History of William Burges – English Architect and Designer

William Burges (architect)

William Burges (architect) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#BritainsHistory says William Burges (1827–81) was an English architect and designer, and one of the greatest of the Victorian art-architects. He sought in his work to escape from 19th-century industrialisation and the Neoclassical architectural style and to re-establish the architectural and social values of a utopian medieval England. He stands within the Gothic Revival tradition, his works echoing the Pre-Raphaelites and heralding the Arts and Crafts movement. His first major commission was Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, in 1863. Burges’s most notable works are Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch, both for John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. Other buildings include Gayhurst House, Knightshayes Court, and St Mary’s, Studley Royal. Many of his designs were never executed or were subsequently demolished, and his plans for the redecoration of the interior of St Paul’s Cathedral were abandoned. He also designed metalwork, sculpture, jewellery, furniture and stained glass. Art Applied to Industry, a series of lectures he gave to the Society of Arts in 1864, illustrates the breadth of his interests. The revival of interest in Victorian art has led to a renewed appreciation of Burge’s and his work.


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Snapshot of History A Tribute To Dr Who

A side-by-side comparison of Davros in Destiny...

A side-by-side comparison of Davros in Destiny of the Daleks (portrayed by David Gooderson) and “The Stolen Earth” (portrayed by Julian Bleach). The visual design of Davros in “The Stolen Earth” is nearly identical to the design for Genesis of the Daleks and Destiny of the Daleks; the only major difference is a robotic right hand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says “The Stolen Earth” is the twelfth episode of the 2007–08 series and the 750th overall episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which marked its 50th anniversary on 23 November 2013. The episode was written by show runner and head writer Russell T Davies. It is the first of a two-part crossover story with spin-offs The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood, concluding with “Journey’s End”, the finale of the fourth series, which brings closure to several prominent story arcs created under Davies. In the episode, contemporary Earth and 26 other planets are stolen by the Daleks’. As the Doctor (David Tennant, pictured) and his companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) try to find Earth, his previous companions Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) convene to contact him and mount a defence against the Daleks’

In the episode’s climax, the Doctor is shot by a Dalek and begins to regenerate.

The episode marks the first appearance of Davros since the 1988 serial Remembrance of the Daleks; he is portrayed by Julian Bleach. It is also the firstDoctor Who appearance of Eve Myles as Gwen CooperGareth David-Lloyd as Ianto JonesTommy Knight as Luke Smith; and Alexander Armstrong as the voice of Mr SmithAdjoa Andoh and Penelope Wilton reprise supporting roles as Martha’s mother Francine Jones and former Prime Minister Harriet JonesPaul O’Grady and Richard Dawkins make cameo appearances as themselves as television personalities who attempt to assuage public fear.

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The two-part finale’s epic scale and underlying plot was first conceived in early 2007 as the last regular-series story for departing producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner, and Phil Collinson: the fourth series finale is the last story produced by Collinson; and Steven Moffat and Piers Wenger replaced Davies and Gardner as show runner and executive producer  in 2010. Major concepts were already specified by July 2007 and the script was written in December 2007; Davies began on the 7th and finished on the 31st. Filming for the finale took place in February and March 2008, and post-production finished in mid-June 2008, only two weeks before the episode aired. To conceal as many plot elements as possible, “The Stolen Earth“‘s title was not disclosed until sixteen days before broadcast, preview DVDs omitted the scene where the Doctor regenerates—the last scene is the Doctor being shot by a Dalek—and the episode aired without a preview trailer for “Journey’s End”.

The episode was reviewed positively by both the audience and professional reviewers. The Audience Appreciation Index score was 91: an unprecedented figure for Doctor Who and one of the highest ratings ever given to a television programme. On its original broadcast, it was viewed by 8.78 million viewers and was the second most-watched programme of the week; when of broadcast, it was the highest position Doctor Who had ever reached. Critical reaction was overwhelmingly positive: Nicholas Briggs and Julian Bleach were commended for their portrayal of Dalek Caan and Davros respectively; and most aspects of Davies’ writing were applauded: most notably, the twist ending of the episode was universally appreciated. The shock regeneration created an unprecedented level of public interest in the show, which continued until the transmission of “Journey’s End”.

The episode was received positively by the audience and professional reviewers. It received one of the highest Audience Appreciation Index ratings for a television programme, and when first shown was the second most-watched programme of the week.


