The London Underground has given me high expectations. As soon as I set foot on the platform, I expect the train to arrive instantaneously. Once left the station, the train whisks me to my next destination, where I catch another to take me home. Everything is rushed. I can’t afford to miss that connection and […]Read More A glimpse of the past London Underground through the means of Vertical Archaeology
This doodle of two entwined birds was drawn in May 1670 while recording the names of an illegal gathering in Kingston Upon Thames. The image is on the back of a document held in the Kingston upon Thames archives. It is a simple line sketch, using one stroke of a quill and ink pen, creating […]Read More The Hand in Hand Birds
Puddingstone is nothing culinary. It’s geological, mythological, historical, and extremely intriguing. As stone goes it is awkward. It looks like a wonderful fruit pudding, or cake, just before it goes in the oven. There is a rich brown colour to it, but not too dark. There are various sized pebbles, some whole, some broken or […]Read More Standon Puddingstone
There used to be a joke. Look up Engineering in the Yellow Pages – it says “See Boring”. A whole generation, or more accurately, the post modern generation, labelled engineering as being something for the un-adventurous, for those without passion or compassion. The subject has no style, taste or philosophy. It is an occupation not […]Read More Engineering is a thing of beauty.
A few lines and quotes from a blog I wrote a few years ago on Seething Wells. Hot Bubbling Wells at Seething Wells? ‘About half a Mile from the Bowling-Green at the West End of he Town [Kingston], is a Spring that is cold in Summer, and warm in Winter; it bubbles up, and is […]Read More “Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be.”
Soften your tread. Methinks the Earth’s surface is but bodies of the dead, Walk slowly in the air, so you do not trample on the remains of God’s servants. Abu al-Alaa al-Maarri It has a romantic ring to it: Flanders Fields. The Fields make up a beautiful, peaceful, patch-worked landscape. There are long lines […]Read More Flanders Fields
Archive documents are dirty. They are especially so around the edges. Historians love the phrase “patina of history” and it is this you can see in the years of dust, dirt from fingers, smoke (fire places, tobacco) and from just being in a room where they were stored. Archive documents are also imperfect. There are […]Read More Hawksmoor
Shakespeare’s life in London has always intrigued me. It’s 400 years since he died this weekend. I know something about the man, less about his work, although I enjoy regular visits to the Globe. Where was he, where did he live, eat, drink? The Tudor city is gone, but you can draw together many glimpses […]Read More Shakespeare in London
It is dangerous to get interested in history, so hard core archivists claim. “Don’t get carried away by what’s in the archive, don’t become interested. You won’t get any work done.” As I stare at the paper, I feel dangerously interested. Luckily, I am not an archivist, although I work in libraries and archives. My […]Read More This Tudor Man
The Historier dates back at least to the mid-1400s. Around 1449, he is mentioned as “Sithen historiers dwelling in thilk same cuntre..kouthen knowe better the treuthe of the deede than othere men.” In 1490, Caxton in his Boke yf Eneydos wrote “Wrytynges and dyctes of olde and auncyente cronycles or historyers.” In the next century, […]Read More What is an Historier’s Miscellany?