Local Heart, Global Soul

September 18, 2013

History …And Murder in The Stones…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page of my last summer’s diary… and whilst you are looking through some of the following photographs of Canterbury Cathedral’s amazing interior, here are a few snippets from  The Cathedral and Wikipedia websites.

Canterbury Cathedral’s Norman History:

The cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1067, a year after the Norman Conquest.

Rebuilding began in 1070 under the first Norman archbishop, Lanfranc (1070–77) who cleared the ruins and reconstructed the cathedral to a design based closely on that of the  Abbey of St. Etienne in Caen,  where he had previously been abbot, using stone brought from France.

The new church, its central axis about 5m south of that of its predecessor,  was a cruciform building, with an aisled nave of nine bays, a pair of towers at the west end, aiseless transepts with apsidal chapels, a low crossing tower, and a short choir ending in three apses. It was dedicated in 1077.

After this time, the responsibility for the rebuilding or improvement of the cathedral’s fabric was largely left in the hands of the priors.  Following the election of Prior Ernulf  in 1096, Lanfranc’s inadequate east end was demolished, and replaced with an eastern arm 198 feet long, doubling the length of the cathedral.

It was raised above a large and elaborately decorated crypt. Ernulf was succeeded in 1107 by Conrad, who completed the work by 1126. The new choir took the form of a complete church in itself, with its own transepts; the east end was semicircular in plan, with three chapels opening off an ambulatory.  A free standing campanile  was built on a mound in the cathedral precinct in about 1160.

Though named after the sixth century founding archbishop, The Choir of St. Augustine  may date from the Norman period. Its first recorded use is in 1205.

Martyrdom of Thomas Becket

A pivotal moment in the history of the Cathedral was the murder of  Thomas Becket (also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket; c. 1118 (or 1120) – 29 December 1170). Thomas Becket was the Archbishop of  Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170.

He was killed  in the north-west transept (also known as the Martyrdom) on Tuesday 29 December 1170 by knights of King Henry II. The king had frequent conflicts with the strong-willed Becket over the rights and privileges of the Church and is said to have exclaimed in frustration, “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?”

The knights took it literally and murdered Becket in his own cathedral. Soon after his death, Becket  was canonised by Pope Alexander III.The posthumous veneration of Becket made the Cathedral a place of pilgrimage. This brought both the need to expand the Cathedral, and the wealth that made it possible.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I only realised that we weren’t meant to take photos in the vaults after I’d already taken one… (which is why there is only this single photo and no more)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Commemorating Thomas Becket…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I think the candle that is the shrine to him was supposed to have been lit…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

In my personal opinion, Velvetine got the two best shots of this series of photographs…  detail in the foreground and the interesting ceiling behind draws your eye ever deeper inwards…

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Cathedral

February 8, 2011

The Interior Design Craze that led to a Global Giant…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post in my “Billboard” series, discovering the old and new behind the The Haags Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive) Billboards that were set up for the short time to celebrate their 125 year anniversary.

This building shows the headquarters of the Royal Dutch Shell Group on the de Carel van Bylandtlaan in the Hague.

The text on the billboard says: “Bataafsche Petroleummaatschappij aan de Carel van Bylandtlaan circa 1920

…which is a little hard to translate literally, so maybe it’s easier to  tell you that the “de Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij”  refers to an old Dutch oil company which was a predecessor of  NAM Nederlands aardgas maatschappi (Dutch Natural Gas company).
Carel van Bylandtlaan” is the street name where the building is located and where the billboard photo was taken in 1920.

The first thing that is immediately apparent is that the building has been greatly expanded… but Wow, without the billboard  to compare things to, you would never know. If only more “extensions” these days could be so sympathetically done!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I took photos of the building and wanted to take some more detailed close ups of the ironwork on the doors. However, the buildings’ security staff came out and said that whilst they were happy for me to photograph the building itself,  to please not photograph any closeups of the doors.

Therefore, you’ll have to make do with a close-up of part of the stonework  further up instead.

I did some research on the company and via their website found various bits of information which I have written up here…

Marcus Samuel was a London antique dealer who wanted to expand his business.

In 1833 he added oriental shells to his stock to capitalize on the new craze of using them in interior design.  Demand grew to the extent that he began importing shells from the Far East, thus began Marcus Samuel’s import and export business.

