76 thoughts on “ALL OUR YESTERDAYS”

  1. Queen Alexandra wearing all her jewelry for her coronation.

    The 1937 Cadillac LaSalle.

    Locomotive 473 of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad pulling a sightseeing train through Animas Canyon. The Durango-Silverton line has been in continuous operation since 1881, originally as part of the extensive narrow-gauge operations of the Denver and Rio Grande railroad through the Rocky Mountains west of Denver. The line climbs 2800 ft, from 6500 at Durango to 9300 at Silverton.


    Some video of the canyon is at the beginning of this video:

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Wider rails? That would take me closer to that long drop with the crunbly looking top!
          If I need to get to Silverton I’d be walking, if there’s no bus.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Alan……And then there’s the problem for us flatlanders that Silverton is over 9,000 ft, so lots less air there. Wouldn’t be good to faint! I get winded pretty fast at that altitude.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I take your point. True myself and ancestors haven’t moved much beyond the high tide mark in all those eons. Going atop the raised beach brings on a giddiness. 9000 ft, sheesh.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Alan….Me too. I live in the Mississippi valley. I’m never really comfortable driving in Colorado. Not nearly enough guard rails on the mountain roads. Something like 80 of the 100 highest altitude cities and towns in the United States are in Colorado. Silverton is about number 15 at 9,318 ft. Leadville, at 10,152 ft, another town that started as a mining camp, is usually considered to be the highest incorporated city in North America. Leadville is picturesquely located at the foot of some seriously tall mountains.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. The highest village in the UK, up and untill 2007 was disputed between Wanlockhead and near neighbour Leadhill, both at just over 1500ft. Village of Flash in Staffordshire England has settled the dispute between the two Scottish villages, Flash sits at 1519ft.
                  But the big honour goes to Leadhill, the first subscription library in the UK, 1741 (thanks to wiki for the accuracy). The Quakers ran the mine back then and it was them that started the library.
                  If it wasn’t for the mines, last one closed in 1958, I doubt if any one would have lived there, even though only 1500 feet. Possibly the same for Silverton and Leadville, which I’m assuming were named for a reason other than wishful thinking.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Alan…..That’s very interesting history! It does seem that high altitude settlements often begin as mining camps. Lots of gold and silver and other metals came out of the high Colorado Rockies in the 19th century, and well into the 20th century. Placer gold was first discovered in the Animas River outside Silverton as early as 1860, and deep rock deposits of silver were discovered in 1873, with deep rock gold in the 1880’s. Gold mining was started at Leadville in 1859, and silver was mined too. It was large deposits of lead that caused a rush to the region and led to the founding of the town in 1877. During WWII, molybdenum mining at Leadville became important and is still going on.

                    The towns are now national historic sites and mostly live on tourism and skiing. Otherwise, I suppose people prefer to live at lower altitudes that have better access to transportation and supplies and social amenities, and (in the case of the high altitude Colorado Rockies,) more air to breathe. Denver is called the “Mile High City,” and has a bronze plaque in a concrete riser on the steps of the Colorado state capitol with an inscribed line marked “5,280 ft.” I can breathe in Denver OK, but when I first drove over the high ridge of the Rockies west of the city, I drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel on US Interstate Highway 70. The high speed four-lane tunnel is at 11,000 ft, (cutting 1,000 ft off the route of an old two-lane highway over Loveland pass at 12,000 ft,) and is the highest point of the entire US Interstate highway system. At the West Portal of the tunnel, I drove off and parked at an observation point to take pictures. I walked briskly, slightly uphill across the parking area and realized I was gasping for breath. It occurred to me that I was 1,000 ft higher than the altitude at which WWII pilots in unpressurized airplanes used oxygen.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. PS: I looked up Leadhill and Wanlockhead. Interesting places!
                      For some Silverton and Leadville history…….

                      There are hotel accommodations in small town Silverton (637 people in 2010) at the Grand Imperial Hotel (from 1883), newly refurbished by the people who own the Durango-Silverton railroad. Looks like a nice place.

                      Remediation of the toxic waste from the old abandoned mines is a business in Silverton. In 2015, workers for an environmental restoration company caused the release of toxic waste water from the Gold King Mine into the Animas River. The river ran yellow for a while.

