The History of Eleanor’s Byre Cafe, Embleton

Eleanor's Byre, Northumberland.(Images: Urban Ghosts. Eleanor’s Byre, Northumberland)

Yesterday I stopped for a coffee at a pleasant cafe called Eleanor’s Byre, near the Northumberland village of Embleton. A byre is a cowshed, and this disused example has now been converted into a tearoom and shop. But to learn more about its history you’ll need to visit the lavatory, where a large stone gate pillar from another age has been incorporated into a small display. Two signboard read:

In 1269 Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, was awarded the baronies of Embleton and Rock, but when he arrived at the baronial home at Twizzel Hall he found his aunt Eleanor, sister of Henry III, living there. He had a house and a mill, East Mill, built for her and she had the living from this mill. When she died she left the house for the nursing of lepers. Hence the derivation of the name, Spitalford, ‘The Hospital by the Ford’.

Source: The Local History Society

This stone gate pillar is part of the history of Eleanor's Byre tearoom in Northumberland.

On the adjoining wall, meanwhile, a second signboard explains:

In 2010 when we started work on what is now Eleanor’s Byre, we were thrilled to reveal the stone gate pillar you can see behind the glass.

As the earth floor was excavated hundreds of beach wash cobbles were revealed, alongside many bigger sandstones, suggesting remnants of a much larger building and courtyard. The sandstone appears to have been taken from the quarry immediately over the wall on the north side of the [adjacent] holiday cottage garden.

We may therefore assume that when the final leper died locals would not wish to go near the building because of fear of infection, so what was latterly the hospital would be allowed to become derelict.

The holiday cottage opposite, shown on early maps as Spitalford Lodge, suggesting a gate lodge, was extended in the sixteenth century. We may deduce that at the same time the current byre was built using the stone from the ruins of the original house. Considerable work would be saved by incorporating an already substantial gate pillar into any new building.

Until about fifty years ago a second byre stood on what is now the raised part of the lawn in the cottage garden.

We are told the surrounding of what is now the trompe l’oeil door in the shop is typical of the sixteenth century, as are the works in the holiday cottage. In the field an old established walnut tree is perhaps a survivor from an earlier walnut tree, a common tree in a medieval garden.

The beach wash cobbles can be seen in the grass topped gabions outside the front of the shop.

Eleanor's Byre cafe and shop near Embleton.

Read Next: A Definitive Guide to the National Parks of England & Wales

The post The History of Eleanor’s Byre Cafe, Embleton appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

The History of Eleanor’s Byre Cafe, Embleton


Eleanor's Byre, Northumberland.


(Images: Urban Ghosts. Eleanor’s Byre, Northumberland)

Yesterday I stopped for a coffee at a pleasant cafe called Eleanor’s Byre, near the Northumberland village of Embleton. A byre is a cowshed, and this disused example has now been converted into a tearoom and shop. But to learn more about its history you’ll need to visit the lavatory, where a large stone gate pillar from another age has been incorporated into a small display. Two signboard read:

In 1269 Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, was awarded the baronies of Embleton and Rock, but when he arrived at the baronial home at Twizzel Hall he found his aunt Eleanor, sister of Henry III, living there. He had a house and a mill, East Mill, built for her and she had the living from this mill. When she died she left the house for the nursing of lepers. Hence the derivation of the name, Spitalford, ‘The Hospital by the Ford’.

Source: The Local History Society


This stone gate pillar is part of the history of Eleanor's Byre tearoom in Northumberland.

On the adjoining wall, meanwhile, a second signboard explains:

In 2010 when we started work on what is now Eleanor’s Byre, we were thrilled to reveal the stone gate pillar you can see behind the glass.

As the earth floor was excavated hundreds of beach wash cobbles were revealed, alongside many bigger sandstones, suggesting remnants of a much larger building and courtyard. The sandstone appears to have been taken from the quarry immediately over the wall on the north side of the [adjacent] holiday cottage garden.

We may therefore assume that when the final leper died locals would not wish to go near the building because of fear of infection, so what was latterly the hospital would be allowed to become derelict.

The holiday cottage opposite, shown on early maps as Spitalford Lodge, suggesting a gate lodge, was extended in the sixteenth century. We may deduce that at the same time the current byre was built using the stone from the ruins of the original house. Considerable work would be saved by incorporating an already substantial gate pillar into any new building.

Until about fifty years ago a second byre stood on what is now the raised part of the lawn in the cottage garden.

