This has just become, by a short head, the oldest item in my pamphlet collection. John Pym was a Parliamentarian and an intense irritant to both James I and his son Charles I. He was first elected to Parliament in 1614 and was returned to what became known as the 'Long' Parliament in November 1640. He became known as the principal Parliamentary opponent of the King, not least by his public accusations against one of the King's favourites, the Earl of Strafford.
In this speech delivered on 26 November 1640, Pym declared of the Earl, who was facing charges of treason:
If this Treason had taken effect, our soules had been inthralled to the spirituall Tyranny of Satan; our Consciences to the Ecclesiastical Tyranny of the Pope; our Lives, our Persons and Estates, to the Civill Tyranny of an arbitrary, unlimited, confused Government.
And Pym went on:
The Law of this Kingdome makes the King to bee the fountaine of Justice, of peace, of protection, therefore we say, the Kings Courts, the Kings Judges, the Kings Lawes: the Royall Power and Majestie shines upon us in every publique blessing and benefit we enjoy: but the Author of this Treason would make him the fountaine of Injustice, of confusion, or publique misery and Calamatie.
Charles eventually broke his pledge to his friend and agreed to sign Strafford's death warrant. He was executed on Tower Hill on 12 May 1641.
The following year, Pym was one of five Parliamentarians who the King sought to arrest inside Parliament - the event which sparked the civil war and eventually the King's beheading.
Juts bought on ebay - and not cheaply - the renowned, notorious school kids' issue of Oz from May 1970. A bunch of school kids were brought in to help edit this monthly alternative paper. And the issue that resulted was prosecuted for obscenity. The Old Bailey trial lasted for almost two months. The three defendants - the editors of Oz, Felix Dennis, Jim Anderson and Richard Neville - were found guilty and imprisoned - where they were famously shorn of their emblematic long hair. The conviction was overturned on appeal.
The nudity on the cover of the issue was part and parcel of the alternative scene of the time. Jimi Hendrix's 'Electric Ladyland' album, with an assembly of naked women on the sleeve, had appeared eighteen months earlier. This was also the era of the distinctly priapic cartoonist Robert Crumb. I am not going to post the Rupert the Bear cartoon which featured so prominently at the trial - it's infantile and not at all respectful of women. But here's another taste of the schoolkids' wizardry.
While sorting out some of my father's things the other day, I came across a small - very small - leather purse containing two tatty pieces of paper. It took me a while to work out what they were. The one above is in the name of my maternal grandfather, Thomas Graham. It is - I realise - the bill for his wedding tea. £3 15s 5d (less a 9s 5d staff discount) for an order which includes four dozen Fr [? French] cakes, one small Bride's cake and two 3lb steak pies - along with the use of forms (folding tables), knives, forks, plates and spoons.
This dates from July 1928, when Tommy Graham married Elizabeth Brunton - I assume that it was her who merited the staff discount, as her husband-to-be worked in Glasgow's Govan shipyards (having served his apprenticeship as a boilermaker at Harland and Wolff in Belfast).
The other scrap of paper is a typed list of 'necessities for confinements' which - I guess - my grandmother must have been given in preparation for the birth of her first child, my mother, in 1929. 'Have a little Spirits in case it should be required' - sound advice from Nurse Livingston!
Elsewhere among Dad's papers is a photograph album which includes a photo of his parents-in-law - here are Thomas and Elizabeth on their wedding day, 16th July 1928.
I wondered what to do with these two precious mementoes of family history - the more precious because they are so very humble. Having copied them, and now blogged about them, they have been returned to their purse, which has housed these papers for the past eighty years or more - and which will shelter for some time yet, I trust.
Hidden away on Hallam Street is one of the most impressive frontages in London's Fitzrovia. It is - I would say - distinctly Indo-Saracenic in style. And curiously, this is not the front of a building - but the back. It's the rear of the Central Synagogue - as far as I can make out - which has its main entrance on Great Portland Street..
There is a real elegance to these window surrounds which outshines the buildings formal entrance - grand as that is The Central Synagogue's website - http://www.centralsynagogue.org.uk/about-us/ - recounts that the building's foundation stone was laid in 1858, but that the synagogue was badly damaged by bombing during World War Two and was rededicated in 1958. I wonder if the back of the building is largely original, and the front (below) a much restored façade. Whatever, if you are out and about in central London, do go this a look. Its worth it.
For the first time in 45 years, I went yesterday to see Huddersfield Town play at home. (Since you're asking, they almost won!) And for the very first time, I went through Huddersfield station. What a beauty! It was completed in the 1850s, and has been described by Betjeman, no less, as the most splendid station frontage in England. If you follow this link, you'll find more about the building and its history.
The station is Grade 1 listed - thank God! And it fronts on to the impressive, if a touch lifeless, St George's Square. The statue, in case you are wondering, is of Harold Wilson - the Huddersfield boy, and Huddersfield Town fan, who made it to 10 Downing Street.
As memorable as this vista was the journey by train from Manchester across the Pennines, as the photos from my train window might suggest ... Huddersfield is as close to Rochdale as to Leeds.
And at the John Smith's stadium, very impressive, my son joined me to cheer Town on their way to their best chance of promotion to the top flight since 1969-70 (when I cheered my lungs out as Jimmy Nicholson held up the trophy as Town took the old Second Division top place).
As pub signs go, this is about as good as it gets. Not an old-fashioned 'swinging chad' pub sign, but a mosaic on a flank wall. This is The Enterprise on Red Lion Street in Holborn - directly opposite the equally welcoming Dolphin.
The work is dated - 2006 - and the artist is Tessa Hulkin. Her website explains:
The pub is named after a 19th century sailing ship that travelled to the Arctic in search of the missing explorer Sir John Franklin in 1852. The mosaic shows the ship in full sail watched by a polar bear on a floating iceberg.
Alas the pub's own site has nothing to say about its history apart from the blindingly obvious statement that it is 'Victorian'.
One of the more interesting, and hidden away, of central London's 'local' churches - the distinctly high church S. Alban the Martyr in Holborn. You don't know where it is? Not surprising. It really is tucked away off one of the least known London squares, Brooke's Market, which lies between Leather Lane and Gray's Inn Road. And as you venture in to a rather charming courtyard, you are immediately assailed by the striking sculpture above.
Saint Alban, by the way, is the first recorded British Christian martyr. He was beheaded in the third or fourth century at - you've guessed it - St Alban's.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!