Showing posts from 2019

New Web site and Blog

Finally, I have moved myself onto Slightly afraid of the extra fiddle-faddling capability I now have at my finger tips...... So this blog will slowly fade into the dusk The new blog is here: Go on have a look.

Report on the contribution of the culture industry to the economy.

The arts and culture industry has grown £390million in a year and now contributes £10.8billion a year to the UK economy.

Restitution of objects

The government has turned its back on restitution.  What it should have done was promoted dialogue, not shut the door.,VGX4,27LVJK,39QTE,1

Updated Lincoln's Inn Fields Wikipedia page

I quite often revise wikipedia pages if I feel I have a moment. This one I did because the London Archaeologist had an article by Barbora Brederova about an excavation in the Fields, and it gave information not clearly listed on Wikipedia. If you want to read it here it is I included a reference to the discovery of a fragment of a fudding cup.

Ice House discovered near Regents Park

They have discovered a complete ice house by Regent's Crescent. near Regent's Park

My next Walks for London Walks are:

Saturday March 30 2019 The City of London Architecture Walk Sat 14:30 · Tower Hill tube station · London     Pub Crawl up the River Fleet on May 18 London Bridge to Bermondsey on July 13 The Archaeology of London Bridge on July 14 City Backstreets on Oct. 5Roman Archaeology and Culture on Aug. 3 Chelsea on Sept. 28 Decline and Fall of Roman London on Sept. 28 Myths and Legends and the Origins of London on Oct. 5 The City and the Blitz on November 23

New film on Mary Anning starring Kate Winslet

They have started filming it in Lyme Regis.  The story casts Anning as a lesbian which has created a bit of a tiss.

Updating Wikipedia Walbrook Article

I  updated the wikipedia entry for the Walbrook. Walbrook Wikipedia Firstly, the augment the section on the Skulls that were found there which only he 2 original theories of their origin. Secondly, to add the section on Tributaries particularly to add reference to the Langbourne.

City of London Ward Walk - Langbourn Ward

Yesterday, after days of research, I gave my walk around Langbourn.  The ward is small, almost arrow shaped ward, that runs from Bank to Fenchurch Street.    It is basically the land on either side of Lombard Street and the west end of Fenchurch Street, although recent boundary changes mean it is now only on the north side of those streets. It actually begins as St Mary Woolnoth, the Hawksmoor Church, crosses Lombard Street and the southern border runs west to Billiter Street. The North side runs from Billiter Street, through the lanes and alleys south of Cornhill. Its a great walk because the alley ways around Change Alley are very charismatic. The walk began with a look at the Royal Exchange which despite not being in the ward is intrinsic to the story of the ward which is as the centre of London's financial district. Lombard Street was where the Italian banking community set up after the Jewish Bankers were expelled by Edward 1st.  It was the medieval centre of business

The man who is changing the past

This is a great summary of the work being done in aDNA, ancient DNA which is overturning 60 years of folly among prehistorians. Invasions are back in fashion

Measuring Worth - easy to use historical value calculator

This is great and will give much more accurate estimations of past value. I wrote a blog post about it earlier. But this is just a little advert for the folk at Measuring Worth. Have a go its fun.

Slavery in Bedford Square Walk

Saturday I attended a walk/event based on the slave owners who lived in  Bedford Square. The tour was organised and given by Jean Campbell from MA for Narrative Environments at CSM. She used the UCL database of compensation payments for those who owned slaves when it was abolished in 1833. Legacies of British Slave Ownership this enabled her to identify several people who lived in Bedford Square who owned slaves.  Jean used this to help raise consciousness not only of slavery but of legacy issues, such as educational attainment of Black students.  The walk used several methods to increase interaction and to stop it being a didactic exercise. The Government borrowed £20m pounds from 2 Bankers, one of them being Rothschilds. Jean reported that this debt was only paid off recently in 2015. ( Taxpayers still paying).

What would Darcy's £10,000 income be worth if he were not a fictional figure and alive today?

