Saturday 1st October; Birmingham
Fortunately Dave took Meg out for her early walk before the rain started. It rained all morning, so we got on with a few jobs before it was my turn to take her out after lunch. Definitely a full wet-weathers, wellies and brolly job!
We set off to walk to the museum of Science and Technology, which is at Millennium Point in Digbeth. At the start of our walk police were all over the place, very friendly and happy to give directions as required. When we really needed them, by the Bullring Markets area, there were none and we ended up taking a rather roundabout route adding a mile or so to our journey. In compensation we found ourselves walking over the cut to the Typhoo basin and passing a Fellows, Morton and Clayton warehouse. No photos as the rain was so heavy, which is also why we didn’t get the phone out to check the route as often as we should!
We finally got to the museum to discover not only did we have to pay, but that it was firmly slanted towards families and it was very busy – and noisy – with enthusiastic kids having a go on various ‘hands-on’ exhibits. We were selective in where we went and found some great exhibits. The Spitfire Gallery had a model plane which you could ‘fly’, suitable for all ages …..
The lighting was very poor and I had to take that one on my phone. Among the interesting facts about the plane was that a female engineer was not only working on the Merlin engine but made an essential contribution to its development.
There was a spitfire on display but the lighting made it impossible to take a photo, so I had to make do with the Hurricane.
There was a good display showing spot-welder robots pretending to weld a car. You (or the child next to you) pressed a button to activate them. Brilliant! I am not quite sure why the protective mesh was so heavy as they weren't really welding, but the robots moved fast, coming quite close to the wire so I suppose it was for safety.
Dave’s favourite exhibit was the Railton Special car which broke the Land Speed Record in 1938 at a speed of 369.7 mph. John Cobb, who drove it, had to get into the cockpit before the shell could be lowered over him and locked into place. The tyres were smooth with the rubber just 1mm thick – the cockpit sits between the front tyres with the engine – actually two supercharged aircraft engines - behind.
Dave spent some time admiring it. In the picture below he is watching the film footage of the successful attempt. Behind him is the City of Birmingham locomotive. You can walk round behind it and get between the engine and the coal tender to look but strictly no touching!
There were also a selection of working models showing how various steam-driven machines worked, which is great if your understanding is a bit limited. OK then, my understanding. Lots of buttons to press which is great fun!
The rain had stopped by the time we left at closing time. We took the direct route back! In Victoria Square is this sculpture of a woman, currently sporting a pink bra to publicise a breast cancer charity.
As we got back to the boat we heard a steam whistle – it was steam narrowboat Emily Anne.
The fire was soon lit and we spent a cosy evening on board.