Monday, 24 June 2013

The new currency...

During my lunch break at work today I read that women are not to be included on the new British banknotes.  I am not a "bra-burning feminist" but how irritating! Of course, the new favourite is Winston Churchill.

Apparently, the criteria required is that the historical figure must be dead, not controversial, he or she must have contributed to British society and thus would be a recognisable figure to hundreds of people. How many women have influenced British society, the economy, and the political world? Thousands. Here are just a few I have thought of - Rosalind Franklin, who helped discover DNA; Mary Wollestonecraft, mother of Mary Shelley, was the first female feminist who wrote 'A Vindication of the Rights of Women' in 1792; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman in Britain to become a doctor; Elizabeth Blackwell, born in England, was the first woman in America to become a doctor (who bravely sheltered African American patients during the violent Draft Riots in New York 1863) - the list is endless!

Most people may not have heard of these women. But few have probably heard of Elizabeth Fry, the famous c19th social reformer who is currently on the £5 banknote. So why not use one of these women? And the issue of controversy? While Churchill is the obvious choice for the Tories, he remains a very controversial figure for his role in the bloody fiasco that was Gallipoli, as well as the nasty negotiations with the miners.

And it does not surprise me there are no black men or women. What about Mary Seacole??!

Hopefully in the not so distant future this will change.

Friday, 14 June 2013

WW1 Plans Unveiled

This week the government unveiled plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The Queen will lead some of the events, including a ceremony at Glasgow Cathedral. Between 1914-1918, nearly ten million soldiers were killed before Armistice Day on 11 November.

Over £10 million is being injected into the arts, including drama and music projects. Trips to WW1 battlefields in France and Belgium are also being planned.

Unsurprisingly, the commemorations are being used for political gains. The Tories are hoping to use the events to raise support for a United Kingdom in the face of debates of Scottish independence.

See some of the plans via this link -

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Mary Rose Museum!

The new museum to the Mary Rose in Portsmouth opened last week. Naval history doesn't exactly thrill me but the museum looks fantastic and I can't wait to have a look round. Conservationists have carefully planned the exhibition for years and after 35million pounds of investment, one hopes that this will be one of the best maritime heritage sites in the country. I'm particularly looking forward to learning more about the crew. Forensic scientists worked with bodies found at the site to sketch a picture of what the crew would have looked like. It's fascinating what the scientists have discovered - their positions on the ship and their health at the time of death, for example. 

The Mary Rose sank five hundred years ago, and legend has it, that Henry VIII watched in horror as his favourite ship was destroyed before his eyes. It was rediscovered in the Solent in the 1980s.

New slave quarters to be preserved near White House

First Lady Michelle Obama has praised the decision to preserve slave quarters near the White House, Washington D.C. Decatur House - a National Trust site - is "vital to national memory" and new funds will help develop the house into a museum and educate children about the legacy of slavery not just in D.C., but in the America as a whole.