Filed under family history

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

Beyond Love

I’ve become a huge fan of Ira Glass’s ‘This American Life’ podcast, especially since it provides a welcome antidote to all the bad news coming out of the states recently. Last week i stumbled upon one of the strangest stories ever, in the episode ‘Grand Gestures’ which challenges so many aspects of what we are … Continue reading

A True Romance

A True Romance

Here’s some rather wonderful images from Winchester Cathedral. Many old churches have lovely carved tombs to dead crusaders, but this one, remembering the Earl of Arundel and his second wife Eleanor, from about 1307 is rather special. Despite their wealth they left instructions to be buried together without pomp. She has her legs crossed, like … 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

Newton’s Great Promoter

Newton’s Great Promoter

Most people have heard of Sir Isaac Newton, though most are vague on the details of his theories on gravity etc. But his work was written in Latin and they were incredibly complex and hard to comprehend, even by his fellow scientists. But they were understood by French born vicar John Theophilus Desaguliers who devised … 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

11 Million have Somme Ancestor

This is a headline from yesterday’s i paper: The Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of he First World War, resulted in more than a million casualties over 141 days. On the first day alone, 19,240 British soldiers lost their lives – the worst day in the history of the British Army. … Continue reading

Harvest Home, Monmouthshire, 1796

This is from a wonderful book I’ve just discovered, The Diary of a Farmer’s Wife 1796-1797 account of a single year written by Anne Hughes who lived in the remote countryside near Chepstow, Monmouthshire. It’s wonderful as it is written in her dialect, which is sending my spellchecker into meltdown, but you can hear the speech … Continue reading

Strawberry Hill House

Strawberry Hill House

This country house at Twickenham is often mentioned in literature of 18th century England, but I thought it had been lost long ago. Incredibly, it has been rescued and is now open to the public. This gem was built by Horace Walpole, youngest son of Britain’s first Prime Minister. It was the first modern gothic … Continue reading

Mount Stuart and its Archives

This is an article on the family home of the Bute family who owned fantastic amounts of property including Cardiff Castle, paid for by the local coal industry. This is from Saturday’s i paper: Tucked away down a winding corridor inside Mount Stuart, a sprawling 19th century neo-gothic mansion off the west coast of Scotland … Continue reading