plep Archive

24th August
Longsight Memories. 'This web site tells the history of the Longsight district of Manchester, England. Situated a short distance from the centre of the city, Longsight has undergone enormous changes over the last 150 years.'
'Longsight Memories attempts to tell the story of Longsight through the words and pictures of those people who lived there and some who still do.'
Local pubs.

White City. 'A pleasure garden of the highest class.'
'It is likely that few of the people driving along Chester Road, in Manchester, who see the incongruous white gateways near the junction with Trafford Road will even suspect that this isn't some sort of 21st Century folly built to adorn a retail park. It would probably come as a surprise, even to residents of the area, that the piece of land behind those gates, that now houses the White City Retail Park, was once home to attractions that drew tens of thousands of people.'
'Today the gates stand guard over a shopping centre where once a Royal Botanical Garden stood. Then, at the turn of the last century the gardens were swept away and replaced by an amusement park that featured some of the most advanced and innovative attractions of its time. Later, it became the home of a stadium that hosted athletic events as well as greyhound and stock car races.'

Horimono: The Japanese Tattoo. 'Welcome to the homepage of Horimono: The Japanese Tattoo. Whether you are a fan of traditional Japanese tattoos, have an interest in ukiyoe art, or are just here out of curiousity, I hope you enjoy this site.'
'This site is the only English language website devoted entirely to the academic research of tradtional Japanese tattoo culture. If you are shopping around for the latest trendy kanji, you are wasting your time at this site.'
'I created this website to generate interest in and increase understanding of traditional Japanese tattoos, known as horimono. In Japanese hori or horu means 'to carve,' and mono means literally 'thing.' Horu is the verb used to describe the insertion of ink into the skin when tattooing; in the 18th century this was done with sharp needles tied to a long handle of bamboo dipped in ink, thus 'carving' was a most appropriate way of describing it ...'

From Ashes: The Fate of the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 'The National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina(NUB BiH) in Sarajevo was destroyed in the night of August 25/26, 1992. The precious collections of books, archival material, and periodicals representing the memory of many generations perished during the bombardment. The Library Catalog together with an irreplaceable collection of journals, published since the middle of the 19th century in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only a small portion of the Library holdings were saved and is now housed in five different locations within the city ... '

Chocolate. An online exhibition of the culture and history of chocolate; via the Field Museum, Chicago.

The Geometry of War 1500-1750. 'The mathematicians of the Renaissance applied their geometry to all manner of practical disciplines - from navigation and surveying to cartography and perspective. They aimed to demonstrate the usefulness of geometry as well as its ingenuity and certainty, and to associate it with action, achievement and progress. Many new instruments were designed in this context, as the collections of this museum amply demonstrate.'
[ ... ]
'The ingenuity and precision of many instruments, and in some cases their elegance, poise and delicacy, contrasts with the harsh conditions of the battlefield. How usable would they really have been in practice? They were supposed to be employed in battle but it is clear that their purported military value also had other functions, in justifying textbook geometrical problems, for example, or in attracting patronage ... '
Troop formations and the telescope.
Via the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.

The Garden, the Ark, the Tower, the Temple. An exhibition of Biblical metaphors of knowledge in early modern Europe. Nice illustrations.
'The stories of the Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the Temple of Solomon are among the best known in the Old Testament. They were alluded to frequently during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and were often used at that time to frame accounts of the progress of knowledge. The narrative history which could be found in the Bible presented a coherent story of the growth and decline of knowledge, in which moral and spiritual factors helped to determine natural and practical outcomes ... '

Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago.

Route 40.
Diners and roadside attractions.
John Kennedy Lacock's Braddock Road.

Summer of Love 30th Anniversary Celebration, 1967-1997. 'No amount of rationalization or blaming can preempt the moment of choice each of us brings to our situation here on this planet. The lesson of the 60's is that people who cared enough to do right could change history. ' - Abbie Hoffman.

Art Theft / Most Wanted Art / Recovery Project. 'Search for the World's Most Wanted Art.'
Major art thefts.

Irezumi Exhibition at the Tattoo Museum. 'Japanese tattooing is known under different names. Irezumi is one of them. 'Ire' means 'to put ' and 'zumi' means 'ink'. In the early days tattoos in Japan were done as punishment. A convict would become recognizable with a tattoo. Although this form of punishment was abolished around 1870, the Japanese still associate tattoos with criminality ... '

The Adler Planetarium, Chicago, has a very nice and very large website.
Adler picture of the week.

