scribbles tagged ‘Yorkshire’


Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

spring loaded gate latchpushing the ‘knob’ lifts the latch.

A pleasing and unusual gate-opening mechanism in Wentworth

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Howard Street

Monday, June 17th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Howard Street Pub    Howard Street - number 16s now a towerblock    Howard Road - Back Alley Cobbles

Very little of the original Sheffield Howard street still exists. Sheffield city council explains that in the 1990s:

“Howard Street and Sheaf Square have been redesigned to create a much better ‘first impression’ of  Sheffield and to reinforce one of the city’s major pedestrian axes.”

A Sheffield council guide to street names says the street was named after the family name of the land owner – Charles Howard Earl of Surrey who lived in Arundel.

“Between each wide straight street, north to south, and between each wide straight cross street east to west, there was a back lane for deliveries and for any small establishments which might, in accordance with Sheffield custom, be built behind the frontages of the road streets. The lanes were named after the streets; the streets commemorated the manorial lord of Sheffield and his ancestors. Surrey Street is for his second title; Arundel Street, Charles Street for his Christian name; Howard Street for his surname; Earl Street for his rank as Earl Marshall; Furnival Street for his thirteenth century ancestors.”

This picture found on a Sheffield Historical photographs website shows the odd number houses 17-23, on Howard Street in 1902:


Henry Hall, the ‘inventor’ of Hallmarks (a way of identifying the quality and origins of precious metals) was based at 11 Howard street working in “Walker and Hall” a company that also pioneered electro-plating.

From this is a picture of their Howard Street premises taken circa 1915 it looks like the factory was on the top of the hill which is consistent with the current Street numbering.  I found this picture in a ‘Silver’ discussion forum:


An earlier picture (1906), a sketch, posted on another silver discussion forum states that they employed 2,500 people!:



Howard Street
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General cemetery for none-specific cash burials

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

General Cemetery - beautiful on a sunny dayThe Sheffield General cemetery is a registered charity run by trustees, this means it’s a ‘private’ rather than ‘public’ cemetery.  Wild and unkempt, graves unplotted and stones crumbling. It’s one of the earliest commercial cemeteries, and garden cemeteries, in Britain. People paid to be buried here in good company of other wealthy people. They were the new ‘Middle’ class who were mainly ‘Dissenters’, Nonconformists, Protestants who were separate from the Church of England. The cemetery was probably a symbol of the rise of these non-conformists outside of the gentry who inherited their wealth and were mainly Church of England.

The General cemetery is less than 2.5 miles away from the Sheffield City Road cemetery which run by Sheffield local government, a public cemetery. It was built 45 years before the City road cemetery in 1836 because:

“Graveyards were overflowing and there was an urgent need to find more space for the bodies (safe from body snatchers!)…   …where people could be buried in a way that reflected their earthly wealth and status…   …in a ‘remote and undisturbed’ location. It became established as the principal burial ground in Victorian Sheffield containing the graves of 87,000 people…

General Cemetery Grand entrancewayIt took me about 40 minutes to walk the uphill mile from the city centre train station to the General cemetery. Poor people were buried in this private cemetery, but not with individual graves. Their website announces that the General cemetery throws all the bodies of the poor into one plot, it contains:

“the largest single grave plot in the country, holding the bodies of 96 paupers “

This was about making a profit for the private company shareholders, they did it by:

“burying paupers for the Poor Law authorities. They charged five shillings (25 pence) for each pauper. Then they waited until they had a cartful of them and saved space by burying them all in a single plot”

General cemetery for none-specific cash burials
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indignation 1832 Sheffield style

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

A 1832 letter to a Royal commission investigating the Church of England’s revenues:


It is a matter of the deepest regret and surprise that no steps are taking by the Dissenters in England, at this critical juncture, to assert their principles and claim their just rights, when it is generally understood that his Majesty’s ministers, or at least the majority of them, will concede nothing to us which they can possibly avoid; and that they intend to bring forward, next session, their plan of church reform, the tendency of which will be decidedly unfavourable to our interests, and will consolidate the political power and influence of one dominant sect.…

If, then, we owed Earl Grey and his colleagues any debt of gratitude, for doing us an act of justice before they took office, in getting the Test Laws repealed, we have now paid it; and it is time to look to our own interests, in which are involved the best interests of the country.

