Death pays a Dividend

It is not a normal publishing practice to review a book some 60
years after it came out, but in this one case these are very good
reasons to do so.

Death pays a Dividend is an account of the arms trade, & the
various companies which still are involved in the trade.

Companies which are still very well know by any of todays
anti arms trade campaigners.

Companies like:
Vickers.
Dupont.
&
ICI.

Starting with the US, German, & British companies which
supplied all these countries armies during World War one, the
book goes on to show that even while in the middle of this
conflict, that an International arms cartel was in
operation.

It was British made shells which fell upon British Troops in
Gallipoli, While after the armistice Vickers had to pay for the
Krupp-patented rights on the 123,000,000 fuses which were
used against the German armies.

Continue reading Death pays a Dividend

When is Equality not equality?

When is Equality not equality?

When it comes to legislation to give ‘equal rights’ to
religionists.

A fine example of this is the UK
‘Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations’ 2003.

The aim of this law is to prevent discrimination to individuals
because of their religionist or Philosophical beliefs.

The key wording upon this legislation is: ‘ religion’ or
‘Similar Beliefs’.

Continue reading When is Equality not equality?

Maids, Grooms, Footmen, and Library History.

Putney Library opened to the public in 1899.

The building was the gift of the publisher Sir George
Newnes.

A bust of him was placed in the long corridor to the building
during the 1920s.

When the library first opened it listed its members by their
occupations:

Maids, Grooms, Footmen, Butlers, Draper, Ladies and
Gentlemen.

A practice which has long gone out of use.

These membership records were written upon ledgers,
which were kept within the Librarians Office,
and stored there for many years after they had became
obsolete.

You could made an interesting historical class analysis by
just going through these ledgers.

During World War Two the basement of the building was
used as an ARP ( Air Raid Patrol ) centre.
This space was later used to store items for the
Wandsworth museum.

I worked in Putney Library from 1973 to 1987.

When I first worked in the library it still had its original
wood book cases, and a wonderful grandfather clock in
the hall.

Roy Plomley of ‘Desert Island Discs’ fame would use the
Music Library in his research work for his broadcasts.
He also liked to see old French films, and I would sometimes
bump into him at the National Film Theatre.

Another Putney library user was the Tribune cartoonist
George Gale.

A former Labour minister, Lord Jenkins of Putney, was yet
another library user.

I give the above facts as an example of the joy of Library
history.

We all use & work within public libraries, and very rarely
think about just how they have been used over the years.

Yet just you look at this kind of history, & you will find a
fascinating part of all our social heritage.

Signs of the times.

Traditional shop sign writers practiced an art.

It took some years of training in order to become a really
good sign writer.

Such signs took a while to complete, but they gave our
high streets a visual quality which is missing within our
modern townscapes.

One would be very hard pressed to find a sign writer these
days.

Most modern shop signs being a mixture of plastic sheets
and individual plastic lettering.

Such signs are both homogeneous in style , and very ugly
in the extreme.

Once used and discarded,
such signs create yet more waste,
or just more plastics which needs to be recycled.

Continue reading Signs of the times.

James Duff Brown (1862-1914)

Very few people might ever of heard of James Duff Brown ,
but his impact upon just how we use public libraries is
enormous.

Brown worked as a librarian in Camberwell before he
became the first Borough librarian for Islington.

His great innovation was to introduce ‘open access’ within
public libraries.

Previous to that ‘closed access’ meant that one had to
browse the library catalogue, and complete a form in order
for one of the library staff to fetch the book out from the
back.

Brown wrote upon various aspects of librarianship.

His Publications include:

A manual of practical bibliography.

Subject Classification.

&

British Musical Biography: A Dictionary of Musical Artists,
Authors, and Composers Born in Britain and Its Colonies.

Anyone who is interested in library history or library
cataloguing should find out more about his work.

Simon Dee and French Nukiller Bomb Tests.

Simon Dee ( Carl Henty-Dodd ) was the first pirate radio
disc jockey upon radio Caroline.

Radio Caroline being one of the various off-shore radio
stations which broadcast pop music to Britain during the
period 1964 to 1967.

Before working for Radio Caroline he had done a string of
jobs. At one time been vacuum cleaner salesman, and had
run a coffee bar.

After his days on Radio Caroline he worked for Radio
Luxembourg, and then hosting some kind of television show .

His meteoric rise towards,
and fall from stardom,
should be a lesson to us all.

I meet Simon Dee during the summer of 1974 when he just
turned up at a meeting of Greenpeace ( London ).

During that period the focus of the group was French
atmospheric nukiller bomb tests at Mururoa Atoll in the
pacific.

Continue reading Simon Dee and French Nukiller Bomb Tests.

In to the Dustbin of History.

The Chapel Street Market branch of Woolworths closed
down last month, and thus another part of my landscape
history disappeared along side of it.

I have a strong memory of being outside of the store while I
was four years old – over 50 years ago.

Places change, buildings come and go.

What used to be slum areas turn in to fashionable parts.

Fashionable areas decay and turn in to slum areas.

It’s the old saying:
‘What comes around goes around’.

What used to be the premises of C & W May ( theatrical
Costumiers ) has changes a lot.

I worked for the company in Covent Garden from 1968 to
1972.

My how things have changed in the area since then!

Continue reading In to the Dustbin of History.

Avocadoes.

I had dinner with my old friend Ruth over the weekend.

We sat out in her garden under the shade of a tree she had
planted herself.

As part of the meal we ate a dish which was made of
avocados.

Very nice !

What makes this worth noting,
is that the avocados were grown on the tree we were
sitting under.

Eva Batt described avocados as being:
‘Nature’s Green butter’.

Eva Batt was a founder of the Vegan Society,
&
is well known for her classic cook book
Vegan Cooking.

My friend Ruth lives in Camberwell – South London.

Camberwell is famous for a school of art,
but not for what is grown in the area.

Climate change must now be gaining at apace,
if avocados can now be grown in a garden in Camberwell.

Helping People to walk.

Walking is good for both health and the environment.

Here are a few ideas upon what might be done to encourage
people to use their feet.

– Install Pedestrian Shelters at all traffic lights.

The is nothing worst that just waiting & waiting in the rain
for the lights to change in order that one might walk
across the road.

– Make all Traffic Lights work with a Pedestrian
Preference, and timed so that one came reach the
diagonally opposite part of the road junction.

– Larger and more luggage racks on all buses.
This would encourage more people to go shopping via the
bus.

– No VAT or Purchase tax upon Backpacks, Walking Shoes or
Walking Boots.

&

– A crackdown upon all those who cause obstructions upon
the pavements, or who pavement park.

This is something which the UK Pedestrian Association has
been campaigning upon for many a year.

For more ideas upon how walking may be improved: –

See the website for
The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP)

www.pedestrians-int.org

Realistic Dreams and other Achievable Aims.

As a child I was given a small print of the Edvard Munch
painting ‘The Sun’. It is a powerful painting. I kept the print
upon my wall for many a year.

The first time I went to Oslo was in 1983, and at long last I
was able to see the painting for myself.

Something I never dreamed might happen to me while I was a child.

Since then I’ve been to many other places which I never
dreamed about getting to while I was as child.

Come to that: –
I’ve been to places, and seen things which my grandparents
would never of been able to reach within their working lives.

Continue reading Realistic Dreams and other Achievable Aims.