Showing posts from July, 2006

Funding the Museum of London

The DCMs is consulting on funding the Museum of London. It offers 3 choices: 1. Retain the 50:50 funding between DCMS and City of London 2. Retain funding but increase Board Members choosen by Greater London Authority (currently only 1) 3. Fund the Museum 50:50 between City of London and GLA. In my opinion the best option for the museum is the restoration of the tripartite funding so that the museum is funded One third by DCMS, GLA and City of London. This would restore the situation as before Thatcher's crazy abolition of London's government and reflects the fact that London is made up of: Capital Metropolis Historic City (and rich finance centre) This would give the museum greater stability - I suggest there may be some danger of the GLA at some point in the future when pressed for money, demanding cuts, City and Government together should be able to resist this as they have a good record on maintaining Museum of London funds. The consultation tried

Bath - new Baths

This week I have been lecturing to a group on archaeology and took them to Bath. Boiling hot day - interesting to see that Grimshaw's new Bath Spa is about to open (Aug 7th 2006). It incorporates the Cross Bath and the Hot Spa, the former by Thomas Baldwin and the later by John Wood. The Hot spa was square and those Grimshaw's stone and glass box can be said to fit in with the Georgian architecture. From the brochure it all looks marvellous with any number of ungents and exotic massages, wraps and pommelling. Seems very elistist to me - it means the public cannot see inside the Cro ss or Hot Spa, it means that a community pool that was once filled with Bath spa water is now only available to those paying multiples of £10 to get in. Granted to pool was long ruined, but I still think they should have added at least one small element of public access in a lottery funded project. What, I ask, is the lottery funding elitist spas for in the first place?

Southwark City Learning Centre

I gave a presentation to 30 children on a Gifted and Talented programme at the Southwark City Learning Centre. The subject was the origins of Southwark - in particular we looked at archaeology and how we know, crossing the river and the bridges. I made it quite interactive and the pupils were very bright.

Use of Latin in Law

From Britarch mailing list Kevin Woolridge reported that Latin was banned in English legal documents during the Commonwealth not the Reformation. It was then repealed on the accession of Charles II and Latin continued in use until 1730 when statute 4 Geo. II. c. 26. came into force requiring legal proceedings (documents and hearings) to be undertaken in English. The statute would only appear to have applied to the generality of the proceedings and hence a large number of Latin phrases remaining in use i.e sub judice, habeas corpus etc etc.

The Matchgirls' Strike of 1888 (1888)

Today, I did some research for a friend's project on Brick Lane. I came across this site with a very interesting account of the matchgirls strike. The Matchgirls' Strike of 1888 (1888)

Anglo- Saxon Britain 'had apartheid society'

interesting bit of research building on recent DNA studies suggests a model to explain how an elite Anglo Saxon invasion has managed to make such a big impact on English DNA. The idea is that only 200,000 or so Saxons invaded but because of priviledged position giving a higher birth rate they managed a 50% penetration of the DNA of the English. BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Britain 'had apartheid society' The full article can be found here Key word = Archaeology

Bill Viola's Love and Death

After giving a walk around Southwark for 6 teachers poppy and I cycled off to see Derek and Ruth but on the way popped into Bill Viola's Love and Death which was installed at the Old St Olaves Grammar School (opened in the 1850's). Its a lovely building and the installation is free which is surprising. Inside were 2 rooms and one great hall with a video showing in a dark and quiet room. In the hall was Fire Woman and Tristan's Ascension. This was a film of a huge fire and its reflection in the water with a hooded figure in the centre. The figure plunges into the water - quite beautiful. Upstairs are a couple of other galleries - one showing the Lovers Path a black and white film of a couple walking through the trees and to the coast where they disappear under the water. The final film was an underwater shot in blue into which a body falls - obviously filmed and then turned upside down. But again beautiful.

St Thomas Church republished on Buildings at Risk Register

St Thomas Church, St Thomas Street SE1, Southwark is republished on the Buildings at Risk Register for 2006. The Church has been downgraded in priority terms from priority B to E This is the key A Immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; no solution agreed B Immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; solution agreed but not yet implemented C Slow decay; no solution agreed D Slow decay; solution agreed but not yet implemented E Under repair or in fair to good repair, but no user identified; or under threat of vacancy with no obvious new user (applicable only to buildings capable of beneficial use) F Repair scheme in progress and (where applicable) end use or user identified; functionally redundant buildings with new use agreed but not yet implemented. for further information look at: Found on page

Constructive Conservation - At Risk Register

At Risk Register Reveals Success of Heritage Revolution : News : About Us : English Heritage Press release seemed a little thin as to any evidence of a major change in policy - seems Restoration on TV did much of the work!

Lost Industry of Southwark

I posted the final return of the Lost Industry of Southwark project today. A bit of a red letter day as I have been working on this project for 3 years or more. Still there is so much to do!!!

