Cullen in Scotland

26 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Clydecoast/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Clydecoast/cc-by-sa-3.0

Cullen (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Cuilinn) is a village and former royal burgh in Moray, Scotland, on the North Sea coast 20 miles (32 kilometres) east of Elgin. The village has a population of 1,300. Cullen is noticeably busier in summer than winter due to the number of holiday homes owned. The organs of the wife of Robert the Bruce are said to have been buried in its old kirk (church) after her death in Cullen Castle. Robert the Bruce made an annual payment to the village in gratitude for the treatment of his wife’s body and its return south for burial. In 2000, the recent non-payment of this sum by the government was challenged and settled to the village’s favour. The village is noted for Cullen Skink (a traditional soup made from smoked haddock, milk, potato and onion) and its former railway bridges, two of which are now part of the national cycle network. These bridges were required, at considerable cost, due to resistance to the railway line being routed any closer to Cullen House. The most westerly (and by far the longest) viaduct is highly photogenic, and often features in tourist guides and Scottish calendars. Near Cullen is the peak Bin Hill, visible from some distance, such as from Longman Hill.   read more…

Portrait: Britain’s longest-reining monarch, great and exemplary European, conciliator, beacon of stability, constancy, integrity, conscientiousness, Britishness, solid as a rock, institution, inspiration and companion of generations of people around the globe: Queen Elizabeth II and the end of an era

19 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Portrait Reading Time:  31 minutes

Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 © Joel Rouse/Ministry of Defence

Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 © Joel Rouse/Ministry of Defence

Elizabeth II was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her life and served as monarch of 15 of them at the time of her death. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.   read more…

Lancaster House in London

18 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London Reading Time:  8 minutes

© Gryffindor

© Gryffindor

Lancaster House (originally known as York House and then Stafford House) is a mansion in the St James’s district in the West End of London. It is close to St James’s Palace, and much of the site was once part of the palace complex. This Grade I listed building> is now managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.   read more…

Fleet Street in London

6 July 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London Reading Time:  6 minutes

© flickr.com - sludgegulper/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – sludgegulper/cc-by-sa-2.0

Fleet Street is a major street mostly in the City of London. It runs west to east from Temple Bar at the boundary with the City of Westminster to Ludgate Circus at the site of the London Wall and the River Fleet from which the street was named.   read more…

Cathedral Quarter in Belfast

8 June 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  13 minutes

St. Anne Catherdal - flickr.com - Stuart/cc-by-sa-2.0

St. Anne Catherdal – flickr.com – Stuart/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Cathedral Quarter (Irish: Ceathrú na hArdeaglaise) in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a developing area of the city, roughly situated between Royal Avenue near where the Belfast Central Library building is, and the Dunbar Link in the city centre. From one of its corners, the junction of Royal Avenue, Donegall Street and York Street, the Cathedral Quarter lies south and east. Part of the area, centred on Talbot Street behind the cathedral, was formerly called the Half Bap. The “Little Italy” area was on the opposite side of Great Patrick Street centred on Little Patrick Street and Nelson Street. The Cathedral Quarter extends out to the edge of what can be referred as the old merchant quarter of the city. Past where the merchant area meets the Cathedral Quarter is still mostly merchant trade and services orientated and undeveloped for visitor services. The Cathedral Quarter is so called because St Anne’s Cathedral, a Church of Ireland cathedral, lies at its heart.   read more…

Bevis Marks Synagogue in London

6 June 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London Reading Time:  13 minutes

Clock outside the Bevis Marks Synagogue © Ethan Doyle White/cc-by-sa-4.0

Clock outside the Bevis Marks Synagogue © Ethan Doyle White/cc-by-sa-4.0

Bevis Marks Synagogue, officially Qahal Kadosh Sha’ar ha-Shamayim (“Holy Congregation Gate of Heaven”), is the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom in continuous use. It is located off Bevis Marks, Aldgate, in the City of London. The synagogue was built in 1701 and is affiliated to London’s historic Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community. It is a Grade I listed building. It is the only synagogue in Europe which has held regular services continuously for more than 300 years.   read more…

Grimsby in Lincolnshire

26 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  21 minutes

Town Hall © geograph.org.uk - Stephen Richards/cc-by-sa-2.0

Town Hall © geograph.org.uk – Stephen Richards/cc-by-sa-2.0

Grimsby, also Great Grimsby, is a port town and the administrative centre of North East Lincolnshire, England, on the south bank of the Humber Estuary close to the North Sea. It was the home port for the world’s largest fishing fleet by the mid-20th century, but fishing then fell sharply. The Cod Wars denied UK access to Icelandic fishing grounds and the European Union used its Common Fisheries Policy to parcel out fishing quotas to other European countries in waters within 200-nautical-mile (370 km) of the UK coast. Grimsby has since suffered post-industrial decline, but food production has risen since the 1990s. The Grimsby–Cleethorpes conurbation acts as a cultural and economic centre for much of north and east Lincolnshire. Grimsby people are called Grimbarians; the term codhead is also used jokingly, often for football supporters. Great Grimsby Day is 22 January. Grimsby is also the second largest settlement by population in Lincolnshire after Lincoln, with Scunthorpe being the third largest. The main sectors of the economy are ports and logistics, food processing, specifically frozen foods and fish processing, chemicals and process industries and digital media. Cleethorpes to the east has a tourist industry. To the west along the Humber bank to Immingham there has been large-scale industrial activity since the 1950s, around chemicals and from the 1990s gas-powered electricity generation.   read more…

Dissolution of the monasteries

8 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  28 minutes

Tintern Abbey © MartinBiely

Tintern Abbey © MartinBiely

The dissolution of the monasteries, occasionally referred to as the suppression of the monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents, and friaries in England, Wales, and Ireland, expropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former personnel and functions. Although the policy was originally envisaged as increasing the regular income of the Crown, much former monastic property was sold off to fund Henry’s military campaigns in the 1540s. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from papal authority, and by the First Suppression Act (1535) and the Second Suppression Act (1539). While Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-general and Vice-regent of England, is often considered the leader of the Dissolutions, he merely oversaw the project, one he had hoped to use for reform of monasteries, not closure or seizure. The Dissolution project was created by England’s Lord Chancellor Thomas Audley, and Court of Augmentations head Richard Rich. Professor George W. Bernard argues that:

The dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s was one of the most revolutionary events in English history. There were nearly 900 religious houses in England, around 260 for monks, 300 for regular canons, 142 nunneries and 183 friaries; some 12,000 people in total, 4,000 monks, 3,000 canons, 3,000 friars and 2,000 nuns. If the adult male population was 500,000, that meant that one adult man in fifty was in religious orders.

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The Golden Hinde

1 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Tall ships, Museums, Exhibitions, Yacht of the Month Reading Time:  12 minutes

© Jose L. Marin/cc-by-2.5

© Jose L. Marin/cc-by-2.5

Golden Hind was a galleon captained by Francis Drake in his circumnavigation of the world between 1577 and 1580. She was originally known as Pelican, but Drake renamed her mid-voyage in 1578, in honour of his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose crest was a golden hind (a female red deer). Hatton was one of the principal sponsors of Drake’s world voyage. A full-sized, seaworthy reconstruction is in London, on the south bank of the Thames.   read more…

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