?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Rampisham Down

Rampisham Down is where, from 1939 until 2011, the transmitters for the BBC World Service in Europe were located--"twenty-six iron giants stand ... with a grey cat's cradle in their hands," in the words of Talis Kimberley in her song "Rampisham Down." They were so well known that when my mother came to visit us when we were living in Dorset--where Rampisham Down is located--she was excited to drive by them.

A friend gave me Talis Kimberley's wonderful song about them, which starts with a message on a picture postcard of them and then goes on to describe them and their stalwart duty:

Eight miles northwest of Dorchester
ST5401**
On the high chalk land where the Romans were
Upon Rampisham Down
Oh twenty-six iron giants stand
ST5401
With a grey cat's cradle in their hands
Upon Rampisham Down
Upon Rampisham Down

Here the news comes in and the news goes out
ST5401
And the world will hear what it's all about
Upon Rampisham Down
...
And when the world looks dark, as it sometimes will
ST5401
Then look to the giants on the high chalk hill
Upon Rampisham Down...

*This is the grid reference in Great Britain's Ordinance Survey maps that Rampisham Down is located on
Rampisham Down
(source)


The song--and the concept of those twenty-six faithful iron giants--really touched me, so I was sorry to learn from Wakanomori that they'd come down, victims of changes in how broadcast technology works. Here's a short (2.07 minutes) video about it:



That video is from August 2017. Let's have a moment of silence and respect for these hard workers.



... I'll post my picture for inktober next.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/864482.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
pigshitpoet
Oct. 6th, 2017 01:15 am (UTC)
thanks
that last picture is telling. had to listen to the song as well



the tale of how the giants fell..
; )
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 02:59 am (UTC)
Re: thanks
I linked to the song too, in the post--the words "wonderful song" are a link--but to the album version, not a live version!
pigshitpoet
Oct. 6th, 2017 05:53 am (UTC)
Re: thanks
the link didn't connect for me for some reason. maybe it is blocked in canada
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 12:26 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks
Ugh gotta hate regional restrictions. Thanks for persevering and finding a way to listen!
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:10 am (UTC)
Re: thanks
The live version is very nice!
pigshitpoet
Oct. 6th, 2017 05:50 am (UTC)
Re: thanks
yes, the other version is unavailable in my area
pigshitpoet
Oct. 6th, 2017 01:19 am (UTC)
; )
BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, BBC5, BBC6, BBC7
BBC heaven!
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:00 am (UTC)
Re: ; )
Definitely!
puddleshark
Oct. 6th, 2017 06:02 am (UTC)
They've been slowly vanishing, one by one, each time I've passed Rampisham these past few years. I thought perhaps they had simply walked away. Sad to see them fallen.

Maybe I'll still see their ghosts sometimes when I'm down in Kingcombe valley...

Rampisham Down, from Kingcombe
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 12:25 pm (UTC)
Oh what a beautiful photo--they're already ghostly in it.

When is this photo from?
puddleshark
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:24 pm (UTC)
May 2012, about a year after the decommissioning started...

I wish I had pictures of the masts in their heyday, but it was one of those sights I took for granted.
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:27 pm (UTC)
I wish I had pictures of the masts in their heyday, but it was one of those sights I took for granted.

--And this pains my heart: the things we love without knowing we love them, things we don't think we'll ever have to worry about missing. But that's life. (Sorry to sound morose...)

The song I linked to ends with the lines, "And when the world seems dark, as it sometimes must/We'll broadcast till our giants rust." The album came out in 2012. Did the singer know then about the towers' fate? Either way, the line is poignant in its irony.
puddleshark
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:33 pm (UTC)
...the things we love without knowing we love them...

Exactly.
zyzyly
Oct. 6th, 2017 04:29 pm (UTC)
I love this photo!
puddleshark
Oct. 7th, 2017 03:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Perhaps at the time I took it, I was still thinking them an eyesore. But I miss our giants now that they are gone.
sartorias
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:02 pm (UTC)
Those are lovely, forlorn photos.
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:15 pm (UTC)
Did you see the one that puddleshark added? It's just above your comment--the towers in the mist. Lovely and forlorn indeed!
sartorias
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:17 pm (UTC)
Now I have, and it is beautiful and eerie, all the more as it reminds me of similar towers visible along the LA skyline when I was a kid, only in those days it was extremely heavy smog that partiallly obscured the towers.
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2017 03:23 pm (UTC)
I bet child-you imagined stories to go with that scene.
sartorias
Oct. 6th, 2017 07:28 pm (UTC)
They were scary and alien to me. (Of course, nearly everything was scary.) I needed beautiful things to get the imagination sparking.
stormdog
Oct. 7th, 2017 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing that. Infrastructure at the end of its life is so poignant to me.
asakiyume
Oct. 10th, 2017 09:43 pm (UTC)
I agree: infrastructure works so hard for us...
heliopausa
Oct. 12th, 2017 04:08 am (UTC)
Marvellous! The big electricity pylons always look like giants too, striding across the land - which makes your last photo, of the fallen and crushed giant like the sobering last scene after epic battle. Respect indeed!

And the map! I love maps, and I've been listening recently to the first part of The Fellowship of the Ring - Tom Bombadil to the Barrow Downs - as a go-to-sleep bedtime book, and the scrap of map feels imbued with all the perils and possibilities of that journey - maybe it's the word WEST written large across it. :)
asakiyume
Oct. 12th, 2017 04:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, that WEST really could be on a map of a fantasy land.

Lots of the places in West Dorset really do sound like something from a fantasy. One of my favorites is Marshwood Vale. Doesn't it sound like it should always be wreathed in mist?
heliopausa
Oct. 13th, 2017 01:39 am (UTC)
Oh, very Fog on the Barrow Downs! Yes, always wreathed in mist and to be trodden through very cautiously.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

November 2017
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Paulina Bozek