I’m not going in there – there’s a bogeyman….

A Boggart, otherwise known as a bogey or bogeyman, is a malevolent spirit which inhabits or haunts buildings, woods, fields, marshland, holes and sharp bends in the road…..Oh and they sometimes eat people!

As children of 7, 11 and again 11 years old and always being out in the countryside, my brother, my life-long friend and myself, used to explore a remote and spooky looking wood, located near the river and about 6 miles from home.  We used to walk all the way to this wood, unaccompanied by any adults as back then, rules about wandering away from home were more relaxed. As long as our parents knew where we where going and we could convince them of our responsibility, we were allowed to go – I couldn’t imagine allowing children the same freedom today!

Even in the height of summer, this wood always seemed damp and drab with mosses, lichens, and dead undergrowth clinging to many of the tree’s and more abundantly ivy, which can almost completely cover some of them – this adding to the woods dark ambience and scare-factor, especially for three young kids. Even though it has long been turned over to nature, echo’s of its distant and troubled past stay barely hidden behind a thin-misty veil.

The wood is located on a steep hillside, with the ground mostly undulating with briar filled gully’s and ridges, a leisurely walk becoming more like going on an army assault course but of course, that didn’t bother us children! I thought how interesting that if my two comrades ventured over the next ridge and into the next gully, I couldn’t hear anything they said and believe me they were never quiet; the soil barrier between us completely absorbing any sound. I can remember thinking that was the reason I seldom heard any birds twittering here and why our voices fell flat on the air, fondly remembering stuff about how sound waves work which I’d learned from my granddad.

Anyhow, we slowly made our way west, following the course of the river but high up above it and nearing the woods perimeter when suddenly, we came across a much denser part of the forest than we had been in before, so dense in fact that it was almost impassable. When I looked through the tangled trees, I could just make out some clearer ground a little further on, so I decided to try and get through.

It felt spooky as I tunnelled my way through the undergrowth and into the dimness beyond, the air was oppressive without any movement and I felt stifled. I noticed the other two were not following me, so I just turned and said “come on you guy’s” or words to that effect (heh heh), but no-one made a move! My friend retorted with some alarm in his voice and said “I’m not going in there – there’s a bogeyman”, we all laughed out loud but in the next moment or two, we were all trembling and nearly frozen with fear!

There was a crashing sound beyond the dense undergrowth and into the clearing, something big charged its way through the trees and I just had a glimpse of what looked like a large brown rabbit with one big eye looking at me from this side of its head, the beast was soon out of sight again however, as it smashed through the last bits of vegetation and leaped a farm gate to disappear across the field.

We were all in shock and even though the other two didn’t see anything, there was no mistaking the commotion associated with a large animal crashing through the bushes, not to mention the animal easily clearing a farm gate. I tried to explain to the others just what I’d seen, but my words only served to create more panic. There was only one thing on everyone’s mind now and that was to get out of the wood as fast as we could and consequently, we headed off in the direction of the open fields.

Even after going through the story again with my dad and gaining his promise to go and have a look in the woods with me (he never did), I was still very disturbed about what I saw. There were nightmares; a big eye in a rabbits face coming towards me until it filled all my vision, I shudder to think of the feeling it gave me even to this day!

By the way, a couple of weeks later one of the headlines in a local paper read:

“Kangaroo escapes from private zoo” :D

I’ve just got permission to detect here, so lets see what the woods have to say now…….Supernova.

Metal Detecting Blackpool Beach and the River Ribble….

Greetings my friends.

The wind was a little more than fresh as I arrived at Blackpool, I guess some of the old timers would say there was “a bit of a blow on”; it was strong enough for me not to wear my baseball cap at least, not until I was on the sand and I could put the ear-phones over it! The wind was cold and gusty but that didn’t stop the many people who were already walking the beach, either just on their own or with their partner or some of them with dogs.

I thought about the dog’s eyes being so close to the ground as the wind had whipped up a mini sand storm, the already dry top layer of sand was blasting along the beach, the larger particles moving in a fuzzy blanket about 12″ (30cm) high, the smaller one’s much higher. Still, none of the pooches seemed to be bothered by it and were enjoying the beach – as was I!

Under south pier, two other detectorists were digging and sifting sand from around the pillars and later I saw them rummaging around the masses of iron and concrete debris that were spread everywhere, their detectors laying silent on the ground nearby. This method of hunting can be an effective means of finding stuff, lots of things end up being trapped or deposited under the piers!

