Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who dominated the world’s rings in the 1960s and 1970s, has passed away today at the age of 74, BBC News has reported. The three-times world heavyweight champion, who was famous for the epic ‘Rumble in the Jungle‘, was admitted to hospital recently in the US after suffering a respiratory illness.
Formerly known as Cassius Clay, the sportsman changed religion to Islam and renamed himself Muhammad Ali, was plagued by Parkinson’s disease in his later years, but still made an imposing figure in the sports world, and inspired a generation of boxers such as Mike Tyson.
He passed away at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona USA. He was admitted there on Thursday after suffering breathing complications.
Billed as the ‘ultimate fighter’, Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky on the 17th January 1942. His father painted signs while his mother worked as a house cleaner. Of African-American heritage, Ali was born at a time when Kentucky, as with much of the southern United States at that time, was racially segregated, and black families such as his were forced to live in separate neighbourhoods, use separate shop entrances, and study at separate schools. His mother, Odessa Grady Clay, remember her son as a particularly active child, never sitting still, and was talking and learning well ahead of his years.
On his 12th birthday, a bike that was given to Ali as a gift was stolen. He visited a local police station to report the theft and told officer Joe Martin he wanted to beat up the thief. Martin, who was also a part-time boxing instructor, told Ali he should first learn how to fight before making threats. Ali took up Martin on his offer, and the officer became Ali’s first trainer and mentor. Soon Ali was picking up his first boxing titles at local rings.
Six years later, Ali appeared for the American Olympic team in Rome. His affable and energetic personality caught the attention of the world’s media and endeared him to his team members and fellow athletes. He won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division, and later turned professional, beginning his path to boxing glory.
Clay had immense confidence in his speed and agility, often leaving his guard down and leaning back to avoid punches. Clay’s showmanship was also evident in early bouts, as he dazzled media and fans with his bravado and predicted the round in which his fights would end. This was also the time when Ali began using his trademark witticisms and slogans, one of the most quoted being “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.
In 1967, Ali famously refused to serve in the draft for the American army as the Vietnam War began to start up. Ali was dragged to court after refusing to sign up, citing his religious beliefs and his anger against the treatment of African-American people. He was stripped of his championship, indicted for draft evasion, fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. Three years later, his conviction was overturned. Away from the ring, Ali toured colleges and spoke out on a variety of social and political issues.
In October 1974, Ali faced hard-striking heavyweight George Foreman in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ held in Kinshasa, Zaire (now DPR Congo). He entered the ring as a 3-1 underdog. Avoiding Foreman’s colossal punches, Ali laid low around the ropes until his opponent tired out in the middle rounds. It was this strategy, which Ali affectionately called ‘rope-a-dope’, that was to pay off by round eight, Ali came alive with a serious of fast punches, utterly capitulating Foreman.
Ali’s victory over Foreman in central Africa firmly planted him in the limelight. He won a crew of celebrity fans, including Elvis Presley, Bertrand Russell and Nelson Mandela. In 1975, Ali destroyed Joe Frazier in a low key rematch in the Philippines, dubbed the ‘Thriller in Manila’. The match lasted an astonishing 14 rounds, fuelled by a wordy animosity between the two sports personalities.
After a few losses however, Ali called it quits in 1978, retiring permanently at the age of 40 with a ring record of 56 wins and five losses. After retirement, Ali began to appear on the world stage in a political sphere. In 1980, then US President Jimmy Carter asked Muhammad Ali to visit the African continent to drum up support for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics, and during the First Gulf War in 1990, Ali made a personal visit to Iraq to help negotiate the release of American hostages captured after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Fifteen hostages were released, aided by Ali’s profile.
Sadly, in 1984 Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after he began to slur his speech and tremble in his hands. The degenerative conditions was believed by Ali’s doctors to have come from enduring repeated blows to the head from his numerous matches. In the ensuing years, Ali became a visible symbol of courage in the face of physical disability and helped raise millions of dollars for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center. Ali also began to devote himself to humanitarian causes and became a well-respected philanthropist. In 1999, the United Nations nominated Ali as a Goodwill Ambassador, and the biographical film Ali, starring Will Smith in the titular role, was released in the boxer’s honour in 2001.
Beyond the ring, he will be remembered for his belief in social justice and support for Black civil rights. Truly a cultural icon, Ali’s passion, skill, intelligence and wit gave him a global appeal unmatched by few, if any, other sporting figures and inspired millions.
Muhammad Ali’s funeral will be held in his hometown, according to his family.
He leaves behind wife Lonnie and two daughters, Tatyana and Hana.
The nurse, Edith Hilda Munro, was born in a well-off household in Hackney, the daughter of Scottish engineer John Munro, and local Leah Nathan, and had three brothers and sisters. She first began her illustrious career in the Albert DockSeaman’s Hospital of Custom House, in the south of the London borough, before finding work with the Voluntary Aid Detachment shortly after it was founded in 1909, a group which sent nurses to treat the injured in war zones. Upon the outbreak of World War I, Munro tended to soldiers injured in the battlefields of Europe.
Tragically, Munro contracted acute bronchopneumonia, a dangerous lung disease. She then developed heart failure and passed away at the tender age of 23, on the 12th December, 1916. She was then buried by family in East Ham. Sadly she was not regarded as a casualty of war and her grave, in East Ham’s Plashet Jewish Cemetery, laid undiscovered until a research team led by Harold Pollins and Martin Sugarman, with the involvement of AJEX (Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women) discovered her details and began to piece together Edith’s story.
The special stone-setting ceremony at the ancient Plashet cemetery was officiated over by Rabbi Livingstone, senior Jewish chaplain to the Armed Forces. Also in attendance were Newham politicians, members of London’s Jewishcommunity and representatives of St. John’s Ambulance. Also paying their respects were three distant descendants of Edith Munro.
