Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear is heading to London’s V&A

From corsets and G-strings to jockstraps and long johns – underwear has always had a huge influence and sex and sexuality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

And now a new exhibit dedicated to underwear is heading to London’s legendary VA museum, sponsored by Agent Provocateur and Revlon.

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear will look back at underwear design from the 18th century through to today, with over 200 examples on display.

The museum – which has previously exhibited the likes of Kylie Minogue’s gold hotpants and half of David Bowie’s stage wardrobe – says the exhibit will examine issues of gender, sex, nudity and body image through the items.

It will include designs from Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith.

Tickets go on sale in February 2016.

For more information about Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, visit the official VA website by clicking here.


Old magazines reveal chapter of South London Emergency School’s history

Most children were evacuated out of London during the Second World War but for the ones left behind, the bombsites were their playgrounds.

A recent haul of magazines recovered from what became the South London Emergency School, tells of the everyday walk to war for the girls at Honor Oak School.

Dated 1938 to 1942 the magazines, which recently came into the possession of the Peckham Society, list exam results, university places and form representatives alongside adverts from the Jones and Higgins department store.


The Peckham institution sponsored the magazine and stocked the school’s uniform – a school coat would have set you back 25s and 11d in those days. Editions of the magazine from 1938 told of a procession for the Coronation of King George VI, an inspection from the London County Council (the Ofsted of the day) and a visit to a County Hall to hear the Berlin College of Music singers and an orchestral competition with Mary Datchelor School in Camberwell.

The magazines

Despite the Second World War looming on the horizon a group of senior girls took a trip to Germany and even visited a Hitler Youth Group where they socialised together at a dance.

In 1939 a deputation of girls also attended a conference of the League of Nations Union in London. In 1940 the whole school was evacuated to Reigate, where the ‘native’ pupils would take lessons Monday to Wednesday and Honor Oak pupils, Thursday to Saturday.

The girls mucked in with the harvesting of the wheat crop as there was then a great shortage in farmers who had gone off to the Front.

In 1942 the magazines document when the building became the South London Emergency School for children who had been displaced by the war or had to stay behind with their families. Blast walls were erected on the outer side of some of the classrooms and some of the cloisters were bricked in to form impromptu air raid shelters.

The girls were sent out on collecting salvage missions, described as ‘the work of national importance for old girls and girls leaving school’. In wartime, scouts and school pupils were often tasked with collecting anything from waste fat to paper and tins.

Audrey Putney (nee Cummings) was a pupil at the South London Emergency School between 1942 and 1946. She recollected in a recent edition of the Peckham Society News how lessons would frequently be interrupted by flying bombs.


The magazines



“We were quite amused by the different attitudes of individual teachers at the time. One teacher who was very strict and severe would have us all under the desks at the first sound of a doodlebug and we stayed there until after the bang, while another who was much more casual and friendly chose to ignore the whole thing and we carried on as if nothing was happening,” she wrote.

“During the summer holidays the older girls were allowed to go into the school to us the grounds and some of us took full advantage of this and played endless games of tennis. We would play on a court that was next to an outside air raid shelter. When a flying bomb came over we played until the last minute, dived down into the shelter until we heard the explosion and then came out and resumed our game. However one morning when we came in to play tennis we found that the school had been quite badly blasted by bombs during the night with he result that the upstairs classrooms were covered in broken glass. Some of use decided to go through to the upstairs desks and rescue the textbooks. We then placed the books in plies in their different categorises and left them for the teachers to put in cupboards downstairs. That was the end of our summer tennis.”

“At the end of the holidays when we assembled in our damaged and boarded up hall we were told that we would not be able to use the upstairs classrooms as it was too dangerous. Also no one could remember in which cupboard the hymn books had been placed so we had to sing a hymn to which everyone knew the words. We gave a very rousing rendition of Jerusalem and to this day I never hear Jerusalem sung without being taken back to that occasion.”

The Honor Oak School started life as the Peckham Country Secondary School, which opened in 1906 in Sumner Avenue as a grammar school for girls. In 1931 a new school for 450 girls was built on the site of the Priory Farm in Homestall Road, Dulwich and renamed Honor Oak School. In 1978 Honor Oak lost its grammar school status when it merged with the Friern Girls’ Secondary School on Peckham Rye to become Waverley Comprehensive and latterly Harris Academy.

With thanks to the Peckham Society News.


