Filed under economics

Harsh Justice

Our ancestors had to deal with a lot of problems but a major one was ensuring safe reliable supplies of food. This is why markets were established within walking distance of all citizens. In Britain, selling underweight food -especially the staple of grain or bread – was punished with a ducking or heavy fines. The … Continue reading

Celebrities Changing the World?

Here’s a piece by the brilliant Grace Dent in the i paper on the impact of celebrities opposing Trump. It’s also a lesson for politicians here, of course. When William Morris wrote “Nothing useless can be truly beautiful” he patently had never visualised an anti-Trump public service announcement starring the thinking woman’s crumpet Mark Rufallo … Continue reading

The Richest Man in All Christendom?

Most people assume slavery was the basis of most fortunes in Britain’s 18th century, but descendants of the original settlers also featured. Here’s a couple of pieces from May 1771’s Kentish Gazette: Wm Baker, Esq; one of the Sheriffs of this city, &c. was married at Spring Garden Chapel, to Miss Juliana Penn, daughter of … Continue reading

Jews and Slave Trading

Jews and Slave Trading

The British Labour party seems to be ripping itself apart on a number of levels, one of which involves the matter of anti-semitic comments. Jackie Walker, vice chair of Momentum, the group that supports its present leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Momentum, made some comments that were deemed offensive, and was suspended for claiming Jewish people financed … Continue reading

Fresh Fish in Elizabeth’s London

This is an oddity on food from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. This suggests ways of supplying fresh fish when the fleet were unable to sail, especially in bad weather.  At the fishmarket, in a long street, I saw a quantity of pike up for sale; they are very fond of this, and call … Continue reading

Law Abiding in Yorkshire, 1766

This is from the Newcastle Chronicle of July 1766. It is noteworthy as soon after this, the south and west of England erupted in food riots. This region remained calm as they ate mostly potatoes instead of suffering speculation in wheat which caused bread to skyrocket in price. York, July 22 Last Friday the assizes … Continue reading

Origins of Mechanical Music

Origins of Mechanical Music

I’ve been trawling through my archives, unearthing scraps of paper with indecipherable scribblings on them, but found one that got me thinking. This is a bit of a rambling post, (no surprise there?) so please bear with me. This comes from Humphrey Jennings’ Pandaemonium 1660-1886 The Coming of the Machine as seen by Contemporary Observers. … Continue reading

No Brexit Negotiators

Yet another story that reminds us how inept our politicians are in planning the exit of the UK from the EU. This is from the i paper: The UK does not have its own trade negotiators because they are all working for the European Union, the sacked minister who was due to lead the Government’;s … Continue reading

British Racism?

There has been a lot of talk of this in relation to the recent EU referendum, with Brexiters being accused of being anti foreigners, little Englanders, etc. Whilst there are of course elements of this mindset here, as everywhere, I have spoken to a lot of people who want limits on immigration but who do … Continue reading

Dr Johnson on The Falkland Islands

Dr Samuel Johnson is famous for his Dictionary of English words, but he was a well informed writer and barrister, who also published Thoughts on the Late Transactions Respecting Faulkland’s Islands. This is how he describes the first English visitors to this still disputed territory: He talks of Anson describing he islands, which inspired a … Continue reading