Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Northumbria, Alnwick Castle.

Alnwick Castle, the second largest inhabited castle in England, has been the home of the Percys, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309.The earliest mention of Alnwick Castle in the history books appears soon after 1096 when Yves de Vescy became baron of Alnwick and erected the earliest parts of the Castle.The Castle was first restored, primarily as a fortress, by the 1st Lord Percy of Alnwick in the early 1300's and portions of this restoration remain today, including the Abbot's Tower, the Middle Gateway and the Constable's Tower. During the late 17th century the Castle fell into decay until Elizabeth Seymour and her husband Hugh Smithson, later to become the first Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, took up the challenge and turned it into a family residence of "gothic" style with the help of architects such as Robert Adam and the landscape designer, Capability Brown.
Algernon, Fourth Duke later replaced the 18th century "gothick", employing the architect Anthony Salvin. Since then modern comforts have been added, and Alnwick Castle was one of the first homes in the North East to have electricity. Run by a recently restored hydro electric system installed in 1889, there was enough power produced to run 100 electric lamps.
So says the linked advert, and here's some pictures..
The Castle itself is nicely complete.

Inside, there is a museum to the local Yeomanry.. now here's an interesting artillery piece I thought.. any idea what it would be called? Sadly there wasn't an explanation of it, but it looks pretty good.

A fine collection of Peeler work tools..

A cuirass, clearly not quite bullet proof, I think this was from the ECW period.

Another artillery piece, not sure how long this frame would last if it were actually fired though. Looks remarkably like the English Heritage Keyring gun though.
The local Yoemanry uniform, remarkably like the 95th Rifles really. The mounted uniform was similar.
A couple of general shots. This castle was used in the Harry Potter films, I think for the broomstick flying scene.

A good display of various cannonry, you wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of this one.
Also on site was a really good Regt museum, unfortunately no photos, but well worth a look.
And a rather impressive statue of one of the Percy's from way back. All in all, it's an impressive place and well worth a visit.
A friend of mine recommended that whilst in Alnwick, I should visit a little second hand bookshop called Barter Books. I duly did so.... it's absolutely the dogs parts. 350,000 books, in a railway station building, buffet, parking, pleasant's a day out on it's own. I managed to restrain myself to spending only £60, and that was an effort. They are on the Internet too, well worth a visit.
Time for a General Witter, I recently received some multi-part plastic Zombies from 'Wargames Factory', a nice set, which I am part way through gluing together. I have also glued my fingers, which was fairly painful, and not recommended at all. Beware the cheap and runny Superglue type tubes. From 'Gripping Beast', some packs of Chaps on the Hunt and civilians, and from North Star Miniatures some packs of Peelers. When put together, these will make up a 'Zombies in the Countryside' game, which should be a bit different, and good fun to play.
Blogging has been particularly good recently, with some interesting and quality posts to read on the linked Blogs and Sites. I'd like to welcome some new 'Followers', being Conrad Hawkwood who runs the Ne Plus Ultra Site, El Grego who amongst others does an interesting Mini Ships Blog, Axebreaker of the Bunker Hill Blog, and Dan who has the Gunners Wargaming Blog. All interesting stuff, and it all makes for a pleasant stress free wargaming read.
I took my eldest to the Forces Career office in Hull yesterday, and remembered The Model Shop, opposite the railway station. Not having been there for years, we had a look in. Just for a look, there was nothing I needed. I came out with two bags of GaugeMaster Noch trees, £36 for 50 trees, bargain I thought, and a box each of the Airfix Robin Hood set and Sheriff of Nottingham set...well, I saw them and regressed straight back to my childhood when I last had them. So there's another game to get painted up, based and played at. Right after the Zombies are finished....


El Grego said...

Excellent pics, and thanks for the mention!

Peeler said...

Ta, and you're most welcome!

Conrad Hawkwood said...

Great report mate the absolute Dogs bollocks..I have to win lotto , come to the UK and visit all the shows and drink some of that beer you like that sounds like a brand of tea..

Peeler said...

Ha ha! Yes, come over and we can have Tetleys tea for breakfast and Tetleys beer for dinner. With fod as well, to soak it all up. :-)

Poacher said...

The Airfix Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottinghma are STILL lovely figures, I think. Hell, they are 40+ years old....!!

I was impressed with the HaT versions, and suppose the Airfix re-releases are OK too...

Peeler said...

:-) 40 years old eh... and I bought when I was a child... ;-(