Fifteen Guinea Special

Stanier Black Five 45110

August 11 marks the anniversary of the 1T57 Fifteen Guinea Special rail tour which took place 11 August 1968 and was organised to mark the last occasion a steam hauled passenger train could legally run on the mainline in theUnited Kingdom before British Rail introduced a Steam ban the following day. It ran from Liverpool via Manchester to Carlisle and back, and was pulled by four different steam locomotives in turn during the four legs of the journey (with two engines sharing the third leg). The Fifteen Guinea Special was so named because of the high price for tickets on the railtour (15 guineas = £15 15s 0d in pre-decimal British currency). Ticket prices had been inflated due to the high demand to travel on the last BR steam-hauled mainline train.

The end of steam-hauled trains on British Railways was a turning point in the history of rail travel in Britain. The BR steam ban was introduced the day after the railtour, on 12 August 1968, making the Fifteen Guinea Special the last steam-hauled passenger train to be run by BR on its standard gauge network (though BR would continue to operate three steam locomotives on the narrow gauge Vale of Rheidol line until it was privatised in 1989). After this point all trains in Britain would be hauled by diesel or electric power, with the exception of privately owned heritage railways and privately run charters that are now able to run on the mainline provided that the steam locomotive has received necessary certification. The only steam locomotive to which the ban did not apply was Flying Scotsmandue to a clause in the contract in which she was purchased from BR in 1963. Several other railtours had already marked the end of steam haulage on other parts of the British (not UK) network. During most of these railtours, the Fifteen Guinea Special included, the line was flanked with large crowds due to the high popularity of steam engines and the belief that it was highly unlikely that they would be allowed back onto the network, although in the event steam specials on BR lines were introduced only three years later in 1971. All but one of the locomotives that hauled the train passed into preservation. 45110 now resides on the Severn Valley Railway and has been named RAF Biggin Hill. 44871 is currently mainline operational and resides on the East Lancashire Railway and 70013 Oliver Cromwell is now part of the National Collection and was restored to mainline running in 2008. It is based on the Great Central Railway. The only one not preserved LMS Black 5 no 44781 was used for filming of the film The Virgin Soldiers, for which it was derailed and hung at an angle for visual effect. After filming was completed, an enthusiast tried to purchase her, but was unable to find the money needed, so she was then sold for scrap and eventually cut up.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of 1T57′ and end of steam on British Railways a re-run of the tour ran on Sunday 10 August 2008 (as 11 August was a Monday in 2008). The original tour ran from Liverpool Lime Street-Manchester Victoria-Carlisle-Manchester Victoria-Liverpool Lime Street. Class 5 45110 went from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Victoria! While Britannia Class 70013 Oliver Cromwell travelled from Manchester Victoria to Carlisle! While Stanier Class 5 44871 and LMS Stanier Class 5 44781 travelled from Carlisle to Manchester Victoria and LMS Class 5 45110 Travelled from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street. Locomotives used during the re-run in 2008 Included Stanier Class 8F 48151, Britannia class 70013 Oliver Cromwell, LMS Stanier Class 5 45407 (as first choice, 44871 was under overhaul) and LMS Class 5 45231. LMS Class 5 45110 was not used as its mainline certificate had expired. However, 45110 ran over the Severn Valley Railway on 11 August 2008 with a special 1T57 service and this was 45110’s last day in service with its at-the-time boiler certificate. LMS Class 5 45305 was allocated to the original train back in 1968 but failed the night before and was replaced by 45110.

The 15 Guinea Special at Barton Moss on the last leg from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street hauled by Stanier 5MT 45110.The railtour started at 09:10 from Liverpool Lime Street. It was hauled by LMS Class 5 45110 to Manchester Victoria, arriving 8 minutes late at 10:42. No. 45110 was replaced with Britannia Class loco no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell – the last steam locomotive to be overhauled by BR – and the train departed for Carlisle at 11:06. The train arrived at Carlisle, 33 minutes late, at 15:29. For the first part of the return leg, two LMS Stanier Class 5 locomotives, 44781 and 44871, double-headed the train back to Manchester Victoria. The train departed Carlisle at 15:44 – 14 minutes late – and arrived in Manchester at 19:00, 12 minutes late. Re-joining the train at Victoria station, 45110 then worked the remainder of the journey back to Liverpool Lime Street, arriving only 9 minutes late at 19:59

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Peter Cushing

English actor Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE sadly passed away 11 August 1994) Born 26 May 1913 he was known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played the sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein or the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, among many other roles. He appeared frequently opposite Christopher Lee, and occasionally Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, Cushing’s best-known roles outside the Hammer productions include Sherlock Holmes, Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977) and The Doctor in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966), both films based on the Doctor Who television series.

