I am aware that I have been woefully neglecting this blog, but I have rather a long list of excuses, some of them pretty good. My most recent distraction, if that’s the right word, was a summer school which we ran over three weeks in July. One of the sessions was about the experiences of women during the two World Wars and I showed the students examples of women’s uniforms including the one you can see 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.
Sherlock Holmes trailer: You saw, but did you observe?
With only one week to go until our Sherlock Holmes exhibition opens to the public, we wanted to take a closer inspection at our trailer to reveal a few hidden clues as to what visitors might expect… you saw, but did you observe?
The Great Dock Strike – 125 years on
“The St. Lawrence is mere water. The Missouri muddy water. The Thames is liquid history.” So declared John Burns – a great advocate of London’s history – when asked to compare the Thames against those other great rivers in 1929. Forty years earlier in 1889 Burns had been a towering figurehead of the Great Dock Strike, thus sealing his own place in those murky waters. As the 125th anniversary of the strike approaches (14 August – 16 September) it feels an opportune moment to reflect on what this particular passage of liquid history might mean today.