The Anonymous Widower

The IRA Bombing Campaign In England Of 1939-1940

When most people think of bombings by the Irish Republican Army, they think of the bombings like 1993 Bishopsgate, 1984 Brighton, 1992 Manchester and 1996 Manchester by the Provisional Irish Republican Army of recent memory.

But there was another campaign in 1939-1940 called S-Plan.

There were three hundred mainly small bombs, seven fatalities and ninety-six injured.

June 6, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

The Tailor Of Bexley

When I had my family traced, the earliest ancestor of mine that could be found was Robert Miller, who was a tailor in Bexley in 1837.

He was found to have had one son; Edward, who was born about 1816 in Bexley, Kent and died in 1871 at Shoreditch.

Linking backwards from the modern day.

My father was Wilfred Ewart born in 1904

My paternal grandfather was Herbert born in 1878 and died in 1929

My paternal great-grandfather was William born in 1853 and died in 1911.

My paternal great-great-grandfather was Edward born in 1816 and died in 1871.

So the tailor of Bexley was my paternal great-great-great grandfather.

My father once told me, that his grandfather, who must have been William, once told him, of a first hand account of Robert the tailor of Bexley, who was his grandfather.

He said that he was German and that he didn’t speak any English. Because of my coeliac disease, which is quite common in East European Jews and his profession, we can probably assume that Robert; the tailor of Bexley was Jewish. My father also told me that the family name was Müller, which had been Anglicised.

Robert Winder in his excellent book; Bloody Foreigners, talks about how many poor Germans came over to London in the early days of the nineteenth  century and lived in terrible conditions in the East End of London.

So was Robert one of those poor Germans?

When you dig into your family history, you find professions that are no longer PC. Some of my ancestors were ivory turners and skin dressers in the fur trade.

 

October 12, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Uncovering The Past On Thameslink

The definition of archaeology according to the Oxford English Dictionary is.

The study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.

So perhaps calling digging up an old nineteenth century station is stretching the definition a bit far.

But this report on the BBC web site about the uncovering of the disused Southwark Park station is fascinating none-the-less. This is an extract from the report.

The station was discovered as engineers constructed the Bermondsey Dive Under, which will see two Victorian viaducts partially-demolished and rebuilt to allow trains from south east London and Kent to dive down, under a new route carrying Thameslink services from Croydon.

There’s more here on the Ian Visits site and here on the Thameslink web site. This is a Google Earth image of the area.

Bermondsey Dive-Under

Bermondsey Dive-Under

Note The New Den, which is Millwall’s ground and SELCHP incinerator to its right. The image highlights the complicated nature of the lines into London Bridge station. The line that runs between the football ground and the incinerator in a south-easterly direction is the Thameslink line between London Bridge and New Cross Gate. The smaller line that crosses this line at right angles is the Overground line between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction.

Where this Overground line crosses Surrey Canal Road just off the bottom of this image, construction should start on the new New Bermondsey station later this year.

Southwark Park station was under the tracks , where Rotherhithe New Road crosses underneath.

 

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Snippets From 1862

I’ve just bought a reprint of Bradshaw’s Illustrated Hand Book to London, which was originally published in 1862.

It was bought in Waterstone’s in Islington, as a present for a friend’s birthday, but I spent most of my lunch in Carluccio’s round the corner reading it.  It is full of interesting information and some very surprising differences and facts.

1. Nelson’s Column is known as The Nelson Column.

2. The Houses of Parliament is known as the New Houses of Parliament, as it has just been built.

3. The Crystal Palace gets a lot of pages.

4. There is a lot of description of places anyone familiar with London would recognise.

5. Under rules for railway travellers, it says that passengers are forbidden to smoke on trains or in stations.  But obviously, it was acceptable for the engines to do this!

6.They also have a table of money of all nations. As Germany wasn’t yet united, they have separate rates for Hamburg, Prussia and the German States. The Swiss rate is given against one of their coins, which was a thirty-two franc.

More details on the book are given here.

April 17, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Two Blue Plaques In Cable Street

I generally note the blue plaques I pass, as I walk around. This morning, I was on the way to pick something up in the area and passed two.

The Angel Of Cable Street

The Angel Of Cable Street

Hannah Billig seems to have been a remarkable doctor.  But then she was awarded a George Medal for courage and bravery in the Blitz and she was called the Angel of Cable Street.

Jack Kid Berg

Jack Kid Berg

This plaque to Jack Kid Berg was a hundred metres or so further on. He seemed to have had an good and long life.

I also seem to remember that along with Ted Kid Lewis he was one of my father’s sporting heroes.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Health, Sport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Hull Is The New City Of Culture

It has been announced that Hull is going to be the new UK City of Culture.

I’ve only been a couple of times and in everything I’ve read about Hull recently, there is nothing about one thing that impressed me.

And that is the display of Roman mosaic floors in the Museum.

They are in better condition, than most I’ve seen in Europe and North Africa.

November 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Steamy Morning At Kings Cross Station

I had wondered why there was a train to Norwich on the destination board at Kings Cross station.

This is the reason why.

A couple of times in the 1950s or 1960s, I went to Ipswich from London by train with a Britannia Class at the front. I wonder if I was ever hauled by Oliver Cromwell.

I am not a particular enthusiast for steam trains, but they are very much part of the world’s technological heritage.  I do think it as pity though, that we didn’t save more for posterity, as the enthusiasm they generate, is something that many of us need more of. It might even inspire more students to be the future engineers, we definitely need in this country and in fact most of the world.

It is also amazing to see a 1950s-designed steam locomotive amongst all of the high speed electrics, at possibly the best recently refurbished station in the world.

Imagine the excitement and probable increase in tourism, if every Saturday, we could see a vintage locomotive steam out of Kings Cross. The demand is probably there, but I doubt we have enough reliable main-line steam engines to provide such a spectacle. Remember that steam locomotives are not noted for their reliability.

October 5, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Who Was Germaine Necker?

This blue plaque was on the back wall of the old Dickins and Jones building in Regent Street.

Who Was Germaine Necker?

Who Was Germaine Necker?

So who was she? Wikipedia shows she was a very unusual lady for her time. Here is an except.

She was one of Napoleon’s principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism.

Interesting!

August 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Mary Rose

One of the main reasons to go to Portsmouth was to see the Mary Rose.

The building might look rather bland on the outside, but the Tudor warship and the way it is displayed surrounded by objects retrieved from the wreck is truly spectacular.

Some of these pictures were taken from a glass-walled lift that ascends at one end of the museum giving superb views of the ship.

It will become even more spectacular inhopefully 2016, when because the ship will be completed dried out and preserved, they will be able to fully open up the views of the ship.

July 18, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

The UK To Get A Huguenot Heritage Centre

My mother’s family was of Huguenot ancestry, with her father being an engraver of note.

So I was pleased to see an article in The Times saying that a Huguenote Heritage Centre is being set up at The French Hospital in Rochester.

June 29, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment