SLAVE TRADER ROBERT MILLIGAN TO BE ‘CONTEXTUALISED’ INSIDE MUSEUM

Robert Milligan before removal

Robert Milligan once reigned supreme outside the Museum of London in Docklands as a representative of the West Indies merchants who proudly set up the West Indies docks. Now he has been removed from his prestigious position and acquired by the Museum of London. Their Docklands Museum can be seen behind the statue in this sketch. According to a statement by the Museums Association he will be ‘fully contextualised’ in the museum. The docks were set up to to maximise profits from the slave driven sugar plantations in the West Indies. Milligan was the Deputy Chairman of the project.

The museum has an excellent display on the slave trade.

Sorry for gap in posts as I’m recovering from surgery following an accident whereby a taxi driver opened his door and knocked me off my push bike so typing one handed and dealing with images is quite difficult at present. Please adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ when opening car doors and be careful.

BIG WEEKEND OF WALKS!

Bootham Bar with York Minter in the background
Bootham Bar with York Minter in the background photo Kevin Flude

I’m doing a virtual tour of York tonight at 7pm.

Then, tomorrow, two proper real walks in the fresh air:

a Literary and Archaeological walk of Roman London at 11.30

a Spring Equinox Walk at 2.30.

and I then dash hope to repeat the Equinox Walk as a virtual tour.

Links to the walks here:

And the Sunday was ruined bt the taxi driver who knocked me off my bike!

MARCH 13TH – TIME FOR NETTLE SOUP

Nettles Photo by Les Argonautes on Unsplash

Now is the time to make that Nettle Soup. According to William Coles in Adam in Eden (1657) it will ‘consume the Phlegmatic superfluities in the body of man, that the coldness and moistness of the winter have left behind.’ He also suggest that it is said that the juice of the roots mixed with ale and beer and given to one who is suspected of losing her maidenhead ‘if it remain with her she is a maid, but if she spew it forth she is not’.

The Egyptians used them to treat lower back pain, the hardy Romans used it to keep themselves warm. Some suggest it is useful for treating enlarged prostate, and for lowing blood pressure and generally very rich in all things good for you. Just don’t eat them raw! The suggested benefits of eating Nettles are listed on this web site. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stinging-nettle

Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

My next walks – virtual and guided are here:

MARCH 12TH – ST GREGORY PUNSTER EXTRAORDINARY

The caption above tells two of his alleged puns, but in between the one about Angles/Angels and AElla/Alleluia he also punned on the name of Aella’s kingdom – Deira in Northumberland,saying he would save them from the wroth of God (de ira in Latin).

He sent St Augustine to Canterbury to convert the English. It is possible to argue that this encounter is why we are called English, because St Augustine was sent to set up the Church of the Angles, or the Anglish/English Church, not the Saxon Church. Eventually, the term became a relatively neutral term that the various shades of Germanic peoples in Britain could unite under.

The mission was sent in AD 597 and Pope Gregory died in AD 604.

Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

My next walks – virtual and guided are here:

CROSSWALL – REDISPLAY OF THE ROMAN BASTION

The City Wall and Bastion at Crosswall awaiting an information panel

I often walk past Crosswall; a street in the east of the City of London that cuts right across the line of the Roman and Medieval City Wall from Aldgate to the Thames at the Tower of London. Several sections of the wall are still standing in this section – in Cooper’s Row and Tower Gardens behind Tower Hill Tube station, but this is the only Roman Bastion on display.

I, briefly, worked on the site in Crosswall that uncovered this Bastion. It was in the 1970’s in an excavation led by John Maloney. I remember, particularly, the entertaining tea breaks which John led. At the end of the excavation the developers decided to keep the remains and put them on display. This is quite unusual sadly. I visited the remains once or twice or my guided walks and always mention them but it never seemed an absolute necessity to visit probably because the display was not so inspiring or difficult to access. I can’t remember in fact how accessible the remains were.

A couple of months ago I found myself in Vine Street and was surprised to see the bastion through a clear plate glass window. This week I went again for a proper look and was really pleased to see what a great job has been made of the redisplay. The building that was put up after our excavation has been pulled down and a modern new glass building stands in its stead. When I visited they were hoovering it and preparing the display – not yet having put in the information in the information holders, but obviously soon to be launched to the world.

Now you can see the Chalk Bastion foundations and also a good section of the Roman City Wall. But not only from one side but both inside and outside the City. The Wall was built around 200 AD, the Bastion was added in the late Roman Period in the late 4th Century. Romans used them to place a catapult called a Balista. The Crosswall excavation was, I think, the first modern (post 1970s) excavation of a Bastion. You can find it between Crutched Friars and Vine Street north of Crosswall.

Drawing of the Roman Wall and bastion
Roman Bastion
Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

My next walks – virtual and guided are here:

CHAUCER, ST MARY-AT-HILL & ST MARGARET PATTENS

St. Mary-at-Hill, by Christopher Wren, photo K Flude

So, having finished a walk around Chaucer’s London for a mother and her two very bright home educated children. I had to walk back over London Bridge and through the City to Aldgate where Chaucer used to live (and where I had parked my bike).

I took a couple of short cuts which I don’t usually take although often in and around this area. St Mary in Lovat Lane was open so I went in to find this amazing relief.

