Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Pride of Canterbury

I love local museums - collections of stone age arrow heads, troves of coins, town reconstructions, tributes to local notables, a few stuffed animals and birds (in Dover's case, a stuffed polar bear - why?) and the overriding smell of polish.

The Museum of Canterbury is a good example, housed in the late c14 flint Poor Priests' Hospital (built on the site of an earlier house of the deliciously-named Lambin Frese, an eleventh century 'notorious moneyer').
A series of artist's impressions show the development of the city from Roman times, through the dark ages to medieval times.

One room is taken up with a frieze telling the story of St Thomas a Becket, brilliantly illustrated by Oliver Postgate. His style is immediately recognisable from Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine television programmes, and he describes the work as 'somewhere between James Thurber and the medieval illuminators'.
Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin were Smallfilms, based in a shed near Canterbury where Firmin still lives*. They are truly the pride of Canterbury, gaining honorary doctorates from the University (as did Bagpuss). They gave pleasure to generations and the 40th anniversary of The Clangers was celebrated this weekend. I took one of my daughters, OK?

Another Pride of Canterbury:
being eased into her berth in Dover harbour by a tug, giving stability in the second gale of the week.
The first gale blew a couple of red-throated divers into the harbour (and were initially found by Tony St M); they have stayed around the pier since the weekend. As usual my picture of this species makes the Loch Ness snap look clear, but I was trying to avoid being blown into the water with it.
Maybe the wind today will have blown more birds into the harbour for shelter - check tomorrow. **

*It has been pointed out that Peter Firmin does not live in the shed, but nearby - Ed.
** The two divers were still there, but nothing else had arrived.


Greenie said...

Steve ,
It was nice of you to give your possessions to the museum .
Would love to have seen the shot of you toppling into the water to join the Diver .

Kingsdowner said...

Fred, If those Clangers had been mine, I would not have given them away.
Charming thought on my plight in the teeth of the gale.

Jessica Winder said...

I love old local museums - I used to work in one a long time ago. I have many happy memories of the Clangers and Bagpuss, too - such great imagination by the creators, has given pleasure to so many generations.
Nature watching and photography in the gales is both fun and challenging. It can be incredibly frustrating trying to keep the camera lens free of rain and salt spray. Take care not to get swept away.

Warren Baker said...

Soup Dragon........Cool !!

Mary said...

What a great museum...both building and exhibits. I don't know your TV shows, but I love character toys and hope to never outgrow their magic. Probably why we have a Marvin the Martian and a Yellow Submarine in front of this computer and Doozers by the one upstairs. I like the style of the frieze.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Polar Bear, it was given by a relative of Koettlitz, who was Medical Officer and Geologist on an Arctic mission, from which the poor bear was an unusual memento. He lived and worked in Dover at various times throughout his life (Koettlitz, not the bear).

The polar bear also lived (or not, actually) in the doctor's surgery of Koettlitz's brother... an even more unusual place.

Kingsdowner said...

Anon, thanks for the info on the bear (which has presumably 'worked' in Dover for longer than Koettlitz).

Mary, children can be the most difficult to please, so if they like something, who are we to quibble?

Warren, indeed.

Jessica, can't imagine you in the dust of a museum somehow - more likely to be looking out for spray.

Girl On The Run said...

I love your blog, being a a country girl myself I love the wild life photos and info. As for Oliver Postgate - Noggin the nog was my favourite as a child - his voice was perfect (-:

Girl On The Run said...

Have you been to the splash point under seaford head - it's great when the wind is high (-:

Kingsdowner said...

Hey Girl,
Thanks for reading this, and sor commenting.
I know Splash Point vaguely, but know that Seaford is a fun place to be when the wind is strong.
Noggin is almost my favourite, but Ivor just pips it.