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Showing posts from 2007

Changes of address for Guy’s and St Thomas' hospitals

Guys and St Thomas are giving themselves a name make over - Guys is no longer addressed in St Thomas St but now is in Great Maze Pond. Changes of address for Guy’s and St Thomas' hospitals [31 December 2007]

Review of My Year

Quick review of my year: Best Film: Lives of Others Best of the Rest: United 93, Borat, Black Cat, White Cat, the death of Mr Lazarescu Best Factual Book: Origins of the British - Stephen Oppenheimer Best Fiction: Philip Roth - various of his books Best TV: Cranford Best Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors Best Exhibition: Gilbert and George Tate Modern Best Gig: Madredeus Notable Events - I got my PG Cert in Higher Education, I learnt to Sail, the Old Operating Theatre Museum was sold to the Cathedral Group and despite the disruption exceeded 30,000 visitors for the first time. I became an honorary lecturer at UCL. I kept a creative journal all year and improved my blog. Children did so well - Connie get 3 A's at A-level, and Hetty getting into the Camden Youth Jazz Band. Best moments - Cycle ride around Olympics Site and trip to Korea.

Sacred Texts: Holkham Bible

The Holkham bible has been reproduced as a facsimile by the British Library. It is a 14th Century picture book telling stories from the Bible as pictorial stories. The illustrator was from London and was heavily influenced by Mystery Plays and London - the biblical places resemble London. Sacred Texts: Holkham Bible ICT

JibJab Sendables -customisable e-cards

Paste your own heads onto various 'amusing' videos - interesting use of ICT JibJab Sendables

Adsense - does it make sense to advertise on a blog?

I'm trying out Adsense to see if any money is to be made from a blog after all. quite easy to set up - and puts a line of ads on the top line of the blog. But I can't see that many people clicking. ICT

Talking Heads, software to animate and voice sync

Some time ago I began a search for some software whereby I could animate a talking head - the idea being that it would host the web site, providing a spoken commentary on various web pages. Well, I might just have found the technology - Crazy Talk Have a look at this: http://www.chr.org.uk/christmasmessage2.htm ICT

Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm Since Hippocrates by David Wootton

I have been reading David Wooton's Bad Medicine in which he expouses the claim that until 1865 Doctors did nothing but harm to their patients. Very interesting book, although he does overstate it, as Doctors were quite competent at dealing with mechanic problems and there were certainly some remedies which by experience did some good, but he is correct that the humoural theory particularly as combined with astrological ideas did mean that erroneous theory out-trumped experience - so his basic thesis is correct. Oxbow Books - Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm Since Hippocrates by David Wootton

CSM trip to Seoul, South Korea

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Last week I went to Seoul with 9 students and a fellow tutor on a project about the Seoul City Walls. We are working with IDAS/International Design school for Advanced Studies, Hongik University in Seoul. The idea is to produce a series of ideas for projects which can help develop Seoul's tourism and help redefine Seoul's image. I had no expectations of Seoul - rather more negative than positive, but in the event I was very impressed. The City was flattened in the Korea War in 1953, and it rebuilt itself first as a shanty town and then as a modern City. It is now the 5th biggest City in the world with upwards of 15m people and is a vibrant and dynamic City. The dynamism is seen in the amazing signs on each and every floor of every building. What stops this being visual pollution is the sheer number of signs, the bright colours and the beauty of the Korean script. From our limited experience Seoul seem perhaps a little self-effacing about its achievements - it is a City tha

Guiding in St Pauls - not a blue badge guide monopoly

Today, I discovered, from a St Pauls spokesperson, that St Pauls did not operate a Blue Badge guide only policy. Their policy was that only people with appropriate knowledge can guide there which includes school teachers, lecturers, academics etc and blue badge guides. A very sensible policy which I would hope that the Tower and Westminster Abbey could follow. Apparently this has been the policy for many years. I wish I had known because I have been looking over my shoulder fearing the heavy hand of the canon every since I was told, probably by a blue badge guide that I could not talk there!

The Viking roots of northwest England

Some 50% of people in Liverpool area have similar genes to those from Orkney and Norway. for further information The Viking roots of northwest England

Government needs Historians

*** SALON 178: 17 December 2007 *** reports: 'Governments need historians, says David Cannadine David Cannadine, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Professor of British History at the Institute of Historical Research, says that politicians and civil servants make bad policy decisions because they lack historical knowledge. Speaking on 5 December 2007, at an event to launch a new organisation called History and Policy ( ), an organisation that aims to connect historians with policymakers and improve public policy through an understanding of history, he said: ‘I believe Whitehall departments should have historical advisers and the government should have a Chief Historical Adviser. Historians and politicians bring very different perspectives to bear on the contemporary world and greater dialogue between them would be beneficial to the policy process. Historians can suggest, on the basis of past precedents, what might or might not work and counsel against raising public expectations t

Automatic List of Labels for Blogger Classic Templates

I have belatedly discovered labels and wanted my very own 'tag cloud'. Googling proved that it was going to be difficult - until I came across the following blog and found it very easy to fix! See the label cloud to the left. Automatic List of Labels for Blogger Classic Templates / FTP | Blogger | Feeds | Javascript | � phydeaux3 ICT

Blue Badge Guides - London's last restrictive practice?

