On this day: St Katharine Docks opened in London in 1828

St Katharine Docks opened in London in 1828


In the 1820s, some 11300 low class Londoners lost their homes as they were cleared out to make way for the development of St Katharine Docks. The docks opened on the 25th of October, 1828.

Plan drawn up for the St. Katharine Dock Company showing the street and buildings which would need to be demolished to make way for the new dock. circa 1825

Circa 1825 plan showing what needed to be demolished to make way for the docks.

Badly damaged by German bombing in World War Two, the area is now home to offices and private residences.

Outlander: 1×07 The Wedding

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie and Claire Church Sonya Heaney

This is the one most people have been waiting for, and for book fans who have been obsessing over Jamie and Claire for years, I think they’ll be (mostly) satisfied.

I wonder what newbies to the storyline think of Claire’s infidelity – and enjoyment of it, choice or no choice. I wonder if the fact so far show Jamie has hardly been developed as a character helps or hinders the situation.

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie and Claire Kiss Sonya Heaney

For me, I thought it was another solid episode, but I don’t actually enjoy watching actors doing the sex thing on the screen, so I did a teensy bit of fast forwarding and looking away! Many articles have been written heralding the sexy times in The Wedding as revolutionary for women (and I absolutely see their point; no rape or incest to be seen!), but I was more concerned about how long I was going to have to stare at Claire’s breasts!

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie Bow

I’ve read some articles about how this was a difficult episode to write, as they couldn’t just have an hour of Jamie and Claire in the bedroom at the inn (though I’m sure plenty of fans would have been fine with that).

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Hands Sonya Heaney

However, I do think some of the moments people were most looking forward to were eliminated, and it’s a pity. My favourite part of the wedding day – and one of my favourite parts of the whole book – is when a stressed, hung-over, starved Claire faints soon after the wedding, leading Jamie to believe she can’t stand to be married to him. I would much rather have seen that scene than quite so much sex or all those silly scenes with the other Scotsmen!

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie and Claire Toast Sonya Heaney

I do like Sam Heughan’s interpretation of Jamie, even if he’s a bit less playful than the Jamie in the book. I felt so sorry for him in the show, because the book scenes where Claire is drinking and panicking were mostly cut out, which meant she did her drinking and panicking in front of him. Here he was, happy to be getting married, and his new wife was acting like she was headed for the gallows.

I’m sure it wasn’t helped by the fact Caitriona Balfe has few facial expression, and wore her “worried face” from start to finish. A pity, because I thought she did a great job in the previous episode.

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Claire and Jamie Morning After Sonya Heaney

I don’t know how much I liked this episode. I am disappointed that certain major book scenes were omitted so secondary characters could get some screen time. I do understand how these things work, but it was unfortunate…

One last thing: I would like to know how they managed to provide a perfect wedding dress that miraculously fitted without having the hems taken down!

On this day: Swedish Royal Wedding in 1932

On the 19th of October, 1932, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten married his second cousin Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in a civil ceremony. The church wedding took place on the 20th.

The couple would have five children. The prince would die in a plane crash in 1947 – he was second in line to the throne at the time.

Wedding of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten to Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. 19th October, 1932.


Slavery in Africa

This picture’s caption says it is of an Egyptian slavemaster and a female Waswahili (Swahili) slave in Cairo c.1864

Slavery was so widespread throughout history. When I found this picture I’d sat down to read a “brief summary”, which was just silly. We tend to be taught a very limited version of the history of slavery in school (if we’re taught it at all – Australia does an abysmal job of teaching anything other than Anzac Day – and our current government wants to put more emphasis on that moment and little else!).

Egyptian_Slavemaster_and_SlaveEgyptian slavemaster and Waswahili (Swahili) slave.

On this day: Charles Babbage dies

458px-Charles_Babbage_-_1860Charles Babbage in 1860

Charles Babbage in 1860

Charles Babbage, the “father of the computer” died in Marylebone, London on the 18th of October, 1871.

Born in London on Boxing Day in 1791, Babbage has a pretty extensive list of credits to his name, many of them very much entrenched in mathematics. While I can respect his achievements, maths bores me to tears, so I’m not going to try and explain them…

 BabbageDifferenceEngineBabbage's difference engine

Babbage’s difference engine

Babbage declined various honours and was no fan of the hereditary peerage. I like a man of Victorian England who didn’t think titled people deserved respect just because of an accident of birth!

The idea that the man credited with the beginnings of computers was born in the 18th century is pretty amazing!