We are required to submit to the domination of a corrupt state church; to be governed by bishops; to see £3,5000,000 at the least (but more likely £5,00,000) annually expended in the maintenance of a clergy, of whom a vast majority do not preach the gospel; to see the cure of souls bought and sold in open market; to have the Universities closed against us, and all the iniquities of those degraded places continued; to be taxed, tithed, and rated to the support of a system which we abjure; to be compelled to submit to objectionable rites and ceremonies at marriage, baptism, and burial; – in one word, to be left out of the social compact, and degraded.…

We have hitherto demanded too little; and, consequently, we have been refused everything worth caring about. The bill for relieving places of worship from the poor rates, which was the fruit of the labours of the last session of Parliament, is no boon to us. It applies to churches in the establishment more than to ourselves, and I doubt much whether it will save the Dissenters £50 a year. I fear we have even misled the Government itself by asking for trifles, when we ought to have been contending for great principles. What signifies a small church-rate, when we should be contending against a corrupt state church? What is the trifling amount of procreates levied upon a very few of our chapels, in comparison of millions of pounds annually expended on a secular and dominant clergy? – and all this is done in a country burdened with a debt which grinds all! The real points at issue between the Government and us are very few, and may soon be stated. They are chiefly as follow, viz: –

1st. A total disconnection between church and state, leaving the details consequent thereupon to be dealt with by Parliament.

2nd.The repeal of the Act of Charles II., which enables bishops to sit in the House of Lords.

3rd. The repeal of all laws, which grant compulsory powers to raise money for the support of any church whatever.

4th. The reformation of the Universities, the repeal of all religious tests, and a grant of equal rights in them.

5th. A reformation of the laws relating to marriage and registration with equal rights in places of public burial.

No Government whatever could long resist any of these just and reasonable requirements, if perseveringly demanded; and it is well known that several members of the present administration would gladly and promptly grant all of them.… Our political power is far more justly estimated by our opponents than by ourselves, and few of the members of Parliament would venture to be indifferent or opposed to our wishes. Lord Durham knows us well, and his advice is particularly applicable to us: ‘The power rests with yourselves, now, to instruct your representatives as to the measures which you, the respectability and intelligence of the country, have set your hearts on, and they will inevitably be carried.’

I am, Sir,
Your very obedient servant,
George Hadfield

indignation 1832 Sheffield style
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the unburied are dangerous or injurious to the public health

Sunday, June 9th, 2013 | tags: , , , , ,  |

route to CCI 19097Gray graves some falling overThe ‘City Road’ cemetery in Sheffield is well maintained, the grass is cut, fallen stones are repositioned, and mature trees shade the pedestrian walkways through it’s extensive hillside grounds. It has separate Church of England, Nonconformist and Roman Catholic burial grounds. Originally known as the Sheffield Township Burial Ground or Intake Cemetery (City Road was formerly called Intake Road), it was renamed the City Road cemetery when it was taken over by Sheffield City Council in 1900.

It was built because of:

1) the rapidly increasing population in Sheffield.

