Filed under environment

England’s Vanishing Arts

England’s Vanishing Arts

Last Friday the i featured England’s last cooper, Les Skinner, 72  who is about to retire and sell his business in Liverpool. The trade was once at the heart of Britain’s trade, as they produced barrels for food and drink, whale oil so was a huge industry, and one of the last of the guilds … Continue reading

Ghosts of Wigan Pier

Ghosts of Wigan Pier

This is from the i paper by Dean Kirby. I was surprised to see the image of Orwell’s son. The 1930s seem so much further away than living history. Orwell is also important today with the rise in alternative readings of Britain’s colonial past.  When George Orwell was writing The Road to Wigan Pier – … Continue reading

Wassailing Exotically

Wassailing Exotically

Here’s a gem from the V&A museum, a wassail set, but not for country yokels! This is made of lignum vitae, an expensive hardwood from the West Indies, and ivory.   

A Bishop’s Pardon

A Bishop’s Pardon

The Treasury at Chichester Cathedral is full of fascinating items, but I love this one: A pardon for an early bishop, though it makes no mention of what he had done. This is from the information provided: Papal pardon to Godfrey, 2nd bishop of Chichester (1088, consecrated in January and died in September) found in … Continue reading

St Kilda’s Diet

St Kilda’s Diet

St Kilda is one of the most isolated places in the British Isles, an archipelago in the Outer Hebrides whose final human inhabitants left in 1930. It is now home to 600,000 nesting birds each year. This is from the i paper of 29 December: A 250-year-old census has revealed that islanders on St Kilda… … 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

Blind House

Blind House

This stands beside the bridge at the edge of Trowbridge centre, a rare survivor of the many that were built to detain overnight local drunks and other ne’er do wells, so thought it was apt for today.  It is really impressive, and I wonder if there used to be a ducking stool nearby on the … Continue reading

An Irreplaceable Artefact

This is another piece by Frank Cottrell-Boyce on the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford: In the corner was a glass case with a curtain. I pulled the curtain aside and found a vast red and yellow cloak, an ‘ahu ‘ula made in the 1830s for Queen Kekauluoki of Lahina in Hawaii,of hundreds of thousands of … Continue reading

Awaiting New Owners

Awaiting New Owners

This is a large church complex in Trowbridge, Wiltshire which was formerly a busy site of Congregationalists. They are a group who I knew were wealthy, and often supported good causes, but they are struggling to find a new use for this large site. I wish I could have seen inside – it looks lovely. … Continue reading