We are told the surrounding of what is now the trompe l’oeil door in the shop is typical of the sixteenth century, as are the works in the holiday cottage. In the field an old established walnut tree is perhaps a survivor from an earlier walnut tree, a common tree in a medieval garden.

The beach wash cobbles can be seen in the grass topped gabions outside the front of the shop.


Eleanor's Byre cafe and shop near Embleton.

Read Next: A Definitive Guide to the National Parks of England & Wales

A Sad Looking Doll in Football Hole, Northumberland


Abandoned doll in Football Hole, Northumberland.


(Image: Urban Ghosts)

Just north of the small fishing village of Low Newton by the Sea, on the Northumberland coast, lies the secluded Football Hole, a tiny stretch of beach between Newton Haven and the expansive Beadnell Bay. It was there that this sad looking child’s doll was found lying abandoned in the sand. Mundane for sure, but it looked old fashioned enough to warrant a mention.

The Chilling Ruins of Hovrinskaya Hospital, Moscow


The brutalist ruins of Hovrinskaya Hospital in Moscow


(Image: Tyler Warawa. The brutalist ruins of Hovrinskaya Hospital)

Construction of Moscow’s Hovrinskaya Hospital began in 1980 and halted five years later, leaving behind an unsettling, brutalist shell of what would have been a 1,300-bed hospital. At a glance, it’s easy to imagine how a plethora of creepy tales and urban legends might have emerged from the ruins of the abandoned, unfinished hospital. And indeed they have. But not all of these stories are the stuff of folklore.

Russia! Magazine examined more closely the building, its security, and the determined (but trespassing) “stalkers” who got inside. Legend holds that the hospital was once the home of a satanic cult called ‘The Club of Nimostor’, who had first moved in at some point in the early 1990s.





(Image: Tyler Warawa)

It’s claimed the group was kicked out of the crumbling Hovrinskaya Hospital ruins after a raid by the OMON riot police, and that the confrontation caused considerable damage to the already dilapidated building. Fact is often difficult to separate from folklore here, but those who have seen inside say the walls are covered in graffiti alluding to death and the nefarious Club of Nimostor.





(Image: Tyler Warawa)

While there have been a number of grim experiences “ including alleged animal sacrifice, murder and at least one documented suicide “ linked to the abandoned Hovrinskaya Hospital, many stories are thought to be exaggerated and “the number of actual recorded deaths in the past two decades remains in the tens,” Russia! Magazine reported in 2015.

But that hasn’t stopped several heartbreaking incidents being confirmed, like the case of a 16-year-old boy who jumped to his death down an elevator shaft. In 2011, a 23-year-old was allegedly bludgeoned to death there, but such reports are few and far between, despite claims by so-called stalkers of running into less-than-savoury characters amid the Moscow ruins.





(Image: Tyler Warawa)

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that such chilling reports, combined with urban legends that have gripped the unfinished Hovrinskaya Hospital over the years, have inspired filmmakers to produce a Blair Witch style documentary in which a group of Moscow teenagers venture into the abandoned building and (presumably) encounter the dark forces within.





(Image: Tyler Warawa)

According to Russia! Magazine, the project was being directed by (then) 22-year-old Sergei Kuznetsov and produced by Evgeniy Loshak. But that was back in 2015 and details were – and still are – sketchy. The magazine went on to interview one Moscow stalker who claimed to have encountered a “psycho” within the looming concrete structure… Truth, urban myth, or a bit of both, there’s no doubt that the abandoned Hovrinskaya Hospital is a dangerous place that should not be entered.

Preserve “Pinky”: Campaign to Save Tornado GR4 ZG750

Panavia Tornado GR4T ZG750 aka "Pinky"(Image: Steve Tron). Panavia Tornado GR4 ZG750 aka “Pinky”)

With ever more Tornado GR4 airframes going out of service and being disposed of via RTP (reduced to produce, or spares reclamation and scrapping), a campaign is underway to save the most distinctive ‘Tonka’ in the RAF fleet.

The Change.org petition was launched in a bid to preserve Panavia Tornado ZG750, which has been nicknamed “Pinky” by enthusiasts due to her iconic desert camouflage scheme. The special paint job was applied to mark the Tornado GR variant’s 25 years on operations, beginning with Operation Granby, the name given to British military involvement in the 1991 Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm).

