Filed under oral hsitory

A Child Genius

A Child Genius

I recently saw a young girl calling out “Old man! old man!” to an elderly person shuffling with a jerky gait across the road from us. He didn’t hear or purposely ignored her, so she turned to me, anxious for clarification even though her father was nearby. “Do you know him?” She asked. “No, Why?” … Continue reading


Writing Non Fiction

Writing Non Fiction

Writing fiction or non fiction requires the ability to get inside a story, and inside the heads of characters. But non fiction has to go further – it has to be checkable, you need to protect yourself from challenges. But the process of research and writing can change you for the better. I am a … Continue reading

Living Museum Expands

Another gleam of light in the gloom of economic cutbacks for local culture and museums is the announcement that the Beamish Museum in Co. Durham is actually expanding. This is from the i 5 April. An award-winning “living museum” that replicates what working live was like in times gone by is set for a £17m … Continue reading

Deer Poaching

This is some more from ‘Old Oak’: “The forest laws were severe. A deer slip found in a cottage down to the time of Waterloo secured for its tenant 6 moths lodging in the country gaol. A forest buck discovered on the “lusty shoulders” of some Silson poacher meant ’12 months and a day’ in … Continue reading

Late Marriages

In places like Middlesborough, where most of the work was for men at the ironworks, women were in a minority and seldom single. There is also an assumption that people lived short lives, the ‘average age’ of 35 often being cited, but they often saw old bones. This is from Lady Bell’s At the Works: … Continue reading

Charity at The Works

This is from Lady Bell’s At the Works, her account of the ironworks at Middlesborough . Here she is describing the struggle for some to survive financially: “the amount expended on charity by the very poor, who, with self-sacrificing kindness, seem constantly ready to help one another. It often happens that if one of heir number … Continue reading

Word of the Day: Goliard

I stumbled upon this word, and the more I discover about it the more I like it. The OED describes a goliard as a disreputable vagrant medieval cleric given to revelry, buffoonery and satirical Latin versifying, a follower of an imaginary Bishop Golias. Another source describes them as renegade clerics of no fixed abode more … Continue reading

The Importance of Archaeology

This is from an article in June’s Current Archaeology, by Sophie Jackson “Revisiting the Temple The Mithras project Back in 1954, Diana van Royen was one of the many thousands of people who queued to see the last weeks of the excavation of London’s Roman Temple of Mithras. This was one of the most extraordinary … Continue reading