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Snapshot of History: Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten (Photo credit: blackbird76)

#AceHistoryNews says Benjamin Britten (1913–76) was an English composer, conductor and pianist, and a central figure in 20th-century British classical music. His wide compositional range includes opera, orchestral, choral, solo vocal, chamber, instrumental and film music. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. His best-known works include the operas Peter Grimes (1945) and Billy Budd (1951), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945). Recurring themes in his operas are the struggle of an outsider against a hostile society, and the corruption of innocence. He wrote copiously for children and amateur performers, including the opera Noye’s Fludde, a Missa Brevis, and the song collection Friday Afternoons. Britten often composed with particular performers in mind, most importantly his personal and professional partner, the tenor Peter Pears, with whom he co-founded the annual Aldeburgh Festival in 1948; the pair were responsible for the creation of its Snape Malting’s concert hall in 1967.

In 1976 Britten became the first composer to be awarded a life peerage.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Britten>


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History of Walter de Coutances

Coat of arms of Coutances (Normandy) drawn by ...

Coat of arms of Coutances (Normandy) drawn by Aroche for Blazon Project of French-speaking Wikipedia, with Inkscape. Source: own drawing – Blazon: unspecified (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews – Snapshot of History

Walter de Coutances was a medieval Anglo-Norman Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of Rouen.

He began his royal service in the government of Henry II, serving as a vice-chancellor. He also accumulated a number of ecclesiastical offices, becoming successively canon of Rouen Cathedral (pictured), treasurer of Rouen, and Archdeacon of Oxford. King Henry sent him on a number of diplomatic missions, and finally rewarded him with the Bishopric of Lincoln in 1183. He did not remain there long, for he was translated to the archbishopric of Rouen in late 1184.

When Richard I, King Henry’s son, became king in 1189, Coutances absolved Richard for his rebellion against his father and invested him as Duke of Normandy. He then accompanied Richard to Sicily as the king began the Third Crusade, but events in England prompted Richard to send the archbishop back to England to mediate between William Longchamps, the justiciar whom Richard had left in charge of the kingdom, and Prince John, Richard’s younger brother. Coutances succeeded in securing a peace between Longchamps and John, but further actions by Longchamps led to the Justiciar’s expulsion from England. Coutances died in November 1207 and was buried in his cathedral.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_de_Coutances>

#ilovehistoryandresearch – #history2research#britainshistory

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History of Food – Weights and Measures – Part Four

A baby bottle that measures in all three measu...

A baby bottle that measures in all three measurement systems—metric, imperial (UK), and US customary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

British (Imperial) measures

Note that measurements in this section are in imperial units

Traditional British measures distinguish between weight and volume.

  • Weight is measured in ounces and pounds (avoirdupois) as in the U.S.
  • Volume is measured in Imperial gallons, quarts, pints, and fluid ounces. The Imperial gallon was originally defined as 10 pounds (4.5359 kg) of water in 1824, and refined as exactly 4.54609 litres in 1985. Older recipes may well give measurements in cups; insofar as a standard cup was used, it was usually 12 pint [~285 mL] (or sometimes 13 pint [~190 mL]), but if the recipe is one that has been handed down in a family, it is just as likely to refer to someone’s favourite kitchen cup as to that standard.
Table of volume units
Unit Ounces Pints Millilitres Cubic inches US ounces US pints
fluid ounce (fl oz) 1 120 28.4130625 1.7339 0.96076 0.060047
gill 5 14 142.0653125 8.6694 4.8038 0.30024
pint (pt) 20 1 568.26125 34.677 19.215 1.2009
quart (qt) 40 2 1,136.5225 69.355 38.430 2.4019
gallon (gal) 160 8 4,546.09 277.42 153.72 9.6076
Note: The millilitre figures are exact whereas the cubic-inch and US measure figures are to five significant digits.
Note 2: The Imperial Gallon is equal to 10 lbs of water.

American cooks using British recipes, and vice versa, need to be careful with pints and fluid ounces. A US pint is 473 mL, while a UK pint is 568 mL, about 20% larger. A US fluid ounce is 116 of a US pint (29.6 mL); a UK fluid ounce is 120 UK pint (28.4 mL). This makes an Imperial pint equivalent to 19.2 US fluid ounces.

On a larger scale, perhaps for institutional cookery, an Imperial gallon is eight Imperial pints (160 imp fl oz, 4.546 litres) whereas the US gallon is eight US pints (128 US fl oz, 3.785 litres).

