23 July 2019 - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP IN LONDON


THE OLD CURIOSITY 
SHOP IN LONDON

G'day folks,

Here is a quaint little store that is said to have inspired a famous Dickens novel that was only given its name after the book was released. 

 

 Tucked away amongst the buildings of London’s School for Economics is a small, wood-beamed shop. Dating from the 16th century, its sloping roof, overhanging second floor, and uneven Tudor gabling mark it as one of London’s oldest shops. Dwarfed and out of place amidst one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the little creaking shop, constructed from salvaged ship wood, survived not only the Great Fire of London in 1666, but the devastation of the Blitz. Living in neighbouring Bloomsbury, Charles Dickens visited the quaint shop on a number of occasions. Although the name was added after the novel was released, it is thought to have became the inspiration for his 1841 novel, The Old Curiosity Shop.

 

 


  The Old Curiosity Shop of Dickens’ imagination was the home of a virtuous teenage orphan, Nell Trent, and her grandfather. The tragic tale took place in “one of those receptacles for old and curious things which seem to crouch in odd corners of this town and to hide their musty treasures from the public eye in jealousy and distrust.”

 

 The story was originally serialized in 1840, in his weekly periodical, Master Humphrey’s Clock, along with Barnaby Rudge. The Old Curiosity Shop was so popular, legend has it that readers in New York, desperate to find out the conclusion, stormed the wharf of Lower Manhattan when the ship bearing the last installment docked. Oscar Wilde however was less enthused: “One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears…of laughter.”




 The original shop itself started as a dairy, given as a present by King Charles II to one of his many mistresses. Hidden away on Portsmouth Street just south of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the Old Curiosity Shop today is a retailer of high end shoes and is still open for business, as it has been for over 500 hundred years. 



Clancy's comment: What a great survivor, eh? I happen to have a very old framed, and numbered, sketch of this shop which I found at a garage sale many years ago.

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22 July 2019 - A COLLECTION OF RARE WAR PHOTOGRAPHS


A COLLECTION OF 
RARE WAR PHOTOGRAPHS

G'day folks,

Welcome to a collection of rare photographs.





























Clancy's comment: Warfare has certainly changed, eh?

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21 July 2019 - THE SCARS OF WAR ON DESERTED CORREGIDOR ISLAND


THE SCARS OF WAR ON
 DESERTED 
CORREGIDOR ISLAND

G'day folks,

The ruins on a deserted tropical island in the Philippines bear the scars of WWII. 

Located at the entrance to Manila Bay, “Isla ng Corregidor” was identified by the Spaniards as a strategic defense location when they arrived in the 16th century. They named it “Island of the Corrector,” since this was the place where all ships entering Manila would stop for inspection. Since then the fortress island has been the site of many battles, from the Spanish-American War to the period of American colonialism.




The oldest landmark on the island is the lighthouse dated 1853, but much of this lush tropical island is dominated by ruins that reflect the intense fighting that took place in World War II. In addition to defense and battery buildings, there are shops, a movie theater, and a swimming pool, all from the soldiers stationed here many years ago.

 


During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941, Corregidor was the temporary headquarters of the Philippine Government. American and Philippine troops fought desperately to defend the island using tunnels dug into the rock as storage for ammunition and hospitals, but without reinforcements the troops were beaten badly. Corregidor was surrendered to the Japanese by spring of 1942.

In 1945 the tide of war turned against the Japanese. Enduring months of aerial and naval bombardment in the tunnels on the island, they surrendered to American and Philippine forces in February that year. 




Even on a bright, sunny day the place is heavy with memories of what happened here. The buildings and fortifications have been left untouched, which would give the impression that the fighting ended just yesterday if it weren’t for the greenery that has grown over in the decades since their abandonment. Tour guides on the island report they are still finding detritus from the battles of WWII. 

They occasionally come across objects in the jungle undergrowth dating back to even earlier, when Philippines and American families were stationed on the island at the turn of the 20th century.




