I often seem to be more interested in the former wearers of objects in our collection than the objects themselves. That is even more true in the case of former owners who seem to resist revealing themselves. The following (and I’m afraid there will be more than one instalment) could be the script of a silent movie, complete with over-made-up villain, deceivingly pretty villainess and impressively shocked bystanders, although the writer of the title cards for this one would have their work cut out. Where to start? Well, it’s always good to begin with some lovely shoes. The image below […]
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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.