth.

A French naval officer recognised its significance and arranged for its purchase by the French Ambassador to Turkey. By the time news of the discovery had reached the Ambassador and he had despatched his representative with payment the peasant had already been persuaded to sell the statue to "the Grand Dragoman of the [Turkish] Fleet". When the French representative arrived the statue was in fact being hoisted aboard a ship bound for Constantinople. Some rather quick negotiating ensued and the sale was annulled. Thus France secured this statue truly at the eleventh hour.

The Venus de Milo -
Rear view
[Source : Internet]

Upon arrival at the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre), the fragments of the arms were initially thought not to be original because of a lessor quality of workmanship. It is now accepted that they are genuine, with the left arm and hand simply being less detailed due to it being generally above eye level and not so obvious to onlookers.

A drawing by Jean Babtiste Joseph Debay of
the statue together with the missing plinth,
published in 1821
 [Source : Internet]

The also controversial - but perfectly fitting - plinth mysteriously disappeared shortly before the statue was presented to King Louis XVIII of France in 1821. The King however, being a great benefactor to the arts, formally added the statue to the Louvre Museum in Paris where it still resides. It was King Louis XVIII who in fact named the statue "Venus de Milo", meaning "Venus of the apple", milo in Greek meaning simply "apple".

Her beauty, however, lies in her imperfect nature and she is simply one of great masterpiece of art in the World today.

Bibliography :

- Public Internet resources and non-copyrighted images.

Thursday 1 March 2012

"The Trossachs Tour", 1905

 "The Trossachs Tour", 1905

Using historic colour images, this blog features an actual Edwardian tour of the idyllic Scottish Trossachs region, being based on an original 1905 tourist brochure in my possession (part of which is illustrated above). Timings given for trains, coaches and steamers are as per the above brochure.

"The Trossachs" itself is a woodland glen, lying between Ben A'an in the north and Ben Venue to the south, with Loch Katrine to the west and Loch Achray to the east. Our tour will return home via Loch Lomond, also known for some very picturesque scenery.

The scenic charms of The Trossachs quickly became popular with tourists, especially after the publication in the early 19th century of the romantic works of Sir Walter Scott, with "The Lady of the Lake" and "Rob Roy" being set in the area. Increasing tourism to the area prompted the building of a hotel by Loch Achray in 1849.

Our "tour" commences in Edinburgh, continuing in a circular route via Callandar, The Trossachs, Inversnaid, Loch Lomond, Balloch Pier, and Glasgow before returning to Edinburgh.

A Caledonian Railway Drummond "Jumbo" locomotive in blue livery with
carriages standing at the west end of Callander Station [Source Internet]

The starting point for our tour is the Caledonian Railway ["The Caley"] Princess Street Main Line Station in Edinburgh, our train scheduled to depart at 11.20am. After checking in our luggage at the Luggage Office we then check the departure board on the concourse to ascertain the correct platform number. We show our 'Edmondson card' ticket to the uniformed ticket inspector at the platform gate to gain access to the platform itself before finding and settling into our compartmented carriage. As is usual on a passenger service during the Edwardian era, our locomotive is immaculately turned out, being painted in the striking blue livery of the Caledonian Railway Company. The station, with its long distinctive curved platforms and hanging 'smoke ducts' above, lies directly behind the large and imposing newly opened Caledonian Hotel at the corner of Lothian Road and Rutland Street with the main decorative cast iron entrance accessed via the latter. The bustling west end of Princes Street is but a stone's throw away.

From 1965, under British Railways management, services to and from Princes Street were eventually routed through the more convenient and spacious old North British Railway "Waverley Station" with the once busy but operatively inconvenient Caledonian Station later being demolished. The Caledonian Hotel and decorative cast iron entrance are still extant.  

But we return to 1905 where we are full of expectations for a wonderful adventure ahead ! With the signal quadrant on the gantry now indicating a clear road ahead and with a wave of the guard's flag our train whistles in the deep tone typical of the Caledonian Railway then, emitting clouds of steam, slowly pulls out of the station. The view is dominated by the smoky atmosphere, busy goods yards, the station signalbox, grimy tenement blocks, industrial buildings served by railway sidings, then residential housing until we reach open lowland countryside, passing through the occasional small village as the smoke from the engine gently wafts past us.