“1736 Sheffield and its surrounding hamlets held about 7000 people, in 1801 there were around 60,000 inhabitants, and by 1901, the population had grown to 451,195” (Wikipedia)

“By 1841 there would be 110,000 people within its [Sheffield town] boundaries, and hardly any sanitation…   …disease was common and people did not live long. At this time the citizens of Sheffield died at an average age of just 27…   …The huge number of deaths at this time” (Sheffield General cemetery website)

2) the rapidly dying population in Sheffield due to a cholera epidemic that started in the town during 1832:

“meant that the churchyards in Sheffield were becoming full to overflowing. The dead were often kept under the floor of the church, and sometimes in these places you could really smell death…   …it was not unknown to see bits of corpses sticking out from the overfilled graves” (Sheffield General cemetery website)

3) and the introduction of ‘Burial Act’s which still apply today. These Acts required that dead people are buried, even the poor who can’t afford to pay for burial, because of the health risk associated with their lying unburied.  The local parish is required to fund the burial of the poor:

“persons as may have the care of any vaults or places of burial, for preventing them from becoming or continuing dangerous or injurious to the public health; . . . and such . . . persons shall do or cause to be done all acts ordered as aforesaid, and the expenses incurred in and about the doing thereof shall be paid out of the poor rates of the parish”

City Road cemetery is the largest cemetery in Sheffield:

“opened in 1881…  …It covers 100 acres, and is the largest owned by Sheffield City Council…   …By September 2005 almost 163,000 people had been buried within the cemetery occupying over 20,000 graves; some having as many as 8 or 9 bodies in them”

Entrance viewed From the CrematoriumSoon after the cemetery opened Sheffield was granted a charter to become a city in 1893. This garden cemetery was  commissioned and funded by the “Sheffield Township Burial Board”.   Their visits to Birmingham’s Whitton cemetery and Liverpool’s Anfield Cemetery probably influenced their  decisions about the lay-out and running of the cemetery. In 1878 the land for the cemetery was purchased from the fifteenth Duke of Norfolk for £13,625. A requirement of the purchase was that a proportion of the ground would be allocated for Roman Catholic burial. This requirement suggests to me that Catholics in England still suffered from discrimination. That is, the Duke of Norfolk didn’t expect a burial ground to automatically include Catholics, he felt the need to specify that the should be included to avoid them being excluded.

Hillside graves of many shapes and sizesLocal architects Messrs M E Hadfield and Son designed it to include Church of England and Nonconformist chapels. A catholic chapel was added in 1889. As-if the designers planned without including a Catholic area and had to retrospectively add it because of the purchase agreement.

the unburied are dangerous or injurious to the public health
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Slow down for Rockingham Arms

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Rockingham armsWentworth village is chocolate box cute

The Rockingham Arms staff are chatty and willing to help with their own quirky, non-corporate practices. There are no menus for breakfast. Another guests appears flustered, asks for the menu and the host calmly reassures her

Just ask for what you want and I’ll get it for you, we’ve got most things

Wentworth Hotel Room ViewThe staff are always busy while carrying a relaxed ambiance.

The Hotel was across the road from the pub, in cute converted cottages. My room overlooked the pub entrance. I opened the window and was lulled into a deep and dreamless sleep by the gentle chatter from people sitting outside the pub. Surprised not to be disturbed by high spirits on this warm evening.

I met other guests in the cutely cramped corridors of the hotel. One lady asked me if my radiators were working, it was so cold, “I haven’t noticed, my room is fine” Actually, I’d slept with my window open because it seemed so warm. Normally I find hotel temperatures a little stifling, this hotel seemed to have a natural temperature similar to the wendy house. Homely. I suspect that guest normally lives in a centrally heated modern house where the air doesn’t move.

Rockingham ArmsThe cars in the hotel car park suggested affluent guests, Mercedes, BMW convertibles, and of course young Thomas.

I’m building a picture of BMW and Mercedes drivers as suffering from symptoms of OCD and Autism. Maybe that’s what it takes to be successful in business, while by-passing being a successful human being. I class myself within this group. The sort of people that follow rules and expect others to do the same… “Keep off the bowling green” I obeyed.

Rockingham arms across the bowling greenIn the bar, guests complaining about how long they had to wait for their food. I wasn’t in a hurry. The time let me read my paper, listen to the other guests, just slow down to the local, healthy, pace of life.

