#384 – Next exhibition – Shadows of the North at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum UPDATED WITH NEW DATE


I am pleased to announce that my next exhibition will open on Monday 22nd 16th February 2015 at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Helmshore, near Rossendale in Lancashire.

Shadows of the North is a complement to my Mechanical Landscapes exhibition and focuses on the textile mills of the north of England. It will be slightly larger than my last exhibition and will feature around 20 monochrome photographs of the mills and their contents.

The exhibition will only run for two weeks (over the half term period) when the museum reopens for 2015, so there is limited time to see the exhibition. However, I am hoping to show this exhibition at some other venues in the area in the next year or so – announcements will be on here and on Twitter (@mechanicalvista) when I have news!

#395 – Upcoming talks in March – Huddersfield and Batley

A bit of early warning that I will be presenting my Mechanical Landscapes talk on the follwoing dates:

Tuesday 10th March – Batley Camera Club

Wednesday 18th March – Huddersfield Photo Imaging Club.

I have no more talks scheduled currently, but will consider all offers. My preference is within a 6o minute drive from Chorley. This is due to me being in full time employment, and I travel to venues after a full day at work, but please contact me anyway to see if we can come to an arrangement.



EDIT – I wrote and scheduled this a few weeks ago, and since then have been booked for talks at Burnley, Atherton and Pernrith for 2015 / 2016, but I am always open to approaches for talks at camera clubs and other interested organisations for 2015 and beyond.

#394 – Photographs from Helmshore Exhibition!

DSC_5655Finally – a few snaps from my Shadows of the North exhibition at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum. It’s not the biggest exhibition you’ll see, and on reflection it would have been nice to have had an extra display board to space things out a bit but they only own two. I’m working on bringing it to a couple of more venues in the next 12-18 months which will be great if they come to fruition!

The exhibition will be on until 1st March.












#393 – Shadows of the North Exhibition at Helmshore Textile Museum opens Monday!


The pictures have been delivered to the museum and are now on the wall, and everything is ready to go!

The exhibition will run over the Lancashire half term period, and opens Monday 16th February. It is located in the room between the two mills (rather than the giant exhibiton space on the top floor – I could never fill that!!).

I am hoping to be at the mill on Saturday 21st with a little muscial accompaniment from my friend Graham Dixon of the Lancashire Folk Band ‘Trouble at’ Mill”. Mercifully, I will not be singing but I will be hanging around and am happy to talk about the pictures, websites or anything else!



#392 – Library of Congress Images – River Steamers

Harbor Springs, Mich., Str. North Land at dock


Harbor Springs, Mich., Str. North Land at dock

Large river steamers were not unique to America, big Paddle Steamers carried day trippers on British rivers too. Steamers such as the PS Waverley were once a common site on the Clyde, Bristol Channel, and around Britain’s coasts.

And, like America, by the 1960’s, their days of service were coming to an end. Their heyday was without doubt the first half of the century, with many ships being built in the early 1900’s. One of the things I’ve noticed about the American variety was their large size although the larger steamers such as the North Land were built for the Great Lakes which are to all intents and purposes an inland sea. Designed primarily for long trips to or across the Great Lakes, the ships were quite luxuriously appointed as can be seen from the interior of one of the few remaining steamers SS Keewatin, which was actually built in Scotland.











Boat landing, Kingston Point, N.Y


Boat landing, Kingston Point, N.Y.






Board of Commerce excursion, City of Cleveland, Detroit, Mich


Board of Commerce excursion, City of Cleveland, Detroit, Mich



Steamer North Land at dock, Mackinac Island, Mich


Steamer North Land at dock, Mackinac Island, Mich




Steamer Monitou at dock, Mackinac Island, Mich


Steamer Manitou at dock, Mackinac Island, Mich.



Steamboat landing, Vicksburg, Miss


Steamboat landing, Vicksburg, Miss.






S.S. Northland [sic] at Harbor Springs, Mich


S.S. Northland [sic] at Harbor Springs, Mich.

River front from the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, N.Y

River front from the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, N.Y.

#391 – Library of Congress Images – Switching (shunting) locomotive



This image was simply titled Bethlehem Steel in the Library of Congress archive, and had no supporting information other than it was published in the period 1910-1920.

Interestingly, the engine has written Washington Terminal on the tender, which is confusing given the title of the picture. Wikipedia tells me that the Washington Terminal company provided shunting (or switching in American parlance) services for railways operating into the Washington Terminal railway station. This photo has also been posted on shorpy.com, where someone has commented that it rather Bethlehem Steel being the location, it is probably the turntable that is the product of Bethlehem Steel.

While clearly a staged photograph, it is an interesting one nonetheless. If you look closely at the 100% crop, you will notice that one of the crew is wearing a bow tie – surely this wasn’t regular attire for footplate crew on the railway?!?!!terminalJPG

#390 – Library of Congress Images – Mallett articulated locomotive

New Mallet articulated compound engine on the Santa Fe

Although articulated locomotives were a British innovation, and Beyer Peacock built over a thousand of them, only a few Beyer Garrets and narrow gauge Fairlie’s ever saw service in Britain. However, articulated locomotives were quite widely used in other areas of the world, especially where huge amounts of power were required without the loading gauge restrictions of the UK. Mallet locomotives started to appear in America from about 1903.

This huge 2-10-10-2 example is as big as an example as you would find, although later examples such as the famous “Big Boys” of the 1940’s were ultimately more powerful as well as being capable of 70mph. Speed was something these early Malletts were not good at, these 3000 series engines being ultimately unsuccessful due to the inability of the boiler to produce steam fast enough. They were relegated to helper status (I think banking locomotives were the British equivalent) before being converted to conventional 2-10-2 locomotives.