I noticed straight away, a large bed of pebbles which were exposed the last time I was here, were now covered in a foot or so of sand. On further scrutiny, there seemed to be an extra deposition of sand everywhere else in this area too – not good! There was just one small area on the beach where a few pebbles showed through and as this looked like the best spot, I decided to start there.

As I began detecting, I couldn’t believe my luck as I received two nice signals situated very close to each other, on about the fifth swing of the coil! Up came a clean-looking George V penny (1921) and a modern ten pence piece – we were off to a good start:

If one enlarges the images, one will see the abrasions and marks caused by the tide and the movement of sand.

I carried on with “great expectations” of finding lots more interesting items, so I worked my way slowly around this little area of scattered pebbles, only to be extremely disappointed in the end, as I didn’t find any other good targets; there were lots of iron signals though!

From here, I walked further out on the sand, to the bottom of a slope which was about level with the end of the pier; the tide was still partly in at this stage and the sea was close, but there was still plenty of room to detect though. The smooth slope levelled out onto a hard rippled surface and I decided to work my way from the bottom of the slope and across the rippled sand, right to the water’s edge and back again, also moving along laterally as I detected to and fro.

Two more hours passed, the only signals coming from oxidized iron and a couple of pieces of trash, the sand was devoid of finds (well, in the upper layers). Anyhow it was time for dinner so I unpacked my sandwiches (which were shared with a couple of seagulls and a pigeon), a flask of coffee and a couple of biscuits. All things being considered during my dinner break, I decided to call it a day on the beach and move inland to my trusty river Ribble, tired though I was!

It took me about an hour to drive back to Preston and the spot on the river where I was going to detect, it’s a trashy location as folk have used it for drinking sessions for a long time and most leave their rubbish behind but there is also good stuff to be found too.

Its been a few months since I was here and the look of the river bank had changed considerably, lots of tangled grass (of various species) had taken over the area, laid in a thick, lumpy carpet by the winter floods. It didn’t look like a meeting place any more, the police must have stopped the drinking sessions and broke up the little parties; the paths and sitting places were all but unrecognisable and almost impossible to detect, so in the end I decided to drop down to the pebble beach below and see how I fared on the stones.

As one can see from the finds below, it was another unsuccessful hunt in terms of coins and artefacts, having found only one five pence piece however, there were lots of other interesting bits and pieces to look at :D

These included: bits of lead, bits of fishing tackle, part of a toy car, hub from a pram wheel, part of a Zippo lighter, buttons, copper pipe, a pet drinking bottle tube, bits of old glass and some pottery.

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Interesting bits of trash.

 

In all, I detected six hours, after which I was like the walking dead, barely able to put one foot in front of the other and aching in every joint; it was time to go! Needless to say, there was a lot more “trash” of a more usual nature and this got dumped in the recycle bin as I arrived home – a job well done!

Anyhow, this goes to show how detecting can be sometimes and even though I found only three coins, I worked hard and the day was very satisfying, leaving me with a feeling of contentment.

Have a nice weekend my friends, regards James :)

Detected: A Leyland Badge and…..

Greetings my friends.

Talk about a coincidence; I went detecting down on the river bank the other day and I found a “Leyland” lapel badge, issued to the people who worked for Leyland Motors. This example could be 1940′s – 1950′s (ish), the stout lapel pin at the back is completely corroded away and the “button” which clamped onto the pin was missing (maybe fell elsewhere). As many of you know, I’ve just posted a blog about Leyland and its past involvement in the production of Centurion tanks and to find (1 week later) a Leyland lapel badge connecting to about that period, is awesome!

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Leyland Motors Lapel Badge.

Apart from the Leyland badge, the finds include; a toy Pontiac GP Sports Coupe series 22 made by Matchbox, a junk ring, a broken key, a pre-decimal threepenny piece (1941) and a halfpenny which is rather worn and corroded (no date), a strip of lead, a small piece of a medallion (aluminium alloy) and a few modern coins.

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The Leyland badge and the rest of my finds.

The amount of lead I find whilst detecting, reminds me of how much lead was used in earlier times. It had many uses from, decorative rosettes, trade weights, monetary units, bullets, plumbing pipes, fishing weights and many more! Three of the main reasons lead was so popular were; its excellent resistance to corrosion, it’s malleability for easily forming objects and designs and its low melting point for moulding items like statues, toys and sadly, more sinister things. For some reason, I do enjoy finding lumps of lead :roll: it must be an “age thing” eh?