Wreaths of poppies, a symbol of the World Wars, were laid at Munro’s grave while the military theme The Last Post was played. Local historian Stan Kaye, who also contributed to the research team’s efforts, said “It was a very emotional service,”
“I kept thinking what it must have been like 100 years ago when she was buried in this cemetery – cold, and in the middle of the war.”
Newham Council‘s chair and civic lead, Cllr. Joy Laguda, herself a former nurse, who attended the reconsecration ceremony and laid a wreath on behalf of the council, commented: “The stone is a lasting legacy to Edith’s valour”
The Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) was founded in 1909 by the UK armed forces alongisde St. John’s Ambulance and the Red Cross. The VAD nurses, virtually all women, treated battlefield injuries and became renowned and respected for their courage under fire. Many were killed in action from bombing or contracting infections. Hundreds were killed in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, and relatives of VAD nurses who died in the call of duty have long struggled to get their contributions to the war effort properly recognised.
Edith Hilda Munro
Dec. 12, 1916 West Ham Greater London, England
She was a VAD nurse, died aged 23.Deaths Dec 1916 Munro Edith H 23 W.Ham 4a 173
Two children ride along on a beige-coloured horse, the same colour as the sands on the pathway. Three more kids, excited and full of activity run after the steed towards what appears to be a cow farm. A photo captures their exuberance. This photo, and many others, forms part of an online gallery by web magazine Mashable. More famed for their millennial-angled technology journalism, Mashable instead travelled back in time to a simpler age, showcasing a series of photos taken on various Native American reservations and nearby towns in 1972.
In 1972, the United States federal government, which was looking into the conditions of the (currently) 1.4 million people living on lands set aside for the First Nations, employed the services of photographer Terry Eiler to visit the south-west of the country and give an outsiders view into the lives of some of the most disadvantaged of Americans, many of whom had their lands seized by white settlers during the ‘Wild West‘ days of the 19th century and were herded onto the reservations, often poor-quality and non-arable land allocated by the federal government and administered by the nations themselves under the auspices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Nowadays many Native American communities struggle with lack of employment and amenities, as well as social ills such as extreme poverty, alcoholism and drug abuse.
Back in 1972, as the Native American rights movement was in its earliest days, Eiler visited three reservations belonging to the Navajo, Hopi and Havasupai reservations. The Navajo nation‘s reservation was the largest, about the same size as the US state of West Virginia. The photographer also visited the village of Supai, nestled in the Grand Canyon of Colorado, said to be the most remote human habitation in the southern ’48 states’ region and accessible only by an eight-mile hike through rocky terrain or via helicopter.
Eiler’s photo project provides an snapshot into a part of America few outside the First Nations have even seen, let alone understood. He shows a world that was becoming modernised and similar to mainstream America but at the same time, was still clinging tenaciously to their traditions, forged over millennia. His subjects are natural and act as themselves, a stark contrast to the wooden and forced appearances of Native Americans made to pose in the sepia photographs from the ‘pioneer days’.
His photos cover a wide range of subjects, from a sheep paddock in the desert sands of the Navajo reservation in Arizona, a retinue of cute lambs staring back at the camera, their white wool contrasting strongly with the ochre ground underneath their hooves, to a Navajo woman in a bright red blouse standing for a quick snap near the Arizonan town of Shiprock.
Others show Native American families and men out and about, gardening, horse riding and being at home. While clearly getting on with life, it is obvious that the living conditions were at times very different from most American communities, but also shows the industriousness of the Navajo and other peoples, whether cramming into a truck to get to work, training as teachers, or selling bead necklaces to tourists visiting the reservations. Local scenery, especially the Havasu Falls of Arizona, also makes a frequent appearance in Eiler’s collection.
The Eiler collection is now part of the U.S. National Archives. You can view all the pictures by clicking HERE.
An underwater memorial to the victims of the Atlantic slave trade, situated off the coast of the Caribbean island of Grenada. It pays respects to the thousands of people abducted from Africa to be enslaved in the Americas who were thrown overboard to perish in the Atlantic Ocean after becoming sick or rebelling. These sombre heads with their eyes closed in peace form part of the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, the world’s first sea-based sculpture gallery and a poignant reminder of when it was considered acceptable to trade in our fellow humans.
Four lucky residents from the east London borough of Newham can now call themselves true amateur local historians after winning prizes in a council-sponsored history competition designed to test local historical knowledge.
The locals were among several winners of the Newham Past and Present competition, which aimed to increase awareness of the historical places and stories of the borough, which was once part of Essex county and was created in 1965 after a programme of extensive local government reorganisation. The competition took place at the Mayor‘s Newham Show weekend last month (July 2015), reports the council publication The Newham Mag this past weekend. In the competition, residents were asked to identify locations from around Newham’s eight Community Neighbourhood Areas by looking at an archive of photographs taken of them over the past fifty years since Newham came into existence.
The winners who achieved the highest scores in the history competition were Syed Ilyas Mizan, Miriam Jelinkova, Jim McLucas and Adele Flore. They all were gifted £50 worth of shopping vouchers to be spent at the borough’s showpiece Westfield mall in Stratford City. The prizes were presented by Cllr. Ken Clark, who is the cabinet member for building communities and public affairs, regeneration and planning. The award ceremony took place at East Ham Library in Barking Road, East Ham.
Speaking at the event to honour the ‘history buffs’, Clark said “Newham has had so much to celebrate over the past 50 years and residents who entered the heritage competition showed how they really know our borough, the people, and the places in it”.
Newham is renowned for its ethnically diverse and multicultural communities, ancient churches and pubs and Victorian architecture and has a large number of monuments and war memorials, including the Rhubarb and ArcelorMittal Orbit, the Samuel Gurney Memorial, the borough’s Town Hall and Stratford’s Olympic Stadium, soon to be the home of local football team West Ham.