The last restrictive practice left in London? Can the monopoly that Blue Badge Guides have on guiding in Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and St Pauls Cathedral be justified? I'm not against the Blue Badge guide training system as such - just the fact that it comes with an old fashioned desire to gain a monopoly for its members. Teachers and lectures cannot point out salient features in some of London's main tourist sites without employing a Blue Badge Guide. Blue Badge guides are not professional teachers, they do not know in detail the content of courses, nor what in particular the educational requirements of teachers and lecturers are. Teachers and lecturers may well be delighted to save themselves a lot of work by employing a blue badge guide, but if they know their subjects, they know they curriculums and their students, the fact that they have to hire a blue badge guide is fairly outrageous. I suggest 2 solutions: 1. the 3 places involved should give exemptio

Short Book list for Narrative Environments

The following are the books I have found most useful for teaching Creative Practice for Narrative Environments: Matthen Potteiger And Jamie Purington 'Landscape Narratives' 1998 John Wiley & Sons Lodge, David 'The Art Of Fiction' Warburg, London 1992 Wonderful book on the structure of fiction good for ideas for writing museum texts On interactivity: Meadows. Mark Stephen 'Pause & Effect - The Art Of Interactive Narrative' New Riders, Indianapolis 2003 Narrative in Exhibitions: http://www.mlalondon.org.uk/uploads/documents/SayingitdifferentlyAW.pdf Narrative in a literary sense: Abbott, H Porter 'The Cambridge Introduction To Narrative' Cambridge University Press On creativity in projects: Hughes, Bob 'Dust Or Magic: Secrets Of Successful Multimedia Design [paperback] ' Addison Welsey,2000

Claire Louise Staunton, Operations of Sound at the Old Operating Theatre Museum

Nice piece in the Guardian about Operations of Sound at the Old Operating Theatre Museum. Rising star: Claire Louise Staunton, curator | Magazine | The Observer : "Operations of Sound"

Copyright for Museums

This is an excellent resources for copyright for Museums. Collections Link

Our male ancestors had harems of females - Telegraph

Our male ancestors had harems of females - Telegraph : "Charles Lockwood of University College London and his colleagues shed new light on the lifestyle of Paranthropus robustus by analysing a large number of skulls." The basic argument is that teeth show robustus males matured later than females as does the Silverback Gorilla, and that as men die younger than women, probably a reflection of the need for men to be big and strong to protect their harem, this suggests dominant men had a harem of women to control in a similar way to Gorillas.

People in Place Families, households and housing in London1550-1720

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Families, households and housing in London 1550-1720 project web site. [object HTMLImageElement] : "People in Place Families, households and housing in London 1550-1720 * Home"

John Strype's Survey of London Online

John Strype (1643-1737), new, expanded version of John Stow’s Survey of London has been published online. Unfortunately not using the BM's turning page technology but useful otherwise. It was originally published in 1720. John Strype's Survey of London Online

Guerilla Conservators!

Salon IFA Reports: SALON - the Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter Salon 177: 3 December 2007 "Undercover restorers fix Panthéon clock Perhaps what the conservation world needs is to spice up its image. In Paris, according to a report in the Guardian , ‘cultural guerrillas’ broke into the Panthéon, established a secret workshop and, working under the supervision of professional clockmaker Jean-Baptiste Viot, spent a year taking apart and repairing the building’s clock, which had last worked sometime in the 1960s. Far from being thanked, the four members of the underground ‘cultural guerrilla’ movement known as the Untergunther – a group of intrepid ‘illegal conservators’, dedicated to restoring France’s cultural heritage – were prosecuted for breaking into a national monument. They were acquitted on Friday, but the building’s administrator lost his job. ‘When we had finished the repairs, we had a big debate on whether we should let the Panth

Southwark marks John Harvard’s 400th anniversary [26 November 2007]

John Harvard's family owned the Queen's Head Inn on Borough High Street before leaving his money and books to Harward to create a college and library. Southwark marks John Harvard’s 400th anniversary [26 November 2007]

The Old Operating Theatre Museum 'a model of what museums are all about'

The following quote appeared on the Museums And Heritage Show web site: "The Old Operating Theatre Winner, PROJECT ON A LIMITED BUDGET 2007, for 'Tales from the Crypt' Grabbing the judges’ attention, the winner in this category was felt to be a model of what museums are all about – pulling together, against the odds, to ensure that obstacles and challenges were overcome. A particularly cheering initiative the judges were delighted to learn that it had resulted in a bright future for the museum."