Christopher Duggan dead aged 57 after hanging himself at home in London

  • Christopher Duggan was found hanged at home in Twickenham, London
  • He was recently appointed to research professorship at Reading university
  • Father-of-two also at start of two-year project at All Soul’s College, Oxford
  • He is survived by two children and his wife, an art historian

Steph Cockroft for MailOnline



Award-winning history professor Christopher Duggan, 57, was found hanged at his home, two days before his 58th birthday

Award-winning history professor Christopher Duggan, 57, was found hanged at his home, two days before his 58th birthday

An award-winning history professor who was an expert on Italy’s fascists hanged himself two days before his 58th birthday, an inquest has heard. 

Professor Christopher Duggan was found at the home in Twickenham, south west London, that he shared with his wife, an art historian.

Before his death earlier this month, the 57-year-old professor had been appointed to a research professorship in the History department of the University of Reading, Berkshire.

The father-of-two had also been at the start of a two-year research project at Oxford University’s All Soul’s College.

A spokesman for the Richmond Coroner’s Court said that an inquest into Professor Duggan’s death had been opened and adjourned for a full inquest to be held in February next year. 

Professor Duggan joined Reading University in 1987 where he lectured in Italian history, politics, culture and language.

He served several times as Head of the Department of Italian Studies and was Head of the School of Languages and European Studies, later Literature and Languages, between 2008 and 2013. He had taken a degree and Masters from Oxford University.

He was awarded the Wolfson Prize for History for his 2012 book ‘Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy’ that was also Political History Book of the Year at the Total Politics Political Book Awards.

His 1994 book ‘A concise History of Italy’ has been lauded as the best general introduction to its subjects available.

Professor Duggan’s work on fascism and Italian History led to him being honoured in 2008 by the Italian President as a Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity.

The title is one rank above a Knighthood and one of the highest civilian honours given to non-Italians.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: ‘We are deeply saddened to hear of Christopher’s death. He was an academic and a colleague of the very highest quality, with a deep love and understanding of Italy and a rigorous and fearless commitment to finding the truth.

‘At a personal level, I got to know Christopher well over the past few years. I always enjoyed our discussions and I learned a lot as he willingly shared his deep and profound insights on all aspects of Italian society.

The father-of-two had also been at the start of a two year research project at Oxford University's All Soul's College (pictured right) 

The father-of-two had also been at the start of a two year research project at Oxford University’s All Soul’s College (pictured right) 

‘He was a hugely impressive and cultured man and I am extraordinarily proud that he made Reading his academic home for almost 30 years. We will all miss him greatly.’

David Robey, Emeritus Professor of Italian at the University of Reading, said: ‘He was not only an extraordinarily able and hard-working man, but also, in hie quiet and reserved way, cultivated, humane, witty, shrewd and a tactful and responsive friends.

‘He was absolutely at the height of his powers as a historian and would have had years and years of productive work ahead of him.

‘He was most fortunate in having the devoted support and the intellectual companionship of his wife.’

His is survived by his daughter and son.

A memorial service for the professor is to be held on Saturday December 12 at the Chapel and All Souls College, Oxford.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see for details. 


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From The Pinnacle to 22 Bishopsgate: A short history of the City of London’s …

The City’s next glass-and-steel megalith, now known as 22 Bishopsgate, has been given planning approval by unanimous vote at a City of London planning committee.

It’s the latest chapter in a saga which stretches back to 2006, when the original curved glass design of The Pinnacle building was given planning permission.

The eye-catching design earned it the nickname of the “Helter Skelter” – but may have also contributed to its downfall. As financial crisis began to set in, work on the building ground to a halt, amid rumours those curved glass sections were costing the developer as much as £1m each.

Now “The Stump” is about to get a new lease of life, one vital question remains. What’s its cute nickname? We’re voting for “The Half-Finished Kitkat”….


In pictures: London Underground through history

London by Design is a permanent exhibition which celebrates the artwork and unusual designs that have adorned the walls of the underground throughout the past century.

Visitors to the London Transport Museum can now follow the creation of the iconic red, white and blue ‘bullseye’ underground sign, and view some original tube maps from the early 20th century.

Here, we bring you some of our favourite images from the exhibition…

Ascot Sunday poster, by Walter E Spradbery, 1924. © London Transport Museum


Watercolour of Oxford Circus (Bakerloo line) station. Architect: Leslie Green. Artist: T Frank Green, 1906. © London Transport Museum


‘Power’ poster by Edward McKnight Kauffer, 1930. © London Transport Museum


Reinohl illustration, yellow De Dion LGOC bus, c1907. © London Transport Museum


A sketch of Winston Churchill by Robert Sargent Austin, 1943. © London Transport Museum


Unused artwork for a timetable booklet by Abram Games. © London Transport Museum

London by Design runs from 6 November 2015-20 May 2016. Tickets are included in the price of museum entry. To find out more, click here.


