Category Archives: History

A recent video edit

I recently created this video edit to showcase a collection of 1960’s ‘Roving Reports’ filmed by ITN, it was part of a digitisation project that is currently underway at this well known news broadcaster’s archive department.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Video

Deep in the vaults

Hi, I’m back at work after a 2 week stay cation. This is where the magic happens.

IMG_0151.JPG

Leave a comment

Filed under filmmaking, History, local, Video

The Penguin Book of Ducks

A while ago I purchased some old natural history books on Ebay, including this stunning book of ducks.

book of ducks small

Whilst researching the illustrator of the book Peter Shepheard I discovered that he was an English architect who worked for the London County Council in the 1960’s.
My house is an ex LCC building which I like to think could have been designed by Peter Shepheard, however it is a lot older having been built in the 1930’s so unlikely, but a nice thought anyway… :)

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, History, local

Crystal Palace Park

Hi all, today Cha-guy and I went for a long walk around Crystal Palace Park in South East London.
We passed some ruins of the old Crystal Palace erected on the site in 1854

ruis crystal palace park

This magnificent building was designed by Joseph Paxton and hosted the Great Exhibition of industry and technology. It was burnt to the ground in 1936, here is some archive footage of the incident http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzCPrtJvEOs

We discovered that the farm which had previously been shut for rebuilding was now opened to the public. Inside we found a hen chicken standing motionless and staring into the eyes of a group of miniature cockerels…
chicken love crystal palace park

Some Axolotls,
axolotl crystal palace park
I recently bought the Book of Barely Imagined Beings after seeing a talk by the author Caspar Henderson at the Horniman Museum,
book of barely imagined beings caspar henderson
it features a huge section on Axolotls as well as a passaged from the book of ‘Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge
‘…it is written that the animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) trembling like crazy, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.”

:D

We also discovered some Giant Mallard ducks which had been bred in Germany
giant mallard ducks crystal palace park

Hope you all had great weekends too..

Leave a comment

Filed under Exploring, History, local, Nature, Travel

..destitute of geometry…

destitute of geometry, oxford math institute
We had a fantastic time in Oxford last week visiting the new maths institute for a garden party and talk by Marcus du Sautoy.
I’ve only been to Oxford once, many years ago so it was a real treat to be shown around by Cha-guy who studied maths there.
Our first night was spent at the delightful riverside pub the Trout Inn, a beautiful venue with peacocks roaming around the gardens, a fine restaurant and tranquil waterside location.
the trout, oxford

The following day we visited the Bodleian Library to see the ‘Magical Books’ exhibition.. a wonderful compendium of ancient and recent books which are all inspired by the notion of magic.

We then made our way over to the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter and the newly built maths institute.
The building was amazing with very clever geometric twists in its structure, the main entrance has a series of Penrose tiles and a sign saying ‘Let no one destitute of geometry enter this building’
I had visions of maths professors having to ‘throw shapes’ like a form of geometric break-dancing in order to gain entry to the lecture theatres.. :P

penrose tiles, oxford maths institute

Penrose tiled floor, Oxford maths institute


Yes those are my feet, do you like my red shoes? :)

The talk by Marcus du Sautoy was focused on the ‘Secret mathematicians’ artists such as Le Corbusier, Salvidor Dali and Olivier Messiaen who integrated maths into their creative works.
Here is an extract

It was followed by a ‘Garden Party’ in the common room (I think the garden was still being built) and tour of the building which had some clever maths integrated into the architecture including a glass crystal structure which mapped the sound of a drum,
oxford maths institute
south crystal sign oxford maths institute
as well as a roof which mimicked baroque perspectives.
oxford maths institute roof
Afterwards we had al fresco drinks in a pub near Christchurch college. I recognised the area immediately as I had discovered a rare clip of J.R.R Tolkien walking out of the college, the camera then pans to the Blackwells bookshop which was just in front of the pub where we were, here is a link to the clip http://www.itnsource.com/compilation/S13070901/#57
(sorry for the nerdy archive footage diversion there, but I just had to get that out of my system..)

On our last day we decided to walk from Oxford to Abingdon along the River Thames, it was lovely, peaceful and quite wild in places.
At one point we thought we could hear an ice-cream van but it turned out to be a Jamaican steel band floating down the river..

I totally fell in love with Oxford and can’t wait to go back!

Leave a comment

Filed under Exploring, History, local, Maths, Travel

Sunday afternoon at the V and A

On Sunday I spent a lovely afternoon at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
I was supposed to be going to see the Beatrix Potter exhibit on the 5th floor but got sidetracked by the wrought iron, metalwork and recently opened ceramics galleries :)
We also had an amazing meal in the beautiful cafe (some google pics here)

Here are a few highlights from the trip

Harlequin ceramic figures

Harlequin ceramic figures

I love the life-like poses of these figure, the bright colours and extreme expressions on their faces.

ceramic ladies in baths

ceramic ladies in baths

I wonder what these bowls were used for…

ornate lock

ornate lock

I wish all door locks were are beautiful as this.. life would be so much prettier :)

orange and white table set

Orange and white table set

The orange glaze on this ceramic set was very striking

Antique Keys

Antique Keys

Some beautiful keys

Mauve table set

Mauve table set

I first saw a table set like this at the National Maritime Museum and fell in love with it..

Vase with white foliage

Vase with white foliage

I’m not sure how the white foliage was created on this vase but it’s truly stunning!

The Hereford Screen

The Hereford Screen panel detail

The magnificent Hereford screen was designed by Frances Skidmore and was constructed using a technique called electroformed copper, I have a flicker set dedicated to the screen here

1 Comment

Filed under Art, craft, Exploring, History, Travel

Darwin’s House

charles darwin's house

Down House

On Sunday we visited Down House the former home of Charles Darwin in the pretty village of Downe in Kent.
We managed to get a bus all the way there from Bromley town centre, which was very quick and cheap!!

We had a pot of tea and cake before touring the house and gardens and then did the ‘sandwalk’ where Darwin walked on a daily basis pondering ideas on evolution and natural selection :)

The house was stunning, with furnished rooms downstairs including his study filled with scientific study materials and a more multimedia, display cabinet section upstairs. The whole house had a lovely atmosphere (as old houses do I guess) and enviable amounts of space!

Darwin came from a very wealthy family, having been related to the ceramics pioneer and entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood. The wealth of the Wedgwood family enabled him to travel the world on voyages of scientific discovery and spend time in England formulating his revolutionary ideas.
You can read more here http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/home-of-charles-darwin-down-house/

After our tour we intended on walking to High Elms Country Park (approx 2 miles away) but it was a bit cold so we sat in a pub and drank cider instead :P

Whilst waiting for the bus back we noticed that most of the buildings in the village were made of flint
flint building downe kent
Apparently this was a common building material in Kent before the development of brick building techniques.
The flints were knapped by chipping off the rounded edges which made them much easier to cement and were arranged decoratively with other types of stone and variations in the knapping technique.

All in all it was a great day out and a brilliant start to the exploring season ;)

Leave a comment

Filed under Exploring, History, local, Nature, Science, Travel