Filed under real life

Listen To Britain 75th Anniversary

Listen To Britain 75th Anniversary

This is an incredibly famous documentary made in the dark days of World War II by Humphrey Jennings as a means of uniting the United Kingdom. I’d heard a lot about it but never seen it before. Documentary maker Kevin Macdonald introduced it, describing it as a masterpiece; it is that and more. There is … Continue reading

Still Grieving Lost Children

Still Grieving Lost Children

This is really sad, from Joseph Leech’s Rural Rides, from the churchyard at Keynsham, though the author could have been a bit more diplomatic: My attention was attracted by 2 very antiquated crones, who came hobbling towards me over the graves which, in the course of nature, they ought to have long since filled; both … Continue reading

Paupers Riot 1830

Paupers Riot 1830

Here’s another horror story from Bristol’s past which serves as a warning of where we may be heading. The 1840s was a time of massive social upheaval across Europe, echoing the previous century’s ‘hungry forties’, but the problems were soaring in the 1830s. In Bristol, trade declines, so many workers were reduced to pauperism and … Continue reading

Wellington’s Victory Dinner Service

The Duke of Wellington is one of Britain’s greatest military heroes, but he was also seen as a saviour in Spain and Portugal. In the V&A is this huge dinner set commissioned by these grateful nations, produced 1813-16  

Arms to Luxury Furniture

Arms to Luxury Furniture

One of the biggest problems governments had at the end of wars was what to do with the unemployed servicemen and the factories which had been churning out arms. Peter the Great of Russia learnt a lot when he lived and worked in England. I think he may be the only one to build an … Continue reading

UK Royalty and Race

UK Royalty and Race

There’s a lot of discussion about how the present royal family is dealing with Prince Harry’s present partner, but I am increasingly fascinated by what defines race. This is an article by Kate Williams takes definitions of race onto a new level: Queen Charlotte, the German wife of “mad” King George III and mother of … Continue reading

The Death of Eli Dupree

The Death of Eli Dupree

Here’s a monument from Gloucester Cathedral which is very much out of the ordinary. It says Eli Dupree was “abused unto death” at Hayes Middlesex. My immediate thought was he was a child somehow mistreated in school or but the man was 74 years old. I asked one of the guides what this meant; she … Continue reading

A Bad Doctor

A Bad Doctor

John Aubrey is one of the great English writers and left a huge amount of diaries which range over a wide range of topics. They are chatty, he often qualifies what he writes by citing he’s not sure of this, or that someone told him, so provides insight into his life and thinking. This is … Continue reading

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

This is one of the most important, but least known historical and archaeological sites in Britain. Gunpowder has played a huge role in modernisation; without it we would not have city states, mining, wars, hunting, and spectacular fireworks. This is from historian Brenda Buchannan: Gunpowder and the explosives and propellants which followed it provided a … Continue reading