The First Memory

It is intriguing to discover theearliest memories people have. Not just what, but how old they were. Mine is of sitting in the front seat of my father’s work van, with my new born sister in my lap, bringing her and my mother home from the hospital for the first time. I remember it because … Continue reading

What is The Use of Poetry?

A woman I know told me how she took a women’s group from a deprived inner city to a local estate, where they could wander about in the open air, and she thought they would enjoy it. But they were mostly bored, with one asking her ‘what’s the point of trees?’Answers on a postacrd please. This is another piece … Continue reading

Open Land in Scotland and Ireland

My previous posts  on common land only refer to England and Wales as the systems in Scotland and Ireland were completely different. Here is some more from Lord Everley’s Commons, Forests and Footpaths “Commons of this manorial type …do not exist in Ireland or Scotland. All the land in those countries, even where uncultivated and incapable … Continue reading

English Commons

Across England and Wales, there are open spaces called ‘commons’ which are generally rough open spaces for fairs and walking dogs. But what does this term mean? This is from Lord Eversley, Commons Forests & Footpaths: “In most parts of England ansd Wales there exist many ranges of open land, which hae never been subject … Continue reading

Did Shakespeare Ridicule the Working Man?

Here’s another piece from John O’London’s Unposted Letters. At first I thought the title was stupid – of course Shakespeare wrote of ordinary people, he is our greatest playwright, loads of working people used to pay to see his plays. But plays had to be licensed, and that meant sucking up to the powers that … Continue reading

Unposted Letters

This is a lovely little book I just found, by the author John O’London who claims they were intended as Letters to Gog and Magog journal, but were never posted. I have no idea who this man was, but he deserves to be better known; he dedicates his book to his daughter Sylvia Tempest Whitten, … Continue reading

The Battle of Banstead Commons, 1893

This is not a battle which many people are aware of, but it should be much better known, as the result was nothing short of a revolution in land use and access. Despite massive opposition from the lord of the manor in both houses of parliament, a thirteen year struggle in the law courts resulted … Continue reading

London Open Spaces

The current battle against development on open land is one that has been ongoing in Britain since the first enclosures of common land in the 16th century, though it is the massive increase in these land grabs that are more famous. The need for open spaces took on and urgency when it was realised how … Continue reading