“Success for history buffs” – The Newham Mag [Issue 323], Newham Council (28 August 2015)
Alex Smithson, the blogger behind news, photography and music blog“Mother Nature“ has now celebrated nearly a month since the successful launch of his latest published photography project, a book entitled “My Journey Through A Lens”. It is the third such book created by the Croydon College photography student, a firm supporter of the Half-Eaten Mind, and follows the success of his earlier works “My Journey Through Photography” and “A Year in Photography”.
Alex’s third book of his amazing nature and scenery photography had been many months in the making, combining both pictures and articles published on the Mother Nature site, as well as external projects Alex worked on in his free time and also as part of his photography and art course at Croydon College, a further education institute located just south of the UK capital, London.
By March 2015, Alex was already putting the final touches to My Journey Through A Lens, a book chronicling his career as a budding photographer and graphic designer. Like any author, Alex spent much time ironing out spelling and grammar mistakes as he sought to make his third book just ripe for the picking and reading, as well as tackling the inevitable umm and aahs of getting a suitable set of photographs prepared. He also spent considerable time designing the front and back covers of My Journey. He at first went for a simple and minimalistic, yet visually powerful format in design, with his favourite nature photo taking pride of place. Alex prepared two such designs, one featuring plants silhouetted in a sunset sky and the other depicting exploding fireworks taken over the New Year period of 2014-2015. Alex however decided to fire up his graphic design skills for the final choice of cover concept, dispensing with the photography altogether. Alex’s final design is a proud homage to his proficiency with the open source graphical software GIMP. Reflecting a recent re-haul of Mother Nature, Alex chose to adopt the blog’s new colour scheme for the final front and back covers, opting for bold squares of blue and bright orange bordering a white square with the book’s title in bold black capitals. The new cubed logo of Mother Nature, with its slogan ‘Life at the touch of a button’ neatly tucked into one side, also makes an appearance.
By March 2015, Alex had crossed the 400-page barrier and was excited at getting the book up-and-running, offering it for free download via cloud service Dropbox. Not only would My Journey showcase Alex’s photography, but also case studies he wrote on key personalities in British history, such as the once prime minister Winston Churchill and notoriously oft married monarch Henry VIII, and musical tributes to Madonna, a favourite singer of Alex and to Ben Haenow, a fellow Croydon resident, who had won the final of UK musical talent show The X Factor in 2014.
By the beginning of this month (July 2015) and after nine months of groundwork and editing, My Journey was ready to hit the virtual bookshelves. In a blog article on Mother Nature, Alex narrates how he was ‘extremely pleased’ to be finally launching the book on July the 4th, American Independence Day. He had originally planned to launch his third book in May, but demands from college studies and exam revision for his GCSE finals put paid to that, forcing Alex to reschedule. By then, the young blogger had now included six historical case studies for educational purposes, detailing historical icons from the 1500s onwards, as well as additional information of Alex’s learning experiences as a fresh-faced A-Level student on his career journey to becoming a professional shutterbug.
On the 4th July, as our cousins across the Pond exploded fireworks, waved the red, white and blue, and generally made merry, My Journey Through A Lens was officially launched at 6:00 pm London time and made available completely free of charge on Alex’s website along with his previous editions. To celebrate the special occasion, Alex published an elated blogpost sharing the good news with subscribers and visitors. In this book, Alex celebrates historical icons such as Henry VIII, Queen Victoria, Guy Fawkes, Mary Queen of Scots, Winston Churchill and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the assassinated US President. Alex also paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, former South African president, humanitarian icon and victor against government-sponsored racism and hatred, who tragically passed away from illness last year. Alex also penned tributes to Croydon lad Ben Haenow, along with musical legend Madonna, the Italian-American ‘Queen of Pop’ whose top slot career in the charts has been going strong since the 1980s and had recently released songs and albums, including ‘Rebel Heart’, ‘Living for Love’, ‘Ghosttown’ and ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna’.
Alex certainly has not run out of steam with his sideline hobby of creating and marketing his work as a ‘indie author’ and aspiring professional photographer. On the day of his third book’s release, Alex also hinted that he will be working on a fourth title, although he has not yet revealed any further details at this early stage. While his third instalment will be made available as an e-book, Alex also teamed up with book printers DoxDirect to release a limited run of physical copies of My Journey, which he tweeted.
Alex dedicated his third book to some very special people in his life who have supported and influenced him along the way. The dedications, which appear on the back cover, include a tribute to Ajay Mody. Living in Mumbai, Mody was a passionate member of the WordPress community under the nickname ‘Ajaytao’. Like Alex, he also photographed the natural and bustling side of his hometown, India’s cultural and commercial capital, and was a keen blogger. He sadly passed away on the 10th August 2014, after a cardiac arrest and declining health. Tributes were also paid to actor and presenter Lynda Bellingham, the UK’s much beloved ‘OXO Mum’ who died in October of that year from colon cancer and to cricketer Philip Hughes who passed away after being struck by a ball during play on the 27th November 2014.
Alex also pens a dedication to this blog’s writer, a close friend and supporter, who in Alex’s own words, has “guided me along the way since I began my blogging journey”.
If you would like to obtain a copy of My Journey Through A Lens, or any of Alex Smithson’s previous titles, please visit https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/ and scroll down to the ‘Free Books’ section on the blog’s sidebar on your screen’s right, directly underneath the social media and contact buttons. You will see the title pages of the books and clicking on them will take you direct to the download site.
New Year’s Day may have been a time of happiness for most, but for the Scottish football club Rangers FC, their fans and for many in Scotland, New Year’s Day 2011 was a time for remembrance for 66 fans who perished in a stampede at the club’s ground in Glasgow forty years ago at the time of the memorial service, which took place in January. The Ibrox disaster of 1971 also saw 200 people injured in the darkest day of the team’s history.
