Posted in April 2014

A Big Freeze

We don’t seem to get much really cold weather any more, at least not in the cities where there is so much stray heat to create a srt of microclimate. Though a few years ago the Floating Harbour had a thin layer of ice. I loved seeing the small black headed gulls standing round on … Continue reading

Bristol Bridge

This is not, as most people assume, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, but the ancient bridge crossing the Avon – now the Floating Harbour – in the centre of Bristol. This is from The Annals of Bristol by John Latimer: William Vick, wine merchant of Queen Square, died 3 January 1754. His will included several gifts, … Continue reading

Benefits of Civil War

This is from a BBc website from over a decade ago, Fred Dibnah’s Magnificent Monuments: “Withthe esception of Inigo Jones (1573-1652) whose confident handling of classical detail and proportion set him apart from all other architects of the period, most early 17th century buildings tended to take the innocent exuberance fo late Tudor work one … Continue reading

A Letter from 1792

The French Revolution had a huge impact across the Western world; in Britain, it was in part blamed on do-gooders educating the masses, so people like Hannah More who camapigned for mass education were for a time seen as 5th columnists, the enemy within. It is claimed by some if it had not been for … Continue reading

Georgian Music

When Henry VIII severed links with Rome, England then had a problem as to what sorts of arts would be acceptable, as they continued to be Christian, but Rome was seen as decadent and dangerous, so Protestant countries had to invent their own forms of worship and entertainments. This is from a BBC feature, Rule … Continue reading

A Witch In Wiltshire

Here’s a story from Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal of arch 1773 showing how easy it was even in the late 18th century, to be accused of witchcraft, and the importance of the often much condened local magistrates. “A few days ago, at the village of Seend, in Wiltshire, a Report prevailed that a Woman who … Continue reading

Thomas Hardy Buys a Wife

I can’t prove this, but I do wonder if this was the inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge. This comes from Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal of 1 July 1786: STAMFORD, June 23. Monday last, Thomas Hand, a taylor of Spalding, in this country, having expressed an intention of selling his wife, one … Continue reading

National Trust Goes Green

For those outside Britain, The National Trust is one of the great charitable organisations, that maintains many historic properties, and so is landlord to a lot of countryside. They also encourage the use of green technology and encourage people to visit their properties without their cars. But now they have gone a step further, as … Continue reading

Which Danny Boy?

This song is pretty much a secular anthem for the Irish, but it has a fascinating history. The tune is an ancient traditional tune, Londonderry Air, which I always thought was a rather strange title, London derriere, which annoys Irish people no end, but it’s not my fault it’s a mondegreen. It is said the … Continue reading