Tag Archives: historical research

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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This takes all the biscotti

From a British daily that once was listed in the realm of ‘quality newspapers’ but has descended the slippery slope of clickbait, The Daily Telegraph, today comes this howl-at-the-moon mad piece of over-interpretation of archaeology based on an agenda. We have previously ventured … Continue reading

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A Moat Defensive

It’s a truth self-evident that history is about questions. Some of them have answers, such as when did so and so live or die. Some are Donald Rumsfeld’s known unknowns; we know that someone was Jack the Ripper but not … Continue reading

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E Pur si Muove

There is something disarmingly strengthening when you hear that innocent piping voice of history whispering from the unencumbered past, ‘excuse me, but I think you are perhaps mistaken…” I am not a climatologist, but… I am certain that the congregation … Continue reading

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Indian hemp in a French café

Forgotten Books is a website that deserves accolades. Yesterday they despatched the bound volume of Medical Times for 1850. It has copious specific and detailed information covering so much of the small stuff of life and death. By that I … Continue reading

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More from the Little Cyclopedia of Common Things

More real life from the 1880s as told to readers of the Little Cyclopedia of Common Things, (see a previous post for more about the book), brought to you this time by the letter P. Every one a winner for … Continue reading

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Catherine Foster; the inquest

Just to recap (though it may assist you if you read this and the next couple of episodes by starting from the previous blog), the God-fearing young farm worker John Foster, a one-time neighbour o’mine, swallowed poison from his wife … Continue reading

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5000 Spirits of a village, or the Layers of The Onion

Not a 100 yards from where I write this, in this sleepiest of sleepy Suffolk villages, a murder has been committed. The local paper, the East Anglian Daily Times, to which I am ever grateful for being a newspaper of … Continue reading

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‘The air of cities is less pure — more people breathe it’

Glancing through my Little Cyclopædia of Common Things, I have to acknowledge once again it’s the small stuff of history that gets forgotten. The Little Cyclopædia is not so little, by the way, stretching to nearly 700 pages. Mine is … Continue reading

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Jack Hargreaves; new viewers start here

Jack Hargreaves died 20 years ago. The name is so plain English. It is the sort of name you see rolling up the credits of a black and white movie from the forties. Jack Hargreaves is the source material of … Continue reading

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