The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Model Railway Exhibition - Abingdon 2010

This annual one day event takes place in the large gym of the Vale of White Horse Leisure Centre. There were 30+ layouts and plenty of interest for families and modellers alike.

At the far end of this layout is Rattlesnake Creek.

Hills and tunnels predominate on this layout.

Kuppla Yard had the best lighting effects - even more effective in a dark room

But if you didn't make it and are tempted there is always Pendon Museum who were there at the exhibition with pictures and some models of houses, but their layout is far too big to move.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Museum Friends - 10 years on

The Abingdon Museum Friends have been going for ten years. They have talks, outings, and social evenings, and have also helped raise funds for acquisitions for the museum. They seems to be doing well with over 20 new members last year.

Councillor Julie Mayhew Archer was there last night at the AGM to present a birthday cake with ten candles.

The evening involved a quick AGM (annual accounts, election of the committee, and what have you), then a short talk by the museum curator on the museum development project. The Heritage Lottery decide fairly soon whether to grant funds for the project to go to the build stage, so she could not add too much that was new.

There followed a talk with slides by Judy White about the restoration of the ceiling of the Lady Chapel in St Helens Church. The original paintings were done by the finest artists of the time and dedicated in 1391. They probably only survived the occupation by Cromwell's men, when the church was a billet during the civil war, because they were so high up and hidden by candle soot. Much else was destroyed.

As to restoration... in Victorian times one vicar's daughter scrubbed them with soda and touched them up herself. Then they were rehung out of order by another Victorian generation with nails that have split the wood and the most damaged ones were just thrown away. 600 years after their original dedication, in 1991, one of the most important restorations was completed and they were re-dedicated. Judy showed slides documenting the restoration, slides given her by Meineke Cox.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

No Sign of Life

There has been no sign of life in this shop for a few days.

Kelvin Lucy, the newsagent, moved to this location, where The Pine Shop had been, about four years ago. Back then, the Co-op had closed for a re-build and so the time was right to expand and become a convenience store. More recently Londis / Bargain Booze moved in, then the Co-op re-opened, and a couple of months ago W H Smith. So have they called it a day?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Lord Hurd Visits Abingdon

Douglas Hurd, now Lord Hurd, was the British Foreign Secretary during some of the most eventful years of the twentieth century, including the collapse of the Soviet Union, the war to liberate Kuwait, and the wars during the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Lord Hurd was at Abingdon School at the invitation of the school's Edmunds Society. (The society invite eminent speakers to lecture on topics of philosophy or theology.) Lord Hurd's topic was "Rights and Wrongs in Foreign Policy".

Afterwards he signed copies of his book, ‘Choose Your Weapons: 200 Years of the British Foreign Secretary’ (just published) and supplied by Mostly Books.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Know your Abingdon Heraldry?

In the County Hall Museum, the four large windows facing the Market Place contain heraldic windows. In 1881 when St Nicolas Church was being restored not too much care was given to these same windows, and they were disposed of, some being used in Old Abbey House and some at Barton Court - both private houses at the time. In 1938 there was a movement to get the windows restored to public view at the County Hall. Old Abbey House had become the property of Abingdon Corporation and used as municipal offices, and Barton Court had become the property of the Convent of our Lady, and both donated the glass.

A recent exhibition at the museum had all these windows labelled and described. The shields of the best known Abingdonians appear in the first window....

1. A cross and four martlets (heraldic birds)

2. An eagle part blue and part silver

3. Three teasels

4. A silver griffin
5. Three battering rams and a coronet.

Can you put the right shield with the right name?

a) Thomas Tesdale of Fitzharry's, Abingdon - benefactor of Roysse's School and Pembroke College in Oxford

b) John Roysse - founder of Roysse's School (to become Abingdon School)

c) Abingdon Abbey

d) Bertie - Earl of Abingdon

e) John Blacknall - bequeathed money to St Nicolas and for a bread charity for the poor, and well remembered by a large monument in St Nicolas Church.

I'll add the answers in a comment unless somebody beats me to it. By the way I did ask at the museum desk to borrow the little booklet describing ALL the windows so I do know.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Sign at Number 17 West St Helen Street

The sign on the door is a planning application for a proposed change of usage, and the blue door was until recently Frugal Food.
It could be about to become a tea room.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

What's Up Folk

Thanks to K for this picture of 'What's Up Folk' - the resident big band from John Mason School, Abingdon. The picture was taken a couple of weeks a go when they headlined at Kennington Village Hall.

The band is made up of a mixture of students and staff from the School and the 15 members have been working hard to earn their stripes. They sold out at last year’s Oxfolk Folk Festival and went down a storm at Towersey Village Festival. Featuring a diverse range of instruments from a brass section, strings and cahon.

On the subject of John Mason, there is an exhibition at the school's 06 Gallery featuring David Hockney's etchings of six Grimms Fairy Tales. It is during school hours until 13th March.