Scottish Daily Mail

The armour plated Pope

- Compiled by Charles Legge

QUESTION What became of the Popemobile­s used for John Paul II’s tour of the UK in 1982?

TWO Popemobile­s were used for the papal visit to the UK in 1982. The British Commercial Museum, Leyland, Lancs, is home to one, as part of its popular public historic vehicle collection, and you are even allowed to stand in it and wave to imaginary crowds.

The other Popemobile was at Albion Museum in Dumfries before being sold at auction in 2006 for £37,000 to a private collector in Ireland.

Before the advent of the mechanised Popemobile, the pontiff travelled in a glorified sedan chair called a sedia

gestatoria. Pope Leo XII was the first to have his own carriage, a luxury wooden vehicle adorned with the eagle crest of his papacy, in 1826.

In the automobile age, dozens of vehicles have been specially built for the needs of the pontiff by carmakers such as Cadillac, Mercedes and Jeep.

Perhaps the most infamous was the Fiat 1107-Nuova Campagnola presented to Pope John Paul II during a visit to Turin in 1980. It was the first true Popemobile, a white, all-terrain vehicle with a viewing platform. It was while he was being driven in this vehicle that John Paul II was shot while greeting the crowds in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.

The British Popemobile­s were created by Ogle Design of Letchworth, Herts, and purpose-built by Leyland Trucks. The brief was that they should be wellarmour­ed and the Pope should be clearly visible to crowds of over a million.

Weighing some 24 tons, they had bulletproo­f glass and under-floor armour, and were designed to withstand an attack by small firearms. The Leyland constructo­r chassis was chosen for its off-road capability and, if an emergency arose, its accelerati­on. During the Pope’s four-day visit, the vehicles were operated by the Special Branch, and while one was being used by the Pope at one venue, the other was transporte­d to the next location by Leyland Trucks.

Don Simmonds, Manchester.

QUESTION Inhabitant­s of Leicester are called Rat-eyes, from the Roman name for the city, Ratae. What other inventive nicknames are there for Britain’s towns and cities?

SCOTLAND has some good nicknames for its towns. Inhabitant­s of Arbroath are called Red Lichties, owing to the red light that used to guide fishing boats back from the North Sea to the harbour.

Folk from Fraserburg­h are Brochs. Its origin is the Old English burh meaning burgh or town.

W. Gregor’s Folk-Lore Of North-East Scotland (1881) claims: ‘Aberdeen will be a green/An Banff a borough’s toon/But Fraserbroc­h ’ill be a broch / When a’ the brochs is deen.’ A Keelie is a young tough from any large town, but the most common is a Glasgow Keelie. It is derived from the Gaelic gille meaning ‘a lad’.

A Gallach is a person from Caithness; it comes from the Gaelic gallaibh, meaning ‘among the strangers’.

An inhabitant of Dumfries is a Doonhamer. The term comes from 19th-century railway workers from Dumfries who worked in Glasgow and referred to their town as doon hame (down home).

Alan Jacobsen, Hawick, Borders. EVERYONE knows Scousers come from Liverpool, but what is less well known is that the term comes from the Norwegian word lobskaus,a stew that was made and sold at the docks at Liverpool.

Folk living near Liverpool, but not in the city, were once known as Woollyback­s, a term derived from dockers hauling woollen bales onto ships, which would leave a thin layer of wool on their backs.

Inhabitant­s of Blackpool are Donkey Lashers from the victorian practice of riding donkeys on the beach, and folk from Stoke are Clayheads, as the city has been the centre of the British ceramics industry for 200 years.

A Janner is a name given to anyone who speaks with a Devon accent, but was originally used as naval slang to mean a person from Plymouth. It came about because of the way West Country folk pronounce the name John — ‘Jan’.

Hartlepool folk are Monkey Hangers, from the story that citizens hanged a monkey thinking it was a Frenchman.

J. B. Miles, Southampto­n.

IS THERE a question to which you have always wanted to know the answer? Or do you know the answer to a question raised here? Send your questions and answers to: Charles Legge, Answers To Correspond­ents, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow, G2 6DB. You can also fax them to 0141 331 4739 or you can email them to charles. A selection will be published but we are not able to enter into individual correspond­ence.

 ??  ?? Holy visit: Jean Paul II in a Popemobile at Crystal Palace on his tour of Britain in 1982
Holy visit: Jean Paul II in a Popemobile at Crystal Palace on his tour of Britain in 1982

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