Posted in February 2013

A Love Letter From Germany

Britain’s relationship with Europe is all over the place at the moment, especially with the present government so divided between progressives and ‘Little Englanders.’ Here’s a letter from Germany’s President which seems to hark back a century or so, but is also very sweet. He said that it was up to the British people to … Continue reading

Swedish Tourists and Industrial Espionage

Britain now prides itself on its success in ‘soft’ power, but this has long been the case. In 1697 Peter the Great visited London to learn about shipbuilding and even worked in the naval dockyards.The fact that this gigantic Russian could fit in there suggests how multinational the place was at the time – or … Continue reading

An Agreeable Suicide

This is from a Bristol newspaper of 1770: “Alexander Griffiths, who hanged himself in a cart house in Temple Back was agreeable to being buried on the crossway upon Totterdown with a stake drove through his body. But a story that a woman he had been associated with had sold his body for dissection, a … Continue reading

Meat for the Poor

This is an article from the Bristol newspaper: “In compassion of the poor and in order to reduce the present exorbitant price of shambles meat, which is judged to be so much advanced as by combination and forestalling, a plan has been sett afoot to raise a fund to purchase live cattle, slay them and … Continue reading

Death of the ‘Big Society’

One of the present government’s big ideas is that all should contribute; they want people who cannot or aren’t working to contribute, by volunteering, and continuing to look for work, which few people would find issue with, and many have long been quietly practicing. And yet the recent court case in which a geology graduate … Continue reading

The End of St James’ Fair

After many centuries most of the big fairs were closed down during the mid 19th centurey, mostly on the grounds that they were haunts for criminals, but mostly with the rise of large markets and shopping arcades, they were no longer needed. “Bristol’s St James’ fair was largely discontinued as a result of Mr George … Continue reading

From Moscow with Love

Bristol is famous for its role as a trading city for many centuries, but it is staggering just how far their contacts reached. In a will or a carver in the late 18th century, was a list of the different types of stone, including from Sienna, Carrera, Danzig as well as the many local quarries. … Continue reading

A Single Glass of Ale?

This is from London’s ‘Morning Herald’ Thursday, Juyly 1st, 1830 “A Police Notice Guildhall Yesterday a decently-dressed man, who gave his name George Gunn, was charged with disturbing the congregation at St Bride’s church on Sunday morning last, by snoring so loudly as to prevent all those who happened to be near him from hearing … Continue reading

Safety for the Dead

Until well into the 19th centurythe only source of bodies for the study of human anatomy was from hangmen. This had a number of effects. One was that friends and relatives of the executed man would gather to try to steal the body and give it a proper churchyard burial. This led to some riots … Continue reading

Rock’nRoll Parenting

Richard Hawley is a popular performer on 6 music and today he did a live concert with some great anecdotes. He introduced ‘Don’t Stare at the Sun’ as a song about taking his youngest child to fly a kite, which sounds pretty dull, but he was on LSD at the time. It’s a great song: … Continue reading