Sarah Palin is allowed first dibs on Alaskan wolfpack kills.

calendar   Sunday - July 15, 2012


Not much for posting today but could not help but see something that stopped me cold.
It was this from Gary, Ind.

City of the Century that became a ghost town: Tragic portraits from the decaying world of America’s industrial heartlands

The photos alone are worth seeing.  It isn’t the first time the Daily Mail has done a story on decaying American cities.  I don’t know why the focus on us but what I always find more then interesting are the comments by readers.  And it was these two that caused me to stop and post and throw the subject open to our readers here.
First though, take a look at the link and the sad, sad pix.  Hate to see this, and don’t want to believe what the writer of the second comment says.  But it might very well be true.  You decide.

Sad to see. America needs to stop saying, its the Best country in the World. We all know its not true. -
mary elizabeth, london, 15/7/2012 5:26

As much as I have enjoyed a good life here in my adopted country, it is true. Most Americans are not ready to admit this. As difficult as it was starting in the early 1900’s to see the British Empire change and evolve to what it is today; I believe it’s just as difficult for the next empire of America to see it too is in it’s waning days… and has been for some time. The BRIC nations will be next on the superpower stage, those with money usually are. Brazil, Russia, India and China are well on their way financing and buying out much of the United States as I type this. Brazil owns most of the highrises that were left to rot in the housing bubble along with houses, yachts, high end cars, etc. Money is power! Having the largest most expensive military in the world will not change this.
- Terry, Proud UK Expat, Washington State, Wisbech, Cambs. England, 15/7/2012 14:20

And then there was this letter and I believe we can all agree about McKinney.
Jeesh, and here I happily thought she had died since we had not heard from the turd in so long.  No such luck I suppose.

Look up whom the author chose as his lone quote on the condition of the US — Cynthia McKinney — and perhaps you will understand the bias of the writer. Gary is NOT a representative of the condition of our country. We don’t revere the old here perhaps because nothing here really is; we abandon it, and move on to what is vital. We could do a better job of clearing out the trash though, starting with Cynthia McKinney.
- Roguewave, Texas, 15/7/2012 15:31


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/15/2012 at 10:08 AM   
Filed Under: • ArchitectureArt-PhotographyUSA •  
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calendar   Monday - July 02, 2012

More Than Possible; It’s Probable

Did Pharaoh Eat “Chocolate” Ice Cream In An Air Conditioned Palace?

A nice thought for a hot summer’s day. And while there is no proof of any positive answer to my question, it is certainly possible.

After all, the Egyptians had cows, goats, and sheep ... therefore they had milk and cream. And probably a butter churn, which is really not much more than a couple of cross boards on a stick. The same kind of design as a the paddles in an ice cream maker. They had fruit and spices for flavoring. And not only did they have honey for sweetening, they had locust beans, which are used as a thickener in ice cream today. Locust beans are also known as Carob, and Carob is a chocolate substitute for allergic folks. And dogs. Has been, since always. Vanilla beans come from Madagascar, a bit down the coast. Certainly within trading distance. The Egyptains had some really decent metal working ability, enough to make a copper or a bronze bucket. Or a solid gold one. The observation that salty ice water is colder than plain old ice water is probably as old as time, and with the north end of their country being a sea shore, they certainly had salt.

So they had everything necessary to make ice cream, from the ingredients to the machinery.  “Oh no”, you say, “you’re missing the most important thing! It was Egypt. Aegypt!! Hot. Desert. Hot. Sand. Hot. Camels! Did I mention hot? They didn’t have ice!!”

Wanna bet?

See this thing?


Take a guess what it is. It’s a design that dates back to ancient Persia, at least 500 BC.  Maybe 1000 BC. Persia; Egypt’s neighbor and occasional conqueror, just a short reed boat ride across the Red Sea away.
So what’s this pile of stone? It’s the ultimate Green Kitchen Accessory. It’s made out of mud brick ... and it’s a giant wind powered refrigerator. An ice box, bigger than a house. One that may have had a built in ice maker, albeit one that only works at night. When it gets really cold in the desert.

I’ve got a lot of reading to do on this, but I wanted to toss the question out to give everyone something new to think about. More fun than reacting to today’s political nonsense, or tomorrow’s, or yesterday’s.

Ok Drew, how would it work?

First off: the air conditioning part. That we know existed, and still exists. Readers from the southwest will be familiar with an old form of A/C called a Swamp Cooler. Evaporative cooling. Blow hot dry air across some water and it cools right down. Take that concept and build it on a massive scale. City size. Several dozen miles long if necessary. But to get there, you’ll need water. Lots of nice, cold water. Here’s your shovel. Start digging.

If you live in a hot dry climate and you need to get water from the spring way over there to your city and farm fields over here, you don’t go and build a canal or an aqueduct. Too much evaporation. No, you build a qanat ("kwaa gnat"). That’s an underground water channel built between a spring somewhere in the mountains and a city somewhere near by. There are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of the things across the Middle East and the Far East, from Tunisia to Iran to China. They’ve been around for about 3000 years. Most of the water in Iran is still collected this way even today. Digging a water tunnel underground is kind of difficult, so the qanat builders put in an air shaft every 100 feet or so; the lines of these shafts dimple the desert surface by the millions, mile after mile after mile.


Ok, now that you’ve got you qanat built, and your village is getting water ... nice cool water too, from deep underground, but not so deep it starts getting hot again ( about 100 yards or so maximum ). Your tunnel digging slaves have finished, so you cap off the access/air shafts to the qanats. This cuts evaporation to a minimum, and keeps the stupid sheep from falling down the holes.

But you leave one air shaft open. And then you build a building over one of the last air shafts. Make it out of nice heat resistant clay brick, with walls 6 or 9 feet thick. Pretty good insulation right there. Now put a tower on top of the building, with a doorway on the leeward side. A hole in the floor on every level lets air flow from the top of the roof all the way to the basement, all the way down the air shaft, to the cool water flowing in the qanat deep underground.

Except the air doesn’t flow that way. Due to Bernoulli’s Principle, the wind blowing past the tower and past it’s door on the downwind side creates a pressure differential. A partial vacuum. This pulls in hot desert air into the open air shaft (don’t forget to put a sheep filter across it first), and pulls that air underground and across the cold flowing water in the qanat tunnel, and then up into your building. So you get a nice steady cold damp breeze blowing in from the basement. Natural air conditioning.


It works. It’s another ancient design, but largely forgotten by the West. There are lots of these in Spain that still function. You can read all about them, about how they are wonders of Islamic Science from the Golden Age of Islam ... but they aren’t much more advanced than the ones that the Persians built under Sargon I, somewhere around 1000-800 BC. The design was used by the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and even those barbarians living in Libya. Older than the Profit, may bees pee upon him. Merely copied and brought north by his minions 1000 or so years after it was invented.

