Posted in February 2014

The Big Question

Georgian London had a lot of debating societies and many other clubs discussing their busy and fast changing world. One of the best known was the Robin Hood Society that met in a coffee house on The Strand. I saw a cartoon which claimed they were to discuss in 1783 how far is it from … Continue reading


Well Clearance

Here’s a story that ticks a lot of boxes for me as I am very interested in clean water and gunpowder used in stupid and/or dangerous ways. I saw an article – I think from the late 18th century on how to make a well safe for workmen, as stale air could sometimes explode when … Continue reading


Last night I watched a tv show on animal skeletons, and how they determine so much about all of us. I learnt the following: Snakes do not have really bendy joints  in their spines, just lots of bones that can can each bend a bit. Gibbons are the greatest aerialists, sẃinging through the trees at … Continue reading

Cured, Much Better, Better, No Better, Dead

The title refers to types of outcomes for patients at Bath’s first hospital. Whilst praised by Smollet and others as being ‘the hospital of the nation’, it was built to stop the flood of sick poor into the city in search of help. The surprising thing is that very few died, given the levels of … Continue reading

Thomas Smitten

One of my favourite artists was the portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence, a child protege son of a failed innkeeper who managed to support his large family painting pastel portraits before he was a teen. I’ve done a post about him elsewhere, but he clearly loved women, and his paintings are full of bare pink … Continue reading

Science versus Civility

The main objections to educating women were based on the low expectations for them. As it was assumed that they would become mothers and housekeepers, the skills required were very limited, and this was especially so before we had free education. This meant that campaigners for female education had to reframe the argument in terms … Continue reading

Whatever Shines is to be Noted Down

It is now a century since the Suffragettes were noisily demanding equal rights for women, but there are still professions where they are still woefully scarce, and science is one of them, despite the first professional woman scientist being from the 18th century. Her name was Caroline Herschell, younger sister of William who discovered the … Continue reading

A House for Colour Music

Not a lot of people get to design their own homes; not many need to, but there’s one on the outskirts of Bath, England that is rather extraordinary. It dates from the 1930s when all sorts of strange things were happening in architecture and technology, and this house combines both with extraordinary results. It is … Continue reading

Clown Shortage

Clowns have long been the mainstay and fill-ins at circuses, but there is now a growing crisis in the profession, as Glen Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America International, told the New York Daily News. This is caused by the older generation dying and the youngsters failing to follow in their extra large footsteps. Kohlberger … Continue reading