Saved by a judge: Historic Victorian station with a military history and a setting for “Dad’s Army” | Westminster Confidential

Brandon Station

Brandon Station

When Save Britain’s Heritage appeared before Mrs Justice Lang to argue the case for saving Brandon Station it was almost a lost cause.

Historic Brandon Station dating from 1845, built by a notable Victorian architect and now listed following the judgement …

Source: Saved by a judge: Historic Victorian station with a military history and a setting for “Dad’s Army” | Westminster Confidential

The History Girls: ‘Algernon and Ernest’s Excellent Adventure’ by Lesley Downer

‘younger by six centuries’ pic from Rutherford Alcock The Capital of the Tykoon 1863

In October 1866 a young man called Algernon Mitford arrived in Japan. ‘I found myself in a world younger by six centuries than that which I had left behind,’ he recalled. Like the eponymous heroes of the 1989 film ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’, he had stepped into a time machine, but in his case, his experiences were real.
The extraordinary world that Mitford found himself in is …

The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society – Atlas Obscura

Journalist and explorer Marguerite Harrison shares a meal with a group of Bakhtiari men. (From the documentary A Nation’s Battle for Life by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack) BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES

In August 1923, Marguerite Harrison sailed from New York bound for Constantinople. The 44-year-old had returned just five months earlier from Russia where she had been imprisoned, for a second time, on suspicions of espionage. A widowed mother of a teenage boy, Harrison had thought she would…

Source: The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society – Atlas Obscura

For Sale: Intriguing 19th Century Photos of Britain’s Colonial World – Atlas Obscura


In the 1860s, Jane Stewart was married to a Bengal Engineer, who served in the British Army in India. Stewart and her husband came from Scotland, towards the beginning of the British Raj, which began in 1858. The East India Company had governed large swaths of land for about a century before a…

Source: For Sale: Intriguing 19th Century Photos of Britain’s Colonial World – Atlas Obscura

Taking a Cruise in the Late 1950s

I can’t resist posting this little travel film from 1959 partly because it’s a world away from today and partly because my parents, Benedicta Leigh and Richard Vernon, are playing the mother and father. As someone notes disparagingly on YouTube, it features only first class travel! Typical of the time. The daughter is played by Suzan Farmer although I don’t know the name of the actor playing the son.  My brother and I were too young, alas, to play the children but I still have the mug our parents bought in Portugal!

Reel 1

Reel 2

Sarah Vernon © March 2017

Egypt’s Pyramid Competitor- The Kush(y) Nubian Pyramids – W.U Hstry

In joining the designated theme of pre-modern non-European civilizations and the informal trend concerning pyramids which seems to have enveloped the blog, we must look no further than Sudan. A sub…

Source: Egypt’s Pyramid Competitor- The Kush(y) Nubian Pyramids – W.U Hstry

Celebrating Women’s Equality | seductivevenice

One of the journals edited by Caminer Turra

Happy Women’s Equality Day! In the US, August 26, 1920, was the day women were granted the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified.To celebrate this, I’d like to share with you the story of an early pioneer in women’s equality: Elisabetta Caminer Turra. Here’s a video where I outline her life story and contribution to women’s rights. She lived…

Source: Celebrating Women’s Equality | seductivevenice

On this day: the world’s first cruise ship | In Times Gone By…

The Prinzessin Victoria Luise, recognised as the world’s first cruise ship, was launched on the 29th of June, 1900. Her maiden voyage came on the 5th of January the following year, travelling from …

Source: On this day: the world’s first cruise ship | In Times Gone By…

Two Women, Two Tributes | seductivevenice

On this day in 1703, Luisa Bergalli was born. Noteworthy, considering she was not born into the noble class, Luisa entered the world of letters and was warmly welcomed into the literary academies, befriending such luminaries as…

Source: Two Women, Two Tributes | seductivevenice

Exploring the Forgotten Art Deco Artifacts of the New Yorker Hotel | Atlas Obscura

New York is famous for its historic, glamorous hotels. But often overlooked, yet perhaps the most storied hotel of them all, is the one with the most iconic name: the New Yorker.

