Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Garden & Boundary Walls

Are you thinking about rebuilding your garden wall? Follow this link: to get some ideas on what style of wall would suit the period of your house?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Do you love your balcony as much as the Edwardians did?

The Edwardians loved their balconies. They increased in size so that they stretched across several windows. The larger houses used them as an area to enjoy the sun or even as a loggia - an open air sleeping room. Balconies were made from wrought iron or carved white wood.

You can find out more about different styles of balconies and verandas at:

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Aldous Huxley and Crome Yellow

Aldous Huxley his first novel, Crome Yellow in 1921. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that the novel was "the highest point so far attained by Anglo-Saxon sophistication" and that Huxley was "the wittiest man now writing in English".

Crome Yellow brought Huxley instant fame but upset his friends who appeared in the novel. This included Dora Carrington (Mary Bracegirdle). In the novel Huxley recreated his many discussions with Carrington. She explained what she was looking for in a man: "It must be somebody intelligent, somebody with intellectual interests that I can share. And it must be somebody with a proper respect for women, somebody who's prepared to talk seriously about his work and his ideas and about my work and my ideas. It isn't, as you see, at all easy to find the right person."

Ottoline Morrell felt betrayed by Huxley for writing about her in Crome Yellow. The character, Priscilla Wimbush, was described as having a "large square middle-aged face, with a massive projecting nose and little greenish eyes, the whole surmounted by a lofty and elaborate coiffure of a curiously improbable shade of orange." Ottoline was also furious about his rude and unfunny descriptions of her friends, Dorothy Brett, Dora Carrington, Bertram Russell and Mark Gertler. She told Huxley that his book reminded her of "poor photography".

Monday, 3 January 2011

D.H. Lawrence and Lydia Lawrence

David Herbert Lawrence, the fourth of the five children of Arthur John Lawrence (1846–1924), a miner, was born in Eastwood near Nottingham on 11th September, 1885. His father was barely literate, but his mother, Lydia Lawrence, was better educated and was determined that David and his brothers should not become miners.

According to his biographer, John Worthen: "Arthur Lawrence, like his three brothers, was a coalminer who worked from the age of ten until he was sixty-six, was very much at home in the small mining town, and was widely regarded as an excellent workman and cheerful companion. Lawrence's mother Lydia was the second daughter of Robert Beardsall and his wife, Lydia Newton of Sneinton; originally lower middle-class, the Beardsalls had suffered financial disaster in the 1860s and Lydia, in spite of attempts to work as a pupil teacher, had, like her sisters, been forced into employment as a sweated home worker in the lace industry. But she had had more education than her husband, and passed on to her children an enduring love of books, a religious faith, and a commitment to self-improvement, as well as a profound desire to move out of the working class in which she felt herself trapped."

As a child Lawrence preferred the company of girls to boys and this led to him being bullied at school. He was an intelligent boy and at the age of 12 he became the first boy from Eastwood to win one of the recently established county council scholarships, and went to Nottingham High School. However, he did not get on with the other boys and left school in the summer of 1901 without qualifications.

Lawrence started work as a factory clerk for a surgical appliances manufacturer in Nottingham. Soon afterwards, his eldest brother, William Ernest Lawrence, by now a successful clerk in London, fell ill and died on 11th October 1901. Lydia Lawrence was distraught with the loss of her favourite son and now turned her attention to the career of David. John Worthen argues that "she needed her children to make up for the disappointments of her life." David now gave up his employment as a clerk and started work as a pupil teacher at the school in Eastwood for miner's children.

Lawrence's mother wanted him to continue his education and in 1906 he began studying for his teacher's certificate at the University College of Nottingham. In 1908 Lawrence qualified as a teacher and found employment at Davidson Road School in Croydon. According to the author of D. H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider (2005): "He found the demands of teaching in a large school in a poor area very different from those at Eastwood under a protective headmaster. Nevertheless he established himself as an energetic teacher, ready to use new teaching methods (Shakespeare lessons became practical drama classes, for example)."

In August 1910, Lydia Lawrence became ill with cancer. Lawrence visited his mother in Eastwood every other weekend. In October he realised she was close to death and he decided to stay at home to nurse her. He wrote to a friend: "There has been this kind of bond between me and my mother... We knew each other by instinct... We have been like one, so sensitive to each other that we never needed words. It has been rather terrible and has made me, in some respects, abnormal."