Ok, back to our mud refrigerator. Anybody who understands Bernoulli’s principle and the Venturi Effect, or who owns a perfume sprayer, knows that you can pull liquid up a tube with just air flowing across the top of the pipe. See the picture of the big mud fridge and the wall next to it? It’s built above a qanat, and the air shafts run up inside the wall. Really thin ones probably. The wind blows, gets deflected over the top of the wall ... which pulls water up the narrow shafts ... which then runs in a channel near the top of the wall, just like in an aqueduct ... and then flows off the end of the wall onto the spiral stepped surface of the beehive shaped ice box, around and around, cooling the outside. The builders figured out how to make waterproof mud brick (duh, it’s called a kiln, right?), the walls are very thick and well insulated, it gets cooled from the outside by running water all day long, cooled from the inside by evaporative cooling from the subterranean qanat water, and filled with ice or snow gathered during winter. And who knows, perhaps refreshed with any ice made during those cold desert nights. So it IS a giant refrigerator, and it could be an ice maker too.

The one in the picture is about 110 years old, and was built in Sirjan, Kerman Province, in Iran by the first Shah, Pahvli I. The design however is almost as old as Persia.

So it is entirely possible that the Egyptians, always hot to copy a good new idea like the sandal and the horse and the wheel, had these things. Gone now, because even waterproof mud brick doesn’t last forever. And their king, the Pharaoh - at least the later Pharaohs, who spoke Persian or Greek - could have enjoyed a double scoop cone in his cool and moist palace. The technology existed. Mock-chocolate and vanilla flavored.

All I have to do is find some ancient Eastern version of the waffle cone, and my thesis is good to go. grin


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/02/2012 at 01:11 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesArcheology / AnthropologyArchitecture •  
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calendar   Sunday - May 27, 2012


That works out to 18 million some 700 thousand DOLLARS.  I would LOVE to have this place. I read here that these pix are older and it’s been updated. What the heck was wrong with what these photos show?  Perfection. Awesome.

OK, everyone empty your bank accounts and forward to me so I can buy it and no you can’t visit. I like privacy. LOL
Seriously. If I were a zillionaire or even a billionaire, I wouldn’t think 2wice.  Take a look at the all the photos at the link.

It’s in our county, and we have a Beaulieu house not far away with a large auto museum. I wonder how far this place is.
If you showed any interest in buying this place, most likely and with good reason, it would not be shown until your financial health and credit was established. I see ads all the time for houses in the range of 500 to 800 hundred thousand and the wording that says shown on approved credit.

Extraordinary Hampshire roundhouse with its own lake and a ramp to its first floor garage can be yours… for just £12m

1960s property designed by architect Seymour Harris was given the nickname Hollywood on the Beaulieu



It was designed so that its owner could drive his Aston Martin up a ramp and straight into his own first-floor parking bay and turning circle.

Now this bizarre roundhouse - which comes complete with its own lake, 10-acre garden and private 18-metre pontoon on the Bealieu river in Hampshire - can be yours… for just £12million.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the lair of a James Bond villain, the property was the home of architect Seymour Harris who, after designing it, lived there for six years.

When the roundhouse was unveiled in 1962, its appearance stunned surrounding neighbours who were used to a more conventional architecture. It was given the nickname of Hollywood on the Beaulieu.

Harris’s widow Joan told the Guardian in 2009: ‘I am afraid most of the neighbours thought it dreadful, since they were accustomed to a more prosaic style.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/27/2012 at 09:47 AM   
Filed Under: • ArchitectureUK •  
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calendar   Tuesday - November 01, 2011

Digging In To Local History

The Phoenix Column

An almost forgotten piece of the early Industrial Revolution

Drew drives around the corner to a window job and discovers a bit of history. It started with bridges but ended with improved artillery.

I took my favorite back road to a customer’s house the other day to give them a window bid. I didn’t get the job, but only because they wanted the work done right now and I’m going on vacation. So I hang a left in Cherryville and go down Hogback Road across the farm fields, into the trees and under the railway bridge that runs along the ridge, and come out in a little trout park in a sudden “middle of nowhere”. My county is like that; you’re on a major highway, you get off onto a main local road, you take two side streets and go half a mile and it’s like you’ve suddenly jumped to the Ozarks and gone back 50 years in time.

So I come through the underpass and there’s one of those “one lane bridge ahead” signs, and I find myself on yet another Victorian fairy bridge that I never knew was there. I call them fairy bridges, because as bridges go, these seem to be hardly more than iron versions of a few jungle vines. Another bridge that hardly deserves the name, compared to the fairly massive contstructs of reinforced structural concrete and massive steel I-beams that modern short bridges are. I couldn’t stop then, but after I did the estimate I parked there and gave the place a good look. I wish I had my camera with me, but hey, the internet provides:


the Lower Landsdowne Rd bridge. Photo courtesy of

I thought at first that this was another one of Lowthorp’s wonders like the one here in Clinton, one of those combination cast iron and wrought iron creations from the 1870s that dot our landscape; I wrote about them a couple weeks ago. But a minute’s examination told me different. Sure, it was another one of those pinned Pratt truss creatures, a through truss this time instead of a pony truss, but the pieces were seriously different. This bridge was made out of round sections like Lowthorp’s creations, but they were flanged and covered with rivets. The eyebars were square sectioned and had a hand hammered look, and I didn’t see the famous adjusting mechanisms where the chords and uprights came together. Ok, the builder’s plaque was different too, but that didn’t mean much as little bridges were often jobbed out to subcontractors. Time for some internet research.

The skewed 5-panel pin-connected 1885 Pratt thru truss bridge is supported on random ashlar abutments and has Phoenix columns for the compression members. The Phoenix section members are joined by compression fittings into cast iron nodes at the panel points. Shop marks and numbers are cast into all parts. The well-preserved bridge, one of the earliest known examples of Dean & Westbrook of NYC, is historically and technologically significant. It is the only skewed Phoenix section span in NJ.
A peculiar feature of this bridge is the manner in which the skew of the abutments was accommodated within the truss framing. All floor beams are perpendicular to the bridge centerline with the unequal panel length due to the skew taken up in the end panels. On this bridge the incline of the portals were kept parallel and the end panel of the top chords are of unequal length. This arrangement causes the top chord pins at the end panel points only to be offset from the bottom chord pins so that the end panel hangers are inclined.
What distinguishes this cast- and wrought-iron example is the use of Phoenix section columns and cast nodes for connection of the Phoenix-section elements and the way the skew of the abutments was accommodated within the truss framing. Its historical significance is increased by the fact that it is a documented example of the work of New York City-based fabricator Dean & Westbrook, a firm that took over the erection of highway bridges through a contractual arrangement with the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville, PA. Dean & Westbrook built highway bridges with Phoenix columns until 1896. The Lower Lansdowne Road bridge is one of about ten bridges in New Jersey that are built with Phoenix sections between 1878 and 1895.
Correspondence in the Phoenix Iron Company records preserved at the Hagley Museum and Library reveals that when this bridge was ordered, the wrong skew connecting pieces were shipped to the site. The error was not discovered until the bridge was being erected. The correct connecting pieces had to be ordered from Phoenixville.