I had a really enjoyable session and even the weather behaved too! Anyhow, this is just a short post to report my finds from the river, I detected for a total of about three hours and I was in “nice and relaxed” mode, the best kind for me ;-)

Regards friends

Supernova,

Formby Point….

Greetings my friends.

I had a lovely day out at Formby (near Southport) today, on the stretch of coast between the rivers Mersey and Ribble. I visited the nature reserve, made famous for its population of red squirrels besides the many species of small woodland birds including, greater spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, tree creeper, redpoll, siskin, crossbill and several members of the tit family.

Just beyond the trees there are extensive sand dunes and the sea; there is also evidence that a sand dune environment once predominated here too, until the trees and shrubs slowly reclaimed the land. The soil is very sandy in places and the topography of the land also suggests such an earlier environment.

In the dunes one may see the natterjack toad, meadow pipit, skylark, stonechat and wheatear, whilst on the beach one may find the dunlin, knot, arctic tern, oystercatcher, bar-tailed godwit, sanderling and several species of gull – a wonderful diversity of life!

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Red squirrel country – managed by the National Trust (Formby).

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More of the nature reserve and topography.

The red squirrels are used to human visitors however, the little chaps were not cooperative today and I had to quickly snap this character near the top of one of the trees, as it was flitting about.

On closer inspection and to my concern, the tail of the squirrel has some fur missing and the rest of the tail looks rather tatty too, I was worried this was some sort of mange or other disease, so I’ve informed the National Trust (Formby) about this.

I also saw a pair of squirrels playing chase, probably going through the throes of mating – spring is in the air for sure! This could also be a cause of the squirrels tatty tail as the males fight in spring and the tail is a prime target!

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Red squirrel - Sciurus vulgaris.

I was in awe when we arrived at the beach, I’ve never seen dunes as steep and high as this before. I think the recent storms have had something to do with it and even as we arrived the chap on duty warned us of this week’s big tides, they would come up to the dunes and would make escape very difficult, if one was caught out.

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Beach and dunes.

The dunes are bigger than they look on the photograph’s.

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Awesome!

There are several trails in this area, one favourite is to walk along the beach to Crosby, one will find the famous statues which are one of the main features of this part of the beach. The artist, Anthony Gormley, sculpted the statues in his own image, made of cast iron and facing out to sea, they occupy a two-mile stretch of the coast.

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Cast iron statues in the rough sea at Crosby – looking out to sea!
Courtesy of Zimbio.

As the tide ebbs and flows, the statues are revealed and covered with each tide and in weather like this, they can look almost sinister! I’m definitely coming back here soon, this place has so much to offer a family on a day out; wonderful scenery, wildlife and the sea air – exhilarating!

Until the next time my friends, regards Supernova :-)

Centurion Tanks and Buzzards….

Greetings my friends.

A bit more about where I live.

The Centurion Tank was developed during WW2 but was not brought into service until December 1946, about 19 months after the war ended. This tank has since been an important part of army warfare for many years, being used by several countries around the world, with some modified versions still in use today.

Leyland Motors, which was situated at Leyland (near Preston), was one of the most important locations for the production of these tanks, with many of the local population involved in their construction. This was a dangerous job with some number of men losing their fingers or even a hand, the tanks being known as the “fingerless phantoms” for this reason! The tank sits on display at the junctions of Penwortham Way and Flensburg Way, just outside Leyland and is a monument to its people and their contribution to the World Wars.

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Centurion Tank.

When I approached this tank for the first time, I thought how small it looked considering it’s 51 “long tons” weight. One “long ton” is equal to 2,240 lbs and is part of the old imperial system of weight measurement, before decimalisation took place. In comparison, the “short ton” is the American measurement with a weight of 2,000 lbs and the “metric ton” or “tonne” (1,000 kgs), weighs in at about 2,204 lbs.

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Centurion Tank.

The British further developed this style and type of heavy cruiser tank and in 1966, introduced the Chieftain as the main battle tank for the British army, the Centurions eventually being phased out.

Besides Leyland becoming an important producer of other vehicles such as the Cromwell tank for use during WW2, it also became the 5th largest producer of trucks and buses in the world – no mean feat for a small town!

