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TRAVEL TRIPS UK3

TRAVEL TRIPS

GREG BARNES' U.K. trip (Part 3 OF 4)– September 2019
posted Dec 7

“Trying to absorb two thousand years of history can be tiring, but worth every exhausting cobblestoned step.  York deservedly is ranked near the top of European destinations by visitors.  From Greenwich to Harrods, my final album reflects some of the diversity and challenges of London today.” 

                                                                           Album #3 – York

“The heart of Yorkshire Country, York is a gorgeous walled medieval city. Established as a fort by the Romans in AD41, then Anglo-Saxons and Vikings for a few century's, and in 1066 William The Conqueror over-ran England to claim the throne. The Normans were an ethnic group that arose in Normandy, a northern region of France, from contact between Viking settlers and indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans. In other words, thugs intermarried with people with manners. York, at that time was basically buildings that rarely were higher than the trees. The Normans brought with them Gothic Architecture which is evident in many of the parliamentary structures and churches in England, including York Minster Cathedral. York became a powerhouse of manufacturing & transportation. It is home to the largest train museum in the world, and at one time, famous the world over for the production of chocolate treats. Terry's chocolate factory was a major employer. I have tried to capture the diverse nature of the city.” Kings Cross Station.  I am glad I did a rehearsal the day before at my station at Kings Cross. Northeastern trains leave from here for York, Edinburgh etc. Passengers were all standing in the middle looking at the screens. For security reasons, officials do not post platform numbers until 10 minutes before departure. As soon as the platform is posted, passengers dart to scan tickets at the turnstiles then move quickly to their platform and find the correct car. In high volume periods, it is like watching a rampaging herd of buffalo.

 1. Platform 8, as an example. Imagine hundreds of people with 10 minutes to make it to the platform and find their coach. This is a long train. Every train I saw left on time. Great railway systems in Europe. The trip from London to York took two hours. Return fare: $66 Cdn.

2. The Yorkshire countryside. A small herd of horses with PLENTY to eat.

 3, Out of the window I saw a huge power plant. Given the size and shape I wondered if it was a nuclear facility. The Google provided the answer. Drax power station is a large biomass and coal-fired power station. Its name comes from the nearby village of Drax. It is situated on the River Ouse. Its six-unit generating capacity is the highest of any power station in the United Kingdom. It was built as coal burning, but now burns bio-mass as well. The last two coal fired units are being replaced with gas turbines. It employs the latest in clean air technology evidenced by minimal plumes from the stacks.

 1. First stop after arriving in York was the National Train Museum. What a place. A railway brat's delight. The museum was opened by Prince Philip in 1975. It houses over a 100 pieces of pristine rolling stock and thousands of other related pieces. The museum is a natural for York. The area was a major manufacturer of railway trains and coaches in the 19th & 20th centuries. Over 780,000 visitors a year wander through the various buildings. Admission by donation.