Thousands of people gathered at the Rangers FC home ground in Glasgow in January 2011 to remember one of the darkest chapters in Glaswegian and Scottish football history, reported The Scotsman newspaper today in a past New Year’s events commemoration. Four years ago, the special service was attended by relatives, families and friends of those who died. Many survivors of the Ibrox disaster, despite the onset of old age, also attended to pay their respects to their fallen friends. At the time of the disaster, a match between Rangers and their rivals Celtic was taking place and players from both teams also honoured those who died at the service.
They made a vow to always remember those who perished in the disaster, in which fans attempting to leave the stadium were crushed to death as they tried to leave through overcrowded gates after the conclusion of the game. The incident occurred on the Stairway 13 part of the Old Firm’s Ibrox Stadium, then called Ibrox Park. At that time, 80,000 fans were on the stalls for the Rangers vs. Celtic clash and safety concerns had been raised about the standard of Ibrox’s passageways after two fans died in an earlier stampede. Among the dead in the 1971 disaster included several children, including five school friends from the town of Markinch in Fife. Rangers FC admitted responsibility for the disaster and were later sued by several families of victims.
The tragedy was described by Martin Bain, Rangers’ chief executive, as a “tragedy beyond belief“, according to The Scotsman.
The service was attended by around 5,000 people, including past and present Rangers players, including John Greig, the team captain at the time of the disaster, whose statue forms part of a memorial to the victims of both the 1971 tragedy and a similar incident that occurred at the turn of last century. The Celtic side were represented by manager Neil Lennon, chairman John Reid and chief executive Peter Lawwell.
Victims’ relatives and the footballers placed bouquets of blue and white flowers, the team colours of Rangers at the stand as the current manager Walter Smith, a survivor of the tragedy, and Greig solemnly read out the names of the fans who did not return home that fateful day. As the act of commemoration, several relatives were reported to have turned and saluted to the stand where their loved ones watched the game.
The Celtic chairman then also laid a wreath in his team’s colours of green and white before the crowd, who had gathered at the Govan East Corner area of the stadium, fell silent for two minutes as an act of remembrance. Following this, the Rangers chief executive addressed the mourners, describing the events of January 1971 as an “unimaginable horror“.
He said “January 2, 1971, is a date that will be forever etched deeply into the soul of the Rangers family. Each year we remember with the heaviest of hearts and wish for all the world that the fate of those on Stairway 13 had been so different.
“Forty years may now have passed, but as Willie Waddell said at the time, the scar is deep. It still is, and always will be.”
Martin Bain then went on to recollect to the gathered how Rangers and Celtic put aside their sporting rivalry to rally together and support each other, both fans and officials.
“Rivalries do run deep – sometimes too deep – but at the core of it all is a common bond, and that is a love of football,” he explained. “A game of football should and does bring joy, happiness, frustration and disappointment in different measure, but it should never bring tragedy and disaster.“
To the relatives and friends of those lost, and those who survived Stairway 13, his message was a simple one of remembrance.
“We cannot fully comprehend your grief, your anguish, your torment, or your suffering, but we can come together today to offer you our comfort,” he vowed. “There is a heartfelt desire among all of us to remember and never forget.“
The service was presided over by local Christian clergy, in particular the Reverend Stuart MacQuarrie, who himself was a survivor who was watching the match from the Copland Road terracing at the time the crush occurred. Rev. MacQuarrie described the tragic events as a “personal tragedy” for the families left behind.
After the Reverend’s address, a lifelong Rangers fan, Ian Loch, another survivor, read an extract from a speech famous among the club’s fans. Entitled ‘To Be a Ranger‘, it was originally delivered by past manager, Bill Struth.
“No matter the days of anxiety that come our way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be overcome,” he told the crowd. “That has been the philosophy of the Rangers since the days of the gallant pioneers.”
There was also a musical element to the memorial service as the Glasgow Philharmonic Male Voice Choir and the Salvation Army and Govan Citadel band led the crowd in the hymns The Lord is My Shepherd, Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah and Follow On. A large banner was seen suspended from the Bill Struth Stand, which stated: ‘In our hearts forever’. Several Scottish figureheads of government and religion also paid their respects along with fans, including the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Bob Winter, Nicola Sturgeon, then the country’s Deputy First Minister, the Right Rev John Christie, the moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the Most Rev Mario Conti, Glasgow’s archbishop.
Twenty-five years ago, the heavily fortifiedBerlin Wallthat divided east and westBerlinand the capitalist world from the communist one, was breached and the two Germanys were reunited. Now a quarter of a century later, an art project named “Lichtgrenze” – the border of light – will mark this historical milestone with eight thousand glowingballoonsacross an eight mile (fifteen kilometre) stretch of the once heavily guarded and fortified border that separated Berlin for thirty years. The white glowing orbs will remain in place until this Sunday, when they will be set free from their tethers and allowed to rise into the sky. The balloons’ release will mark the pivotal moment on the 9th of November, 1989, when a garbled speech at a news conference by a senioreast Berlincommunist official – the Politburo spokesmanGünter Schabowski -, began the chain of events that pulled down one of the most potent and controversial symbols of the Cold War. The opening wide of theEast Germanborder heralded the removal of one-party governments across eastern Europe. Poland soon elected its first non-communist prime minister and Hungary’s new government tore down its own border fences. Once the announcement was given, hundreds of east Berliners surged across the newly liberated border. Guards, who once had instructions to shoot on sight any escapees, were said to have been powerless to stop the crowds and let them through without any obstacle. One of the émigrés was current German chancellorAngela Merkel, who at that time was employed as a physicist.
“Even today when I walk through the Brandenburg Gate, there’s a residual feeling that this wasn’t possible for many years of my life, and that I had to wait 35 years to have this feeling of freedom,” Merkel said last week, according to theSan Diego Union-Tribune. “That changed my life.“
West and East Germany were formally reunified for the first time since the end of theSecond World Waron the 3rd October 1990, just under a year after the breaching of the Wall.
