News Round Up

ART lovers are in for a real treat in April, according to The Guardian.

The British Museum will feature a rare lithograph of Edvard Munch’s The Scream as part of Edvard Munch: Love and Angst, the biggest UK exhibition of the Norwegian artist’s prints in 45 years.

The version being displayed at the British Museum is a black and white print, which followed a painting and two drawings of the image.

Exhibition curator Giulia Bartrum commented: “The emotional impact is incredibly important. Munch was deeply, deeply aware of mental instability, mental illness, a huge subject at the time, and that’s what he was trying to portray. Anything which tries to express the inner workings of the mind … has huge resonance today.”

The exhibition features 83 artworks in all, including 50 prints from Oslo’s Munch museum. Other themes include women, with whom Munch had a series of disastrous relationships, and sickness and runs from April 11 to July 21.

 

 

The picturesque Warwickshire town of Henley-in-Arden, where average house prices exceed £460,000, has attained unwanted notoriety this week.

For as the Daily Mirror explains, it tops a list of burglary hotspots in the UK.

A study of more than 2.5 million home insurance quotes over the last two years has identified the worst areas hit by thieves.

According to the survey, Henley-in-Arden has rate of 50.46 claims per 1,000 insurance quotes in the last two years, knocking Guildford, Surrey, off top spot.

 

 

Bad news for UK shops after figures for Christmas shopping habits were released.

An article in the Daily Express says they suffered their worst Christmas for a decade.

Sales flatlined in December from a year earlier, the first time retailers had failed to boost their performance since the financial crisis, as even big discounts failed to attract shoppers.

The joint British Retail Consortium-KPMG report showed that online growth slowed to 5.8 per cent from 7.6 per cent and a separate Barclaycard survey showed a drop in clothing spending for the third straight month in December.

Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said: “Despite a desire to support their local high street, Brits remain cautious amid ongoing economic uncertainty”, noting that nearly half feel less confident about their personal finances than they have done “for many years”.

 

 

The Sun tells us that a 50 year old time capsule hidden in a wall at the University of Stirling in Scotland has been opened revealing cash, whisky and old sporting relics.

The box was sealed in 1969 and built into the university's Gannochy Sports Centre - which is currently undergoing a £20million redevelopment.

Contents included old photos, cricket, tennis and squash balls, exam papers, editions of the Stirling Observer and Glasgow Herald and a bottle of Bell's whiskey.

Prof Malcolm MacLeod, the university's senior deputy principal, commented: “The contents are in remarkably good condition and provide an intriguing snapshot of campus life in the early years of this university, and Scotland as a whole in the late 1960s.”

 

 

The Guardian has put independent book shops in the UK under the spotlight, reporting that

official figures from the Booksellers Association revealing a growth in numbers for the second year in a row.

Apparently the numbers had declined every year since 1995 but 2017 marked a tiny turnaround: and now latest membership numbers has shown an increase in the number of independents from 15 to 883.

Reference list

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

The Sun (www.thesun.co.uk)

THE owners of a cat which had been missing for FIVE years have been reunited with their pet, reports the BBC.

Seven year old Rozy escaped during a visit to the vets in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire in 2013.

Despite scouring the surrounding streets searching for her and putting up posters, owner Vicky Stokes could not find the cat.

But when a bedraggled Roxy started hanging around in Amy Ward's garden recently, she took her in.

She took her back to the very same vets she had disappeared from and as she was microchipped, they were able to trace her owner.

Vicky said: “She is our little Christmas miracle, we are totally elated. I thought she was dead but she seems OK, we are so grateful to Amy for bringing her in.”

 

 

The Daily Mirror tells us that a rare piece of Second World War memorabilia involving the 'Great Escape' from the Stalag Luft 111 camp in Poland has been sold for £3,200.

The gold caterpillar badge was awarded to Flight Lieutenant Bram van der Stok after he joined the unofficial Caterpillar Club for RAF airmen who had bailed out over land.

He parachuted from his Spitfire into Nazi-occupied northern France in 1942, which led to his capture and imprisonment.

In March 1944, with 75 others, he took part in the Great Escape, immortalised in the 1963 film starring Steve McQueen - in which parts of van der Stok's story were played by James Coburn.

Flt Lt van der Stok was one of only three to evade recapture and eventually reached Britain via Gibraltar.

The badge was auctioned by Lockdales in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, selling for five times its £600 estimate.

 

 

Still on a war theme, the Daily Express reports that fisherman Glenn Gallager netted a live Second World War German bomb off the coast of Largs, in North Ayrshire, Scotland.

Glenn felt an unusually heavy object tugging at the nets and lugged it onboard his boat, The Two Boys, initially mistaking it for a boiler but it turned out to be a Mark 7 Second World War Two depth charge.

Glenn commented: “When we pulled it out the weight nearly tipped us over. The bottom of the boat went right over, we nearly capsized.”

The bomb was later detonated at sea by the Royal Navy.

