Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 30. Escaping the Russian Revolution.

Continuing the series of passport portraits in my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
It is the 10 April 1917 and Alphonse Foirée, a 33 yr. old Frenchman is in Petrograd. 
Eight weeks earlier starving civilians demonstrating in the street were fired on by the army. Many were killed. Some of the soldiers are now shooting their officers and 
Tsar Nicholas II and his family are under house arrest. Lenin has returned and the country is on its way to the October Revolution.
Monsieur Foirée considers that it is time to leave. This is his photograph on the passport issued to him by the French Consul in Petrograd. He leaves on a ship to England and from there regains his native country... which is enmired in the trench warfare of the First World War.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Where has Hatfield Aerodrome gone?

I never have enough time in hand when I visit Hatfield. My first contact with the town was as a van boy for the sausage and pie manufacturer, Brazil's of Amersham in the late 1960s. I was the salesman's runner and we regularly delivered food to what was by then the canteen of Hawker Siddeley. The name originally associated with Hatfield is, of course, De Havilland, for it was they who built their private aerodrome and works here in the 1930s. During World War 2 the Mosquito bomber was built but the most famous development must be the design and manufacture of the world's first jet airliner, the De Havilland Comet.


Wetherspoon's new pub on the former Hatfield Aerodrome site.
Opposite our hotel in Comet Square there stood a modern public house. It is unusual in that Wetherspoons built it in 2015 and I thought that this company specialised in converting existing buildings rather than building new ones. The original Harpsfield Hall was part of the farm which De Havilland purchased and converted into their aerodrome – the hall being demolished to make room for the runway.  

Just down the road is the police station. It is an art deco building in keeping with the style of the original buildings on the aerodrome.  Some sources state that this was the former canteen. So, is this where I delivered my sausages and pies 47 years ago?

I don't know. I do know that on my next visit I will make the time and follow the Hatfield Aerodrome Heritage Trail which explores the university campus.


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

A lovely day for thatching.

Cycling back through Littlebourne, having seen two motor accidents at the same junction, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, my spirits were uplifted by the sight of an old Kentish cottage being rethatched.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Fire, Smoke and Iron in Spain.

Martin Lloyd delivering copies of his new book, Fire, Smoke and Iron to the Rialia Museum of Industry in Portugalete.
My new title, Fire, Smoke and Iron – Spanish artists and the Bilbao iron industry has been published and is now on sale. Here I am delivering some copies of the book to the Rialia Museum of Industry in Portugalete which exhibits many of the paintings depicted in my book. 

Why not pop off to Bilbao, visit the museum and buy the book?

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Off the map on the Pont Aven


On the way to Bilbao on the Brittany Ferries m.v. Pont Aven and I look 
on the deck plan to see where our cabin is. 
Luckily it has one of those 'you are here' facilities. 
Shock, horror! I am about to be run down by the ship.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cars on cycle paths.



Went out for a ride this morning and came across this car on the Great Stour Way cycle path.


Judging by the attendance of the police, fire service and the air ambulance I would propound that he did not arrive there intentionally.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 29

Continuing the series of passport portraits from my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
In 1919 it is civil war within Russia and the country is being besieged from without. In the Far East Admiral Koltchak and the Japanese are attacking the 'Bolsheviks'; Germany is attacking in the Ukraine; British soldiers are marching with Russians towards Petrograd in the north; France and Britain are assisting General Denikin in the south. And in all this chaos, thousands of civil refugees are fleeing the country, fleeing the effects of the Revolution and the civil war.

In Egypt, Mohammed Aly El Serouni, a 26 year old seaman, has signed on as a fireman on the S.S. Bruenn. This is his photograph on the seamans passport issued to him by the Egyptian Sultanate at the port of Suez on 19th May 1919.
Does he know that the S.S. Bruenn has been converted into an ambulance ship auxiliary and that shortly he will be standing off the coast of Russia with a British naval fleet, embarking wounded civilians to transport to Constantinople?