The route of the glowing balloons of the Lichtgrenze will snake past well known landmarks across the old divide, includingCheckpoint Charlie(the border crossing between the wartimeSovietandBritish-Americanzones), theBrandenburg Gate(one of Berlin’s most recognised landmarks) and theGermanparliamentary building, the Reichstag. Many of the lit balloons, which resemble old-fashioned street lighting, will be affixed to the top of the wall’s remnants as well as local bridges adjoining the old border. The 25th anniversary will see celebrations across Germany as it marks not only the collapse of communism but also the beginning of its rise to becoming a European powerhouse and a prominent leader within the EU.
The light installation was organised and designed by brothers Marc andChristopher Bauder. In an interview with the BritishDaily Mailnewspaper, Marc said: “We wanted to counter this ominous, heavy structure with something light.
‘Remembrance belongs to the people.“
Much of the Berlin Wall still stands, albeit in broken portions, as a reminder of how far the city has come since its divided days. The wall was originally built as a defensive measure but was also intended to prevent east Berliners from fleeing to the West. Turrets with armed guards and attack dogs watched over the ‘no man’s land’ that split the city, gunning down anyone that dared to escape. A total of 138 people were killed along the Berlin wall from 1961 until 1989 as they tried to flee, some just months before peaceful protests opened the border. German reunification in 1989 saw jubilant crowds tear down parts of the war and stream through openings and border crossings. Much of the remaining structure is now adorned with graffiti celebrating both the city’s vibrant arts scene and hopes for peace.
The mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, inaugurated the Lichtgrenze light installation and its 8,000 ‘Luftballons’ on the evening of 7th November 2014 (yesterday) in a solemn address to the public near theGerman parliament, the Reichstag. Hundreds of the city’s residents clustered together in the sharp German cold to watch a film on the history of the Wall. For many, it was an emotional, yet stoic, time of remembrance of a city once-divided by wartime machinations and political alliances.
The Genome Project, which despite its name has no connection to theHuman Genome Projector to any organisation in the field ofscientific research, was set up by the BBC to encourage its viewers and listeners to search their homes and garages for any old recordings orVCRtapes of BBC and other shows which they are then invited to submit. It is hoped that donations of TV shows from times long gone past will help the BBC preserve older programmes for future generations. The Project’s archives extend from the years 1923 to 2009.
The website enables you to choose individual editions of the Radio Times, as well as search through the magazine archive via year, people’s names, particular programmes and key dates. A virtual gallery of actual Radio Times covers means the Genome Project’s users can witness the changing face of one of theUnited Kingdom’smost recognisable entertainment magazines – which has been a fixture of the country’s living rooms for over ninety years and is still running. The actual schedule information is presented as plain, easy-to-read text.
According to theMetronewspaper, the BBC claims that the project currently has a total of 4,423,654 programmes incorporated into the archive from 4,469 issues of its magazine.
“The hope is that the project will lead to programmes being recovered if the public realises they have audio or video recordings of their own.“
Hilary Bishop, editor of archive development at the BBC, said: “Genome is the closest we currently have to a comprehensive broadcast history of the BBC.
`It is highly likely that somewhere out there, in lofts, sheds and basements across the world, many of these “missing” programmes will have been recorded and kept by generations ofTVand radio fans.
‘So, we’re hoping to use Genome as a way of bringing copies of those lost programmes back in to the BBC archives too.“
The Genome Project will not only be of benefit to media studies and journalism students and historians of public life in the 20th century, but will also be valuable to people who are curious as to what programmes and services were shown on the day they were born.
As part of the celebration of the unveiling of this unique archive, the Half-Eaten Mind’s blogger-in-chief Vijay Shah tried out the BBC’s Genome Project for himself. His aim was to see if he could discover what was broadcast on the day of his birth thirty years ago, Thursday the4th of October, 1984.
My first impression of the BBC’s new Genome Project website was how much it was like many of the other online arms of the BBC in the internet world. Its slick and minimalist design, a hallmark of the public broadcaster, was reassuringly familiar, yet seemed to understate the vast quantity of publicly-accessible data stored inside. I quickly read through the site’s blurb, while distracted by the strapping image taken from a BBC studio filming from the Sixties or Seventies. A camera operative holding an angular relic with the BBC logo from that time splashed on the side sits precariously on the far right, while a slightly dour-faced audience await the show to begin and the cameras to start rolling.
I scrolled down the page to reach a chapter entitled “Browse the issue archive” which gives you all of the years shown in the archive arranged as a table with the columns set aside for different decades. If you scroll further down, there is a selection of thumbnails of front covers from the Radio Times, arranged by decade. Underneath that is a list of up-to-date schedules from the post-digital BBC stable of channels.
I clicked on the year ‘1984’ and that took me to a list of all the Radio Times editions, or issues, for that year, starting from Issue 3139, which came out across England only on the 5th January of that year. The 1984 archive solemnly ends with Issue 3189, published solely for the London TV region on the 20th of December. My birthday issue was numbered 3178, and was published exactly on the 4th October, much to my relief.
Another click of the mouse brought me to some listings of several BBC stations but these only began from the 6th October, which was a Saturday. I then rewound back and tried the previous issue, No. 3177, released on the 27th September 1984. I found TV and radio listings for the following stations: BBC One London, BBC Two England, BBC Radio 1 England, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 FM. There is no mention of any schedules for ITV and Channel 4, which probably was not mentioned as these channels are independent of the Beeb and the Radio Times is a publication funded by the BBC’s print media division. C4 had been founded just two years before my birth and satellite, cable, digital and internet TV and radio was not to appear for a couple of decades yet. BBC One, or BBC1 as it was then called, tends towards popular and light entertainment programming, while BBC Two (BBC2) at that time was more geared to educational and political programming, as well as documentaries. I was fascinated by how many shows from my later childhood, such as Blue Peter, Henry’s Cat, Grange Hill (a soap set in an urban secondary school) and the Six O’Clock News withMoira Stewartwere already well established on TV, considering that my memories of these shows are from the late 1980s at the earliest. It was a great trip down memory lane.
While the simple layout of the TV schedules was a bit of a mood killer, I liked the way that information from the pages of the Radio Times was presented in a clear and accessible format, while keeping faithful to the original text, as far as I could see. Even the mention of Ceefax subtitles was retained, showing just how far technology in television had gone since all those years ago.
Here are the TV schedules for BBC1 and BBC2 as they were presented in the Radio Times on 4/10/1984:
2: Pascual Flores Pascual Flores was built 60 years ago in southern Spain as a fast schooner, but she very nearly ended her days as a scruffy little motor coaster. Now she’s restored. Narrator Tom Salmon Director JENNI BURROWS Producer ROBIN DRAKE BBC Bristol. (Part 3 tomorrow at 9.0 am)
with Moira Stuart and Frances Coverdale including a special report on the Labour Party Conference Weather BILL GILES 12.57 Regional News (London and SE: Financial Report, and News Headlines with subtitles)
Mystery at the Old Mine Eric Twinge is just another schoolboy-but when danger calls, a few mouthfuls of his special bananas and Eric is Bananaman. With the voices Of TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR , BILL ODDIE, GRAEME GARDEN, JILL SHILLING Written by BERNIE KAY Music by DAVID COOKE Produced by TREVOR BOND Directed by TERRY WARD
with Howard Stableford Round 3 of this week’s quiz featuring the most amazing brain-teasers in the world. THE KING DAVID HIGH SCHOOL, LIVERPOOL V ST BERNADETTE ‘S RC SCHOOL, BRISTOL Devised by CLIVE DOIG Designers VIC MEREDITH , LES MCCALLUM Producer IAN OLIVER (Part 4 tomorrow at 4.15)
Godzilla, the 600-ton monster who has been asleep for a thousand years, rises from the depths of the Pacific to come to the aid of mankind. In this new series he continues his role as guardian to the crew of the research ship Calico. The Golden Guardians The Golden Guardian attacks Godzilla and turns him into a golden statue.
with Simon Groom Janet Ellis and Michael Sundin Flood Alert! After the summer drought, the villagers of Topsham in Devon were faced with floods when the River Exe produced its highest tide since 1966. Michael helped to build the barricades to protect the centuries-old houses and joined the men of the Devon Fire Brigade keeping anxious watch on the rising waters. Assistant editor LEWIS BRONZE Editor BIDDY BAXTER *CEEFAX SUBTITLES
A series of 18 programmes Episode 5 by MARGARET SIMPSON Jimmy McClaren , the ‘Godfather’ of Grange Hill, begins to take a ‘friendly interest’ in Pogo’s chain-letter enterprise. Devised by PHIL REDMOND Producer KENNY MCBAIN Director CAROL WILKS * CEEFAX SUBTITLES
by ROY CLARKE starring Ronnie Barker with Sharon Morgan and Myfanwy Talog William Thomas , Dickie Arnold Film cameraman REX MAIDMENT Film editor DON CANDLIN Studio lighting RON BRISTOW Designer TIM GLEESON Produced and directed by SYDNEY LOTTERBY *CEEFAX SUBTITLES
Written and presented by Roger Cook Radio 4’s award-winning programme comes to television for a short series to investigate cases raised by viewers which can include unfair dealing, bureaucratic bungling, injustice or even fraud. Video cameraman LAURIE RUSH Researcher DINA GOLD Television producers DAVID BOWEN-JONES and DAVID HANINGTON Editor JOHN EDWARDS Roger Cook’s Checkpoint. A BBC Aerial Book £2.95 from booksellers
from Wembley Arena featuring The Norwich Union Championship Puissance mght at Wembley when all eyes are focussed on the big red wall in the centre of the arena. Plus horses racing against each other in the Knock-Out Stakes, and a look at some of the other entertainment.
Introduced by DAVID VINE Commentators RAYMOND BROOKS-WARD, STEPHEN HADLEY Producer JOHNNIE WATHERSTON
with David Jessel At the heart of the actions that make the news lie decisions and dilemmas, prejudices and passions, that are defined by our sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. Each week David Jessel takes issue with a major story of concern or conscience, and looks for what can be found at the Heart of the Matter.
Film editor MICHAEL ALOOF Series producer COLIN CAMERON
Fay Weldon and Richard Hoggart look at working lives and tides of change in Britain: 3: Sweet Dreams with Miriam Margolyes Managing a small business is a dream to which many people aspire but it’s a dream that doesn’t often come true. A women’s fashion company, a hairdressing salon and an engineering works are three dreams that have come true – but with a struggle.
