Category Archives: History

Margaret Thatcher: 1925–2013 – 17 April 2013

“MAGGIE DEAD”, screamed The Sun.

“REJOICE!”, cried the Socialist Worker.

“Margaret Thatcher: 1925–2013”, led The Times, The Telegraph, and The Independent with rather more dignity.

MAGGIE MONTAGE: The front pages on the morning after Thatcher's death.

News last Monday of the death of the former British Prime Minister started it all: a week in which the public were accused of bad taste, broadcasters were accused of bias, and (in my opinion) the state massively overstepped the mark.

Above it all, one phrase was used over and over again:  that Baroness Thatcher is proving as divisive in death as she was in life.

What a poetic observation. And how witty. It’s all awfully clever.

But there’s something very unpleasant, I feel, about celebrating the death of somebody… anybody. Sure, she may have snatched the milk from a generation. And she may have ‘ripped the heart out of society’. Don’t mention the trade unions.

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Hello BST: Clocks Go Forward Tonight – 30 March 2013

Clocks go forward one hour ‘tonight’.

CHANGING TIMES: The clocks go forward one hour tonight, as we welcome back BST. (IMG_9194)

At 1:00am GMT tomorrow morning (‘tonight’), clocks across Europe move forward one hour for Daylight Saving, to become 2:00am BST. It marks the annual start of British Summertime (BST), seeing us through until 27 October. It effectively means that there will be no 1:30am tomorrow – at 1:00am, we jump to 2:00am.

But why bother?

The excellent website of Woodlands Junior School in Kent explains: We’ve been changing our clocks forwards and backwards in the UK since 1916. It’s all to do with saving the hours of daylight, and was started by a man called William Willett, a London builder, who lived in Petts Wood in Kent (near our school). William Willett first proposed the idea of British Summer Time in 1907 in a pamphlet entitled ‘The Waste of Daylight’. Willett had noticed that the summer mornings’ light was wasted while people slept, and that the time would be better utilised in the afternoon by putting the clocks forward. After campaigning for years the British Government finally adopted the system a year after Willett’s death.

There’s plenty more where that came from.

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Thames Swim: Maidenhead to Bray – 30 June 2012

Read on for photos and a video of the swim.

While most of the town were still lying in bed, myself and my mother – cheered on by my brother and father – headed down to Boulter’s Lock, the starting point for the Thames Swim to Bray.

GET MAPPING: The layout of the 2.8 km course. (maidenhead-map)

The open-water swim in fact dates back to the 1800s, when the course was known as ‘the Long Swim’. A once extremely popular event on the area’s sporting calendar, increasing costs meant it stopped in the 1960s. But earlier this year, both Mum and I independently read the same article in the Maidenhead Advertiser, and decided to sign up to take part.

“Right, wetsuit half-on, I’m ready to head down to the riverside to @swim_the_thames. My body is a wreck, may it be observed at this stage.”

— Andrew Burdett, tweet referring to late-night parties on previous days, 5:27am, 30 June 2012

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