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  • Nineteenth-Century Witchcraft in Hebden Bridge July 2, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Nineteenth-Century Witchcraft in Hebden Bridge

                    The British town of Hebden Bridge is to be found deep in the South Pennines. The town itself is merely quaint – it has, Beachcombing seems to remember, cobbles. But the countryside thereabouts is the stuff of Xanadu. Indeed, over-travelled Beachcombing is of the opinion that Hebden Bridge’s wooded valleys are Masada at dawn, […]

    The Last Cavalry Charge in History? June 16, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Last Cavalry Charge in History?

                        It is a long ago Sunday and Beachcombing, aged ten, is playing with his plastic Napoleonic soldiers. In walks Beachcombing’s father with his dangerous pacifist tendencies and pointing to a group of charging cavalry observes: ‘They must have suffered terribly when their horses were shot […]

    Outrageous British Street Names June 8, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Outrageous British Street Names

              Be warned! This entry in Beachcombing’s encyclopaedia of the damned is not about British streets that happen to sound rude: Booty Lane (York), Percy’s Passage (London) etc etc etc. Rather it is about British street names that reflect our ancestors’ remarkable lack of embarrassment about the toilet and the bedroom and […]

    Victorian sewer pigs June 7, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian sewer pigs

              Beachcombing has a natural and commendable enmity towards sociology. Sociologists are the foes of history and must be resisted on the beaches, in the city and in the hills. (It does not help that his father-in-law is of that profession.) But he finds some of the nineteenth-century proto-sociologists intriguing and […]

    Orgies in Victorian Skipton! June 5, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Orgies in Victorian Skipton!

            Walter White (1811-1893) wrote about his journeys around the British Isles and Continental Europe in such classics as Holidays in Tyrol and Eastern England: from the Thames to the Humber. He was perhaps not the most exciting travel writer being rather prone to detail. But that very ability to give details […]

    Longbow at Dunkirk June 4, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Longbow at Dunkirk

                        Donald Featherstone’s The Bowmen of England was written in 1968 and read by Beachcombing 7 long years ago. He is ashamed to say though – and this reflects badly on him rather than on the author – that the only thing he can remember is […]

    Victorian Will o’ the Wisp June 3, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Will o’ the Wisp

              Beachcombing is in a Victorian country mood this week – the kind that comes and goes. It should be no surprise then that he’s decided to give a short extract from one of his favourite Victorian country books, the autobiography of John Wilkes, a gamekeeper based (for much of his professional […]

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