Filed under oral history

Glass House

Glass House

There are lots of artists and craftspeople out there trying to sell their wares at fairs and markets, especially in the run-up to Christmas.  I get a bit jaded with all the seasonal stuff. But sometimes I stumble upon something genuinely original. Take a look at this piece of glasswork. It’s beautifully designed, and in … Continue reading

Second Person Pronouns

Atlas Obscura is a great source of obscure information, though often flawed by lack of research, but here’s an article that got me thinking. For all its history and variety, English has no plural form of the second person pronoun. Unlike other European languages, it also has no polite/informal forms. AO find the latter … Continue reading

Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England

This is some more from a German physician’s journal, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599 Especially every quarter when the law courts sit in London and they throng from all parts of England for the terms … to litigate in numerous maters which have occurred in the interim, for everything is saved up till that … Continue reading

Social Mobility by English Rock Stars

The music business has long been seen as a means for poor people to make a living, but in the late 1960s/early 70s there were some truly stellar rises by the few fortunate enough to become famous.  The following snippets come from Dominic Sandbrook’s book The Great British Dream Factory: Bill Wyman had grown up in … Continue reading

Georgian Care for Mentally Ill

Before mental health services were established, it is generally assumed that people suffering mental illness were locked away as with Mrs Rochester, or put on display to e mocked at Bedlam. But in small communities, matters could be dealt with on a local level. There was a wider range of employment than today; everyone could … Continue reading

A Local Witch

This comes from Joseph Ashby of Tysoe 1859-1919, a real goldmine of  first person details. This is unusual as it shows the boys misbehaving, but also the old woman treating them with what seems to be benign indifference. Was this sort of behaviour so commonplace at the time? Or did she know they meant no … Continue reading

A School Inspection

There have been a lot of changes in British education in recent years, all of course in the name of so-called improvement, but often more to do with saving money or removing their control from local councils. This is what it used to be like to have an annual inspection, from the early to mid … Continue reading

Early Education

This is from my latest discovery-Joseph Ashby of Tysoe 1859-1919, a wonderful account of growing up n a small village in Warwickshire that I can’t find in my atlases. Educating children in England was for most of our history left to the church; some of our early rulers were completely illiterate, leaving record keeping to … Continue reading

Sheep Stealers

Here’s another item from Tales of Old Berkshire. Sheep stealing was a big deal in the past – they were a good size, often left in open fields, but still moveable. But from the early 18th century theft risked a rope necklace. The first one is of the commmon sort, often put about to keep … Continue reading