Category Archives: Uncategorized

Paper Diaries in 2022 …

I recently replied to a tweet from @wmarybeard about diaries and the demise of the Cambridge University diary. And that got me thinking about paper diaries and why we use them. All my professional life I’ve used a diary to … Continue reading

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So how expensive did train travel use to be?

Following on from my post yesterday on how trains services in country Victoria are actually better than they were in 1880 and 1905, I thought I’d look at the comparative costs. Both the 1905 Bradshaw and 1880 Victorian Railways helpfully … Continue reading

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Train services in country Victoria

There’s an unspoken assumption that country trains have become less frequent and fewer over the years. In one sense they have with the closure of branch lines, but actually, they seem to be no less frequent than they once were. … Continue reading

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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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