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Osterly Park

 

Osterley Park, London, once used as a training venue for the Home Guard. With a new Dad's Army film in production, what does the series tell us about present day concerns? See below...

 

Welcome to InfoBritain, for historical visiting information in the UK. InfoBritain tells you what happened and where it happened. We have articles and visits relating to all historical periods from prehistoric Britain to recent times, and to the lives of major British authors, artists, musicians, scientists, politicians, military and royal figures. You can use our site search, or our various menus to find suggested visits relating to times or people. Alternatively go to the regions menu, find a place to visit in a particular area, and then link back to the history relating to it. We also have a full accommodation booking service for all parts of the mainland UK. We specialise in historic accommodation, but we also have comprehensive lists of hotels of all types and price ranges. See the regional menus on the right. Enjoy!

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A Personal Note (Archive)

November 16, 2014

The film version of Dad's Army is currently filming in Yorkshire. Reading about this I wondered whether Dad's Army would still seem as relevant today as it did for the post war generation of the late 60s and early 70s. I had a look at an episode of the original series on Youtube, called Is There Honey Still For Tea? This episode is about Private Godfrey's beautiful thatched cottage, which has roses and holly hocks growing in the garden. The general opinion is that this cottage personifies all that England is fighting for. Unfortunately the cottage is in the way of a new airfield vital to the war effort. The story follows Captain Mainwaring's unsuccessful attempts to tell Godfrey the bad news. Rather more successful is Private Frazer's scheme to blackmail the government minister responsible for sighting the airfield. Of course this story does indeed have resonance today. There is much debate about compromising certain values relating to personal liberty when faced with the threat of terrorism. The question is how far to change a way of life in an effort to protect it. In the end Frazer's blackmailing efforts result in the airfield being moved by a couple of hundred yards, which saves Godfrey's cottage. There is a happy gathering in an English garden for tea, a way of life saved, until an aeroplane lands and virtually blows everyone away.

This story is a funny and thought provoking reflection on the waging of war. There is a suggestion that fighting to defend values sadly compromises them. There is also the veiled hint that the values we hold dear are not quite as perfect as they appear. The characters that populate Walmington-on-Sea whilst charming, have real weaknesses. Pomposity and small mindedness are frequently in evidence. The chocolate box image of England is not all it seems to be. After all Godfrey's cottage is saved not as a result of noble struggle, but only because there is plenty of government dirt for Frazer to use in blackmailing the minister.

Best wishes

Martin

The InfoBritain view of history (with thanks to The Simpsons)

To have a look at my novel, available on kindle and in paperback click here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Street-ebook

Secret Street Cover

Historical news for November

With health apps becoming increasingly popular, this month sees a lecture on using mobile phone data in global public health initiatives. The lecture takes place on 6th November at the Royal Society. The event is free and open to all. Doors open at 6pm.

This month sees the opening of an exhibition at the British Library exploring efforts to find a Northwest Passage, from the Atlantic, through the Arctic to the Pacific. The exhibition runs 14th November - 29th March 2015.

A huge textile sculpture by Richard Tuttle has taken over the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern. This is part of a wider exploration of Tuttle's work in London this autumn, with a major event at the Whitechapel Gallery.

An exhibition of the work of Andy Warhol opens this month at the Tate Liverpool, showing about a hundred examples of his work. The exhibition opens 7th November. Go to to this link for tickets: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/

 

 

Anniversaries for November

2nd November 1973: Mariner 10, the first probe to reach Mercury is launched.

5th November 1688: William III lands at Brixham at the invitation of Parliament, who want Catholic king James II replaced.

7th November 1956: The United Nations General Assembly calls for the United Kingdom, France and Isreal to immediately withdraw their troops from Egypt.

8th November 1602: The Bodleian Library in Oxford is opened to the public for the first time.

12th November 1970:The Bohla Cyclone, hits Pakistan, and kills half a million people through the effect of storm surge on the Ganges Delta.

18th November 1928: Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronised sound cartoon is released. The film features Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and 18th November is considered as Mickey Mouse's birthday by the Disney company.

26th November 1703: The most powerful storm recorded in southern Britain makes landfall. 9000 people are killed.

 

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Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.

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