The metric system was officially adopted in the UK, for most purposes, in the 20th century and both imperial and metric are taught in schools and used in books. It is now mandatory for the sale of food to also show metric. However, it is not uncommon to purchase goods which are measured and labeled in metric, but the actual measure is rounded to the equivalent imperial measure (i.e., milk labeled as 568 mL / 1 pint). In September 2007, the EU with Directive 2007/45/EC deregulated prescribed metric packaging of most products, leaving only wines and liqueurs subject to prescribed EU-wide pre-packaging legislation; the law relating to labelling of products remaining unchanged.

A 20 US fl oz (591 mL) bottle that displays bo...

A 20 US fl oz (591 mL) bottle that displays both US and Metric units. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special instructions

Volume measures of compressible ingredients have a substantial measurement uncertainty, in the case of flour of about 20%. Some volume-based recipes, therefore, attempt to improve the reproducibility by including additional instructions for measuring the correct amount of an ingredient. For example, a recipe might call for “1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed”, or “2 heaping cups flour”. A few of the more common special measuring methods:

Firmly packed
With a spatula, a spoon, or by hand, the ingredient is pressed as tightly as possible into the measuring device.
Lightly packed
The ingredient is pressed lightly into the measuring device, only tightly enough to ensure no air pockets.
Even / level
A precise measure of an ingredient, discarding all of the ingredient that rises above the rim of the measuring device. Sweeping across the top of the measure with the back of a straight knife or the blade of a spatula is a common leveling method.
Allowing a measure of an ingredient to pile up above the rim of the measuring device naturally, into a soft, rounded shape.
Heaping / heaped
The maximum amount of an ingredient which will stay on the measuring device.
This instruction may be seen in two different ways, with two different meanings: before the ingredient, as “1 cup sifted flour”, indicates the ingredient should be sifted into the measuring device (and normally leveled), while after the ingredient, as “1 cup flour, sifted”, denotes the sifting should occur after measurement.

Such special instructions are unnecessary in weight-based recipes.

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History of Money – Weights and Measures – Part Three

In the early 1900’s Thomas Parker became interested in a metric system of weights and measures and also advocated the introduction of decimal coinage. He campaigned vigorously for a British decimal system based on existing British units, rather than the European ones.

To illustrate the benefits of decimal coinage, he manufactured some aluminium pattern coins and distributed them to some of his business associates and to Members of Parliament. His 5 thousandths of a pound coin was just over an inch in diameter and his one thousandth of a pound coin a little smaller. On one side were the words KING EDWARD VII – 1901 and on the other ONE THOUSANDTH OF A POUND STERLING or FIVE THOUSANDTHS OF A POUND STERLING etc. He thought that nickel should be used for 10, 50, and 100 thousandths of a pound coins. The Patterns were jocularly known among his family and friends as “Tom Parker’s pennies”.

Tom Parker’s Pennies:





His metric system of weights and measures was based on the inch. He cast a one inch aluminium cube that weighed exactly the same as one cubic inch of water at 4 degrees centigrade. After casting, it was accurately filed by one of his sons and became the primary unit of linear, square and cubic measurement, and also of weight. He carried it with him everywhere and played it as a trump card in many arguments concerning British weights and measures.

Read Norman Biggs
article on 
Thomas Parker’s Inch Weights
An advert for Thomas’s “British Grain Weights”.Courtesy of the library and archives of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, at Coalbrookdale.


A box of Thomas’s inch weights.Courtesy of the library and archives of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, at Coalbrookdale.
Another box of inch weights.Courtesy of the library and archives of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, at Coalbrookdale.
Some of Thomas’s booklets advertising his coins and weights.Courtesy of the library and archives of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, at Coalbrookdale.

At the top of the above photograph is a leather wallet, containing a booklet and sample coins. Thomas gave one to every Member of Parliament in the hope of gaining support for his decimal system. Thomas’s grandson, Clive Parker, also attempted to interest people in Thomas’s system in the late 1950s and early 1960s. At this time only one of the wallets still survived. It was lent to G.W. Proudfoot, M.P. and he put it on display in the House of Commons library.

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History of the Grand Order of Masons

The Square and Compasses. The symbols employed...

The Square and Compasses. The symbols employed in Co-Freemasonry are mostly identical with those in other orders of Freemasonry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The earliest official English documents to refer to masons are written in Latin or Norman French. Thus we have “sculptores lapidum liberorum” (London 1212), “magister lathomus liberarum petrarum” (Oxford 1391), and “mestre mason de franche peer” (Statute of Labourers 1351). These all signify a worker in freestone, a grainless sandstone or limestone suitable for ornamental masonry. In the 17th century building accounts of Wadham College the terms freemason and freestone mason are used interchangeably. Freemason also contrasts with “Rough Mason” or “Layer”, as a more skilled worker who worked or laid dressed stone.