Rebuilding Manchester. 'Manchester was bombed on the 15th June 1996. Noone was killed. In the six years that have followed, the City Centre has been rebuilt and enhanced.' (I was due to be in Manchester that day).
BBC articles 5 years on from the attack.

Gotham Gazette's Rebuilding NYC.
The Ground Zero Planner 'allows you to design the World Trade Center site the way you think it should look. You can drag icons representing different ideas for the site, like housing, parks, and a memorial, onto a map of Ground Zero. '
New York New Visions 'is a coalition of 20 architecture, planning, and design organizations that came together immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. This group, representing over 30,000 individuals, has pooled the collective resources and technical expertise of over 350 professionals and civic group leaders in a pro-bono effort to address the issues surrounding the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. '

Essential reading :- the BBC's religion and ethics news weblog. Some articles found here :-
Does Islam promote violence? 'The evangelist Franklin Graham and the conservative Christian commentator, Pat Robertson's assertion that Islam exhorts its followers to be violent against non-Muslims, are only two of the most prominent voices that are part of a rising cacophony of vicious criticism of the Qur'an. One can read and hear a whole range of negative opinions about this issue in the media. Few have taken an in depth look at the issue ... '
[ ... ]
'Muslim scholars suggest that those who read the Qur'an should keep at a minimum the following principles in mind. First, the reader should have an awareness of the inner coherence in the Qur'an. As the verses are connected to each other, the reader should study at the least, the preceding and following verses for a sense of the immediate context. Also the reader should look at all of the verses that deal with the same subject in the book. These are frequently scattered all over the scripture ... '
The bonds of friendship in a bitter war. 'In a year of unspeakable horror, Israeli and Palestinian teens join in a Maine refuge to seek a path toward peace.' (Christian Science Monitor)
Through fire and water. 'Dresden's old synangogue was torched on Kristallnacht; the new one built on its site now has to deal with the raging floodwaters.' (Ha'aretz)
The horror will never leave me. 'The explosion sounded like it was far off. Twenty-two-year-old Meli Katzav, who was sitting in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem with a friend from work, thought to herself: "There has been a terrorist attack." She didn't have an inkling that she had been involved. ' (Ha'aretz)
Fuad divides Jerusalem and gives squatters their rights. 'What would happen if one morning the residents of Ramat Eshkol, a neighborhood in united Jerusalem, were to find a document signed by Amos Yaron, director general of the Defense Ministry on the bulletin boards outside their homes that was headlined "Order for Land Expropriation"? '
[ ... ]
'Obviously, no such order came anywhere near to any Jewish neighborhood. But the residents of Akav, an Arab neighborhood cum village in the northern reaches of the city, or as the order says - "an area in the Jerusalem municipal jurisdiction, near Atarot airport" - were the ones who found out last Thursday that they had 14 days to appeal the decision to expropriate their lands to build a fence that will move their homes to the Palestinian side of the map (though it will leave their land inside Israel) ... ' (Ha'aretz)
The ultimate sacrifice. 'When an Indian widow climbed to the top of her husband's funeral pyre and burned to death, the country was shocked. The practice of suttee was banned years ago. Why did she do it? ... ' (Guardian)

23rd August
Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire.
'The first garden city in the world.'
'Letchworth Garden City played an important role in the development of modern urban planning theory and practice throughout the 20th century. '
'It continues to do so at the beginning of the 21st century, as the town prepares to celebrate its centenary in 2003.'
'The principles applied when planning Letchworth were an experiment to try and overcome the problems of overcrowded , unhealthy cities, depressed rural areas and the poor building standards prevailing in some areas by the end of the Victorian era. Those principles have had an influence on British and International planners for almost 100 years.'
Postcards from the first fifty years of Letchworth.

