Filed under education

Masterpieces

For many centuries tradesmen learned their craft via apprenticeships. In Britain they were generally contracted outside the family to widen the skills taught and if a master died, the newly qualified journeyman might marry his master’s widow to continue the business and prevent the family becoming bankrupt. This meant it was rare for people in … Continue reading

Child Prodigies

Child Prodigies

James Ferguson grew up in rural Scotland in the early 18th century. Like most families, the Fergusons could not support their children so sent them to work at an early age. James became a shepherd but spent his days making models of mills, spinning wheels and any other mechanisms he saw. At night he lay … Continue reading

Unearthing Medieval Trellech

Unearthing Medieval Trellech

This is from Wednesday’s i paper and is a fantastic example of the value of so-called amateurs, and how much can be achieved by local communities. It was a medieval mystery that baffled experts for decades. Now a history fan has finally unearthed the priceless remains of a lost city- thanks to a colony of … Continue reading

Korean Exam Day

Here’s a piece for families dealing with teens hoping to get into a good university. In Korea they take the big exams very seriously. This is from yesterday’s i paper: Aircraft in South Korea were grounded and financial markets closed yesterday to recreate silence for students as they sat a gruelling 8 hour exam that can … 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

Public Dissections

Modern medicine tends to be divided between doctors in general practice, and those in hospitals who specialise in various fields. But for centuries there were two groups: Physicians who were educated, elite and well educated, and barber-surgeons who were mere tradesmen and often treated people by bleeding them. Apparently this in turn dates to when … 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