The Tatton Park Stars and Stripes American Car Show, Knutsford, Cheshire, England.

2019 was my fourth time to the Stars and Stripes American car show at Tatton Park. I’m not overly enthusiastic about cars in general, but I do like old America cars, especially from the 1950s and 1960s, and they make great photography subjects.

The show has been going for 30 years and is one of the biggest America car displays in the UK, with around 2,500 vehicles on display. There are also trade stands, mostly selling car parts, but there was a variety of other stalls, selling everything from clothing to tools.

Like many UK shows, the food choices were poor. No healthy options at all. There was a choice of burgers, fish and chips, Tex Mex and pulled pork sandwiches etc. There was also one coffee stand which was extremely overpriced as the cups were tiny.

Every year the Lone Star old west re-enactment group perform stories of the old west. We attended on the Saturday, the weather was pretty miserable in the morning, but by the afternoon it cleared up and was nice and sunny.

Lone Star old west re-enactment group
Lone Star old west re-enactment group
Lone Star old west re-enactment group
Lone Star old west re-enactment group

I couldn’t photograph everything, but here are a few of my favourite cars. Apologies, my car knowledge is limited, but I’ve done my best to identify what I can :).

1964 Ford Thunderbird
1970 Chevrolet Camaro
Pontiac Catalina
1955 Vauxhall Velox
Lincoln Continental
1957 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
1969 Dodge Charger
1969 Dodge Charger
1977 Lincoln Continental
1935 Ford Model 48
 Lincoln Continental
1956 Studebaker E Series Transtar
1960 Chevrolet Apache Pick-up Truck
1953 Ford F100
Chevrolet
1947 Dodge
Chevrolet
Chevrolet
SVS 546 1942 GMC CCKW 353 Cargo
1971 Cadillac Eldorado
1999 Chevrolet
Cadillac
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 429 Cobra Jet Four Speed
Ford ‘Hot Rod’ Coupe
1955 Ford F100
Dodge Charger
Chevrolet Bel Air
Pontiac
Dodge
Ford
Ford Mustangs
Trucks
Bikes
Chevrolet
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Lincoln Continental Coupe
Pontiac GTO
Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1969 Ford
1959 Chevrolet Impala
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air
1958 Buick Super

Useful Information

The show is usually held over a Saturday and Sunday in early July, 09:30 – 16:00.

In 2019, adult entry was £9 and parking was £7 even if you are a National Trust member.

RAF Cosford Air Show 2019, Shropshire, England.

This was my first time at Cosford Air Show and only my third air show in total.  I must admit, I have started to really enjoy air shows and I have become increasingly interested in aviation history and heritage, just from accompanying my partner to museums and shows. 

The day before the show I felt a little apprehensive about the weather.  On route to our hotel, we briefly stopped at the museum.  The weather was wet and cold and I was dreading spending a day outside if it was going to rain and be miserable.  On the day of the show, there must have been a miracle as the weather was predominantly dry and sunny, with only small spitting of rain.  I was unprepared for sun and ended up getting sunburnt.  Macmillan was giving out free sun cream samples, I definitely should have got one. 

We stayed in nearby Shifnal, at the Park House Hotel.  I paid £78 for 2 people bed and breakfast through ebookers.  The hotel was nice and only a short drive to the air show.  My advice, if you plan to stay here is to bear in mind that breakfast doesn’t start until 8am on a weekend and the air show opens at 8am.  If you plan on getting to the show for opening, you may have to miss breakfast. 

On approach to the show, we followed the yellow signs for parking.  The signs took us to the back of the base, not to the usual museum entrance.  We arrived at approximately 8.45am and got pretty much in and parked with no hold up’s.   Considering how many people were attending the show, I was very impressed with the traffic management.  I have read online that some other people found getting in and out of the show a nightmare, I suppose it depends on which entrance you use and at what time you were entering/exiting. 

We paid for entry into the Cosford Club which was £65 each plus a booking fee of £1.50.  Standard adult tickets to the show cost £29 and accompanied under 16s are free (based on the 2019 show).  The Cosford Club gets you entry into a tent, a programme and a seating area with a view of the central fly line, with chairs and tables provided.  If you book the Cosford Club my advice would be to get there early in order to get a table near to the front, especially if you want to take photographs.  If you have general admission, the show was packed, again, there are some spaces that offer a clear view of the runway, but you have to get there early if you want to bag one of these. 