I suspect the Rockingham Arms will be pressured by guest reviews to become more and more like a blandly corporate style service rather than expecting customers to adapt to their valuable way of being.  I hope not.


Slow down for Rockingham Arms
2 votes rating 5

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wendy house works

Saturday, June 1st, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Works: ButchersWorks: ChallengeMany of the red-brick industrial buildings in downtown Sheffield are called “Works”.

There’s something rather disturbing about the name “Butcher works”. Apparently it’s “one of the most important surviving cutlery and grinding workshops“. They would have made knives at the Butcher works.

There’s something inspiring about “Challenge works“. The Challenge works in Arundel Street is described in it’s listing as “an edge tool manufactory with workshops, office and warehouse, appears to have rapidly evolved into a multi-occupancy site, with an electro-plating company sharing the site in 1888. The Goad Fire Insurance plan of 1896 identifies various trades being carried out on site, and the presence of tool forges set behind the street frontage range, itself identified as office and warehouse…   …a significant survival in a once densely populated manufacturing quarter of Sheffield

Works: UniverseWorks: GibsonThere’s something very reassuring about being told that “Universe Works”  The only online references for it are to rent apartments. as a downtown residence in a converted industrial building I suspect this address is now high chic.

The “Gibson works” is also a listed building, it was originally a ‘Pewter’ works built in the late 19th Century.

‘Works’, both a noun and a verb. Lets take a moment to establish that “wendy house works” because we are and we do.

wendy house works
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In search of Swinton’s “Little Britain”

Thursday, May 30th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Before their deaths Peter (1873) and Mary (1870) Robertson lived in “Little Britain” Swinton. But where is this Little Britain?

Current map’s don’t show the area in Swinton or the nearby Mexborough. After many internet searches filled with results for the comedy TV program, Tilda Swinton. and the London District of Little Britain, I finally found 2 direct references:

  1. South Yorkshire Times:  “It appears that “Little Britain” encompassed an area of both Mexborough and Swinton, and was surrounded by: Rowmes Lane, Swinton; the base of Cowood Street; Britain Street, and the canal.”
  2. Glassby family history pages: “Little Britain” is next to “Upper Canada” in the 1841 Census list, and close to Don Pottery and Swinton Wharf. Giles Bearley of Swinton Heritage Society says:-  These fanciful names were generated by the Canal people. The South Yorkshire Cut and the Dearne & Dove Canal were put through the town circa 1780. Employment on the canals was quite extensive with all the local industry. Some were short runs and some were long runs. Others used to set off on “the wander” where they would go anywhere they could get a cargo. It was not as fanciful as being on the ocean wave but names from sea voyages filtered back as nicknames for different places. Particularly where there was a turning circle or a boatman’s mission where they could get religion and supplies. In Wath-on-Dearne (the next town) for example was the “Bay of Biscay”. Families residing there used the same names to describe where they were which was picked up in early censuses.


The area formerly known as "Little Britain" in Swinton, South Yorkshire

I found this area on the map, it’s about a 20 minute walk all downhill from Peter and Mary’s burial place at St Margarets church graveyard. I couldn’t find a way to walk along the Canal side. Most of the buildings in the area are from the 20th century and looking very neglected. I parked on Walker St. and photographed the pub on the corner of Station Road and the Victorian terraces on Station Road. It wasn’t the sort of area you feel safe walking around alone. I walked along Rowms lane, up and down New Station Road and tried to spy the canal over large hedged wire fences.

I suspect Little Britain was a much more raucous and lively place at the height of the canal trade.
Little Britain            Little Britain

In search of Swinton’s “Little Britain”
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Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

St Margarets churchSt Margarets churchI’m in Swinton to look for the burial plot of Peter (1873) and Mary (1870) Robertson in St. Margaret’s church.

