Showing posts from 2018

Judy Garland in Chelsea

She got married in Chelsea Registry Office and died in a Mews House at 4 Cadogen Lane, just north of Sloane Square.

What does Dickens' Christmas hide?

This is an excellent Guardian article comparing Dickens frantically hearty Christmas ideal with the reality of his less than enthusiatic embracing of family life. It is a review of an Exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum • Food Glorious Food: Dinner with Dickens, curated by Pen Vogler, is at the Charles Dickens Museum , London WC1N, until 22 April.  how does grammerly work ? forr 

This is the place' about Manchester by Tony Walsh

Great belief, great expression of the love of place. and the words

Smithfield Pub Tour

This is an excellent comparison of pubs now and in 1973 with a little bit of history

Living with The Gods Exhibition - British Museum

I found this exciting at the beginning and disappointing by the end.  It begins with a communion with a 40,000 sculpted piece of walrus ivory.  Lion-man of the Hohlenstein-Stadel.  The oldest figurative art.  Its amazing and may equally be female.  But around the wall of the dark space are words and phrase s that suggest the exhibition is really going to explore the meaning of spirituality.  And I was ready for it having just been reading Mary Beard on the Parthenon in which she has a small section where she hints at the complexity of polytheism.  So in the dark space beyond the Lion-Man you read the words: Thinking, Making, Symbolism, Worlds beyond Nature.  'Tranfering thoughts into objects'.  'Turn everyday experiences of being into worlds beyond nature'  And this is what religion is something to reshape the ordinary into the sublime, or the complex into a story, of the scary into the sphere of the Gods.  But the Exhibition didn't deliver it just became tokenism

Towards a "molecular archaeoparasitological" map of Europe

Interesting new technology which may provide new sources of information about connections in Medieval Europse.

Marie Antoinette's breast cup

Interesting story about a cup being modelled on Marie Antoinette's breast.

Pyschodelic pyschogeography - an interview with me

Marble Hill house and Alexander Pope's part in it

New discovery!

The Rivers of Westminster and Vauxhall

This web site gives an insight into geoarchaeological research on the river Tyburn and Tachbrook.

Goodbye Eve. New light on Human Origins in Africa

So good bye to a single African Eve. Chris Singer and a host of other authors in their article:  Did Our Species Evolve in Subdivided Populations across Africa, and Why Does It Matter? suggest that Homo Sapiens developed all over African in multiple communities, not in a single region.  See the paper here: Authors: Eleanor M.L. Scerri Correspondence information about the author Eleanor M.L. Scerri Email the author Eleanor M.L. Scerri , Mark G. Thomas , Andrea Manica , Philipp Gunz , Jay T. Stock , Chris Stringer , Matt Grove , Huw S. Groucutt , Axel Timmermann , G. Philip Rightmire , Francesco d’Errico , Christian A. Tryon , Nick A. Drake , Alison S. Brooks , Robin W. Dennell , Richard Durbin , Brenna M. Henn , Julia Lee-Thorp , Peter deMenocal , Michael D. Petraglia , Jessica C. Thompson , Aylwyn Scally , Lounès Chikhi

A great personalised Guided Tour

Not sure I will ever be able to do a guided walk as good as this.

London 1944 archive film

This is a film about the Abercrombie Plan of 1944 which was to transform London from an unplanned mess to a machine that worked rationally for its inhabitants providing space, light and separation of factories from living spaces. Fascinating.

London Bridge Revealed - Medicine

I gave a walk for the London Festival of Archiecture on Medicine - good turn out and it went well.  I tried to give a medical, architectural, historical and to add in various ideas of health and well-being. London Bridge Revealed – Medicine (Guided Walk) During June the Museum of Walking will lead an eclectic series of walks focusing on some of the key characteristics that make up London Bridge’s past, present and future: its riverside, railway and greenery, and its unique heritage medical and leisure heritage. Both the provision and education associated with Guy’s Hospital and Kings College has a huge legacy in the area, and has attracted private hospitals as well. Not only is the Guy’s tower a significant landmark (purportedly the highest hospital building in the world both at the time of its construction in the 1970s and in the present day), but as one of the largest employers, holds the key to many personal and collect

Julius Caesar - Soc. of Antiquities Public Lecture "Julius Caesar in Britain" by Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA.