History beckons in London: Novak Djokovic looks to cap golden 2015 with ATP …

London, UK: Novak Djokovic has history in his sights as the world number one aims to cap the greatest year of his life by winning a fourth successive ATP Tour Finals title.

Even by Djokovic’s already sky-high standards, 2015 has been a golden period for the 10-time Grand Slam winner, who has cemented his position as the sport’s preeminent force with one of the best single-seasons in the Open era.

With 78 wins from his 83 matches over the last 11 months, the 28-year-old Serb has amassed 10 titles including the Australian and US Opens, Wimbledon and a record six Masters tournaments.

Novak Djokovic will look to cap an outstanding year with a win in London. ReutersNovak Djokovic will look to cap an outstanding year with a win in London. Reuters

Novak Djokovic will look to cap an outstanding year with a win in London. Reuters

The prize money from that haul has swelled Djokovic’s bank balance by $16.7 million and underlined his right to be regarded as the world’s best, yet he has shown no signs of slowing down in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Since losing to Roger Federer in the Cincinnati final in August, Djokovic has embarked on a 22-match winning run that has brought him the US Open, the China Open and Masters titles in Shanghai and Paris.

Now Djokovic arrives at London’s O2 Arena hoping to win the prestigious season-ending Tour Finals for a fifth time.

Djokovic, who opens his Tour Finals challenge against Japan’s Kei Nishikori on Sunday, would become the first player to win the event four years in a row if he lifts the trophy on November 22 and, ominously for his rivals, he claims he feels in the form of his life.

“I feel this season is even better than 2011. I’m in love with the game. I really don’t find it that difficult to go out on the practice courts and prepare myself in the off-season,” Djokovic said.

“I always look to set up new goals to try to get as far as possible in terms of my abilities and achievements.”

- Massive priority -With a fearsome record of 37 successive indoor match wins, including 14 at the Tour Finals, few would bet against Djokovic, even with an early showdown against Federer looming in the group stage.

World number three Federer, who starts his 14th straight Tour Finals campaign against Tomas Berdych on Sunday, has a record six Tour Finals titles and has reached the final four times in the last five years.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, defeated by Djokovic in the Wimbledon and the US Open finals, pulled out of last year’s final against Djokovic just hours before the scheduled start due to an injury, but he expects to mount another strong challenge for the title.

“I’ve never had issues getting motivated for this event at the end of the season,” Federer said.

“It’s a massive priority for me and because it’s a priority it helps me play better.

“Indoors has helped my game throughout my career and the idea of playing fellow top 10 players gets me really excited.”

The other group in the round-robin tournament, which features the world’s top eight players, features Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and David Ferrer.

Most of the interest in that group will focus on former Wimbledon champion Murray, who has made it clear his main priority is Great Britain’s attempt to win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936.

Britain face Belgium on clay in Ghent less than a week after the Tour Finals and Murray has spent most of this week practising on that surface at Queen’s Club.

But the world number two, who starts against Spain’s Ferrer on Monday, hopes to make the best of a difficult situation.

“It’s been tricky with my preparation being mainly on the clay but it was never going to be perfect,” Murray said.

“But I would have signed up to be in this situation at the end of the year in comparison to last year and hopefully I can play some good tennis here and in the Davis Cup.”



Lord Mayor’s Show 2015 London parade: This year’s show is set to be the most …

The Lord Mayor’s Show, which rolls through the City’s streets each year, is loved the world over and regarded as the classic piece of English pageantry in the UK calendar.

Since 1215, every newly-elected Lord Mayor has left the Square Mile and travelled to the Royal Courts of Justice in Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown.

Over the centuries this journey has become London’s oldest street party. It moved from river barges to horseback and then into the State Coach – and around it grew a joyful medieval festival known as the Lord Mayor’s Show.

This year is my 24th year as pageantmaster, organising and running the Lord Mayor’s Show. Coordinating such a big event, with such an important history, is a major logistical challenge.

There is a lot of work put into the preparations, from more than 150 organisations that are involved. But for me, the key to getting the big set-piece parts right lies in what’s known as the early morning rehearsal – some of which you can see in the video below.

