Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.

2013 September

A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

St Paul’s Gothicised

Victorian England went mad for the medieval, often neglecting or destroying buildings and structures of classical design along the way. Wren’s classical rood screen for Westminster Abbey is probably no great loss, but just imagine if his masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral, had been gothicised.

Just such was imagined by the architectural sketch artist C.A. Nicholson in two drawings he sent to the Architectural Record (albeit in the 1910s, not the Victorian era). Nicholson was inspired by an image printed in a previous issue of the Record showing the front of Peterborough Cathedral transformed into a classic design.

Of course before the Great Fire, Old St Paul’s was a Gothic cathedral.

September 25, 2013 6:30 pm | Link | 3 Comments »

Florence to London on Twenty Euros

Our roving continental correspondent Alexander Shaw recently hitchhiked from Florence to London on a mere twenty euros. Herein he recounts his tale, which in his customary fashion is usually calculated to offend. (Readers are reminded that the writer’s views are his own, not mine).

THERE COMES A POINT in every young man’s life when his trust fund manager goes on holiday. It is fitting that what follows occurred during International Poverty & Homelessness Awareness Week and, certainly, I hope that my experience will raise awareness among the demographics concerned as to how they should conduct themselves.


Let me tell you about poverty: there is poverty, there is urban poverty, and there is urbane poverty. The story of my rapid regression through these strata starts in the billionaire’s playground that is Forte dei Marmi. I had already accepted the invitation when I realised I had blown my last €30 on a bottle of Frescobaldi (I’m not a wine snob, but I only buy from friends). We had arrived in Vieri’s 1988 Posche 911 and being a Friday night in early August, Mina’s Bussola club was chocked to the gunnels with a vast array of Eurotrash. There were refugees from Biarritz, Ibiza clubbers who got rich, Moscow clubbers who fell out with Putin, abstract artists, Botox-pumped bankers wives and industrialists’ daughters from Munich and Frankfurt, all vamped up on HRT, champagne, and Prozac. It was as raucous as the bombing of Dresden, and nearly as fun. Imagine someone had pumped laughing gas into the celebrity arrivals gate at Heathrow, and you’ll get the picture. (more…)

September 24, 2013 9:05 am | Link | 10 Comments »

A Lecture by Andrew Cusack

College of Arms Foundation
and the
Committee on Heraldry
of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

cordially invite you to a talk by



Tuesday 17 September 2013
6:00 PM

Reception to follow

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society
36 West 44th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Open to the public. No charge.
Please rsvp to to reserve a place.

This lecture will provide an overview on the history and evolution of South African heraldry by explaining the significance of the coat of arms of Jan van Riebeeck (1619-1677). Van Riebeeck was the founder of Cape Town and the first governor of the Dutch colony at the Cape.

As the founder of the oldest European settlement in southern Africa, he came to be seen as the father of South Africa after the country was unified in 1910. The central elements of his arms — three annulets or — obtained local, regional, and finally national significance, and influenced the design of a wide variety of South African coats of arms, many of which will be examined in this lecture.

September 11, 2013 11:00 pm | Link | 2 Comments »

Saturday: Day of Fasting & Prayer for Peace in Syria

Given the urgent situation, please see the following from the Fathers of the London (Brompton) Oratory:

London Oratory
Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria

This is in response to the following call to fasting and penance issued by His Holiness Pope Francis:

“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.”

The London Oratory invites you to join the Holy Father in prayer for this urgent intention.

6.00pm Mass for Peace, the Oratory Church

6.45pm-11.00pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Little Oratory

September 5, 2013 7:20 pm | Link | No Comments »
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