Arundel Avenue’s Quaker burial ground: a secret garden hidden from view

I must have walked past the narrow, gated alleyway on Arundel Avenue a thousand times before I even noticed it.  When I did, and saw the small plaque which explained that beyond the gate there lay a Quaker Burial Ground, I never imagined so large a space lay down the narrow passage.  On Sunday, as the result … Continue reading Arundel Avenue’s Quaker burial ground: a secret garden hidden from view

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: ‘from this filthy sewer pure gold flows’

Photographs of anonymous female workers at Tredegar iron works in the 1860s From this foul drain the greatest stream of human industry flows out to fertilise the whole world. From this filthy sewer pure gold flows. Here humanity attains its most complete development and its most brutish; here civilisation works its miracles, and civilised man … Continue reading All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: ‘from this filthy sewer pure gold flows’

Twelve maps that reflect their times: far away is close at hand

When I was growing up my favourite book was a big, calf-bound atlas – Bartholemew’s 1898 Citizen’s Atlas of the World.  I pored over it for hours, admiring the beauty of its coloured plates that, through a trick of its binding, displayed each map across a two-page spread with no interruption and fascinated by the … Continue reading Twelve maps that reflect their times: far away is close at hand

Queueing for Beginners: ‘the tiny catastrophes of which everyday existence is made up’

In 1973, Georges Perec wrote, ‘What speaks to us, seemingly, is always the big event, the untoward, the extra-ordinary: the front page splash, the banner headlines…The daily papers talk of everything except the daily …We sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep.’  Joe Moran’s book Queueing for Beginners, which I’ve just read, aims to … Continue reading Queueing for Beginners: ‘the tiny catastrophes of which everyday existence is made up’