I have come to the conclusion that it is not the circus as a whole that I dislike but that my aversion is pretty much directed solely towards clowns. Maybe something happened the one and only time I went to the circus in my hometown. All I can remember is the outside of the tent … I have a very soft spot for aerialists, though, and not just on account of Burt Lancaster (honest!). And I generally adore circus outfits, and not just because of Merna Kennedy. So when I realised we had what was listed in the register as ‘a child’s acrobat costume, circa 1860′, I instantly had to check out this marvelous sounding object.
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The story of London Tweed
So this is how the story goes. In 1826 a London merchant decides to buy some cloth from a weaver in Hawick, a town in the Scottish borders famous for its cloth production. Very happy with his order, he decides to get some more but – crucially – misreads the weaver’s dashed handwriting. Instead of ‘twill’ this Londoner reads ‘tweed’, and assumes this new cloth must take after the River Tweed which runs fast and clear through the textile areas of lower Scotland. ‘Tweed’ and not ’twill’ has been the term used ever since.
A few weeks ago I found myself surrounded by fascists. I was on my way to the West End when at Tower Hill station a large group of French-speaking men with assorted girlfriends and wives (I presume) entered my tube carriage.
I Love You…I Love You Not: Victorian Valentine’s Day cards
When the Uniform penny post rocked up in 1840, it completely revolutionised the way in which people communicated. Sending letters and cards, such as those celebrating Valentine’s Day, became easier and cheaper and as a result a thriving business developed in central London.