I thought the show overall was great, but I personally feel that certain aspects could be improved for next year.  The main thing for me is the food choices.  I’m not a big meat eater and I like to eat relatively healthy when I can.  I felt that the healthy and vegetarian food options were very limited and if you are a vegan they were non-existent.  The only food stands that I saw were burger, fish and chips and pastie stands, along with some sweet and cake stands.  I think a wider variety of food outlets would be welcomed, especially for people that are vegan/vegetarian/ gluten free etc.  In the Cosford Club, there was a toastie van, which I got something from.  It was nice, but a little greasy and definitely not healthy.  Apart from the poor food choices, the only other thing that I was a little disappointed with was that there was not enough time to look around all the exhibits as well as watching the entire flying displays.   After the flying finished, the grounds stayed open for another hour and a half-ish, until about 7pm. However, many trade stands started to pack up after the flying had finished and as there was so much to see, there wasn’t enough time.

I thought the show had something for everyone and every age.  There was a variety of stands and exhibits.  Some were related to aviation and others weren’t.  There was also a small fairground and things for children.   If you are considering applying to join the RAF or other British forces, there are stands where you can find out more information.  Also, companies like Rolls-Royce and BAE systems had a presence at the show.

Some of the static aeroplane exhibits on display had open cockpits for people to sit in, there were quite large queues for these though.  As well as the static displays, other attractions were the RAF Zone, STEM Hangers, Helicopter flights and the Vintage Village.  More information on these can be found on the air show website.

Other than the flying displays, I thought the Vintage Village was the best part.  I’m a history lover so I enjoyed seeing the people dressed up in WWII attire as well as The Bluebird Belles vocal harmony trio.

As for the flying displays, the Red Arrows were spectacular as was the Avro Lancaster B1 and the Supermarine Spitfire IX Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. I also enjoyed seeing the Boeing Chinook HC6.  A few of the displays had the added effect of pyrotechnics which was fun to see.

Overall, I really enjoyed Cosford Air Show and can’t wait for next year.

Additional Information:

  • The Air Show is an advance ticket only event and it is the Royal Air Force’s only official air show.
  • Next year’s date is Sunday 14th June 2020.

Cosford Air Show website

Park House Hotel website

Royal Air Force Hawker Siddeley/BAe Harrier (Retired)
Royal Navy British Aerospace Sea Harrier FA2
Royal Air Force Auster AOP.9
Royal Air Force Percival Provost T1
Jet Provost Strike Master
Czech Air Force SAAB JAS-39C Gripen
German Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion
Royal Air Force Westland Whirlwind (Retired) – XJ729 is the only air worthy Whirlwind remaining in the world
Czech Air Force AERO L-159 ALCA
Swiss Air Force McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet
Swiss Air Force McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet
Hispano HA-1112 Buchon (Messerschmitt) & Royal Air Force Hawker Hurricane
Royal Air Force Red Arrows aerobatic team (BAE Systems Hawk T.1)
Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire
Royal Air Force Avro Lancaster (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight)
Army Air Corps Westland WAH-64 Apache
Royal Navy Hawker Sea Fury
(Civilian Owned) United States Air Force North American P-51D Mustang
(Civilian Owned) United States Navy Boeing Stearman
Royal Air Force Shorts Tucano
Royal Air Force Falcons parachute display team
Royal Air Force British Aerospace Hawk T.1A
Royal Air Force Westland Wessex

Thank you for reading.

Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire, England.

The ruin of the old hall

Bess built Hardwick Old Hall in 1587 on the grounds of her father’s medieval manor house.  Bess intended for both the old and new hall to complement each other.  However, after her death in 1608, the Hardwick estate was passed to her son, William Cavendish who partially dismantled the Old Hall in the 1750s.  

In 1789, the lower rooms were still occupied by the house keeper of the New Hall and a family. In the 19th century lead was removed from the roof leading to the hall’s final demise to a ruin.

Visitor Information

The Old Hall is managed by English Heritage. As of 2019, the hall can only be viewed from the outside but there is a small exhibition and shop. Parking is £5 (free for EH and NT members). The EH website states that entry is £6.80, but there was a sign which said the exhibition was free entry when I visited. I assume when the restoration work is complete, there will be a charge again. The EH website also states that the hall is closed Monday and Tuesday, but as only the exterior is currently viewable, I think as long as the park is open (managed by the National Trust), you can have a walk to the old hall ruins.

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England.

The main entrance to the hall.

Elizabeth (Bess), Countess of Shrewsbury, built Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire as a display of wealth and power.  However, Bess came from modest beginnings.  Her father was not much more than a yeoman, yet Bess was able to climb the social ladder through a string of marriages to wealthy men.

