Thetford Priory Gatehouse

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Thetford Priory Gatehouse © David Gill

The priory at Thetford, Norfolk was founded in 1103, and moved to the present location in 1107. The 14th century gatehouse lies to the north-west of the priory (in the grounds of private houses). The property is in the care of English Heritage.

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

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Thetford Priory © David Gill

 

Dumbarton Castle: Spur Battery

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Dumbarton Castle © David Gill

The Spur Battery at Dumbarton Castle was constructed about 1680. It lies to the west of the Governor’s House. The Spur Battery was intended to cover the southern approach to the castle.

Imperial Measurements to Return

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Standard Measurements at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich © David Gill

It has been announced today that, as part of the preparation for Brexit, the UK will be jettisoning metric measurements and returning to the ‘Imperial’ measurements of inches, feet and yards. This adventurous initiative has been put in place to ensure that UK citizens have a unique British perspective on distance and location.

This move is likely to prove a challenge to those under 60 who have been brought up on millimetres, metres and kilometres. However older citizens may feel reassurance from this reintroduction. It also needs to be remembered that the UK continues to measure longer distances in miles and speeds in miles per hour. It is hoped that the move will standardise the units of measurement.

It is unclear if petrol stations will be required to sell fuel in gallons rather than litres, or that car dealerships will need to show fuel consumption in miles per gallon (as opposed to kilometres per litre).

One of the additional benefits of this change is the likely improvement in mental numeracy as calculators on phones and tablets will not readily convert to and from a non-metric system.

A short ceremony to anticipate the forthcoming legislation will be conducted by the Greenwich meridian line with the slogan, “Now is the time to put feet back”.

The necessary process will not be contained within the Great Repeal Bill, though it is understood that a series of possible names are under active consideration, among them the Large Yard Bill.

Pevensey Castle: WW2 defences

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

The fall of France in the spring of 1940 meant that Sussex became the front line. The ruins of Pevensey Castle—a Roman Saxon Shore fort as well as a medieval castle—were used to disguised strong points. Teams from the Ministry assisted with the construction of the defences so that they would blend into the ruins of the Roman and medieval walls.

This pill box was mounted on the wall of the medieval keep. Note the Ministry sign placed below it: ‘Gun Emplacement / 1939-1945’.

Pevensey Castle: signage

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

Pevensey Castle was given to the Office of Works by the Duke of Devonshire in 1925. It became one of the front line defences of Britain in 1940.

Pevensey Castle was one of the Saxon Shore forts and was later reused as a medieval castle.

For guidebooks to the fort and castle see here.

Old Sarum: Ministry sign

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Old Sarum © David Gill

The iron age hillfort at Old Sarum was taken into State Guardianship in February 1892. It contained a later medieval castle as well as the remains of a cathedral started in 1078.

Excavations by the Society of Antiquaries were conducted in 1909. The site is now managed by English Heritage.

The Ministry sign was originally mounted on the side of the custodian’s hut.

Vindolanda: The Ministry of Works and the Roman fort

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Vindolanda, Roman Fort © David Gill

The Roman fort at Vindolanda was purchased by Eric Birley in the sale of the Clayton estate in 1929. Birley placed the fort itself into state care in November 1939. The Vindolanda Trust was formed in 1970 and the fort is now managed as part of the larger site including the vicus.

It is thought that the first fort was erected c. AD 85.

The Ministry of Works sign appears to be located at the west entrance to the fort.