Saturday 31 January 2009

All Rise

I enjoyed getting out into a village again, so we set off to look at Long Riston and Catwick. Long Riston is an old village with lots of new bits, so it ends up being a bit of a mish mash. The A165 used to go through the place, but it was by-passed many years ago. The new road has now created a western boundary which developers seem to have filled up to. Nearby there is a tiny place called Rise, which we mapped last year. It has a big church for such a small place, but this must be a clue that Rise was a bit more important than it is now. The other clue is that all of the places around have Rise in their road names: Rise Road, Rise Lane (2), Riseway, Rise Close.

There is a nice-looking church in Long Riston and another in Catwick. I wasn't sure if the church in Long Riston was St Mararet or St Margarets [sic] based on little signs, so I thought I'd look it up on t'internet. I found a site called . They show where anglican churches are and much more interesting they show the parish boundaries over a Google map layer. I emailed the Church Commissioners who are credited on the site to ask if they would donate the data for the parish boundaries, I hope they say yes.

It was St. Margaret by the way.

Friday 30 January 2009

Moles and hills

The village of Holme upon Spalding Moor is now added to the map and, as promised, we took some photos to show the extent of the mole infestation. The first picture shows how big some of the mole hills are and the second gives some idea of the number of them. There were many more, but the photos don't do them justice, besides you're probably already bored.

The rest of Holme was very ordinary, except the church, which stands on an odd hill to the east of the village. The whole area is very flat, it's part of the Vale of York, but this quite abrupt hill shoots up with a church perched on the top of it. Over the lych gate of the church is an inscription: Mors Janua Vitea, which I think means Death is the gateway to life. To me, death is the gateway to a hole in the ground or gas furnace, but chacun son goût.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Back to mapping streets

We had a change today and headed out to add Holme upon Spalding Moor. It's a village that is bucking the trend in pubs. Pubs are closing all over the place, but it has more pubs than a village of this size might expect. It is also has a bit of a split personality over its name. The name board that the council put up as you enter the village says Holme upon Spalding Moor, but most of the names on POIs in the village either call it Holme on Spalding Moor (such as the primary school) or just Holme (such as the Holme Pharmacy).

In the fields around the village there was an infestation of mole hills. If there was such a thing as a mole catcher nowadays he'd claim a huge bounty in that area. When we return to complete it I'll try to get a photo - of the mole hills not the moles.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Buried in a wall

I decided to clear up the anomaly of a post box in West End (Road) in Cottingham. The Royal Mail list seemed to have it confused with one in South Cave. The box in West End Road, described as just West End, without a village name in the list, does indeed have the reference listed. We checked the rest of the boxes in HU16. Some of the boxes are set into a wall, which means they don't stand out. We drove past the one in Thwaite Street, completely missing it in the traffic, but then saw it on the way back. The pillar boxes stand out much more than the buried ones.
We also checked out The Lawns a little bit. This is a student halls of residence for the University of Hull. It used to be signed as private, but those signs are not there now. When Cottingham was flooded in June 2007 a large police station on Priory Road was closed since the ground floor was under water. It is still not completely operational. A local police station was opened near the entrance to The Lawns so, I guess, public access was needed to get to the police station.

I have not mapped the various buildings on the site. Yahoo! images are much too lo-res and I don't think I'd be welcome wandering round the halls with a camera and a GPS. Maybe some one at the university can help.

Saturday 24 January 2009

Royal Mail or royal fail?

We've been chasing post boxes again, using the list from Royal Mail to help us find the boxes. To avoid issues with copying the list, I only put post boxes on the map that I've found, and only add its reference code if I saw it at the time, usually because we photograph the front panel.

The Royal Mail list just gets worse. If this is an example of their understanding of addresses in the UK then it's a surprise anything gets delivered. Of course, if they have a perfectly good list and they sent a poor one out in response to an FOI request then the Information Commissioner might take a very dim view of that. My previous dealing with the ICO make me believe they have teeth and like to use them.

We have chased down some of the boxes in HU15, but only through local knowledge and guesswork. The best mistake is a box in HU15 labelled as West End Cottingham. Cottingham is in HU16. There is a box in West End, South Cave in HU15, which is correctly placed in the list with its correct reference code (HU15 8). There is a West End Road in Cottingham, which does have a post box on it and is on the HU16 list, but the post code for the box MUST be wrong because all of the Cottingham area have a post code HU16 4xx or HU16 5xx yet this box is HU16 2EX. The box in West End, South Cave has a code HU15 2EX, which I estimate to be correct. If you're confused, you try to work it out (hint three entries for two boxes and the post codes are mixed up).

