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  • Thomas Hood or Tom Hood’s Invisible Library June 30, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Thomas Hood or Tom Hood’s Invisible Library

    Tomorrow the monthly round up of interesting emails and communications – Beachcombing is slaving to get them ready in time. In the meantime,  a further Invisible Library to add to the one that Frank Buckland discovered in late nineteenth-century Reading and that was featured here a couple of days ago. The following list was created […]

    Invisible Library at Reading June 28, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Invisible Library at Reading

    Beachcombing pioneered, early in his blogging career, an invisible library tag for books that have never existed save in the imagination of bookophiles: Beachcombing has, in fact, been preparing his own list for the last year for a false door in the family mansion for which readers kindly offered various titles. To keep the tag […]

    Lancashire Kick Boxing March 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Lancashire Kick Boxing

      Old time readers of this blog will know that Beachcombing once expressed an interest in ‘purring’ or ‘clog fighting’ when in the nineteenth century the natives of Manchester, Preston and Liverpool in the north-west of Britain were alleged to settle their disputes through kicking contests. Back when he wrote this post Beachcombing expressed some […]

    The Werewolf Faith in Nineteenth-Century France January 28, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Werewolf Faith in Nineteenth-Century France

      Since beginning this blog eight months ago Beachcombing has had various itches including elephants, Atlantis (to be continued), birds and lightning. But none has bitten so deeply as the werewolf. Indeed, Beachcombing has sketched out another ten posts on the men and women who were furry on the inside. He even, damn it, started vaguely jotting […]

    Changing Sex in Victorian England November 22, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Changing Sex in Victorian England

    Disaster in the Beachcombing household tonight. Little Miss B – at least that is who Beachcombing is blaming – left on the car reading light, allowing the battery to run down. The family is thus stranded in the middle of the Italian countryside in monsoon weather wondering whether a car that doesn’t start will serve as a […]

    Tennyson Loses Poland November 12, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Tennyson Loses Poland

    In the encylopedia of burning libraries Alfred Tennyson’s lost long poem Poland is a minor entry, but it is still one that deserves to be written and perhaps even to be read about. It also brings together three of Beachcombing’s favourite themes: Poland and Tennyson – obviously – but also the incomparable William Allingham whose diary is the […]

    The mystery of the hibernating hirundines October 31, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The mystery of the hibernating hirundines

    Humans create ideas to explain natural phenomenon. Most of these explanations are worth little more than the cinders that Beachcombing nightly sweeps up from the fire. These explanations are then superseded by other explanations – that typically bear as little relation to truth – and so knowledge marches heroically on… Inevitably, though some branches of […]

    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 […]

    Victorian Poacher Sparks Will o’ the Wisp Scare August 3, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Poacher Sparks Will o' the Wisp Scare

            About six weeks ago Beachcombing gave space to a Victorian gamekeeper’s description of a Will o’ the Wisp (or something similar) seen in a wood one night. Tonight Beachcombing gives, instead, an account from the other side of the tracks. A poacher whose tricks might explain several nineteenth-century accounts of floating lights […]

    Purring – a Lancashire Martial Art? July 19, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Purring - a Lancashire Martial Art?

          Nineteenth-century clog-fighting: did it really exist? First some background. Clogs, of course, at least in their English incarnation, were wooden-soled shoes typically used in factories or in mines by the working classes in centuries gone by, because they kept their feet warm and because they were cheap Some claim that factory workers would tap […]

    Invisible Libraries: a Victorian Contribution July 17, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Invisible Libraries: a Victorian Contribution

                        There is a respectable literary tradition dating back to the end of the Middle Ages of scholars, writers and fantasists creating libraries of books that might or that should have once existed. To the best of Beachcombing’s knowledge this tradition begins – where else? – […]

    Mad Coin-Burying Halliday July 4, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    Mad Coin-Burying Halliday

                Beachcombing has noted, over the years, with great and punctilious interest, objects and people that archaeologists and historians have found in places where they almost certainly should not have been. Buddha statues in Viking Denmark, Viking weapons in pre Colonial Minnesota, American Indians in Europe… Some of these may be […]

    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, […]

    Oft hung John Lee and an urban legend June 30, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Oft hung John Lee and an urban legend

                        Beachcombing has recently had a bit of a thing about human sacrifice and capital punishment. But it is. he promises, a passing phase and has now reached its climax with a reading of Mike Holgate and Ian David Waugh’s superb The Man They Could Not Hang: The True Story of […]

    Victorian Venus Spokes June 9, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Venus Spokes

                        Beachcombing has had a gratifying amount of correspondence over his recent article on Martian Vegetation. He thought then that he would call into cause another planet, Venus and the great Percival Lowell (1855-1916) who wrote on both planets in works including Mars and Its Canals […]

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