This is vital to the success of the show. It’s the only time both the horses – and of course the new Lord Mayor – can get used to handling the beautiful state coach, which dates back to 1757.

It’s also the only time the new Lord Mayor can practice getting in and out of the coach and the major ceremonial duties that he will have to perform on the day, such as inspecting the guard of honour outside The Mansion House.

It is a great privilege to have been doing this job for so long. My father did it for the 20 years before I began the role and so my family has been doing this job for 44 years – longer than anybody else in history.

But the real magic of the show lies in the people to whom it gives a voice. This year’s pageant is 7,000 strong, and returning military service personnel, charities, schools and community groups all have a platform.

To celebrate the 800 anniversary, St Mary-le-Bow church will ring out a special 800-change at noon, and Sir Peter Blake has created a special piece artwork for the Show, following in the footsteps of Hogarth and Canaletto.

The pageant today is more popular and relevant than it has ever been. It has incredible public support, and I am proud of the enduring appetite that the people have for it. Around half a million spectators line the streets each year to watch the procession and the fireworks later in the day, and millions more watch live on television.

This year’s show is set to be the most spectacular in its history.


Memphis travellers enjoy rich history, music and plenty of beer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This city loves its music. It protects its history. And it’s really starting to like its beer.

Travellers to Memphis need to know the basics of this Tennessee city nestled along the Mississippi River. It is a capital of blues, rock and roll and soul music, a gritty city where influential musicians like B.B. King, Elvis Presley and Otis Redding lived and worked.

It is a city rich in history, where cotton trading was once the main economic engine, where Confederate and Union gunboats battled on the river during the Civil War, where Martin Luther King Jr. came to support striking city sanitation workers and was assassinated.

And, it’s a city that likes to have fun, whether it’s on world-famous Beale Street or in the breweries that have started making craft beers in recent years.

Here are some essentials for visiting Memphis.


It took 34 years, but the Blues Hall of Fame finally opened in May on South Main Street, a neighbourhood undergoing significant revitalization.

Founded in 1980, the non-profit Blues Foundation has inducted about 130 performers and dozens of others into the Hall of Fame, but only now does it have a brick-and-mortar location for where music-lovers can see memorabilia attached to their favourite blues musicians, from B.B. King to Robert Johnson to Pinetop Perkins.

The building sits across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum and near art galleries, restaurants and bars just south of the downtown area. Artifacts include clothing, paintings, bronze busts, records and magazines tied to the world’s most influential blues masters. There’s also an interactive database where visitors can access biographies, photos, videos, songs and album covers related to specific artists.

The museum is open seven days a week. Admission prices are $10 for adults, $8 for students and free for children.


One of America’s most popular attractions sits in Memphis: Graceland, the home-turned-museum celebrating all things Elvis. The house is open for tours, and the attraction across the street features Elvis-related exhibits, including a neat one displaying vehicles owned and used by Elvis, from a Ferrari to a Harley Davidson. A new 450-room hotel, Guest House at Graceland, is under construction, scheduled to open October 2016.

Other classic music spots include Sun Studio, where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Charlie Rich recorded music; and Stax Records, where Redding, Sam Dave, the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes and others cut songs in the raw, soulful “Memphis sound.”

A walk down Beale Street reveals well-worn, but fun, live music venues in Rum Boogie Cafe and W.C. Handy’s Blues Hall. There are plenty of shops to get that shot glass or T-shirt for a friend or relative. A visit to Blues City Cafe will not disappoint, as it serves four of Memphis’ main food groups: barbecue ribs, fried catfish, hot tamales and Jack Daniel’s.

The National Civil Rights Museum tells the story of the history of the civil rights movement, and its important moments and figures. Built on the location of the old Lorraine Motel — where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 1968 — it features a view of the room where King stayed at the hotel.

Finally, a visit to the Memphis Zoo, ranked as one of the nation’s best zoos annually, is a must-do. Giant pandas, hungry hippos and playful penguins are among the living attractions. During the winter holidays, the zoo has a Christmas lights display and ice skating.


With a few exceptions, most of Memphis’ main tourist attractions are near the downtown area or a short drive from there. Staying at a hotel in the downtown area, such as the opulent Peabody Hotel or the more modern Madison hotel, is key, especially if you don’t want to rent a car.

Memphis taxi service is OK. The city also has Lyft and Uber car services. Tour buses take people to several attractions in one day. Some hotels have airport shuttles.