Score! is a fantastic web site. But what the heck are Phoenix columns? I’m thinking some kind of odd construction method that pulled the iron up from the fire and ashes, or used recycled metal and gave it a rebirth or something, but as usual my fanciful conjectures are far too romantic. This is a Phoenix column:


It’s a wrought iron column made from 4, 6, or 8 pieces, heavily flanged, and tightly riveted together. They were invented by Samuel Reeves in 1862 and were made by the Phoenix Iron Company that he was a co-owner of. A phoenix column is at least as strong as a cast iron column of the full flange diameter, considerably stiffer, and much easier and less expensive to produce. Back in the day when the steel I-beam wasn’t yet available, and the iron I-beam wasn’t quite yet universal, Phoenix columns were used to make tall buildings, towers, and bridges. The Phoenix Iron Company in Phoenixville PA (28 mile NW of Philly) made a fortune making these things, and even had their own bridge building subsidiary company for a number of years. Eventually the Phoenix Column was bypassed by history, due both to the emergence of good steel and by the difficulty other builders had integrating the things with standard iron works. You had to use the cast iron end cap that was only made by the Phoenix Iron Company, and that added too much cost. I-beams were easier.

So almost all the upper parts of this little bridge were made from Phoenix Columns, and they are quite tiny. I doubt if any of them is more than 8” across, and about a third of that span is taken up by the flanges. Like I said, fairy bridges. They’re so thin and light they’re almost difficult to see. Neato!

Even more neato: Looking a bit into the Phoenix Bridge Company and the Phoenix Iron Company, I found that these bridges were built out of common pieces, boxed up, and sold by mail order. Bridge in a Box, some assembly required. That explains the “wrong skew connecting pieces” line in the quote above. You could order your bridge plain or fancy and in various lengths. The one in this picture, near the old factory in Phoenixville PA, is nearly identical to the bridge I saw on Landsdowne Road. It’s just a little longer and made from the next size up 4 part columns, and you can see how the through sections across the top were later replaced with plain square or L section metal. Another one is here, a fancy model with all the trimmings, but it’s still right out of the catalog. The IKEA solution to infrastructure development.

So how did the Phoenix Iron Company get so good at cranking out curved bits of iron, when everyone else was making T, H, and I section beams (and railroad track)? They had lots and lots of experience at bending sheet iron into curves. It turns out that the PIC had another aspect to their company. Sure, they made train tracks and railroad spikes too, but they were also a part of the early military industrial complex. Prior to the Civil War they made Dahlgreen guns for the Navy, lumbering fat assed cannons made in moulds from cast iron. Casting cannons is a difficult task, and even if you do it properly they take a week to cool off and often have weak spots in them. Enter John Griffen, an engineer working for the company. He came up with the bright idea that the guns could be made in layers, almost like Damascus steel. Griffen patented the idea of making cannons by hammer welding criss-crossed iron straps together over a mandrel, and then carving and boring the guns to shape with a lathe. He modestly called it the Griffen Gun, but the Army knew it as the 10 pound Ordnance Rifle. And they bought at least 1000 of them, at $350 each. And those were 1862 dollars, thank you.


Two 10 pound rifles: 3” bore Griffen Gun left, 3” bore Parrot Rifle right

The Griffen Gun weighed about 100 pounds less than the Parrot Rifle, making it easier to maneuver. Both could use a full pound of coarse blackpowder to shoot a 10 pound shell over a mile with accuracy in a flat arc. Visit just about any Civil War battlefield and you’ll see them: the short cannons with the ridges, belled muzzles, and fancy embellishments are 12 pounder Napoleons, either in iron (Union) or bronze (CSA); the smooth sided, industrial looking guns are Griffens, and the long barreled guns with the extra sheet of iron wrapped around the breech end are Parrots. Parrot guns were made from cast iron, and had the wrought iron sleeve added later. They needed it, because it kept the gun from exploding. Cast iron is the wrong stuff for guns. The Griffen did not explode, period. It was much stronger than the Parrot, and preferred by artillerymen on both side of that conflict. You can spot the Griffens easily, even though the South had their own copy cat version. All of them have PIC engraved on the bang end.


So there you go. I dig into local bridge history and come up with robust artillery. Love it.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/01/2011 at 07:36 AM   
Filed Under: • ArchitectureDaily LifeHistory •  
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calendar   Thursday - September 22, 2011

All’s Well That Ends Wells

Saving Jesse

Conservation/Renovation of Medieval Jesse Window at Wells Cathedral in UK begins


The Jesse Window at Wells Cathedral is one of the most splendid examples of 14th century stained glass in Europe. It dates from about 1340 and, considering its age, is still remarkably intact. Fortunately, the window has survived the vicissitudes of time and British history (narrowly escaping destruction during the English Civil War) and so what we see today is basically how medieval glaziers designed and created it and how our ancestors viewed it before us.

Less than two hours west of Peiper’s house, over in southwest England, a bit past the charmingly named town of Shepton Mallet, south east of Cheddar, south west of Bristol, north east of Glastonbury, on the south edge of the Mendip Hills - in other words, about where Camelot was - is the small city of Wells. It has been incorporated as a city since 1205, even though the current population is about 11,000. This ancient place was given it’s name in a blunt, no-nonsense way because there are two major springs there that give clear water. And in thanks for those founts, the place has been sacred ground since before time. Wells Cathedral sits on the site of an earlier Saxon church, which replaced a Roman shrine, which replaced an earlier ancient shrine of the Britons dedicated to the Goddess. Holy grounds, Highlander, since forever. It has been a Christian church since the year 705 at the latest; the font survives from Saxon times.

As its name shows, the ”quiet Cathedral city of poetic imagination,” so charmingly situated in a hollow under the Mendip Hills, is a place of springs, wells and fountains. Tradition tells that “it was precisely because of those waters” that, in AD 705, King Ine, at the suggestion of St. Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, built a minster church to the honour of St. Andrew. The famous springs, after which the town is named, had probably been venerated from at least the Iron Age. The dedication suggests they were a sacred site associated with Anu, the Celtic Mother-Goddess later adopted by the Romans.

The cathedral was built across nearly the whole of the Middle Ages, from 1176-1490. It was the very first Gothic church in England, using the then-revolutionary pointed arch. While the outside is an archetypal Gothic splendor in white stone, it is rather simple, almost restrained when compared to excesses of many of the Andalusian cathedrals of the same era, even though the outside of Wells was originally decorated with more than 500 gilded statues of saints and other notable figures, of which 300 are still in place.