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Bronze statue depicting a Leyland Motors worker leaving the former North Works site, now the location of Leyland market.

Several of my family members were employed at Leyland including my dear granddad (sadly long gone), he had several tales to tell me about working life there during the war, both in the factory itself and when he worked for the transport division. I remember as if it were yesterday about him delivering to London, the way he described how they sheltered under the wagons during an air-raid, dust and falling debris everywhere. He was a great story-teller and my good friend.

Bronze statue depicting a foundry worker located on Morrison's retail park - once Farrington foundry and Bus production site.

Bronze statue depicting a Leyland Motors foundry worker, located on Morrison’s retail park – the former site of Farrington Foundry and Leyland Bus Production.

It just so happens that the Centurion tank’s location is also the area where I’ve seen the large birds of prey I mentioned in a recent post. Even though they were a long way off, I deemed them to be young Buzzards hatched the previous year, so bird experts – please tell me what you think! I must apologize however, I couldn’t get close enough for a good camera shot and the wind was knocking me around a bit:

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Immature Buzzard looking for breakfast!

Anyhow, I’ve decided to select 10 farms in this area and ask for permission to detect their land, including the fields where the buzzards frequent. There’s a lot of ploughed land around here and some nice features so I’ll let you know how I get on, fingers crossed!

Until the next time my friends….take care!

Supernova :-)

Gold on Blackpool Beach….

Greetings my dear friends:

“And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another” – Genesis 31:49

This is a quotation from the King James Bible, as a man named Laban spoke to Jacob (they were not friends but Laban made a covenant or binding agreement with Jacob, each would never to cross into the others lands). “Mizpah” in this context means “Pillar” “Watch Post” or “Watch Tower”. Jacob and Laban piled stones into a raised mound and ate upon it. They named it Galeed “And Mizpah etc…” For the full story you’ll just have to read Genesis and all will be revealed….

In other terms but still strongly based on Genesis 31:49, “Mizpah” also means a special bond between two people, rings or other items of jewellery were sometimes given to signify this bond, or as a sort of talisman for the safe return of a loved one, before an impending absence.

The main period for the crafting of “Mizpah” jewellery was during the Victorian era but examples were still very popular in the 20th century.

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Metal Detecting Blackpool – South Shore.

The UK coastline being battered with high winds and storms of late, has meant that in some areas coastal erosion has increased dramatically whilst in others, some deposition has occurred. As I arrived at Blackpool beach this morning (5th Feb), I noticed that the beach had taken on a rather smooth looking appearance and on further scrutiny, I realised that in this case, some sand had been deposited on the beach.

There was one promising area however, an exposed bed of pebbles about 60 meters out from the sea wall, so I decided to detect there. As I began, I realised this was going to take some very slow and careful work to find anything, the site was terribly iron infested.

I selected to hunt in ‘All Metal’/’Conductive Tones’, with the sensitivity set on ‘Manual’ 22, this setting ran the detector a little ‘Hot’ but there was little difference between manual sensitivity and semi-auto modes at this level, so I opted for a little extra chatter – and power to the coil……

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Finds.

Along the top row are two pieces of old glass and some type of ceramic insulating compound which is rated to 60 amps, I detected it due to the brass screw in the centre.

There are various items of encrusted copper and brass including a decorative brass hinge, a copper “skull ear-ring”, a 3″ long brass pin and a small pin badge of a bird (a swift I think).

Only two coins today; one is a £1 coin and the other is a lovely 1933 George V silver sixpence. The best part of finding the sixpence was seeing a hole dug less than 12″ away, a small piece of rusted iron carelessly thrown to one side, this was a target dug by one of the other detectorists present that day.

Every metal detecting expert, every book I’ve read, blogs, articles and certainly from my experience, all say the same thing:

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The exposed pebbles.

Swing the coil slowly, take your time and in high trash – slow down even more and “work” around the signals from different angles.

It comes as a great surprise to me then, to see about 60% or more of all the other detectorists I am acquainted with up and down this part of the coast, swinging the coil alarmingly fast and too high up from the sand, period!

Do not be one of them!

On an extremely iron or trash infested site, it is imperative one slows down one’s swing, keep calm, listen closely and ‘work’ the signals, lest targets be missed….

I’m not the best detectorist on the planet – no way, but I’m very thorough and methodical and work very hard at what I do, “tenacity” being my middle name!