                      Leadville is a larger place (2010 population, 2602) which was once in the running with Denver as the Colorado state capital. It has a colorful old west history with gun slingers, saloons, and brothels. Doc Holiday went to Leadville to deal cards after the gunfight at the OK Corral, and killed a guy in a gunfight. The Unsinkable Molly Brown was in Leadville as the teenage wife of a mining engineer named James J. Brown. They became wealthy from Little Jonny gold mine……long before her passage on the Titanic and life as a Denver socialite.

                      in 1882, Oscar Wilde gave a lecture at the Tabor opera House (still in operation.)

                      Mayor David H. Dougan invited Wilde to tour the Matchless Mine and name its new lode “The Oscar”. Wilde later recounted a visit to a local saloon, “where I saw the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a notice – ‘Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.'”

                      An account of Wilde’s visit to Leadville on his famous American tour. :


                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. The buildings in look very splendid (if not a touch garish) for a town of 600ish people.

                      The mauve building would definitely require one to have a strong stomach. LOL

                      The workers from the environmental restoration company must be proud of their work. I should imagine that killed of a sizable proportion of the wildlife!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I’m not sure I’d like that very much, Danny. I’m, by nature or habit a relatively brisk walker. I’d be a bit scared if I was breathless on a slight incline.

                      You’ve travelled a lot in the USA. How many states have you visited?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Tris……Yes, gasping for breath after mild exertion is scary. I was relieved when I thought about the extreme altitude of Loveland Pass and the old 10,000 ft airplane pilot rule.

                      I’ve been to lots of the states, traveling with the family as a kid, and making Summer motoring trips while in college and later. Looking at the geographical area, it seems larger than the state count, since I’ve been to all the big states of the West, almost all of the Midwest and Dixie South, and the East and Northeast as far north as New York and New Jersey. But the state count is only 36, since I’ve never gotten to any of the several relatively small New England states north of New York. Then it’s a matter of a few I’ve missed up around the Great Lakes, and North and South Carolina. Finally, Hawaii and Alaska, which don’t work for motoring (unless you and your car want to brave the rigors of the Alaska highway to the far North through Canada.) πŸ˜‰

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. Tris……Yes, it occurred to me that the old hotel in Silverton looks a little garish. Mauve just doesn’t work in the old west I’d say. πŸ˜‰ The place fit in better in the old days.

                      Since the place was recently purchased and refurbished by the people who own and operate the Durango to Silverton scenic railroad, the new owners are surely more interested in attracting tourists than in authentic restoration. The new old place looks pretty nice inside though.

                      “Grand Imperial Hotel….Your Basecamp For Adventure since 1883” :


                      You can probably book your Silverton accommodations from the UK….LOL. After a few seconds, pictures come up on their website:


                      Ironically, the private company which accidentally blew out the old plug at the Gold King Mine and turned the Animas River yellow had been contracted for mine waste remediation by the US Environmental Protection Agency.


                      Liked by 2 people

                    6. Your environmental agencies sound a bit like the English ones.

                      The remit seems to be clean up a little here and there, but first and foremost, MAKE A BIG PROFIT!

                      That hotel look almost good enough for Munguin.

                      I wonder if there’s a small place nearby for me?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. Tris…..Wiki says that the company responsible was “Environmental Restoration LLC,” a Missouri company under EPA contract. Yes, I’d say that another company has made lots of profits cleaning up the mess that Environmental Restoration LLC made.

                      I’m sure that you could find modest accommodations elsewhere in Silverton while Munguin enjoys the presidential suite at the Grand Imperial……LOL.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    8. Danny I delight in the differences of scale between out two countries. 1500 feet, US 9000 feet. US, oscar wilde and Doc Holliday having a gunfight.
                      Let’s see. Not far from the Leadmines, due to the carboniferous rock surrounding the mineral rich greywracke their were also coal mines. At a place called Coalburn I went to a miners welfare hall there to see a band, it was the Humblebums, Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly. Five shillings to get in which also got you plate of mince and tatties. This constituted a meal and therefore allowed drink to be served till 11 pm.
                      Not quite a gunfight but Connolly was in a punch up at fish and chip shop, down the road in Lesmahagow (pronounced Les ma haegy). A great night out.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    9. Alan….I enjoyed your description of experiences in the coal mining region. There’s a considerable coal mining culture here in the old coal regions of the Appalachian Mountains……notably in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky……and in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana in the Rockies. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting at railroad crossings for 100+ car coal trains carrying Wyoming coal to big population centers of the East.