Inside this grand edifice are some of the most elegant and peaceful examples of medieval vaulting that can be found; magnificent fornications* that managed to escape the desecrations of the English Civil War. The whole complex is so fully and so skillfully detailed that it would take a week to view properly, and probably years to fully appreciate, from the statues to the famous Scissors Arch, to the still working whimsical 1390 pre-Copernican clock in which the sun orbits the earth, and two pair of mechanical knights joust each other every 15 minutes while a mechanical quarterjack rings the bells with his hands and feet. But if you can’t visit as 300,000 people a year do, Google. Once again there are thousands of photgraphs and hundreds of pages available online.

image image image image
big pic link: Jesse window and vaulting at Wells

The last picture above is the choir in the quire. This has to be one of the oldest organized singing groups on earth; they’ve been at it for 1102 years now, many hundred years longer than this cathedral has even existed. Religion at Wells is old.

But I’m doing my best to be concise here, which is mighty difficult given the wonders of this place. There is so much more here that I am not even mentioning, but I do want to get (finally!! Drew, you’re a windbag, I swear!!) to the heart of the post: the restoration of the Jesse Window.

Works begins on Jesse Window at Wells Cathedral

Work is set to begin on a £500,000 project to restore an historic 14th Century window at Wells Cathedral. The Jesse Window is a stained glass window depicting the genealogy of Jesus dating back to Abraham.

Conservation work is set to begin on 29 September and will involve releading selected areas of glass and cleaning the paint layers. In 2010 custom-made barriers of glazing panes were attached to the stonework of the cathedral to protect the window.

The window is situated at the east end of the cathedral and dates to about 1340. The cathedral’s dean, the Very Reverend John Clarke, said: “Recent inspections have shown that some of the lead is bowing. “Lead glass panels are bulging and loose. More significantly the medieval glass is suffering the effects of condensation and mould growth. “This is in turn attacking the painted layers on the glass causing the paint to peel and the glass to corrode.”

The window was made using yellow, red and green glass as well as silver stain, a compound of silver applied to the glass which can create hues of pale yellow to deep orange.

The Jesse Window is shown, a bit out of focus, in the picture with the vaulting above. Here’s another partial shot that shows the Skycell interior airship taking ultra-high resolution digital photographs of it, which is yet another fascinating story about Wells. And I haven’t told the story about how the chimneys once fell down and killed the Bishop and his wife.


So it’s a bit of good news, part of the enormous and never ending work that keeps these old cathedrals alive and vibrant.  An art show based on the Jesse Window is scheduled for mid October -

An Exhibition of Paintings by Richard Pomeroy, to coincide with the restoration of Wells Cathedral’s famous 14th-century stained glass window. 9 - 16 October 2011. The Chapter House, Wells Cathedral. The Tree of Jesse was a development of biblical imagery in medieval story telling. In part it is a tracing of Jesus’ ancestry much as the Anglo Saxon Chronicles emphasised Alfred’s ancestry to justify his position as King of Wessex.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/22/2011 at 08:58 AM   
Filed Under: • ArchitectureReligion •  
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calendar   Monday - September 19, 2011

1000 Oak Trees Later

Drew once again finds himself snared by the infinity of the internet. Looking around for UK stories to post, yesterday I ran across a ran across a link to the great explosion of the River Fleet in London. While that in itself was quite interesting - the Fleet (as in Fleet Street, which is right on top of it) was a short river that carried barge traffic a short distance to the mills back in Roman times, when the city was Londinium; it later became an area where the butchers and tanners worked and their waste quickly polluted the river, centuries went by and the stench became so awful that the river was covered over and then the city grew right over it, but it continued to be used as a sewer (Via Cloaca for all you Pratchett fans) and at some point in the 19th century the fumes really built up, somebody dropped a match by accident, and BOOM! The river is still there, underground, wrapped in a massive network of brick tunnels, and you can tour it if you are very brave: it’s still a tidal river, so twice a day the tunnels fill right up to the top. Don’t dawdle or you’ll drown! - I found a great bunch of photos on it at Planet Oddity and another photo essay somewhere else, but when I looked things up at Google I found myself over at a wonderful blog called The Web History of England.

Unloved, smelly, and in the way, the Fleet started to be covered over.  In 1733, the part from Fleet Bridge to Holborn Bridge was covered over, and in 1739, the stretch from Holborn to Ludgate Circus was covered over, and the Fleet Market and the Mansion House built over it.

When the Regent’s Canal was constructed in 1810 – 1815, the Fleet was buried northwards, to Camden Town, and by 1880 the whole river, apart from the few hundred yards from the source springs, was underground in pipes, conduits and the New Canal bed.

In 1846, a build up of sewage and associated gasses caused a massive explosion, and the pipes near King’s Cross blew up, sending a tidal wave of sewage through the streets, demolishing buildings, flooding houses, and ramming a boat on the Thames, near the mouth of the Fleet, into Blackfriars Bridge.

Talk about a shitstorm!

Interesting, neato, but not really much to blog about. So I took a look around tWHoE and I found myself hooked by a short post on a couple of old barns in Essex.  This is the barley barn and the wheat barn at Cressing Temple, just outside of Braintree in Essex:



By modern standards these are not huge buildings, but in their day they had to have been enormous. The barley barn is 118 feet long by 45 feet wide, and it looks to be at least 3 stories tall. It used to be somewhat bigger. The wheat barn is a bit larger, at 130 x 39. By American standards both these barns are beyond ancient. By English standards they are still “somewhat elderly”.

How elderly?

They were built by the Knights Templar. In the early to mid Middle Ages. From about 1000 oak trees.

Holy cow.

Toldja I was hooked. And it gets better. These are the two largest fully wooden old buildings in Europe, and the oldest wooden barns on earth. Not a nail, a screw, a bit of rebar or a squirt of glue in them anywhere. And they were pretty much hewn with axes; their construction in the years 1210 - 1270 predates the re-introduction of the saw in Western Europe. The 14,000 acres of land they are on was given to the Knights, who worked them as a commercial farm; profits from their farming funded the Crusades. These barns helped bring the war to islam.

Cressing Temple was given to the Templars in 1137 by Matilda [Matilda of Boulogne], wife of King Stephen, not the rival claimant to the throne, the Empress Matilda. Two great barns were built by the Templars at Cressing. The first is now called the Barley Barn, and is thought to have been built some time around 1210 A.D. The Wheat Barn was built in about 1260 to 1270 A.D. It is built directly on top of a Bronze Age settlement.

The Barley Barn is an immense structure built from oak, and was made from an estimated 480 oak trees. Tree science, dendrochronology, has dated the felling of these trees from between 1205 and 1235. The Barn was originally larger even than it is today, but it seems to have been repaired later and made smaller at that time. It now measures about 36 metres long by 13½ metres wide. Although it’s been repaired over the years, the original structure of the Barn still holds it up today. The arcade posts and main ties are the ones built by theTemplars. The Barley Barn at Cressing is the oldest timber framed barn still in existence in the world.

