I had a lot of thoughts for this CMMC – Some statues of English Queens perhaps. Or a couple of Chiltern Queens buses. I could have shown a couple of Squirrels but Cee has that covered and then there’s the Mushrooms growing in the garden! In the end, I’ve decided to go with some Public Houses 🙂

The Public House is a part of British culture that finds itself under threat from changes in society over the last half century. Many Pubs have closed down – sometimes because the high street they used to serve has moved, taking the shoppers with it to another part of the town. That’s certainly true of East Finchley where the old Market Place is now a children’s playground and the two pubs that served the centre of the village pre-war are now long since gone. A couple of shops on the new high street have become pubs in their place – though in many areas, once the pub has gone, it’s gone for good. The Red Lion and The Dick Turpin serving my local area have gone and not been replaced – Here’s a photo of the ‘Turpin during demolition…

…However, there are still lots of pubs around. Celebration of the Monarchy is one of the commonest themes in pub names. The Rose and Crown, The Royal Oak, The King’s Head and The Queen’s Head are popular choices. We used to have a Queen’s Head in Church End, but that’s yet another pub that has closed and been repurposed. However, in New Barnet there is The Queen’s Arms…

…Staying with the royal connection, this is an unusual one, The Queen’s Head and Artichoke in Marylebone…

…An unusual combination! Reputedly the original ale house on the site was built by one of Queen Elizabeth I’s gardeners, which may explain the odd name. The pub / restaurant closed during the pandemic and is currently under builders sheeting – I wonder if it will re-emerge as a pub or if it has joined the long list of permanent closures.

Another popular theme in Pub names revolves around pagan customs and beliefs. The Green Man is common – we used to have one in Finchley but that has also gone – a community centre stands on the site now. There are lots of pubs which reference the Sun. In Notting Hill there is The Sun in Splendour – a pub I visited occasionally when I was working in the area as a young trainee but sadly don’t have a photo of. Instead, here’s The Sun Inn in Barnes…

…See, just when you thought there weren’t going to be any Buses… Oh, and there’s a brace of Bus Stops too! 😉

A final Public House and another odd name, The Auld Triangle…

…This is a reference to the Harp – an indication of it being an Irish public house. Usually a sign of excellent Guinness. However, it was originally The Plimsoll Arms. It has changed ownership during the pandemic and will again be called The Plimsoll. On a Saturday, you’ll find it full of Gunners fans, because it’s close to the Emirates Stadium…

…I digress 😉 Hope there’s enough Q’s and U’s in that selection 🙂

Ok – Back on timetable with this entry for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge 🙂

Places can be handy for this sort of challenge, so lets start with Mitcham Junction…

…A photo I took back in 1987. The station has changed a bit since then with the introduction of the Croydon Tramlink, so I really must visit to get an up to date photo 🙂

Buildings are useful too. This is the headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation…

…It is located on Albert Embankment, London.

Another London location, Commercial Street…

…It passes outside the City of London to the east connecting Shoreditch to Whitechapel via Spitalfields and was an important area for industry.

Finally, here’s a Chiltern Queens coach. An AEC Reliance that entered service with Frames in 1963…

…The bodywork is an example of the Duple Commodore, a model that was only produced in 1963/4, so a very rare vehicle. It was still in daily use in 1980 when I took this photo 🙂

For this Photographing Public Art Challenge, which is hosted by Marsha, I thought I would go with some Italian design. Not Ferrari’s and not clothes from Milan, although that city will be part of the post. We’re going to look at railway design and architecture 🙂

I was trying to think of how to sequence the images in a meaningful way. In the end, I’m going to work backwards in time, so lets start with the Pendolino. Pendolino’s are tilting trains built by Fiat Ferroviaria using technology that was first pioneered in the UK with the Advanced Passenger Train. The idea is to use the tilting technology to allow faster speeds on lines that cannot be made more straight due to terrain. Here are two RABe 503 trains operated by Cisalpino from Zurich and Geneva to Milano, seen in Milano Centrale station…

…These trains entered service from 2008.

A somewhat older example of Italian design were the Settebello trains. These luxury high speed electric units featured observation lounges at both ends of the train. They were built for the Milano to Roma services with stops at Bologna and Firenze. They entered service in 1953 and were finally phased out in 1984. I was lucky to photograph the sole preserved example in Santa Maria Novella station, Firenze, back in 2009…

…Its 1950’s elegance contrasting with the angular modern unit on the left.

Santa Maria Novella station in Firenze is a classic example of Italian Modernism, designed by the Gruppo Toscano. After approval from Benito Mussolini, construction began in 1932 and the station opened in 1934. Here is a view of the main concourse…

Returning to Milano Centrale – the foundation block of this station was laid in 1906 but full construction rights were not awarded to architect Ulisse Stacchini until 1912! – his design resembling Washington Union Station. The Italian financial crisis during the First World War combined with many design changes stalled its construction. Work recommenced in 1925 and the station officially opened in 1931. Here is a shot of the concourse…

…In the modern world, it now seems cramped with the volume of passengers using the station and it’s interesting to compare with open spaces of Firenze S.M.N completed just 3 years later!