St Margaret’s Church is a large parish church, suggesting the town was wealthy when it was last built, following a fire, in 1899. The walls of the church are puritanically plain with a simple wall hanging between each window marking the stations of the cross, from the passion. I associate the 14 stations of the cross with Catholicism.

Some gravestones mark burials as early as 1843. The earlier graves are closer to the church. Many of the grave markers are missing. Once there would have been neat rows of east-west facing stones. It looks like nearly half of the stones in this early part of the graveyard have gone. Fallen. When I asked the Verger about the missing stones she said it was due to ‘Subsidence’, quite literally fallen. There are no maps of the burial plot, she doesn’t know of any records. I suspect they were lost in the fire of 1897, I’ll ask the vicar.

St Margarets graveyardSt Margarets bluebells in the graveyardI’d emailed the Vicar 2 weeks before visiting, he hadn’t acknowledged receiving my email. He must be a very busy man.  Two hours carefully uncovering, reading, the names on all the headstones in the older part of the graveyard, I regret not having  phoned the Vicar before I visited.

While I search the graveyard children run through, it’s a through-route to the local park. Elderly people carry shopping through the graveyard, it’s a through route between social housing bungalows and the main shopping high street. This place is alive with people.  Most passers-by say hello and comment on the lovely weather.

This is a warm, friendly place

The Verger explained that the Vicar is very busy.  The Verger looks busy. She is here. The Vicar only answers the phone in his office, in the church, but he’s rarely there. I wonder what keeps the vicar so busy away from the home of his congregation.  The Verger suggests that I visit the church on a Monday night between 6.30 and 7pm, that’s when the Vicar comes to meet the public and deal with things like arranging weddings. But not this Monday because he’s very busy with Whitsun.  Again, I wonder how this vicar spends his time caring for his living flock.

Alas, I didn’t find Peter (1873) and Mary (1870) Robertson’s burial plot. I did spend a very pleasant afternoon looking.

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One Plucking Thing After Another

Monday, April 4th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire brings us 8 players of- Bass, Barritone, Tenor, Soprano and Fridge Magnet Ukeleles. Fresh from New York’s Carniegie Hall with only hand luggage, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain played the New Theatre Oxford to the delight of a mature audience and their teenage offspring. Witty banter inbetween singing, whistling, dancing all accompanied by Ukulele playing.  Playing songs from one musical genre in another style, for example, Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights re-interpretted in the genre of Swing bands

Recommended for anyone with a sense of humour, love of diverse musical genres or 80’s music, and Yorkshire people.

4 smiles: Ratings explained

The set included:

  • Hawkwind’s Silver Machine as an ode to commuters
  • David Bowie’s Life on Mars delivered with duet lyrics from other songs. One person singing I did it my way and so on while the lead vocalist sang the main lyric. It was fascinating, creative and worked extremely well.
  • Ian Dury and the Blockheads Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll as a polite tea party
  • Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights as a Swing band
  • Wheatus’s Teenage Dirtbag” as a polite love song
  • Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK as a group campire singalong
  • Recognisable classical stuff that I am sadly ill-equipped to name
One Plucking Thing After Another
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Streets in the sky

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

I first heard of the Park Hill estate during my undergraduate environmental psychology classes in 1986.  The architect’s, Ivor Smith and Jack Lynn’s, vision for a high rise estate to replace sprawling slums in the northern English city of Sheffield with “Streets in the Sky”. Streets in the sky would recreate the strengths of the communities which had flourished in the back to back slums and provide improved living conditions at a bargain price. Taking people out of small, damp, Victorian terraces where  kids played in the streets and giving them streets in the sky with views over the city, inside toilets, covered walkways, balcony’s where children could play and neighbours could chat, with room for attractive open park land around the high rise buildings.  Smith and Lynn’s designs were heavily influenced by Le Corbuiser’s Breton Brut as evident in his Marseilles Unité d’Habitation. Breton Brut became known in Britain as ‘Brutalism’,  simple functional form. They wanted to build in a sense of neighbourliness into these functional spaces.

