Tower Bridge at night.

Tower Bridge: Happy Birthday!

Combined Bascule and Suspension Bridge

Lovely image of London's famous Tower Bridge, taken from St Katherine's dock looking south.
Lovely image of London’s famous Tower Bridge, taken from St Katherine’s dock looking south. By Bob Collowân [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
Tower Bridge was officially opened on this day in 1894. I have long been enchanted by it: as a fascinating piece of engineering it is the only combined bascule and suspension bridge I’ve seen; and as a monumental piece of Victorian Gothic architecture.

I first saw it as a child, though it was to be many years before I learned that Continue reading

School of Medicine – for Women

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Signs.”

This week, publish an image of a sign — from the signs you encounter on the street to more personal, less obvious signs that hold meaning for you.

I often walk past this sign. I am never quite sure what to feel about it. Dismay that “for many years, the Royal Free Hospital was the only hospital in London to offer medical services to women.” (Source: Royal Free Hospital). Or something more positive, given how far we have come. Continue reading

Re-reading Harry Potter

I find the Harry Potter series enthralling. I have read the whole series at least three times now. Generally, if I can I’ll read them one after another. I read quickly but this is still a fortnight of Hogwarts. I am currently halfway through the Goblet of Fire, episode four of the set. It is not my favourite! The first one is still the best. I just love the fairy tale quality to it, it has an excitement and innocence that I love. The wand shop in Diagon Alley is a favourite location, it reminds me of a very old shop near where I live. Though it was stacked high with small boxes of Airfix models, rather than wands. Continue reading

The Hat Industry of Luton

“Luton is sometimes likened to a northern town that has found itself in the south. This is understandable.”

Heritage Calling

Luton has an industrial pedigree to be proud of and one which has shaped almost every aspect of the town. No, not car manufacture (although that is undoubtedly important), but an older industry – hat manufacture.

The town produced as many as 70 million hats a year in the 1930s – an astonishing number, and yet Luton’s role as a global centre of hat manufacture is largely forgotten. Our new book, The Hat Industry of Luton and its Buildings, seeks to rectify this by celebrating the town’s remarkable industrial and commercial history.

A Goad fire insurance plan from 1932 illustrates the remarkable density of hat factories, warehouses and associated industries such as box factories to be found in Luton’s town centre. © Database Right Landmark Information Group Ltd A Goad fire insurance plan from 1932 illustrates the remarkable density of hat factories, warehouses and associated industries in Luton’s town centre.  © Database Right Landmark Information Group Ltd

Luton is sometimes likened to a northern town that has found itself in the south. This is understandable. The town grew rapidly in the 19th century – faster…

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