There were three other detectorist’s on these pebbles during the time I was there and we discussed finds, they only managed to find four 2 pence pieces between them and only two of those were from the pebbles themselves, they were all swinging the coil too fast and too high! I tell you this not to brag but to reiterate the benefits of slowing things down and taking great care with one’s technique; attitude and application are important components of detecting successfully!

There is one other find from today that I wish to show you, the ‘Pièce de résistance’ of the collection; a lady’s “Mizpah” gold ring….

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A lady’s gold “Mizpah” ring.

From the hallmark, I deduced that the ring was assayed in London in 1976 and is 9ct gold, a beautiful and meaningful piece of jewellery. In conductive sounds, the signal made a nice low tone – just like a pull-tab! On closer inspection, I could see the ring had small dents and scratches made by sand and small pebbles, as the tide moved stuff around.

After the big storm of last night (the 12th), the weather is calmer today and the beach will be a good place to visit, the possibility of sand being moved and some items brought nearer to the surface, a reasonably good prospect!

Cheerio for now my friends,

regards James ;-)

Woodland Detecting….

Wood Pigeon.

Wood Pigeon.

Hello my friends, the UK is once again being battered with high winds, rain, swollen rivers and flood warnings but due to the higher than average temperatures, signs of spring are already well on their way! Crocus and daffodils are pushing their way up with some daffodils already about 8 inches high, buds are on many tree’s and the early nesting birds are going through the preliminaries of mating, even a male wood-pigeon amorously chasing a female through tree’s in the green space behind our flat. A sudden freeze now would spell disaster for species which have already started their springtime activities.

Snowdrops.

Snowdrops are emerging everywhere.

Spring is my favourite time of year, the countryside returning to life after the dark tunnel of winter and as far back as I can remember, giving me a special feeling of empathy, a closeness to the life that is blossoming everywhere.

Near to where I live, farmers are dumping piles of manure in fields which will be used to grow corn or selected meadow grasses to feed livestock in the winter. I drive past these fields on most days and have seen up to four large birds of prey perched on top of these piles, looking in the field for small mammals (probably up to rabbit size). I haven’t managed to get a decent picture of them yet as they are a distance away but don’t worry my fellow bird fans, I’m determined on this.

As I made my way to the chosen detecting spot for today, I contemplated the conclusion of a couple of weeks thought which ended with the decision to switch from ferrous tones (tones based upon the targets iron content), to conductive tones (tones based upon the targets conductivity in a magnetic field). It’s quite a while since I hunted in conductive tones but after about an hour I started to feel comfortable, the sounds of certain coins again becoming familiar (I love the distinctive sound of £1 coins in this mode).

Finds.

Finds.

Top right is a decorative brass plate, maybe it was pinned to a piece of furniture.

Directly under this and on the right is an encrusted disc of some sort, I’ll have to do some work on this.

Bottom and middle is a large piece of lead with iron, maybe part of an old set of railings.

The top selection of coins are pre-decimal pennies and half-pennies, very encrusted and corroded.

Bottom selection of coins are modern, including several £1 coins and a £2 coin but mostly the selection is of 2 and 1 pence pieces.

In the centre of the picture is a clasp in the shape of a pair of gauntlets, it may be a clasp for curtains or someone’s hair but it’s quite heavy and made of bronze or brass. Traditionally, bronze is made of copper and tin; brass of copper and zinc but other metals may be added to give different properties to each metal. In modern times, the distinction between bronze and brass has been blurred somewhat.

Gauntlet style clasp.

Gauntlet style clasp design.

It’s spring-loaded in the middle but is far too corroded to squeeze and open, there’s also a nice design on it. Here’s a side view, a small piece of metal placed underneath as a prop.

There was a lot of trash which I dumped in the recycle bin as soon as I got home ha ha, my wife strongly objecting to me bringing more into the house, I can’t understand this LOL! It was a thoroughly enjoyable day but very muddy and as usual I was caked!

I’m trying to make a trip to the beach as these strong winds are reportedly uncovering some nice finds but I’m struggling to get there at the moment, fingers crossed though!

Whatever happens I’ll be back soon, so cheerio for now my friends.

Regards Supernova :-)

Metal Detecting a Strip of Woodland….

Hello my friends, this is just a little post about my latest trip metal detecting to what was part of an old and large garden, on the outskirts of Preston. I detected the area in and around the tree’s and if one enlarges the picture, one will see that the tree’s aren’t as dense as they first appear and one can detect quite easily between the clumps of undergrowth.