Our train will make scheduled stops at the towns of Larbert, Stirling and Dunblane before arriving at Callander Station in Stirlingshire for "The Trossachs" at 1.43pm.

Callander Railway Station, 1907

The attractive and rustic Callander Railway Station lay on the "Caledonian Railway" through route west to Oban via Crianlarich Junction. Sadly the central section of the route from Dunblane to Crianlarich closed in 1965 with the notorious and often short-sighted "Beeching cuts". This charming station site is now occupied by a soul-less carpark. We must however leave our train here to continue our intrepid journey by horse drawn coach. This only adds to the adventure of visiting this totally unspoilt and quite beautiful area of Scotland.

Four-in-hand horse drawn coach waiting at Callander Railway Station.
Taken circa 1900 [Source Internet]

As our train continues onto Balquhidder and Killin Junction we now change for the scheduled horse drawn coach service waiting outside Callander station, departing for the Trossachs Hotel on Loch Achray at 2pm. Judging by the crowded carriage pictured above one hopes it does not rain. On a nice day it would most likely be a relatively pleasant journey with great views, although no doubt somewhat bumpy and dusty. Edwardian travellers in search of adventure were however hardy souls! Note the ladder.

A general view of Callandar and showing the River Teith, Pre 1900
[Source : Library of Congress]

Callander with bridge over River Teith with Ben Ledi at rear, Pre 1900.
[Used with permission from Old UK Photos]

Above is shown a view of the attractive Callander village with the arched bridge over the River Teith. We shall however take the coach road which crosses the river north of this point before heading westward towards Loch Vennachar, our journey taking one and three quarters hours. We first cross the River Teith then follow the road alongside Loch Vennachar which has a length of 3.7 miles.

Brig o' Turk, pre 1900
[Used with permission from Old UK Photos]

After leaving the shores of Loch Vennachar we pass through the small village of Brig o' Turk with it's rustic hump backed stone bridge.

Loch Achray and Ben Venue, 1905

A short distance further on, and overlooking Loch Achray, we finally arrive at our accommodation, The Trossachs Hotel, at 3.45pm. Ben Venue (height 2393 feet) towers in the distance across the Loch to the south.

The Trossachs Hotel overlooking Loch Achray

The imposing turreted Trossachs Hotel had been built in 1849 (extended in 1853 and 1891) for Lord Willoughby D'Eresby to service the burgeoning tourism to the area, aided by the ever increasing railway network and the "feeder" coach and lake steamer services which grew up alongside the railways. The Trossachs Hotel is now a listed building and continues to offer accomodation today as Tigh Mor Trossachs Apartments.  

 The Trossachs Hotel Tariff, 1905

While a basic room for one with facilities shared with other guests costs just two shillings and sixpence a night, one has to pay extra for "lights" and a fire in one's room. Breakfast, luncheon and dinner, together with an "attendance" fee of one shilling and sixpence each per night, are available in the dining room (or sixpence extra for a private meal in one's room), along with a basic but adequate "snack" menu - but at "fixed hours". One could assume that the servings would however be "hearty" to match the guest's appetites after hiking hither and thither. Now will we have tea with scones and preserves now or wait for early evening dinner?

Trossachs Kirk on Loch Achray with Ben A'an.
G.W.W. Photochrome print

A worthwhile visit while staying at The Trossachs Hotel is to the nearby and attractively situated "Trossachs Kirk" (just visible at left of centre) overlooking Loch Achray and under the shadow of Ben A'an (1750 feet).

Trossachs Kirk had been opened for worship under the established Church of Scotland on the 14th of October 1849, having received the generous Patronage of Lord and Lady Willoughby D'Eresby. Both generously provided a site for the Church and the ongoing sum of £15 per annum "for the maintenance of a Missionary". Lady D'Eresby was by birth Lady Clementina Drummond, the last of the line of the Drummond Earls of Perth whose vast estates once encompassed both Callender and The Trossachs. Lady D'Eresby considered the site of the Kirk "the loveliest spot in rural Scotland in a magnificent setting of mountain, loch, forest and meadow."

