The Anonymous Widower

COP26 And Lumo Branding At King’s Cross Station

I took these pictures as I passed through King’s Cross station today.


  1. Wilston Samuel Jackson was the first black train driver in the UK.
  2. Lumo seem to have taken over all of the branding at the station.

There was a generally upbeat atmosphere at the station.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips For American Servicemen In Britain During The Second World War

The title of this post, is the same as this page on the Imperial War Museum web site.

These are the first two introductory paragraphs.

In 1942, the first of over 1.5 million American servicemen arrived on British shores in preparation for the Allied offensives against Germany during the Second World War.

That year, the United States’ War Department published Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain to help soldiers, sailors and airmen – many of whom had never travelled abroad before – adjust to life in a new country.

The whole area of the web site is well-worth exploring.

The book, which is entitled Instructions For American Servicemen In Britain 1942 can be purchased from the museum.

January 16, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

History And Future Of The Compressed Air Economy

A reader in Canada has sent me a link to this article on Low Tech Magazine, which has the same title as this post.

This is the introductory sub-title.

Historical compressed air systems hold the key to the design of a low-tech, low-cost, robust, sustainable and relatively energy efficient energy storage medium.

As regular readers of this blog, will have noticed, I regularly post about a company called Highview Power.

This is the introduction from the Wikipedia entry for Highview Power.

Highview Power is a long-duration energy storage pioneer, specialising in cryogenic energy storage. It is based in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has permission for a commercial-scale 50 Megawatt/250 Megawatt-hour plant in England, building upon its earlier 5 Megawatt and 350 Kilowatt pilot plants. It plans to develop a 50MW plant/400MWh (eight hours of storage) in Vermont.

It has over 30 patents developed in partnership with British universities and has won technology funding from the British Government.

In February 2020 Sumitomo Heavy Industries invested $46m in the company.

The article on Low Tech Magazine gives the history of compressed air energy storage (CAES) and is a good background to the subject.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , | Leave a comment

The IRA Bombing Campaign In England Of 1939-1940

When most people think of bombings by the Irish Republican Army, they think of the bombings like 1993 Bishopsgate, 1984 Brighton, 1992 Manchester and 1996 Manchester by the Provisional Irish Republican Army of recent memory.

But there was another campaign in 1939-1940 called S-Plan.

There were three hundred mainly small bombs, seven fatalities and ninety-six injured.

June 6, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

The Tailor Of Bexley

When I had my family traced, the earliest ancestor of mine that could be found was Robert Miller, who was a tailor in Bexley in 1837.

He was found to have had one son; Edward, who was born about 1816 in Bexley, Kent and died in 1871 at Shoreditch.

Linking backwards from the modern day.

My father was Wilfred Ewart born in 1904

My paternal grandfather was Herbert born in 1878 and died in 1929

My paternal great-grandfather was William born in 1853 and died in 1911.

My paternal great-great-grandfather was Edward born in 1816 and died in 1871.

So the tailor of Bexley was my paternal great-great-great grandfather.

My father once told me, that his grandfather, who must have been William, once told him, of a first hand account of Robert the tailor of Bexley, who was his grandfather.

He said that he was German and that he didn’t speak any English. Because of my coeliac disease, which is quite common in East European Jews and his profession, we can probably assume that Robert; the tailor of Bexley was Jewish. My father also told me that the family name was Müller, which had been Anglicised.

Robert Winder in his excellent book; Bloody Foreigners, talks about how many poor Germans came over to London in the early days of the nineteenth  century and lived in terrible conditions in the East End of London.

So was Robert one of those poor Germans?

When you dig into your family history, you find professions that are no longer PC. Some of my ancestors were ivory turners and skin dressers in the fur trade.


October 12, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

Uncovering The Past On Thameslink

The definition of archaeology according to the Oxford English Dictionary is.

The study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.

So perhaps calling digging up an old nineteenth century station is stretching the definition a bit far.

