The crypt at St Leonard’s is a very mysterious place, over 2,000 skulls on display either shelved or as part of a giant pile of skulls and thigh bones. No-one has been able to confirm exactly when the bones were first displayed in this manner of even why. However, what is known from recorded history is that the skulls have been on show for at least the last 400 years!
A bird nesting in one of the skulls. Luckily after death!
This pile is made up of around 1,000 skulls and 8,000 thigh bones. Theory suggests that the bones were put on display to travelling Pilgrims from the close proximity to the port town of Dover. A macabre shrine / tourist attraction on the way to Cantebury.
This poor fellow died of a sword wound; interestingly you can see how the skull has tried to heal leading to the growth in the around the wound.
Some of these skulls are over 700 years old. It has been assumed that these were mostly found in unmarked graves from the church graveyard, which due to space restrictions did not have gravestones. It was a common occurrence to find skeletons whilst digging a new grave. Why not put it on display?!
A example of a bone tumour – not necessarily the cause of death.
It’s a good job the rest of the church isn’t so dreary!
Credit to Jack F Barker for producing a guidebook explaining the small amount that is actually known about the crypt.
As one of only two ossuaries in the UK I highly recommend a visit: http://www.stleonardschurchhythekent.org/thecrypt.html.
The ruins of this temple in the Amman citadel complex once held a statute of the hero of Greek mythology, Hercules. Built between 162-166 CE scientists have not been able to accurately determine how tall he actually was!
The road to Umayyad Palace
Name drop ‘Alexander the great’ founded this place; as an ancient greek city you’d think you were in Athens rather than 30 miles north of the modern day capital of Jordan.
Jerash thrived during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods which is evidenced by the expansive ruins which remain. Despite the 749 Galilee earthquake destroying large parts of Jerash a significant portion of the site remains.
What remains of the old market place.
The Jerash nymphaeum.
The temple of Artemis
Artemis is known as the hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women! Built in CE 150 this was once the most important temple of Jerash but was later turned into a fortress and mostly destroyed by a great fire.
Many people think its an eyesore, others love the geometry. Brutalism is a form of architecture that started in the mid-1950s characterised by its raw concrete exterior and repeated modular elements forming a unified structure.
One of the most famous examples is the Barbican development.
Another prime example of this style can be found along the Southbank, the sprawling complex of the National Theatre and Southbank Centre.
Famed for being one of the most hideous examples and also now left to rot after being found full asbestos. Robin Hood Gardens.
Abbeyfield Road, Bermondsey.
Osaka aquarium is apparently one of the biggest in the world; with a huge tank in the middle containing whale sharks. Difficult to capture due to the low light and lack of tripod but these other sea critters delivered!
The big boss crabs!
Snake or fish?
Incredible details on this guy!
By far my favourite subjects were the jellyfish, they are enchanting!
Probably one of my favourite pictures of the Japan trip. (Click for full size on flickr)
Submarines are cool and no one can deny that! The amount of complexity inside one of these is incredible and a visit to the Chatham Historic dockyard is a great opportunity to see the HMS Ocelot up close. (http://www.thedockyard.co.uk/)
A brief bit of history; the Ocelot was the last submarine commissioned at Chatham dockyard in the 1960s. Capable of carrying 69 men and a payload of 24 torpedoes; the Ocelot was used in clandestine missions until 1991 when it became obsolete against the new fleet of nuclear subs.
Engine Room delviering 6,000 shaft horsepower
It amazes me that anyone knew how to operate this thing with the number of dials, switches, levers and buttons throughout.
Pressure is a big deal underwater, capable of bursting lungs if you try to surface to quickly.
The torpedo room; need to emergency exit? It’ll take 4 hours due to the pressure!
Emergency air valves, you’ll need it…
Apart from the Ocelot there were a number of other sites including the HMS Cavalier and the HMS Gannet.
Before I purchased a DSLR my Dad gifted me his old manual camera an Olympus OM-20 which he hadn’t used since he switched to digital many years ago. It was still in perfect working order and was my first real taste of manual photography which got me interested in developing this skill.
Various sources told me that B&W film was the most forgiving for a first timer so I loaded my self with an ISO400 film and set off on a few adventures.
The aim of this trip was to explore some of the old abandoned military forts on the coast near Sheerness and attempt to find the rare Yellow Tailed Scorpions (which apparently glow in the dark) which can only be found on one particular wall in this small town.
The scorpion hunt failed miserably but we managed to explore an old military base complete with underground chambers containing long forgotten machinery.
This was a little bit too serious for our taste:
Abandoned Power Station.
Unlike Sheerness there was only one aim of this trip to find an entry into the desolate power station, explore and document what remained. After a brief escapade around a live cargo shipyard (MGS style minus the cardboard box) we realised “There must be a better way” this led us to finding a patch to climb over the fence and make our way inside.
What greeted us was a treasure trove; A room full on engineer blueprints, a central control room, the finance area complete with fireproof safe (still locked!) and more. One room was even full of possessions which made us think that someone must have been squatting here in the past although strange that they appeared to have had everything they owned on them (family albums, girls dolls, random assortment of books).
A map teased us with the possibility of an underground tunnel which we knew from prior research lead under the Thames however it appeared the owners had got there before us as it was heavily blocked and would have needed at the least a sledgehammer to get us through and this wasn’t high on out equipment list wanting to travel light and avoid any damage to what remained. Maybe next time……