New discoveries in Roman London

I had a chat to Frances Grew of the Museum of London while filming a short film on Boudicca and he was able to give me better context about some recent discoveries. Firstly, the St Martins in the Field burials (see earlier in the blog). The burials recently excavated are not new - it was known a cemetary was here, but previous finds were Saxon, and the Roman sacophagi found were thought to be reused. The recent discover of the burial from about 410AD shows that the cemetary probably goes back to the Roman period, and the discovery of finds dating to AD500 suggests there is no gap in the use of the cemetary (a 90 year gap in fact but this may just be because of lack of dateable objects). We discussed the implications of this - it means the end of the model of Roman London whereby there is a clear break between Londinium and Lundenwic. Now it suggests the continuity is based around St Martins - there are early saxon finds dating to c 500 in St Martin's Lane, so it might seem that

Filming Boudicca

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Today I filmed a short section of a documentary about the Boudiccan revolt in the Museum of London and another scene outside by the Roman Wall in Fore Street. It is hoped it will appear on Channel 4. Battlefield Britain - Boudicca's Rebellion Against The Romans archaeology

Great Court at British Museum getting cluttered

The Great Court at the British Museum is getting very cluttered - the beautiful space created by the Norman Foster millennium project is getting ruined by the curatorial, marketing and ticketing staff wanting to get their hands on it. It is beginning to look a mess.

Siberian Architects Meeting

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I arranged a meeting at Central Saint Martins for a group from the Architectural Department Siberian Federal University and South Federal University – Russian Federation. They are from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia (click here for more details of the university ). The photos of the town and region suggested a lovely location with a town with some very attractive buildings. The architectural practice seemed of the traditional kind abandoned in Britain but with strengths that might well be valuble - their students are taught to draw - they do life classes throughout their architectural career and have a thorough grounding in drawing, draftsmanship and technical drawing. They showed drawings of Mercury, and Palladian villas as well as Russian style concrete utopias. This was in contrast to the British way of teaching which is much more conceptually based - seems they is lots for each side to learn.

Animatronic statue comes to Bankside [20 November 2007]

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A statue that mimics the poses of passers by has been opened in Bankside Animatronic statue comes to Bankside [20 November 2007] ICT

Virtual tour of 10 Downing Street

This is a virtual tour of Parliament using 360 degree panoramas - quite effective but very ugly! Virtual tour of 10 Downing Street ICT

Talking Pens

The Stephens Collection have used talking pens to provide audio guides for museums- you touch a spot with the pen and the pen does the narration either via earphones or though its onpen loudspeakers so that a group can hear the narration, the Stephens Collection ,Avenue House, East End Road, London, N3 3QE (Finchley Central Tube ). Open 2pm-4.30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. http://www.mantralingua.com/product.php?productid=16135&cat=0&page=3

Rotherhithe Riverside London Walk

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I gave a walk for a group of Siberian Architects, through Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - its an amazing route for showing the changing development of the River front from the medieval period onwards. The Route was: Rotherhithe Tube Council Housing, Tunnel Ventilators, and Gasometers on Salter Road Surrey Docks Ship Building and Breaker (Fighting Temeraire) Riverside walk back towards centre of Rotherhithe Charles Hays Barge Builders 1769. Early Council Blocks, Rotherhithe Tunnel Wharf Thames Tunel, Marc Brunel Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe Grice's Wharf Mayflower Inn St Mary's Rotherhithe Watchhouse and Charity School. Prince Lee Boo (Graveyard) Hope Sufferance Wharf Angel Inn Edward III manor house Dr Salter Surrey Sluice Bevington Street Cherry Gardens Chambers Wharf Jacobs Island St Saviours Dock Design Museum Spice Wharfs Butlers Wharf Tower Bridge More London

A Sort of Fame?

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Went to see the Animated Adventures exhibition at the Woking Lightbox. I had a very little bit to do with the exhibition in that I lent them a school 'fanzine' (although the term was not invented in those days that we had produced called Tasty Strait. David Sproxton and Peter Lord were part of the editorial team and it contained various cartoons by Peter Lord, I lent the magazine to the Light Box, and a photograph of the Editorial team (Dave Alexander (him), Mike Wilkinson, Alan Smart, as well as PL DS and me) inscribed with our names except I'd signed it 'ME!' So, notwithstanding being part of the exhibition, its quite strange to see a picture of yourself label ME! in an exhibition. The Exhibition was very much kids orientated, and 'our' part of it was the photo, a table of exam results for form 5A and a copy of the official school magazine 'The Wokinginian' all mounted on a desk and chair of the type we certainly did not have at Woking Grammar. W

Bad Archaeology: leave your common sense behind!

