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Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Mr Connor at Stonehenge,  early-mid 1960's.

Mr Connor at Stonehenge, early-mid 1960’s. Kudos to my old friend Peter Appleton for unearthing and supplying the photo.

I always recall that my first visit to Stonehenge, and the thing that started my fascination with the past, was a school trip there in the early to mid 1960’s. But I’d never had any tangible evidence from that first trip, other than my failing memory, until now.

I was recently contacted via email, by an old friend from my primary school years. He had been having a clearout, and chanced upon some old photos of that school trip, which he thought I’d be interested to see. Sadly, the only photo in which I’d featured was multi-exposed, with shots of a coach/charabanc superimposed over three of us standing by one of the stones. Other shots showed classmates, many of whose names have themselves now been consigned to history, posing in front of the imposing trilithons and other major uprights.

But the picture I’ve chosen to share here, is of our form teacher, Mr Connor, spending a quiet moment alone to study a brochure, with the great stones as a backdrop. You can see some of the children among the stones in the background – no ropes to keep us out, or paths to stick to!

Alan S

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

King

In October 1871 the vicar of Avebury, Bryan King, demonstrated the value of local engagement by writing to Sir John Lubbock:

“When you were here – I think that you remarked that you would not object to purchase the two meadows in this village containing the stones & part of the Dyke. Since then the farm of which they formed part has been bought by a land & building society and one of the meadows in question – though not the one containing most stones – is now on sale. I have just seen the agent who informs me that they are all ready to sell it … Now this meadow with its proportion of Dyke contains about 6 acres … I do not know whether you would care to buy this or to make an offer for it – but I write to you this information merely in consequence of your having made the remark in question about the meadows.”

The rest as they say is history – watch it on iplayer here
And tonight: Episode 2 of 3:
The Men from the Ministry BBC Four 21.00

B.E.

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Ruskin

In July 1882, the year in which Sir John Lubbock introduced the Ancient Monuments Protection Act, his friend, the highly influential John Ruskin, was to be found staying with Nevil Story Maskelyne and his wife Thereza at Basset Down House. Enjoying a picnic on the downs, Ruskin had visited Avebury:

“the day was delicious and there was a Druid circle and a British fort, and tumuli as many as you liked like molehills, and a Roman Road and a Dyke of the Belgae all mixed up together in a sort of Antiquary’s giblet pie it was like dreaming of the things, they were so jumbled up.”

B.E.

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Yatesburry radar school

Just walking distance west of Avebury is the neighbouring settlement of Yatesbury, a tiny village now home to less than 150 people. In the late 1940s Yatesbury was an RAF camp housing more than 5,000 men – one of them was Joe Meek, who spent his National Service working in radar. (Yatesbury Radar School is pictured above). Meek’’s training in electronics led him into the music business; in 1962 he wrote and produced ‘Telstar’, the world’s first electronic pop hit, selling 5 million copies around the world.

Stationed in Yatesbury around the same time was Brian Hodgson, a radio trainee who went on to work in, and eventually run, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Hodgson made the sound of the Tardis by scraping his mother’s front door key along the strings of a piano; he later formed ‘The White Noise’ with Delia Derbyshire and David Vorhaus, producing the 1968 cult album ‘An Electric Storm’. Daphne Oram, co-founder the Radiophonic Workshop, was from Devizes, not far from Yatesbury. She invented the extraordinary ‘Oramics Machine’, a partly-mechanical synthesiser that produced sounds from shapes drawn on film. The prototype was built by Graham Wrench, utilising techniques learned during his National Service in Wiltshire as an RAF radar technician….

The Oramics Machine can currently be seen in the London Science Museum’s exhibition ‘Oramics to Electronica’ which also highlights the pioneering work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Steve Marshall
www.stevemarshall.org.uk

(Many thanks to Gordon Chivers for assistance with the production of this postcard.)

See also the Science Museum  exhibition co-curated by Steve and his 2 articles online about the history of the Radiophonic Workshop  and Graham Wrench’s role in developing Oramics

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

henslow

On this day in 1857, Charles Darwin received a visit from Robert FitzRoy, captain of HMS Beagle. In respect of his voyage twenty years before, Darwin had been recommended by his mentor, John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861), not undertaking the mission himself in order to stay at home with his family at Hitcham Rectory – the grounds of which witnessed a Stonehenge first in 1856.

Darwin had written to Henslow 12 October 1855, thanking him for the programme his mentor had sent him of the for the sixth annual Hitcham Horticultural Show, indicating that he had also read the brief account in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette. The magazine article mentioned that these occasions featured a museum set up in a marquee (Henslow had become President of Ipswich Museum), it encouraged villagers to add their finds and treasures alongside a learned display (community archaeology is nothing new!), and Henslow would address the crowd outlining the history of the various exhibits. The following year would see a particularly extraordinary display. Henslow was very excited about the arrival of the first giant trees in Britain named Wellingtonia, following the death of the Duke. Wanting to illustrate the size, and with the new museum at Kew scheduled to open in 1857, Henslow had a carpenter construct what in effect was a giant wooden barrel 31 feet in diameter to represent the trunk of the giant trees. It was an imaginative construction, where one could walk inside the trunk as if surrounded by the bark.