These changes were intended to improve the standard of living for people now living in a slum area locally know as ‘Little Chicago’ in the gangster era.  The Park Hill estate was completed in 1961 with 995 flats that could house over two thousand people overlooking Sheffield city centre. Front doors opened to a 12 ft wide balcony, a street, that runs right across the estate over bridges between buildings.  Milk floats could trundle from door to door along streets named the same asthose in the original slums they replaced.  People that were neighbours in the slums were rehoused next to each other.

Worthy, admirable intentions

When built,  the social ideal didn’t happen

The estate soon became known as Sheffield’s San Quentin. The failure of the original design vision has been blamed on many things including

  • easy access routes for muggers
  • poor sound insulation
  • the streets being open to the inclement Sheffield weather
  • the building’s ugliness
  • the poverty of the occupants

In 1998 Park Hill became the largest grade 2  listed building in europe.

This centruy English Heritage, Urban Splash and Sheffield city council have been renovating Park Hill.

It’s difficult to tell from the publicity what is being changed to make the project work  as a successful place to live this time. A recent BBC TV programme about the renovation focussed on English heritage’s aesthetic and structural requirements for preservation not mentioning any changes to the space aimed at improving the occupants expereince of living there. The programme made the vision appear less social that the original. So what will have changed since it first opened?  It looks like the renovation will be

  • It’s prettier with bright rainbow colours
  • occupants will not all be council tenants, some will be home owners and some shared ownership. They will be a different socio-economic mix
  • the streets will not be open to the Sheffield weather
  • living there comes with the kudos of living in a classic listed building
Streets in the sky
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feet and sugar beet

Friday, June 20th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Recently,   while much of the UK  was panic stocking on petrol,   in  Reading pedestrians were riding Bio-ethanol fuelled buses on route 17.    In Sept 2006 Stagecoach single-decker buses were  trialled in Merseyside, Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, and Greater Manchester.    Stagecoach introduced 8 singledecker buses in Kilmarnock running on cooking oil.   Apparanly nearby residents got discounted travel rights in return for donating cooking oil.

According to the BBC,   who are terribly credible,   Reading is the first area in Britain to supply  a BIG fleet of 14  bio-fuelled buses.   The first doubledecker bus trialled in Reading in October 2007,   was called ‘Ethel’,   as were 2 of my mumzies aunties.   Get Reading reports:

Reading Transport Ltd chief executive James Freeman watched the company’s newest and greenest bus roll in.   He said: “People in Reading are very environmentally-conscious, so now they can be sure when they choose to travel by bus they are making a green choice.

 Hurrah for conscientious, progressive,   Reading public transport services.   Route 17 is one of my absolutely favourite bus routes,   it carries over 6 million passengers per year.   That is LOTS.

feet and sugar beet
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Sunday, December 17th, 2006 | tags: , , , , ,  |

For a  photo-story of the Wendy House, 24hr Power outage, click this picture of my reading a book by candle-power:

The Wendy House was lucky,   only 24 hs without electricity and a gas-fire for warmth.   The Seattle PI reports that more than 1 million Washingston State residents lost power. The all to frequent sound of siren’s passing the Wendy House re-inforced the risks associated with a suddent lack of traditional power sources.   The smell of woodsmoke, prevalent in the air, took on an ominous tone.   Did it  herald a burning home?

Memories of my childhood:  

January 1974,   11yrs old, the UK was suffering from a power crisis.   The Conservative government under Prime Minister Edward Heath introduced a ‘3 day week’ to conserve power.   At that time the UK’s main source of electrical power was the National Coal industry,   electricity from coal.   The country was suffering from extreme inflation.   To try and curtail inflation the government introduced wage-capping.   The Miners were not happy about their wage cap.   The Miners union introduced a ‘work to rule’,   they only followed the detail of the job description nothing above and beyond.   This severely curtailed coal production and reduced the power available to the country.   Unable to negotiate a solution with the Coal Miners representative,   the Union, the government introduced a 3 day week.   Power was only available on 3 consecutive days in a week.

