A new Bodleian tranche on Hathi

New on Hathi and possibly of interest to Tolkien researchers, hundreds of newly Google-scanned items from the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Including many books and documents on and from the Library itself.

“Our release has over 250 collection guides, catalogues, exhibition books, and histories to which the Bodleian Libraries are rights holders.”

From The Bodleian Library in photographs.

The no-so Radical Potter

The Spectator reviews the new book The Radical Potter: Josiah Wedgwood and the Transformation of Britain. Those worried that the book might be a socialist wokewash of the man need not fear, because…

“there is not much sign of the ‘radical’ of Hunt’s title [except for] his manufacturing of the anti slave-trade medallion featuring a generic African in chains […] Similarly, the casting of a medallion to celebrate the French Revolution seems less of a radical act when we learn that Josiah’s son suggested that the figure of Liberty could easily be modelled on that of Hope in [an existing Wedgwood] medallion celebrating the colonisation of Botany Bay [i.e. the prison colony in Australia].

Yes he was an abolitionist and lent his name to petitions and suchlike, and even served on a committee, yet so did a great many of his class at that time. My feeling is that such a leading businessman would have had to ‘go above and beyond’ the usual in his efforts, in order to be now claimed as a political radical (in the way that modern leftists think of such things). Also, he would not have seen overseas slave-holding in modern terms. Back then it was often presented as a practice incompatible with Christian and British values of personal liberty and freedom of religious-conscience, and thus framed in terms that do not sit at all well with modern authoritarian leftists.

Conversely he also had a passion for Free Trade, the other great cause of the time. This meant he sold globally and to all comers — and thus today’s leftists can find a few early Wedgwood pots in overseas slave plantations if they dig hard enough. But it seems leftists can go little further in their witch-finding, without dragging out the old false claim… that the slave trade provided the capital for the Industrial Revolution, and thus set up Wedgwood for success. This claim has, in recent decades, been strongly and convincingly debunked.

Take a punt…

I’m pleased to see that Tom Fort’s book Downstream is now on Archive.org to borrow. He follows the course of the Trent in a punt, but first investigates in some detail the river’s moorland source and non-navigable upper reaches. The scan is bad, even by Archive.org standards, but it’s readable.

George Heiron (1929-2001)

On eBay, a fine painting of Stoke Station by George Heiron (1929-2001) with a local train and the North Staffordshire Hotel in the background. Still a very recognisable scene today. His 2000 book The Paintings and Photographs of George Heiron can still be had second-hand for a reasonable amount. One wonders if there are more from Stoke & Staffordshire?

A nice Offa

A fine job, relatively nearby…

Offa’s Dyke Projects Officer. Shropshire Council is seeking an enthusiastic and appropriately experienced Project Officer to deliver a programme of conservation works and public engagement for Offa’s Dyke.