Draw the world, see the world

Monday, March 30, 2009

I asked Itinerant Londoner Geoff to draw the world (for my MyWorld project) just before he left London to see the world.

Geoff's World

And while the pen and pad was out, Geoff decided to be the UK-candidate for my EuroRevision Project. So here's Geoff's version of the UK.

UK, drawn by Geoff

Tree @ Natural History Museum

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tree is the short and succinct name for a new permanent installation at the Natural History Museum.

Erected to commemorate 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth, and installed in the ceiling of a gallery, tree takes its concept from the Darwin's tree of life. It's a wooden, cross-section of a 200 year old oak tree with branches stretching across the gallery's ceiling.

Most impressively, at over 17 metres long, Tree will be the Natural History Museum's largest botany specimen on display.

I was impressed by the way the artist Tania Kovats managed to mix her artistic touch with the Museum's scientific endeavour. I liked how as I looked at the tree, I started to consider the science and its 'natural history'.

Hiberno-English and Irish words

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As it was St Patrick's Day last week, many of my recent conversations have been about Ireland and Irish-ness, with accent nearly always the most popular subject.

I was reminded of a print out I had with 22 examples of Hiberno-Irish dialect - and while I agree with most of the examples, some are very 'stage leprauchan'.

The examples are:

1. Is it Commerce he's studying in College?
2. Peter asked John was he at the match on Sunday and did he see Sheila there.
3. They spoiled her as a child and she's a very bold girl in school.
4. How long do you know Margaret?
5. It's a right mess he's after making of it.
6. I saw two sugawn chairs and a pine table for sale.
7. My brother learned me how to drive.
8. Did you ever hear her talking about anything only study?
9. I caught a fine salmon but the rod broke on me and it got away.
10. He has no sense for an eighteen year old: I saw him out walking yesterday without a coat and it raining.
11. He's hopeless to study now: he usen't be like that when he was younger.
12. Is it Sunday the match is on?
13. See is it on the shelf.
14. Are you going to town? I am. Is it a message you are wanting?
15. He's dead sound, a real sincere young fellow altogether.
16. We were here ages before he came.
17. How can she study with the state she's in?
18. I was just after putting down the phone when I realised I forgot to tell you about the party.
19. Her face was all swollen with the mumps.
20. I do be falling over that yoke about ten times a day.
21. I'm on the pension nearly three years now.
22. Every morning I do be after missing the bus.

Numbers 1, 5, 9, 12 and 14 use an odd-for-English sentence structure, mainly (I think) as it comes from a direct translation from Irish (Gaelic).

3, 11, 14 and 20 have words for other words which may be specific to Hiberno-English: bold for naughty, the contraction usen't, message for shopping and yoke for thing. These are my favourite, and there are many more, such as:

press for cupboard
'give out' for 'tell off'
'copy book' for 'note book / jotter'

History of my House - Southwark local history library

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I've been digging more into the history of my house. The street does not appear on the 1911 census, so I surmised it either had a different name in 1911 or didn't exist.

Looking at some old maps in the RGS Reading Room brought a little enlightenment - I saw a map from the late 1800s with no street, and one from 1920 with a street. So, it was built sometime at the beginning of the 20th century, making it Edwardian, or (very) late Victorian.

I ordered Godfrey edition maps from 1894 and 1914 which confirmed this (fantastically swift customer service from Alan Godfrey Maps, by the way).

Southwark's local history library - temporarily relocated to Peckham due to renovation - had an index of streets which indicated that street was given its name in 1911. So, the street is 98 years old.

Much more excitingly, in the local history library, I found out the names of all voters who lived in the house from electoral registers.

The earliest I can trace on the street is 1913, but for the first few years my house number is not used (maybe the house was empty? Or maybe the occupants didn't have the right to vote).

And then, from 1918 onwards, these people lived in my house:

  • 1918 - 1929 - Daniel & Clara Ayling
  • 1929-1931 Frederick Jordan, Alice Jordan & Frederick Thomas Jordan
  • 1931-1938 Alice Jordan & Frederick Thomas Jordan
  • 1938-1939 Alice Jordan
  • 1939-1940 Thomas Williams & Ellen Alice Williams
  • 1940-1945 - ?
  • 1945 - 1959 - George & Amelia Fleming
  • 1960-1965 - William & Elizabeth Coulson
  • 1965-1975 - William Coulson
  • 1975-1989 - George & Rosa Knott, with Carole Knott & Christine Knott

Sadly when I got to 2008, I expected to find my name on the register (I was getting very excited about it) but I wasn't there! I had taken myself off the list to reduce junk mail. I may reverse that decision for posterity purposes.

My next stop is the London Metropolitan Archives to find out more about the building of the street - and to see if I can work out why it is Ambergate Street.

History of my House

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I recently read Home: by Julie Myerson (she's been in the news recently for her book about her son's drug abuse - but Home's infinitely more interesting). In it, she traces the history of everyone who lived in her Clapham home.

And it's fascinating. I was engrossed and inspired - I suddenly wanted to find out more about my house.

I live in Kennington in south London, on a street called Ambergate Street. It extends on from one called Alberta Street (by the way - please don't stalk me, thanks).

Given the name Alberta, from Albert, we've always assumed the street was Victorian. I've wondered about the name Ambergate - Ambergate is a village in Derbyshire, could it be named after that?

I do know that prior to there being a street here, there was a zoo - the Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens. Now all that remains is a small park called Surrey Gardens.

So from a zoo to a quiet residential terrace - there's a lot to find out about!

Katarina High-kick

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

There's a whole lot of high-kicking going on out there in Eurovision land.

My two favourite kicky routines are from Måns in Sweden, and Sakis in Greece.