Horniman Merman on QI

The  curious'Merman' figure from the Horniman Museum in Forest Hilll featured in a recent episode of QI, with Stephen Fry and guests including Sara Pascoe, Josh Widdicombe, Phill Jupitus and Alan Davies discussing this strange beast.As Fry mentions, recent testing has confirmed that the figure was made from fish body parts supplemented with wood and ...

Althea Gyles, poet and artist: ‘A Strange Red Haired Girl’

Althea Gyles (right) with Irish revolutionist Constance MarkiewiczThe Irish poet and artist Althea Gyles (1868-1949) was born in County Waterford and moved to London in 1892. She knew Oscar Wilde, W B Yeats (who described her as "a strange red-haired girl, all whose thoughts were set upon painting and poetry"), Constance Markiewicz, Aleister Crowley (with ...

Yeats in London

We are coming up to the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats - he was born in Sandymount, County Dublin on 13 June 1865.Yeats spents some very formative years in London, and next month at South East London Folklore Societu. Yeats authority Niall McDevitt will be giving a talk ...

Forest Hill Street Art: the Walrus

Mural at former bakers' shop at 43 Dartmouth Road, SE23. Commissioned last year by the Forest Hill Society, it refers of course to the famous walrus in the nearby Horniman Museum. The butterflies are Papilio hornimani (Horniman's Swallowtail), a species first identified in Frederick Horniman's collection and named after him.A late 19th century cartoon of  F.J. Horniman, ...

Bine ati venit la Londra de Sud – Romanian Eggs in Lewisham

Bine ati venit la Londra de Sud  - that's 'Welcome to South London' in Romanian (according to Google translate anyway).The press/politician scaremongering about a Romanian invasion of the UK on 1 January 2014 has not been matched by reality has it? But a collection of Romanian painted eggs have made it into Lewisham library. The ...

Siouxsie at the South Bank – and Horniman Juju

I wasn't  quite sure what to expect at the Siouxsie gig at the Royal Festival Hall on Monday night. I thought it might be one of those polite 'an audience with...' sit down South Bank affairs, where ageing punks perform interpretations of Jacques Brel and Kurt Weill and labour through the Great American Songbook. But no, ...