Christmas 1914 There was, of course, more than one football match In the long line of unofficial truces That stretched all along the front in Flanders; Indeed, the matches themselves were a sort of climax, Punctuating the peace that started before Christmas With shared read more
The November twilight ebbs away It is the same old ludic Time as ever. But a dead thing is grasped by my hand, A queer sardonic bi-valve – I pull it from the common’s rough track To place in my museum at home. Droll fossil, what on earth can you know Of national frontie read more
Private Henry John Lusty Date of Death: 08/07/1916 Age: 36 Regiment/Service: Army Ordnance Corps Grave Reference: F. 600. Cemetery: WOOLWICH CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of John and Sarah Lusty; husband of Florence Lusty, of Meadow End, Dudbridge, Stroud, Glos. read more
REMEMBRANCE DAY It started as a temporary structure, An edifice of wood and plaster, A “Cenotaph”, a monument to the dead, In Whitehall, November, 1919; An outpouring of grief and garlands, Bouquets, wreaths, flowers, silence and tears Ornamented the stark, new monument read more
My mother was born on Bastille Day, July 14th, 1915; Her mum and dad had met at church, In the choir of St John the Baptist and St Helen, Up on Church Hill, Wroughton, Just below the ridgeway, high above Swindon. I never met my grand-father, he died before my birth, A s read more
John Clare Day With John Clare Day fast approaching, let’s remind ourselves of Matthew Beaumont’s A Nocturnal History of London NightWalking and its John Clare relevance. Here’s a summary to re-whet the appetite: You will know the difference between the bohemian NOCTAMB read more
Coroner’s Report, 1916 The link above takes you to transcripts of the coroner’s report, 1916. Please read below as well … this is an astonishing story from WW1 ‘My beloved fiancée, Dorothy Beard, aged 18, of Burleigh, Brimscombe, and I, Archibald read more
(From the Kitchen to the Factory)
Decorated spoons hanging on the wall,
Like so many enamel medals;
Spanners turned to ornaments,
Like so many swords to ploughshares;
The world of home and war juxtaposed
In a museum cabinet of domestic remembrance:
A sewing machine, a cup and saucer,
A register of Daniels’ munition girls
(Like so many schoolgirls in a school logbook),
Sepia pictures of their phossy war work –
Kitchen sink linked to trench sump:
‘Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers’
(The family gathered round the kitchen table,
The vacant chair at its head),
The telegram boy at the front door,
The tears in the tea cup,
‘And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds’.
Echoes in Enamel, by Sue Brown, is an exhibition about munitions workers at Daniels in Stroud. Get to Stroud Museum soon – I think it finishes on April 26th.
All this David Starkey
About Magna Carta,
The Great Charter,
And Life, Liberty and Property;
I saw him on the telly,
With his usual pomposity,
But without a hint of irony,
As he talked of ending tyranny;
For as a consequence of fracking,
Our homes now face ransacking,
And so pockets can be lined,
Our homes are undermined.
An English home is your castle?
Why, that’s oh so medieval –
Magna Carta’s not for us,
Our basements turn to dust.
Oh brave new world that has such mining in it.
1066 And All That
Here are a few of the comments of Sellar and Yeatman, from their 1930 classic, on Magna Charter (‘on account of the Latin Magna (great) and Charter (a Charter)’):
- That no one was to be put to death, save for some reason – (except the Common People).
- That everyone should be free – (except the Common People).
- That everything should be of the same weight and measure throughout the Realm – (except the Common People).
- That the Barons should not be tried except by a special group of other Barons who would understand.
Magna Charter was therefore the chief cause of Democracy in England, and thus a Good Thing for everyone (except the Common People).
And, for 2015:
- That no one’s home should be subject to fracking – (except the Common People).
We were all stunned.
You couldn’t say,
‘Cheer up. It might never happen.’