Category Archives: History

Broadmoor Revealed – Victorian Crime & the Lunatic Asylum

Today on No wriggling I am lucky to have a guest post from Mark Stevens, Senior Archivist at Berkshire Record Office, responsible for looking after the Broadmoor Asylum archives. Pen and Sword Books have recently published a revised and expanded edition … Continue reading

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Let’s focus on the words: Peter, Tony, and a Portrait of Keats

Two weeks ago (yes, I am a little slow getting this blog post written) the papers offered some interesting headlines for those, like me, who are fascinated by the life and writing of the poet John Keats. A ‘rare lifetime … Continue reading

Posted in Art, History, Keats, Poetry, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On receiving some wonderful old news……

As some of my regular readers may be aware, I was commissioned earlier this year, by the new social history imprint of Pen and Sword Books, to write a book about the impact of the first world war on the … Continue reading

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Sex lurks in the shadows of the Pre-Raphaelites – phallic symbols in Isabella by Millais

FAIR Isabel, poor simple Isabel!  Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love’s eye!  They could not in the self-same mansion dwell  Without some stir of heart, some malady;  They could not sit at meals but feel how well  It soothed each … Continue reading

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Sarah’s story – family history and poetry from the darkest places…

In a previous post, I wrote of Sarah Hardiman, the first (and only legal) wife of my Great Grandfather George Hardiman. George Hardiman was a journeyman silversmith, born in 1839 in an impoverished part of Clerkenwell, North London. Sarah (nee … Continue reading

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In praise of daytime antiques programmes – a tribute to David Barby

For some reason I have felt compelled to write a quick blog post. Usually I spend quite a lot of time researching and writing a post that involves a literary or historical connection. Or I indulge in reminiscence or even … Continue reading

Posted in History, Random musings on family life, love the universe and everything | Tagged , , , , , , | 115 Comments

‘From Clapton Pond to Stamford Hill’ – landscape, literature & Pinter at the British Library

Yesterday I made the trip from Somerset to London to meet Sarah Whittingham, author of the wonderful Fern Fever and Wendy Wallace whose recently published The Painted Bridge is my favourite fiction book of the year so far. Although we were looking … Continue reading

Posted in History, Keats, London, Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

What’s in a name? Warnings from our family history…..

Prompted by a short discussion on Twitter with the fabulous @oldpostcards and @CountryBook about the first names our ancestors were given (‘saddled with’ in many cases) I went back through my tree to find patterns or traditional names handed  down … Continue reading

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Keats the Radical, or Where were those fields of mists and mellow fruitfulness?

At the end of March a blog appeared on the Oxford University Press website explaining the work behind a paper just  published in The Review of English Studies. The blog is entitled ‘A Keatsian Field trip’ and was written by Richard Turley, … Continue reading

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Telling ‘Sarah’s Story’ – finding truth in family history

It is some time since I have written on the history of my family, or on history in any sense really. I am deep into the process of finalising a manuscript that will be published in the next few months – … Continue reading

Posted in Family History, History, London, Mental health | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments