jump to navigation

Witchcraft Murder in Modern London March 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Witchcraft Murder in Modern London

Beachcombing has spent rather more time than is good for him over the last year looking at cases of, what are in legal terms, child abuse. Nineteenth-century Irish families who (to use an inadequate word) ‘punished’ children because they believed that they were fairies or ‘changelings’: the real child had, the families believed, been spirited […]

A Rhinoceros in Eighteenth-Century London November 5, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
A Rhinoceros in Eighteenth-Century London

   Beach has a longstanding thing about elephants (see many previous posts and many posts to come) and has been wondering recently about opening up a second front on the rhinoceros: a distant reading of a text about Romans importing this beast for their games has been jumping up and down in his head. He […]

City of Ravens: Boria Sax October 31, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
City of Ravens: Boria Sax

The story so far. An ancient British myth going back to ‘ye olde Celtic times’ states that while ravens reside at the Tower of London then Britain will prosper. However, turn the neatly embossed tourist sign with ‘ye olde Celtic times’ over and there is a ‘Made in Taiwan’ marker stamped into the plastic. Translated? […]

Eccentric British Funerals September 5, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Eccentric British Funerals

Given Beach’s almost constant obsession with death – we’ve done capital punishment, human sacrifice, wills and last words in the past year… – the funeral had, sooner or later, to make an appearance. Here then is a small collection of last rites from the eccentric side of the English nineteenth century: actually one is from […]

Mystery Discovery on the Isle of Dogs August 28, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern

Mysterious golden spurs discovered on Isle of Dogs, London about 1800: do they perhaps have a Celtic origin?

Strange Speeches July 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Strange Speeches

Beachcombing got an email last night from inspired speeches, a new website [now defunct!] dedicated to gathering, well, inspired speeches. His correspondent asked for suggestions for notable discourses from the past. And Beachcombing made the terrible mistake of opening said email at midnight. The result? Beach did not sleep until dawn, tossing and turning, as […]

Missing Holmes July 4, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Missing Holmes

Yesterday it was flogging, tomorrow Renaissance cannibalism, so Beachcombing thought that today he would indulge in something rather more cerebral and what better than a gentle Invisible Library post? Beachcombing has introduced readers to several Invisible Libraries over the months, books that never existed except as titles in their creator’s imagination. And tonight he thought […]

Unusual Riots June 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Unusual Riots

A long day ahead of Beachcombing as the family prepare to celebrate Little Miss B’s third birthday with an uneasy coalition of villagers and local think tank wonks and the confusion of their progeny. Think Farmer Pickles talking about the price of wheat, John Balls describes the demographic replacement rate, while master Pickles and master […]

Occam’s Razor and Flying Bombs May 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Occam's Razor and Flying Bombs

Beachcombing always feels niggles of annoyance when Occam’s Razor comes up. It is not that he dislikes the principle of succinctness per se: indeed, most of the time this principle is a useful brake on our imagination. After all, if Beachcombing opens his door in Little Snoring and finds no tiger then it is surely […]

Immortal Meals 2#: Eating in a Victorian Dinosaur April 10, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Immortal Meals 2#: Eating in a Victorian Dinosaur

  Sadly Beachcombing will just write as a short post today as the sfiga hex has settled over him. Paul Johnson’s book has extended its evil to Beach’s comic shelves that collapsed in the night and the attack on his body is now burning fierily, so much so that Beachcombing is enforcing what the medieval used to […]

Cabinet of Curiosities from Eighteenth-Century London February 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Cabinet of Curiosities from Eighteenth-Century London

  One of the sheer joys of bizzarism is collecting disparate lists and just enjoying the sound of them or the look of them on the page. In this spirit Beachcombing offers today a collection of curiosities brought together in an eighteenth-century London coffee house. He has included perhaps one in fifteen of the marvels gathered there. […]

Image: St Paul’s Rides the Blitz December 9, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: St Paul's Rides the Blitz

Beachcombing should start today with an apology. In his mission statement about his Image series he promised to put up only little known photographs and paintings. And yet here he is, six months on, offering the most famous of all British pictures from 1940, as if it were a scoop. Sorry. Beachcombing only hopes the […]

Elizabeth Siddal: poets behaving badly October 19, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Elizabeth Siddal: poets behaving badly

Beachcombing has a distant day almost constantly in mind - one that he fears tremendously - when little Miss B will arrive home from school prom or a disco or a walk in a wood with an ear-ringed possibly nose-ringed man on her arm, only to announce in dulcet tones: ‘Mum, Dad this is John, he is a poet’. For […]

The Isis Arms: Britain’s oldest pub October 13, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Isis Arms: Britain's oldest pub

Beachcombing is having fun this week looking for off-the-beaten-track places in and around London for Canadian History Student. And this morning he is out on Tooley Street in Southwark seeking London and, indeed, Britain’s oldest pub, the Isis Arms. The pub in question was built in the first generation of Roman London, say, c. 70 […]

Going Dark Age on the Circle Line October 12, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Going Dark Age on the Circle Line

Beachcombing’s trawl around south-east England and London on behalf of Canadian History Student is now three-days old and continues here with another side of London’s Circle Line. The Circle Line for any London virgins among Beachcombing’s readership is the wonderful series of station represented by a yellow circle on the map of central London that goes […]

Page 3 of 41234