The Wheat Barn is larger, 40 metres long and 12½ metres wide. It was built from 472 different oak trees, and there are identical trusses with braces meeting at a scissor above the collars.

Cressing Temple is open to the public and is host to many conferences and events throughout the year.

Cressing was the largest and most important of the Templar Knights landholdings in Essex. Such an estate would have been in the charge of a preceptor accompanied by two or three resident knights or sergeant-at-arms, together with a chaplain, a bailiff and numerous household servants. The estate would have employed agricultural labourers and craftsmen and thus functioned as a large estate farmed for profit to help the Order pay for the war effort in the Holy Land.

We know relatively little about the Templar buildings on site as only the two great barns and the stone well survive. The inventory of 1313 gives the clearest picture of the buildings. This mentions a chapel, two chambers, a hall, a pantry, a buttery, a kitchen, a larder, a bakehouse, a brewhouse, a dairy, a granary and a smithy.

The barns appear large and dominating in the landscape when viewed externally but stepping inside is an awesome experience. The open space inside is huge and the roof and wall timbers are a magnificent sight.

Hooked me again! How huge? This huge:


The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing in one end of the Wheat Barn

while a crowd of 420 sit inside to watch the performance

How magnificent? There are tens of thousands of photographs all over the internet showing the wood working that supports the roofs of these two buildings. It isn’t fancy. They were just barns after all. But it’s all pretty amazing still, and to my delight ( and digital entrapment ) I learned that the two barns are an absolute treasure trove of knowledge for architects and other students of the arch and the wooden truss. Damn, hooked yet again; scissors, braces, corbels, cruck truss, king truss, queen truss, hammerbeam truss, and the one that took me the most time to learn, which was original to the barley barn but taken away during a roof rebuild some centuries later, the pass through truss.


use of inverted king truss in the barley barn


special visitor’s platform just so you can see the joinery up close

one of the beams is 44 long, and the rafters are tapered

All of this sent me down an endless corridor to learn all about various trusses and the challenges of post-Norman building. It was great. The older barn was built one way, but by the time a few decades had passed and the newer barn was built, the knowledge of how to build a sturdy roof has taken a nearly exponential step forward. Actually, the first barn was almost a Fail; it’s pass through truss design put too much lateral stress on the brick foundations, which started to fall over. A few quick buttresses saved the day, and it’s been standing ever since. SeeBuilder Bill’s site for a photo, and read all about the various trusses there as well.

I’m going to cut this post off here, though I’d be happy to write a ton more about trusses, walls, and ancient building methods. Instead I’ll give you a bunch of links, and leave off with a bit that will make Peiper happy if he ever reads this post: the hammerbeam truss, a design which holds up Westminster Hall and keeps the roof above Parliament’s heads, was a quantum leap forward in knowledge, and was not surpassed until the iron girder came about in the 19th century. The oldest example of a hammerbeam truss is in the Pilgrim’s Hall on Cheyney Court, a 1308 building mere feet from the Kingsgate in Winchester, and we all know that the King’s gate is underneath St. Swithun’s church, because Peiper wrote about it 2 years ago. I wonder if he knew about Pilgrim Hall? Winchester packs so darn much history into every square foot, it’s hard to tell. St. Swithun’s is just a few years younger than the Wheat Barn. (see all 3 parts),%20Essex


The pass through truss at Cressing Temple. Note the tapered rafters.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/19/2011 at 02:32 PM   
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calendar   Thursday - March 03, 2011

A & R Thursday, the French Edition

When Louis Mantin said

Don’t Touch My Junk

the French listened. And left his mansion locked up and empty for 100 years

france_flag_2   A Time Capsule In Moulins  france_flag_2



Moulins, France: a small town near Remulac When wealthy French bachelor Louis Mantin demanded that nobody touch his lavish mansion for 100 years after his death, even the occupying German army paid heed.

The eccentric recluse, who died in 1905, wrote in his will that he wanted Maison Mantin, in Moulins, Central France, to be turned into a museum dedicated to himself and his gentlemanly lifestyle.
His vision was for visitors to experience his world a century on, uncorrupted by the passing of time. In doing so he ensured he was not forgotten.

Mantin made his fortune in land and property but died unmarried and childless aged just 54 - eight years after construction of the opulent home was completed. It had been built on the ruins of a 15th-century castle that had belonged to the Bourbon family who were later to become French royalty. But what he had constructed incorporated the lastest technology including electricty, a flushing toilet and a cupboard which warmed towels in preparation for when you stepped out of the shower. [ and a bathtub. Remember, this is France we’re talking about!!! ]

As a gentleman with money he was able to indulge in his interests such as art, natural history and archaeology. A mini museum within the building housed Monsieur Mantin’s collection. On his death its doors remained closed and rats and insects were given free reign within its dusty corridors and vast rooms.

But now thanks to a £2.9million refurbishment funded by local authorities, the mansion has been returned to its former glory.

The result is a remarkable time-capsule, combining rich fin-de-siecle furnishings, archaeological curios, skulls and other Masonic paraphernalia, a collection of stuffed birds, as well as the latest domestic gadgets such as electricity and a flushing loo.

Born in Moulins in 1851, Mantin had an undistinguished career as a civil servant, but at the age of 42, he inherited a fortune from his father and thenceforth dedicated his life to pleasure, science and the arts.

First of all he had his mansion constructed in the centre of Moulins on the site of a former palace of the dukes of Bourbon, the local rulers who were heirs to the French and Spanish royal houses.
Then he decorated the house with imported tapestries, paintings and porcelain. He commissioned sculptures and wood-carvings, and on the top floor installed his personal museum of Egyptian relics, Neolithic oil-lamps, prehistoric flints and medieval locks and keys.

Outside of Maison Mantin The house was gradually forgotten by the world, but not by locals

Mantin only had a few years to indulge his aesthetic fantasies. Knowing that his death was approaching, he made a will in which he made sure his treasured house would be saved. “In the will, he says that he wants the people of Moulins in 100 years time to be able to see what was the life of a cultured gentleman of his day,” said assistant curator Maud Leyoudec. “A bachelor with no children, he was obsessed with death and the passage of time. It was his way of becoming eternal.”


Lots and lots of amazing photos and more information at these links:
pics at the Telegraph
pics at the Daily Mail
pics at BBC
More pics
Nat Geo has even more!
and a bit about Msr. Mantin himself

Yes, it really does have a bathtub. With a shower! And a flush toilet! And heated towels! And stuffed frogs, fencing under glass! And a special room done up in pink for his secret mistress!

And of course, to go along with French architecture, for an A&R post we need pretty French redheads. And they are damn hard to find!!

image image

How hard? So hard in fact that the above very fwench looking model is actually Russian. Irina Tkachova. Looks French. Works in France. Even has “the touch of the bunny” whatever the hell that means:

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/03/2011 at 06:25 PM   
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calendar   Monday - February 28, 2011

not certain if it qualifies as a castle but no matter, you could call this place home.