                      Yes, what’s not to like about Leadville, a city where in the 1880’s you might have passed Doc Holiday and Oscar Wilde on the street. πŸ˜‰
                      The story of Doc Holiday in Colorado, after he had joined the Earp brothers for the famous gunfight in Arizona, is an interesting one. Unfortunately, the thin cold Colorado air……especially at 10,000 ft in Leadville……was bad for someone with tuberculosis. Holiday was in Colorado between 1882 and 1887, much of the time (for two periods) in Leadville. He saw Wyatt Earp a couple of times in Colorado, and died November 8, 1887, at Glenwood Springs.

                      Probably MUCH more than you would ever want to know about “The Leadville Years” of Doc Holiday:


                      Oscar Wilde wrote “Impressions of America” which sounds interesting. (Apparently an E-book available free on the internet.)


                      Liked by 2 people

                  2. I stayed in Wanlockhead a couple of times in the 1980s. It had a resident population. There was an old school building above the village which had been converted into a hostel for youth groups undertaking field trips, such as for Higher Grade Biology or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. There was some good walking in the area (The Southern Upland Way passes through), although, if you ventured off the main track you had to keep an eye open for old mine shafts! Often they were covered by just a wooden board, which, as likely as not wold be splintered or rotten.

                    I also took place in an ultramarathon (my only one!) which started in Larkhall and after 35 miles ended in Wanlockhead.

                    I think the Duke of Buccleugh’s estates include part of Wanlockhead.

                    Lead is often found alongside other metals, so such places produced a number of metals.

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. Alasdair……Interesting about the old mine shafts.
                      I was walking across undeveloped grassy land in a lead and zinc mining district of northeast Oklahoma. I noticed a big concrete slab rising slightly above ground level and walked up it. Then I stopped short when I realized I was staring down into total blackness. It was an old abandoned mine shaft and the concrete was part of the footings of a long gone mine structure. I tossed in a rock and heard it hit the sides on the way down. I may never have heard it hit bottom, unless I might have finally heard a distant water splash. Can’t imagine how deep that open mine shaft was.

                      I looked for an interesting old picture I once saw posted on the internet showing (as I recall) a group of Victorian era men and women at the top of Ben Nevis. They may have been in front of a building. Wiki says that the summit has the ruins of an observatory which was continuously staffed between 1883 and 1904. I didn’t locate the picture, but I wonder if that’s where it was posed (or if I’m misremembering it entirely.)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Danny,

                      There must be thousands of such abandoned mine-shafts all over the world, where there is no effective covering. As you say, you look down into pitch darkness and have no idea how far down the bottom is. Near where I live in the west end of Glasgow there were a number of old coal-pits which were unmapped. The owner of ‘The Big Hoose’ which once existed in the area (c1850) when walking in his orchard, fell through an old shaft. He was about 30 feet down for six days before he was found by an employee of his who worked in the flint mill, who had gone into the orchard to answer a call of nature and heard the moaning. The man was hauled up, in a poor condition and had to have a leg amputated. However, he recovered, got married and fathered 6 children, so, obviously that bit was not amputated.

                      Re Ben Nevis, your recollection is correct. There was an Observatory there. It was at the forefront of scientific investigation for many years. If memory serves, the Scottish physicist Charles Wilson worked there and following his sighting of a Brocken Spectre there became interested in cosmic rays and eventually developed the Wilson Cloud Chamber as a detector. He was later awarded the Nobel prize for physics for his part in the detection of cosmic rays. I can recall seeing on many the photograph to which you refer. It was in a number of physics textbooks.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. Alasdair…….I studied physics and remember learning about the great Scottish physicist Charles Wilson and the cloud chamber. But I’d forgotten about the connection with Ben Nevis. Now I realize where I saw that picture. Thanks!