Its giant red sign dominates West 34th Street, and is often photographed as a city landmark, mostly on account of its name, yet the history of the New Yorker is largely unknown. Operating in the mid-level tier of hotels, it was never intended to be as upscale as the glitzier hotels of midtown like the Waldorf-Astoria, the Ritz Carlton or the St. Regis. The New Yorker was the hotel of the traveling salesmen, pilots and aircrew on short layovers, tourists and GIs being shipped to the European Front. In other words, if the Waldorf-Astoria were a well-dressed woman in an elegantly feathered hat, the New Yorker would be a salesman in a crumpled suit, drinking…

Source: Exploring the Forgotten Art Deco Artifacts of the New Yorker Hotel | Atlas Obscura

Santa’s Helper and the Queen’s Christmas Gift (Christmas History 16) | Windows into History

Lady Harriet Julia Jephson was an artist and writer, who wrote about her travel experiences in Notes of a Nomad, published in 1918.  The Great War hung heavy over her narrative, and she reflected upon her many acquaintances who had been lost in the war.  One in particular, caused her to remember a Christmas anecdote:

This cruel war, alas! has robbed each of a gifted son. Keith Anthony Stewart, a singularly brilliant scholar and athlete, a most lovable character and gallant soul, fell leading his platoon at Aubers Ridge on the 9th May, 1915. His noble, dauntless spirit showed itself even as a small child. At one time he had a great idea of the Navy as a future career, which Lord Galloway discouraged. One day Keith was out in a boat in Galloway Bay with his father, and the sea being very rough, poor Keith was desperately sea-sick.

“Aha, my boy,” said his father unsympathetically, “what about the Navy now?”

A small, very white face raised itself from the bottom of the boat, and…

Source: Santa’s Helper and the Queen’s Christmas Gift (Christmas History 16) | Windows into History

Passports Were Once Considered Offensive—Perhaps They Still Are | Atlas Obscura

A passport is one of the most powerful documents you can possess. It is also one of the more socially and politically contentious.

The little leather-bound booklets serve to identify us, but they do so in stark, non-nuanced ways that don’t tell the full story of who we are—or may even distort it. They enable mobility but also restrict it, using something as arbitrary as nationality as the determining factor.

Our relationship with passports has always been complicated. For centuries prior to the introduction of the modern passport during World War I, travel documents were generally simple letters of introduction granting special access to society’s elite. They were required of some places, but not others. For a long time, up until the second half of the 19th century, it was legal for a person of any country to go to the French or Belgian consulate and obtain one of their passports for travel. It was a loosely regulated, seemingly…

Source: Passports Were Once Considered Offensive—Perhaps They Still Are | Atlas Obscura

Passport | seductivevenice

“A passport that belonged to Casanova?! How did you get such a wonderful thing?? That must be worth a fortune! I’m in complete shock. Are many of C’s papers and belongings in private collections? I don’t know much about these things, but I expected them to be in museums.”

This was my reaction when my wonderful friend Marco, who likes to surprise me with gifts from across the sea, recently sent me a copy of Giacomo Casanova’s passport. I overreacted, not surprisingly, so excited at the idea that I somehow thought Marco might be…

Source: Passport | seductivevenice

Dandyfunk and Slumgullion (Guest Post 9)

The modern traveller is used to eating recognisable and safe food wherever he or she visits in the world. Even in the less visited countries no one is surprised to find there is a McDonalds or similar fast food outlet to feed them from more or less the same menu as in any British or North American city. Likewise the traveller expects clean hot and cold water and at least basic toilet facilities. Not so for the traveller in late Victorian and Edwardian times. Then, you needed a pretty strong constitution and accepted what sustenance and limited comforts were available.

One great traveller was C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne (1865-1944) who claimed to have travelled 400,000 miles. He struggled as a writer for some time, writing mainly…

Source: Dandyfunk and Slumgullion (Guest Post 9)