  1. Shinkansen "Bullet" train Series 0. The 0 series were the first trains built to run on Japan's Tōkaidō Shinkansen high-speed line which opened in 1964. These trains were retired in 2008, This one was donated to the York Museum in 2001. Maximum speed: 210-220 km/h. Inside the cars felt like sitting on an airliner 20 years ago. Large seats and wide aisles. Newer trains in Japan & China zip along at over 300 km/h.
  2. The permanent display includes "Palaces on Wheels", a collection of Royal Train saloons from Queen Victoria's early trains through to those used by Queen Elizabeth II up to the 1970s, among them some of the first rail vehicles to be set aside for preservation. Very opulent inside.
  3. Not a great shot, but a peek into the Royal dining car.
  4. Pretty cool speciality train car.
  5. I can't imagine many hotter, louder or smokier work stations. Did train engineers have long careers?
  6. I missed the literature on this one. Near as I can tell it it is a Great Northern Railway small boiler engine that was built around 1900. Given its size, it was likely used as a yard engine. I have emailed the museum to get specifics and will add to the posting when I get it.
  7. What would a trip to my ancestoral home be without tea, a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Ok, butter with clotted cream might be a bit much...for someone else. Nice tasty break at the Train Museum.
  8. The name caught my eye. So I did some research for any royal connection. This unit is a Diesel Locomotive Class 47/4 built in 1965. Named 'Firefly' from August 1985 to March 1995; renamed 'Prince William' in May 1995. More than likely it was just re-named in honour of Williams birth. There is no evidence he played with it at Kensington Palace.
  9. John Walker founded a clock making company in 1830. The clocks are very popular in Railway Stations and public places world wide. His profile lists him as a chronometer maker, inventor and manufacturer of the crystal cased watches that won prize medals in 1862, 1867 & the Railway Guards watch 1875. Just plain cool.
  10. My friend Gord Kiloh said York was a great walking city. He isn't wrong. Narrow streets with hundred of small shops. Mostly mall type walking, no vehicles. The Hop-on Hop-off bus route only takes an hour. A must visit if you are going to the UK.
  11. The Romans built original walls around their fort. Of course they also built roads. Only a few pieces of the original wall exist, some above ground, some under. Subsequent to Roman occupation, the walls fell into disrepair or were torn down. The current walls were built about 1000 years ago. Some repaired sections around Bootham Bar date from the 1300's and 1800's.
  12. About 2.5 million people walk along all or part of the City walls each year. The circuit is 3.4 km long. Rather than waste oil, the residents would dump boiling urine on invaders. No historical evidence as to how that worked for them.
  13. York Minster is the crown jewel of York. It is the second-largest Gothic cathedral of Northern Europe.The present building was begun in about 1230 and completed in 1472. The stone used for the building is magnesian limestone, a creamy-white coloured rock. Early churches on the site began around 672. On at least three occasions fires destroyed the structures. I didn't go in to it as it was the last hour I had before heading for the train back to London.
  14. One of the sconces near the main entrance. The evidence of decay are pretty obvious.
  15. Along the wall there are some nice green places with views of the downtown core. York Mminster is visible no matter where you are in the city.
  16. The walls are punctuated by four main gatehouses, or 'bars'. This is Walmgate Bar. What sets this apart is the Elizabethan style "house'" that sits on pillars that were modified in 1584. I spotted this while on the tour bus. It was occupied until 1957. Today, it houses a cafe where you can stop off for a brew and a bite to eat while walking around the walls.
  17. As you will see from other albums, I have a thing for light standards, old doors and scroll type stuff.
  18. Nice green manicured spaces hidden from the street, but visible while walking the wall.
  19. Ouse Bridge. Twice replaced, this version was built in 1821.
  20. View of Ouse River from the...Ouse Bridge. There are nine bridges that cross the River.
  21. Micklegate Bar. The main entrance of the four gates that penetrate the walls of York. The Bar is the royal gateway to the city, having welcomed Monarchs for centuries. The most recent royal visitor came through Bar in 2012 when the Queen visited York as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The bar is first documented (as Micklelith) in the reign of Henry II (1154–89). Part of the structure is made with re-used Roman stone. The tour bus guide relayed that it is said that some bloodthirsty rulers kept the locals in line when necessary by dangling the heads of troublemakers, or enemy's, from the ramparts. Or, the heads of lying tour guides perhaps.
  22. The Shambles is an old street with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century. "Shambles" is an obsolete term for an open-air slaughterhouse and meat market. The muddy street was lined with both. It was slippery and stank from the guts of animal parts discarded in the street. The rain would carry the mess down to the river. In the mid 1800's twenty-five butchers' shops were located along the street. A number of the shops on the street still have meat-hooks hanging outside and, below them, shelves on which meat was displayed. The street currently includes a mix of restaurants and shops as well as a bookshop and a bakery.