The HU15 area covers about 35 square km, being about 12 km between its furthest points. It covers twelve villages and yet five of the descriptions for the location of the box is a single road name. One of the descriptions is Ring Beck, South Cave but the box is on Ring Beck Lane in Ellerker. The best bit is that we haven't finished HU15 yet, oh well ....

Saturday 17 January 2009

Before the bench(es)

Skidby is a little village nearby. We mapped it fairly soon after we started adding to OSM and some of our techniques were still being refined. So when I looked at the map and realised that the Half Moon pub in Skidby was not were it should be I wasn't too surprised. We only had a short time before daylight faded so we set off to check out speed limits and see if the pub was in the right place.

As we approached the first thing that stood out was how odd the windmill looked without its sails. The mill still mills flour, as a tourist attraction, but it needed major work on its sails so they are off for the winter.

We then drove around this small village, looking for anything missing. We found two post boxes - one where the post office used to be - and a whole church I had missed on the first pass! I also found more benches than you can shake a stick at. If you need a place to sit in a pleasant Yorkshire village, Skidby is it. I've moved the pub to its rightful place.

Friday 16 January 2009

Hunt the postbox

The process of hunting down postboxes is turning out to be interesting and varied. We checked out the HU8 postal area of Hull and compared it to the list from the Royal Mail - we had many missing. We organized a route which started up Holderness Road, which is one edge of the postal area. This was a good idea because many of the locations which were described as streets that lead off this main artery actually turned out to be boxes on this main road fairly close to the named side road. We also found a few boxes which are in the next postal code area.

As before, some of the names are feeble or even misleading. One box's location is GardenVillage. This is a part of the city built by the Quaker Reckitt family, the owners of a large company now called Reckitt Benckiser. It was built to provide their workers with good quality homes and it still remains a very pleasant area of the city, even though there are no pubs - the Quakers were tee-total. There are many roads in the village, so the description was a bit vague, still, we found it.

Much harder was the nearby box just described as Laburnham (sic). There is a road named Laburnum Avenue on the edge of Garden Village, but there was no box on it. We checked Holderness road because it could have been close to the end of Laburnum Avenue, but no joy, so we gave up and found a couple more, but on the way home we thought we would look again and drove down Chamberlain Road to get to Laburnum Avenue again. We saw the Stoneferry Postoffice in Chamberlain Road, which was already on the map. I checked the reference number on the box outside it - lo and behold it matched the id of the box described as Laburnham. Still, it wouldn't be as much fun if it was easy!

Tuesday 13 January 2009

One Ways, Restaurants and Hockey Sticks

We have been chasing down some more post boxes, HU5 is now complete. In passing we noticed that Princes Avenue had changed, or rather the small residential streets off it, so we thought we would check the area out again. There is a small jumble of streets to the west of Princes Av, which are all 20mph streets and now are all one ways. We had some marked before, but now we have them all - I think they've changed recently but I could be wrong. Along the way we saw a lot of amenities we had missed before, especially restaurants.

We also found a cycleway next to a church. Jean's aunt Rita was married in the church and Jean thought it was called St Trinian's - close it was St. Ninian's.

The area is known locally as The Avenues, and some of the bigger avenues are tree lined, but one or two trees have died over the years. Someone has carved a few into a sculptures. The failing light means the picture doesn't really do it justice.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Postbox orienteering

I've taken a look at the list of post boxes supplied by the Royal Mail after a Freedom of Information request that someone else made. The list is terse, to say the least, but it gives a reference code for the box, a post code (which is not PD in the UK) and a location. I looked at the map of the area we have drawn and decided that some postal regions are pretty poorly covered. When we started mapping we were happy to get the track of a road with its name. We maybe got a pub or a school but nothing as simple as a post box. So today we have used the list to work out where post boxes were in the HU3 postal area that we don't have on the map and track them down.

This was not as easy it it sounds. Since the Royal Mail supplied the list you would expect that they would know what the addresses of these boxes are. That turns out to be pretty dubious. One box has an address of Ocean place, Ocean Place, Hull (actually in HU1 but near where we were so we checked it out). I couldn't find Ocean Place on our map, so I was concerned that we had somehow missed a road, but a bit of googling and I found that Ocean Place was a terrace of houses (not the name of the road) built in the 1820's and demolished for a new road scheme in 1963. The Royal Mail still thinks the box is located at a place that was demolished forty-five years ago. The box in St Matthews Street just is very well hidden - we couldn't find it at all. Some of the locations are very approximate, sometimes many metres or even tens of metres from the end of a road that is given as their location.

We did find a lot of boxes, here's the photos of some that we found today.