Filed under British history

Curiosities at Gloucester Folk Museum

Curiosities at Gloucester Folk Museum

Sometimes I find references to items which I really need to see to understand. Fortunately some museums have handling exhibitions which help. This was a Tudor exhibit at the recent doors open day. This is a trencher, a precursor of plates. It’s only a few inches across as they did not have all the food … Continue reading

Listen To Britain 75th Anniversary

Listen To Britain 75th Anniversary

This is an incredibly famous documentary made in the dark days of World War II by Humphrey Jennings as a means of uniting the United Kingdom. I’d heard a lot about it but never seen it before. Documentary maker Kevin Macdonald introduced it, describing it as a masterpiece; it is that and more. There is … Continue reading

Life and Death of Sir Thomas Lawrence

Life and Death of Sir Thomas Lawrence

Bristol has produced a lot of famous people, most of whom are ignored by present inhabitants. One of the most criminal cases of neglect is that of Lawrence, who is one of my favourite artists, and the first to become a superstar artist and antiquarian. This is from Latimer’s Annals: Sir Thomas Lawrence, President of … Continue reading

Forth Bridge and Britain’s Decline

Forth Bridge and Britain’s Decline

This is from a piece by Ian Jack who remembered the opening of its predecessor 53 years ago. What has been lost? Odd little things: a quiet pice of shoreline a view, a further erosion of Fife’s separateness – which could be argued is for the good. The argument against the car is a bigger … Continue reading

A Bad Doctor

A Bad Doctor

John Aubrey is one of the great English writers and left a huge amount of diaries which range over a wide range of topics. They are chatty, he often qualifies what he writes by citing he’s not sure of this, or that someone told him, so provides insight into his life and thinking. This is … Continue reading

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

This is one of the most important, but least known historical and archaeological sites in Britain. Gunpowder has played a huge role in modernisation; without it we would not have city states, mining, wars, hunting, and spectacular fireworks. This is from historian Brenda Buchannan: Gunpowder and the explosives and propellants which followed it provided a … Continue reading

Waltham Abbey

Waltham Abbey

This town is now part of London’s northern commuter belt, but the Abbey was one of the wealthiest before Henry VIII closed it. It was founded by King Harold who was miraculously cured by the relic of the Holy Cross which had come from Montacute in Somerset.  After the Battle of Hastings, some of his … Continue reading

William Henry Hunt Watercolour painter

William Henry Hunt Watercolour painter

Hunt is an artist I’d not heard of, so his show at the Courtauld Institute was an eye opener. Born near Covent Garden in 1790, he was disabled, so unable to do physical work, but fortunately he showed a talent for art so was apprenticed at the age of 14 to John Varley who shared … Continue reading