One giant idea sparks another and the  Hitcham Horticultural Show that year featured a first: a giant timber frame draped in canvas representing the actual size of one of one of  Stonehenge’s largest stones. Accompanied by a miniature scale model of  the site, this was perhaps the earliest known example of a full sized  exhibition replica of a Stonehenge megalith.   

B. E.

Above extracted from research with the working title: ‘Models, Megalithic Emissaries, and the Popularising of Stonehenge 1716-2016’. For the model of the tree see S.M. Walters and E.A. Stow, Darwin’s Mentor: John Stevens Henslow 1796-1861 (Cambridge University Press, 2001) pp. 248-9.

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

vic

In October 1830 the Princess Victoria visited Stonehenge after attending a service at Erlestoke church, the service being conducted by the rector of nearby Poulshot, the Revd. William Fisher, a domestic chaplain of Victoria’s mother the Duchess of Kent. Seven years on from the visit to Stonehenge Victoria acceded to the throne, and when it was suggested that William Wordsworth pen a national anthem for the coronation he passed the task on to his second cousin Emmeline Fisher, aged twelve, eldest child of the same William Fisher and his wife Elizabeth. Emmeline’s five verses were never adopted, but Queen Victoria sent her a writing set in appreciation. Emmeline would later publish poetry and would write ‘Lines on the Opening of Silbury Hill’, the original of which was buried inside the mound in 1849 and recovered in 1968.

Hampshire Advertiser 30 October 1830 p.3; Anon, Anecdotes, Personal Traits and Characteristic Sketches of Victoria the First (London, William Bennett, 1840) pp. 153-4. N. Hinxman, ‘Emmeline Fisher, a forgotten Wiltshire poet: her links with William Wordsworth and the national anthem,’ Hatcher Review 37 (1994) pp. 16-30.

B.E.

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Avebury_2003

October 2003, Lord Avebury is pictured visiting Avebury with (on his left), the Ven. Khemadhammo Mahathera OBE, Abbot of The Forest Hermitage and Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy Angulimala, and two other monks. This visit followed a ceremony inaugurating the Buddha Grove at Erlestoke Prison, where one of the wings is named Avebury. The following week a trip to Buckingham Palace, where Lord Avebury would witness the Ven. Khemadhammo Mahathera receive his OBE from the Queen, then enjoy tea on the terrace at the House of Lords. Lord Avebury’s grandfather, Sir John Lubbock, the first Lord Avebury, purchased Silbury Hill and much of Avebury to protect the monuments, and introduced the Ancient Monuments Protection Act in 1882.

B.E.

________________________________________________

This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Wellcome_&_lichen_1890

Archaeology abounds with astonishing characters, and firmly in that bracket we find Sir Henry Wellcome (1853-1936), the wealthy American-born pharmacist and philanthropist pictured above right (courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London). Better known perhaps for spending his huge personal fortune on medical research and collecting, Wellcome was also the pioneer of aerial photography using kites, deploying this method to stereoscopically record his excavation of a site in the Sudan in 1911.

It was five years earlier of course that Stonehenge was photographed from a military balloon by Lieutenant P. H. Sharpe, but Wellcome’s box kite method was rather more portable, if more difficult to control and dependent on wind. Wellcome had visited Stonehenge himself in 1890, collecting lichen (pictured above by Stewart Emmens, courtesy of the Science Museum), apparently exporting the sample from the site in a now lost matchbox.

B.E.

See The Things that Henry “picked up”:
http://sciencemuseumdiscovery.com/blogs/collections/category/medicine/page/12/
See also:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/About-us/History/WTX052928.htm
http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/

________________________________________________

This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Arras_Good

Silbury Hill is an acoustic roots and folk rock duo consisting of Scott Dolling (flute, guitar, vocals) and David Stainer (guitars, mandolin, vocals). Based in East Anglia they play a lively blend of original songs plus covers by popular artistes. The duo have performed at festivals, events and in clubs and bars throughout the region as well as a number of appearances in France (including the national Fete de la Musique festival). They have played live radio sessions and supported professional touring artistes.

Silbury Hill have produced 2 CD’s of original material – “The Tudor Rose” (2011) and “Broadside and Mayhem” (2013).

Both members of the duo have a lively interest in heritage and initially looked for a name that reflected their East Anglian roots. But one of the guy’s girlfriend, a west country girl, unwittingly provided a name through her chosen email address – and has since donated the email address to them too!

Further information can be found at www.reverbnation.com/silburyhill or email silburyhill@aol.com

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

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OzHenge

Greetings from New South Wales to all the friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage site. We thought you’d like to see our very own Stonehenge that we built in six weeks last Spring (we own an earth-moving company). We based it loosely upon the original with a 20m outer circle and a 10m inner circle.It’s not quite as old as yours (although the stones are) but we didn’t employ Druids to do it (like you didn’t) and we had the foresight to build it close to two busy highways, like you did. 

We have had a great deal of interest in the structure and have plans to open it up for events, starting with a coffee van for visitors to the site as well as a car park and toilets (so a similar facility to yours!) As you can see there are endless photo opportunities at sunrise/sunset and we will be taking wedding photo bookings for the site and have already celebrated Winter Solstice there.

Rob and Tracey Wallace,
992 Macs Reef Road,
Bywong,
New South Wales
(Corner of Macs Reef Road and Federal Highway)

http://www.thehenge.com.au/enquiries.html

[Note: We shall be publishing a fuller article on the henge that Rob and Tracey built shortly.]

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

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