Filed under commemorations

11 Million have Somme Ancestor

This is a headline from yesterday’s i paper: The Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of he First World War, resulted in more than a million casualties over 141 days. On the first day alone, 19,240 British soldiers lost their lives – the worst day in the history of the British Army. … Continue reading

More Blue Plaques to Women

Blue plaques are placed on buildings historically associated with famous people. This is from Monday’s i paper: It is “wrong” that so few blue heritage plaques are dedicated to women and there should be increased recognition of the female contribution to history, the chairman of English Heritage has said. Only 13% of London’s blue plaques – … Continue reading

Scattering Grass In Wingrave Church

This is a strange ritual, but one recent enough to be traceable and so makes sense, well sort of. This is from Highways & Byways in Buckinghamshire: [Wingrave] church is the principal attraction. There is, for example, a rhyming record of a charity in one of the aisles: As day doth pass from houre to … Continue reading

Unseen City

Unseen City

I stumbled upon this exhibition at London’s Guildhall, expecting it to be about -oh, I don’t know – underground tunnels or something, but it’s about The City, ie the rituals about London and its guilds that few of us ever hear about, but there are a lot of them – I knew of the Swan … Continue reading

Remembering Prince

Someone on the radio said this has become a really bad year to be a celebrity – Victoria Wood and Prince within a few days of each other. Prince was so many things – songwriter, singer, performer, producer, but his virtuoso skills on the guitar have been often overshadowed, though comparisons with Hendrix have been … Continue reading

Roger Casement and Africa

The i paper and the Independent have a lot of award winning journalists, but sometimes they publish personal stories by them which are often more interesting than the regular news. Patrick Cockburn is a brilliant writer on the Middle East, but here’s his take on a matter closer to home, that of Roger Casement, executed … Continue reading

Quietly Ignored Are The Peace Monitors

North Korea is getting a lot of coverage at the moment for sabre-rattling, but here’s a rather sad-sweet article from yesterday’s i paper: In a tiny mess hall set amid pine trees and rose bushes on the heavily fortified Korean border, a lunch of steak and asparagus is served. Outside, birdsong competes with the drone … Continue reading

Songs In Memory

The past few months have seen a truly horrific rollcall of deaths in the performing arts, and today Umberto Eco joined the list. Last night BBC6music again showed why they are the top digital radio station when Tom Robinson’s show asked listeners to suggest songs to remember those we have lost. The show began with … Continue reading

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

This is another strange dance that survives but is far from clear what it was meant to be. This was featured in The Unthanks special on English dancing. This is from Curious Country Customs by Jeremy Hobson: One of the best known and almost certainly one of the oldest …is thought to date back as … Continue reading

Blackface in Lancashire

Blackface entertainers get a lot of stick these days for being a long standing form of offence by white entertainers, but historically, there is often more to the story. Many years ago I saw a special programme by the Unthanks on traditional dances in England, some of which are pretty weird, none less so than … Continue reading