Hospital for Penitent prostitutes

This web site suggests the hospital was, I assume originally, set up up at 9 Prescot Street Aldgate. Then moved to Streatham where it is said have still some remains at 81 Drewstead Rd However, says it was just north of St George Circus (site replaced by Peabody bulidings) before move to Streatham. The infamous Dr Dodd, executed for fraud, and acquantaince of the great Dr Johnstone, was associated with it and wrote an article about it. (bernard J Shapero rare books)


Just finished reading Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner. A little bit disappointing I thought, just seemed to be a 'have a proper look at the data' book nothing particularly insightful about it Yes we know a correlation may not be causal, but otherwise other than a few interesting facts nothing much to illuminate ones world view overmuch. I suppose the most interesting 'facts' were: 1. reduction in american crime wave caused by abortion reducing the number of potential criminals and not Major Julianie. 2. Middle class parents give their children an advantage by who they are not what they do - i.e. makes no difference to future prospects if you read to your children or bring them up without resorting to nurseries. 3. Crack dealers earn below the minimum wage but the guys who run them earn an absolute fortune.

New glacier theory on Stonehenge

BBC NEWS | Wales | South West Wales | New glacier theory on Stonehenge says that Bluestones brought to Stonehenge by Glacier - evidence seems to be that the bluestones are from a variety of sources in Preseli - thus 'not quarried'. I still find it hard to believe that no other sources of Bluestone found in the area.

Southwark City Learning Centre

Went to Southwark City Learning Centre in Camberwell for a meeting about a lecture I am to give on Southwark's history. They heard about me via the Lost Industry of Southwark web site. Great resources and friendly people. for more on CLC's DfES, News Centre : "SOUTHWARK"

Trustees Meeting

After a week of preparation I attended meetings of the Lord Brock Memorial Trust and the Borough High Street Amenity Trust, both went very well. Hopefully, this may be the last of Trustees meetings dominated by fire fighting the enforced closure of the Old Operating Theatre due to the Roof repairs. Cash flow seems to suggest recovery may be strong and we were successful in grant application which will help stabilize the cash flow work and help the development project. Very interesting developments in our bid to purchase the Church, we may, finally, be beginning to line all the ducks up!

Trustees and Reading

This week I am working on our Trustees Report and working out cash flow following our move back into the Garret. Also producing a proposal for Reading Museum - housed in a lovely Waterhouse building.

London's First Railway Surrey Iron Railway

Very interesting article about London's first railway which followed the River Wandle from the Thames to Croydon. It was horse drawn and dedicated to freight. Surrey Iron Railway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Front Garden Project

working on an interesting project - ' Bring Back the Front Door ' photographing front gardens in Evering Road for Terry Brown of GMW. The photos show major changes in style of front gardens in this street showing victorian, 20th and 21st elements all existing together. A few facts re the building of evering road from British History Online Edward Withers was to build 45 houses in Benthal and Evering roads in 1877, 42 in Norcott Road in 1880, 77 in Brooke and Narford roads in 1882, and 50 in Alconbury Road in 1883. ( fn. 45 ) Perhaps the biggest builder was William Osment, responsible for 21 houses in Evering Road in 1877, 46 in Fountayne Road in 1878, and 15 there, with 43 in Osbaldeston Road, in 1879.

Lullingstone Portraits - Pertinax and father?

Salon IFA reports that Martin Henig, FSA, has written that he has come across ‘an interesting and highly plausible article in a German Festschrift that concerns the two very well-known marble sculptures from the Lullingstone Roman villa. In a paper entitled “The Roman portraits from the villa of Lullingstone: Pertinax and his father, P Helvius Successus” (pages 47 to 53 in Ganschow, T and Steinhart, M 2005. Otium: Festschrift für Volker Michael Strocka, Remshalden) Richard de Kind points to the very striking resemblance between the second deliberately damaged Lullingstone portrait and a portrait head in Aquileia generally held to be a portrait of Pertinax before his succession to the imperial throne in AD 193. Pertinax served as Legatus Augusti after Ulpius Marcellus, and it is possible that Lullingstone served as a luxurious retreat for the governor during his brief sojourn. The bust was damaged as a result of an unofficial damnatio memoriae by soldiers who resented his firm dis

Today, The Blitz

Saturday gave a lecture on the Blitz and visiting the imperial war museum. always a thoughtful visit - it has helped me change my mind several times about the Iraq war! -- Sent from my Treo

Spaces, museums,design

I've changed my mind somewhat on planning. On the London Architecture Biennale walk around Smithfield which I organised, you could see what interest there can be in an unplanned environment - mad conflation of architectural styles. What held them together was that by and large they were on the same scale some by width others by height. Seems to suggest planners should siet up simple rules 1. If it works leave it alone 2. Obey local scale 3. Have something human size on ground level perhaps too museums can progress to being a container for a variety of relatively unplanned activites some telling stories some creating atmosphere some providing a toolkit to create your own tour -- Sent from my Treo

Stuart London

Today giving a lecture on Stuart London at the City Temple. It is not my case alone, it is the freedom and the liberty of the people of England. Said Charles 1st at his triql -- Sent from my Treo


On way to work, in Hoxton, the one decent proper cycle path blocked - no sign no warning no alternative route except riding into path of oncomming traffic -- Sent from my Treo