Billingham & The Atom Age

During WWII Billingham was one of the sites chosen for the world’s first atomic weapons project codenamed Tube Alloys. Development work for the top secret project took place at Billingham and a number of shadow factories in the Teesside area. Due to high costs, and the fact that Britain was within bombing range of its enemies, Tube Alloys was absorbed into the USA’s Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the world’s first atomic weapons.

In the 1970’s ICI purchased and installed a TRIGA Mk1 nuclear reactor at Billingham. The reactor produced radioisotopes for industrial use until it was decommissioned in 1988.

PRI 90

Space is the place

This is arguably the worst photograph I have posted on this blog but I love it. I arrived home a few days ago and have been keen to try and capture this image. Unfortunately I don’t really have any experience of photographing the night sky and have been unable to practice because the skies have been completely clouded-out since arriving home. Tonight’s sky was cloudless but I only had a limited time to try and capture an image before the moon rose. The green dot in the middle of the image is Comet 46P/Wirtanen.

46P Wirtanen

 

Bob Fischer

I’ve recorded a few short episodes for Bob Fischer, the first one will be broadcast tonight here

I went to Rudston on Tuesday to explore the Wolds landscape and visit Britain’s tallest standing stone. I managed to get hopelessly lost in the winding lanes between Scarborough and Bridlington and arrived just as the sun was setting on a moody day.

Rudston

Jet

Jet

More from Camden’s Britannia

Near this place, and elsewhere on this shore is found Black Amber or Geate. Some take it to be the Gagates, which was valued by the Ancients among the rarest stones and jewels. It grows upon the rocks, within a chink or cliff of them; and before it is polish’d, looks rewddish and rusty , but after, is really (as Solinus describes it) Diamond-like, black and shining..

Jeat-stone, almost a gemm, the Lybians find,

But fruitful Britain sends a wonderous kind;

‘Tis black and shining, smooth ever light,

‘Twill draw up straws, if rubb’d till hot and bright,

Oyl makes it cold, but water gives it heat.

 

Camden’s Britannia 1586. Translation & edition of 1722 by Gibson

 

My friend Chris Corner made this lovely animation telling the story of Whitby Jet

Saltburn

ammonite

Near, at Huntly Nabb, the shore (which for a long way together has lain open) now rises into high rocks; and here and there, at the bottom of the rocks; lie great stones of several sizes so exactly form’d round by nature that one would think them bullets cast by some Artist for the great Guns. If you break them, you find, within, stony Serpents wreathed up in Circles, but generally without heads.

Camden’s Britannia 1586. Translation & edition of 1722 by Gibson