To  an 11yr old this  is exciting and  fun.   4 days a week where the evenings were by candle-light and no hot-water for bathing.   As a family we would play cards by candle-light. It was like camping inside home.    We wore several layers of woolly jumpers and fingerless gloves indoors.   We used a camping gas stove to brew tea and make the occassional hot meal.  

After the Heath Conservative government was replaced by  Harold Wilson’s  Labour government the normal working week returned.   Wilson was a working-class boy who excelled in English the educational system.   A Yorkshire boy,   like Wallace, with a quick wit.   The last great intellectual Prime Minister that lead Britain.   The last true Labour Prime Minister.   With some impressive political thinkers in his cabinet such as  Tony Benn  and my personal favourites Denis Healey and Micheal Foot.

The exploitation of  oil  from the North Sea helped Britain to avoid severe economic disaster,   and assured that Scotland would not gain independence before its natural resources ran out.   That would be approximately…. ….now.   Britain is begining to face a renewed energy crisis and despite a thrashing by Thatcher the National Union of Miners is still a voice at the lobbying table.   The fancy new Labour party, Blair’s government, is being criticised for its lack of long term planning.

In my ‘retirement’ I  want to live in, or below,  a Windmill, to  be self-sufficient then sell extra power back to the country in  an emergent decentralised power system.  

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paperweight behind lagoon

Sunday, November 12th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

he picks up a dusty glass sphere

is this really meant to be here?

it had rolled behind the lagoon

I lost it while cleaning in June

with her cuff she de-dusts the globe

this cunjurs a genie  in robe

your wish is my very  command!

suprised,  the globe falls from her hand

could you tidy, clean, our home?  

No sooner said, then,  it’s done


rediscovered glass, spherical paperweight (flick-r photoshare)


Poem originally inspired by the opportunity to provide comment on a pre-published poetry book.   Started to  illustrate that giving comment to a specialist is  articulating what they already know.   The home-cleaner*  already knows  the paperweight needs dusting and moving.    It is confirmation and direction.   The paperweight should be cleaned and placed in the sunlight where the glass will refract the light beautifully.    The paperweight that represents the known but unarticulated thing was a present from my recently deceased uncle.   Known yet undiscovered in death.   The broader theme is ‘lost’, people loose things.

The genie hijacked my imagination as a vehicle to express my dislike of my belief in the need to clean my own home.   Attempting to rhyme ‘home’ and ‘done’ may be easier with my accent than others.   I stretched and twisted the point and the vowell.  I particularly liked the surreal image of having a lagoon in your home and the thought that something could roll behind a lagoon to become mislaid.   Small point.   Amused me no-end.   Probably inspired by Monty Python’s  ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ sketch where one man claims he had to live in a lake.   My mother and her  family were all from Yorkshire. 🙂


written on Remembrance  Sunday – 11th November 2006

* apologies for gender stereotyping the home cleaner as a girl.   My excuse is that she is based on me.

paperweight behind lagoon
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Frank Sutcliffe

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005 | tags: ,  |

Frank Sutcliffe was  a photographer based in Whitby in the late 19th Century.   Whitby is  most well  known for its key role in Bram Stoker’s Dracula,   its sailing history and Jet works.   This is his most famous photograph, the Water Rats:

Frank Sutcliffes Waterats from

Frank Sutcliffe's Waterats from

I have a copy of the Water Rats in  my Water Closet.   With 11 almost naked young boys there are no ‘winkles‘ showing.   An outstanding achievement in tastefulness.   Unfortunately the bum exposure did get Frank excommunicated from the local church for potentially corrupting girls.    I was already irrevocably, severely, corrupted by the time I found this photograph.


W wemembewing-whitby

Frank Sutcliffe
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