Bess was first married at the age of 14 and widowed at 15.  Her second marriage was to Sir William Cavendish in 1547.  The couple had 8 children together, one of their grandchildren was William Cavendish, who built Bolsover New Castle.  When Cavendish died in 1557, Bess inherited his fortune.  She then married Sir William St Loe in 1559, on his death in 1565, Bess became one of the richest women in England.  In 1568, Bess married George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and the richest man in England. They remained married until his death in 1590.  

In 1590, Bess began the building of Hardwick Hall.  The house was completed in 1597 with Bess living there her death on the 13th February 1608, aged 81.

The kitchen
The hall and garden
The gardens
The front lawn

Useful Information for visitors

The hall managed by The National Trust.  Entry to the house and garden is £15 for an adult and parking is £5, garden only entry is £7.50.  The house is open from 11am to 5pm from Wednesdays to Sundays. The garden is open daily from 09:00 – 18:00 and the park is open from Park Dawn to dusk.  There is also a shop and restaurant.

Hardwick Old Hall is managed by English Heritage but it is currently closed for renovation work.

Sutton Scarsdale Hall, Derbyshire, England.

The derelict shell of Sutton Scarsdale Hall
The derelict shell of Sutton Scarsdale Hall

The last time I visited Sutton Scarsdale was approximately a year ago. The first thing that I noticed on my return, was that nothing had changed in terms of the conservation work that is going on. Understandably you can’t go inside the ruin due to health and safety but it feels like English Heritage have forgotten about this place.

The hall was a Baroque style mansion built for the 4th Earl of Scarsdale in the 1720s. In 1919, a descendant of the famous Sir Richard Arkwright (I intend to do some articles on Sir Richard in the future) purchased the hall, subsequently selling it to a company of asset strippers. Unfortunately this was common practice in the 20th century. I’ve visited many shells and grounds of beautiful halls that were torn down and either shipped overseas, or simply just demolished. Errwood Hall in the upper Goyt Valley, Darley Hall in Derbyshire and Broomhead Hall in Sheffield are just a few.

Changes in social conditions in the 20th century brought about the destruction of many large halls. The upkeep of the buildings was incredibly costly as well as income tax and death duties contributing to loss of wealth. The website Lost Heritage documents 1,998 houses that have been demolished in England.

http://www.lostheritage.org.uk/lh_complete_list.html

Like Sutton Scarsdale, Broomhead hall was shipped to America. Some of the interiors from Sutton Scarsdale are on display at the Museum of Art in Philadelphia. Along with some at the Huntington Library in California after being used as a set for a film, Kitty, in 1934.

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/sutton-scarsdale-hall/history/

Taken from through the fence

Tips for visiting:

The site is managed by English Heritage and is accessed down a small road. The EH website states that opening times are Summer Daily 10am – 6pm, Winter Daily 10am – 4pm. Entry is free and there is a small carpark.

Happy exploring.

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire, England.

The 17th Century Playboy Mansion

Bolsover Castle was built to lavishly entertain guests and is often called the playboy Mansion of the 17th century.

Bolsover Little Castle and the Fountain Garden

Bolsover Castle can be traced back to the 12th century, but that it not what stands today.  The image above is of Bolsover Little Castle, which was built by  Sir William Cavendish in the 17th century as a retreat for entertaining guests. One of which was Charles I. To the right of the image is a statue of Venus in the Fountain garden.

The Stables

Sir William Cavendish loved horses. The building in front is the stables and indoor Riding School, which William Cavendish built to house the many exotic horses that he imported from overseas.

The Star Chamber

A study by the University of Sheffield suggests the Star Chamber was used as an auditorium for aristocratic plays and country house masques.

Colourful wall tapestries
Ceiling of the Heaven Room

The image above was painted in 1619, and is a depiction of Christ’s ascension into heaven surrounded by angels.

The kitchen ovens
The ruins of the Terrace Range

Unfortunately, only the Little Castle and the Stables remain intact today. William Cavendish also built the Terrace Range which overlooks Vale of Scarsdale. It was left to go to ruin by William’s son, Henry.

The Terrace Range
The remains of a fireplace inside the Terrace Range

Tips for visitors.

Bolsover Castle is managed by English Heritage.  The cost of entry for an adult as of 2019 is £11.80 and a child is £7.10.  If they have a special event on, there is an additional charge even if you are an English Heritage member.  On busy days the small carpark gets full, there is additional parking opposite the main car park and there is another carpark if you pass the castle to your right, but the entrance is quite concealed and I didn’t notice it until I had parked up and was walking back to the castle.  There is street parking but like anywhere, this is not ideal.  I parked on the street and someone parked about an inch from my bumper.  Luckily I had left enough room in front of me to get out.  In the summer the castle opens from 10am until 6pm, in winter, hours are reduced. 

Happy exploring.