Educated at Shoreham College, Cuhing’s left his first job as a surveyor’s assistant to take up a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After working in repertory theatre in Worthing, Sussex, he left for Hollywood in 1939, debuting in The Man in the Iron Mask later that year, before returning to England in 1941 after starring in several films. In one, A Chump at Oxford (1940), he appeared opposite Laurel and Hardy. His first major film role was that of Osric in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948).In the 1950s, he worked in television, notably as Winston Smith in the BBC’s 1954 adaptation of the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), scripted by Nigel Kneale. Cushing also starred as Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC’s production of Pride and Prejudice (1952), as King Richard II in Richard of Bordeaux (1955), and as Raan, a Prospero-like character, in “Missing Link” (1975), an episode of Space: 1999. He also appeared in The Avengers and its successor series, The New Avengers. In 1956, he received the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor. Cushing also starred in  film adaptation of the H.Rider Haggard novel “She” with Ursual Andress and Bernard Cribbins.

Cushing is also well known for playing Baron Victor Frankenstein and Professor Van Helsing in a long series of horror films produced by Hammer Film Productions in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He was often cast alongside Christopher Lee, who became his best friend. His first appearances in his two most famous roles were in Terence Fisher’s films The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). He later said that his career decisions entailed selecting roles where he knew that he would be accepted by the audience. “Who wants to see me as Hamlet? Very few. But millions want to see me as Frankenstein, so that’s the one I do.” Cushing and Christopher Lee in Nothing But The Night (1972) .Cushing also played Sherlock Holmes many times, originally in Hammer’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), the first Holmes adaptation to be filmed in colour. This was followed by a performance in 16 episodes of the BBC series Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes(1968), of which only six episodes survive. Cushing reprised the role, now playing the detective in old age, in The Masks of Death (1984) for Channel 4. In the mid-1960s, Cushing played Dr. Who in two films (Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.) based on the BBC science-fiction TV series Doctor Who. He decided to play the part as a lovable and avuncular figure to counter the public’s image of him as a horror actor. In an interview published in ABC Film Review in November 1964, Cushing stated, “People look at me as if I were some sort of monster, but I can’t think why. In my macabre pictures, I have either been a monster-maker or a monster-destroyer, but never a monster. Actually, I’m a gentle fellow. Never harmed a fly. I love animals, and when I’m in the country I’m a keen bird-watcher.” In an interview published in 1966, he added, “I do get terribly tired with the neighbourhood kids telling me ‘My mum says she wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley’.

In 1976, Cushing was cast in Star Wars in the part of Grand Moff Tarkin. He was presented with ill-fitting riding boots, which pinched his feet so much that he was given permission by director George Lucas to play the role wearing his slippers. The camera operators filmed him only from the knees up, or else standing behind the table of the Death Star conference room set. As a result, Cushing’s role could not be expanded on in the later director’s cut versions with improved special effects (such as inserting a CGI Jabba the Hutt in place of a human for Han Solo to argue with), because the technicians could not replace the slippers with the boots. Peter Cushing was also later digitally added to the Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One as Grand Moff Tarkin.

Spot Peter Cushing in “A Chump at Oxford”🔻

Following Star Wars, Cushing continued to appear sporadically in film and television, as his health permitted. In 1969, he had appeared in a comedy play by Ernie Wise on The Morecambe and Wise Show on BBC2. Throughout the BBC era of the show, he would regularly join Wise and his comic partner, Eric Morecambe, on stage; he would constantly seek payment for his first appearance, wearily asking “Have you got my five pounds yet?”This running joke continued when the duo left the BBC and moved to Thames Television in 1978. Cushing appeared in their first special for Thames Television on 18 October, still asking to be paid, with the hosts repeatedly trying to get rid of him; at the end of the show, Morecambe placed some money in a wallet wired up to a bomb, in an attempt to blow Cushing up in exaggerated comedic style. In the duo’s Christmas special, Cushing pretended to be the Prime Minister while Morecambe and Wise caroled outside 10 Downing Street; he made the comedians give him money and finally came out to declare “paid, at last!”Wise was a guest for Cushing’s appearance on This Is Your Life in 1989. He promptly presented Cushing with a five pound note, only to extort it back from him. Cushing was delighted and exclaimed “All these years and I still haven’t got my fiver!”

Sadly Cushing was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1982, but managed to survive for 12 years without surgery, although his health remained fragile. In 1989, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, although his friend Christopher Lee publicly opined that the honour was “too little, too late”. Cushing retired to Whitstable, on the Kent coast, where he had bought a seafront home in 1959, and continued his hobby of birdwatching while writing two autobiographies. He also worked as a painter, specialising in watercolours, and wrote and illustrated a children’s book of Lewis Carroll-style humour, The Bois Saga. He was the patron of the Vegetarian Society from 1987 until his death. Cushing’s final professional commitment was the co-narration of the TV documentary Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror, produced by American writer and director Ted Newsom. His contribution was recorded in Canterbury, near his home. The programme was broadcast only a few days before his death on 11 August 1994, aged 81.