Seem to be in a history mode here.

Boo-Hoo ... I have only a few minutes and must be off to see dentist.  Waaaaaaa.

My home is my castle?

This sort of thing is eye candy to me.

Take a look.

A castle to call home. There’s a catch.

For £850 a month, English Heritage is looking to rent out a three bedroom property in the grounds of Framingham Castle in Suffolk.  The red house was formerly staff accommodation at the castle, which was built in the 12th century by the 1st Earl of Norfolk.

The successful tenants will have the grounds of the castle to themselves after sightseers have left for the day.
Newspaper blurb with photo did not say if any duties were involved but I doubt it if you’re paying EH. Wonder if they have internet connection to that place. Prolly only dial up. I mean, how close to the BT junction can this place be? Doubt much it’s close at all so forget broadband unless BH allows satilite hookup somewhere out of sight.

Clicking anywhere on the photo will bring you to more info on this place, as well as more pix. Interesting stuff.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 02/28/2011 at 06:52 AM   
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calendar   Friday - February 25, 2011

million dollar castle becoming faulty towers. some interesting photos and story

I suppose with all the news from around the revolutionary world, this is very tame and lo key. But I find this kind of thing fascinating.

I first learned about Castle Drogo, built about 80 years ago and taking 15 years to complete, from The National Trust.  The newspapers here give away CDs and DVDs on a regular basis, and about 3 or 4 yrs ago we got a set of Natl. Trust DVDs of castles and mansions etc. Breathtaking photography. I’m now kinda sorry I didn’t save them. There were several in the set and I gave em away after viewing. That was short sighted of me I see that now.
Drogo was frankly my least favorite as I thought it resembled a prison more then a castle in the traditional sense.

I think you’ll find this of interest too and the photos with the article are quite good. I won’t post any photos here but will give you the National Trust link with page after page of pix, many tho are dupes.

DREW TAKE NOTE:  900 windows and 13,000 panes of glass.

Take a look.

Built by a clergyman’s son to boost his social standing, Britain’s newest castle is crumbling - like its founder’s dream


From a distance, it does not look like a real castle, but a Hollywood imitation. Standing on a granite outcrop on the edge of Dartmoor, the stonework seems so perfect that you suspect that it might be made out of polystyrene, and could be lifted up by a class of seven-year-olds.

It is only when you travel down its imposing drive that you realise Castle Drogo is the real thing, consisting of thousands of blocks of granite that would keep out the most determined army of barbarians.

However, of all the hundreds of castles ever built in Britain, this is one that has never had to endure an attack or a siege. For it was completed only eight decades ago. Built by Julius Drewe, a wealthy young retail magnate, Castle Drogo can truly be regarded as Britain’s last castle.

Although it never suffered the ravages of warfare, Castle Drogo, despite its youth, now faces a far more deadly enemy — the weather. As any reader of The Hound Of The Baskervilles knows, the conditions on Dartmoor are legendarily tough, and at the moment Drogo is fighting a losing battle.

Its huge roof is leaking, so too are its 900 windows with their 13,000 panes of glass, and the pointing between the enormous slabs of granite is letting in water. Far from being an impregnable castle, it is fast becoming a huge sponge.

The castle’s owner, the National Trust, has launched a campaign to raise the estimated £11 million needed to make the roof watertight, stop all the windows leaking, and replace nearly 40 miles of pointing.

Some of the cost will be met by the Trust itself, but the public is also being asked to donate £1.5 million to save Drogo. For the castle is not just of architectural importance: a very British story of class, ambition and tragedy also played out within its walls.

The story begins in 1910, when Julius Drewe approached the renowned architect Edwin Lutyens and told him that he had £60,000 to spend on a new castle and a garden. Privately, Lutyens was ambivalent about the plan and preferred that Drewe ignored the castle idea in favour of a ‘delicious lovely house with plenty of good rooms’.

However, the monumental size of the budget — today worth £30 million to £40 million — was enough to persuade Lutyens to accept the commission.

Ambitious Drewe wanted a castle rather than a ‘lovely house’ in order to put his family on the map, both topographically and socially.

Drewe came from a well-to-do but unspectacular background — his father was a cleric and a Cambridge lecturer — and joined his uncle’s tea-importing company at 17. Just five years later, in 1878, he branched out on his own with a shop in Liverpool, which mushroomed into the phenomenally successful Home and Colonial Stores, one of the UK’s largest retail chains.

Rich enough to retire by the age of 33, Drewe spent his days fishing and enjoying the company of his wife and five children.

There was only one problem. Although he had more money than most members of the gentry, he was not considered one of them — and so began a campaign to gain entry to this exclusive club.

Now, a desire to move up the social ladder is endemic to many Englishmen, but few have the resources to fund their dreams. He hired a genealogist, who somehow managed to find a link between Drewe and the very upmarket Drewes of Elizabethan Devon, one of whom had been Sergeant at Law to the Queen, and another knighted by Charles I.

This link was undoubtedly false — Drewe’s real name was ‘Drew’, and he only added a final ‘e’ when he was told about the possibility of a connection with the Devon family.

Drewe may have gained vast wealth and an extra letter in his surname, but what he really needed was a ‘family seat’ and, once again, the helpful genealogist suggested links both with a ‘Dru’ or a ‘Drogo’ who had fought with William the Conqueror, and a Drogo of Teignton, after whom the Devon village of Drewsteignton was named.


OK, Please use this National Trust link. Before viewing all the other shots, scroll down a short way to Page 3.
You will see a snapshot of Drogo from the air. Click on it.  This is the Dartmoor Blog.  I don’t think it’s really a blog as we know it but no matter.  Be sure and see the spectacular aerial photo of this place. It will enlarge and fill your screen and you can scroll, depending I guess on your pc software.
Worth the sight and time.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 02/25/2011 at 05:59 AM   
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calendar   Saturday - February 19, 2011

In which …. the wife and I visit a pub in Crawley, Hampshire, Eng. The Fox and Hounds

The day after Valentine’s day, the wife and I revisited a pub we hadn’t been to in a couple of years. Only approx. five miles away from us, I don’t know why we hadn’t made the effort to go back sooner. Could have been the prices which then were fairly high. It was a last minute thought to go out for lunch HERE.


I know I have too many photos here, and believe it or not, I did a lot of editing and culling before posting these to share with everyone. The village of Crawley is so darn pretty and so peaceful looking, it really was hard to resist not putting in everything. Even the bad pix.

There is more then one Crawley, England. This one is in the county of Hampshire, AND, it is recorded in The Doomsday Book. (The Domesday Book is a great land survey from 1086, commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess the extent of the land and resources being owned in England at the time, and the extent of the taxes he could raise. The information collected was recorded by hand in two huge books, in the space of around a year. William died before it was fully completed.) Crawley has one main street and one other side street. There are no convenience stores and the FOX and HOUNDS Pub is it for lunch and dinners.  There is one ancient church, St. Mary’s Church.

