Friday, 18 September 2009

Old Cyder House Talks, Berkeley 2009/10

Walking on Dinosaurs: Trampling on God?
Rev Richard Avery & Prof Tim Walsh,
Thursday 24 September 2009 7.30pm
Cost: £6 including glass of wine
Advanced booking advised, as places are limited.
01453 810631

The publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species a hundred and fifty years ago was deeply offensive to many Christians, and yet on his death he was buried with great ceremony in Westminster Abbey.
Can Christianity and Evolutionary theory be reconciled? Are Christians bound to follow the lead of many transatlantic brethren and become Creationists?
This promises to be a fascinating evening for believers and unbelievers alike, as we attempt to unravel the history and clear up misconceptions.

Richard Avery is vicar of Berkeley and has been a teacher of secondary school science and a former student of Richard Dawkins at University of Cambridge.
Tim Walsh is the Professor of Medical Microbiology & Antibiotic Resistance at Cardiff University.

Audience members will also have the chance to look round the museum’s temporary exhibition Walking on Dinosaurs, part of the Darwin Bicentenary celebrations.

The Making of Mr Gray’s Anatomy – the story of the ‘Doctor’s Bible’
Dr Ruth Richardson,
Sunday 11 October 2009 3.30pm.

Cost: £10 including tea, cake and free entry to the museum earlier in the afternoon.
Advanced booking advised, as places are limited.
01453 810631

Gray's Anatomy is to the human body what Mrs Beeton's is to cookery or Roget's is to thesaurus. It started out as a student text in 1858, and became so indispensable that it has been called 'The Doctor's Bible'. The book has never been out of print. This talk tells the story behind the famous medical text, how it was created by two young medical men in mid-Victorian London: Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter.

Ruth Richardson:
The Wall Street Journal described Ruth Richardson's most recent book, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy (Oxford University Press) as 'one of those rarities, history that reads like a novel'. The book has won the 2009 Medical Journalists' Open Book Award.

Ruth Richardson's history of the corpses in UK dissection rooms - Death Dissection and the Destitute - is now a standard work and teaching text. She has also authored Vintage Papers from The Lancet, and co-edited two volumes: Medical Humanities: An Introduction and The Healing Environment for the Royal College of Physicians, London. Her historical introduction to Gray’s Anatomy, has just appeared in the latest 40th edition of the famous textbook itself. Dr Richardson is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


The Incredible Human Journey
Dr Alice Roberts
Tuesday 3 November 2009, 7.30pm
Wotton Electric Picture House
18A Market Street, Wotton-Under-Edge
Cost: £12
Advance booking essential.
Contact the Edward Jenner Museum: info@edwardjenner.co.uk or ring: 01453 810631
Tickets will also be on sale in Clarence’s Gift Shop in Wotton High Street.

Who are we and where do we come from? Genetics, archaeology and fossils come together to provide some answers. Amazingly, we can all trace our ancestry back to Africa, where our species appeared around 200,000 years ago. Dr Alice Roberts, presenter of the BBC series, tracks the ancient migrations that took our ancestors to the corners of Earth: through stones, bones and genes, the story of our incredible human journey unfolds.

Dr Alice Roberts is a biological anthropologist, author and broadcaster. Medically qualified, she taught clinical anatomy to undergraduates on the medical course at Bristol University for over a decade, and continues to teach postgraduate surgical trainees.

She has a PhD in palaeopathology, the study of disease in ancient human remains. She is interested in what old bones can tell us about human evolution, the diversity of the human species, and about diseases that have affected us over time. She is also interested in burial archaeology, and has joined an international research team investigating the archaeology and anthropology in Mongolia.

She is also passionate about public engagement with science, and is involved with planning Cheltenham Festival of Science. On BBC2, she is part of the team presenting the hugely popular Coast series. She wrote and presented two series of Don’t Die Young, exploring anatomy, physiology and health issues, and the 2009 landmark science series, The Incredible Human Journey, about the origin of our species and the ancient colonisation of the world. She also wrote the books to accompany both these series. She has recently ventured into radio, presenting Costing the Earth on Radio 4.

The Crown Jewels – the inside story
Keith Hanson
26 November 2009, 7.30pm
Cost £10 including a glass of wine
Advanced booking advised, as places are limited.
01453 810631

What’s it like to live in the Tower of London and to be responsible for the display and security of the world famous Crown Jewels? Do you lie awake at night?... or is that the fault of the ghosts of those incarcerated long ago? As the Chief Exhibitor of the Crown Jewels, Keith Hanson should know.

Keith's main responsibilities are towards the security and display of the Crown Jewels, and the Crowns and Diamonds exhibition. He also looks after the running of the oldest part of the Tower of London, the White Tower, which contains unique artefacts belonging to the Royal Armouries, such as the armour of Henry VIII.

Keith is also a member of the Queens Bodyguard of the Yeoman of the Guard, which involves attending many State and Royal events.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Heritage: from chocolate box to concrete box

Series 1 Land Rover, Lacock: B&W
Originally uploaded by CopperPhoenix

From The Times
August 19, 2009
Heritage has democratised and rightly even includes pig-ugly buildings, says the man behind Saving Britain’s Past

Tom Dyckhoff

Heritage used to be easy. It was stately homes. It was cathedrals. It was tea towels in the gift shop and buttered crumpets in a National Trust café. It was nostalgia. Not any more. Over the past 50 years, during which British society and our towns and cities have been utterly transformed, ordinary people have fought to save the streets, buildings and landscapes that mean so much to them. In doing so they have completely revolutionised what we mean by heritage.

