Month: June 2016

Jo Cox memorial event

For what it’s worth

Until the dreadful killing of Jo Cox last week, the last British MP to be murdered on duty, so to speak, was Ian Gow in 1990. Thankfully, it’s so rare an occurrence that there’s no standard commemorative protocol to be invoked on these occasions. 

Jeremy Bentham Auto-Icon

Farther uses of the Dead to the Living

Jeremy Bentham, philosopher and social reformer, gave clear instructions in his will for the treatment of his body post-mortem. When he died, which he did in 1832, his ‘dear friend’ Doctor Southwood Smith was to ‘take my body under his charge and take the requisite and appropriate measures for the disposal and preservation of the several parts of my bodily frame in the manner expressed in the paper annexed to this my will and at the top of which I have written Auto Icon’.

St Catherine’s Hill, Winchester

Hill of ages

There are several hills in southern England named for St. Catherine of Alexandria, one of the most venerated saints in the Medieval Church, held in high esteem for her intercessory powers. This one on the edge of Winchester was formed, like all the chalk lands of this region, by the geological processes of the Late Cretaceous epoch.

Green Man Digbeth

A Green Man in Digbeth

This terrific sculpture of the Green Man by Toin Adams stands in a cramped space in the Custard Factory in Birmingham. The site was once the home to Alfred Bird & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of the famed Bird’s Custard Powder, and is now an office/retail location.

Common Toad

A Weyside toad

There are only two native toad species in Britain and one of these, the Natterjack Toad, is rare, confined mainly to a few coastal sites. So the chances are that if you come across one in the wild it will be a Common Toad.

Thames Refinery Silvertown

The last of the Sugar Mile

It’s more than ten years since I last walked past Tate & Lyle’s Thames Refinery, and I remember the heady aroma of sugar processing as being more pervasive, much denser and sweeter, than it is now. A trick of the memory, probably.