For those seeking the tranquillity of a waterway, the River Wey Navigations present a peaceful scene. Here, those in search of leisure pursuits can run, walk or drift lazily downstream, soaking up the Surrey countryside and admiring the remnants of a former industrial age. A curious mix of urban backdrop meets rural charm, the Wey Navigations have successfully ridden out the 20th century decline of Britain’s waterways and become a haven for those in search of not only a pleasurable leisure experience but a cultural encounter too. This is for the most part due to the foresight of one family – the Stevens – who managed the Wey Navigations during the 19th century and through the slow decline of commercial traffic in the first half of the 20th century.
In the late 18th century, as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace, changing the way in which men would work, and how their bosses would live, there followed a migration from rural areas into the towns and cities of England. Urban areas grew, but the centres saw an increased pressure in terms of space, with more and more housing needed to accommodate these new migrants, seeking to make their fortunes in the dark, satanic mills and factories of industrial England.
This year will see the centenary of one of the nation’s best-known monuments coming into the possession of the public. In 1800 Stonehenge had been in the private ownership of the Antrobus family. With the First World War and the untimely death of the heir to the baronetcy, when he was killed in action in 1915, the family decided to sell the stone circle and the surrounding 35 acres of land at public auction. The sale took place on 21 September 1915 at the new theatre in nearby Salisbury, and local resident Cecil Chubb paid £6,600 (worth about £502,000 today) for the site – but he didn’t keep it for very long. The family legend has it that he had gone to the auction to buy some chairs that his wife wanted. On a whim, and wanting to save Stonehenge from foreign ownership, he decided to put in a bid for the land that it occupied. Chubb is reputed to have given it to his wife, who was not taken with her expensive gift.
In 1879, several English newspapers remarked on how the ‘sayings and doings’ of condemned criminals had been more fully reported in the past, adding to readers’ knowledge of their psychology, although also ‘ministering to the morbid tastes of the public’. The newspapers put this change in how executions were reported down to modernity – the more civilised editors, reporters, and readers of this time did not indulge in such trivia, and did nothing to educate; therefore, the decreased detail in such reporting was a sign of progress. What the press failed to note, however, was that the change was actually more due to the move from public executions to private; the public nature of executions had also enabled some of the detail of these to be reported in a way that private hangings weren’t. Private hangings were of less interest to the press, because there was less opportunity to record the trivia.
TheGenealogist has released the third part of its unique online record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey. This major resource based on records created for the Valuation Office survey can now be used to find where an ancestor lived in 1910 in the area around Brent. This useful combination of maps and residential data from The National Archives is being digitised by
Neck ornaments were among the first personal adornments, from prehistoric beads of shell, bone, stone and other natural materials, to more sophisticated metal torcs and collars produced 4,000-5,000 years ago. During the Bronze Age, metallic materials including bronze, silver and gold became predominant, ancient civilisations favouring various techniques and designs and using semi-precious stones such as carnelian, lapis lazuli and coral. Some necklaces have served religious, ceremonial or magical functions and are symbols of wealth and status.
Hereford became the seat of Putta, Bishop of Hereford, some time between AD 676 and 688, after which the settlement continued to grow due to its proximity to the border between Mercia and Wales, becoming the Saxon capital of West Mercia by the beginning of the eighth century.
Britain Yesterday & Today takes a nostalgic look at every aspect of British life over the past 150 years. By contrasting beautiful black-and-white images with colour photographs, it presents the amazing social changes that make Britain what it is today. From sport and leisure to the workplace, from the countryside to the city and from shore to shore, Britain Yesterday & Today transports you through time with more than 150 photographs and illuminating commentary. Reflecting on great royal occasions, national obsessions and unique events, as well as changes to urban areas and the impact of technology, this is a delightful look at Britain past and present.
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