I can finally show you my all time favourite photograph of Gertie Millar. As you can see, she is sitting on what is probably a flower stand in a fancy, striped playsuit acessorised by striped socks, lovely white shoes and a Struwwelpeter wig. The actress is surrounded by soft toys (what kind of animal is hanging next to her head?) as the photo alludes to Toy Town, a musical number from the revue Bric-à-Brac, which premiered at the Palace Theatre (the one where Priscilla Queen of the Desert has replaced Les Misérables) on 18 September 1915, roughly a year after […]
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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.
Looking after London’s ghosts…
When I first started working at the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive I was told there was a ghost in our metal store. More Casper than Blair Witch, the ghost allegedly helped you find objects that had been ‘misplaced’. Sadly, I’ve never seen this ghost, but with 200,000 boxes containing millions of fragments of London’s history, I think it fair to say the ghosts of London’s past sit on our shelves.
Christina Broom: A pioneering photographer
It is almost a year now since I first laid eyes on an extraordinary private collection of photographs by Christina Broom.