By 1886 the business was in the hands of sons Sam and Marcus Samuel junior and  well established in the export of machinery, tools and textiles, and the import of rice. copper, silk and china to and from the Far East and also the trade in commodities of sugar, flour and wheat worldwide.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On a trip to Japan, Marcus jr.  became aware of the  newly developing oil trade and saw a solution for a problem in the industry. Oil was being transported in barrels, which were prone to leaking and their shape did not best utilize the space on the holds of the ships transporting them.

Marcus and Sam commissioned  steamers that could hold oil in large compartments, then thus the first bulk oil tanker the “Murex” was born.

They quietly built bulk oil storage units at ports, using for the first time, the new Suez Canal.
They worked quietly and quickly so that news would not leak out to the dominant oil company of the day, Rockefeller’s “Standard Oil“.

The maiden voyage of the “Murex” through the Suez Canal revolutionised oil transportation and greatly reduced the cost by vastly increasing the volume that could be carried per ship.
Marcus jr and Sam initially called their company “The Tank Syndicate” but in 1897 renamed it the “Shell Transport and Trading Company.”

When a major oilfield was discovered in Sumatra, J.B August Kessler of the “Royal Dutch” company oversaw the building of pipelines and a refinery at Pankalan Brandan. Kessler was joined in 1896 by a young marketing director, Henry Deterding who was instrumental within the company until the outbreak of World War Two.

Marcus Samuel’s dependence on his Russian producers left him vulnerable and he decided to seek other sources of oil, and the Far East was the next logical step. In Borneo he came up against Royal Dutch Petroleum, one of the region’s biggest competitors.

The two companies joined forces to protect themselves against the might of Standard Oil, forming a sales organisation in 1903, called the “Asiatic Petroleum Company“. They went on to discover of oil in Texas.

Full merger of the two companies into the “Royal Dutch Shell Group” came in 1907. There were two separate holding companies with Royal Dutch taking 60% of earnings and Shell Transport taking 40%. The merger transformed the fortunes of both companies. Under the management of Henry Deterding they turned from struggling entities to successful enterprises within twelve months.

In 1904, the scallop shell or “pecten” replaced Shell Transport’s first marketing logo, a mussel shell. In various forms it has remained in use ever since, becoming one of the best known corporate symbols in the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 25, 2011

Watch how the City Marches into the Market Gardens…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Haags Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive ) celebrated it’s 125th  by placing many large billboards of photographs  around the city.

All of them are photos of various points in the city taken between 20 and 150 years ago… and all are situated as close to the spot as possible (and where practical) to where the original photos were taken, so that viewer of the billboard can see both the past and present views.

I took photos of many of them whilst they were on view.

I am standing taking these photos on a four-way intersection. As per usual with Dutch streets,  streets often change names at intersections. In this case each of the branches of the four-way intersection sports a different name.

If you are looking towards Tram Number 3 then the street you see will be Arnold Spoelplein, the same street behind you on the other side of the intersection then changes name to Lisztstraat.

If you have Arnold Spoelplein on your left side and Lisztstraat on your right, then the road in front of you (pointing in the direction of Laan Van Meerdervoort) will be Aaltje Noordewierstraat and behind you is then Tramstraat (upon which ironically there are no tram lines LOL).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Thus the four streets  leading away from this one spot each have different names .. but in general, Tramstraat leads more to the district called Loosduinen and Aaltje Noordewierstraat leads to a district called Waldeck .

So, Now that I have you acquainted with the area, we can proceed to the billboard photo.

The Text on the billboard says: “Gezicht vanaf de verffabriek Premier op een deel van de toekomstige wijk Waldeck. Foto: Dienst Stadsontwikkeling en Volkshuisvesting, maat 1949.”

Translation: View from the  “Premier” paint factory towards a part of the future neighbourhood Waldeck. Photo:  Urban Development and Housing Department , March 1949.

As you can see, this area has changed vastly since 1949.  Long gone are the market gardens that backed onto what used to be the outer edge of the city.

Today the view includes the  Loosduinen terminus of  The Hague’s Tram Line 3, apartments blocks, general housing  and a former post office (building by the empty tram halt with orange signs).  As per recent city council environmental efforts, the grasses by the tram stop have not been mown in the deliberate attempt to encourage bees, insects and butterflies.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just think…  probably seventy to eighty years ago the caterpillar ancestors of these butterflies had probably been munching on lettuce and cabbage leaves in the market gardens.

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