Following the success of Bad Science at debunking lunatic schemes a new web site Bad Archaeology attempts to shoot down those who leave their rational mind behind when looking at the past. Bad Archaeology: leave your common sense behind!

Petition to Save the Textile Conservation Centre

Southampton University are to close the textile conservation centre in Winchester. As the only one of its kind this will be a trajedy. 10 Downing Street website - Petitions - Search Results

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la gare - St Pancras Revived

Simon Jenkins has written an excellent piece of the survival of St Pancras despite all those who wanted to pull the magnificent Victorian Gothic pile down. His piece can be followed below. However, the building work was not without some cost to the Heritage - personally I miss the long row of arches that were destroyed along Goodsway. I am, as a London driver, exstatic that Goodsway is finally reopened. Not just a building, but a joy to behold. Ken Livingstone must hate St Pancras | Columnists | Guardian Unlimited : "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la gare"

A presence on Facebook

I received a request to be a facebook friend of an ex-student today and followed the link to discover I have a facebook presence and 5 people waiting to sign me up as a friend! Ok 2 of them I have never heard of but even so it was a surprise I even had a Facebook account let alone any Facebook friends! I must have signed up one time I wanted to look to see what facebook was all about and found you could not get into it without signing up.

St Thomas Graveyards

The Graveyards of St Thomas hospital are pinpointed in 'Aspects of medieval and later Southwark' MOLAS monograph 13 (2002) Originally, the dead were buried in the graveyards of St Mary Overie and St Margarets, eventually St Thomas could bury its own but compensated the other churches for loss of income. In the minutes of 1697 3 burial places are known. The first was associated with the Dorter, and is thought to be on the north side of St Thomas St (Tryvet St originally) near the Church, the second was to the south of St Thomas Street but west of the Guys Site, and the third was at the junction of St Thomas St and Maze pond to the East of the Guys site. However, 227 skeletons were found on another site which was excavated in 1990 under New London Bridge House by London Bridge Station. Many of these skeletons were were marked with suffering from syphilis. 2 wells were found near Joiner Street at the eastern end of the hospital but in the public domain so it might be an at

After that contemporary, uncluttered museum look?

In Museum Practice Autumn 2007 Mark Dion is quoted 'I've seen museums spend millions of pounds and wind up less interesting places than when they started.' This echos my underlying philosophy at the Old Operating Theatre museum 'Don't f*** it up, stupid!' Mark Dion creates installations based on museums organisation of objects. Mark Dion

Online Exhibition - London at night photos

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This is simple attempt to see if automatic software can be useful for creating on-line exhibitions. It is a relatively trival attempt with pictures taken by my Treo mobile phone, and the software does not allow many images but at least it does provide an attempt at creating a narrative space. Make a slide show, scrapbook or ecard ict

Space Browse: Photo-sites

Interesting a very simple idea for click through photo sites - nicely simple although the orange squares are rather ugly. Space Browse: What it's about - white paper

London Brownfield Cycle Ride

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I created a great new cycle (bike) ride. London Brownfield Cycle Ride It takes about 5 hours but very easy cycling. It is a circular tour of East London and can be started anywhere on the circle. It is amazing tour of the Brownfield sites of London and takes in the Big Blue Olympic perimeter wall and the Millenium Pernisula. The route. Lee Valley Regents Canal Greenway Beckton Alps Royal Albert Docks Woolwich Ferry Millenium Penisular O2 Greenwich Greenwich Foot Tunnel Island Gardens Thames at Canary Wharf Limehouse Basin Regents Canal End at Broadway Market, Hackney London Brownfield Cycle Ride

Experimenting with virtual space exhibitions using SmileBox (Ok its my holiday snaps really)

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Make a slide show, scrapbook or ecard

The Attic:

The Attic - blog for the Museum Studies Research Students University of Leicester The Attic: CFP: London Journal of Tourism, Sport & Creative Industries

Evoke - illuminating York

A great project to illuminate the front of York Minister with coloured lights - the patterns of which vary according to the voices of the people watching. Evoke

Blogging - is it worthwhile? Do Web metrics have the answer?

Further to my April post about the usefulness of blogging in the Museum and Heritage World, I have been looking at my web metrics to see if they have an answer. The first thing is the number of visitors has considerably risen. This seem good although this mostly depends upon the number of posts I add. So, by adding material I increase the number of people who pick up the site from the search engines. But this is an index of activity not usefulness. Looking at the search keywords certainly suggests that the content in my blog would be useful to searchers on the basis of their search keyword. Yet, mostly they are searches of a type you might do occasionally - for example I mention a meeting in a particular pub - someone searches for the pub and finds the details on the blog. Useful for them as the pub has no web site, but highly unlikely that they will ever visit my site again. (I seem to be the main resting home for people searching for Biddles Brothers pub in Clapton!) Pag

Defending Britain - Book review

I've skimmed through Mike Osborne's defending Britain book sub-titled 'Twentieth Century Military Structures in the Landscape' (2004, Tempus Publishing). It is a very dense typology of military building types - very good as a text book if researching a particular pill-box, but it really does not give a very good overview of World War 2 defensive tactics - which is what I wanted it for. What I want is a detailed analysis of placement of pillboxes on the ground, and the thinking behind that placement. It shows the problems of buying over the Internet sight unseen.

