Monday, 10 August 2009

History Lessons




I've just remembered I'd promised some pictures from English Heritage's Festival of History 2009. Once again on the pastures surrounding Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire, it was a heady mix of everything from Roman Legionaries tramping about in sandals (sinister dexter, sinister dexter) to a Hurricane appearing from over Market Harborough to help out with the Normandy Landings. Photo calls abounded, as you can see. Particular favourites were this off duty First World War couple, and gorgeous pouting ATS women serving cakes and biscuits to their khaki-clad menfolk. I was wandering about with a bag full of old cigarette packets looking for instant still life opportunities for the hopefully coming soon The Cigarette Papers, and the ATS girls were very willing for me to toss my Players onto their teatowel. But most memorable for us was the Tudor Executioner. A brilliant, informative lecture about amputations, hangings, beheadings and drawing and quartering. The adults went pale green and turned away (he even had a severed head in a basket), the children cheered and couldn't get enough of it. Apparently an English Heritage official had tried to get the hanging corpse taken down; quite rightly it was allowed to stay. We want more of this, not sealing history up into easily digestible sanitised parcels. Bring on the rack.

14 comments:

Lucy Locket said...

Love it!

martin said...

Will The Cigarette Papers be a possible new volume? We'll have to wait and see.
I have to admit to not having given up smoking.Apparently,everyone else has.What's more,I smoke Piccadilly,which are increasingly difficult to get hold of.My local off-license very kindly supplies them for a customer base of one.Now that's service.

Peter Ashley said...

The Cigarette Papers is indeed almost complete and waiting the results of tests. Hmm. Piccadilly eh? Know any stories connected to the brand?

martin said...

None that are printable.This is,after all,a family blog.

Thud said...

sinister,dexter...reminds me of shopping in Chester as that refrain can often be heard drifting through the crowds of shoppers.

Peter Ashley said...

I have to admit I knicked "sinister, dexter" from Carry On Cleo.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Excellent stuff. Good way for lots of people to find out things about history and have fun too. The Festival, I mean, not Carry on Cleo...

Thud said...

Kitted out legionary followed by troops of cardboard armoured kids are a feature of Chester walls...who knew Sid James had such a reach.

Bucks Retronaut said...

Was the nurse pictured in close proximity to the squaddie in your picture a QARANC,Peter ? I ask as my father who was looked after by these angels in a military hospital during some unpleasantness in WW2,told the tale that they had minimum NCO rank for protection,and he had to lie to attention ! Didn`t quite understand what he was on about,and don`t think I want to know now !

Peter Ashley said...

I do believe she was, Bucks.

Wartime Housewife said...

I can't wait for 'The Cigarette Papers' to come out. I rarely smoke now, but when I do, it's such a pleasure, even if one has to crouch like a felon in the pub car park. Last year, I bought an old BOAC cigarette case and was obliged to start smoking again to get the wear out of it. I had to take my Swiss Army knife to my Marlborough Lights to fit them in, but it was well worth it. Were there any brands that featured aeroplanes, do you know?

Peter Ashley said...

RAF cigarettes, WH.

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