  23. Day 9 and I finally have a "decent" meal. Grass fed South American beef...not! Missed my Alberta grain fed herd.
  24. What an...odd shot Greg. Ah but wait. The bricked up windows resulted from homeowners pushing back against a "Glass Tax." The tax was introduced in England and Wales in 1696 under King William III. It was designed to impose tax relative to the prosperity of the taxpayer, but without the controversy that then surrounded the idea of income tax. Like Donald Trump, rich folk did not want to reveal their incomes. The window tax was a property tax based on the number of windows in a house. It was a significant social, cultural, and architectural force in England. To avoid the tax some houses from the period can be seen to have bricked-up window-spaces (ready to be glazed or re-glazed at a later date). In England and Wales it was introduced in 1696 and was repealed in 1851, 156 years after first being introduced. See, not so odd.
  25. Seemed like a nice lady even though she comes from a lineage of pillagers. What did Ivar The Boneless accomplish other than survive schoolyard bullying because of his name? Ivar and his brothers invaded England in 865 with a large Viking force and captured the city of York, the capital of the kingdom of Northumbria. The Vikings sailed up the river in 350 boats. True! None of the invaders wore helmets with horns attached. Also true! However, they were all singing ABBA songs. The Vikings rich history is captured at the Jorvik Viking Centre. The following animated displays show village life from over a 1200 years ago. Visitors ride on a six-person, chaired sled on a track through the various village displays. A little dark, but awesome!.
  26. The Hunter & His Dog. The Vikings changed the name of the town from the Anglo-Saxon Eoforwic to 'Jorvik'. They built farms in the countryside and more Vikings came to settle there, while York became an important market for local goods and for items traded from overseas. Their control over the area only lasted 200 years, but they left a lasting legacy. The Museum sits on an archaeological dig that uncovered a treasure trove of viking history.
  27. The Woodworker and Potter. The street where JORVIK is located, Coppergate, comes from its Viking name, Koppari-Gata. Koppari means cup-maker, Gata means street, so Coppergate translates to street of the cup-makers. This has been confirmed by the vast amount of wooden and clay objects found in The Coppergate Dig, alongside wood shavings and tools. Some of the dig is visible through a glass floor when first entering the display area. The proximity to the Shoemaker depicts the stall layout in the marketplace.
  28. Women using a loom. Spinning, weaving and dyeing took place in homes across Coppergate. Shears, wool combs and spindle whorls using for spinning out woollen thread, were found scattered across the building plots.
  29. The Vegetable Merchant. One of the many things the Vikings brought to England was their knowledge of farming practices. Not only did they develop farms on the surrounding land for their own needs, but they exported food products and manufactured goods to other parts of England.
  30. The Leatherworker. Leatherworkers in Jorvik made shoes of different styles including simple ‘slip-ons’ as well as boots and shoes that were laced or fastened with a leather strap or toggle.
  31. The Fisher & Trapper. Seen here are skins being processed. As I came up on this guy I was struck as how less mechanical in his movements he was from those in other displays. As I passed, I realized it was a real guy. I saw him later in the lobby. Sneaky buggers those Vikings.
  32. I couldn't figure out what to say to airport security...so no sale. No wonder the Vikings carved up the English.
  33. This must be the sister of the festooned woman who welcomed me to the Museum. Always appreciate a cheerful goodbye. She was speaking some kind of old Viking dialect so it was hard to communicate. The only word I recognized was Pannekoek.
  34. The museum opened in March 2012. It shows the history of chocolate making in York, such as the Rowntree's factory which opened in 1890, now owned since 1988 by Nestlé The company's headquarters, later renamed The Chocolate Works factory, was closed by Kraft in 2005; products using the Terry's brand name are now produced in Kraft facilities in Poland, Sweden, Belgium, and Slovakia. Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange is a unique British classic that is a Christmas necessity.
  35. Why a picture of a KitKat Bar.  First, it is the biggest selling bar in the world. Second, it is the favourite treat in the UK with over 1 BILLION sold every year. Third, it was created and produced in York, once the chocolate manufacturing capital of Britain. Nestle, who now manufactures the bar, announced this week that they have created an eight-finger bar for UK customers this Christmas. Customers can choose from 1,500 flavor combinations, and also get personalized packaging. Each bar will cost £14 ($23 Cdn.).
  36. He is posing at my request, not staring at a potential security threat. Thanks Bobbi!
  37. At the time of its opening in June 1877, this railroad station was the centre of Britain's rail network and the largest station in Europe. It is 188 miles from London, so more or less halfway to Edinburgh Scotland. The present station, was designed by architects with North Eastern Railway and opened on 25 June 1877. It had 13 platforms, and was at that time the largest in the world. As part of the new station project, the Royal Station Hotel (now The Royal York Hotel), was opened in 1878. It is still there and looks good incorporated into the station facade.

