The treasures that you can find if you keep your eyes open!
It was S. Mary Brookfield's summer fete in Dartmouth Park this weekend - a church about as 'high' as you can get within the C. of E. With, as its parish priest, Father Guy Pope. No kidding!
The rain forced the stalls out of the vicarage garden and into the interior of this beautiful 1875 Butterfield church. And inside I spotted something I'd overlooked before - this beautiful fifteenth century alabaster representation of one of the more obscure Celtic saints.
A plaque underneath reads: 'The Legend of Saint Arthmael. Nottingham Alabaster XVth Century, found at Plas y n Pentre, a Grange of Valle Crucis Abbey, Llangollen. Placed here by Philip Harold Reeves Vicar of this Church 1907-1928.'
St Arthmael or Armel was born in south Wales in the sixth century, during the reign of King Arthur. There are indeed suggestions that he was King Arthur. The alabaster, though damaged, strikes me as a real treasure. And however it made its way to NW5, I'm very happy to have stumbled across it.
I don't want to sound obsessive about this - though it's probably a bit late in the day to say this given my previous form - but I have just come upon conclusive evidence that the BBC occupants of soon-to-be-vacated Bush House are heirs to the scurrilous pamphleteers and print makers of nineteenth century Holywell Street.
My colleague Paul Coletti has posted his own tribute to Bush House, exploring the story behind a plaque in memory of Andrew Young ('first valuer to the London County Council') which rests on our outer walls. He has borrowed from Peter Berthoud's excellent Discovering London site a plan overlaying the current street map of the Aldwych area on the Victorian one. Here it is:
It's a bewitching map - and you can see Holywell Street to the north of the Strand as it runs east of St Mary-le-Strand (there's a close-up below). And yes, my old, now deserted office, lay exactly on the line of that ancient, disreputable, rather wondrous street.
Much of the fire of Holywell Street's original pamphleteers was about holding those in authority to account - that too was the purpose of the radical print makers with their bawdy lampoons of the Regent and his courtiers - and isn't that, in a sense, what the more recent BBC occupiers of this space have been doing so well over the past 71 years?
Jonathon Green has written a wonderful account of Holywell Street in its least reputable phase on his website The Dabbler - complete with a range of marvellous images. I've lifted the photograph below from there - Holywell Street being brought down in 1902. All things must pass!
Jeff Cloves, poet and activist, wrote a long poem back in 1968 about a friend of his, an unruly character called Ginger Mills. It appeared in an early edition of the illustrious rock magazine, Zigzag, which I always associate with Pete Frame and John Tobler. The poem has recently been turned into a large poster - which is what you see above. Posters don't transform all that well into the cyber world of blogs, but there is something rather bewitching about the lay-out, and the image of Ginger. So with Jeff's blessing, I'm posting it here - to read the poem, then turn to this page on the Shagrat records site.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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