The 18 February 1678 saw the publication of what is recognised as the first novel written in English – “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. This Christian allegory by John Bunyan has never been out of print and has been translated into more than 200 languages.
Bunyan spent most of his life living in Bedford and visitors to this city can find quite a few connections to this intriguing personality who began his working life as a travelling blacksmith. The John Bunyan Museum is a good place to start with depictions of scenes from his early life, time as a soldier, imprisonment and preaching and writing.
Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin. Currently reading “Evolution in the Antipodes” by Tom Frame which does give some details about the time Charles Darwin spent in Australia but is more generally a discussion of the history of creationism.
According to Frame, Darwin didn’t find much to interest him when he travelled on horseback from Sydney across the Blue Mountains to Bathurst in 1836. But we do have this quote which can be read on a plinth at the famous spot for viewing the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley at Katoomba.
“Below is the grand bay or gulf, for I know not what other name to give it, thickly covered with forest.”
There has been a hospital associated with St Bartholomew the Great since the 12th century, and the current St Bart’s hospital has a very interesting museum. A variety of old books are on display, including this 1557 tome on the administration of the “Hospital of St. Bartholomewes”.
John Rogers was a Bible translator who became one of 60 Protestant martyrs burnt at the stake in the churchyard of St Bartholomew the Great during the reign of Queen Mary. Using the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew, he published the Matthew Bible in 1537, which was based on William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament and as much of the Old Testament that he was able to complete before his execution in 1536. The translations of Myles Coverdale were used for the remaining parts of the Old Testament.
John Rogers died on 4 February 1555 and there is a memorial to him and two other Protestant martyrs on the wall opposite the church’s Tudor gateway.
The former Government Printing Office on the corner of Murray and Pier streets in Perth city centre was the work of architect, George Temple Poole. Built in 1894, during the goldrush, it was extended in 1899 and 1907, and is now the home of Curtin University’s business school.
Wandering around the grounds of UWA on the weekend we noticed these Poems on Posters on the walls of the Octagon and Dolphin theatres. The 20 or so line poems make for something interesting to read during theatre intervals.
The poem “Learning to Row”, by Henry Briffa is relevant because of the university’s riverside location. And Mandy Tu, writes about love in “He Asks For Poetry”.
This year is the 150th anniversary of the arrival of 62 Fenians in Fremantle from the “Hougoument”, the last ship to bring convicts to Western Australia. During their 89 day journey from England to Australia, the Irish Fenians, who were political prisoners, produced a weekly newspaper called “The Wild Goose”.
As part of the Fenians, Fremantle and Freedom Festival, the Kidogo Arthhouse has an exhibition of art related to the Fenians, called “89 Days”. This papercut by Anne Gee shows activities aboard the Hougoument, including the printing of the Wild Goose newspaper.
Previous blogs about the Fenians can be found here –
A beautiful fountain commemorates pioneer women in Perth’s Kings Park, but hidden away behind it is a smaller memorial from 1999 to celebrate the centenary of Women’s Suffrage in Western Australia. In 1899, Western Australian women won the right to vote in state elections. WA was the second state in Australia to give voting rights to women, and Australia as a whole was one of the first countries in the world to support women’s suffrage, making it a democratic world leader.
The memorial, which takes the form of a book, also notes that, unfortunately, Australian Aboriginal people were not given the right to vote until 1963.
J. R. R. Tolkein (see previous post) was an undergraduate at Exeter College from 1911 to 1915, and Professor of Anglo Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College from 1925 to 1945. From 1945 to 1959, he was Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College.
Merton is one of the oldest Oxford colleges and the chapel is from 1289. We took a day trip to Oxford, during our visit to London in October 2016, and enjoyed a stroll along the river and up the High, remembering when we lived there for 12 months in the late 1970s.
Another interesting art work at the recent calligraphy exhibition (see previous post) was hand lettering of a quote from J. R. R. Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings” by Tash Limawan.
Today is Tolkein’s birthday. He was born in South Africa in 1892, but went to England with his mother when he was three years old, living most of his adult life in Oxford.