Tag Archives: 19th century

The Albert Palace in Battersea

Those first sight, scents and sound of the building were augmented by the music of a military band striking up a march tune in the transept of the building to the visitor’s right. When the sound of the brass band died away, it was replaced the distant rumble of a gigantic pipe organ – possibly the largest in the world – at the concert hall at the very farthest end of the building.
Above them, the newcomer could see other visitors gazing down on them from the gallery through a series of Romanesque round arches that punctuated the first floor. That gallery ran all around the building. Looking above the gallery, through the amber-coloured glass panes of the vaulted roof, you could see the sky, everywhere the sky. The amber tinted glass was not just aesthetically pleasing. It was there to ‘obviate the use of unsightly awnings or blinds’, according to The Builder.
Before the Palace was opened, the gallery had been safety tested. In fine Victorian tradition, troops had been marched around the balcony. As it had not maimed any hapless soldiers of the Queen, it was thus pronounced safe enough for the public.
The interior of the Palace had been designed by none other than the most renowned aesthetic movement designer, Christopher Dresser. The Builder approved of Dresser’s restrained use of colour in the general scheme for the Palace. His colours were modernist and avoided following dull municipal themes or railway colour schemes of monotonous blue, white and chocolate that graced Crystal Palace. Everywhere were rich yellows, green and reds surmounted by elaborate stencilling in Dresser’s keynote botanical style.
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Those weren’t the days my friend

For the last act in an operatic tragedy that was real life in the 19th century read this story from March 1888 of a husband, a wife and a business failure. The welfare state was brought into being by stories … Continue reading

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Tehachapi to Tonopah

OK, now it can be told. I do not know too well my left hand from my right. Those that know me may take this as a metaphor for all-round incompetence. But no, I protest. However those classmates for whom … Continue reading

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The modern economy of time

You know nothing of progress until you know the 19th century. This was written in 1864. (‘Quicksilver on glass’ by the way is mirroring):-

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Fracking is as old as oil

The Evansville Daily Journal of March 9 1865 has this report from the dawn of the oil and gas industry.

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Just a graze…

Once upon a time the uncertainty and certainty of death hung over everybody, everywhere, all the time, as this brief report from the London Evening Standard in 1840 shows…

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Giving it all away

On this day in 1852 there died a man who these days would have been given therapy for his condition. He was, in those unreconstructed times, called a miser. There is probably a pressure group somewhere railing as you read … Continue reading

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Bull running in England? Why haven’t I heard of it?

Bull running in Lincolnshire? Why haven’t I heard of it? Thankfully because it was banned long, long ago. You probably don’t want to know what happened to each year’s Stamford bull on the feast of St Brice’s Day, but it … Continue reading

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Celestial Mechanics

There are bad and less bad racial epithets and stereotypes. Yank or Limey does not hurt, but in a world of generation snowflake, where people melt into a puddle of offence taken at the slightest insensitivity or viewpoint that isn’t theirs, it … Continue reading

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Who killed Harry Larkyns?

  Nowadays the average twentysomething works their way through temporary though deep relationships before permanence happens in the shape of marriage (or something like it). For 19th century women it wasn’t so easy. So we can forgive, if that is … Continue reading

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