The answer is that is is very complicated. History Today dealt with this in an article by Roderick Floud 'Pricing the Past' March 2019. It is often done using inflation indices which have been compiled for the past, these might be based on prices or earnings, or a combination - each giving different result. But the article suggests, as my anecdotal experience would confirm, that these give a result far too low.  People have resorted to other methods for example including taking a single commodity and using that at as the measure.   For example. you could give an idea of the buying power of a daily wage by giving it in the number of Mars Bars it could buy, or the income of a Doctor  in terms of the daily wage equivalent of unskilled labours, or Roman Legionaries. Froud uses a site called which helps calculate historic value by a range of methods. Be warned it is complicated. However, I have just discovered that if you go straight to this page, then its qui

Medieval Port of London Conference 18th May 2019

Conference on the Medieval Port of Londo.

Russell Hotel - Titanic Dining Room

I have wanted to go in and look at the Russell Hotel since I first discovered that Charles Fitzroy Doll, who designed the hotel in 1898, also designed the Titanic's Ballroom. The exterior of the Hotel is covered in Doulton's 'The au Lait' terracotta tiles, and the interior is covered with amazing limestone cladding. The claddings are described in this pdf. On the second floor is a dragon - called Lucky George as his pair sank with the Titanic.

Bermuda National Gallery

Having gone to the Bermuda National Library { about the size of a village library  about to be closed down } I had no great expectations for the National Gallery.  Its position above the City Hall confirmed my pessimism but once entering the Gallery my spirits lifted as it is a lovely space over two stories with surprisingly interesting exhibitions. The star was an exhibition on Shepherd Fairey - rebel with a cause.  His punk, Russian Constructivism, Barbara Kruger, street art inspired exhibition showed a clear understanding of how to make an impact in public places. The video with the artist is as inspiring as it is informative.  Placing something in unusual places creates something memorable - maybe its obvious but combined with his flair for promotion it shows how he is able to provoke a reaction.  Like Banksy he has the eye for combining something striking with something meaningful.  So he puts a portrait of a typical american couple surrouded by art work from the Dollar, and the

Vincent Van Gogh in London

Excellent article by Iain Sinclair in Tate Etc Issie 45 Middle. His first house in London is unknown, and then he moved to 87 Hackford St, which reduced his commute to his job at Southampton Street, Covent Garden to about 45 minutes. He walked via Westminster Bridge.  While in London he visited cultural venues with his Sister, Anna, such as St Pauls Dulwich Picture Gallery, and Hampton Court.  He collected unpaid school fees in Whitechapel. He  moved to Isleworth, and heard a sermon in Kew Road Methodist Church. He did a sketch of Austin Friars, and copied Dore image of Prisoners Excercising in Newgate. We know something of his reading - the Arlesienne of 1890  L'Arlésienne , Kröller-Müller Museum , Otterlo shows him reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and Christmas Stories by Dickens. He also read 'Our Mutual Friend.'

The third City of London Ward Walk - Castle Baynard

The Castle Baynard Ward Walk We began with an introduction to the City of London and its 'democratic' (not) system.  Castle Baynard has an ex Lord Mayor as its Alderman (but that must be true of at least 50% of them).  He is public school educated but not Oxbridge and is a Tax expert who began with Arthur Anderson. We discussed the weird change in the area of the Ward in the reforms of 2003.  It was roughly from St Paul's south to the River until 2003 when they added an enormous (more than doubled the size of the ward) area outside the Wall in the Fleet Street area.  It is almost cut in half by an inroad of Farringdon Within Ward.  The shape is called the Tuning Fork. The explanation I don't know but the reform must have been based on equalising the wards in terms of 'population' or 'electors' or amenities and facilities. This is my sketch map.  The yellow is the new boundary, the blue/green is the historic one. You will see that Queenhithe has tak

Castle Baynard Ward Guided Walk

First time I've had time to post about a walk for a long time.  But tomorrow I am doing a pub walk which explores, in depth, a small part of the City of London. I am looking at Castle Baynard Ward which is south of St Pauls and west across the Fleet river into Fleet Street. Do feel free to come along.   Castle Baynard Ward 7.15 St Pauls Tube Exit 2    

Waterloo to be re-fought at the Kelvin Gallery Glasgow.