The British Home Children. '100,000 British Home Children were sent to Canada by over fifty British Child Care organizations between 1870-1948. These 4-15 year old children were emigrated (deported) to work as indentured farm labourers until they were 18 years old. 7,500 of the 30,000 Barnardo children were sent to Canada without parental knowledge or consent. As many as 50,000 of the British Home Children were mistreated and suffered child abuse and neglect. The British Child Emigration Scheme persisted until the mid 1960's when 15-20,000 children were emigrated (deported) to Australia and New Zealand where many suffered horrific abuse and neglect.'
[ ... ]
'This website is devoted to helping some of the determined millions of Canadian/American descendants and their 20 million British relatives restore their family ties that were so cruelly severed by the British Child Emigration Scheme to Canada. The publishing of my book "Neither Waif Nor Stray: The Search for a Stolen Identity" led first to the creation of the British Home Child Email List and then the British Home Children Website. I hope these three efforts will help you in your search for your roots.'

Tour: Shaker Crafts from the Index of American Design. 'The Shaker church in American was founded by Ann Lee and seven followers who came from Manchester, England, in 1774. After an early settlement near Albany, the Shakers founded in 1786 what was to be their central colony at New Lebanon, New York. There, they were able to form an independent, communal society where they could live, work, and worship without persecution. The Shaker sect was distinguished from other communal groups by the strict religious tenets that guided every aspect of life. Shaker life was modeled on the vision of a heavenly kingdom in which "true gospel simplicity" was the cardinal principle ... '

Small-Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection. 'A few big cities -- and many more small towns -- long ago made the Mid- Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut one of the most densely populated regions in North America. This website presents 12,000 photographs of those three states as they were captured in stereoscopic views from the 1850s to the 1910s. In addition to showing buildings and street scenes in cities, towns, and villages the photographs show farming, industry, transportation, homes, businesses, local celebrations, natural disasters, people, and costumes. '

Berenice Abbott: Changing New York 1935-1938. Photography.
'American photographer Berenice Abbott was born in Springfield Ohio in 1898 and died in retirement in Monson, Maine in 1991. Except for a formative and influential decade in Paris in the 1920s, she spent most of her productive life in photography in New York City. Her five decades of accomplishments behind the camera range from portraiture and modernist experimentation to documentation and scientific interpretation.'

The Martin Luther King, Jr Papers Project. (Stanford University) Huge.

Madame Campan: Memoirs of the Private Life of Marie Antoinette, 1818. 'In order to describe the queen's private service intelligibly, it must be recollected that service of every kind was honor, and had not any other denomination. To do the honors of the service, was to present the service to an officer of superior rank, who happened to arrive at the moment it was about to be performed: thus, supposing the queen asked for a glass of water, the servant of the chamber handed to the first woman a silver gilt waiter, upon which were placed a covered goblet and a small decanter; but should the lady of honor come in, the first woman was obliged to present the waiter to her, and if Madame or the Countess d'Artois came in at the moment, the waiter went again from the lady of honor into the hands of the princess, before it reached the queen ... '
Marie Antoinette: Letter to Her Mother, 1773.
Olympe de Gouge: Declaration of the Rights of Women, 1791.

Forced Labour Camps. (Open Society Archive) Exhibition of the gulag.
'The system of forced labor camps was established in the first years of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union. It became essential part of the Soviet repressive system. The Communist takeovers in the Eastern and Central Europe during the World War II led to mass arrests of non- Communist politicians and people identified as class-enemies. Many of them were sentenced to forced labor camps. In 1952 the International League for the Rights of Man was able to document the existence of more than 400 forced labor camps in Central and Eastern Europe. Here you can find highlihts of the Open Society Archives hodings related to the Gulag and other forced labor camps. '

A Virtual Tour of the Monastery on Solovki. 'Very briefly: Solovki was first famous as a monastery, founded by hermit monks but eventually a well-off establishment that owned quite a bit of land along the shores of the White Sea. Even before the Revolution, it often served as a place of involuntary confinement for political enemies of the Tsars. (If you have heard the Yale Russian Chorus, you may recall that the saintly Pitirim, formerly the bandit Kudejar, tells his story in Solovki.) After the Revolution the monastery was taken from its residents and the complex became a prison camp. Until very recently it was impossible for foreigners to visit except on large package-tour ships; now that the monastery is being renewed, it is merely difficult and time-consuming to reach the islands.'

East to West. 'This is the story of Japanese settlement in Southern Alberta. It will be told through the personal memories of the children of the settlers themselves. You are invited to turn the pages of their history, to hear them tell their own stories, and view the photographs that remind them, and us, of their journey East to West!'
Photo album.

