Friday, 20 March 2009

Wedgwood Lives On

You might be aware that at the end of last year, Wedgwood launched a £10.5m museum at Barlaston in Stoke-on-Trent, just months before the company, sadly, went into administration. The museum (which is owned by an independent charitable trust) is not affected by the company’s financial troubles, and has in fact been long-listed for the prestigious 2009 Art Fund Prize. Has anyone been there? Do I detect a little dumbing down in the virtual portrait medallions?

Above: Portland Vase by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd, circa 1790.
Source: Wiki Commons.

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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Tempus Fugit Award

Gosh, I feel like Kate Winslet at the Oscars because my humble blog has received another award - the Tempus Fugit Award - this time from my fellow historical blogger, the Doctor. Thank you so much for the support! Here are the details:

"The TEMPUS FUGIT Award is given to writers & living historians whose journals represent the best aspects of the 18th Century. These writers aim to inform and entertain the public with tales from events, historic research & experiments and highlights from 18th Century arts and culture. It is the hope of TEMPUS FUGIT that this award will forge a web of friendship and knowledge that will aid in creating a tight community of reenactors and living historians on the internet and beyond. Winners of the TEMPUS FUGIT Award should pass this award along to six other 18th Century blogs that meet the above criteria, and include this text with the Award, as well as a link back to the TEMPUS FUGIT blog."

And now the six 18th-century blogs of excellence; my winners are:

Mozart's Offical Weblog
Jane Austen's World
Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century
Music For A While Shall All Your Cares Beguile
The Yale University Dr Johnson's Dictionary project
And finally, Nature Diary (Colonel Brandon: are you back?)

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Georgian Liverpool Revisited: Public Concert Room

You might recall that I did series on Georgian Liverpool at the start of this year. Though now a tacky 1980s theme bar, this place (above) used to be Liverpool's Public Concert Room. It dates from some time in the 1770s, originally staged concerts supported by annual subscription of two guineas each (admitting three persons per performance) and had room for 1,300 visitors. Opened to the strains of Handel's Water Music, it straddles Bold Street, Concert Street and Wood Street (we're looking at it from the back on Wood Street), and you can just about visualise its grandeur from the elegant columns and tall windows. Inside, the huge staircase is still there; legend has it that a woman called Mary haunts the upper floors.

Photograph © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

[Thanks to David Lewis on the Bold Street Project Blog for filling in some of the history of this building, and to Dr William Moss's Georgian Liverpool of 1797, with additional notes by David Brazendale.]

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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Proximidade! Friendliness Award

Maintaining a blog can sometimes feel like running a marathon, and after a burst of activity last week, this week I’ve been flagging, so it was especially nice to receive another award from the lovely Vic at Jane Austen’s World - the timing was excellent, and it’s helped me revisit the Memoirs… with renewed energy. This is what the award involves:

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

My winners are below. It's an award for blogs with historic content, but I confess, I stretched the rules with Meet And Two Veg: a blog by Midlands foodie Emily Bridgewater, and The Lichfield Blog, run by Sammy J, but they are both friendly and engaging blogs which I always enjoy reading.

Congratulations everyone!

The Thoughts of Eliza Ward
Scandalous Women
History Undressed
Lady Georgianna
Tempus Fugit
The Duchess of Devonshire's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century
The Lichfield Blog
Meet And Two Veg

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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Celebrities of the Industrial Age

My boyfriend came back from a foray to the newsagents this weekend bearing a collection of new Royal Mail stamps themed around Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution. We have Matthew Boulton (1st class, given it's his Bicentenary year), James Watt, Richard Arkwright, Josiah Wedgwood, George Stephenson, Henry Maudsley, James Brindley and John McAdam - many connected to the Midlands and The Lunar Society.

Even Lichfield Cathedral got on a stamp last year, though I'm glad to be spared the 'letters pray' jokes (thank you, Express & Star).

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Monday, 16 March 2009

Lichfield to London in 11 Days

Congratulations to Professor Peter Martin and Dr Nicholas Cambridge who completed their Tercentenary walk (all 165 miles of it!) right on time last Thursday; you can read the BBC's coverage of the event here.

Photograph © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

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