Filed under commemorations

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

Cromwell and the Scots

A while ago I read of a large number of skeletons found in Durham Castle. This is what has been discovered abut them, from last Thursday’s i newspaper: “They were defeated and humiliated by Oliver Cromwell, and now, after 400 years, the fate of the Scottish prisoners of war who were marched to England has … Continue reading

Harvest Home

I have just discovered an incredibly dusty old tome on my shelves, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England in 1599. He was a recently qualified physician from Switzerland who came to England fluent in Greek, Latin, and French, with some Spanish, and of course couldn’t find anyone who could understand any of them, not even at … Continue reading

First Woman of Note

A 9 year old girl wrote to President Obama asking whey there were no women’s faces on the US currency. He said, “It was a pretty good idea.” My question is, why has it taken so long? This is from yesterday’s I, by Andrew Buncombe in New York: Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and then risked … Continue reading

Anzac Day

Anzac Day

This is the big national day for Australians and New Zealanders, even those who are away from home, as the huge crowd at Hyde Park Corner showed this morning. The start of the campaign to land troops in Turkey, to put a final end to the sclerotic Ottoman Empire and open the Dardanelles to the … Continue reading

The Dawn of Computing

The Dawn of Computing

This is the first recognisably modern computer, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine the SSEM, or Baby, the first to be able to store data plus operate an electronic memory. Built in Manchester, began running June 1948. This is what the zeroes and ones looked like. The first sighting of binary code. This is where the coding … Continue reading

Living Muses of Great Britain

Living Muses of Great Britain

Women have on the whole had a tough time throughout history, but in England in the mid to late 18th century, as the period between the two world wars, the shortage of men allowed women with talent to emerge into the public spotlight, albeit in socially acceptable fields. This engraving by Richard Samuel published in … Continue reading

Traditions of their Fathers

This is some more from Eamon Duffy’s ‘Stripping of the Altars’: Rotation processions were seen by zealous protestants as ‘charming the fields,’ by they continued in some regions long after they were outlawed, described as: ” profane, ungodly, presumptuous multitude as zealous for crosses & surplices, processions & perambulations, readings of gospel at a crossway, … Continue reading