9.20 Tout compris Everyday life and language of French teenagers. Au college; Au café bar; Chez Claire ; A une boom 9.38 La maree et ses secrets A five-part adventure serial in French by CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL and JANE COTTAVE 3: Une ombre du passé 9.55 Thinkabout See How they Grow It’s hard to believe that Frank was once a baby. 10.12 Science Workshop Paper ‘A’ 10.34 Scene Troubled Minds – What a Lousy Title! 11.5 Near and Far Concrete The look of many towns and cities owes much to the use of concrete. However the extraction of its raw materials – limestone, clay, sand and gravel has had a dramatic effect on rural areas Producer ROBIN GWYN 11.30 Home Ground Towns of Wales 2: Just Down the Road A town is largely composed of buildings – private houses and public edifices. What can these patterns of brick and stone. tile and slate, glass and paint, tell of a town’s history? Presenter STEPHEN BOTCHER Producer J. PHILIP DAVIES BBC Wales 11.55 Swim
ANDREW HARVEY introduces a series for swimmers and non-swimmers of all ages. 3: Breaststroke
12.20 pm Illusions of Reality An examination of newsreels of the 1930s 3: Once a Hun…. Discussion notes from [address removed] 8QT. (Please enclose 12″ x 9″ sae and 33p postage) 12.45 Letting Go 3: Sex Education How parents prepare teenagers for this important part of adult life. 1.10 Mind How You Go Ten programmes about road accident prevention presented by JIMMY SAVILE OBE 3: Think Child 1.20 Encounter: Germany 3: Communications By train from Hamelin to Braunschweig – and the work of the railways. A police car chase; a waterways patrol; an island waterway harbour; and life on a canal barge. 1.38 Around Scotland The Great Glen 1: The Ancient Corridor JOHN CARMICHAEL explains how the Great Glen was formed and shows how man has made use of the landscape for forestry and the production of hydro-electricity. Producer ROBERT CLARK Director PETER LEGGE
My Brother’s Keeper As J.R. drives the final wedge between Pam and Bobby, his masterplan to oust his brother from Ewing Oil gathers momentum. Donna meets an old admirer and Sue Ellen finds she has a new one … Written by ARTHUR BERNARD LEWIS Directed by LEONARD KATZMAN (For cast see Monday. Continued tomorrow at 3.0 pm. Repeat) * CEEFAX SUBTITLES
The last of a three part series starring The Martians November 2006: Earth is an amber cinder, all life annihilated by total nuclear war. A handful of settlers left on Mars are the sole survivors of the human race. They face a desolate future, cut off and isolated even from each other. Sam Parkhill holds a land grant to half of Mars, handed to him by the original inhabitants of the planet. Teleplay by RICHARD MATHESON Produced by ANDREW DONALLY and MILTON SUBOTSKY Directed by MICHAEL ANDERSON A CHARLES FRIES production
Breaking the Mould? For the bulk of production line workers throughout British industry tomorrow’s work will be just like today’s. Mindless…. repetitive…. demoralising. But deep in the ‘pot bank’ they’re trying to reshape working lives. Staffordshire Potteries, Britain’s major mug producers, have adopted a new Japanese style of management. They are aiming to increase the motivation and job satisfaction of their employees by giving them more say in the company’s decisions. But will this really improve work and conditions on the shopfloor, or is it just subtle psychology designed to boost productivity? Open Space goes to the Potteries to find out how shopfloor and management approach the new tomorrow. Producer JEREMY GIBSON COMMUNITY PROGRAMME UNIT
A series that follows the fortunes of entrepreneurs around the world as their stories unfold. Who Dares, Wins Readers? The inside story of this summer’s bizarre circulation war between Fleet Street’s tabloids. Last week’s Commercial Breaks showed how multi-millionnaire Robert Maxwell bought the Daily Mirror. He immediately vowed to topple the Sun as Britain’s top-selling tabloid. This programme goes behind the scenes as Maxwell controls every detail of his campaign, from directing his own commercials to cross-examining his circulation managers. Narrator Hugh Sykes Film editor PETER DELFGOU Research ROBERT THIRKELL Executive producer JONATHAN CRANE Producer DAVID DUGAN
Our sense of humour baffles them, our politics bother them, our preoccupation with tradition bemuses them. Apparently we don’t wash, and we are morose and miserable even on holiday. On the other hand we are polite and kind to animals, and we would be great in a crisis – if we knew one when we saw one. Each week Derek Jameson looks at the way foreign television reports this country. Tonight he looks at foreign interest in the Royal Family and discovers that, in some ways, they are even more obsessed with them than are the natives. Research MARK ROGERS Producer LAURENCE REES
with Ron Bain, Robbie Coltrane. Miriam Margolyes, Roger Sloman, Tracey Ullman. Also featuring Kevin Turvey Special weight-watchers edition: non-fattening sketches, low-calorie situations, semi-skimmed jokes and a protein-packed song.
Music DAVID MCNIVEN DirectorBRIAN JOBSON Producer COLIN GILBERT BBC Scotland
3: On Tour The third documentary in the informal four-part series on the London Symphony Orchestra follows the 107 musicians and their £350,000’s worth of instruments on tour to Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt. The film goes behind the scenes with the orchestra and their conductor Claudio Abbado as they rehearse, relax, worry about the Vienna concert and celebrate their successes. There’s music from WEBERN. MAHLER and SCHUBERT, an appearance by Zubin Mehta and more unexpected glimpses into the habits and attitudes of orchestral musicians. Film cameraman JOHN GOODYER Sound STAN NIGHTINGALE Film editor PETER HARRIS Produced and directed by JENNY BARRACLOUGH
John Tusa and Vincent Hanna with a full report on the day’s events at the Labour Party Conference in Blackpool, with Donald MacCormick and Jenni Murray in London to assess the news at home and abroad. Producer DAVE STANFORD Editor DAVID DICKINSON
Discussion: Alan Plater ‘s ‘Reunion’ The play concerns two men who meet again many years after their schooldays together. It explores the risks involved in personal relationships, and is followed by a discussion with the author and actors.
For our readers and bloggers from the HEM Community, especially those from the UK, you can see what the BBC played on your birthday and reminisce while you’re doing so. Visit the BBC’s Genome project at this link
A semi-retired builder searching for treasure in the east of the Englishcounty of Devonstruck historical gold after recently uncovering a hiddenhoardof around 20,000coinsdating from theRoman occupation of Britain, national newspaper theDaily Mailreports. The collection of coins, believed to be in the value of £100,000 (US $162,440) was chanced upon by builder and amateurmetal detectingenthusiast Laurence Egerton in east Devon, an area in south-westernEnglandfamed for its picturesque moors and fields.
The hoard of Roman money is believed to be one of the largest hauls of historical coinage ever discovered in the U.K. Egerton, aged 51, was in a local field searching for finds with his metal detector when he stumbled across the hoard of copper-alloy coins, possibly low-denomination coinage issued by theRoman Empirefor use by their colonists in their northern most province. The Daily Mail reported that Egerton was so concerned about the possibility of his hoard being stolen that he camped out in the field for three nights, guarding the discovery site while archaeologists arrived to explore the site in more detail.