Tornado ZG750 taxis to the runway threshold(Image: Steve Tron. Tornado ZG750 taxis to the runway threshold) 

During that conflict a force of around 60 Tornado GR1 strike jets were hastily repainted in the now iconic ‘desert pink’ camouflage and deployed to air bases at Muharraq in Bahrain and Tabuk and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. Six Tornados were lost during highly dangerous low-level combat missions against Iraqi airfields and other military targets. Five aircrew members were killed.

In the late 1990s the Mid-Life Update (MLU) got underway, which saw around 142 of the original 228-strong RAF Tornado force upgraded to GR4 standard, integrating state-of-the-art weapons and avionics packages. The MLU was completed in 2003, and the jets have been constantly upgraded ever since.

Pinky, a comparatively young Tornado airframe (delivered to RAF service on July 31, 1991), has become a coveted sight for aviation enthusiasts and photographers looking to snap a picture of the jet thundering through the likes of the ‘Mach Loop’ in Wales at low level.

Panavia Tornado GR4(T) ZG750 "Pinky" on the static line at RIAT 2017(Image: Steve Tron. Tornado GR4 ZG750 “Pinky” on the static line at RIAT 2017)

The Change.org petition, which is titled “Retire Tornado ZG750 ‘Pinky’ to the City of Norwich Aviation Museum”, reads:

“Tornado ZG750 ‘Pinky’ is the most unique and beautiful Tornado in the Royal Air Force fleet. As such, she deserves a good home. Some of you may have heard that she is planned to go to RAF Leeming in the next week or two to be scrapped, or ‘RTP’ as they call it. (Reduced to Produce, robbed of spare parts essentially). We want to give Pinky the home she deserves at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, as this is one of the best facilities for both her history and preservation.”

In addition to aircraft preservation, Norwich Aviation Museum aims to highlight the aviation history of Norfolk, including RAF Marham, Pinky’s home base. At the time of writing ZG750’s page has received 1,744 of 2,500 signatures required for the case to be heard. To help in the bid to save this iconic jet for future generations, you can sign the petition here and connect on Facebook.

Update: Soon after this article was published, Pinky departed RAF Marham for the final time en route to RAF Leeming for RTP. There, she’ll be stripped of all useful spares and sensitive military equipment pending disposal. But this doesn’t necessarily mean the end. We’re still hoping that, once all required parts have been removed, ZG750 may follow in the footsteps of ZA452 at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry, which is currently the only production Tornado GR4 to be preserved.

The post Preserve “Pinky”: Campaign to Save Tornado GR4 ZG750 appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Preserve “Pinky”: Campaign to Save Tornado GR4 ZG750


Panavia Tornado GR4T ZG750 aka "Pinky"


(Image: Steve Tron). Panavia Tornado GR4 ZG750 aka “Pinky”)

With ever more Tornado GR4 airframes going out of service and being disposed of via RTP (reduced to produce, or spares reclamation and scrapping), a campaign is underway to save the most distinctive ‘Tonka’ in the RAF fleet.

The Change.org petition was launched in a bid to preserve Panavia Tornado ZG750, which has been nicknamed “Pinky” by enthusiasts due to her iconic desert camouflage scheme. The special paint job was applied to mark the Tornado GR variant’s 25 years on operations, beginning with Operation Granby, the name given to British military involvement in the 1991 Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm).


Tornado ZG750 taxis to the runway threshold


(Image: Steve Tron. Tornado ZG750 taxis to the runway threshold) 

During that conflict a force of around 60 Tornado GR1 strike jets were hastily repainted in the now iconic ‘desert pink’ camouflage and deployed to air bases at Muharraq in Bahrain and Tabuk and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. Six Tornados were lost during highly dangerous low-level combat missions against Iraqi airfields and other military targets. Five aircrew members were killed.

In the late 1990s the Mid-Life Update (MLU) got underway, which saw around 142 of the original 228-strong RAF Tornado force upgraded to GR4 standard, integrating state-of-the-art weapons and avionics packages. The MLU was completed in 2003, and the jets have been constantly upgraded ever since.

Pinky, a comparatively young Tornado airframe (delivered to RAF service on July 31, 1991), has become a coveted sight for aviation enthusiasts and photographers looking to snap a picture of the jet thundering through the likes of the ‘Mach Loop’ in Wales at low level.