                      What an amazing story about the man who fell into the old mine shaft in Glasgow. Really frightening to think about open unmarked and unfenced mine shafts.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. I looked it up Alasdair, the mines at Wanlockhead and Leadhill produced 400,000t lead, 25t silver and 10,000t zinc. You are correct Wanlockhead was part of the Buccleuch Estate with Leadhill part of the Hopetoun Estate. I use to live and work on the Buccleuch and Queensberry Estate just outside Thornhill.

                      Liked by 2 people

                  3. Interesting, Alan.

                    I suppose you had to, and still up to a point, have to, live where there is a way of making a living.

                    The Quakers are interesting. I should read more about them.

                    Liked by 1 person

                  4. Alan…..The reference to Quakers reminded me of the great English scientist Arthur Eddington……astronomer, mathematician, and theoretical physicist…….who was a pacifist Quaker and maintained contact with Albert Einstein and German physics during WWI. After being threatened with prison for refusing conscription in 1918, he took an expedition to Africa in 1919 and measured the gravitational deflection of light by the sun. This was the first great confirmation of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity which had been published in Germany in 1915.


                    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, good question…

      Like everyone on AOY, he IS part of our history.

      Royals, duff comics, indifferent singers, slums and Lard ffoulks…

      But it is a beautiful morning. I expect I’ll have to scrape the ice off Mungiun’s Limo.


  2. Photograph 14 is around Cowcaddens, but, the buildings were all obliterated to make way for road realignments in the motorway madness of the 50s,60s and 70s which affected Glasgow. Fortunately, the fountain with the obelisk still exists towards the rear of what is now the current premises of Herald Newspapers.

    Alasdair Gray did a number of paintings around this area in these years.

    An early photograph of the GOONs, singer Susan Maughan, entertainer Max Awannatellyouastory Bygraves (he claims he never used the phrase).

    I had a sense of deja vu when I saw the photo with Easiphit shoes and Brighter Homes, but it is not energed from the recesses of memory.

    And, a certificate for an organisation which once believed in egalitarian socialism, and was called the Scottish Labour Party. Whatever happened to it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I saw STV in the background.

      I included Susan Maugham because her resemblance to Alma Cogan (as mentioned last week) was quite striking.

      No idea what happened to the Labour Party. Mrs Thatcher reckoned it was her what killed it stone dead.


    2. Suspect may have posted this point before but have happy memories of Bygraves topping the bill in the Five Past 8 variety show at the Glasgow Kings mid- 60’s. He had his son on drums in the backing band and proudly told the audience that he could have sent him to Eton, which is not a boast to impress a Glasgow theatre audience and was greeted with almost total silence.

      Things went from bad to worse when he invited requests for songs, whereupon a rasping voice from the gods demanded the “Educat’n’ Erchie” song. Bygraves, understandably found the guttural Glasgow difficult to understand so some members of the audience tried to help out. But once this happened, Bygraves realised what we being asked of him, a reminder of his days as a straight man to a ventriloquist’s dummy, so he claimed not to understand and it ended with almost entire audience on their feet chanting for the Educating Archie song. We’re still waiting.

      I often thought there was scope for a spoof party political broadcast from Bygraves – “I wanna sell you a Tory” , that being, if I recollect correctly, his political affiliation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha ha ha ha… Brilliant story. Whatever gave him the impression it would be a good idea to brag about being able to send his son to Eton… especially in Glasgow.