Dubbed the Seaton Down Hoard, the assortment of 22,000 copper-alloy coins may have been the accumulated savings of a private individual keeping the money safe for a ‘rainy day’ or an informal and well-hidden bank of wages perhaps left by aRoman soldier. It is likely the hoarder died or lost track of the burial site leaving the coins to lay unseen for nearly two thousand years. A picture supplied to the Daily Mail by theBritish Museumand picture agency Apex shows the Seaton Down Hoard contained in a heavy duty plastic box. The coins appear in still good condition despite being buried for two millennia, but all show signs of corrosion, namely a green rust called verdigris, caused by the copper in the coins reacting with moisture and acids from their surroundings. Many of the coins bear the usual emperor’s profile ofRoman coinageand some show two standing figures which possibly have allegorical origins. An analysis by local historian Bill Horner determined that the coins dated back to between 260-348 AD and bear portraits of the Roman emperor Constantine, other emperors ruling alongside him, members of his family. Emperors that ruled either side of Constantine’s reign also make an appearance. According to Horner, Britain at that time was in a prosperous financial state with many Romans and natives flush with money. As one of the outermost provinces of the Roman Empire, Britannia, as the Romans knew it, was a relatively safe area at a time when rebellions on the European mainland against Roman colonial rule made matters unstable there. The Roman colonists in Britain escaped the worst of the tensions and maintained their high standards of living, building many luxurious villas in the south of England. However, freedom struggles and numerous invasions and episodes of infighting in the Empire soon brought financial uncertainty to the rich Romans and Romanised Britons of east Devon, who started hoarding as a security measure.
“Romanised farms, or Villas including several inEast Devon, were at their richest.
‘But the province was ultimately drawn intoImperial powerstruggles that, along with increasing attacks from Germanic, Irish and Caledonian tribes, resulted in the rapid decline and end of Roman rule.
‘Coastal areas such as East Devon were on the front-line, and this may be the context for the coin hoard.
‘There were no high street banks, so a good, deep hole in the ground was as secure a place as any to hide your savings in times of trouble, or if you were going away on a long journey.
‘But whoever made this particular deposit never came back to retrieve it” Horner explained.
Believed to have been buried in the4th century AD, the Seaton Down Hoard is only the third largest such discovery in recent times. In 2010, theFrome Hoardmade headlines with its total of 52,503 coins. The second largest was the Nether Comptonhoard of 22,703 found in the neighbouring county of Dorset in 1989. Laurence Egerton’s find has been declared ‘treasure trove’ under a Crown law for the protection of British antiquities. A Devon Coroner’s inquest held earlier this month saw the coins donated to the British Museum who are now holding the Seaton Down collection in storage.
A video shot by Egerton shows him wearing gloves and extracting the dirt covered coins from a pit in a muddy field. Despite the muck, archaeologists reckon that his find is one of the best preserved findings of coinage from the last centuries of the Roman Empire in Britain they have ever witnessed. The video later shows archaeologists working on site removing clumps of coins heavily concentrated in a non-descript part of the field.
Interest in the Seaton Down coins, which do not contain any gold or silver, have nevertheless soared between the many museums in Britain concerned with Roman antiquities. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum(RAMM) in Exeter, the county town (capital) of Devon already houses a formidable collection of Romano-British artefacts from the local area and is eager to acquire the coins, and is running a fundraising campaign to purchase the coins outright from the British Museum to display for the benefit of local historians, researchers and students.
Although only reported this month, Laurence Egerton made the initial discovery in November 2013 after obtaining permission from the landowner of the field in Honeyditches, eastern Devon, where previously the remains of a Roman villa, or country home had been noted. The find was then reported to the landowner, a privately-owned company named Clinton Devon Estates, in accordance with theTreasure Act 1996, a parliamentary legal instrument aimed at safeguarding artefacts of national and historical value.
In an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, Mr Egerton said: “It’s by far the biggest find I’ve ever had. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
‘Between finding the hoard and the archaeologists excavating the site, I slept in my car alongside it for three nights to guard it.
‘On this occasion, the ground where I was working was quite flinty and I found what I thought were two Roman coins which is actually quite unusual in Devon.
‘As I began working in a grid formation in the surrounding area I had a signal on the metal detector which means that there is probably iron involved.
‘Most detectors are set up to ignore iron but I decided to dig the earth at that spot and immediately reached some iron ingots which were laid directly on top of the coins’
‘The next shovel was full of coins – they just spilled out over the field.“
The coins may have originally being held in a cloth bag at the time of their deposition, but that the ravages of time and chemicals from the nearby soil might have caused the bag to rot away leaving the coins to scatter underground. The find is said to be unusual for the region as the county’s acidic soils would normally decompose any metal left in it, yet the coins are in a remarkable state of preservation.
The United Kingdom, with the exception of Scotland, became part of the Roman Empire in a 55 BC invasion of the area by renowned emperor Julius Caesar, who wrested control from the numerous Celtic tribes previously settled there. Many of the conquered Celts were permitted to continue striking their own coins, which were often modelled on imported Greek coins but made more simplified by the native minters. The Romans began importing their own coinage, mainly to pay Roman soldiers and imperial mercenaries stationed in the UK, and also began minting coins locally and to celebrate their victories in Britain. The gold aureus was used for large payments, but not much for day-to-day transactions. It had a fixed value of 25 denarii until at least 200 AD. The silver denarius was the main coin of value in generalcirculation. The low value coinage of sestertii, dupondii, and asses was struck variously in bronze, orichalcum and copper. Denarii were paid to soldiers at a rate of one a day, while asses, or aes, were believed to have been used to pay for supplies obtained from local traders by the Romans. However by the time of the Seaton Down Hoard, Roman British coinage had become almost worthless owing to imperial financial mismanagement and debasing of the hard currency.