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A narrow strip of remaining woodland to detect.

The ground was very soft on the edge of the selected area, the rain had been able to seep in but in among the tree’s themselves, the ground was much drier with lots of roots.

First find was a decrepit 2 pence piece and this was followed by a small thick lead disc, like a standard weight or something. It has part of a hole cut into the middle and very slightly angled sides (above the key). I don’t know what this is yet so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

The ring (middle and top) is nice but old junk, supporting a dragonfly design with stones (glass), my heart missed a beat when I first caught a glimpse of it ha ha, I thought it was gold and diamonds!

Anyhow, when I came crashing back down to earth, I gathered my wits and carried on with the job at hand! It clouded over in about 30 minutes flat and it was soon raining, big heavy drops which easily penetrated through the bare tree’s and the evergreen brush, this made the soil “sticky” on my wet digging tools – happy days!

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My Finds.

Next find was a £1 coin which had been in the ground for some time, it was very rusty and orange coloured alas, the poorer metals which make up modern coinage do not stand the test of time. I unearthed two more £1 coins in this session and they too were in poor shape, suggesting they had also been buried for some time. In fact, now I think about it, nearly every coin I found today was rusty. This suggests the area in the tree’s has not had many recent visitors but as it was my first time in here, I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve been a time or two more.

I found another decorative artefact which I could not identify but looks like it was slotted on to the top of something, it has a design of leaves on it and is made of hard plastic, there is a metal ring inside the item which set off the detector.

A few pre-decimal pennies and half pennies but still, the silver is eluding me!

Plenty of trash with about 20 pull-tabs and lots of bits and pieces of aluminium can and spirit bottle tops.

I’ll be back soon so until then cheerio.

Supernova :-)

Blackpool Tower….

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower – laying the foundation 1891.
Courtesy of History Extra.

Standing at 518′ 9″ (158m) tall and built between 1891 – 1894, Blackpool Tower is arguably the most famous landmark in North West England and is also the towns only grade 1 listed building. I’ve often looked up at the giddy heights and wondered what the view is like from the top, for even though I’ve grown up only a few miles from the tower, I’ve never actually been up there yet, I’m not the least bit scared though…..honest!

A Towering Success.

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Undergoing some work – present day.

Designed by Lancashire architects James Maxwell and Charles Tuke and built by engineers Heenan and Froude of Worcester, they used a revolutionary method of fixing the steel girders by hydraulic riveting developed by Fielding and Platt, a much safer and quicker method than any manual technique of forming the rivet.

When the tower opened in 1894 there were several new entertainments for the delight of the many people who were expected to visit. It cost sixpence for entry to the Tower Complex, sixpence for the ride to the top of the tower and sixpence for the circus, but the initial interest was to see the sights from the top, to be able to climb this high on a structure in England was unknown at this time. On the first day, over 3000 visitors ascended to the top of the tower to see the view – quite a daring feat at the time I imagine!

Due to poor maintenance and corrosion however, the entire steel structure was replaced between 1921 – 1924, heralding in a new maintenance regime which has since kept the tower in great condition for the millions of people who have since visited and for the attractions it holds.

The structure takes seven years to paint and other maintenance like the inspection of lifts (elevators), electric cables and bulbs is also carried on at regular intervals or when specifically needed for example, the illumination celebrations.

The tower has had visits from several VIP’s over the years, the most important was by the very much loved Princess Diana who renamed the tower complex, “Tower World” in 1992.

Attractions.

Tower Ballroom

Tower Ballroom.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The original Tower Ballroom was opened in 1894 as “The Tower Pavillion” but was expanded and re-named in 1899. The first Wurlitzer organ was installed in 1929 but Reginald Dixon (known as “Mr Blackpool”) who played the organ in the tower from 1930 – 1970, designed one better suited to the acoustics of the ballroom and this was installed in 1935.

Disaster struck in 1956 when a fire destroyed the dance floor and the restaurant beneath the ballroom, it was replaced immediately and most of the original craftsmen came out of retirement to ensure a perfect job. The dance floor is sprung and constructed from over 30,000 blocks of oak, walnut and mahogany laid in a parquet (geometric) design. A beautiful thing.

In 2013, Roy and Hayley danced in the tower ballroom during a touching episode of Coronation Street and this is just one instance when a tv series or film has used the ballroom to film in.