Until 1893 the singing in the Kirk had been lead not by an organ but by a 'Precentor', "a little, very bow-legged old man, with the wheeziest of voices" who always sang the first paraphrase alone. An early visitor, the painter Sir John Millias, asked the Precentor why he did not have an organ. His reply was simply "Ah, man, would you have us take to the devil’s band?".

"Walks and Drives Near The Trossachs Hotel", 1905

The area around Loch Achray in fact offers innumerable excursions by foot or hired carriage. One could include a proper look around "Brig o'Turk", the peaceful hamlet we passed through between Loch Achray and Loch Vennachar, where "the headmost horseman rode alone" as immortalised in "The Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott. And slightly further up the valley lies Glen Finlas, also noted for its lovely scenery.      

For those who enjoy walking a worthwhile circular three mile walk could be made through "the Old Pass of The Trossachs" where Fitz-James lost his "gallant grey" when in pursuit of the Royal Stag (also from "The Lady of the Lake"), returning via Loch Katrine.

A pathway by Loch Katrine, GWW Photochrome Print
[Source : Library of Congress]

For those feeling a little more energetic maybe a walk around Loch Achray via Brig o'Turk (4 miles), or climbing one of the mountains in the area, Sron Armalite behind the hotel (1150 feet, half an hour), Ben A'an (1750 feet, 1½ hours), Ben Venue (2393 feet, half day), or Ben Ledi (2875 feet, one day).

Those with an interest in Scottish history may wish to travel by scheduled coach the 21 miles north to Clachan of Balquhidder to visit the gravesite of Rob Roy McGregor (in Balquhidder Kirkyard).  

Highland Cattle by a stream at Aberfoyle, pre 1907

Another day excursion by scheduled horse drawn coach or hired carriage could also include travelling through the magnificent wooded scenery and landscapes over the "Duke's Pass" to the village of Aberfoyle which lies about five miles south of Loch Achray.

Advertising poster for Summer Tours of the Trossachs
 and Loch Katrine via Aberfoyle, published by the rival
North British Railway Company in 1912
[Source : National Railway Museum]

Served by the rival "North British Railway" and with scheduled coach connections north, Aberfoyle proudly promoted itself as "The Gateway to the Trossachs". Unfortunately the railway, being effectively only a secondary branch line, closed to passengers as early as 1951 and the line itself in 1959. Aberfoyle however has much in the immediate area of historical interest for visitors.

Looking west from Aberfoyle towards Ben Lomond, pre 1900.
[Source : National Galleries of Scotland]

Aberfoyle is steeped in history with connections to many historical figures including Rob Roy and Mary Queen of Scots. Robert Roy MacGregor was born at the head of nearby Loch Katrine, and his well known cattle stealing exploits took him all around the area surrounding Aberfoyle. In the village stands a tree that MacGregor reputedly climbed in order to hide and escape from the clutches of the law. Aberfoyle and nearby Loch Ard are immortalised in Sir Walter Scott's "Rob Roy".

Following the Scots defeat at the Battle of Pinkie (near Edinburgh) in 1547, the young Mary Queen of Scots was brought from Stirling Castle to Inchmahome Priory (established as an Augustinian Monastery in 1238) on the Lake of Monteith by her mother Marie of Guise for safety. Even though Mary stayed for just three weeks, there are many stories about her accomplishments during her visit. Her name is still attached to the little box bower in the centre of the island.

In the Trossachs, "Where Twines the Path", 1909

"In The Trossachs", 1904

After breakfast we now leave the Trossachs Hotel to continue our journey onwards to Inversnaid, departing on the scheduled coach service at 10.40am. As our horse drawn coach leaves Loch Achray for Trossachs Pier at the east end of Loch Katrine, we are again reminded of the beautiful and idyllic wooded countryside, peaceful lochs and towering mountains which make The Trossachs such a popular tourist destination.

