Filed under maritime history

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

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

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Since albatrosses are in the same family as seagulls who stamp on the ground to imitate rain, which draws their favourite food, worms, to the surface, this article fits with their family behaviour. This is by Tom Bawden in the i paper: Albatrosses secure much of their food using an extraordinary technique which involves furiously … 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

Devon Shipwreck Preserved

Devon Shipwreck Preserved

This is from the i paper of 15 August: The remains of a wooden cargo ship wrecked off Devon while plying the trade route that kept Georgian dinner tables laden with port 250 years ago have been given protected status. The timbers of the vessel have been regularly exposed on the sands near Westward Ho! … Continue reading

Sham Execution

This is an event from Bristol in October 1780, an incredibly well organised protest against senior naval officers, and unusual for its lack of violence and drunkenness which the city was so famous for: Thursday afternoon at a stigma on some commanders who have not deserved the high encomiums justly due tot the Lord Cornwallis, … 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

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

Mermaid Search

This is from The Observer of August 1812: “Mr J. Toupin, while on a sailing expedition last week, with a party of ladies and gentlemen, about a mile from Exmouth Bay, discovered n the water an animal resembling the description given of he Mermaid. One of the boatmen threw it some pieces of boiled fish, … Continue reading