The Tower Circus has never missed a summer season since it first opened in 1894 however, there hasn’t been any animals performing in the circus since 1990, something I’m very relieved about. There are spectacular acrobatic, magic and comedy acts which provide superb entertainment for the whole family and when I’ve seen them, the high wire and trapeze have always managed to create plenty of excitement.

One of the newest additions to the tower attractions is the Blackpool Tower Eye. Previously known as the “Tower Top”, an inspirational plan to construct a glass floor and glass walled walkway was completed in 2011. The feeling one gets as one steps out of the lift and onto the glass floor has been described as “walking on air”, I think my stomach would have something to say about that though!

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Characters from the Dungeon.
Courtesy of Bus and Coach.

Another new attraction is the Tower Dungeon which has live exhibits with professional actors, portraying events in history like the Pendle Witches, the Plague (the Black Death), Ned King (Lancashire’s infamous highwayman) and others. The dungeon themes are acted out in a wonderful comedy-horror style and are both superbly entertaining and educational.

The new Jungle Jim’s Towering Adventureland replaced the original Jungle Jim’s and is themed on an Aztec lost city with swinging, sliding and climbing adventures for the older children and a smaller softer area for the toddlers.

The tower usually receives between 600,000 and 700,000 visitors per year and plays a very important role in the towns annual £1 billion plus tourism industry.

Supernova.

References.

http://www.theblackpooltower.com/

http://www.thedungeons.com/blackpool/en/

http://www.philkelsall.co.uk/the_blackpool_tower.html

http://www.busandcoach.com/newspage.aspx?id=6015&categoryid=6

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackpool_Tower

Detecting: A Windy Day at Blackpool….

Well, I arrived at Squires Gate in Blackpool, parked the car and as I opened the door to get out, the wind very nearly ripped the door from my hand. We’ve had strong winds here for a few days, the sea being churned up somewhat, so I was hoping for some sand movement on the beach.

As I walked on the sand I noticed right away that there had indeed been a change in the topography but unfortunately, tons of sand had been deposited on and not stripped from the beach. All the little area’s which had pebbles were now covered in 1 ft or more of new sand. There were no small gully’s left, they had been filled in, all that remained were the two main drainage gully’s some way out on the sand and from what I remembered from a few day’s ago, they had changed for the worse in several area’s too. I was surprised and a little disappointed.

As I approached the area where the dunes joined the beach I noticed a strange thing, even though there was so much extra sand everywhere else, the last two meters up to the top of the beach had been totally stripped down to the bed of stones underneath (in some places about 2 ft of sand had gone).

I really intended to detect further out on the beach today but in view of the extra sand, I decided to detect along the strip which had been exposed. In less than a minute I had my first pre-decimal coin and I continued to find regularly over the next three and a half hours. Due to the coins only being subject to a soaking in salt water at the highest tides and rough weather, oxygen is able to penetrate to them in the mean time, leaving the coins more corroded and encrusted than those found out on the wet sand (especially the pre-decimal copper coins). There are 7 silver sixpences but I cannot see the date on them yet but the encrustation should come off and one silver half crown 1920, the other silver coins are 1960′s cupro-nickel. Part of a double glazing door handle, a dessert spoon, dog identification tags and some other modern coins. A button from a suspender belt, a couple of junk rings and a junk bracelet.

So here are the finds:

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The Finds.

As I looked in the sand dunes, I also noticed area’s near the beach where the wind had removed sand from between the clumps of marram grass, even exposing some re-enforcing material which had been added by the council, in aid of sand dune restoration. I didn’t rate this as good for the general health of this part of the dunes. Further down (south) the dunes are better established, there are large area’s where grasses and other vegetation completely cover the dunes, preventing erosion from wind and water to a large extent.

I spent about four and a half hours on the sand, the last hour was spent talking to a very interesting and knowledgeable person who lives only a few minutes walk away from the beach. They also had their dog with them called Honey, a friendly and loving thing who liked to perform little tricks and lay on her back for her tummy tickled. She seemed totally unperturbed by the gusting wind which surrounded us! There must have been over 50 dogs and their walkers in my field of vision at one stage, this area being very popular for this activity but there’s never any trouble between them – and the dogs are well behaved too!

I’ll post again soon so until then my friends….

Happy New Year to one and all,

Regards Supernova :-)

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