SS Sir Walter Scott at Trossachs Pier [Source Internet]

Upon arriving at the rustic Trossachs Pier we board our waiting steamer, the elegant and sleek coal fired SS Sir Walter Scott (launched in 1900), for our sail down this picturesque 8 mile long loch to Stronachlachar Pier. The eastern end of Loch Katrine is forever associated with Sir Walter Scott and his epic poem, "The Lady of the Lake", which is based on Arthurian legend.

SS Sir Walter Scott at Trossachs Pier

Utilising an ingenious series of aqueducts, Loch Katrine has provided water for the City of Glasgow since 1859 and can be raised or lowered by 6 to 7 feet. The SS Sir Walter Scott still sails on Loch Katrine, her twin boilers now being converted to run on biofuel.

 Ellen's Isle, Loch Katrine

A short throaty blast from the whistle, the ropes cast off and the ringing of the ship's telegraph signals our departure as the triple expansion steam engine comes to life down in the bowels of the "SS Sir Walter Scott". Our cruise will take approximate one hour and 45 minutes. Shortly after steaming away from Trossachs Pier we pass the small Ellen's Isle on Loch Katrine. To the north above Ellen's Isle rises Ben A'an (1750 feet).

The SS Sir Walter Scott sailing past Ellen's Isle [Source Internet]

The above image shows the SS Sir Walter Scott steaming past Ellen's Isle on her way to Stronachlachar Pier. This image comes from a series of historic old monochrome images which may be viewed on the In Callander Website.

We now arrive at Stronachlachar Pier at the western end of Loch Katrine. A short distance to the south of Stonachlachar, and with spectacular views over the Loch, is "Royal Cottage". This picturesque 'cottage' had been built by the Glasgow Water Works Corporation to accommodate Queen Victoria when she arrived to open the new Loch Katrine waterworks scheme in 1859. Royal protocol demanded that a house be built for her rather than "mobile accommodation". Unfortunately the 21 gun salute in Her Honour shattered the windows of Royal Cottage thus she merely used it as a shelter from the rain and did not remain overnight, all up the day being somewhat of a washout. Queen Victoria was apparently not amused!

Now we shall again take a horse drawn carriage for the short journey to our booked accommodation at the Inversnaid Hotel.

 The Inversnaid Hotel overlooking Loch Lomond.
Arklet Falls are at right

Dating from 1790 and originally built as a hunting lodge for the Duke of Montrose, the Inversnaid Hotel lies on the eastern shores of loch Lomond next to the beautiful Arklet [Inversnaid] Falls. The hotel has hosted many distinguished visitors, including Queen Victoria.

The Inversnaid Hotel Tariff, 1905

 Mr R Blair is the proprietor of both the Trossachs Hotel and the Inversnaid Hotel hence room and meal charges are almost identical.

"Walks Near Inversnaid Hotel", 1905

Loch Lomond at 24 miles in length is the largest fresh water lake in the country. The Loch is particularly well known on account of the 1841 song "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond" which refers to ill fated love from the days of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'.

"Oh, ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road, 
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye; 
But me and my true love will never meet again 
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond"

Arklet [Inversnaid] Falls, Loch Lomond  - G.W.W. Photochrome print

Arklet [Inversnaid] Falls, Loch Lomond

In the hotel grounds are Arklet [Inversnaid] Falls, which flow from Loch Arklet and fall into Loch Lomond via a lovely waterfall which is spanned by a footbridge. Inversnaid and the Falls are the scene of Wordsworth's poem "To a Highland Girl".

Other places of interest in the vicinity include the site of the Old Fort of Inversnaid (18th century) including the Soldier's Graveyard; "Bruce's Rock" where Bruce took shelter after his flight from the "Men of Lorne" in George A. Henty's novel "In Freedom's Cause"; a circular walk to Binian and back (1½ miles); Rob Roy's Cave, having frequently been used by the outlaw as a place of refuge; or a one day excursion by foot and row boat to Ben Lomond (3192 feet) with the return journey being made by steamer from Rowardennan. 

