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Didcot Railway Centre

         
Didcot Oxfordshire England
Description : 

S160-6040aJumbo American Loco Steams In for 60th Anniversary Party

Major celebrations to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Great Western Society will get underway at Didcot Railway Centre with a gala weekend featuring six locomotives in action on Saturday 31 July and Sunday 1 August. Star attraction is likely to be a powerful American locomotive built in 1945 as part of the war effort and shipped across the Atlantic to Europe.

Locomotive No 6046 will be visiting from the Churnet Valley Railway and is a type known as an S160 and having her in action at Didcot will recall the days when six of the gargantuan American-built locos were based at Didcot in 1943-44. August marks the 60th Anniversary of four schoolboys launching an appeal to save a Great Western Railway engine from being scrapped – the success of that appeal led to the creation of the Great Western Society – the Charity that operates Didcot Railway Centre.

The gala line-up will also include Lambton Colliery No 29 visiting for the Summer from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Fellow centenarian, recently-restored 1340 "Trojan" – the oldest, working, standard-gauge GWR locomotive – dating from 1897 will also be in action along with the award-winning Saint 2999 "Lady of Legend". Additionally, two of Centre's diesels will play their part in the celebrations with Class 14 D9516 and 08604 "Phantom" which is normally confined to shunting duties taking a turn on passenger workings.

Graham Hukins, Head of Visitor Experience & Marketing commented "We're keen to welcome 6046, as the S160 Class is one of the few types of engine that were based at Didcot in Great Western days that have not made an appearance here during the Society's 60-year history.

"It is three-quarters-of-a-century since American 2-8-0s were allocated to Didcot as part of the US lend-lease programme during the Second World War," he added.

In addition to passenger rides, the event will feature goods trains, demonstrations of the 70ft turntable in action, a chance to see locomotives taking coal from the Grade II Listed 1932 coal stage and dramatic action as a coal truck is propelled up the steep incline to the coal stage – all sights that were once commonplace at the Great Western steam depot.

Tickets are limited and must be booked in advance at DidcotRailwayCentre.org.uk where visitors can also find full details and updates on the event.

Following the gala, the Centre is open at weekends plus Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout August. Full details and bookings can be found at DidcotRailwayCentre.org.uk. On site, visitors can explore almost two centuries of railway heritage set across 21 acres. Steam trains will be running on the Centre's demonstration line offering unlimited rides aboard a train of beautifully restored vintage carriages with each group allocated an individual compartment for their trip.

 

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180 years after it was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1835, the Great Western remains Britain's best loved railway. It was built on a heroic scale by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, with a broad gauge, beautiful bridges and sumptuous stations. It served some of the most scenic areas of England and Wales and called itself The Holiday Line. It invented the Cornish Riviera as a tourist destination. In the 20th century the GWR's Cheltenham Flyer was the world's fastest train. Its locomotive policy in the first half of the 20th century was an object lesson in the benefits of standardisation and evolutionary design. With the end of steam on the horizon by the 1940s, the GWR had built a fleet of diesel railcars and experimented with gas turbine locomotives.

Today Didcot Railway Centre encapsulates the long history of the GWR. The replica of the 1840 broad gauge locomotive Fire Fly offers an experience of travel at the beginning of the railway era. The collection of more than 20 standard gauge locomotives from the 1890s to the 1940s include many of the standard classes typified by tapered boilers, copper-capped chimneys and Brunswick green paintwork. They are completed by Didcot's preserved fleet of chocolate and cream carriages. On a steamday you are guaranteed a ride in vintage carriages from the 1930s or 1940s.

But Didcot is much more than a train ride. The original engine shed, built 1932, is an exhibition hall which displays locomotives in their authentic surroundings. As the only complete GWR locomotive depot that has survived, Didcot also has a coal stage and turntable in working order. Within the railway centre, buildings have been brought from around the GWR system and re-erected. These included two signal boxes, one of which is regularly opened with staff to explain how semaphore signalling works. There is a picnic area where you can sit and watch the trains go past.

The railway centre also includes a comprehensive museum of small relics and artifacts from the GWR. These include the colourful posters which decorated stations, an amazing variety of silverware, glass and crockery used in restaurant cars in the age of elegant dining, and the everyday items crafted in brass or steel and marked with the magic initials GWR.

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The entrance to Didcot Railway Centre is at Didcot Parkway railway station on the London to Bristol main line. For information about events, please refer to our website, www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk 

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For further details, please refer to www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk 

Swindon Panel display

 

Nature in Art

      
Twigworth Gloucestershire England
Description : 

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Discover the unique nature inspired art collection housed within the beautiful setting of Wallsworth Hall. The Georgian mansion was once owned by Samuel Hayward (1714-1790), local landowner and magistrate who built it for his wife Catherine as a wedding present, you will be in awe as you spy its grandeur travelling along their half mile driveway, edged by trees and fields. The perfect surroundings for what is held within!

The art collection is international in scope, embracing two and three dimensional work in all media and styles, ranging from Pablo Picasso to David Shepherd. Over their 25 year history, Nature in Art has collected works which represent over 1500 years of art inspired by nature, from more than 50 countries and 600 artists. So whether you prefer exotic Flemish masters or contemporary glass, modern abstract interpretations or bronze sculpture, textiles or ethnic art there will be something for you...

 

Nature in Art is also suitable for all the family; children can create animal brass-rubbings, experiment with materials using their handling box, touch some of the sculptures around the galleries, as well as enjoy their outdoor play area and garden.

Together you can visit the artist in residence (from mid-January to mid-November) in the purpose-built studio, meet a woodcarver, painter or sculptor! Complete your visit by relaxing in the coffee shop with a homemade lunch or afternoon tea, and then browse through the gift shop for a memento of your day. The shop sells a range of unique gifts, cards and prints.

Open: Tuesday-Sunday, including Bank Holidays, 10am to 5pm. Closed 24th-26th December.
Entry: £5.25 adults, £4.75 concessions (over 60s, under 16s), £15 family (2 adults, 2 children), under 8s free.


Telephone 01452 731422

www.nature-in-art.org.uk

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New Brewery Arts

      
Cirencester Gloucestershire England
Description : 

Built in 1820 as a brewery, the premises continued to brew beer until 1937. After a period of use by a sheet-metal company the buildings were bought by Cotswold District Council for demolition. A local group, however, proposed repair and conversion into craft workshops instead and Cirencester Workshops opened in 1979.

 


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Museum of Oxford

      
Oxford Oxfordshire England
Description : 

The Museum of Oxford opened in 1975 and immediately intrigued locals and visitors to the city with the story of Oxford and how it has developed.

 


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Holst Birthplace Museum

         
Cheltenham Gloucestershire England
Description : 

It feels like going back in time when you step inside the Regency terrace house where Gustav Holst, composer of The Planets was born in 1874.


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