Sunday, November 28, 2010

150th Anniversary of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, Great Britain

Recently I got this fantastic surprise in my mailbox from Laura. She saw this and reminded her of me and thought I may like to have it! This is one of the times when I think that a simple 'thank you' aint good enough but i just dont know which are the right words to show my appreciation for the thoughtfulness. Do you also get stuck with words like I do?

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first regular passenger-carrying railway, opened on 15 December 1830. Many distinguished guests, including the Duke of Wellington, then Prime Minister, attended the occasion. The day was marred when the member for Liverpool, Mr. William Huskisson was struck by the Rocket and died that evening.
Many prints and lithographs recorded the appearance of the Railway and its surroundings both during construction and after completion. These have provided the inspirations for the stamp designs, which show a train running through a landscape, which includes five familiar features of the Liverpool-Manchester route.

From left to right, the first stamp shows the Rocket in its most original form and livery. Probably by the time the line had opened, the Rocket had been modified but the original form is more familiar. The background shows the Moorish Arch, just short of the tunnel into Liverpool.

The second stamp shows first and second-class carriages. The setting is the deep Olive Mount Cutting, a few miles up the line.

The third stamp shows an open third-class coach and a two-storey cattle truck full of sheep. These would not normally have been found together in the same train, but serve to emphasize the crudity of the arrangements provided for the poorer passengers. The landscape behind is Chat Moss.

The fourth stamp shows the first-ever rail-drive: an open coach carried on a truck and its owner's horse box. The background shows a cottage near the bridge over the Bridgewater Canal.

The fifth stamp shows a truck-load of merchandise covered by a tarpaulin and a red Post Office Mail van with its guard bringing up the rear of the train. The overcast industrial Manchester background highlights the commercial importance of the Railway.

The mixture of goods traffic is, of course, symbolic of the railway's scope rather than strictly accurate. Actual trains were either passenger or freight.

The five se-tenant stamps, issued on 12 March 1980, were designed by David Gentleman and printed in photogravure on unwatermarked, coated, phosphor treated paper by Harrison & Sons (High Wycombe) Ltd.
Format: Horizontal size 41x30 mm
Perforations: 15x14
number per sheet:100

The FDC was designed by David Gentleman
Laura, thank you again so much!! Thank you thank you thank you! This feels like such a precious item to own!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lighthouses, Croatia

Sorry I havent posted ANYTHING here for over a month...true that in general I havent had much time for my blogs, but also gathering all the right information for this one in particular requires more time and patience, so I guess thats why I dont post here as often as on my postcard blog...but I promise from now on ill try to organize my time better and divided more fairly :)

Well, you know that my very soft spot goes to trains...but lighthouses are the closest behind them...and I cant possibly ignore this fantastic Lighthouse FDC coming from Croatia!

The FDC bears the three lighthouse stamps issued for this occasion...all bear the value of 3,10kn, where the first stamp shows the Vir lighthouse, the second one shows the Veli rat lighthouse, and the last one, the Tajer lighthouse.
Technical details about the stamps

Size: 29,82 x 48,28 mm
Paper: white 102g, gummed
Perforation: Comb,14
Tehnique: Multicoloured Offsetprint
Date of issue: 7.9.2010
Quantity: 100000

And some details about each of the lighthouses:

The lighthouse Vir is situated 40 km away from Zadar, to the north-west, and 20 km away from the historic town Nin. The nearest village is Križine, at a distance of two kilometres. Navigating from Zadar, parallel to the south coast of the island Vir, this lighthouse is easily spotted in the central part on the south-western coast, between the Cape of Pedink and the western Cape of Vrulje. The lighthouse Vir gives a recognisable character to the south capes of the island and marks the navigating direction to yachtsmen at night time. Built in 1881 at the north entrance to Zadar Channel, also today it sheds the light that can be seen from ten nautical miles away. The location of the lighthouse had been chosen by the Austro-Hungarian Office for Safe Navigation with the aim to mark for the night navigation the way to Zadar harbour, since the sea bottom in the wider aquatorium of the lighthouse slowly rises toward dangerous, shallow waters. The lighthouse building is a vast one-storey building. In the ground floor there used to be rooms for the lighthouse man while the dormitories and the apartment for his family were in the first floor. The facade is dominated by 11 meters high stone tower. Today, there is a deadly silence in the old building. Next to the lighthouse building there is a storeroom which once served as fuel storage and later as machinery room. The old water reservoir is also preserved. There is a legend about Vir and the hidden treasure from which only rare florins have been found to date. Today, the lighthouse is closed; its crew had been withdrawn after the automation of the lighthouse.