The curious "Pulpit Rock" on the opposite side of the Loch is a 10 foot high hole carved out of a cliff. Religious services were held here for 75 years during the summer months until 1895 when a Mission Church was established at Ardlui. Religious services in those days could last for a very long time, so a stall was erected behind the Pulpit Rock selling bread, cheese and whisky which led to some people spending more time behind the rock than in front of the pulpit, which led a local wag to observe that "the Lord is at the front, but the Devil lies behind".

A steamer at Inversnaid Pier [Source : The Loch Lomond Steamers]

Sadly, our visit to The Trossachs has come to an end and we must catch the 8.55am steamer from Inversnaid down the Loch to Balloch. Our journey down the Loch is however very scenic.

Loch Lomond from Tarbet, c. 1900
[Used with permission from Old UK Photos]

After departing Inversnaid we call at Tarbet Pier across on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond which connects with coaches to Arrochar and Loch Long as well as the nearby North British Railway line which runs north to Fort William and onto Mallaig and south to Glasgow (Queen Street Station). We shall however stay on board our steamer and continue down the Loch to Balloch.

A steamer at Tarbet Pier with Ben Lomond at rear, pre 1905

From Tarbet we can just see the summit of Ben Lomond (3196 feet).

A Steamer leaving Tarbet Pier, Loch Lomond, pre 1905

We now steam away from Tarbet for the small and remote settlement of Rowardennan which lies on the western shores of Loch Lomond.

Rowardennan Pier. The sign reads "Guides & Ponies to the Top
of Ben Lomond" Source : The Vale of Leven]

Many an intrepid traveller visiting Rowardennan would hire a pony and guide here and ride to the top of Ben Lomond (3192 feet). But we shall continue steaming further south to Luss, again on the eastern side of Loch Lomond. Christianity arrived at Luss as early as 510AD. The small lakeside village is known for its picturesque old cottages. At Luss the summit of Ben Lomond still dominates the northern skyline.

Luss Straights, Loch Lomond, 1905

After departing from Luss we now pass a number of picturesque Islands as we steam sedately southwards towards Balloch Pier.

Swan Island, Loch Lomond  - G.W.W. Photochrome print

This quite beautiful "photochrome" print of Swan Island by the noted photographer George Washington Wilson dates from before 1900. This gives a good indication of the standard of colour photographic reproduction that could be achieved over 110 years ago.

A steamer connecting with a Caledonian Railway train at Balloch Pier
[Source : The Loch Lomond Steamers]

With the thud of the triple expansion steam engine and the sound of the ships telegraph ringing instructions from the bridge down to the engine room we slowly pull into Balloch Pier at 10.30am where the ropes are thrown onto the wharf to securely tie up the steamer to the bollards. With the gangway up we only need to walk across the wharf to join our waiting Caledonian Railway train for Glasgow which has conveniently drawn up onto the wharf. Using trolleys, Railway Porters will take our luggage from the steamer onto the train. 

With a wave of the guard's flag and a warning whistle from our locomotive we steam the short distance onto Balloch itself then through the Vale of Leven on joint North British and Caledonian Railway metals to Dumbarton East. Thence down the heavily industrial but fascinatingly and ever busy Clyde River Valley for the Caledonian Railway Glasgow Central Low Level Station. Porters will take our luggage as we make our way upstairs to the busy and often congested Central High Level Station, notable for the large clock sitting atop the old destination board building in front of the centre platforms. Before we leave we set our pocket watch to the clock which is known for it's accurate timing! We then continue our journey from Central High Level Station back to the Caledonian Railway Princes Street Station in Edinburgh, pulling in to the platform buffer stops "on time" at 1.45pm. Here we sadly finish our Trossachs holiday for 1905. 

If you have enjoyed this "tour" please leave a comment.

Bibliography :

- Written Internet sources.
- My grateful thanks to Phil of Old UK Photos, I highly recommend his site : 
- Unless otherwise stated all other images are from my own collection and may not be used for any commercial purpose without my express permission. Images may however be freely copied for private use with an appropriate acknowledgement back to this site.