To own a home in Crawley takes some doing. First of all, you won’t see many listings.  There isn’t any new building going on and hopefully there won’t be but with the push for homes in the “affordable range,” who can predict the future?
Crawley is in what is called “The Stockbrokers Belt.” These are VERY costly homes. 

In the spring, many of these houses open their gardens for public viewing with all proceeds going to various charities.  Some of those gardens are nothing short of spectacular. And please note that in this flower and garden mad country, the gardens are NOT designed by professionals.  Folks here take a great deal of pride in their home designed and worked gardens.  A late friend of my wife’s mom with an eye for flowers and all things growing, worked her place even when she was using a walker.  Up the road from us in a small area of a few houses, I once saw an old lady with oxygen working her patch. No kidding. These people are very serious on the subject.


Unfortunatley, some of my pix, in fact most, were not taken in the spring or summer. I took all these photos a few years ago when the wife took us (her mum was still living and able to get out with help, to lunch here.

I took a walk around the place and even went a bit outside the village itself to shoot a house we passed on the way into the village.  It reminded me of a Shakespearian kind of house and frankly it even looked like it could be haunted.  So after the wife found parking, I walked back to the place and up a hill to reach it.  Wasn’t long before I was stopped by someone asking me why I was taking photos here.
I told em because there were no places like this in the California desert. That seemed to allay any fears I was casing the place. Which in any even looked then and still looks today, uninhabited.

Crawley today looks exactly as it did when I first saw the place about 25 years ago.  But the Fox and Hounds has changed hands even since I have been here (2004), and I can’t say it’s as good as it was on the visit when these pix were shot a few years ago.  Only two choices for salad dressing, and no menus in hard copy. Had to order from written posts on blackboard.  You can see it at the link above. The waitress said their new menus were being printed. Used to be the things posted were items that weren’t all on the menu. Still, there is something I’m going back to try. But if disappointed again we won’t return. Frustrating however not to be able to have Blue Cheese Dressing. And their tarter sauce was not at all to our taste.  It tasted like it had too much vinegar, and the wife’s scallops were she says, like something left too long in the freezer.  It’s the second pub outing for us where the tarter was more like, like, ?  I can’t even think of an example.  I’m sure there are folks who like it, we didn’t.  Next time I have a meal out where tarter is needed, instead I’ll ask for a side of Mayo and a Lemon.  That works okay for me.

Having said all of that, I want to go back and try their Mushroom Stroganoff.  But no salad. Even if it comes with it. Which I doubt. They still bring fresh hot bread to the table, with enough (real) butter to cover only half of what they bring to table.  Wife says what with the big brother attitudes here on health, we we lucky to get any butter to begin with. And maybe that’s why there wasn’t any Blue Cheese.

OK, enough of that. Here are my photos and welcome all to Crawley, Hants.  That’s the abbreviation for Hampshire.

It’s named The Pond House.


And for very inexplicable reasons, I don’t think I ever got more then this one shot in the summer. Or maybe one or two.
I hate the spring and summers for photos cos there’s always too damn many ppl around to spoil the scenery.


Here are a few of the homes to be seen in this village.


This ppl is a Victorian water tower.  I guess they thought a water tank was unsightly and so this was their answer.






a Shakespearian kind of house and frankly it even looks like it could be haunted. It’s about a quarter mile before coming to the Pond at the village start. I thought a half mile. Wife says quarter mile. Since I had to walk uphill, I originally thought it felt like a mile.



All houses shown here btw ... are on the main street of the village. There are other houses tucked away in places you can not go.  The lady who helps my wife do things in our little patch that wife can’t do anymore, does some work in the summer evenings helping an owner who she says has a huge house here, not seen from any road and behind walls and gate. She describes it as massive.


I call it Crawley’s White House and in the summer, you can’t even see it when everything is in bloom in the front.


See More Below The Fold


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 02/19/2011 at 07:11 AM   
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calendar   Wednesday - January 26, 2011

I am so dizzy, my head is spinning

Let’s Get Twisted


Here’s a link to a great little web page about spiral staircases around the world. Awesome pictures.

Need more? Another page has more modern designs, including stairs you can go up in a wheelchair, and a staircase with a slide on the side for the kids. Which is the most totally awesome idea ever!!!

Still looking to step up? 18 more here. I think the suspension stairs at “Godzilla House” are gorgeous, and the triangular ones at that house in New Zealand are nearly as impressive. Triangular tubing should make for a very sturdy stair, but I’d recommend end caps for them unless you want the birds and the bees nesting inside.

This is a post for Peiper, who had his own fun little adventure with spiral stairs, just to let him know that the video came out fine and that I’ve IDed the building.


Grove Place in Nursling, UK. Naughty Pieper sneaks up the forbidden tower stairs. Film at 11.


Lunch is served in the dining hall restaurant.

Sucks to have a castle, don’t it?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/26/2011 at 10:30 AM   
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calendar   Monday - November 22, 2010

The only picture to show what Henry VIII’s spectacular ‘lost’ palace really looked like.

I don’t suppose there are too many people really knocked out by this.  But I am and so am posting it.
Wow ... what a shame it was torn down. Progress and gambling debts.  Spells disaster for places like this. 

Take a look.

Glimpse of a ‘lost’ palace: Only realistic painting of Henry VIII showpiece torn down by a royal mistress goes on sale for £1m

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:17 PM on 22nd November 2010

The only picture to show what Henry VIII’s spectacular ‘lost’ palace really looked like is to tipped to sell for more than £1million.

The incredibly rare 450-year-old painting depicts Nonsuch Palace in its full glory, after it was commissioned by the King to outshine his greatest rival King François I of France.

The expensive and extravagant building was named Nonsuch as it was said no other palace could equal its magnificence.


But it stood for only 150 years until Charles II’s mistress tore it down and sold off the materials to pay off her gambling debts.

Despite its contemporary fame, the lost palace was only depicted four times before crumbling into disrepair by 1690.

Of these, only one painting - a watercolour by Joris Hoefnagel published in 1572 - is believed to show its true likeness.

The three others - an exaggerated thumbnail by John Speed in 1610, a painting by an unknown artist in 1620 and a view by Hendrick Danckerts in 1660 - are not considered accurate.

The Hoefnagel painting is now being sold at auction by Christie’s on December 7, and is expected to fetch up to £1.2million.

The watercolour is one of the oldest painted in this country, was painted in situ at the palace near Ewell in Surrey, In the late 19th century, it was acquired by art connoisseur Alfred Morrison and passed down his family line. It is now being sold by a private vendor.

