A Twitter thread that’s worth a read

Twitter, for those of you who don’t know what it is, here’s the Wikipedia definition,

Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, known as “tweets.” These messages were originally restricted to 140 characters, now increased to 280 characters.

Many of the ‘tweets’ are political sniping, and of interest to news and politics nerds. When I say many, I’m not saying most is such. There is good stuff on Twitter, here for an example is a Twitter ‘thread’  [a thread is a series of connected tweets to overcome Twitter’s character count limitation to share longer thoughts], by @paulMMcooper about the ruin of Nineveh, the ancient capital of Assyria, is definitely worth a read. Here’s the thread – click on image to link to the thread.

Prager University’s five minute videos: #2: Freedom and the British Empire

Here’s the second of the Prager University’s 5-minute online videos that may be of interest to us in the UK.

This video may be a tad revisionist for some, as the title of H W Crocker III’s five minute video is  If You Live in Freedom, Thank the British Empire. Here’s PragerU’s preamble to the video below.

Was the British Empire a good or bad thing for the world? To put it another way, is freedom a good or bad thing for the world? Historian and author H.W. Crocker III explains why we may want to rethink the British Empire’s bad rap.

Prager University’s five minute videos: #1: Winston Churchill by Andrew Roberts

We all know that there’s lots of junk available through the internet. So, it’a a pleasure to find a reliable source of information, delivered in well-crafted five minute online video’s.

The source of these 5-minute videos is Prager University, founded in 2011, who say of their purpose,

We take the best ideas from the best minds and distill them down to five focused minutes. We then add graphics and animation to create the most persuasive, entertaining, and educational case possible for the values that have made America and the West the source of so much liberty and wealth.

While the choice of topics of Prager University videos is from a strongly American and conservative perspective, and may not all be of interest to a UK audience. I’ve come across a number of their 5 minute videos that should be of  interest to us. They’re available to view through the PragerU website, and can also be viewed in their YouTube channel.

The first video I’ve found is by noted historian and author Andrew Roberts on Churchill: The Man Who Saved the Free World,

Bantling, betwattled, and whipster, what lovely old words

Francis Grose’s 1788 A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue is a treasure trove of English words with often vulgar meanings.

Published some 30 years after Dr Johnson’s dictionary. Grose’s dictionary was compiled by him and his assistant Tom Cocking from visiting unsavoury places in London. His dictionary contains slang words, vulgar words, and words whose meaning amuses.

The Public Domain Review presents Grose’s dictionary for easy online trawling. Some words I liked are,

  • Bantling – a young child
  • Betwattled – to be surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses
  • Whipster – a sharp or subtle fellow

What surprises, though it really shouldn’t, is that many phrases have been in use for centuries, though whose meaning has evolved, such as,

  • Rattle-Traps – a contemptuous name for any curious piece of portable machinery
  • Betty Martin – ‘That’s my eye Betty Martin’, something that is nonsense

I hope you have fun browsing Grose’s dictionary of the vulgar tongue. Click on image to link to the dictionary.

The fascinating history of the Bayeux Tapestry

Press reports in mid January reported that the Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in UK for the first time.

Quite a PR coup for French President Macron that the Bayeux Tapestry would leave France for the first time in 950 years. The details of the loan are yet to be published, though the loan is expected to be in 2022.

We all know something about the tapestry, though possibly like me, not a great amount. Therefore. a perfect opportunity to find out more about it.

Importantly, an accurate description of it is that it’s an embroidered cloth, not a tapestry.

What I wasn’t aware of, is that there’s a Victorian copy of the Bayeux Tapestry in Reading Museum. See HERE for more about it. Here’s a little of the history of the copy,

It was the idea of Elizabeth Wardle to make the replica Bayeux Tapestry. She was a skilled embroiderer and a member of the Leek Embroidery Society in Staffordshire. Her husband, Thomas Wardle was a leading silk industrialist. Elizabeth Wardle researched the Bayeux Tapestry by visiting Bayeux in 1885.

Thirty-five women members of the Leek Embroidery Society worked under Elizabeth Wardle’s direction. This ambitious project was completed in just over a year. Each embroiderer stitched her name beneath her completed panel.

When many a historic treasure has been lost over time, it’s somewhat surprising that the Bayeux Tapestry has survived for 950 years. The article, Stitches in Time: A History of the Bayeux Tapestry in History Today traces it’s history as best it can, revealing some surprising things about the Tapestry.

Photo of the week No.42: St Paul’s by Herbert Mason, Dec 29, 1940

Seventy seven year ago, almost to the day, Daily Mail staff photographer, Herbert Mason, took this now famous image while on fire-watching duty.

I know someone, who was young at the time – obviously, who saw a similar view of St Paul’s Cathedral surrounded by smoke and flames after an air raid.

The story of Herbert Mason’s taking of the photo, and the deliberations as to whether to publish it, is discussed in detail in Max Hastings’s article in the Daily Mail, and in an article in the Amateur Photographer.

It needed a photographer’s eye to wait until the clouds of smoke cleared for the iconic vision to appear. Mason said of his taking the scene,

‘I focused at intervals as the great dome loomed up through the smoke. The glare of many fires and sweeping clouds of smoke kept hiding the shape. Then a wind sprang up. Suddenly, the shining cross, dome and towers stood out like a symbol in the inferno. The scene was unbelievable. In that moment or two, I released my shutter.’

Fascinated by history? Try the Historical Association’s West Surrey branch

If you’re fascinated by history, be it local, or more worldly, then there are places to accommodate your interests.

With a programme of quality talks, the West Surrey branch of the Historical Association, should be considered. Click on the image to enlarge and link to the website.

For more information and talks about local history, and that means Surrey Heath, then  the Surrey Heath Local History Club is where you should visit.

Not forgetting, of course the regular lunch time talks at the Heritage Gallery in Camberley.