 

 

When he was a young boy, Michael Woodfield, from Warwickshire, went to see the film Zulu starring Michael Caine and was so impressed by the bravery shown by both sides in the Battle of Rorke's Drift in 1879 that he decided to collect Zulu artefacts.

Now, according to the Daily Express, he selling his collection of 120 artefacts accumulated over 40 years.

At the battle, the 140-strong British garrison defied all odds to defend their station from 4,000 Zulu warriors.

Items for sale include a rare 1870s Zulu battle shield covered in white fur, measuring 4ft by 2ft, which is valued at £1,500.

Cartridge cases, bullet heads and brass buckle fittings from the battles are set to sell for £1,000 and a Zulu executioner's "knobkerrie", with a bulbous head covered in metal hobnails, is valued at £500.

A spokesman for C&T Auctioneers of Ashford, Kent, said: “The defence of the mission station at Rorke's Drift was one of the most historic and recognised actions in British military history. It is a high quality collection which will serve as Mr Woodfield's pension fund.”

Reference list
The Express (www.express.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

ACCORDING to an article in The Guardian newspaper, conservationists could release wildcats captured from other European countries into the Scottish Highlands.

Recent genetic testing by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland of 276 Scottish wildcat samples found those in the wild are so heavily interbred with domestic cats that they are close to becoming functionally extinct.

It is believed the trend could be reversed by capturing pure-bred wildcats on the continent and releasing them in isolated and unspoilt parts of the Highlands, hoping they can replenish the Scottish population with pure wildcat DNA.

 

 

On display in the Isle of Man is a tin of mince pies baked during World War Two which was discovered preserved under the floorboards of a hotel.

The BBC reports that they were a wartime gift from a mother to her sailor son, which were uncovered during renovation work at the Loch Hotel in Douglas in 1998 but later left forgotten in storage at the Manx Museum.

Matthew Richardson, curator of social history for Manx National Heritage, said they were a “unique" reflection of the “human” stories behind the war.

It is thought that air-tight conditions under the hotel floor may have helped preserve the treats for almost 80 years.

Hotels and boarding houses along Douglas promenade were used to house soldiers and sailors during the war and Mr Richardson believes the pies may have been concealed under the floorboards to prevent them from being stolen by other soldiers.

 

 

According to The Independent, the Government is considering forcing shoppers to pay double the current 5p charge for carrier bags at all stores across England. And the new 10p charge will apply to all shops, not just large retailers.

An estimated 3.6 billion single-use bags are supplied annually by smaller retailers which are exempt from the current 5p bag levy.

 

 

The Tate Museum in London has acquired four watercolours of working women by the suffragette and human rights campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst using funds from the billionaire Denise Coates.

The Guardian reports the paintings show women at work in the cotton mills of Glasgow and the potteries of Staffordshire, and are part of a series that Pankhurst made as she toured industrial working environments in 1907.

Helen Pankhurst, Sylvia’s granddaughter, said the family was delighted that Tate had acquired some of the paintings.

“Sylvia was an artist as well as a champion of working women’s rights, her first passion not as well known as her second. In these beautiful pieces these interests are powerfully combined.”

 

 

Professor Stephen Hawking and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have been named on a shortlist on figures who could feature on the new £50 note.

The Independent says that Bank of England governor Mark Carney had previously announced that the new polymer note would celebrate British achievement in science and that only people making a contribution to scientific fields would be deemed eligible,.

But explaining why Margaret Thatcher had been included in the shortlist, a Bank spokesman said: “She had a degree in chemistry, [and] went on to work as a research chemist – famously working on the research team which helped invent soft scoop ice cream.”

Reference list:
The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

SALES of cactus in the UK have 'spiked' says an article in the Daily Mail who report that one national garden centre chain claims sales have gone up by more than 50 per cent.

Apparently the Christmas craze for cacti is the culmination of a trend that has seen them become the hottest plants in Britain this year.

Eddy Harris, secretary of the British Cactus and Succulent Society (BCSS) commented: “Owners — young people especially — love them because they're very easy to look after. You only have to water them during the growing months, typically March to October, and even then it's once a week.”

 

 

Staying in the UK is a renowned piece of Salvador Dalí surrealist artwork after it was acquired for £853,000 by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS).

The Guardian reports that the 'lobster telephone' had been sold at a Christie’s auction to a foreign buyer but was regarded as too important to be allowed to leave the country.

The lobster phone was made in 1938, one of 11 commissioned by Edward James, the eccentric and wealthy patron of surrealist artists. The lobsters were made to fit bakelite telephones at his house in Wimpole Street, central London, and his country house Monkton in West Sussex

Government ministers placed an export bar on the item to allow a UK gallery time to raise the necessary funds.

The NSG’s director of modern and contemporary art Simon Groom, said :“This major acquisition cements our position as one of the world’s greatest collections of surrealist art … Before this acquisition we had nothing of this kind.”