It captures the ornate building as it was in the 16th century, shortly after it was completed to King Henry VIII’s demanding standards.

more here at the source


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/22/2010 at 01:13 PM   
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calendar   Monday - November 08, 2010

Greatest Car Commercial Ever

Ferrari Theme Park Opens In Abu Dhabi


as it is now


and as it will be soon when all the out buildings are completed

The aliens have landed! Looking like a cross between a sports car and an alien star cruiser, the world’s largest indoor theme park has opened today. Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi has to be the greatest car commercial ever made. Painted Ferrari Red of course, the 2 million square foot double curved roof was inspired by the car company’s F1 race car, and the prancing horse company logo it sports is 215 feet across. Shopping, car parks, and theme park attractions “ride” behind the “starship” looking like some kind of pulsating other worldly power source. Built smack dab on top of the brand new Formula One racetrack, the theme park has opened on Yas Island barely a week before the final race of the 2010 Grand Prix circuit will be held there.


the Ferrari theme park which is located on Yas Island between the coast and city of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, will include the world’s fastest rollercoaster. Travelling at speeds in excess of 200 km/h (124 mph), it is said to emulate the feeling of being in a Ferrari F1 car as the passengers go over 62 m through the roof and back down again.

The roller coaster is said to accelerate from 0 to 100mph in just 2 seconds, and will hit top speeds of 150mph. Safety goggles will be issued to all riders. 20 other attractions inside the park all carry on the grand Ferrari theme:

Featured attractions include:
o The world’s fastest roller coaster emulating the feeling of being in an F1 car
o G-force experience taking passengers on an adrenaline-pumping ride up over 62m, through the roof and back down again
o State-of-the-art racing simulators using a similar system as those used by the Ferrari racing team
o Flume ride journey through the heart of a Ferrari 599 engine
o Driving and Racing school for junior drivers, with expert training
o Aerial voyage over Italy following a Ferrari

Another attraction is rumored to be a pit crew simulator, where people can try their hands at gassing up a race car and swapping on new tires as fast as they can. There will also be a go-kart track for the less speed-obsessed, with brightly colored karts all wearing Ferrari shaped body shells.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates—In a country where speeding seems to be the national pastime, a theme park devoted to one of the world’s fastest cars doesn’t seem too much of a stretch.

The sprawling Ferrari World opened to great fanfare this weekend on Yas Island, near the newly opened Formula 1 racetrack in the capital city of Abu Dhabi.

imageEncased in a red shell measuring 200,000 square meters (2.2 million square feet), the park includes the world’s fastest roller coaster—reaching speeds of 240 km per hour (150 mph).

“It brings motor racing. It brings together beautiful GT cars. It brings nostalgia,” said Andy Keeling, park manager at Ferrari World in a statement. “It’s not a museum. It’s not a car salesroom. You ride great roller coasters.”

Ferrari World, which also includes a 4D simulator and the opportunity for visitors to participate in an authentic Formula 1 wheel change, is the largest indoor theme park in the world.

It follows in the footsteps of the launch of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, also on Yas Island. The city’s second race will be held on Nov. 16.

Other attractions include multi-format high tech theatres, sophisticated driving schools, Ferrari automotive displays, participatory learning centers, and roller coasters. Moreover, there will be a motor racing circuit designed to host the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009, posh hotels, apartments, villas, a golf course, marina, and a range of restaurants and shops.

Anticipated construction cost back in 2009 was £300 million, but the final price tag is likely to push half a billion pounds. Yas Island is a 2,500 hectare leisure, entertainment and lifestyle development, being undertaken by Aldar Properties, featuring the Yas Marina Circuit race track. Assuming this park starts making money, there are a host of other projects in the wings, waiting to start or re-start building on nearby Saadiyat Island. Two art museums - a Louvre and a Guggenheim, a performing arts center, and an office park where the building have Venice-like canals between them ... all of these are the playground of the most gifted and extreme architects out there. Stunning designs, whether they are at all practical or not.


Abu Dhabi’s government-owned investment fund Mubadala has a five percent stake in Ferrari whose Formula One team has won more championships and races than any rivals. The theme park, built by Abu Dhabi property developer Aldar Properties and is managed by a joint venture of Aldar and international leisure company ProFun Management Group.

“It is an indoor thing with an outdoor feeling,” says Claus Frimand, the general manager of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

“You forget that you are inside a building because the roof is between 35 and 50 meters above you and there are no support structures, except the funnel in the middle and one row of columns,” he adds.

Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates capital, hopes the park will help to draw tourists from around the globe along with several other ambitious projects including state-of-the-art branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums.

Ferrari World spreads over 86,000 square meters, while the red roof bearing the world’s largest logo of Ferrari’s prancing horse stretches over 200,000 square meters. Among its 20 attractions are two roller coasters, including the F1-themed Formula Rossa which is set to be the fastest ever reaching a top speed of 240 kilometers per hour.

The second of the roller coasters, which stretch beyond the building’s perimeter, features two tracks with Ferrari-shaped trains. “The unique feature is that it has two tracks, two trains side by side and depending on the weight of the passengers, one will cross the finish line first,” Frimand says.

Right in the center of the building, out of a big funnel which is the only area with daylight, visitors can experience the space-shot G-force Tower.

Elsewhere, a Ferrari California Spyder convertible takes visitors through Bell’Italia, a reproduction of the Italian countryside with model villages and tourist highlights like the lagoon of Venice, the Colosseum, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A large replica of the Maranello factory demonstrates the manufacturing process from the design stage to the finished product. Motoring enthusiasts will even be able to experience the inside of a Ferrari V12 engine in another ride.

Abu Dhabi hopes such features will boost tourism in the desert emirate.


under the big top: a view of the central inverse funnel during construction

Two million square feet, and just one “post” in the middle holding it up. And that one, the funnel, is mostly light and air. Lets hope the building doesn’t take flight when the wind blows.


a view down the side during construction

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/08/2010 at 09:00 AM   
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calendar   Sunday - October 31, 2010

was this the awful result of a night out drinking with the boys? oh, but it’s art.

Not one of my better days and seeing this doesn’t help any.  How can they do this kind of thing and keep a straight face.
And the public paid for it?

It’s the Royal Ontario Museum.

It looks like crap. And it is that. 

See kids?  This is what your brain on drugs produces.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 10/31/2010 at 11:28 AM   
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meaningless marching orders for a thousand travellers ... strife ahead ..
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Tracked at Casual Blog
On: 07/17/17 04:28

a small explanation
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Tracked at yerba mate gourd
Find here top quality how to prepare yerba mate without a gourd that's available in addition at the best price. Get it now!
On: 07/09/17 03:07

The Real Stuff
(2 total trackbacks)
Tracked at Candy Blog
On: 06/11/17 06:40

when rape isn't rape but only sexual assault
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Tracked at Trouser Blog
[...] took another century of Inquisition and repression to completely eradicate the [...]
On: 06/06/17 11:37



Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


Copyright © 2004-2015 Domain Owner

GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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