Filed under writing history

Still Robbing Graves?

Still Robbing Graves?

Here’s an oddity. After the Anatomy Act was passed in 1832 allowing for the legal dissection of corpses, body snatching should have ceased. But few people willed their bodies to science, so the shortage of bodies to train surgeons continued. This is a very overgrown grave in Abbey Park cemetery, with what seems to be … Continue reading

Only Australia Was Spared

My favourite grave in Bristol is that of the Humpage family, the father an inventor, the grave shows a column with piping and bolts that can be unscrewed. A man I used to know grew up there and he used to play on this grave, pretending it was a ship and when his mother called … Continue reading

Negotiating the End

This is the penultimate piece on World War I from the I newspaper, by their French correspondent John Lichfield: ON 8 November 1918, 2 trains came to a halt in adjoining idings at Rethondes in the forest of Campiegne, 40 miles north fo Paris. One, formerly the imperial train of Emperor Napoleon III, contained German … Continue reading

In a Far Away Field

Over the years I have gathered a huge collection of pamphlets and information on places I have visited; this is an article on Clevedon Church, to the south of Bristol on the coast. Once a tiny fishing village, it became a Victorian resort and is now commuter belt. The graveyard is large, with the oldest … Continue reading

Tulipmania Misreported

The 17th century speculation in tulips in the Netherlands and the spectacular collapse of prices is generally presented as a time of madness that resulted in many people becoming bankrupt, but this is to misunderstand how the economy worked. The people who grew the bulbs were a small group who knew each other, and investors … Continue reading

The Bellman

In the age before newspapers, official announcements and important news was anounced by the town crier, or Bellman, who would call out the information at certain places throughout the town or city, often the market place and crossroads etc. They were paid for the local council who also paid for his uniform of tricorn hat … Continue reading

Healing With Words

This is great am article on The Great War on the I paper by Cahal Milmo: ‘For several days early on 1917, May Bradford sat beside Corporal George Pendlebury in a British Field hospital on France, comforting him and writing to his family as he edged towards death By the time he succumbed to pneumonia, … Continue reading

Victim or Villain?

There are a lot of tragic stories from the past that make me realise how lucky we are not to be there, but the many instances of infanticide are perhaps the most disturbing, because this crime was seen as truly evil, so generally punished with the death sentence. But many instances, the young woman doesn’t … Continue reading

In Ruins

Art historian Christopher Woodward’s brilliant book, In Ruins begins with a description of Charlton Heston as an astronaut returned to earth in the closing scene of Planet of the Apes when he sees the ruined Statue of Liberty and realised what happened to the idiots that had been the all conquering human race. In a csimilar vein, … Continue reading