An up date on what we know of Caesar's invasion

Basement Mania in London

Very good article on the subject of digging deep basements in the Guardian.

Roman Era names

This is a simple web site that has a fairly comprehensive list of Roman era names in a list - gives you the meaning and origin of each name.

Virtual St Stephens Project

Here are some 3D visualisations of St Stephens Chapel, home of the House of Commons, Westminster.

Victorian London Alphabet

This is a lovely Victorian Alphabet illustrated with London sights.

London's smallest police station isn't.

London's smallest police station isn't. Interesting story

20 great films based in London

Here is Time Outs List

' Tonite let's male Love in London' 60s documentary

Radical Walking and other pyschogeographic activiites

Triarchy Press has a set of authors who are developing the idea of walking as a radical art form. To find out more, follow this link:

Victorian Buildings in London you did not know about

This is an excellent selection of buildings, most of which , I did not know about but wish I had!

Mary Ward House

Great bit of Arts and Crafts Architecture in Tavistock Place

Beautiful Brutalism in Camden

This is one of the great estates in London. Its said to be one of the largest listed buildings in Britain. the Alexandra And Ainsworth Estate and is by the great Neave Brown of Camden Council's Architects Department 1968.

How many coffee houses in 18th Century London?

I seem to remember they numbered in thousands but initial searches suggest 500. But I came across this web site which gives the answer. 'By the dawn of the eighteenth century, contemporaries were counting between 1,000 and 8,000 coffeehouses in the capital even if a street survey conducted in 1734 (which excluded unlicensed premises) counted only 551. Even so, Europe had never seen anything like it. Protestant Amsterdam, a rival hub of international trade, could only muster 32 coffeehouses by 1700 and the cluster of coffeehouses in St Mark’s Square in Venice were forbidden from seating more than five customers (presumably to stifle the coalescence of public opinion) whereas North’s, in Cheapside, could happily seat 90 people. '

Milk or Tea first?

I have always believed that you put the milk in first because of the risk of cracking your bone china with boiling hot water.  But have just heard what sounds like a definitive answer to the question:   BUT if you are wealthy you can afford cups that don't crack under boiling water AND by the time the hot water comes up from downstairs the water is not so boiling so UPSTAIRS you can put the tea in first DOWNSTAIRS you put the milk in first So which goes in first becomes a measure of class.  Just like everything else in the UK.

Tudor Map of London 1520

This is another Tudor mapping project. This time it hopes to create a new map fitted to the modern street plan showing the identified parts of Tudor London. And they are printing it! Here is the link to buy a copy Here is a link to the project.

Layers of London Project

This is a project to create an online mapping project for the history of London. I can't yet see how it is going to work. It has a lot of ambition and very little detail as yet. Vanessa Harding said the Tudor Map of London project she and Caroling Barron have been working on will link to it.

"The Agas Map." and the Map of Early Modern London project

This is one of two really great mapping projects ongoing about Tudor London.  This one is based at the University of Victoria and is an attempt to populate a digital version of Agas' Early Tudor London Map with information from Stow's 'Survey of London'  and other sources . I found it very useful for my research for my Cornhill Walk. I also felt sad as I was working reading Stow and looking at hard copies of maps, and then found it all on a plate on this web site. So it felt like an end of an era. This is the reference and the link.   Jenstad, Janelle . The Agas Map. The Map of Early Modern London . Ed. Janelle Jenstad . Victoria: University of Victoria. Web. 01 March, 2018. < >.