Mortality in London - Poverty makes no difference

A recent study published in the London Journal has produced some surprising results. Among the most surprising conclusion is: 'There appears to have been a minimal social class gradient in infant, child and adult mortality in London during the period 1550 - 1850.' This is the opposite conclusion to that which is commonly believed. In addition they found that infant and child mortality more than doubled between the 18th and the 18th century - i.e. child mortality was quite low during the 16th and 17th Centuries. In peaked in the mid 18th Century during which time more than 2/3rd of all children dying by their fifth birthday. Note this is irrespective of wealth of the parents!. (there was no corresponding increase in adult mortality in this period) From the middle of the 18th Century mortality fell so that by 1850 'only' about 30% died by the age of 5. The study also shows that the end of the plague made no difference to rates of mortality suggesting other dise

Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now

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Went to the Seduced Show at the Barbican on level 3 at the Barbican. Maybe I'm jaded but I found it a little dull - I've seen examples of the various genre they display and so found I came out without learning anything new, or experiencing anything exciting. I think I'd get more out of the book. Maybe if you have never seen sexual imagery from Pompeii, Indian, Japan or Victorian pornography then it would be really exciting, but otherwise I thought the narrative was thin, giving no real insight into development of sexual imagery, or context. Surrealism was the only movement that was examined in any detail. Although there were a couple of Fragonards and a Boucher or two a tour of the Wallace Collection would give a better insight into Sex and Art from the Renaissance - 19th Century. The modern stuff was mostly not very interesting to me - and when I think that Jeff Koon seemed like a highlight,I wonder about the overall quality. My summary would be that this is a great

The appendix does have a use - re-booting the gut

A theory as to what the Appendix is for has been suggested. After illness has killed off the good bacteria in the stomach it needs reintroduction. Nowadays we get this from our friends and neighbours, but when populations were low, and an epidemic killed all friends and neighbours, the appendix would reintroduce the helpful bacteria to the stomach, helping survivors survive. The appendix does have a use - re-booting the gut - Independent Online Edition > Health

Amateur stargazers map a 'lopsided' universe - Telegraph

Using the combined might of the observations of amateur astronomers, scientists have descovered that most galaxies rotate anti-clockwise. This is important as it suggests a lopsided universe - or alternatively an unknown force acting on the universe. All part of the open source, participatory world we know find ourselves when mass action pays dividends. Amateur stargazers map a 'lopsided' universe - Telegraph

Inside Silbury Hill

Recently, archaeologists have reentered Silbury Hill as part of the works to stabilise it following the poor reconstruction work following the BBC excavations in the 1960's and other earlier mining operations. Katy Whitaker reported to members of an archaeological mailing list: 'It was truly truly amazing. On a cool, clear autumnal Wiltshire evening I found myself with seven others walking into Silbury Hill, where in truth no-one should ever have gone, and being blown away by the beautiful stratigraphy. Between them the Duke of Northumberland, Dean Merryweather and Professor Atkinson had butchered the small gravel mound of Silbury I, but there's enough of its following turf layers to get good C14 dates and soil/mineral analysis to look into the origin of this material. I so love the idea of people bringing turves from around and about - perhaps quite far afield - and placing them on the mound. Atkinson backfilled only the third of the tunnel nearest the entrance - and th

Earliest evidence of modern human behaviour

Salon IFA ( *** SALON 174: 22 October 2007 *** ) reports: 'South Africa: origin of Homo sapiens? In the 18 October issue of the journal Nature , an international team of researchers at Arizona State University have said that, in default of any other sites that can demonstrate earlier evidence of human behaviour, then Cave 13B at Pinnacle Point in South Africa has the best claim to being the birthplace of the human species. Palaeo-anthropologist Curtis Marean, co-author of the report, says that the evidence from Cave 13B – which includes ochre lumps with scrape marks, indicating the use of the red pigment in symbolic behaviour, along with complex bladelet tools and food harvested from the sea – all dates from 164,000 years ago and is thus the earliest dated observation of human behaviour.' Salon Editor: Christopher Catling Making the paperCurtis Marean : Article : Nature

Excavation of Rome's legendary King Numa Pompilius'

