History Notes

The world is a fascinating place!  Using a camera helps you see more.  There are so many places that have an interesting story.   Here are a few that caught my attention.

Click on photographs to enlarge.

Gdansk – The Crane

Gdansk, on the Baltic Sea Coast of Poland, and once known as Danzig is a place full of history.   The unique Crane is remarkable, first built in the 1400’s, it was substantially  destroyed in World War 2 in 1945 and has been restored.  Gdansk, a Hanseatic trading port has always need such infrastructure.

Gateway To The West – St Louis

The Arch in St Louis Missouri recognizes the period of exploration and expansion to what is now the wes of America.   Set overlooking the Mississippi the Gateway Arch is a powerful and usual symbol!

Hiroshima – The A Bomb Dome

A part of the Hiroshima Peace Park the A Bomb Dome was the main Prefecture Building until the nuclear bomb was dropped on 6 August 1945.  Today it is a an eerie and solemn monument.

Narva on the Estonia, Russia border

Narva, where the European Union and The West now meets The Russian Federation – really close across The Narva River at a very narrow point.

Narva was destroyed by the Russians and Germans in WW2.

Uxmal, Yucatan Mexico

The Mayan civilization was at its height 2 -3 thousand years ago.   The Yucatan region of Mexico has a number of remarkable sites – Uxmal is probably amongst the best.

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal

Built in 1889 and now a part of Liberty State Park in New Jersey, saw many immigrants on their way after they had been processed at the nearby  Ellis Island, which itself lies in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Hinchcliffe Stadium, Paterson New Jersey.

Now being re purposed the Hinchcliffe Stadium hosted American Negro Baseball League matches.  That League dwindled but still seemed to be around in the late 1950’s.   Recently in 2014 it was preserved when it was made a part of the Great Falls National Park.

Russian made MIG fighter

This MIG fighter on display in a Museum in Seoul, South Korea was once a part of isolated North Korea’s air force.  It was however flown to South Korea by a pilot wanting to escape that country, which he successfully did.

Bentonville, Arkansas

The massive retail giant Walmart started in the Bentonville area and The Walmart Museum presents an interesting social American history.

By the way Walmart is in 20222 the worlds 3rd largest employer (if you are interested after the US Defense Dept and the Army or China!).

Lamar, Missouri

In the middle of vast plains  is the tiny birthplace and home of former President Harry S. Truman.  How remote a place was this when the 33rd President was born here in 1884.

Hindustan Ambassador

From 1957 for decades, any visitor to India will have seen and likely traveled in, the Hindustan Ambassador.  Based on the venerable British Morris Oxford it was manufactured in India until as late as 2014. With a high body clearance and being simple to maintain it became an Indian icon.   This one was photographed in Shimla, in the Himalayan foothills in 2014.

The Day That Changed History

This photograph is at such an important place.  Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Hawaii.  Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor (7th December 1941) America was totally in World War 2.   The United Kingdom’s beleagured Prime Minister said that that night was the first time he slept soundly for a long time.   As he knew, that with America’s involvement, the UK would ultimately defeat Germany and Japan. 

Things today could be very different if it were not for Pearl Harbor 

Micklegate Bar

Dating from the 12th century this is, in my view, the best of the several gates in the walls of the City of York in the UK.  It is also perhaps the most important where centuries of royals would enter the city.  The walls are complete near Micklegate Bar too offering views of Englands best City!

Times Square, New York City

For 5 years in the late 1990’s my office overlooked ‘the cross roads of the world’, Times Square.   One of my favorite adverts was when British Airways put a vast, scale model of Concorde in Times Square.  It was the post Cold War, booming, optimistic years when Britain became known as ‘Cool Brittania’.  Oh, how things change!

The Mena House Hotel, Giza, Cairo

That is me sitting in an office in the Mena House, Palace Section, Hotel.   The hotel has for over a 100 years been visited by the rich and famous.  (Of which I quality in neither category!)  This chair was used during a meeting between Israels Premier Begin and Egypt’s President Sadat as they negotiated.   Two massive important Middle Eastern leaders. 

