|Got my scanner working (redux)
||[Nov. 20th, 2014|09:01 pm]
For some reason, my scanner had gone off the idea of OCR. I could scan images, as long as I allowed the machine to make all the decisions, in full auto mode, but I couldn't scan text to text. This evening durham_rambler gave it a good talking to, and we have reached an accommodation.
So, to celebrate, some text - from 'Notes & Queries', The Guardian, Friday 12 February 1993.
QUESTION: Is there any truth in the suggestion that sculptures of nude males in the British Museum had their sexual appendages diligently removed by the Victorians?
□ MR G JERMAN is not entirely correct about the demise of the original fig leaf on the Achilles statue at Hyde Park Corner (Notes & Queries, January 22). I can assure your readers that it was not apt to come loose, nor did it fall off in the frost. It required a great deal of hard work with a hacksaw, the blades of which snapped frequently, to get the fig leaf away. It was secured by three very solid brass bolts, and it was necessary to get a park chair in order to climb up on to the plinth of the statue and then to put a second chair between the feet of Achilles in order to reach up between his legs to get at the fig leaf. As I remember, it took us about six hours of sawing on different nights to get through the three bolts. We were fortified by pints of beer from The Nag's Head in Kinnerton Street.
We had in mind attaching the fig leaf to the door of London Rowing Club at Putney as a spectacular door knob but it was so heavy it proved unsuitable.
Last year I spoke to the Ministry of Works officer in charge of the statues in Hyde Park and asked whether it would be acceptable if I were to return the fig leaf and pay for its reinstatement or whether she would take a serious view that we had been defacing a work of art. Happily, she thought the whole affair very amusing and I paid a substantial sum for its reinstatement. So, Achilles is now again wearing his original "underwear" — a much more impressive figleaf than his temporary one in the 1960s. — Peter R C Coni, OBE, QC, London SW1.
And, from The Guardian of Wednesday 4 August 1993, a reprint from a still earlier edition:
The lasses at the pit-brow
August 4, 1911
"Well, I don't know!" I can almost hear the well-worn phrase, expressive alike of surprise, consternation and indignation, going up from a hundred homes as it becomes realised that the younger daughters now at school are to be debarred from "working on the screens" and that the occupation of their elder sisters, their cousins and aunts, and even their mothers is to be officially scheduled as degrading and improper. The proposal is a perfect example of legislation which is prompted by the most admirable intentions and marred only by an ignorance of the conditions with which it proposes to deal.
What is the pit-brow lass really like? In Lancashire, at all events, you may always tell her, if you meet her coming away from work, by the scarlet band of flannel across her forehead, which gives her a strangely foreign aspect. The bandage is worn to protect her hair from the coal dust while she is at work, and as she swings along homeward in her clogs you see but a triangle of it under the shawl which invariably covers her head and shoulders. It is a curiously becoming head-dress and one would not willingly miss from our monotonous streets the sight of these light-hearted home-coming girls. For their superior health and vigour is no fairy-tale. They work almost in the open air though sheltered from rain. Their work is arduous enough, but it is not high-pressure work and does not involve the kind of strain, either muscular or nervous, that is particularly injurious to the physique of women. The coal as it leaves the screens passes slowly before them on an endless band, and as it travels along they remove the "dirt" and deftly handling large lumps and smaller ones send the mineral duly clarified to its proper destination.
Compare this with the strain on the "four-loom weaver" or the card-room girl. A good index of the comparative healthiness of different occupations is the incidence of phthisis among those engaged in them and judged by this standard there is no doubt as to the advantages of the pit-brow girl over her sister in the mill.