Saturday 29 December 2012

52 Weeks 52 Photos

Last year I enjoyed spending some "December down time" rummaging through Picasa albums in search of 2011's best bits, so this year I thought I'd do it all over again.

Inevitably London and the Olympics feature strongly, as does Lincoln Cathedral, a place it's difficult to visit without taking lots of photographs. Some places, such as Bletchley Park will be visited again soon, so there's more to come from them I suspect.

Click here to view the Picasaweb album.

Friday 21 December 2012

Christmas Computers 30 Years Ago

The December 1982 issue of Your Computer featured an attached flexidisc containing games for the ZX-81, Spectrum and Vic. Unfortunately I can't find this forerunner of the cover CD, but from the article in the magazine, using it was an involved process. At the time, the standard input method for restoring your saved programs was via cassette tape, so the procedure for the 33rpm flexidisc was to record it on tape and then load from the tape on to your computer.

Elsewhere the issue included a wide variety of games to keep your fingers busy typing over the festive period, some of which were reproduced in extremely small type. Or perhaps my eyesight was better then. In the letters page there were further complaints from those still waiting for Sinclair to deliver their Spectrum, in some cases after waiting for up to 4 months, all against a backdrop of new machines from the Japanese manufacturers.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Aldwych Tube Station Tour

Last weekend saw another of the occasional re-openings of the now-disused Aldwych tube station for a series of guided tours. Having missed out on the last round of tours, I was looking forward to this one, and was there in plenty of time.

The station was in service until 1994, and I remember it from my first job in London back in 1988, as the station was on the far edge of a lunchtime loop walk I used to do from my office near Farringdon station. However, like many others I didn't use the station because it's location as a spur from Holborn meant that it was often easier to get off the tube network at Holborn, and just walk down Kingsway.

The tour lasts for about an hour, and takes in the upper level lobby before descending down 160 or so steps to the platform levels. Although the lifts are still present, they are no longer in use due to their age, and are bolted in position - you can walk through them, however.

Down on the platforms, there is one train in on the platform which is still open, whilst the other platform is no longer open, and the exit tunnel has been bricked up - indeed this platform was closed only 10 years after the station was opened, as even then very few passengers were using the station. Aldwych is often used for filming, which is why the train is still operational, although there has been a recent trend to use the old Charing Cross Jubilee Line station for filming, as it is more modern.

The guides are very knowledgeable, and there are plenty of opportunities to hear stories, ask questions, and take photographs, before climbing back up the 160 steps. In recent years, the tours have been run at the end of November and start of December, the London Transport Museum events calendar will usually include details, as do many of the London event listings web sites, such as Ian Visits. There are some photographs from the tour here.