Going Round A La Ronde

   A La Ronde is an extraordinary place.   Just outside Exmouth in Devon, it is a sixteen sided house built in 1795 for cousins Jane and Mary Parminter. They were two single women who, after an extensive European tour, wanted somewhere to live and house the many curiosities acquired on their travels. It is…

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Ladies’ Bustles – A Cautionary Tale

  The following anecdote is taken from a Chester newspaper around the time of Queen Victoria’s accession in 1837. It was found in ‘A Portrait of a Shop – Browns and Chester‘ by Mass Observation, published in 1947. It concerns the perils of fashion. “Ladies’ Bustles. Caution. On Tuesday last as a well-dressed lady was…

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Hedgerow Flowers

Since May is the time of year when the hedgerows are at their most floriferous, a small study was undertaken last Sunday to count those flowers. This little botanical field trip involved a modest walk of about half a mile along a couple of back lanes in deepest West Dorset. It required a notebook and…

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The Appeal of a Candlewick Bedspread.

There was a time in the mid 20th century when candlewick bedspreads were ubiquitous in British bedrooms. They could add a touch of luxury and glamour whilst being washable (and therefore the ‘sensible’ choice). It’s the soft pastel colours and their fluffy, tactile quality that makes them so comforting and appealing. Vintage examples still turn…

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