Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Captain Kidd, Patrick Henry & The Woolwich Ferry

I am really enjoying this day by day research thing. Yes other things aren't getting finished quite as quickly as they should but my children are having fun, particularly when we need to choose a mad scientist image...Anyway. Scrolling through birthdays got me thinking about books I have read, loved loved loved and want to reread. Then I got to thinking that it might be a good thing to read  stuff that I have either glanced at or not read at all. I had lunch the other day with a friend who is a book reviewer, she gave me two top tips which are now on my Book Blub reading list thing that I just started - my friend said blub /club is her default typo, mine is bron /born. Choices for far:  The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch and Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness by Dr. Ned Halllowell. I'll report in with my progress.

Right. March the 23rd.

Captain William Kidd was born on March the 23rd 1645. There is a full complement of information on him, it makes very intriguing reading ! It seems he was either a villainous pirate - he was tried and executed for precisely that, or falsely accused, spending his time at sea as a privateer. I've pulled out some of the more obscure details, if you're interested his story makes fascinating reading and has gone on to influence many writers - including Edgar Allen Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Following his trial for execution, his body was gibbeted - I'll let you look that up, and placed hanging in an iron cage over the River Thames - an exercise intended to deter others from taking the course of piracy as a career option. Many years before Dickens put quill to paper, Kidd's associates on ship were amongst others Barleycorn, Loffe and Parrot and his lawyers were Dr Oldish and Mr. Lemon.

I've been to a birthday party at the Captain Kidd pub near Execution Dock, very atmospheric on a cold winter evening...Have a look here for his Trial announcement. This engraving, which is not Kidd, dates from circa 1725.

A complete digression but I was researching something on Dickens and I came across this - I have to have one, Dickens that is and perhaps the Deluxe Librarian too.

On March the 23rd 1775, addressing the Virgina Convention, Patrick Henry is reported to have delivered his memorable 'Give me Liberty, or give me Death.' Delegates included Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

The Free Woolwich Ferry was officially opened on  this day in 1899. I include it here as it was the brainchild of one of my tip top heroes Joseph Bazalgette.

Joan Crawford, Roger Bannister and Donald Campbell share today as a birthday, 1908, 1921 and 1929 respectively.

On March the 23rd 1989 Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons presented their work on Cold Fusion.

Right, the Saint with a Feast Day today is among others Saint Ethelwald.

I'm not sure Captain Kidd or Patrick Henry would have gone for this, lunch today is a very simple yet superb spicy tomato and lentil soup and yes I love lentils.

Ps. Steve McQueen's birthday tomorrow....

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