The remaining segment of Greg’s holiday Part 4 – London - will be posted on December 22nd ! 


Greg Barnes was with CBC Radio for over 29 years. His career in Edmonton and Vancouver encompassed a variety of technical, current affairs production and management roles. When he left CBC in 1995 he was Manager Of BC Region Radio Production. In the last couple of years prior to his leaving, Greg was Regional Radio representative on the small committee that the English services created to restructure the workforce. "Opportunity For Change" was a major initiative that resulted in new ways employees did their work by getting rid of many silos and broadening job descriptions. Within a year after him leaving, the CBC and the Unions negotiated many of the changes proposed in that document. In 1996 Greg went to work for International Forest Products running a major training project for millworkers. He was also hired to be Human Resources Manager of five cedar mills. He later joined the District of West Vancouver as Deputy Director of HR and Labour Relations. He achieved his goal to retire early in 2006. In addition to motorcycling, skiing and travel, he just concluded a 28 year high school football officiating career. He also combined that with 15 years working for the CFL at BC Lions games. He and Colette live in Coquitlam and are the parents of 3 adult children and blessed with 3 grandchildren.

1. Kings cross station

1. Kings cross station

2. Platform 6 kings cross station

2. Platform 6 kings cross station

3. Yorkshire countryside

3. Yorkshire countryside


4. Power plant

4. Power plant

5. National train museum York

5. National train museum York

6. Shinkansen bullet train series 0

6. Shinkansen bullet train series 0


7. Palaces on wheels

7. Palaces on wheels

8. Royal dining car

8. Royal dining car

9. Pretty cool specialty train car

9. Pretty cool specialty train car


10. Feeding the fire

10. Feeding the fire

11. Great northern railway small boiler engine

11. Great northern railway small boiler engine

12. Tea scone clotted cream & strawberry jam at the train museum

12. Tea scone clotted cream & strawberry jam at the train museum


13. Prince William

13. Prince William

14 Railway station clock

14 Railway station clock

15, Great walking city of York

15, Great walking city of York


16. Romal wall signage

16. Romal wall signage

17. York city wall

17. York city wall

18. York minister

18. York minister


19. Sconce near main entrance to York minister

19. Sconce near main entrance to York minister

20, View of downtown core from the wall

20, View of downtown core from the wall

21. Gateway walmgate bar

21. Gateway walmgate bar


22. Beautiful light standard

22. Beautiful light standard

23. Green spaces viewed while walking the wall

23. Green spaces viewed while walking the wall

24. Ouse bridge built 1821

24. Ouse bridge built 1821


25. Ouse river from the bridge

25. Ouse river from the bridge

26. Micklegate bar

26. Micklegate bar

27. The shambles

27. The shambles


28. Day 9 meal

28. Day 9 meal

29. Bricked up window has a reason

29. Bricked up window has a reason

30. Viking pillager

30. Viking pillager


31. The hunter and his dog

31. The hunter and his dog

32. The woodpecker and potter

32. The woodpecker and potter

33. Women using a loom

33. Women using a loom


34. The vegetable merchant

34. The vegetable merchant

35. The leatherworker

35. The leatherworker

36. The fisher & trapper

36. The fisher & trapper


37. Giving a cheerful goodbye at the museum

37. Giving a cheerful goodbye at the museum

38. Viking weaponry

38. Viking weaponry

39. Chocolate 3 museum in York

39. Chocolate 3 museum in York


40. Kitkat bar

40. Kitkat bar

41. Bobbi poses for a photo

41. Bobbi poses for a photo

42. York railway station

42. York railway station