 

 

A survey by Duracell found that the average home on Christmas morning had 30 presents opened with the first chocolate eaten as early as 11.53am.

A Daily Mirror story says that while parents will spend two hours and 16 minutes playing with their children and their new toys, the average youngster will cry at 10.28am because their flustered mum and dad can’t get their new toys to work!

The study of 2,000 adults, including almost 1,000 parents of children aged under 18, found the average child wakes up at 6.07am – 75 minutes earlier than on a ‘normal’ morning.

 

 

Big boost for young opera lovers according to The Guardian.

English National Opera is to offer under-18s free Saturday night tickets in a bid to attract the next generation of fans.

ENO chief executive Stuart Murphy is quoted as saying: “We were founded on the belief that opera is for everyone. Removing cost as a barrier to entry for under-18s is a seismic leap forward for ENO and for opera as a whole.”

 

 

The Independent newspaper tells us that Chester Zoo has received more than £120,000 in public donations after a fire which killed a number of animals.

Keepers were able to move all the zoo’s mammal species to safety – including its group of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills but some frogs, fish, insects and small birds, also housed in the Monsoon Forest habitat building, could not be saved, leaving staff “heartbroken”.

The zoo described it as “one of the toughest days in our long history”.

 

 

Stories about important women in the history of London transport are to be featured in new project, Where Are All the Women?, at the London Transport Museum, says The Guardian.

They include the women of Willesden garage who sparked a nationwide strike over equal pay in 1918, Joy Jarvis, who designed London Transport’s distinctive “roundel” seat fabrics, and the first female tube driver Hannah Dadds.

A museum spokeswoman said:“We are asking people to delve into their family history and tell us about any notable female relatives, ancestors, friends or colleagues who may have worked in the transport industry in the past.”

 

 

According to a report featured on the BBC, Britain has twice as many shops as it needs.

Retailer Sir John Timpson, who was looking at the country's high streets, said local councils must be given more money to turn town centres into communities and meeting places, adding that each town centre needed to establish a task force to address issues such as planning.

“It's not just about shopping, it's about communities and creating a hub for entertainment, medical facilities, housing. We probably have about twice as many shops as we needs. But we are short of housing.”

A report last month by accountancy firm PwC found that about 14 shops are closing every day, with High Streets face their toughest trading climate in five years.

Reference list
The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

FANCY working for the Queen?

The Daily Mirror tells us that Buckingham Palace is seeking a housekeeping assistant.

The job comes with the offer of accommodation but the salary is expected to be only £16,000 and applicants must be willing to travel to the Queen's various homes across the UK.

You will be expected to work Monday to Sunday, five days out of seven.

The advert for the job reads: “This is a career pathway in hospitality that will develop your housekeeping skills and expertise.

“Joining our professional team, you'll upkeep, clean and care for a wide range of interiors and items, ensuring they're presented to their very best.

“Learning from your colleagues, you'll gain the specialist professional skills needed, always aiming for the highest standards. And you’ll take care of guests and work front-of-house to support special events too.”

 

 

Two famous fictional British exports, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, are at the centre of 'live' immersive attractions aimed at attracting foreign tourists to the UK, says The Guardian.

A Sherlock-themed interactive game, featuring the actor Benedict Cumberbatch and other cast members of the television show, has opened in west London.

Next month a “escape room” experience based on Doctor Who is to open in Bristol before visiting out across five other English cities.

 

 

The toll booths on the Severn bridges, which have been in place since 1966, are being removed, reports the BBC, which means that the two motorway crossings into south Wales will be toll free, having been returned to public ownership.

Collector Deborah Hitchins, who is being made redundant, commented: “The bridge tolls have become a tradition over the past 50 years and paying the toll always feels a little begrudgingly symbolic and gives many a feeling of coming home.

"If you're crossing the bridges, by all means, be happy that you won't have to pay for much longer. But also remember that there won't be anyone to welcome you to Wales anymore."

About 25 million journeys a year are made across the two bridges and the Welsh Government estimates the abolition of the tolls will give a £100m boost to the Welsh economy and a £1,400 annual boost to commuters.

 

 

Key changes to the World Pie Eating Championships at Harry's Bar in Wigan, Greater Manchester...chicken will be used as a filling because of fears the traditional meat and potato makes eaters break wind.

The Daily Mirror was told by organiser Tony Callaghan, owner of contest venue Harry’s Bar in “We’re steering things away from red meat this year for health considerations and also to avoid the methane issue.”

 

 

An article in The Guardian newspaper explains that the journals of Norwegian Tryggve Gran, who discovered the of the frozen body of British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott in the Antarctic in 1912, have sold for £150,000.

He was part of the 11-man search party that set off from Cape Evans to find the missing Scott and his team.

Gran’s journal records how he and his team found the bodies of Scott – who he refers to as “The Owner” – and his companions on November 12 1912. They were put up for sale by his son, Herman.

Reference list
The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)