T'ang Haywen - Paths of Ink. ' "Contrary to the generally held belief, Chinese painting has never ceased to evolve. At the various stages of its growth, individuality and respect for tradition acted together or in opposition to produce countless treasures and innovations. The example of T'ang Haywen, in the second half of the 20th century, illustrates this phenomenon particularly well. T'ang never received any formal education in art apart from learning calligraphy from his grandfather, T'ang Yien. In Paris, he acquainted himself with the work of western artists and chose to become a painter. Art was a way of life for him, not a career choice..." From the Introduction by Philippe Koutouzis. '

Nuns of Khachoe Ghakyil.

Space Colony Art from the 1970s. 'A couple of space colony summer studies were conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s. Colonies housing about 10,000 people were designed. A number of artistic renderings of the concepts were made. These have been converted to jpegs and are available as thumbnails, quarter page, full screen and publication quality images. '

Centre for Democracy and Technology. A monitoring site.

Father John Dear.

The Apocalypse. Images of medieval manuscripts of the Apocalypse.
The Sea Map of Andrea Benincasa. 'This Portolan chart (that is, a coastal map intended for mariners) gives a good representation of the Mediterranean region, but would be of limited use for navigating around the British Isles. Note the unrealistic coloring of the Red Sea -- traditional in medieval maps.'
Via Access to the Middle Ages: Medieval Manuscripts in Facsimile.

Tina Mammoser. Contemporary marine artist.


Gai Jatra. 'The festival of "Gai Jatra", the procession of cows, is generally celebrated in the Nepalese month of Bhadra (August-September). The festival of cows is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal. The whole complex of Gai Jatra festival has its roots in the ancient age when people feared and worshipped Yamaraj,"the god of death". However, the ironical sessions synonymous with the Gai Jatra festival came into tradition in the medieval period of Nepal during the reign of Malla Kings. Hence, the present form of Gai Jatra is a happy blending of antiquity and medievalism.'
(I believe it takes place today).

Today's Front Pages from newspapers in 23 countries. Via Metafilter.

Bleak House Museum, Kent. Home of Charles Dickens.

'This is for real, not the sequel to a sci-fi thriller. The World Bank paints a picture of a catastrophic global future if we do not change the way we live.'

Nippongraphica, via Real Japan, via consumptive.

22nd August
The Works of John Trithemius. A sixteenth century monastic scribe.
'Abbot John of Tritheim, more often known as Johannes Trithemius, was a wonder of the monastic world. Born into poverty, he developed a love of letters at a young age and ran away from home to pursue his studies in Trier. In 1482, at the age of twenty, he spent a night at the Benedictine monastery of Saint Martin at Sponheim. Continuing on his way the next morning, he encountered a sudden snowstorm that forced him to return for shelter. He took it as a sign that he should remain as a monk. His new brothers must have thought the same, for the following year they elected him as their abbot when he was barely out of the novitiate. Trithemius was a reformer, eager to recover the lost glory of the golden centuries of medieval Benedictine life. His monastery belonged to the new Congregation of Bursfeld, a movement of monastic reform, and Trithemius became the congregations leading theologian ... '
Via Hill Monastic Manuscript Library.

Belle Vue Revisited. 'This web site tells the history of the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in Manchester, England. Opened in 1836 by John Jennison, the gardens operated for over 150 years finally closing in early 1982. In its day Belle Vue was one of the premier tourist attractions in the North-West of England. So, step inside and learn more about Belle Vue.'

Motel Americana. 'This page is designed to celebrate an American phenomenon which reflects an important part of US history and culture: the motel. The word showed up in dictionaries as postwar optimism and cold war pessimism led to the creation of an highway system. Before long, families began to discover bright neon arrows pointing the way to temporary homes dotting those long stretches of tar. Motels offered an inexpensive way to travel the country and expand our horizons. '
Motel stories.

Lincoln Highway. 'The Lincoln Highway was America's first transcontinental highway, conceived in 1913 specifically with the car in mind. The highway and the Lincoln Highway Association played an important role in the Good Roads movement in the United States, paving the way for the development of a nationwide highway network that is now unsurpassed.'
Historic newspaper articles.

Hokusai Museum. 'The Hokusai Museum opened in 1976 in Obuse, a town in central Japan. The Third International Hokusai Conference in Obuse to be held from April 19 through 22 in 1998 shall be the perfect opportunity to begin on-line transmission of information related to Katsushika Hokusai.'
Selected works.
Life and work of Hokusai.