Italian archaeologists have discovered an early temple in Rome dating to the time, according to Plutarch, when Romulus was succeeded by Numa Pompilius First evidence from Rome's legendary second king Numa Pompilius' era unearthed @ NewKerala.Com News Channel

The Hooke Folio on display by internet

Roberts Hooke’s minutes of the Royal Society have now been made available on the internet - see below. The minutes were recently discovered in a cupboard in Hampshire, and put up for auction. They can be seen here: The Hooke Folio

Distinctiveness and Cities

Very interesting report which suggests that planners should reject bland off the shelf architecture with innovative designs that work with the grain of the idiosyncrasies of the Town. Also contains interesting quotation fro Graeme Evans which suggests that the craze for Iconic buildings leads to 'karaoke architecture' - i.e. nevermind the quality of the architecture its the verve of the statement that counts. downloadable pdf can be found here: The Work Foundation - Ideopolis: Knowledge City-Regions - Distinctiveness and Cities narrative environments

Neanderthals 'were flame-haired'

Well, DNA has shown that some neanderthals were red-haired rather than all. Good mental image though! BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Neanderthals 'were flame-haired'

'Doubting Damien' by Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis wrote an interesting article on art subtitled 'Why Contemporary Art is so hilarious' for a free magazine given away at Frieze Art. and here on the web is another looking at Damien Hearst work. What interests me is that both are devastating attacks on the banality of conceptual art but carefully framed because to attack conceptual art is to risk being seen as a philistine, ludditte or fuddy-duddy. So Ben Lewis makes his attacks, if such they are, more obliquely, almost parodying modern art as being hilarious, and writes an article not attacking Hearst but saying what would an attack on Hearst 's work look like? Reviews: 'Doubting Damien' by Ben Lewis | Prospect Magazine July 2007 issue 136

The Non-Designer's Design Book: Books: Robin Williams

I was quite surprised how much I learnt from reading Robin Williams' book. I thought I had picked up enough design ideas to be just a little beyond this book. But I was completely wrong - despite being very simple, very easy and quick to read, it manages to clearly introduce better design by use of simple rules. I am now horrified by how often I use 12 point, Helvetica, Time Roman, and non-plussed by my horrific disregard of strong vertical alignment, the frequent use of centred text and ignorance of proximity and contrast as basic design principles. Indeed I have tweaked this blog to get rid of the centering and to reinforce the vertical alignments. Amazon.co.uk: The Non-Designer's Design Book: Books: Robin Williams

Kensington Walk - DIFFUSION EBook Generator

I have been trying out proboscis's book folding generator programme called Diffusion. It is a method of folding sheets to form a book without the need for binding, and it comes with a generator that takes text and formats as required for folding. It took me a while to crack it but I managed eventually and published a short walk on Kensington with it. This can be printed out here: A4 version : US Letter :

Social Entreprenure Show :

Nov 2nd 3rd November is the: Social Entreprenur Show at Olympia

St Augustine's Tower

I had a meeting with Beliz at the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust to see if 'And Did Those Feet' could help out in any way to help run the Round Chapel or St Augustine's Tower. HHBT

Bluestones and Stonehenge

Current Archaeology reports further on Tim Darvill's ideas on Stonehenge in the SPACES - Strumble - Preseli Communities and Envi ro nment project. By studying the source of the Blue stones in detail he has come to the conclusion that their placement in Stonehenge mirrors their origins in the Preseli Hills. The inner oval at Stonehenge is made of spotted dolerite and the outer circle is of rhyolite and tuff and dolerite - dolerite comes from Carn Menyn in Preselli, the other stones come from outcrops surrounding Carn Menyn. This finally ends any idea that the Bluestones were brought to Stonehenge by glaciation. The presence of water pools near the stones suggests to Darvill they were used for health care. Current Archaeology - Message in the Stones

'London's Contemporary Architecture - An Explorer's Guide'

Excellent book on modern architecture in London - unreadable as a book but excellent as a guide: Allinson, Ken 'London's Contemporary Architecture - An Explorer's Guide' 4th Ed, Architectural Press, Oxford 2006

Terracotta Army

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We went to see the Terracotta Army at the British Museum this evening. It makes the old Reading Room of the British Library look good (but I still don't think they should have used this lovely public reading room for a fee paying exhibition), and it is great to get close to the figures. The details are amazing the soldiers with their top nots, and their wooden clogs. The figures and the chariots are the stars of the Exhibition - but can't help feeling there should be more than the dozen or so figures they have. The other objects are ok but the panels have that stripped down overly edited feel that makes them filletted of any interesting information. I felt after visiting the exhibition that I knew no more about the First Emperor, than I did before entering (although that may be because I watched an excellent documentary on the subject a few months ago). There is also a feeling of undue reverence as if the writers could say nothing that was in the least controversial in ca

St Thomas Church soon to be off the Buildings at risk register?