Veli rat
The lighthouse Veli rat is 20 nautical miles air distance away from Zadar, to the north-west. Its strong light can not be seen in Zadar Channel since it is covered by islands that build a barrier in the aquatorium between Zadar and Dugi otok (Long Island), on which north-western cape the lighthouse stands. Not far away from the lighthouse there are settlements Veli Rat, Verunić and Polje. North from the lighthouse there is Pantera Bay to which the light of Veli Rat is a safe guidance for navigators sailing through this aquatorium. The Austro-Hungarian Office for Safe Navigation was carefully preparing technical documentation for the lighthouse tower of Veli rat. The south-western part of the Long Island (Dugi otok) is flat in configuration and the navigating route through this aquatorium is marked by a number of shallows in the south-western, western and north-western part. The light of the lighthouse is the guidance in the night to the mentioned Pantera Bay and the harbour Solišćica, the only shelter in this part of the island. The lighthouse was finished in 1849. The light beam of the power of 2000 watt at the 40 metres high top of the tower is visible from the distance of 20 miles. Interesting to mention is the fact that while building the tower more than 10,000 hen eggs had been added into the concrete mixture. The purpose of adding eggs was to provide higher consistence and better resistance to sea salt. Because of this peculiar additive the colour of the tower is specific and the tower is different from all other towers in the Adriatic. Even today, 160 years later, the surface texture of the concrete tower of Veli rat is in excellent condition. The interior of the lighthouse building has been completely renewed. There lives the lighthouse man with his family while the unoccupied rooms have been adapted according to tourist valorisation. The lookout – a platform at the top of the tower – can be reached over 176 stairs. From above one can enjoy a unique panorama of the nearby islands Molat, Ist, Sestrunj and Rava. South-east and south of the lighthouse there rests endless open sea and to the north, in the haze, the panorama is closed by the peaks of the mountain Velebit. After finishing the building of the lighthouse and making it functional, in the north part of its stone paved court, a small chapel was erected - the sanctuary of St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors. Veli rat is considered to be among the most beautiful lighthouses in the whole Mediterranean

The lighthouse Tajer was built on the bigger of the Two Sisters Islands situated in the vicinity of Grpašćak cliffs. From the 15 miles distant Zadar the lighthouse can be reached through the labyrinth of islands, islets and rocks. The last barrier to reach it is a narrow straight Small Proversa, north of the Tajer Sisters. Already at this point the unusual, metal, red-white tower of the lighthouse Tajer can be noticed. When navigating from the other direction and passing by the cliffs of the Nature Park Telašćica at night, the light of Tajer is awaited as the announcement of the nearby shelter situated in a deep and safe bay. Tajer and the Tajer Sisters border in the north and east on the Koranti National Park, but belong to the Nature Park Telašćica. The lighthouse was built in 1876 on the Big Sister (Sestrica vela). The huge stone building dominates a small island valley, where at the time when the lighthouse was built a dense pine-tree wood had been removed and turned into a clear land. In comparison to other Adriatic lighthouses, the building is connected to the protruding metal tower by peculiar stone bridge on high arches. The building is a vast one-storey construction with the attic of a total area of about 500 square metres.  The steel tower is 47 meters high. Recognisable red and white stripes of the Tajer tower have not been changed for decades, which is the reason why the lighthouse has become the tourist symbol of the surrounding archipelago. The turning light signal is today automated and the energy is provided by solar panels and converters. A strategic position and the density of the nautical traffic in the area in high tourist season are the reasons why also today there is crew at the lighthouse, though it is fully automated and remotely controlled. On the Tajer Sisters there is also a small meteorological station, regularly collecting data which the lighthouse men check and forward by a radio station to the national Meteorological and Hydrological Service. The stone waterfront was also built by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The lighthouse is surrounded by vast stony terraces offering an excellent view to Dinara mountains. To the west, there are the cliffs of Telašćica while the south horizon is the desert open sea. The dense pine-wood covering the greater part of the Big Sister Island is also an ornithological reserve. .