The adjective “free” in this context may also be taken to infer that the mason is not enslavedindentured or feudally bound. While this is difficult to reconcile with medieval English masons, it apparently became important to Scottish operative lodges.

Lodge and the Guild: 

The historical record shows two levels of organisation in medieval masonry, the lodge and the “guild”. The original use of the word lodge indicates a workshop erected on the site of a major work, the first mention being Vale Royal Abbey in 1278. Later, it gained the secondary meaning of the community of masons in a particular place. The earliest surviving records of these are the laws and ordinances of the lodge at York Minster in 1352. It should be noted that these regulations were imposed by the Dean and Chapter of the Minster

Earliest Masonic History: 

Anderson's Constitutions, 1723

Anderson’s Constitutions, 1723 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The earliest masonic texts each contain some sort of history of the craft, or mystery, of masonry. The oldest known work of this type, The Halliwell Manuscript, or Regius Poem, dating from between 1390 and 1425, has a brief history in its introduction, stating that the “craft of masonry” began with Euclid in Egypt, and came to England in the reign of King Athelstan.[2] Shortly afterwards, the Cooke Manuscripttraces masonry to Jabal son of Lamech (Genesis 4: 20-22), and tells how this knowledge came to Euclid, from him to the Children of Israel (while they were in Egypt), and so on through an elaborate path to Athelstan. This myth formed the basis for subsequent manuscript constitutions, all tracing masonry back to biblical times, and fixing its institutional establishment in England during the reign of Athelstan (927-939).

Shortly after the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge of EnglandJames Anderson was commissioned to digest these “Gothic Constitutions” in a palatable, modern form. The resulting constitutions are prefaced by a history more extensive than any before, again tracing the history of what was now freemasonry back to biblical roots, again forging Euclid into the chain. True to his material, Anderson fixes the first grand assembly of English Masons at York, under Athelstan’s son, Edwin, who is otherwise unknown to history.Expanded, revised, and republished, Anderson’s 1738 constitutions listed the Grand Masters since Augustine of Canterbury, listed as Austin the MonkWilliam Preston’s Illustrations of Freemasonry enlarged and expanded on this masonic creation myth.

Seal of Premier Grand Lodge of England

Seal of Premier Grand Lodge of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In France, the 1737 lecture of Chevalier Ramsay added the crusaders to the lineage. He maintained that Crusader Masons had revived the craft with secrets recovered in the Holy Land, under the patronage of the Knights Hospitaller. At this point, the “history” of the craft in Continental Freemasonry diverged from that in England.

The first record of the degree is in 1769, when Thomas Dunckerley, as Provincial Grand Superintendent, conferred the degrees of Mark Man and Mark Master Mason at a Royal Arch Chapter in Portsmouth.

Following the Union of the Antients and Moderns Grand Lodges and the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813, the articles of union stated that there would be three Craft degrees only, including the Royal Arch, excluding the Mark degree. For this reason, while in the rest of the world Mark Masonry became attached to Royal Arch chapters, in England it was actually proscribed from the Union until the 1850s. It was a group of Scottish masons who procured an illegal warrant from Bon Accord Chapter in Aberdeen to set up a Mark lodge in London. An attempt to add Mark Masonry to the approved craft workings was defeated in 1856, and a Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons was created in response.

As Freemasonry spread around the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, Mark Masonry became well established and now has a worldwide presence, with six daughter Grand Lodges and the degree being worked under alternative administrative structures elsewhere. In England, the current Mark Grand Master, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, is the younger brother of the Craft Grand Master, HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.

Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas speculate in their 1996 book The Hiram Key that the construction of the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland (1440–1490) provided the interface between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. Accordingly, the first degree and Mark Masonry was introduced by William Sinclair, whom they claim was the first Grand Master and founder of Freemasonry.

Modern Day Freemasonry:

Many twentieth century totalitarian regimes, both Fascist and Communist have treated Freemasonry as a potential source of opposition due to its secret nature and international connections (not to mention its promotion of religious and political tolerance through its symbolism). It has been alleged by Masonic scholars that the language used by the totalitarian regimes is like that used by some modern critics of Freemasonry. 

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