Heritage has democratised. These days, it can mean pretty much anything: a coalmine, the childhood homes of the Beatles (now owned by the National Trust), that little café down the road with an interior straight out of Expresso Bongo. It can even be a building which to many is pig-ugly.

Take Robin Hood Gardens. For the past year a battle has been raging in East London over plans by Tower Hamlets to demolish and redevelop this 1960s Brutalist housing estate. Passions run high. Architects and preservationists are pitted against council and developer. Yet if, 40 years ago, you’d have said that this slab of concrete was heritage you’d have been laughed out of the planning department.

To understand how heritage went from chocolate box to concrete box, I’ve been filming a seven-part TV series for BBC Two, Saving Britain’s Past. It was the experience of the Second World War that created our basic understanding of heritage. Before the Blitz there were, astonishingly, no proper systems or records for preserving our buildings and landscapes. There had never been any need, because the British landscape, at least the oldest, most cherished parts of it, had changed so slowly.

Admittedly the Industrial Revolution had so transformed much of the country that the glimmers of a conservation movement emerged through campaigners such as William Morris and his Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, aghast at the modern world’s impact on the old. But compared with what was about to happen, the industrial revolution was small fry.

That all changed when Hitler embarked on not only the Blitz, but also the infamous “Baedeker raids”, a bombing campaign targeting not military or industrial sites, but those of cultural value listed in Baedeker’s guide books. Cities such as York, Exeter, Canterbury and Bath were bombed just because they were beautiful. Looking at the archive footage of Bath’s destruction in April 1942 is a grim task. Besides the human suffering, 19,000 of the city’s buildings were wrecked, including such gems as the Royal Crescent and the Circus.

The attack sent the country into panic, triggering a sense of collective ownership of our landscapes, the same drive that brought into being the welfare state and the NHS. John Betjeman proposed a national buildings record, the Ministry of Works began a salvage scheme of historic buildings that needed urgent repair, and the 1944 Town and Country Planning Act gave birth to the lists — Britain’s first inventory of buildings of national or historic importance, graded I, II and III according to their significance, to be protected.

Heritage was born. The Ministry of Works appointed 30 architectural historians to compile the lists. These were traditional, nostalgic, conservative. Things not quite up to scratch included architecture from most of the previous century, certainly all things vulgarly industrial. But at least it meant that what Britain looked like in the future would no longer be left to chance or be so vulnerable to attack.
What is remarkable is not simply the country’s speedy acceptance of the idea of saving heritage, but how enthusiastically we have done so. We are an intensely nostalgic country, especially in our post-imperial decline. Yet conservation is not always conservative. It can be downright radical.

Ever since it was invented, this cosy idea of heritage has been whittled away by those it excluded. Just as our understanding of history has diversified from kings, queens and great men to the social history of ordinary people, so what we choose to feel passionate about has shifted from cathedrals and castles to the 1950s cafés in which our quiffed teenaged mums and dads tried to be cool; to the coalmines some slaved in, and the council estates many lived in. My heritage wasn’t a 14th-century village church or a Georgian mansion but a postwar school built by the Hertfordshire schools building programme, a strikingly modern place jam-packed with welfare-state optimism. Can’t that be preserved alongside the 14th-century village church? Why can’t the everyday landscapes most of us live in be heritage?

These ideas began to arise in the mid-1960s just when British society was loosening up and admitting grammar-school politicians, gay playwrights and working-class pop starlets to its higher echelons. They even came up in Bath. As the council started tearing down Grade III listed Georgian streets — the only grade then not legally protected — not even the nascent heritage bodies noticed. But ordinary people did. In the mid-1960s Peter Coard began drawing the little human quirks of the artisans’ cottages and shopfronts disappearing around him and co-founded the Bath Buildings Record. It took another decade for cultural grandees such as Kenneth Clark to catch up with this battle by the little people. Coard unearthed a brutal fact: there was a class system in heritage.
In London John Betjeman became the first secretary of the Victorian Society in 1958, but it took another decade for the Victorian to be thought of as anything but vulgarly industrial. In early 1970s London an alliance as radical as CND or the antiVietnam rallies, of Marxist activists, gentrifiers, old market porters and West End actors inflicted the first big defeat against the planning establishment, saving Covent Garden from being transformed by the Greater London Council into Alphaville.

Since then, we’ve started listing everything, and Britain has become a museum obsessed with its past. The real turning point came in the 1970s when economic decline slowed the pace of the wrecking ball. “A recession,” Roy Strong whispered to me, “is terribly good for heritage.”

Today a recession is proving good for heritage once more. Cranes have stopped swinging in our cities. Visits to National Trust properties this year are up an incredible 24 per cent. Battles, though, are still raging. The front line these days might be Brutalist bruisers such as Robin Hood Gardens. It might be with the kinds of histories we tell through our buildings. In February, the environmentalist George Monbiot launched an excoriating attack on the cute “tea towel” histories told in too many stately homes, which ignore the hidden tales of land seizure and fortunes made through slavery. One thing’s for certain though. We now know that heritage isn’t so much about what we preserve, but why we preserve it. It isn’t just about architecture. It’s about the people who live in it.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Urban Sunrise

Urban Sunrise
Originally uploaded by CopperPhoenix

An early morning start meant I could catch this lovely sunrise from home.


Marketing services

Developing strategy, practical help, training and more.



About us

Adaptable, analytical and an absolute focus on delivering your goals.



Let us help you

To find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.