The expansive tunnels below ground are no doubt the eeriest part of the island. These dark corridors are allegedly haunted by Japanese soldiers who took their own lives before defeat, but whether or not you believe that legend, the tunnels are disturbing for the sheer amount of violence that occurred there.

 







The island is now a designated national monument and war memorial. The ruins have been maintained in memory of the American, Philippine, and Japanese soldiers who fought and died here.



 Clancy's comment: Often we see the extraordinary effort and cost involved in war. This island would be an example of that.

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20 July 2019 - BRESTOVAC SANATORIUM IN ZAGREB FINDS A NEW USE


 BRESTOVAC SANATORIUM 
IN ZAGREB FINDS A NEW USE

G'day folks,

Once a state-of-the-art tuberculosis treatment spa, these ruins are now ruled by paintball players. Hidden in the woods of Zagreb, Croatia, the remains of an old tuberculosis hospital have crumbled away into a haunting ruin. From sanatorium to military hospital to paintball arena, the Brestovac Sanatorium has lived a number of lives.

 

First built in 1909, at the time of its creation, the hospital was one of the finest tuberculosis care facilities in all of Europe. Nestled in the calming mountain woods, it gave its patients a beautiful spot in which to relax and recuperate. But it was not just the scenery that led to the creation of the sanatorium. As the story goes it was actually love that led to the founding of the Brestovac facility.




As the tale goes, Croatian doctor Milivoj Dezman fell in love with a beautiful theater actress known as Lady Sram. Dezman lived for his lady love, so when she came down with tuberculosis, he convinced the city founders to build a hospital to treat the disease, making sure that it was one of the best to accommodate his lover, who was one of the first patients. Sadly Lady Sram is said to have died in 1913, leaving Dezman to operate the hospital for years after.





The sanitarium was used as a military hospital in both of the World Wars, but 1968, the facility had fallen into disrepair, and eventually it was simply abandoned, leaving the main building and a number of other structures to slowly decay into haunting ruins.




Today the site is open for any explorers who want to check out the mouldering hospital remains, but they seem to be used pretty frequently by paintballers who are indiscriminate in their targets, so watch your back.   



Clancy's comment: How often do we find beautiful old buildings that have been abandoned? Too often.

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19 July 2019 - PORTAGE - A GHOST TOWN IN ALASKA


PORTAGE GHOST TOWN
 IN ALASKA

G'day folks,

This post is about the ruins of a town wiped out by the second-largest earthquake in recorded history. 

 

On Good Friday in 1964, everything was normal in Portage, Alaska, until 5:36 p.m. That’s when the second largest earthquake in recorded history hit.

 

  

The 9.2 magnitude earthquake, which had side effects registered in Florida and Texas, lasted four minutes and 38 seconds, but did a devastating amount of damage. The quake raised some areas by as much as 30 feet in elevation and caused many buildings to collapse. The earthquake and the tsunamis it caused killed 139 people in total.





Some of the locations hit were the hamlets of Portage and Girdwood, both southeast of Anchorage. A Portage native described the earthquake as “like riding an open door elevator.” After the aftershocks subsided, all that was left of Portage were ruins and a barren forest. It was decided then that Portage would be abandoned and Girdwood relocated.




Today, the remaining bits of Portage serve as a ghost town; a skeletal reminder of the mining community that once thrived there and the force of nature that  destroyed it.


Clancy's comment: Mm ... Three things I have always had respect for are water, machinery and nature.  

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18 July 2019 - AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE SIENA PHOTO AWARDS


AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHY 
FROM THE 
SIENA PHOTO AWARDS

G'day folks,

This year, the judges of the Siena International Photo Awards had the unenviable task of sifting through no less than 48,000 submissions from 156 countries. Nevertheless, the results are in, and the 20 submissions you’re about to see below are some of the very best entries. Enjoy!

















Clancy's comment: Mm ... Excellent. The average person has no idea what effort is made by photographers to take these shots. Some are lucky moments, but many involve time waiting, especially with wildlife. Perceiving what is about to happen is a large part of taking a sensational picture. Many thanks to these photographers for sharing their work.
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