Judgement Day Relief Sculpture by workshop of Joshua Marshall c 1670

The panel beside it suggests its a sculpture of hope. Well yes, of sorts, if by hope you mean, facing your maker. It represents scenes from the end of days from the Book of Revelation. Jesus stands on a skull, trampling upon Satan, and below the heavenly clouds the Archangels, direct the newly risen from the coffins and graveyards to the Day of Judgement.

I then went past St Margaret Pattens, another Wren Church and was delighted to see a little display on pattens – overshoes worn to keep shoes clean. My ancestor was a beadle for the Patten makers.

HERITAGE WITH MY GRANDSON 2 – BRITISH LIBRARY & MUSEUM

Arlo at the Beethoven Exhibition, British Library, March 2022

For our next outing we went to the British Library but Arlo didn’t like the Beethoven exhibition. It was too dark and nothing to surreptitiously climb on. He definitely does not like dark exhibitions which is a shame because it seems to be the design idea of the moment. The Nero and the Stonehenge exhibitions were also dark spaces working on creating atmospheric views using bright colours, spot lighting and spectacular objects. But it doesn’t work for a 20 month old.

Nor did the largely text based Paul McCartney’s Lyrics exhibition attract a second of his attention. ‘Paul who?’ he seemed to be saying as we stumped past to the very quiet sound of ‘Hey Jude’.

What he did like was the escalators. We went up and down, and up and down, and then onto the second set where we repeated the repeat.

British Library – note the escalator to the right

And down and back again, and no time to see the enigma machine. We ate in the upstairs Restaurant which is a really pleasant place to spend a lunch time.

Enigma Machine, British Library

Time for him to have a sleep so we walked to the British Museum through Bloomsbury without much sign that he he would nod off. But we found a couple of interesting revolutionaries of the 19th Century en-route.

Plaque to Robert Owen ‘father of the Cooperative Movement’, Burton Street

Then to Cartwright Gardens named after John Cartwright, called ‘the Father of Reform’. He had quite an amazing life. He refused to serve in the Navy as he would not fight against the American Colonists in the War of Independence. He supported reform of Parliament, universal suffrage, annual Parliaments and secret ballots.

John Cartwright Statue Cartwright Gardens.

The milk soon did its job and Arlo was asleep, so I took him to the Member’s Room for a cup of tea while he slept. I could keep an eye on the book trolley selling my book! (just behind Arlo’s head).

Sleep in the Member’s Room overlooking the Great Court

When he woke we whizzed around the third Floor but Arlo was reluctant to leave his buggy because it was much more crowded than our last visit when he was able to run free around the galleries which he loved. So, I could look at some old favourites like the Portland Vase. This by the way was smashed into hundreds of pieces and very beautifully restored. In 1848 a drunken visitor threw a sculpture into the case and smashed the vase. It was restored but 37 pieces were separated and, by luck, survived until 1988 when the vase was reunited with the pieces and expertly restored.

The Portland Vase – 15BC = 25AD Cameo Glass
Plate Cameo Glass 15BC – 25AD

STONEHENGE EXHIBITION AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM

The Nebra Disc

What an Exhibition! The BM has pulled together an international array of treasures from the Stonehenge era. It is stunning , the objects are amazing. Stonehenge itself is there in the labels but it is not at the forefront – the objects are left to speak for themselves. The labels are there to give some details and some context but they never dominate.

It is beautifully lit and mounted, and really a triumph. I will go back again to see how the labels and information tell their stories and report back at greater length.

Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

My next walks – virtual and guided are here:

MARCH 2ND – KALENDAR OF SHEPHERDS

. Nicholas Breton’s ” Fantasticks ” (1626) in Kalendar of Shepherds

The text from the Kalendar gives a great description of the nature of March as seen in the Jacobean era. We are still in Pisces

Attributes of Pisceans selfless, mystical compassionate imaginative sensitive
pisces from the zodiac from kalendar of shepherds
From the zodiac from kalendar of shepherds

The next section of the Kalendar gives a comparison between the ages of man and the months of the year. Twelve months in a year, Twelve ages of man in six year blocks. So March represents ages twelve to eighteen, as it says time to learn doctrine and science.

Kalendar of Shepherds (translation from French 15th Century original)

I introduce the Kalendar of Shepherds on this page.

Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

My next walks – virtual and guided are here:

MARCH 1ST – THE MONTH OF NEW LIFE

The Kalendar of Shepherds – French 15th Century

Named after Mars, the God of War, March was the beginning of the campaign season, and the army was prepared, and ceremonies held to Mars. The Salii, twelve youths dressed in archaic fighting costumes led a procession singing the Carmen Saliare. Ovid reports in his poem Fasti (3.259–392).

The illustration shows that in Pisces and early Ares preparation was still the main order of the farming day, clearing out the moats, and preparing the fruit trees. Lambing is also increasing in number.

It is also the Feast of St David, the patron saint of Wales, who lived in the sixth century AD. Little that is known about him is contemporary but he was an abbot-bishop and important for the independence of the Welsh Christian tradition.

This year it is also Shrove Tuesday, the day we eat up all our surplus food so that we can begin out lenten fast and turn out mind to repentance. Traditionally, pancakes with lemon and sugar but a day of excess before the 40 days of restraint.

Kalendar of Shepherds.

Shrove Tuesday was traditional for football games in the days before football had any rules to speak of. It was a wild game in which teams tried to get a bladder from one end of town to the other, or one side of a field to the other. At Chester the Mayor created the Chester Races on the Roodee, the island where the Shrove Tuesday game was held , specifically to stop the rowdy game.

Royal Asbourne Shrovetide Football
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