....being a collection of things which I meant to show you earlier but didn't get around to.
Another Man From Thetford
The gentleman above should have taken his place among the four people with connections to the town of Thetford that I introduced you to in an earlier post. Meet Dr Allan Minns. He was born in The Bahamas in 1858 where he received a good education which led him to Guy's Hospital in London, where he qualified as a doctor. He went on to become the doctor at the workhouse in Thetford. He was elected Mayor of Thetford in 1904, the first black man to become a mayor in the UK. His grandmother had been a slave in the West Indies.
Standing in my local town of Royston, right on the cross-roads of two ancient routes, is this great hunk of rock. The routes in question are the Icknield Way and Ermine Street, two of the oldest roads in this country (we're talking BC rather than AD here!). The rock was transported here by an ice-sheet during the last Ice Age; it's Millstone Grit, which probably means it started its journey in Yorkshire or Derbyshire! It's known as the Royce Stone and there's a hole in the centre which once supported the shaft of a preaching cross set up by Lady Roysia in Norman times. The names have been shortened over the centuries - Roysia's Stone became Royce Stone and the town became Royston.
A Rural Skyscraper
A high-rise office block in the sleepy village of Hatley? Well, it does house offices these days but that's not its original purpose. It's part of a farm which was rebuilt in the late nineteenth century to incorporate all the best practices of the age. Such farms were known as "model farms" and their owners were naturally proud of their creations. So proud in fact that they didn't want anything as unsightly as a water tower to upset their idea of perfection so they disguised it as (an admittedly rather tall) dwelling.
Stone pineapples are often featured as decoration on the gateposts of large houses. When the fruit first appeared in the UK, having been discovered by Columbus, it was horrendously expensive - it was many years before they could be grown under glass in this country. It became something which was only eaten when important guests were to be received. As a result it became a symbol of hospitality.
George Lawrence's Eastern Cousin
Recently I showed you George Lawrence's hammer dulcimer which is on display in Cambridge Folk Museum. Shortly after that I encountered this man busking in the streets of Cambridge playing what I believe is an Iranian santur, a very similar instrument. There are, in fact, variations on the dulcimer in just about every country between Ireland to China.
Bear On The Roof !
It has to be Whittlesea, of course! I've shown you all kinds of beasts rendered in straw by our local thatchers. Naturally enough in Whittlesea it had to be a straw bear! (And if you've no idea what I'm talking about you need to look at this and subsequent posts).