The Taipei Confucius Temple.

The Picasso Conspiracy. Page about a 1934 drawing which the author attributes to the artist.
Picasso's Black Painting.

Handbook of WA Aboriginal Languages, South of the Kimberley. 'An annotated bibliography and guide to the indigenous languages of part of Western Australia. Information on individual languages can be found via a geographic, alphabetic, or language family index.'

Strange Science. The rocky road to modern paleontology and biology.
The Goof Gallery.

Art Historians' Guide to the Movies. Useful.

Aboriginal Star Knowledge.

Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee, London. 'The Bramah Museum is the world's first museum devoted entirely to the history of tea and coffee. It tells the modern commercial and social 350 year old history of two of the world's most important commodities since their arrival in Europe from the Far East and Africa.'
History of tea.
History of coffee.

Moobile Library.

21st August
Sneaking up on America. Travel-blog of Rick's three month bike ride from Miami to Seattle.

Wherever You Are - the consequences blog.

London Bridge. 'The first London Bridge was built by Romans sometime after AD43 and some of its wooden remains have been uncovered on the north side of the river. During its life the wooden structure was renewed several times, and it was probably to this earliest bridge that the nursery rhyme London Bridge is falling down refers. Indeed, at one time, one of these structures was washed away by a flood, and another was torn down by invading Vikings, led by Olaf the Norseman in 1014 ... '
'... In 1970, this bridge was sold to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, as an even larger bridge was needed, and the bridge that we see today was finally opened in 1973.'
History of Southwark, Dickens, Shakespeare and the Mayflower.

Faith, Flowers and Fiestas. The Yaqui Indian Year A Narrative of Ceremonial Events By Muriel Thayer Painter, Research Associate E. B. Sayles, Curator Emeritus, Arizona State Museum In Consultation with Edward H. Spicer, Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona (A Complete Online Version of the Original Printed Book).

Buddhist Temple of Chicago. 'This sitemap is organized along the lines of the Three Treasures. '

The Khoisan. 'The hunters of today have no collective name for themselves. They use their own group names, such as Ju/'hoansi (people who live on the border between northern Namibia and Botswana) or Hai//om (people who live around Etosha National Park). San = Sanqua = Soaqua was a name given to hunters by the Khoekhoen of the Cape. The word means 'people different from ourselves' and became associated with those without livestock, or people who stole livestock ... '
Who views who?

Lucille's on Route 66 in Oklahoma.

Coral Court Motel on Route 66.

Love Hotels. 'You'll find "Love Hotels" all over Japan, places designed for folks to shack up and get it on. The rooms offer a fantasy of luxury and escape from crowded tiny apartments where families or neighbors might spy on licit or illicit physical pleasures ... '
Love hotels for soccer fans.

Wandjina Art Project. 'Wandjina art from the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia contains some of the most striking images in Aboriginal art. This site is the online home for the Wandjina Art Project - a cooperative activity by Ngarinyin artists from the Kimberley. The Project was started in October 1997 by the Ngarinyin Aboriginal Corporation and the Kamali Land Council as a means of bringing the Wandjina creation stories and imagery to a wider audience. '

History of Love and Marriage. Some good links here.

Feminae, the medieval feminist index.

View from Satellite. 'To view the Earth as currently seen from a satellite in Earth orbit, choose the satellite from the list below and press the "View Earth from Satellite" button. The satellite database is updated regularly but may not reflect the current position of satellites, such as the U.S. Space Shuttle, which maneuver frequently after reaching orbit. '

State Darwin Museum of Natural History, Moscow.
The stages of nature cognition. 'This gallery is devoted to the history of biology from the ancient time up to the present. '
Cabinet of curiosities.
Nature of art and art of nature.

The River Fleet. 'The longest and most important of London's subterranean rivers is the river Fleet. It rises from springs a mile apart on Hampstead Heath, which feed a line of ponds on either side of Parliament Hill. One spring fills Highgate Ponds on the north side of Parliament Hill, and the other fills Hampstead Ponds to the south. These ponds were dug in the early 1700's as water reservoirs for London. '
Paris Sewer Museum.

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets.

A Thematic Collection of ASCII-Art Signatures. Via Virulent Memezilla.