Unleashing the history junkie…

Last week I decided to unleash my inner history junkie onto Instagram and committed to regularly sharing pictures and snippets of history-related trivia on my gallery there.

If you’ve been coming here to my blog for any length of time, you’ll already know that exploring British history through visiting the places where it happened is the thing I want to be doing most if I’m not stitching – in fact the truth is that some days I actually want to do it more!

The thing that really gets me excited is knowing that there’s such a massive amount of heritage surrounding us, wherever you are in Britain, there will be something fascinating nearby, quite possibly even under your feet. We can trace our history back through the centuries and visit places where our ancestors stood thousands of years ago right up to the present.

But it makes me really sad that many people only ever get to see the major attractions, not knowing that they’re missing a huge wealth of other historic sites all with amazing stories to tell.

So, I’ve decided that my mission is to wave the flag for the historic sites in Britain that don’t generally feature on the Top 10 lists of places to visit. Because wonderful though Stonehenge, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle undoubtedly are, they’re just the tip of a massive iceberg of possibilities and I hope to make a small contribution by shouting out about the sites that don’t get quite so much attention and to help them have their stories heard.

My plan is to come here once a week and talk about somewhere I think is pretty special. (I’ll post pictures on Instagram too).

Now if you’re reading this and thinking ‘oh crikey no, I had enough of history at school thank you very much, I can’t think of anything worse, I’m off to surf the web for a new knitting pattern’ all I can say is that I hope to avoid being a bore. There are some fabulously informative history websites (which I happen to love), but I’m not intending to do more of the same. I’m not a historian, just a history geek who loves seeing for herself, so I’m not going to be writing chapter and verse guide books, instead I aim to tempt you with titbits of information, excite you with little connections and thrill you with trivia.

I know I’m not the only history-junkie out there, so if you’re currently hiding your history habit, now is the time to come out and join me. Let me know what it is that really gets your history juices flowing. What are the British heritage places you think the world should hear about? What is it that you enjoy most about making your own history trips? Where do you really want to see but haven’t been to yet? If you’re reading this outside Britain, what would you love to see explored here? How could I bring our historic past alive for you?

I’d love it if you’d leave comments here or on Twitter (I’m @AnnPawley) or Instagram (dreaminginstitches). Let’s start talking history and see if we can spread the word.



15 thoughts on “Unleashing the history junkie…

  1. If anyone can – you bring history alive – lookng forward to your history lessons – book me in. When we did the History of Fashion for my Fashion Degree I loved nothing better than visiting old churches looking at the stone / marble effigies for clues of what was worn at the time of their death. I aslo enjoyed being shown the behind scenes stores of clothing in our local Museum in Cheltenham and Bath and wondering at the lives of the people who they must have belonged to.

    1. Thank you so much – and yes, I know exactly what you mean about using effigies for costume clues, I think that was one of the first things that really drew me into churches – I had (still have in fact) a book about historic costumes that references exactly that. The costume museum in Bath is a family favourite, they have grown-up dressing-up clothes!!! The daughters had the time of their lives last time we went.

      1. Our lecturer at art college was the famous author of Historical costume Nancy Bradfield – we were able to access and in some cases try on some of the costumes at the Snowshill Manor collection. She brought historical fashion alive for me and was the one that inspired me to draw detailed drawings of the inside construction of garments. We aslo trecked around the neighbouring counties churches looking at effigies with her – wonderful lady.

  2. What a wonderful idea. I never had much time for history (excuse the pun) but since retiring 3 years ago and moving to the southern Welsh Marches I’ve become interested, passionate, obsessed…mostly by the medieval history around me but also remnants of the industrial heritage of the area. I love to sit quietly in an old country church or amongst the ruins of a Norman castle, close my eyes and imagine life 800 years ago when the voices around me would have been speaking Welsh or Norman French. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts, Anny x

    1. Ah well, you know you’re living my dream don’t you! When people ask me why we want to go and live ‘out west’ I always give them the same answer ‘because I want castles’ – and it’s absolutely true. I lived in Worcestershire when I was growing up and spent so much time in the Marches I feel that that’s really where my heart lies, so yes, I am 100% with you. Thanks so much x

  3. Go for it – I’d love to read more of your history posts! I also wax enthusiastic about the history of our local Northumbrian castles – many of them barely ever visited or noticed, but with so many powerful stories associated with these places.

    1. Oh well, yes of course you are in such a magnificent county – castles, abbeys, tower houses, Romans – you’ve got the lot! Warkworth is one of my all time favourite castles, and you’re right, why don’t more people know about them? If I can get into my stride with this project, perhaps you’d consider writing some posts about them? (I have no idea how that works, but would be delighted to try).

      1. I’ve been meaning to write about Northumbrian castles for some time – so great idea! See where it takes you. I’m particularly interested in the idea of border lands – here between England and Scotland, and also between England and Wales (had a fantastic holiday once in the Welsh Marches checking out castles). Just so much to explore, especially as you say in your post above, about the lesser-known historic buildings.

        1. Fantastic, sounds like a perfect match! The Welsh Marches are my particular favourites, and with luck and a fair wind where I hope to live before tooooooo long… Let’s keep in touch x

    1. Ah yes, all those amazing abbeys – did you know I harbour designs on a little mini-house at Mount Grace, I could see myself being quite happy their with a loom and a garden. And yes, any excuse for a trip to Hadrian’s Wall. keep the suggestions coming xxx

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