You might be aware that at the end of last year, Wedgwood launched a £10.5m museum at Barlaston in Stoke-on-Trent, just months before the company, sadly, went into administration. The museum (which is owned by an independent charitable trust) is not affected by the company’s financial troubles, and has in fact been long-listed for the prestigious 2009 Art Fund Prize. Has anyone been there? Do I detect a little dumbing down in the virtual portrait medallions?
Above: Portland Vase by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd, circa 1790. Source: Wiki Commons.
Gosh, I feel like Kate Winslet at the Oscars because my humble blog has received another award - the Tempus Fugit Award - this time from my fellow historical blogger, the Doctor. Thank you so much for the support! Here are the details:
"The TEMPUS FUGIT Award is given to writers & living historians whose journals represent the best aspects of the 18th Century. These writers aim to inform and entertain the public with tales from events, historic research & experiments and highlights from 18th Century arts and culture. It is the hope of TEMPUS FUGIT that this award will forge a web of friendship and knowledge that will aid in creating a tight community of reenactors and living historians on the internet and beyond. Winners of the TEMPUS FUGIT Award should pass this award along to six other 18th Century blogs that meet the above criteria, and include this text with the Award, as well as a link back to the TEMPUS FUGIT blog."
And now the six 18th-century blogs of excellence; my winners are:
You might recall that I did series on Georgian Liverpool at the start of this year. Though now a tacky 1980s theme bar, this place (above) used to be Liverpool's Public Concert Room. It dates from some time in the 1770s, originally staged concerts supported by annual subscription of two guineas each (admitting three persons per performance) and had room for 1,300 visitors. Opened to the strains of Handel's Water Music, it straddles Bold Street, Concert Street and Wood Street (we're looking at it from the back on Wood Street), and you can just about visualise its grandeur from the elegant columns and tall windows. Inside, the huge staircase is still there; legend has it that a woman called Mary haunts the upper floors.
[Thanks to David Lewis on the Bold Street Project Blog for filling in some of the history of this building, and to Dr William Moss's Georgian Liverpool of 1797, with additional notes by David Brazendale.]
Maintaining a blog can sometimes feel like running a marathon, and after a burst of activity last week, this week I’ve been flagging, so it was especially nice to receive another award from the lovely Vic at Jane Austen’s World - the timing was excellent, and it’s helped me revisit the Memoirs… with renewed energy. This is what the award involves:
"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
My winners are below. It's an award for blogs with historic content, but I confess, I stretched the rules with Meet And Two Veg: a blog by Midlands foodie Emily Bridgewater, and The Lichfield Blog, run by Sammy J, but they are both friendly and engaging blogs which I always enjoy reading.
My boyfriend came back from a foray to the newsagents this weekend bearing a collection of new Royal Mail stamps themed around Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution. We have Matthew Boulton (1st class, given it's his Bicentenary year), James Watt, Richard Arkwright, Josiah Wedgwood, George Stephenson, Henry Maudsley, James Brindley and John McAdam - many connected to the Midlands and The Lunar Society.
Even Lichfield Cathedral got on a stamp last year, though I'm glad to be spared the 'letters pray' jokes (thank you, Express & Star).
Congratulations to Professor Peter Martin and Dr Nicholas Cambridge who completed their Tercentenary walk (all 165 miles of it!) right on time last Thursday; you can read the BBC's coverage of the event here.
I live in the English cathedral city of Lichfield, which, despite having a population of fewer than 5,000 during the Georgian period, was home to many important artists and intellectuals including Samuel Johnson, David Garrick and Erasmus Darwin. I generally blog about the short 18th century (1715-1789), feisty Georgian ladies and Lichfield's 18th-century heritage. If you have any comments, feel free to email me at woffington [at] gmail [dot] com.
Virtually forgotten today, Margaret Woffington (also known as Peg or Peggy) would rise from humble origins to become one of Georgian London’s most famous actresses, sharing the stage with the likes of David Garrick and excelling in so-called ‘breeches roles’. Born around the year 1720 in Dublin, her childhood years were marred by the death of her father, which plunged her family into poverty. Having reputedly sold watercress barefoot in the streets of the Irish capital, she was soon talent-spotted by a tumbler known as Violante, who staged populist entertainments in booths around the city. Violante had a troupe of child actors called the Liliputians, and before long Woffington was making her debut as Polly Peachum in their version of The Beggar’s Opera. Moving to London, she gained plaudits for both her outstanding beauty and her talent – particularly in comedy – appearing at both Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Known for her quick wit and no-nonsense attitude, she had high-profile affairs with Garrick, Lord Darnley and Charles Hanbury Williams; she was also a generous benefactor, supporting her elderly mother and may even have endowed some almshouses in Teddington, where she had settled at the height of her success. She died, unmarried, in 1760, having suffered a long wasting illness, and is buried in Teddington's parish church of St Mary’s.
Step into the past...
Click on the shoes for a highlight from the archive.
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