        Glasgow audiences can apparently ruin a career…


  3. The Goons with Michael Bentine next to Harry Secombe. He didnt last long in the Goons, I think there was a bust up.
    Somerled Square Portree. With the Bank of Scotland building behind, was it a bank back then? And what is now the Isles Hotel and bar to the right.
    Not often I recognise any of the places imaged.
    The telly I reckon it is American. The number of channels, the style, a tint control knob and above all the word color gives the game away. Early 70s


    1. In my younger days we had a dog who was in heat so we could never let her out. One Sunday she got out and belted down to Somerled Square. When I caught up with her she was just where those buses are entertaining a line-up of hopeful male. Just as the Free Presbyterian church was emptying after their sermon!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Bentine had his own little show later in the 60’s, whimsical and less anarchic than the Goons – and he had a shorter haircut by then as well. He used to introduce himself as the only Peruvian from (I think) Watford. He also had occasional diorama or “sandpit” sketches, with often special effects eg the bullets fired by the “Irish gunman Rick O’Shea”.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris: had to “google” that, I thought it might have been Hughie Green on Oportunity Knocks but no it was, (drum roll) “Rod Roddy donned his most-sequined jackets to introduce Bob Barker and bellow “Come on down!” daily from 1986–2003. Rich Fields took over from 2004-2010. And George Gray teamed up with host Drew Carey in 2011.”
            Alien charachters to me, although I remember a patronising Hugh Green from my growing up days. I’ve never had a television since I left home as a qualified radio and tv engineer in the early 70s, still don’t have one.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks, Alan.

              I have to be honest, I’ve never heard of any of them (because like you I’m not a tv person).

              I’ve heard of Hughie Green, although I’ve never seen him.

              Liked by 1 person

      1. I had forgotten about Bentine’s own show. It was called “It’s a Square World”, I think, which shows a surprising lack of rigour for someone who made much of the fact that he had a degree in physics (as I myself have!!), since it was cubic or cuboidal.


        A. Pedant.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Dear Mr Pedant,

          Thank you for your letter (although to be strictly honest, there was a collection of letters, rather than just one).

          Kindest regards,


          LOL LOL LOL!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I seem to remember an interview he gave once. He had developed remote controlled robots which appeared on his show. After the broadcast he received a visit from some gentlemen from ‘the ministry’. They wanted him to tell them how they worked!

          Liked by 1 person

      1. There were some genuine aristocrats who were socialists, such as the late Tony Benn. However, because of the UK’s archaic system of Government Labour had to appoint life peers to the House of Lords simply to be the opposition or to govern. Of course, they promised many times either to abolish or reform the House of Lords. Although they did some minor reforms, they have never got round to abolishing it.

        Some of the Life Peers took their task seriously, but for increasing numbers it became a pension pot and a “London club”. As well as the attendance allowance, many would get ‘directorships’ on various companies, because a “Lord” on the board was thought to impress investors. Which brings us to the ‘Honours System”, another thing that Labour never got round to reforming.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The Benn story is interesting. His father really was an Earl.

          As I recall the story (from the Benn Diaries), Tony was the eldest son and so inherited the title when his father died. He was, by this time an MP.

          He tried to divest himself of it, but it was not permitted for a Lord to give up his title.

          Or, at least that was the story until the Tories decided that they wanted Lord Home as prime minister, at which time the queen suddenly discovered that she COULD, in fact remove his lordly titles and give him a knighthood with one flourish of her quill.

          The precedent was then established. They couldn’t really stop Benn from giving away his title and returning to the Commons to be a thorn in their side.

          Sir Alex Douglas-Home served, spectacularly as prime minister, and then as Foreign Secretary (at which he seemed to do better) and then was sent to the House of Lords as a Life Peer.


  4. Ah ! Thé gréÒt and noble Lord Foulkes why a name upon trolls used to dream off.

    Drop it into any Nat blog
    And kerboom the reaction
    Would leave every Nat foaming
    At the mouth In apoplectic

    Drove them quite insane.
    Unfortunately those joys are
    Denied us now happy days they
    are much missed .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re mixing up “contemptuous laughter” with “apoplectic Rage” Niko.

      β€œThe SNP are on a very dangerous tack. What they are doing is trying to build up a situation in Scotland where the services are manifestly better than south of the border in a number of areas.”

      Interviewer Colin Mackay: ”Is that a bad thing?”

      Lord George Foulkes: β€œNo, but they are doing it deliberately.”

      It still cracks me up…

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Ah Niko… When ffoulkes actually did other stuff apart from wrap himself in ermine and drink his fair share of cheap booze in their lordships’ house.

      He blocked me on Twitter for asking him how he could justify socialism with being a member of the aristocracy…

      Liked by 1 person

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