 Refugium This is one of my students' projects which is about the issue surrounding being a Refugee. It is running on 18th March if you wish to attend. d/e/1FAIpQLSeQsy-fTQoOshwa5HVV W60FS_BYhudaPdYHzspnpgtZFsATOw /viewform

Cornhill Ward Walk

The next in my series of Ward Walks of the City of London, I am doing Cornhill Ward.  We will look at the archaeology and history of the Ward from the earliest times to the present day. 10th March 18 Cornhill Ward of the City of London 2.30 Bank Tube. Exit 3

Ancient DNA Revolution

We are witnessing a revolution in ancient DNA. The first results came from inference from modern DNA and seem to have given results which are somewhat dubious. But recently changes in cost and technology has built up a new and expanding database of Ancient DNA which is shaking prehistory. This article gives a good summary. One result is that the Beaker folk have been restored to a genuine folk movement after a couple of decades of PC cultural diffusion of a pottery style. But more than that the Beakers Folk are not only an intrusion from abroad But they replaced 90% of the Neolithic genome. The mechanism by which this happened is not yet established.  So the great Henge projects were created by the first farmers who were largely descended from the Hunter-Gatherers.  Around 2,400 B.C. the beaker folk came over. This was after the Sarsen phase of Stonehenge.  They seem to have adopted neolithic use of henges
Good article on Spitalfields by the Gentle Author

Daily Mash woman-in-art-gallery-just-guessing-how-long-to-stand-in-front-of-each-painting-

Satire on difficult issues for Museum visitors.

The First Britain

The obviously interesting aspect of this is that he is dark skinned. But the piece below indicates what I think is a major change in perception of our origins.  Early DNA studies suggested that most Britains were descended from peoples coming here after the ice melted c 14,0000 years ago.  It was suggested that 90% (in the west) and 75% (in the East)~ were descended from the Basque area refuge. This threw doubt on the scale of Saxon migration and made the division of peoples on these islands into Celts and Britains a cultural not a genetic indentity.     However, this piece talks about  Cheddar man being part of the Western Hunter Gatherer Group and it then reports a recen t  'st udy released last year also in preliminary form claimed that around 4500 years ago, the time Stonehenge was built, the then indigenous UK genome was all but displaced by migrants from the Continent who made Beaker-style pottery (see Pots on the March , Salon 388). The 10% of WHG DNA seen in mod

Hay's Wharf and Hay's Gallerie

Excellent article on Hay's Wharf, Southwark.

BBC Documentary on Thomas Cromwell

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch argues the case that Thomas Cromwell was a pioneering statesman who laid the foundations for the modern British state.

Book review of Quartz and Feldspar. Dartmoor: a British landscape in modern times Planning Perspectives Vol. 0, Iss. 0, 2018

My book review has just been published: Flude, Kevin Quartz and Feldspar. Dartmoor: a British landscape in modern times Planning Perspectives Vol. 0, Iss. 0, 2018

Last 2 people to be executed for sex between men in England

This is a  horrendous taie of the judicial murder of  James_Pratt and John_Smith who were found guilty on the evidence of a landlord and landlady spying their sexual activity through a keyhole. The Magistrate urged clemency but, although the Privy Council, spared everyone else found guilty of burglary, attempted murder and robbery during that period, the only 2 they executed was Pratt and Smith.

Divorced, Beheaded, Died Sales to Date

Book Sales 'Divorced, Beheaded. Died'  100,380 units  to date.    Moral - don't enter into a fixed price contract. Hardback 50664 copies Paperback 24986 copies Ebook 24,703 copies Audiobook 27 copies   Although, I do think the publisher might give the occassional bonus.  

Wolfhall London. More and Cromwell Tudor London Walk

My next walk for London Walks is this Saturday 13th January 2018 at 10.45.  St Pauls Tube Exit 2 The Walk is a look at London during the Reformation. Its also a companion to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.  We look at the London of the early 16th Century and walks the streets known to both men - both Lord Chancellors to Henry VIII, both commoners, both beheaded, friends but on rival side of the intelectual and political divide. Here is a short promo video.