Author Archives: dgm

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...

John Kirk, photographer

John Kirk is famous for many reasons. For being Livingstone’s deputy, for being instrumental in ending the slave trade in Zanzibar. But in 1854, he was none of these things. He was a newly qualified doctor who volunteered for the … Continue reading

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Retro photography

I’ve always been interested in photography – ever since I was given a box brownie when I was round about eight. The ultimate point and shoot – 127 format film, and 8 shots a roll. You rapidly learned to compose … Continue reading

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Thomas Skidmore and Sons, Wolverhampton

I had been to get my flu shot at the local pharmacy, and as is usual these days they asked me to wait for fifteen minutes to make sure I didn’t have a bad reaction. The waiting area obviously doubled … Continue reading

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White Lead and Elizabeth I of England

Yesterday, I posted the following tweet,  really because of my work documenting Dow’s Pharmacy and my interest in the Madeleine Smith trial The podcast is about the work of Fiona MacNeill, a toxicologist at McMaster in Canada. She’s actually well … Continue reading

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Of rats, mice, and New Zealand

A few days ago I tweeted a link to a blogpost from Te Papa about nineteenth century mice. Essentially, and I recommend reading the post yourself, they sequenced DNA from mouse and rat remains from early nineteenth century archaeological deposits … Continue reading

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Bile Beans

For seventeen or so years of my life, I lived in York, in England, and one of the local landmarks was the Bile Beans sign on the side of a building in Lord mayor’s walk, just outside of the city … Continue reading

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How an ambrotype might have survived 150 years at the bottom of the ocean

A few days ago I retweeted a story from the Observer on ambrotypes recovered from the wreck of the SS Central America, a ship carrying gold miners back from California to New York. There was, of course, no Panama Canal  … Continue reading

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The Ocean Telegraph to India

I’ve been rereading Peter Hopkirk’s book on the Great Game in parallel with my rereading of Fred Burnaby’s A ride to Khiva (Google Books have a good copy of the latter – Peter Hopkirk’s book only appears to be available … Continue reading

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Nineteenth century pharmaceutical packaging and letterlocking

A few months ago letter locking was very much in the news with the digital unlocking of Mary Queen of Scots last letter. Yesterday, when I was down at Chiltern, I came across an interesting application of a quasi letterlocking … Continue reading

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Fred Burnaby and Cockle’s Pills

Captain Fred Burnaby was a Victorian adventurer and balloonist, chiefly remembered today for his epic horse rides across Anatolia and Central Asia. I’ve never quite made up my mind whether he undertook these rides with tacit approval as part of … Continue reading

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