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We had a very good meeting with the Cathedral Group, the new owners of St Thomas Church, today to discuss the building work that will finally take the building off the Buildings at Risk register. It seems there will be a short closure period for the Old Operating Theatre Museum but at least, this time, we are being involved in the discussions at an early stage. It was great to see the Reredos for the first time in at least 10 years.

Public Health walk for Camden Special Needs Group

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Thursday I took a special needs group on a walk around Southwark for the Old Operating Theatre Museum's public health in the Victorian period programme. The walk was really enjoyable because the kids were so engaged. I think it started off well as I started rather gory with stories of Keats and the dead body that was delivered to his student digs in St Thomas St, and it went from strength to strength but really the kids made it. At long last this walk is now ready for wider dissemination.

Drovers Road and Markets Cycle Route

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My cycle route back from the Old Operating Theatre Museum this afternoon Borough Market - listening to a band underneath the Railway arches by the Globe London Bridge City Bishopsgate Spitalfields Christchurch Brick Lane Columbia Road Broadway Market London Fields ( London Fields Drovers Road) Hackney Mare St where I saw a Latvian Dance Troupe on a cultural exchange - I asked what we were going to offer in exchange - the Hockey Cokey perhaps? St Augustine's Tower St John's Clapton It is quite an amazing slice of London and at the weekends this route is just heaving with people having fun.

CSM presentation - 'A Week in the Life of Kevin Flude'

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I was asked to present my work to students on the Creative Practice for Narrative Environments on Wednesday. I decided that I should attempt the presentation in the spirit of the Course and not do a straight Powerpoint presentation. I wanted the presentation to be non-linear, interactive and perhaps not entirely authored by me. I began with the idea of the order being random - I wanted a spinning wheel to choose the order the components appeared in but due to lack of our 'Twister' set choose a chatterbox instead (see here for how to fold). I decided to use the idea of 'A Week in the Life of' and decided not to cheat and use the current week. The first 4 components of the chat terbox would be the 4 aspects of my life: 1. Home and Life 2. The Old Operating Theatre Museum 3. University Lecturing 4. 'And Did Those Feet' Elderhostel and the history and archaeology of London The 8 inner folds would be the 7 days of the week plus one for summer in ord

The Somerset Case

Lecture at Dr johnson's house on the famous case in which Lord Mansfield ( who lived in Kenwood House) adjudged that slavery was lawful in Britain. Lord Mansfield said: The quotation (from Wikipedia) is as follows: .. The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: it's so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged." For more information click here:

Knights Templars and Friday the 13th

October 13th is the anniversay of the arrest by the King of France of all Templars in France. This was followed by the execution in May 1310 of 54 templars. In 1312 the Pope closed the order down. Knights Templars and Friday the 13th

Regeneration London Cycle Route

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We went on a fantastic cycle ride around East and South East London at the Weekend. Amazing scenery - vast areas of 'regeneration' of wonderful views of Docks, Canals and Rivers. Plenty of squalor, fly tipping debris, brown field sites, heaps of gravel, industrial landscapes. So much space - it seems you could build another London in the space, rehouse all the homeless, provide cheap housing for the next generation - all in the area between Hackney, Becton and Greenwich. The Route took from 12 - 6pm but would want longer if visiting 'attractions' on the way. The route is circular so could start anywhere: Victoria Park, Hertford Union Canal to River Lee (near Carpenters Road) on edge of Olympic Site Follow river Lee to 3 Mill Pumping Station Take East branch of River heading east to pick up the Greenway Follow Greenway to Beckton (Alps) Turn South to Royal Albert Docks, cycle round the Docks to Thames at Woolwich Ferry Cross Woolwich Ferry or foottunnel Cycle West a

The Origins of Financial London

I revised a short paper Paul Herbert and I wrote originally for Linklaters and Paines as a briefing document for new staff as an introduction to the City. It is a simplified history of the City of London as a financial institutions. This is an extract (the full version can be accessed here: : From Coffee House to Financial Institution The other financial institutions soon came into being informally and most surprisingly located in the numerous Coffee shops that were springing up around London. Their role seems strange today but they were ideal meeting houses, because the alternative would have been the tavern and the drunkenness associated with them would have made business meetings difficult! There were as many as 2000 clubs and societies meeting in London Coffee Houses. Within a few short years the number of joint stock companies had increase to 140 by 1695. The issue of shares in these companies inevitably led to the dealing in shares and the Stock Brokers and Jobbers

Mint Street Workhouse

The Mint Street Workhouse, SE1 was the subject of a scathing report in the Lancet in 1865. Further details on the workhouse site: www.workhouses.org.uk - The Workhouse Web Site

New Narrative Students

The new first year creative practice for narrative environment students showed their first projects today to the staff. Excellent and very varied work - some very witty films and interesting pieces. The idea was that the pieces should communicate without the need for a commentary - this was much easier if using a film or power point but was not really the object of the exercise - I'm wondering whether we should discourage film next year as the idea is to explore how an object or objects can convey meaning. Some pieces communicated very well without commentary, some became very rich but only once explained and others were weakened by explanation. There were some interesting examples of how the way a story is revealed can heighten excitement or interest, with other examples of how premature knowledge can destroy the interest that comes from speculation.

