Tag: London

Anti-metropolitanism, 1759

May 19, 2023 0 Comments
Anti-metropolitanism, 1759

In Volume I, Chapter XVIII of Laurence Sterne’s great novel, Tristram Shandy’s mother, as soon as she finds out she’s expecting him, absolutely insists that, when the time comes to give birth, she will be attended by no one but the old midwife who lives in the neighbourhood of Shandy Hall – even though within […]

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Three Courtauld women

October 7, 2022 0 Comments
Three Courtauld women

When I used to travel to London regularly, the Courtauld Gallery was one of my favourite places to visit.  Last weekend I went back, for the first time since its extraordinarily expensive (£57m) makeover, which closed it for three years.  The building now looks elegant enough and there are many practical improvements.  But I can’t […]

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Lludd and the three plagues

March 30, 2020 2 Comments
Lludd and the three plagues

Lludd, son of Beli Mawr (‘Lud’ in English) is king of the Island of Britain, and a wise and successful ruler.  From his capital, Caer Lludd (London), he takes care of his subjects, housing them well and supplying them with ample food and drink.  One of his brothers, Llefelys, is king of France.  So begins […]

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A fruit bat, displayed

January 18, 2020 0 Comments
A fruit bat, displayed

This is one of those important, but well-concealed exhibitions that attracts large numbers of visitors mainly by word of mouth.  When I was there, in the cramped basement of the Wallace Collection last weekend, I was surprised to be sharing the space with many others.  Most of them seemed as smitten as I was by […]

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The Londonification of Cardiff

April 21, 2019 6 Comments
The Londonification of Cardiff

It’s a commonplace that the UK has the least well-balanced economy in Western Europe.  While London and its region, dominated by financial and allied services, continue to grow and thrive, the rest of the country is bogged in post-industrial depression, suffering still from the effects of George Osborne’s planned ‘austerity’ (still very much with us, […]

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In Bunhill Fields

November 3, 2018 3 Comments
In Bunhill Fields

This week we paid a visit to a place that’s been on my wish list for many years: Bunhill Fields. Some might think it a perverse pilgrimage, because Bunhill Fields isn’t not a rural glade or open park, but an old burial ground – the origin of ‘Bunhill’ is thought to be ‘bone hill’ – […]

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A waxwork opens an embassy

January 13, 2018 0 Comments
A waxwork opens an embassy

Like many people – or at least like many non-Londoners – I was only dimly aware that the American government was building a new UK embassy in London, when Mr Donald J Trump kindly drew our attention to its imminent opening. According to a recent tweet it seems Mr Trump was planning to come and […]

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Broke down engine blues

May 27, 2017 0 Comments
Broke down engine blues

The story that follows isn’t unusual, or dramatic, or life-changing.  But it says something about the country we now live in, and what an historically abnormal attitude we have towards it. I needed to go to London for the day for a meeting.  The train left Swansea on time at 8:29am, and most of the […]

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Kyffin Williams the writer

February 5, 2016 8 Comments
Kyffin Williams the writer

The text of the 8th Kyffin Williams Annual Lecture, given at Highgate School, London on 1 February 2016. First, I’d like to thank David Smith and Highgate School for inviting me to give this year’s Kyffin Williams Lecture.  It’s very fitting that Highgate remembers Kyffin so loyally, because he was always grateful to the school […]

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Unreal City

August 28, 2014 1 Comment
Unreal City

The City of London, the ‘square mile’, must count as one of the strangest places on earth. During the week thousands of workers stream into it every morning over London Bridge – ‘… so many, I had not thought death had undone so many’, says the Dantean voice of The Waste Land – to apply […]

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