Panavia Tornado GR4(T) ZG750 "Pinky" on the static line at RIAT 2017


(Image: Steve Tron. Tornado GR4 ZG750 “Pinky” on the static line at RIAT 2017)

The Change.org petition, which is titled “Retire Tornado ZG750 ‘Pinky’ to the City of Norwich Aviation Museum”, reads:

“Tornado ZG750 ‘Pinky’ is the most unique and beautiful Tornado in the Royal Air Force fleet. As such, she deserves a good home. Some of you may have heard that she is planned to go to RAF Leeming in the next week or two to be scrapped, or ‘RTP’ as they call it. (Reduced to Produce, robbed of spare parts essentially). We want to give Pinky the home she deserves at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, as this is one of the best facilities for both her history and preservation.”

In addition to aircraft preservation, Norwich Aviation Museum aims to highlight the aviation history of Norfolk, including RAF Marham, Pinky’s home base. At the time of writing ZG750’s page has received 1,744 of 2,500 signatures required for the case to be heard. To help in the bid to save this iconic jet for future generations, you can sign the petition here and connect on Facebook.

Proposed Roseburn to Union Canal Cycle Route (Edinburgh)


Artist's impression of the proposed Dalry Road cycle bridge for the Roseburn to Union Canal cycle route.


(Image: via Edinburgh Council Consultation Hub. Proposed Dalry Road bridge on the ‘Roseburn to Union Canal cycle route’)

Edinburgh residents with an interest in walking, cycling and linear urban parks may be aware of the proposed Roseburn to Union Canal cycle which, according to the website, is now in the design and planning phase. The project aims to plug a “missing link” between the regenerated Union Canal and existing walking and cycle paths elsewhere in the Scots capital. From an Urban Ghosts perspective, this would mean incorporating a historic part of the city’s 19th century transport infrastructure into a 21st century cycle network.

Stages 1 and 2 – the initial feasibility study and route development and stakeholder engagement – are both complete. Stage 3 of the project – design, planning application and tender preparation – is understood to be currently ongoing.

The artist’s impression (above) shows what a new bridge across Dalry Road might look like. The “painted steel” structure, which was highlighted by the Edinburgh Evening News in February last year, would lie alongside an existing bridge that carries the West Approach Road along a stretch of abandoned railway line near the disused Dalry Road station.



Map showing the proposed Roseburn to Union Canal cycle route.


(Image: via Consultation Hub (pdf). Map of proposed Roseburn to Union Canal cycle route.)

Edinburgh boasts an extensive network of pedestrian and cycle paths utilising old railway trackbed built in the Victorian era by the Caledonian Railway and its rival line the North British. But between Roseburn and the Union Canal riders are forced to brave busy streets, passing under the West Approach Road via the historic Telfer Subway (connecting Caledonian Crescent and Dundee Street).

A new Dalry Road bridge – a key part of the Roseburn to Union Canal cycle route – would also connect the Gorgie-Dalry neighbourhoods to much-needed green-space on the redundant branch line running behind the tenements of Downfield Place and Duff Street Lane. In doing so, an important part of Edinburgh’s Victorian industrial heritage would be revived and repurposed for modern users.

The Historic Ruins of Fort Campbell, Malta


The historic ruins of Fort Campbell, Malta


(Image: Ploync. The historic ruins of Fort Campbell, Malta)

The enigmatic ruins of Fort Campbell stand guard over the Maltese coastline, straddling the Selmun peninsula with commanding views over both St. Paul’s Bay and Mellieha Bay. Parts of the fort’s history remain hazy; it’s not clear when exactly the installation was decommissioned, and it’s thought that construction began in December 1937 and was sped up due to mounting tensions across Europe following the Munich Agreement.


A fire control tower at Fort Campbell, Malta


(Image: Frank Vincentz)

According to Military Architecture, Fort Campbell was the last British fort to be built in Malta, a Southern European island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, before the outbreak of World War Two. As such, it was built at something of a turning point in the history of warfare. Previously, the biggest threats to Malta had come from the sea. But with rapid developments in the field of aviation, particularly the bomber, attacks from the air were a major concern.


Abandoned Fort Campbell, Malta


(Image: Ploync)

A traditional fortification would have stood out against the landscape and made it an easy target from above, so Fort Campbell’s builders sort to make the fort blend into the surrounding countryside. Rather than the thick ramparts and rigid layout that typically characterised such military outposts, Fort Campbell’s structures were designed to mimic the irregular, stone rubble walls that crossed the Mellieħa landscape. Those walls hid “ among other defences “ two 6-inch breech-loading coastal guns and a series of heavy machine gun batteries poised to defend British seaplanes operating from Mistra Bay.





