Sunday, August 3, 2014

Update on Sekhemka;

There I was going to start on the latest news about the Sekhemka statue and the perfidy of jumped up councillors, and then links started to connect in my brain.  It was the fault of Melvyn Bragg yesterday evening in his documentary about the Peasants Revolt in 1381, when Wat Tyler  had argued for equality and that 'the commons' should be shared.  Well of course that came to an end pretty quickly with his death as he stood before young Richard 11 on the battlefield asking for written royal papers granting him his wishes. According to the tale, Tyler was hit on the head fatally by the mayor of London as he sat on his little horse before the king, and as he lay dying was publicly decapitated, and his head displayed on London Bridge.  
The saying above comes from a contemporary of Tyler, the priest John Ball who was also radicalised by the revolt, and of course received the same treatment as Tyler.  Thus history is written, those in power keep it and fine thoughts of a just an equal society, though they may be seen as exceptionally naive, are thrown out the window.  
But to return to our common heritage, which we all thought lay in our museums, the battle is far from over for such perfidious councillors as Mackintosh who saw fit to sell the statue, Northampton Council has had its wrist slapped by the Arts Council who are refusing to fund or pay out grants for their two museums for the next few years.

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and Abington Park Museum will be excluded from a variety of Arts Council grants, funding and loan agreements following the controversial auction of its 4,500-year-old limestone Egyptian statue, Sekhemka, which raised £14 million at Christie’s.

Mike Pitts has come up with an idea for protecting - Blog the National Collection...  maybe he had his tongue in cheek when he thought about the idea, but we all know in these days of capitalism, that there is an awful lot of  public stuff the conservatives want to sell off, think about the forests last year and the public outrage made the government back off pretty quickly.

Tell people about the hidden gems in our museums.

At any one time, the bulk of any reputable museum or gallery’s collections is not on display. Most of what’s in store is known about only to a handful of specialists. If a museum has no qualms, it could slip things out onto eBay hoping no one would notice (over the years, it’s not unknown to hear of things that have disappeared behind the scenes for one mysterious reason or another). Many museums publish catalogues, of course, detailing all they have, a professional responsibility. But not all do, or have catalogued their entire collections. And, like the stuff itself, these publications are typically seen only by specialists.

Actually there were six young swans messing around on the Chelmer here in the middle of Chelmsford

The old mill, now pub in the centre of Chelmsford.


  1. Your blog is a mine of information Thelma.
    Love the swans - I don't think they really have a predator have they?

  2. No predators, but they can be nasty themselves, 'Viscious Sid' and his family were moved to a local reserve in 2010 and settled down happily, apparently they attacked the canoes on the river.
    Of course having royal protection helps...

  3. Thelma - you ask about my friends and the route they took to John O'Groats - they followed the route laid down, which is mainly footpaths, but does go through quite a few towns too.

  4. Which must have made it a wonderful journey, thank you Pat. And noticing above I did not qualify who Sid was, he is of course a male swan!