But this report on the BBC web site about the uncovering of the disused Southwark Park station is fascinating none-the-less. This is an extract from the report.

The station was discovered as engineers constructed the Bermondsey Dive Under, which will see two Victorian viaducts partially-demolished and rebuilt to allow trains from south east London and Kent to dive down, under a new route carrying Thameslink services from Croydon.

There’s more here on the Ian Visits site and here on the Thameslink web site. This is a Google Earth image of the area.

Bermondsey Dive-Under

Bermondsey Dive-Under

Note The New Den, which is Millwall’s ground and SELCHP incinerator to its right. The image highlights the complicated nature of the lines into London Bridge station. The line that runs between the football ground and the incinerator in a south-easterly direction is the Thameslink line between London Bridge and New Cross Gate. The smaller line that crosses this line at right angles is the Overground line between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction.

Where this Overground line crosses Surrey Canal Road just off the bottom of this image, construction should start on the new New Bermondsey station later this year.

Southwark Park station was under the tracks , where Rotherhithe New Road crosses underneath.


April 20, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Snippets From 1862

I’ve just bought a reprint of Bradshaw’s Illustrated Hand Book to London, which was originally published in 1862.

It was bought in Waterstone’s in Islington, as a present for a friend’s birthday, but I spent most of my lunch in Carluccio’s round the corner reading it.  It is full of interesting information and some very surprising differences and facts.

1. Nelson’s Column is known as The Nelson Column.

2. The Houses of Parliament is known as the New Houses of Parliament, as it has just been built.

3. The Crystal Palace gets a lot of pages.

4. There is a lot of description of places anyone familiar with London would recognise.

5. Under rules for railway travellers, it says that passengers are forbidden to smoke on trains or in stations.  But obviously, it was acceptable for the engines to do this!

6.They also have a table of money of all nations. As Germany wasn’t yet united, they have separate rates for Hamburg, Prussia and the German States. The Swiss rate is given against one of their coins, which was a thirty-two franc.

More details on the book are given here.

April 17, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Two Blue Plaques In Cable Street

I generally note the blue plaques I pass, as I walk around. This morning, I was on the way to pick something up in the area and passed two.

The Angel Of Cable Street

The Angel Of Cable Street

Hannah Billig seems to have been a remarkable doctor.  But then she was awarded a George Medal for courage and bravery in the Blitz and she was called the Angel of Cable Street.

Jack Kid Berg

Jack Kid Berg

This plaque to Jack Kid Berg was a hundred metres or so further on. He seemed to have had an good and long life.

I also seem to remember that along with Ted Kid Lewis he was one of my father’s sporting heroes.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Health, Sport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hull Is The New City Of Culture

It has been announced that Hull is going to be the new UK City of Culture.

I’ve only been a couple of times and in everything I’ve read about Hull recently, there is nothing about one thing that impressed me.

And that is the display of Roman mosaic floors in the Museum.

They are in better condition, than most I’ve seen in Europe and North Africa.

November 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Steamy Morning At Kings Cross Station

I had wondered why there was a train to Norwich on the destination board at Kings Cross station.

This is the reason why.

A couple of times in the 1950s or 1960s, I went to Ipswich from London by train with a Britannia Class at the front. I wonder if I was ever hauled by Oliver Cromwell.

I am not a particular enthusiast for steam trains, but they are very much part of the world’s technological heritage.  I do think it as pity though, that we didn’t save more for posterity, as the enthusiasm they generate, is something that many of us need more of. It might even inspire more students to be the future engineers, we definitely need in this country and in fact most of the world.

It is also amazing to see a 1950s-designed steam locomotive amongst all of the high speed electrics, at possibly the best recently refurbished station in the world.

Imagine the excitement and probable increase in tourism, if every Saturday, we could see a vintage locomotive steam out of Kings Cross. The demand is probably there, but I doubt we have enough reliable main-line steam engines to provide such a spectacle. Remember that steam locomotives are not noted for their reliability.

October 5, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment