Llangollen (Part 3)

You may remember I went on a two day break to Llangollen a while ago. Although I’ve done a couple of posts already on the trip (4.9.13 & 18.9.13) there is more to report on so here’s instalment no.3.

Let’s start with a view from the outside decking area of the Royal Hotel looking back towards the bridge.

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The Royal Hotel was originally called the King’s Head and after a certain Princess Victoria stayed there in 1832 it was renamed The King’s Head and Royal. (Remember she came to the throne in 1837.) Another famous guest was physicist & chemist Michael Faraday who stayed there in 1819. Well if it was good enough for Faraday it was good enough me!

Just along the road from The Royal is The Hand Hotel and it can boast Robert Browning & his sister as guests in 1866.

We set off to the station just the other side of the bridge as there was a bit of a steam festival thing going on. There were trips on the steam trains but we didn’t have time so we just looked round the stalls and exhibition stuff to do with the restoration of the line. The project began in 1975 to get track re-laid and into a condition in which trains would actually be able to run again. Today the volunteer-run railway has about 8 miles of restored track.

As we entered the station we saw this metal sign

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Note the proud boast at the bottom. The chocolate was apparently eaten by the Queen, the King & His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Not bad eh? This year one of these signs in a worse condition to the one in my photo was sold for £150! Now in case you’re wondering, the chocolate making business was begun by a Quaker, Joseph Fry, in the mid 18th century. The Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar (which many of you will know) began in 1866 – it will be 150 years old a few years from now in 2016; Fry’s Turkish Delight began in 1914 and so will celebrate its centenary next year. That’s a long time for any chocolate bar to last! It’s also believed that Fry was responsible for producing the first chocolate Easter Egg in 1873. My favourite used to be the Fry’s Chocolate Mint Cream version (the green one).

Sadly however the Fry company (later owned by Cadbury which was later still taken over by Kraft) closed its Keynsham factory in 2011 and moved production to Poland with the loss of 500 jobs.

Interestingly Quakers were responsible for the founding of many of the household names we know today: Barclays Bank, Lloyds Bank, Clark’s shoes (Cyrus Clark), Bryant & May matches, Huntley & Palmer’s Biscuits (Thomas Huntley), Carr’s Biscuits, Rowntree’s (Joseph Rowntree), Cadbury’s (George Cadbury). Cadbury, as you will know, actually built a village for his workers (Bourneville, a few miles south of Birmingham city centre). The Quakers’ ethical stance on the way they did business was appreciated by the consumers of the finished products and also the producers of the raw materials used in the manufacturing process.

Bizarrely the Quaker Oats company, founded in 1901, has “no formal ties” with the religious organisation of the same name. It just used the picture of a man dressed in clothes a Quaker would have worn on its packaging to give an impression of honesty & integrity. If you didn’t know just how healthy these oats are check out this advert from a long time ago:

http://library.buffalo.edu/pan-am/img/quaker_oats.jpg

More protein than wheat foods & more carbohydrates than meat – so now you know.

Here are a couple of signs.

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Bird’s custard powder, first produced in 1837, contains no eggs; the reason – Alfred Bird’s wife was allergic to eggs. It appears from the sign that the gentleman bending down is not asking for the lady’s hand in marriage but for her to make him some Bird’s Custard (see the little box on the floor).

In the second sign underneath see how the Great Western Railway were trying to sell trips & holidays to Cornwall. Yep that’s right because Cornwall has a similar shape. What! You don’t need to go to Italy because we’ve got some land that’s the same shape. Right – what else would you go to Italy for except to see the shape? Oh and Cornwall apparently has a similar climate & similar natural beauties. However I’m thinking that Italy might just win on the Roman ruins front.

Could I just say that we have cancelled our holiday to Italy this year – you’ll never guess where we’re going instead!!

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In the post from 18.9.13 I mentioned we had eaten at a converted corn mill; it was originally started by the monks who the abbey, in 1201, a few miles up the road. This is the view from the pedestrian bridge over the tracks at the station and looking across the river.

Here’s one of the steam engines

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I saw a metal plate on the front showing it was built in Brighton in 1953 so 60 years old this year.

And inside the cab part where the driver & stoker stand.

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From the station we made our way over to the museum. It is only small but I tell you what they pack a load of info into it. There were lots of story boards and it’s well worth a visit.

Here’s an exhibit

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You can see the Museum is on two floors and circular.

Couldn’t resist a silly picture with the twisty glass mirrors

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Llangollen is a great place to visit and we’d enjoyed our two days thus far. If you get chance to go you have to visit the bookshop (Café & Books) over the café in Castle Street. It’s massive and once you’ve looked at the shelves alongside the staircase and across the top you go downstairs and the shelves just seem to go on for ever. There are literally thousands & thousands of books and they kept us busy for quite a while – and of course we bought some.

After the museum it was time to start heading home but we had one more stop on the way back which we’ll do next week.

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