Architecture of Southwark Walk

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I gave a walk for Better Bankside on the Architecture of Bankside - route was Borough Market, Hop Exchange, Redcross Street, Union Street, Tabard, George, Guys, St Thomas St, St Thomas Church, London Bridge Station, Shard of Glass, Tooley Street, Olaf House, No 1 London, London Bridge, Southwark Cathedral, Minerva House, Winchester Palace. It was wet and rainy but good fun and improved my familiarity with the more modern sights - although typically we did not have time to fit all of these in. It is quite amazing the amount of good architecture in Southwark today.

Homo Britannicus

I have now finished reading Home Britannicus by Chris Stringer. It seems a very important book as it brings together all the work from the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project. AHOB seems a model of a multi-disciplinary team working together in a scientific manner. The reason the book is important is that it first shows that Humans have been in Britain since 700,000BC but that the climate has often turned inhospitable so that Humans have abandoned this area of Europe on no less than seven abandonments of these islands. So we can only trace our descent from people who came back to Britain 12,000 years ago. Britain which seems such a benign place to live - no great disasters, no very poisonous or dangerous animals is actually not a secure place for humans. This is fascinating - it has contradictory messages for the climate change. On the one hand if we mess with the climate we can see what the implications for Britain can be, on the other this sort of changing climate is al

V & A opens original door

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The V&A has opened the original door of the Museum which leads from the Garden to the new Cafe. The door which is inspired by the Doors of Paradise by Ghiberti was the original door in the main building in the 1860's above the door are the words: 'Better it is to get wisdom than gold'

Curator - applying meaning to the meaningless

Brian Sewell in the Evening Standard reviewing the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Modern wrote: '...It provided yet another opportunity for the curators and critics of contemporary art to write of the many layers of meaning that they could perceive not only in the concept but in the labour of its embodiment, This is now what curators do - apply meaning to the meaningless.' The particular focus was on Shedboatshed 'its double metamorphis was more a matter of carpentry than art, as oddly remarkable as farting Annie Laurie through a keyhole (and no one would mistake that for music).

Maxim gun - Factory in Hatton Garden

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I cycled past a blue plaque in Hatton Garden on a 19th Century factory building which recorded that it was here that Hiram Maxim invented the Maxim Gun which used the power of the recoil to eject the spent bullet and inject the new one. As Hillair Beloc wrote: Whatever happens, we have got The Maxim gun, and they have not. quoted from wikipedia article: Maxim gun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lethaby Exhibition at Central St Martins

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There is a very interesting exhibition on the Lethaby Building in the Lethaby Gallery at CSM. Interesting insight into art training in the early 20th Century and some good arts and crafts designs. Also first view of the planned new CSM building in Kings Cross

the religious houses of london and middlesex

I discovered some interesting new 'facts' while reading about St Thomas Hospital in 'the Religious houses of London and Middlesex' (Ed Caroline M Barron and Matthew Davies). Firstly, the Hospital in 1535 had 3 laysisters, while originally the Sisters were professed and of the Augustinian order. At the same time the Master was accused of closing the Free School which the Hospital used to run with a £4 allocation. After a scandal in 1323 Bishop Asser involving the 'brethren and sisters' ordered that they should all follow the rule of St Augustine (the implication being that they did not subscribe to this rule before) and that the Master should eat with the Brethen In 1357 the hospital presented a petition to the Pope, asking for an indulgence of 2 years for fund raising. In the petition they claimed that the Hospital was founded by St Thomas Becket himself in Southwark. In 1299 Isaac the Jew gave a house to the Hospital (interesting because the Jews were

Saving the Penan: Community In The Rainforest

I watch Bruce Parry's Tribe yesterday about the Penan - it was very moving about how their nomadic lifestyle is being ruined by the loggers. On Wade Davies web site is the following message from the Penan Not long ago, we were happy. Things were good. Our fish were clean. Our food was pure. Our way of life staying in the forest was good. As things are now, we are in difficulty. The land is being destroyed. Many open places. These plants are our medicines. If we ask for medicines from the government, they give us Panadol. It is already spoiled. The more we take, the sicker we become. This is what we don't like. We are content to stay on this land, to make our shelters in this forest. This is a good life. But if all these trees are gone, there is no longer a way for us to stay here. Trees that are cut down were once the shelter of hornbill, the home of gibbons, the home of langur, the home of every single kind of animal that lives up high. Where is