(Image: Frank Vincentz)

Fort Campbell was a departure from older forts in others ways, too. No consideration was given, for example, to unnecessary aesthetic touches. Everything about its robust construction was utilitarian, from its ability to seal itself off from the outside world to a spartan, unconventional interior designed to prevent reconnaissance planes (and bombers) detecting it from above.





(Image: Ploync)

This unusual design – a departure from the traditional polygonal layout of 19th century fortifications – and few internal buildings ensured its effective camouflage.





(Image: Ploync)

Sadly, though, the years have not been kind to the historic wartime facility. The fort’s importance waned after the Second World War, though the military did maintain a caretaker there until the 1970s. In more recent years, Fort Campbell has been abandoned, and increasingly at the mercy of vandals who have inflicted significant damage.





(Image: Ploync)

Iron beams integral to the support of the old barracks have been stolen, causing heavy stone blocks to collapse. The ruined fortress is now considered unsafe and should not be entered.





(Image: Ploync)

In 2014 Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, laid out plans to restore the ailing fort, but last year the Times of Malta reported that the historic ruins remained in a derelict and dangerous condition.








(Images: Ploync 1, 2)

In March this year, the newspaper also reported that Fort Campbell and other Maltese ruins were set to feature in an art project directed by Mark Magro.





(Image: Ploync)

The Times of Malta wrote: “Forgotten Landscapes is the first in a projected series of multimedia exhibitions and publications which brings together artisans and historians to tell the story of abandoned buildings in Malta.”





(Image: Ploync)

Related: 10 Abandoned Fire Control Towers of World War Two

The Unfinished Royal Palace at Tell el-Ful, Jerusalem


The unfinished ruins of the Royal Palace at Tell el-Ful in Jerusalem.


(Image: Eli.berckovitz. Unfinished ruins of the Royal Palace at Tell el-Ful)

The Middle East has long been a place of upheaval. This unfinished shell of a building, which stands at one of the highest points in the region, is testament to that. Construction of the building began in 1965, intended as a summer home for King Hussein of Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The site was one of great historic importance, as its prominent hilltop location “ known as Tell el-Ful “ had long been associated with the biblical Gibeah.





(Image: Daniel)

Whether this association is accurate has been a topic of ongoing debate. Archaeologists have for years argued over the findings of numerous excavations. But even many of those who do question Tell el-Ful’s link to Gibeah – including Tel Aviv University’s Israel Finkelstein (pdf) – accept the area may have been inhabited at least as far back as the 7th or 8th centuries BC.





(Image: Daniel)

Excavations initially got underway at Tell el-Ful in 1868. Subsequent digs uncovered layer upon layer of fortifications, including a set of ancient ruins, which are understood to have been built by the biblical King Saul.

The abandoned, unfinished shell of the Royal Palace on Tell el-Ful was to be built over these ruins of Saul’s ancient residence, and the original plans were grand. Intended not only as a summer home but a place where visiting dignitaries could stay, relax, and no doubt be impressed, the three-storey structure was set to be clad with Jerusalem stone, a building material that hearkened back to the area’s ancient history.





(Image: Daniel)

But plans were halted just two years after construction began, when Israel seized control of the West Bank in the Six-Day War of 1967. The two-storey cement structure was little more than a skeleton then, and since that time, it’s become a haven for all manner of less-than-savoury characters.


The view from Tell el-Ful overlooking Jerusalem


(Image: Judae1. The view from Tell el-Ful overlooking Jerusalem)

The incomplete Royal Palace’s future on Tell el-Ful remains uncertain. Stilled owned by the ruling family of Jordan, local authorities in Jerusalem have reportedly been reluctant to allow renovations at the abandoned property atop the ancient “Gibeah of Saul”.

Keep Reading: Lifta: Abandoned Palestinian Ghost Village at Edge of Jerusalem (Photos)

Aldeia de Broas: A Ruined Portuguese Ghost Village


These ruins mark the ghost town of Aldeia de Broas in Portugal.


(Image: Reino Baptista. The Portuguese ghost town of Aldeia de Broas)

These crumbling farm buildings are understood to mark the last remnants of Aldeia de Broas, a ghost town in Mafra, a municipality in the Lisbon District on the west coast of Portugal. According the Wikipedia, the lost community had been inhabited for centuries but became a ghost town in the 1960s when its last resident died. Judging by the photograph, the years have clearly not been kind.

Atmospheric as the above photograph is, Google Earth offers a more comprehensive glimpse back in time, as the ruins of the old village can clearly be seen from above.


The ruins of Aldeia de Broas from above.

Read Next: The Forgotten Ghost Town of Baltimore, Indiana