Archive for the ‘Post medieval history’ Category

MGB 81

Posted: March 1, 2019 in History, Post medieval history
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Motor gunboat 81 was built for the Royal Navy in 1942. It is believed to be the only gunboat in World War II restored to her original condition. These gunboats were fast with speeds up to 45 knots and were designed for the protection of shipping in UK coastal waters, particularly to guard against the threat of German E-boats, groups of which would cross over the Channel and attack merchant shipping.

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In 1945 MGB 81 passed into private ownership. It was involved in a smuggling operation in 1958 and was subsequently sold for scrap, but ended up as a permanent mooring in the sailing school. In 1968 it was bought by a boat preservation trust and restored to its wartime condition.

MGB 81 is currently berthed at the Portsmouth historic dockyard.

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The launch of HMS Trafalgar

HMS Trafalgar was a 120 gun ship of the Line built at Woolwich in 1840-41. In an age of great change for the Royal Navy she was the last ship of her type to be built. She was launced by a neice of Admiral Lord Nelson in the presence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert using a bottle of wine taken from the stores of HMS Victory at the time of the battle of Trafalgar. 100 Trafalger veterns were on the ship for the launch. She took part in the bombardment of Sebastapol in the Crimean war in 1854. She was converted to screw propulsion in 1859 and retired from active service in 1873. She was renamed HMS Boscawan and sent to Portland Harbour to act as a training vessel. She was retired in 1906 when the training school moved to a land base in East Anglia.

Figurehead from HMS Trafalgar (Admiral Lord Nelson). Now in Historic Dockyard Portsmouth

Figurehead from HMS Trafalgar (Admiral Lord Nelson). Now in Historic Dockyard Portsmouth

York Castle Prison

Posted: September 13, 2018 in History, Post medieval history, UK, York
Tags: ,

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Following its demise as a military base, York castle was used a prison. New buildings were added throughout the 18th century including a county prison, a new courthouse and a female prison. The last civilian prisoners were transferred out in 1900 although it continued to be used as a military prison until 1929.

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Prisoner Graffiti

Prisoner Graffiti

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Exercise Yard

Exercise Yard

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The courthouse remains in use as the headquarters of York Crown Court, but the prison buildings were transfered for use as a museum and today house The York castle Museum.

The most famous prisoner to be held in York was the Highwayman Dick Turpin, who had fled from Essex to Yorkshire when it became likely he would be arrested. He lived under the assumed name of John Palmer. However some local magistrates were suspicious of how he funded his lifestyle and he was arrested in 1737 on suspicion of horse theft. His true identity became clear when he made the mistake of writing to his brother in law from prison and the letter was read by the local magistrates. He was tried at York in March 1739 and executed the following month.

HERE LAYS - DICK TURPIN
Photo by Carl Spencer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/82887550@N00/)

Dick Turpin's Gravestone
Photo by Xerones (http://www.flickr.com/photos/xerones/)

 

Perhaps the most famous memorial in the Cathedral is to William Shakespeare, who performed many of his plays at the Globe Theatre, a few hundred yards from the Cathedral.

The Shakespeare memorial and window which contains characters from his plays

The organ, the font and some roof bosses from the 15th-century wooden roof

In the SW corner are a fragment of the original Norman church and the memorial to the Marchioness Tragedy in 1989, which happened on the river not far from the Cathedral

Medieval tombs in the Cathedral

 

Last night Sue and I did an evening tour of Southwark Cathedral.

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Southwark Cathedral sits at the south end of London Bridge. Its pre-Norman origins are mostly legends with very little historical proof. It has been claimed that its foundation as a church was in 606, but this seems highly unlikely. Another story claims there was a nunnery here in pre-Norman times and also a college of priests founded by a noble lady called Swithene. Some historians have actually suggested that a more likely founder was actually Bishop Swithern of Winchester, who held office from 852 to 863. Certainly, there must’ve been an established church here as the Domesday book (1086) records the ‘Minster at Southwark’, controlled by Bishop Odo of the Bayeaux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror. However, it was the Bishop of Winchester who founded a Priory dedicated to the Virgin Mary on this site, close to his London Palace, in 1106. Its actual dedication is to St Mary Overie (St Mary over the water) to distinguish itself from the churches of St Mary in the city of London on the other side of London Bridge.

