Oct. 1st, 2012 07:36 pm
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Grief by Melodysparks (Chris Preedy)

War Statue of the Boer War Memorial in Leicester

In the South African, or Boer War, between October 1899 and May 1902, Leicestershire lost over 300 men. The memorial was funded by public subscription, and was unveiled in July 1909. It is located in the corner of Town Hall Square at Every Street / Horsefair Street.

The sculpture comprises statues by Joseph Crosland McClure of Leicester Art School, within a design by John Breedon Everard (of Everard and Pick). The bronze inscription panels are mounted on large granite pedestals, which are surmounted by three scultures by McLure: "Grief", "Peace" and "War".

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The Pioneer by Melodysparks (Chris Preedy)
This statue is dedicated to the early pioneers of space. It can be found at the United Kingdoms National Space Centre in Leicester

The plaque on the statue says

"On 2 June 1965 Ed White became the first American to conduct a space walk, three months after Alexei Leonov had achieved the feat for the Soviet Union. He used a hand-held propulsion unit and a tether to move around outside the Gemini IV space capsule as it travelled around the Earth at 17,500mph. He returned home a hero.

Eighten months later he and his collegues, Virgil "Gus" Grissom and ROger Chaffee, died in the fire on the launch pad whilst training for Apollo 1 mission.

Space is a difficult place to get to and a dangerous place to be. The National Space Centre salutes the bravery of the early pioneers and all those who have since travelled, lived and worked in space"

National Space Centre 30 June 2011"

The Pioneer

I too salute those men and women dedicated to furthering mankind quest for knowledge and the stars

National Space Centre
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The information boards about the tower says

The National Space Centre Rocket Tower houses the large artifacts - but it's also a space age sensation in itself. At 42 metres high, the tower is a landmark on the Leicester skyline. The futuristic chrysalis-like structure was designed by London archetect - Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners

The transparant skin of the tower is made of Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETfE) three layers of ETfE are sandwiched between steel girdersand then inflated with air. Silver dots are printed on the ETfE to reflect sunlight

Q. How are the rockets put in?
A. The front of the Rocket Tower can be 'unzipped' to get the rockets in and out. The ETfE skin can be detatched and the bottom six girders removed, leaving a 'door' 21 metres high and 6 metres wide.

Q. How is the Rocket Tower air-conditioned?
A. The Tower is heated by huge radiators which look rather like solar panels. In summer, louvered vents open at the top to cool things down. The vents close themselves automatically at the first sign of rain

Rocket Tower Information board
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On my recent visit to the National Space Centre in Leicester I took my lunch under the Rocket Tower exhibits of the PGM-17 Thor Rocket and Blue Streak Missile

The ground floor of the tower is the restaurant

Thor was the first operational ballistic missile of the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Named after the Norse god of thunder, it was deployed in the United Kingdom between 1959 and September 1963 as an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) with thermonuclear warheads. Thor was 65 feet (20 m) in height and 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter. It was later augmented in the U.S. IRBM arsenal by the Jupiter.

Thor test launches were to be from LC-17 at Cape Canaveral Missile Annex. The development schedule was so compressed that plans for the Atlas bunker were used to allow the completion of the facility in time. Nevertheless pad LC-17B was just ready for the first test flight.

The first flight of the Thor IRBM was on January 25, 1957. The first airframe, number 101, was delivered in October of the previous year. The vehicle reached an apogee of 4 inches (100 mm) whereupon contamination destroyed a LOX supply valve causing the engine to lose thrust. The Thor slid backwards through the launch ring and exploded on contact with the thrust deflector. Serious pad damage occurred. This was refered to by Gene Krantz in is biography "Failure is not an option" as the 4 inch flight

The second Thor flight (102) lasted 35 seconds after an April 1957 launch. It was ended by a range safety officer who destroyed the missile after seeing faulty data on a readout which indicated that the missile was heading inland over Florida.

Thor vehicle 103 (May 1957) exploded on the pad during tanking due to a faulty main fuel valve resulting in tank over-pressurization leading to tank rupture.

Thor vehicle 104 (August 1957) broke up after 92 seconds due to a loss of guidance.

Thor vehicle 105 (20 September 1957), 21 months after the start of construction, flew 1,100 miles (1,800 km) downrange. Estimated range without the extra load of the R and D instrumentation was 1,500 miles (2,400 km).

Blue Streak was a British medium range ballistic missile (MRBM), and later the first stage of the Europa satellite launch vehicle. Blue Streak was cancelled without entering full production.

The project was intended to maintain an independent British nuclear deterrent, replacing the V bomber fleet which would become obsolete by 1965. The operational requirement for the missile was issued in 1955 and the design was complete by 1957. However, during development it became clear that the missile system was too expensive and too vulnerable to a pre-emptive strike. The missile project was cancelled in 1960, with US-led Skybolt the preferred replacement.

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This is the Site of the recent archeological dig in Leicester in the hunt for King Richard III

In Grey Friars Street, there is a parking lot that is planned to be dug up and developed however the University of Leicester stepped in because it was thought to be the site of Grey Friars Church and the possible buriel site of King RIchard III

On 12 September University of Leicester archaeological team revealed their historical findings of skeleton with apparent battle wounds and curvature of the spine.

I quote "it was announced there is strong circumstantial evidence that the human remains discovered at the Grey Friars site could be Richard III.

The remains had suffered injuries consistent with battle wounds. The man also had severe scoliosis (a form of curvature of the spine). But he did not have kyphosis and therefore did not have a 'hunch-back' as described by some Tudor sources.

The official press statement outlines five significant aspects of the remains, which have been carefully exhumed and are now in a secret location:

1. The remains – a fully articulated skeleton – appear to be of an adult male.

2. The skeleton was found in what is believed to be the choir of the church, the area reported in the historical record as the burial place of King Richard III.

3. The back of the skull appears to have suffered a significant injury consistent with a blow from a bladed implement.

4. A barbed iron arrowhead was found between vertebrae of the upper back.

5. The skeleton has spinal abnormalities - probably severe scoliosis, which would have made the right shoulder appear higher than the left. The skeleton does not have kyphosis – ie. was not a hunchback."

The remains have been carefully excavated and transported for DNA analysis with a decendant of the King.

It could rewrite a little bit of history with the findings if indeed the body is of Richard III


A recent article in the Leicester Mercury quoted Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society said a private secretary to the Queen had confirmed the Palace was not interested in claiming the king and would rather see him buried in Leicester rather than have him buried at Westminster Abbeyor Windsor Castle. They have said that it is not because they don't want him buried in the abbey or castle but because he died in Leicester and was buried in Leicester for 500 years, he should stay in Leicester.

Michael Ibsen, a descendent of Richard III who is the genetic dna donor being used to test the remains found, said he also thinks the remains should stay in Leicester if it is indeed the king.

Usual archaeological practice to re-inter as close to the site of discovery as possible and the site is in the shadow of Leicester Cathedral so therefore it could be possible and welcomed by the cathedral to be re-inter at Leicester Cathedral.

In the choir of the cathedral there is already a perfect spot and that is of the memorial from King Richard itsself.

I do hope that should it prove to be Richard that he is laid to rest close to where he was originally buried.

Richard III memorial at Leicester Cathedral


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