Enid Blyton

British children’s writer Enid Mary Blyton was Born 11 August 1897, she was educated at St. Christopher’s School in Beckenham, From 1907 to 1915, before leaving as head girl. She enjoyed physical activities along with some academic work, but not maths. Enid Blyton’s former house “Old Thatch” near Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, England. Blyton was a talented pianist, but gave up her musical studies when she trained as a teacher at Ipswich High School. She taught for five years at Bickley, Surbiton and Chessington, writing in her spare time. Her first book, Child Whispers, a collection of poems, was published in 1922. On 28 August 1924 Blyton married Major Hugh Alexander Pollock, DSO (1888–1971), editor of the book department in the publishing firm of George Newnes, which published two of her books that year. The couple moved to Bourne End, Buckinghamshire (Peters wood in her books). Eventually they moved to a house in Beaconsfield, named Green Hedges by Blyton’s readers following a competition in Sunny Stories. They had two children: Gillian Mary Baverstock (15 July 1931 – 24 June 2007) and Imogen Mary Smallwood (born 27 October 1935).In the mid-1930s Blyton experienced a spiritual crisis, but she decided against converting to Roman Catholicism from the Church of England because she had felt it was “too restricting”. Although she rarely attended church services, she saw that her two daughters were baptised into the Anglican faith and went to the local Sunday School.

 By 1939 her marriage to Pollock disintigrated and she began a series of affairs. In 1941 she met Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters, a London surgeon with whom she began a relationship. During her divorce, Blyton blackmailed Pollock into taking full blame for the failure of the marriage, knowing that exposure of her adultery would ruin her public image. She promised that if he admitted to charges of infidelity, she would allow him unlimited access to their daughters. However, after the divorce, Pollock was forbidden to contact his daughters, and Blyton ensured he was unable to find work in publishing afterwards. He turned to drinking heavily and was forced to petition for bankruptcy. Blyton and Darrell Waters married at the City of Westminster Register Office on 20 October 1943, and she subsequently changed the surname of her two daughters to Darrell Waters. Pollock remarried thereafter. Blyton’s second marriage was very happy and, as far as her public image was concerned, she moved smoothly into her role as a devoted doctor’s wife, living with him and her two daughters at Green Hedges.

Blyton’s husband tragically died in 1967 and during the following months, she became increasingly ill. Afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, Blyton was moved into a nursing home three months before her death; she died at the Greenways Nursing Home, London, on 28 November 1968, aged 71 years and was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium where her ashes remain. Blyton’s home, Green Hedges, was sold in 1971 and demolished in 1973. The area where Green Hedges once stood is now occupied by houses and a street called Blyton Close. An English Heritage blue plaque commemorates Blyton at Hook Road in Chessington, where she lived from 1920-4. Her daughter Imogen has been quoted as saying “The truth is Enid Blyton was arrogant, insecure, pretentious, very skilled at putting difficult or unpleasant things out of her mind, and without a trace of maternal instinct. As a child, I viewed her as a rather strict authority. As an adult I pitied her.” Her elder daughter, Gillian, did not hold the same view toward their mother, and Imogen’s biography of Blyton contains a foreword by Gillian to the effect that her memories of childhood with Enid Blyton were mainly happy ones.

One of Blyton’s most widely known characters is Noddy in Toyland, where all the central characters are toys who come alive when humans are not around. Blyton’s also wrote many children s Adventure Stories which involve ordinary children in extraordinary situations, having adventures, solving crimes, or otherwise finding themselves in unusual circumstances. Examples include the Famous Five and Secret Seven, the Five Find Outers and the Adventure series. Some of Blyton’s books involve Boarding Schools and have more emphasis on the day-to-day life at school, like midnight feasts, and practical jokes  examples include the Malory Towers stories, the St Clare’s series, and the Naughtiest Girl books. Some Blyton books involve Children being transported into a magical world in which they meet fairies, goblins, elves, pixies, or other fantasy creatures. Such as The Wishing-Chair books and The Faraway Tree. Blyton also wrote many short stories,

Enid Blyton’s Most successful works include: The Noddy books, the Secret Seven series, The Malory Towers series, The St. Clare’s series, The Wishing-Chair series, The Magic Faraway Tree series, Book of Brownies, Amelia Jane series, The Five Find-Outers (Also known as Enid Blyton’s Mystery series), The Famous Five series, The Adventure Series, The Barney Mystery series, The Circus series, The Mistletoe Farm series, The Naughtiest Girl series, The Young Adventurers Series and the Adventurous Four Series. Blyton’s books have sold more than 600 million copies.From 2000 to 2010, she was still listed as a Top Ten author, selling 7,910,758 copies (worth £31.2m) in the UK alone. In 2003, The Magic Faraway Tree was voted no. 66 in the BBC’s Big Read. In the 2008 Costa Book Awards, Blyton was voted Britain’s best-loved author.