St. David’s Day (Dydd Gwyl Dewi) is the first of the four national days or patron saints’ days in the British calendar. Saint David (Dewi Sant in Welsh) is the only of them to actually hail from the country for which he was canonised. Yet we know very little of a factual nature about his life. Apparently,Continue reading “Where in the World is Wales? Celebrating St David’s Day, 1st March – a retrospective after forty years ‘in exile’.”
Category Archives: industrialisation
Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 2 – Multicultural Britons.
Present into Past – The Problem of Retrospection: The closer that social historians get to their own times, the harder it is for them to be sure they have hold of what is essential about the period in question: the more difficult it is to separate the rich tapestry of social life which appears onContinue reading “Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 2 – Multicultural Britons.”
Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 1 – Rebellious Britons.
Protest & Planning, 1963-68 – Youth, Vietnam & Grosvenor Square: The 1960s were dramatic years in Britain. Demographic trends, especially the increase in the proportion of teenagers in the population, coincided with economic affluence and ideological experimentation to reconfigure social mores to a revolutionary extent. In 1964, under Harold Wilson, the Labour Party came into power,Continue reading “Majesty & Grace IX: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 1 – Rebellious Britons.”
Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.
Above: British propaganda poster, ‘On to Japan!’, 1945 (The Bridgeman Art Library). Fighting Back in Malaya & Singapore: The State Opening of Parliament, which took place on 15th August 1945, saw a return to the pomp of pre-war years, with thousands of people lining the streets of London as the King and Queen travelled toContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.”
The Making of an English Mythology; from Reality to Fantasy and back again, 1917-1954: Tolkien’s Creative Years.
Following his recovery from the Somme and ‘trench fever’ on his return from France in 1916, Tolkien was determined to create an entire mythology for England. He had hinted at this during his undergraduate days at Oxford when he studied and wrote of the Finnish ‘Kalevala’:
“I would that we had more of it left – something of the sort that belonged to the English.”
This idea now grew during his recuperation until it reached ‘epic’ proportions. This is how Tolkien expressed it when recollecting many years later:
“Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen), I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large to the cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply: to England, to my country. “
J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English
The South African Prelude – Beginnings in Bloemfontein: Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield (pictured above in the family group), both from Birmingham, were married in Cape Town Cathedral on 16th April 1891, after which came an exhausting railway journey of nearly seven hundred miles to the capital of the Orange Free State. Less thanContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English”
Tolkien’s Shire: From Middle England to Middle-earth – People, Places & Past Times.
Sarehole as Hobbiton: J.R.R. Tolkien lived near Sarehole Mill as a child in what was then a Worcestershire village and is now part of the Hall Green district of Birmingham. Together with the neighbouring Moseley Bog, the Sarehole area inspired the Tolkien stories of Middle-earth. The Tolkien Trail – Late Victorian & Edwardian Birmingham. Birmingham’sContinue reading “Tolkien’s Shire: From Middle England to Middle-earth – People, Places & Past Times.”
Who were the Huguenots? Currents of Cultural & Linguistic Change in France & Early Modern Europe.
Pictured above are French Protestants at Lyons Temple service, which was converted from an ordinary house. The hatted preacher is timed by an hourglass, and the two sexes are seated mainly in separate parts of the temple. Introduction – A Retrospective on Genocide & Deculturation: The word ‘genocide’ is essentially a term relating to eventsContinue reading “Who were the Huguenots? Currents of Cultural & Linguistic Change in France & Early Modern Europe.”
The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context
The Covenant and the Torah: Closely associated with the story of the exodus in the Old Testament is that of how the Israelites journeyed to a mountain where Yahweh ratified a covenant between himself and his people. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about this mountain of Israel’s destiny. Its very name isContinue reading “The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context”
‘Cry God for Queen Bess, England and St Cuthbert….!’ How did George become England’s Patron Saint?
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge Cry God for Harry, England and St George! William Shakespeare, Henry V, Part One. England hasn’t really got a national anthem….The Irish, the Scots and the Welsh all have anthems, the Americans have the cheek to sing ‘My Country ’tis of thee’ to the tune of ‘God Save the Queen‘, but what do theContinue reading “‘Cry God for Queen Bess, England and St Cuthbert….!’ How did George become England’s Patron Saint? “