Filed under early technology

In Praise of Dr Katterfelto

Dr Katterfelto is one of the most fascinating characters from late 18th/early 19th century England. He was called the King of Puff, and his claims to have cured Londoners of the flu epidemic helped sell his remedies. He demonstrated solar microscopes, and danced either side of the divide between science and magic with a big … Continue reading

Superstitions in Cambridge

Superstitions in Cambridge

These are from the Cambridge Local History Museum : This is a witches’ bottle, designed to dazzle a witch to prevent her working evil: And this is the local equivalent of a voodoo doll, with pins stuck into it, called the Corp Chreadh or clay body. They could also place it in water so the … Continue reading

Master Percy Praises The Lever Museum

Master Percy Praises The Lever Museum

Eighteenth century England produced a lot of child proteges who were often put on display by their partents and guardians in a way that to modern eyes seems like exploitation, but for families of humble birth could provide a welcome income. Some went on to achieve well deserved success such as the future President of … Continue reading

A Wily Yorkshire Miller

In the days before modern policing, people had to make do. This miller served up his own justice and probably taught the thieves a lesson about messing with him. This is from a letter in The Kentish Gazette of May 1771 Letter from York A few nights ago a gang of 9 thieves beset the … Continue reading

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

After my post on the glass exhibition, here’s some more images of the cathedral which is absolutely huge. I can well imagine how this place inspired thoughts of higher things as well as reminders of those who have gone to a hopefully better place. Cadaver tombs were sometimes combined with images of a bishop in … Continue reading

Apple Stomping on the Shoulders of Giants

This is from the i paper, by Andrew Johnson, titled “Without public funding, there is no iphone” or much else, for that matter: Hands up who likes paying tax? No one? Thought so. While most of us recognise it’s a necessary burden there are others – often the very wealthy – who don’t like to … Continue reading

The Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum

This is a wonderful venue in the far south of London which is home to the collections of a single man, so provides us with not just an incredible amount of items, from stuffed animals to cultural artefacts, to music instruments, and a room full of international curiosities, a dinosaur room and a small aquarium. … Continue reading

Northsealand or Doggerland

Northsealand or Doggerland

Most of us are vaguely aware that Britain was once part of mainland Europe, and if you listen to Radio 4’s nightly Shipping Forecast, you have heard of a region called ‘Dogger’ which covers part of it. I have also come across a few accounts of North Sea Fishermen finding the remains of huge old … Continue reading

30 MPH Speed Limit Sign

This is by Rhodri Marsden in last week’s i paper. This week in 1935 saw the introduction of 30mph speed limit signs i the built-up areas across the UK. Motorists weren’t happy about this, or indeed about any of the measures introduced by Leslie Hoe-Belisha, the Liberal minister for transport in Ramsay MacDonald’s National government. … Continue reading