More Postcards

In mid-February I posted pictures of some beautifully embroidered post cards (See:Embroidered Postcards). There were two other post cards, but since they were different in nature and from a different sender I didn’t include them in the earlier post. Where the earlier posts were from someone called Arthur, these are from Wilfred who I believe was my father’s half brother. They seem to have been sent to my grandfather (who I never knew) and grandmother (the Mary to whom the earlier embroidered post cards were addressed).

One of the postcards shows a ship called the HMT City of Marseilles, a steam merchant built by Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd, Jarrow and completed in 1913. The owner was Ellerman Lines Ltd, London. Usually British ships are called “HMS” (His/Her Majesty’s ship, which seems to be restricted to military vessels). This one is called “HMT”. I was not familiar with this designation and looked it up. It stands for “His/Her Majesty’s Transport”).

Completed in January 1913. During the First World War, the ship was shelled by a German U-boat but escaped.

On 21 January 1943 the City of Marseilles stranded near Batticaloa, Ceylon. Later refloated but broken up in 1947.

On the morning of 6 January 1940 the City of Marseilles was damaged by a mine, laid on 12 December 1939 by U-13, 1.5 miles southeast of Tay Fairway Buoy, River Tay. The ship had just taken a pilot aboard when the mine exploded under her bridge, stopping the engines and causing a list of 10 to 15° to starboard. The crew began to abandon ship, but two lifeboats had been destroyed by the explosion and another capsized during launch, throwing the 14 occupants into the water. One crew member was lost. Screened by a Hudson aircraft (224 Sqdn RAF), the survivors were picked up by the pilot cutter, a RAF crash launch from Tayport and the Broughty Ferry lifeboat Mona and landed at Broughty.

The abandoned City of Marseilles was boarded by crew members of HMS Cranefly (FY 539) (Skipper H.B. Soames, RNR), HMS Sturton (FY 1595) (Skipper W. Buchan, RNR) and the harbour defence patrol craft HMS Suilven and soon thereafter her officers and a pilot returned to the vessel aboard Mona. The next day, the vessels towed her to Dundee where temporary repairs were made. The ship then continued to the Clyde for repairs and returned to service in April 1940. (

Trying out my newly acquired Pentax K10

After charging the battery I decided to take my newly acquired Pentax to nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY to confirm that it was working and see how it handled.

So how did things go. Well, the pictures weren’t bad for essentially quick snapshots. I even quite like a few of them. It was a very dull day and the camera/lens combination was not the best for those conditions: old sensor (2006 vintage) that’s not good in low light combined with a old, slow zoom lens (18-55mm SMC Pentax DA f3.5-f5.6). Added to that I made a stupid mistake: of course the camera was used and in my enthusiasm to try it out I forgot to check out how the previous owner had set it up. Turns out he’d set it up in a way that practically guaranteed slow shutter speeds. I thought they were ok for hand holding, but it seems that they weren’t and this led to soft and in some cases, blurry pictures. Still I enjoyed the 1 1/2 hour walk, the camera was fun to use and I learned a lot about it. I’ll do better next time.

Taken with a Pentax K10 and 18-55mm SMC Pentax DA f3.5-f5.6

A visit to Merestead – The Garden House

“Circa 1907. A single story frame garden pavilion with a hipped roof is located a short distance south of the mansion at the opposite side of the croquet court. Surrounded by gardens and a small rectangular pool, it has engaged columns and a paneled wainscot”. (United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form)

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

West Point Foundry

According to the National Park Service:

Of the four historic ironworks selected by President James Madison to supply artillery to the U.S. military, only West Point Foundry remains. Operating from 1818-1911, the foundry gained renown during the Civil War by producing Parrott guns, cannons whose range and accuracy gave the North a distinct advantage (prompting a visit from President Abraham Lincoln in 1862). A technological marvel that helped spark America’s rise as an industrial superpower, West Point Foundry also manufactured some of the nation’s first locomotives, ironclad ships and pipes for New York City’s water system. Today, nonprofit Scenic Hudson is responsible for transforming the 97-acre site into an “outdoor museum.” Trails through the wooded preserve, located in a tranquil ravine, pass the significant ruins of foundry buildings. Interpretive features, including a full-scale representation of the boring mill’s 36-foot waterwheel, explore the foundry’s contributions to the Industrial Revolution, its role in the Civil War and the land’s astonishing ecological renewal.

I’ve been here a few times, but not recently. It’s easily reached by public transportation: there’s a trail that starts from the southern end of the north-bound platform of the Cold Spring Metro North station.

Walkway to the gun testing platform. I believe that at the time of my last visit the walls on the left were covered in vegetation and were barely visible.

The gun testing platform. From here they fired cannons across the marsh to make sure they were working.

Decoration on the top of the gun testing platform

This and the following picture are of Administration Building, the only intact building that remains. When I first came here the cupola was missing. It was on the ground being restored. It seems that they’ve done some more restoration: the brickwork seems to be in better shape.

This and the following picture show Foundry Brook


More ruins

Reproduction of a portion of the water wheel, over which Foundry Brook flowed and which drove the Foundry machinery.

For more information see here and here.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II