These rafts carried life across dangerous seas

Toil and work are two separate things. Toil is what one must. For money. This critical fact is badly neglected. Whole books are written, television programmes, films, myriad newspaper articles without acknowledging this basic necessity. And yet even with immense amounts of toil immense numbers of people never have enough. And other people who toilContinue reading “These rafts carried life across dangerous seas”

Southwark Industrial

It is imagined that the destruction of London was in the past. That now a benign power rules the city and that only rational decisions are made. Decisions which only critical critics can make. But the city isn’t ruled at all. It is out of control. The power that shapes everything – regardless of aestheticContinue reading “Southwark Industrial”

HG Wells in Sandgate

HG Wells lived in three houses in Sandgate between 1899 and 1909. He initially moved to the seaside because of poor health and rented houses in Castle Street and Granville Road. He clearly liked Sandgate and following his earlier literary success he commissioned the architect CFA Voysey to design a house for himself and hisContinue reading “HG Wells in Sandgate”

Marx & Engels at the Seaside – Ramsgate Part One

Karl Marx and his family – Jenny his wife, their children Jennychen, Laura and Tussy (Eleanor) and live-in help and long-term family friend, Helene Demuth (Lenchen), all spent time at the seaside. Friedrich Engels too, with his long term partner Lizzie Burns and her niece Mary Ellen, known as ‘Pumps’. Marx sometimes went alone toContinue reading “Marx & Engels at the Seaside – Ramsgate Part One”

On the river

I had a clear idea to go to Gravesend and take the ferry across the river, but only a vague notion of what to do after that. On the basis of a suggestion I walked east towards DP World Thames Gateway. Procter and Gamble factory at West Thurrock seen from Ebbsfleet station. It makes soapsContinue reading “On the river”

Sea level

Quite a lot going on for a short walk. The container ship Cap San Nicolas sailing from Antwerp to Algeciras. ITV news carried a story yesterday about how Amazon destroys thousands of items each week. Many of them never used. “Stuff that’s not even single use but not being used at all, straight off theContinue reading “Sea level”

The quality without a name

In his book, ‘The Timeless Way of Building’, Christopher Alexander introduces the idea of ‘the quality without a name’. “There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a person, a town, a building or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named”. AlexanderContinue reading “The quality without a name”

The Chronology of Art

Digital technologies push and pull. The technical infrastructure now exists to create a single world database of all the world’s art works (or at least pictures of them). This could be organised so that users could search by date, theme, artist, genre and much else. It would be possible to study the iconography of angelContinue reading “The Chronology of Art”

Dover Western Docks Revival

Let us for a moment set aside technological determinism and instead consider technology as a determinant. The earliest archeological evidence for the wheelbarrow is in Chengdu in 118AD. It took about 1,000 years for wheelbarrows to make their way to medieval Europe. References to artefacts which could be wheelbarrows starts to appear around 1170. AnyoneContinue reading “Dover Western Docks Revival”


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