Keeping track of psychedelic time


For the first half of the 20th century, a wristwatch was, for most people, if not quite a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, then certainly one that was made only rarely and after careful thought.  A wristwatch was an expensive commodity that was expected to last some considerable time.   That’s one reason why watch manufacturers tended to be … Continue reading

The tale of the eccentric’s umbrella


Lady Sybil Myra Caroline Primrose who was born in 1859, was destined to become one of the great British upper class eccentrics.  Some episodes in her extraordinary and occasionally comic life story read as if they had been written by P.G. Wodehouse. Lady Sybil was more than just a pretty name.  Her social credentials were impeccable.  Her father, Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, … Continue reading

Stealing a bit of the Pope’s floor


The second half of the nineteenth century saw the final decline of the Grand Tour; the leisurely ramble around the great artistic centres of Europe – particularly the cities of Italy – that had first become popular among young British aristocrats in the early part of the previous century.    The Grand Tour took up months … Continue reading

Impressions of the Palace of Beauty


The photos in this blog all come from a scrapbook  I bought at auction a few years ago.  The scrapbook, which covers the period 1924 – 1926, was kept by a young Southampton woman, Stella Pierres, who worked as an actress and “mannequin” (fashion model). In 1924, Miss Pierres – I feel I should refer to her … Continue reading

Counting the hours in the Great War


How long does an hour last?  About sixty minutes last time you looked?  Imagine how long an hour must have lasted if you were stuck in the cold, wet, squalid trenches of the First World War for months on end, with death all around and your own only minutes away for all you knew.  Some … Continue reading