Quick Stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The main reason that I visited the MET whist I was in New York was to look for a staircase that was once located inside Scarsdale Hall in Derbyshire.  I think I covered just about all of the museum but unfortunately, I could not seem to find the staircase anywhere. 

The MET is gigantic and you need at least a day to look around the museum and if you want to read everything, probably a week.  The museum is so big they have the whole facade of a building located in the American Wing, in the The Charles Engelhard Court (picture below). 

I only took photographs on my phone so the quality is not great. There is also a short video at the end of the open storage, which I thought was a great idea as most museums do not let the public access their storage. 

The MET first opened on February 20, 1872, at 681 Fifth Avenue.  In 1871, the museum was granted land between the East Park Drive, Fifth Avenue, and the 79th and 85th Street in Central Park, which is where it resides today. The building has over 2,000,000 square feet of floor space and is 20 times the size of the original building.

Just a few things to note before you go. I got there at about 9.50 am, the museum opens at 10 am and there was a queue of people already waiting for the museum to open. Once the doors open, the queues went down pretty quickly. There are machines inside the main entrance where you can buy tickets, or you can buy them in advance online.  

A visitor admiring the facade of the Branch Bank of the United States (details below).
Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), Jackson Pollock (American, Cody, Wyoming 1912–1956 East Hampton, New York).
From Williamsburg Bridge , Edward Hopper (American, Nyack, New York 1882–1967 New York).
Merced River, Yosemite Valley, 1866, Albert Bierstadt (American, Solingen 1830–1902 New York).

I was especially interested in the whole rooms that the MET had on display. Unfortunately, only one of the pictures came out on my phone.

Boiserie from the Hôtel de Cabris, Grasse.

Thanks for reading.

LuminoCity Light Festival, New York.

LuminoCity Festival is a festival of lights, held on Randalls Island, New York the festival is a spectacular display of light art.  I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere like this, it was definitely an unusual experience and I highly recommend it.  Just a few things to note before you go.  Book tickets in advance on the website https://www.luminocityfestival.com/ , adult tickets are $38 each.  There is a shuttle bus that departs and returns from Manhattan, E 125th and 3rd Ave, but you can also get the M35 bus.  However, if it is late at night, I would recommend the shuttle if you cannot take your own car.  I would advise buying tickets beforehand, but we got a return ticket on the day as we did not feel comfortable getting the public bus late at night. There is parking available on the island, but it is $20 per car, OUCH! 

This year (2019), the festival ran from November 23rd and is on until Jan 5th 2020.  Entry is 4:00pm-11:00pm on selected days. Below are a few images that I took, along with a video. 

Conisbrough Castle,South Yorkshire.

Conisbrough Castle is located just outside Rotherham in South Yorkshire and is managed by English Heritage. The original Castle was built by William De Warenne, the 1st Earl of Surrey who was the son-in-law of William the 1st (William the Conqueror) sometime in the 11th century . The castle passed to Isabel De Warenne in 1147, and the keep was built by her husband, Hamelin Plantagenet in the late 1170s or 1180s. The castle inspired Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe, published in 1819.

I did not visit, but the nearby Anglican Church of St Peter has stood in Conisborough since the 8th century, and is the oldest standing building in South Yorkshire.

Personally, I always prefer English Heritage places over National Trust, I think it’s because I find ruins more fascinating. I really enjoyed Conisbrough Castle. However, there are a few things to bear in mind if you plan on visiting. Firstly, the parking. I usually look in advance before I travel on what the situation is with parking, but this time I did not. When I arrived at the castle the signposts send you into a privately run car park. I parked up and got my little pot of car park change from my glove box that I keep for such situations. I went to find the machine, but there was not one in sight. The car park requires you to either download an app, or to call and pay by card. Bear in mind that parking is 50p an hour. I thought this seemed like a lot of faff for 50p. I tried scanning the QR code, like the sign said, but nothing happened, so I drove out of the car park and parked on a nearby street. I don’t usually like parking in residential areas as I’ve had bad experiences with people who don’t like you parking in front of their houses, even though you can park where you like as long as there are no parking restrictions, or you aren’t blocking anyone ones access, etc. But, often people get real funny about parking. Anyway, there is plenty of free on street parking, that isn’t outside anyone’s house, if you don’t mind a short walk to the castle. If the car park was English Heritage, I would have paid the money, but as it was a private company, I did not bother. I think this is a bad call from English Heritage. If people don’t have a mobile with them, I know my parents don’t always take their mobile phone out with them, how are you meant to pay? Or if you don’t take your bank card out with you, you can’t pay as there is no machine.

The other thing to consider at Conisbrough is that there are narrow stone stairs in the castle with no lift. If you are disabled or have push chairs, you might not be able to access the castle, but I would double check with English Heritage before you go.

Some of the winding stairs inside the castle.
The parking situation.

Thanks for reading.

Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire.

Tattershall castle is located in Lincolnshire, close to the beautiful Woodhall Spa.  I always like visiting this area as there is plenty of heritage, especially if you like the history of the RAF. 

The original castle was built by Robert de Tateshale in around 1231. He was granted a licence by King Henry III in order to build a crenelated manor house.  The castle was then passed to Ralph, 3rd Baron Cromwell sometime in the fifteenth century.  Ralph became Lord Cromwell in 1433, and remodeled the manor into a more lavish home.  It is said that half a million bricks were made at Edlington Moor Brickworks for the castle re-model.

Cromwell died, childless in 1456. I have found two versions of what happened to the castle after his death. One is that it was passed to his niece, Joan Bouchier. When Joan’s husband, Humphrey Bourchier changed sides during the war of the roses from the Yorkists to the Lancastrian cause, Yorkist King, Edward IV seized the castle on Bourchiers death. However, the National Trust website states that on Cromwells death, the castle passed into the Crown’s possession who subsequently granted it to loyal and familial subjects.

In 1573, the castle was purchased by Edward Clinton (Earl of Lincoln) and remained in their possession until 1693. It was then passed to the Fortescue family, who never lived at the castle and so let it decline. At one time, it was also used by farmers as a cattle shed.

In 1910, Tattershall and its contents were sold to a buyer in the USA (rumoured to be William Randolph Hearst). The sale included the contents which included the tapestries and fireplaces. However, in 1911, Lord Curzon purchased the castle and saved it from exportation and in August of 1914, the Castle was opened as a visitor attraction.  The castle became the property of the National Trust when Lord Curzon died in 1925. (The Curzon family home of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is also property of the National Trust).

I visited the castle on Sunday the 27th of October. The castle had been decorated for Halloween as they had an event on for kids, which made it a little busy and noisy for my liking. There isn’t a great deal to see, you can do an audio tour if you want more information whilst you are walking around. If you are not a National Trust member, adult entry is £7.50 without gift aid. There is a small shop (the old gatehouse) selling the usual National Trust merchandise and small selection of cakes, overpriced sandwiches and hot drinks. I had a coffee and it wasn’t very nice if i’m honest.

My pictures did not turn out as good as I would have liked. The light was too bright and shadows too harsh. But I have done my best to edit them.

A view of the Holy Trinity Collegiate Church from one of the upper floors in the castle.
The Guardhouse and Holy Trinity Collegiate Church.
The Guardhouse, now the shop and castle entrance.
One of the huge fireplaces saved by Lord Curzon.
The ruins of the stable block with the castle in the background.
Graffiti inside the castle.
Some of the tapestries saved by Lord Curzon.
The castle roof (photograph taken with iPhone)
Tattershall Castle (photograph taken with iPhone)

Thanks for reading.

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.

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.