This looks like being an amazing event! I think you need to be a war gamer top attend sadly. Taking place in Glasgow June 2019

Need Money? Remortgage your museum?

It has just been announced that Glasgow is to remortgage museums to pay for equal pay settlements. This is a big surprise and I am surprised that not much seems to be made of it. It can't be a good idea can it?,UAU6,27LVJK,34UZU,1

Have you a definition of the modern Museum? ICOM wants one.

New definition of the Museum called for by ICOM.,UAU6,27LVJK,34UZU,1 The current definition is: “A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.” The MA definition is ( 1998)  ' Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society .'

The Latest About the Man with the Boots in the Thames

No one has yet suggested he was on his way to a fetish club, but it seems he was a fisher man who died in his 16th Century Waders. His teeth suggest he used them to control fishing lines or nets, and his bones suggests a physically stressful occupation. He was not buried but probably lost in the river and under 35 years old.

Triforium project at Westminster Abbey

The CBA organised a visit to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey.  This 13th Century space has been cleared up and has been turned into a gallery with amazing views down onto the Abbey - particularly great to see the Cosmarti floor from on high. Here is their video We heard about excavations just by Henry VII's gallery in what was called Poets Corner Yard. Here they found archaeological sequences which included Dump levels containing prehistoric finds and Roman remains (but not in situ) the original chalk raft for the Abbey burial ground for monks including some coffins with head shaped ends for the corpses head. Shops and workshops in the area that Chaucer and Caxton had house and workshop in. Building levels from Henry III through to Gilbert Scott. The archaeological team cleared out all the dust of years that had accumulated in the gallery.  It included thousands of fragments of medieval painte

I am Ashurbanipil Exhibition at the BM

The British Museum has a host of wonderful relief carvings collected from Assyria in the 19th and 20th Century.  They are free to see, easy to get to on the ground floor, can be enjoyed without much insider knowledge, and nor is it necessary to spend long reading labels. Now the Museum has put some of them together with a whole load of objects from the store. The net result is a very satisfying exhibition which gives a pretty good background to the enjoyment of the reliefs. The carvings are amazing, and look very good with the black backgrounds and relief lighting.   These two, are larg scale sphinx to the left and to the right the head of a diety half animal half human. Ashurbanipil was also something of a star student, and is, in one notable relief, depicted with a pen in his waistband.  (picture to the right).  Archaeologists have found shelves and hundreds of clay tablets showing that the King had a large library.    The displays suggest that the library was most

the possibility of unperceived existence, hyperobject and object orientated ontology

A  morning trying to update myself. Timothy Morton's book Hyperobjects being the subject.  What I like about it is a philosophy that makes the world not homocentric, one in which things have their own reality, and where we are not at the centre of everything.   The philosophy is called  Object Orientated Ontology (OOO). In a way it seems another moment in time like Corpernicus's discovery that the Sun does not go around the Earth.  Now OOO allows us to ignore philosophers who tell us things can only be known by the senses and therefore their existence depends on our cognition. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course it does.  But, I coming from the no nonsense school of philosophy,  have always believed in the 't he possibility of unperceived existence ' and have objected to the subjectivists. So thanks to the OOO for bringing this back into reality. Now Morton  has used OOO to attack the eco movement for putt

List of English Words and their Latin Alternatives

So if you judge someone you are doing this in Anglo-Norman derived from Latin, in English you deem or doom.  A judge is a deempster.  If you are called to the Bar,  made into a Barrister and facing trial in a Court these are all anglo norman words from Latin. In English Jesus was crutched or crossed in Latin Cruxified. A roman officer controling nearly 100 people is called a centurion. In English he would be a hundreder. A lot of decisions were made in the lead up to the King James bible where a lot of decisions went the latin way.

Good piece on the 18th Century LGBT community