Bandung Museum, Java, Indonsia

So we know about  the Cold War which pitted the Super Powers of the USA and the West against the USSR and the Eastern Bloc, from the end of the Second World War until around 1990.  Less well know though is Non Aligned Movement or ‘The Third Way’ known as the Third World, (really negatively!), countries.   These were nearly all former colonies who tried to forge a ‘third way’ and over 50 leaders gathered in Bandung in 1955 to set the agenda.   Whilst the movement existed for a while, history shows it was never unified enough to be effective against the Super Powers who continued their colonization or neo colonization of the poorer, Asian and African states.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

For decades Bethlehem Steel was synomous with American might!  Its steel powered America’s rise to global strength.  It employed thousands.

Today the rusting but huge, preserved Smoke Stacks  can be explored in peace and quiet.

The Falls Road, Belfast

During ‘The Troubles’ The Falls Road was the center of the Provinces Catholic minority.  It was the site of much protest, disruption and death.  Growing up in Britain the BBC News was always reporting on incidents and conflict on The Falls Road.

Today, whilst the wires, the very high fences, the many murals and memorials leave the visitor in no doubt as the political goals of Irish unification, a visit is possible.

Mount Vernon

Just south of Washington DC is George Washington’s home.  (When my daughter was first in an American Elementary School it always seemed that the answer to every bit of homework was ‘George Washington’.   So just had to visit and a great place it is too.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, West Germany

In 1980 a visit to West Berlin was a very odd experience.  I traveled on the train from Hanover and I remember that at the border with East Germany, the train was secured and a locomotive of the DDR railway was attached (which of course could (or would) not heat, the West German DB coaches).  Yet in a couple of hours you arrived in this western, brightly let city of West Berlin.  Peering over the Berlin Wall into East Berlin, was a must do and no starker a place was there than the Brandenburg Gate.  Deserted and heavily guarded.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin,  Germany

Nowadays you can stroll in, around and under the Brandenburg Gate of course.   But I never forget that this simple activity was simply impossible for nearly 50 years.  

Poverty :   Improvisation is a necessity

Tienanmen Square, Beijing, China

Until you visit you do not realize how big Tienanmen Square is.   It  is the largest City Square in the work and very impressive it is too.

Of course we in the Western World will forever associate it with the Tienanmen Protests (and massacre) of 1989.

 

Grantham, Lincolnshire.  United Kingdom

Mrs Thatcher the ‘Iron Lady’ and Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 until 1990 was born in this, what was then, a grocers shop.

Mrs Thatcher’s changes and legacy, built or destroyed Britain, depending upon your viewpoint, for decades.

Mrs Thatcher seldom went back to Grantham or recognized here humble beginnings.

Disease:  Ebola Treatment Center near Moyamba Sierra Leone

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Set in the foothills of Mount Washington is the Bretton Woods Hotel the site of the Bretton Woods Agreement.   Towards the end of the Second World War many of the worlds financial leaders met there.  They created the gold standard which led to global economic stability and recovery after the war.  It stood until the 1970’s.

Hard Work: Breaking stones in Freetown

The ‘Europe’s Most Bombed Hotel’

The Europa Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland was apparently bombed 36 times during The Troubles.  The main reason was that the hotel, completed in 1971, was often the focal point for visiting journalists and other visitors.

Colonial Leftovers - On old British telephone kiosk in Africa

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

These two magnificent looking towers were between 1998 and 2004 the tallest buildings in the world.

Twisted earthquake ruins.  Haiti

Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Perched overlooking the pretty town of Whitby, Whitby Abbey has much worth visiting.   Yet to me the most remarkable fact is that in the remote, windy, place was they site of a religous Synod back in 663, when a disagreement over when Easter would be settled for good!

Terrorism - The Mumbai Terror Attacks.  Memorial at the Trident Hotel a scene of attack

Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct

Just north of Scranton, Pennsylvania is a vast viaduct.  When it was completed back in 1915 it was the largest concrete structure in the world and today still claims to be the longest concrete railway viaduct in the world!  Who knew that…….

Orphan - Kevin, deaf and blind Kampala Uganda

Newark Castle

Newark on Trent, in Englands East Midlands, was a central place in The Civil War 1642-46.

 

Migration:  Melbourne Migration Museum

Cockatoo Island

That is the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background and Cockatoo Island is  reached by public ferry from right next to that Bridge.  Cockatoo Island was important for First Nations as a meeting place and since then has been a Penal Colony from 1839, a Reform School and then a major naval yard.   Today its a great trip away from the overrun Circular Quay area where you can learn about Australian history and even stay over night if you wish.

Assassination - Site of Ghandi's murder. New Delhi

Lake Placid, Up State New York

The farm of the famous John Brown. 

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