Photographs: The Lincolnshire Rising of 1536

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This plaque is outside St. James’ church in Louth, Lincolnshire.

The Lincolnshire Rising of the autumn of 1536 was a popular uprising in protest to King Henry VIII’s and Thomas Cromwell’s decision to dissolve the monasteries. It was the spark which led to the more widespread uprising, called the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536-7.

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Old Toys, Old Services – The AA and The Royal Mail

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The AA and The Royal Mail are two mainstays of British cultural life, services that, generally speaking, can be relied upon.

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We still belong to the AA and the number of times they have ‘dug us out of a hole’ are too many to count. Yes, it is perhaps fairly expensive if you go for bells and whistles membership, but is it worth it? Yes, I think it is. I love the emphatic yellow of the organisation and particular that of this toy.

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If anything The Royal Mail is just as iconic and with that special monarchical and historic link, coloured by a similarly strident red. I think the two vans go well together.

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copyright Francis Barker 2020

On This Day 1936 – Edward VIII of Great Britain Abdicates

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Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

He had been king for less than a year and hadn’t had a coronation.

Edward VIII officially gave up his kingship, his rule over an empire which spanned the earth, on which the sun never set. All because, we are famously told, for his love of an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, a situation which could not be tolerated by the highly conservative establishment of the time. But of course it was a bit more complicated than that.

Like quite a few Britons at the time, Edward was an admirer of certain European dictators. After the abdication he became more than a mere acquaintance of one of them, something which didn’t go down too well in certain parts of the British establishment, as Europe and the world was led inexorably towards war.

As Prince of Wales he had been quite popular with his people back home and throughout the Empire and Commonwealth. He was able to relate to them despite the most privileged upbringing one could get. He was, however, quite shy and perhaps felt somewhat unworthy of the role fate had given him, something which led to several bouts of depression.

For these reasons and perhaps others too, he probably never felt he was not cut out for being a monarch of a vast and populous empire.

Falling in love with Mrs Simpson was only one reason among several which made him feel incapable of carrying on as king, a heavy responsibility which in the end he was forced to leave behind.

copyright Francis Barker 2019