Snapshots: The carriage driver

HG_Carriage Driver

BTG has cracked the 500 likes/email subscriber level! Thank you for all the like love and to celebrate, I’m pulling out one of my special photos from that fabulous place in London; Highgate.

Click the photo to see an enlarged version and then take a closer look at the carvings on the base of the headstone. Notice the horn and whip? Don’t forget to check out the first two stone posts in the foreground of the photo, either. That’s right; horseshoes.

Yup. This is the grave of one of those fancy, high-class carriage drivers for the London social classes. Pretty neat, huh? Almost makes you want to pop in a BBC special like the Bleak House series starring Gillian Anderson. By the way, the guy who plays the evil lawyer in it, carries the aura over to the new Dracula movie that’s now showing.

P.S. If BTG can hit the 750 and/or 1,000 mark (either for likes or email subscribers), I’ve got two other photos that are even more interesting than this.

Way more. :)

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Damages: Vandalized crypt

Vandalized crypt_Barcelona

This is just one of the many vandalized crypts that can be seen in Barcelona’s Cemetiri del Sud Ouest.

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Snapshots: Meet me at the corner of Jessamine and Magnolia

NOLA cemetery 2

Wonder if the Google car’s been through here yet?

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Snapshots: World War I Tank Corps

George E. Stober

George E. Stober: Sgt 319th Company Tank Corps

This seemed like a timely post considering the new tank movie, Fury, is opening this week.

The WWI trench warfare stalemates probably did more to develop the idea of tanks from drawing board to reality than anything else. In a nutshell, the tank was intended to bring the firepower of artillery and machine guns across the morass of No Man’s Land while providing more protection than a purely infantry unit could carry

However, the drawbacks could be significant. Traveling only at about walking pace and vulnerable to direct artillery hits, the interior of the tank was also heavily contaminated with carbon monoxide and other fumes from the weapons. Additionally, internal temperatures could reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

It wasn’t until 1917 when General Pershing finally requested that 600 heavy and 1,200 light tanks be produced in the United States. A total of eight heavy battalions (the 301st to 308th) and 21 light battalions (the 326th to 346th) were raised, but only four (the 301st, 331st, 344th and 345th) saw combat.

Check out the World War I tank footage video below.   4culture_black

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Restoration Idea: Goats in the graveyard

Before goats

Photo courtesy of Goat Browsers

A couple of weeks ago, BTG showcased a fun article about a community that decided to use goats for clearing a vegetation-submerged cemetery.

Well, it appears that others are getting keen on these 4-footed weed whackers as the go-to solution that’s both environmentally friendly and economically practical. This week, the Gloucester Historical Commission of Gloucester, Massachusetts, announced that they’re also hiring some goats. The job duties are simple. Eat through the vegetation clogging the edges of the First Parish Burial Ground, one of the oldest Puritan cemeteries in the country.

Considering the costs involved with hiring a landscaping team to bring in the specialized equipment, goats are becoming a terrific clearing option for cash-strapped preservation societies. So I decided to catch up with Al Dilley, the owner of Goat Browsers, in Glasgow, Kentucky, for a little Q&A.

After goats

Photo courtesy of Goat Browsers

Q: Why goats?

A: There are seven good reasons why.

  1. They eat 8-12 hours a day.
  2. They like steep slopes and uneven terrain, areas that are difficult for regular machinery to reach.
  3. They’re browsers and enjoy snacking on such things as poison ivy, honeysuckle, wild rose, blackberry brambles, kudzu, privet, or Chinese wisteria, for starters.
  4. They’re quiet and won’t disturb the neighbors.
  5. They don’t burn fossil fuels, and their only emissions are natural fertilizer.
  6. They’re non-toxic and pose no threat to the local water supply.
  7. They’re fun to watch.

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Don’t miss out on the other interesting photos…

Don’t forget to follow BTG on Facebook. Since there’s no real story behind the photos, aside from location, they’ll just be going up there and not here.

Enjoy!

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Damages category coming soon

Damages

After going through my (many) photos, I was a bit taken aback at the number of vandalism-damaged headstones that are out there.

And it’s not just here in the U.S. It’s all over.

No matter where you go in the world, walk into any cemetery and I will bet you a decent cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s your thing) you will see the results of vandalism.

Really, what is it about cemeteries that drives people to deface, tip, or break the headstones?  Jealousy that we mere mortals can no longer afford such luxurious memorials to our time here on earth? Or just a severe aversion to learning dates because you hated history class in high school?

Here’s what I do know. I’ve got a lot of photos of unique carvings showing one kind of damage or other that I’m going to start posting under the “Damages” in the Tag cloud. It’ll be a great example of showing everyone a bit of the tremendous artwork that’s still out there, even if it is partially destroyed. Plus, it’ll be a great tie-in to some of my restoration posts.

Start looking for these photos within a couple of weeks. As for the one here in this post, this headstone used to have an eagle on it until someone decided to break it off cuz, he (and yes, most vandals are a he) maybe thought it would look cool in the backyard.

Want to know more? Here’s a link to my earlier post on it.

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