Robert Geffrye – Will He Fall?

Demonstrations at the Geffrye Museum after the Board refuse to remove the statue of the founder who made money from the slave trade.
Interesting developments to this story – the Government wrote to the Geffrye Museum telling them that it was not Government or Heritage England’s policy to remove statues. And in a possibly sinister move the Minister Oliver Dowden asked the Geffrye to consult the government on any move it made.

This seems to go to the heart of independence and a free country. Here is the government using its financial support to make sure independent organisations do what the government wants.

For more on this story, go here. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jun/13/removal-of-controversial-statues-winston-churchill-protest

Protestors at the Geffrye Museum
This is an update on the subject

MYTHS, LEGENDS AND THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF LONDON

Virtual Guided Walk for London Walks

Currently, not programmed.

This virtual walk is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, who has an interest both in the archaeological evidence as well as the myths and legends of London’s origin.

A Walk for London Walks.

Archaeology in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries has revolutionised our view of the early history of London while its rich set of myths and legends have been largely forgotten. This walk is designed to set that right and give an insight into London’s legends, and how they relate to modern archaeological discoveries.

According to legend London was founded in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. He called the new City Troia Nova or New Troy, which became corrupted to Trinovantum. Around the time of Julius Caesar the name changed to Lud’s Dun and eventually to Londinium. Early archaeologists therefore looked for a prehistoric City, to add to the history they could read by classical authors of a City founded shortly after the Roman Invasion of 43 AD. When the Roman system broke down in 410 AD, historical and archaeological records become almost non-existent, until the foundation of St Pauls Cathedral in 604 AD. The two hundred year gap, sometimes called the Dark Ages, has another rich selection of legends. The walk will explore these stories and compare to the archaeology.

The route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River at Billingsgate, along the River to London Bridge, up to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St Pauls.

This is a London Walks Guided Walks. Look at their web site for a list of more of their amazing walks

Huge Circle of pits found around Durrington Walls

This is astonishing prehistoric find. A huge circle of pits surrounding Durrington Walls which is itself Britain’s biggest henge, and a mile or so away from Stonehenge, and Woodhenge. Continuing the golden age of Stonehenge archaeology.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jun/22/vast-neolithic-circle-of-deep-shafts-found-near-stonehenge?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX01vcm5pbmdCcmllZmluZ1VLLTIwMDYyMg%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=MorningBriefingUK&CMP=morningbriefinguk_email

Ship of Theseus – a Philosophic Paradox in Material Culture

This was first raised by Plutarch, and it concerns a crucial issue in conservation/restoration which is how to maintain authenticity in the face of replacing worn out parts of an object or structure. The idea is, perhaps, most economically discussed in ‘Any Fools and Horses’ in the scene known as Trigger’s Broom.

Watch this now before proceeding to the philosophy. Click here.
Theseus’ ship can be seen just over Ariadne’s left shoulder in Titian’s painting in the National Gallery. He is abandoning her on the Isle of Naxos.

Now you are ready to appreciate the philosophic issue that is discussed in this short video by the Khan Academy. Click here.

Black Lives Matter & London Heritage

A couple of my regular places have been affected by the effects of the toppling of the Colston Statue in Bristol.

Firstly, the statue of Robt Milligan outside the Museum of London, Docklands has been taken down. I have often used this as a meeting point for my students from Westminster University as we explore the Docks and the Docklands Museum.

Slavery was a big part of the visit, although we didn’t make Milligan the villain.

Another site is the Geffrey Museum which is going to open as the Museum of the Home, although this was determined before the George Floyd murder, but now I expect the Geffrey part of it to quietly disappear, as he is also contaminated by slavery.

Interesting fact about slavery, is that UCL have done a brilliant study of all the recipients of the compensation for the end of slavery. The govt at the time paid compensation of £20m to the slave OWNERS. This was a vast amount said to be 45% of the GDP for the year. It was funded by a long term loan which was paid back, as late as, 2015. In modern terms it was 16 billion £.

This has completely changed my mind on compensation for slavery which I was against. But it seems to me if we know that £16 billion was spent then to compensate the owners we could set up a fund of £16 billion now to give, for example, educational grants and start up grants for black people to give them the boost they need to make up for centuries of oppression..

Virtual Tour – British Library

An email from the British Library exhorting me to:

Email from British Library

So I did. And what did I find?

A dullish page, but with hopefully many delights hidden in the links.

I began with an exploration of the architecture, which was just a bit of text with a few images. And, much to my delight a whopping typo when referring to the wrong Gilbert Scott as inspiration to the architect, Colin St John Wilson. 4 out of 10, I fear.

I then took a safe bet to look at the Virtual Books. I have long admired the ability to look through the books in the Treasures Gallery in digital form – mostly looking at the Lindisfarne Gospel, Leonardo Da Vinca, and Alice. So, I clicked the link, to another surprisingly dull page with only 6 books to excite. But I knew there must be more, and to the top right was a link to ‘View All‘. Clicking this revealed some of the wonders of the world of books; from a Ethiopian Bible, to Lewis Carroll’s handwritten Alice’s Adventures Underground to works by Jane Austen. Each one in blazing colour and which the visitor can zoom in on and thumb through.

Beautiful and I chose a Psalter that is annotated by Henry VIII’s himself. Wow!

Virtual Henry

Why, I wonder, do the British Library make so little of it? I only got to it as i knew that had it. Most would pass by.

This gets a 10 out of 10 for awe-inspiring content, and a 3 for hiding its light under a bushel.

Next, I was excited to see a exhortation to ‘Visit an Online Exhibition.‘ This was what I had come here for. Really, excited. When I got there, there were 44! I was really looking forward to this.

But they were not exhibitions, they were a series of articles and blog posts. All very interesting, and all illustrated with lots of images of beautiful objects. But in no-way an online exhibition.

So very disappointed.

Overall, the British Library web site has some absolutely marvellous stuff. But its not really digital, its just online. There is no feeling of a digital experience, digital content yes, a digital experience. no.

It should be a 10 out of 10, and it is for content but for a digital experience, I’m hard pressed to give it a 6.