The Priory was damaged by fire in 1212 and 1390 and in 1496 the stone ceiling of the nave collapsed and was replaced by a wooden one. However, despite all of these calamities, repairs were carried out and in 1520 Bishop Fox installed a new altar screen, which is still present today, at the west end. The Priory closed in 1540, as part of the dissolution of the monasteries, and the church was first leased to, and later granted to, the people of Southwark for use as a parish church. It seems however that the cost of upkeep was beyond the parish and by the 19th century, much of the church was in a bad state with only the west end in use. A major effort was made to restore the church to its former glory and much effort to ensure that the Victorian rebuilding was done in the style of the Medieval original. Thus today when you look at it, there is a continuity between the 13th-century elements and those added by the Victorian rebuilders. In 1905, with the expansion of population south of the river, a new diocese in the Church of England was created and the church was redesignated as The Cathedral Church of St Mary Overie and St Saviour.

The Monument is located close to London Bridge and commemorates the Great Fire of London, which began on 2nd September 1666 and burnt for 5 days before it was eventually stopped, in the process destroying 13200 houses, St Paul’s Cathedral and 87 other churches.

The Monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke and was erected between 1671 and 1677 on the site of St Margaret fish St which had been destroyed in the fire. It is 62m tall and stands 62m from the site of Thomas Farriner’s bakers shop in Pudding Lane, where the fire started. There are over 300 steps from ground level to the observation cage near the top, which gives a good view over London.

 

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The history of Terry’s in York dates back to 1767 when Robert Berry opened his shop in Bootham Bar. In 1823 he was joined by his nephew-in-law Joseph Terry. Two years later Robert died and his son George became a partner, renaming the company Terry and Berry. This partnership lasted only three years and George sold out to Joseph and the company was renamed Terry’s of York. Joseph retired in 1850 and the company passed to his sons. The iconic Terry’s factory was built in York in 1923 in the Art Deco style by Joseph and Noel Terry.

Terrys Factory York

Terrys Factory York

Terry's Factory
photo by Neil Turner (http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilt/)

It was here in 1931 that probably the most famous Terry’s product, the chocolate orange was launched.

Chocolate Orange
photo by John Keogh (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jvk/)

Production at the plant ceased in 2004 and the site is now under redevelopment as a residential, commercial and leisure complex retaining the iconic 1920’s buildings

There is a reconstruction of the original Terry’s chocolate shop in the York castle Museum

Terrys Chocolate Shop (York Castle Museum)

Terrys Chocolate Shop (York Castle Museum)

Here are some more reconstructed shops from York castle Museum

The Booksellers

The Booksellers

The coach office

The coach office

The country sports and a clothing store

The country sports and a clothing store

The taxidermist and the scientific instrument shop

The taxidermist and the scientific instrument shop

The Music seller and the riding equipment shop

The Music seller and the riding equipment shop

Terrys Chocolate Shop

Terrys Chocolate Shop

One of the major displays within York Castle Museum is a serious of reconstructed streets made up from shopfronts of Victorian and Georgian shops.

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On a calm, warm sunny evening earlier this week, I was fortunate to go on a guided walk of the Temple area of London.

The Temple is a secluded area to the west of the city which is known today for its connections with the legal profession. It comprises two of the four Inns of Court, the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple. To the north are situated the Royal Courts of Justice and a short walk east brings you to the Central Criminal Court.

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The area is first recorded in the 12th century when the Knights Templars moved here from a site in Holborn to the west and built the Temple Church. Within the site were two Templar Halls, Inner and Middle Hall. Upon the dissolution of the order in 1312 the land was granted to the Knights Hospitallers, although it took them over 100 years to fully establish their control over the site. However, the Hospitallers already had a compound and hall in Clerkenwell and so were not interested in moving to this site. They leased it to a group of lawyers and so the long association began between this area and the law. The lands passed to the crown following the dissolution of the monasteries and the lawyers became Crown Tenants (annual rent £10 per year for each Inn). They were granted a charter by James I and the lawyers gained absolute title to the land.

Today, Temple houses many chambers of barristers along with other legal organisations and is governed by a committee of leading members.

The symbols of the Inner (Pegasus) and Middle Temples (Agnus Dei)

The Temple area suffered badly during the air raids of WWII and much had to be rebuilt. The original Templars church was badly damaged and much restoration was needed to return it to an image of its original self.

One building that did survive and remains a jewel in the crown was the Elizabethan hall in Middle Temple which we were fortunate enough to be able to visit. Completed in 1572 it is a wonderful building with a fantastic hammer-beam roof, argued to be the finest still existing in London.

A great way to spend a summer evening.