Those seeking to have fun in the electric Overton Square area, or the upscale-bohemian Cooper-Young neighbourhood, can “Ride the Roo” to get from one stop to another. It’s a bus with a sunglasses-wearing kangaroo on its roof. Riders can shuttle back and forth from the bars and restaurants of Overton Square and Cooper-Young for a $5, all-night pass.


A beer-brewing revolution has hit Memphis in recent years. Labels such as Wiseacre and Memphis Made have become a source of pride for the city, right up there with its great barbecue restaurants or NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies team. The breweries are casual spots offering a variety of craft beers with the large brewing vats right on the premises.

At Memphis Made brewery, long tables give it the feel of a German beer garden, and Wiseacre has an outdoors area for chilling out. They don’t make food, but there is easy access to food trucks and nearby restaurants.


London 2NE: Brothers could enter Holt history books against Romford & Gidea Park

10:33 13 November 2015

James Riley has been selected alongside brothers Hal and Edward in the Holt squad and may become the first ever trio of brother to represent the club at first XV level since its inception in 1961. Picture: Stuart Young

Stuart Young

Holt will be looking to maintain the momentum created by a couple of impressive results when they welcome Romford Gidea Park to Bridge Road for the first time tomorrow.

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Always passionate and committed, this season the Holt players have developed an aura of self belief, as displayed in their 17-17 draw with high-flying Norwich and last week’s 22-21 win at Rochford Hundred, when the team refused to give up, winning at the final hurdle when Graham Ilsley kicked a seemingly impossible touch-line conversion.

Tomorrow the squad will once again face challenges and some important firsts: the first time they have played Romford Gidea Park and the first time three brothers look set to appear for the first XV. Brothers Hal (19), Edward (23) and James (26) Riley have been selected in the squad and may become the first ever trio of brother to represent the club at first XV level since it’s inception in 1961.

The nearest that the club stats can show are three brothers Haddow, who played against Lakenham in the 1995/96 season alongside Ross Haddow’s son James for the Holt third XV.

Another first is the visit of Romford who will be making their debut at Bridge Road and will receive a warm welcome from the Holt supporters.

Romford have played all of their modern era games in the leagues above Holt and have a reputation for being fiercely competitive, with a big set of forwards, but they are struggling in this new league at the moment following their relegation last season, recording just two wins from six outings.

Holt Owls, after putting together one of their strongest sides for last weekend’s fixture, only to be frustrated when Beccles called off, will need a similar side to face league leaders Broadland.

Holt thirds, who put in a heroic performance against Diss last weekend but came away second best, will be hoping to carry the momentum forward with a victory over Lakenham at Hilltops.

n In London 3NE, West Norfolk will look to keep the pressure on leaders Epping when they host Lowestoft and Yarmouth, currently fourth in the table. Southwold host fifth-placed Old Cooperians while Beccles travel to high-flying Harlow, looking to bounce back from a 24-17 home loss to West Norfolk.


London’s V&A Reveals Exhibition, ‘Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear’

UNDERSTANDING UNDERWEAR: London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has revealed plans to launch a new exhibition, “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear,” set to open in April 2016 and to run until March 2017, with sponsorships from Agent Provocateur and Revlon.

Curated by Edwina Ehrman, the exhibition will showcase more than 200 examples of underwear for men and women, tracing the history of underwear design from the 18th century to the present. With various items on display, ranging from a pair of long cotton pants worn by Queen Victoria’s mother to a Sixties Mary Quant body stocking, and a pair of gender-neutral briefs by Acne Studios, the show aims to explore the enduring themes of innovation and luxury, as well as notions of gender and sex.

“Starting the exhibition with a selection of our best men’s and women’s underwear from the 1700s, enables us to offer visitors a much more comprehensive and I hope illuminating introduction to the history of underwear,” said Ehrman.

Corsetry will be another area of focus. By juxtaposing past and present and displaying a restrictive 1890s whalebone and cotton corset alongside modern-day waist-training corsets — famously endorsed by Kim Kardashian — the museum aims to fuel the ongoing debate about body image.

In addition, the show will assess the types of fabrics and craftsmanship used to produce underwear and lingerie, looking at everything from intricate Thirties silk chiffon briefs decorated with lace to Schiaparelli’s nylon hosiery from the Fifties.

“The exhibition’s contents also reflect the current trend for loungewear and recent interest in lingerie dresses,” said Ehrman, who has dedicated a section of the exhibition to the trend. Items on display, including 1840s men’s dressing gowns, Thirties chemise dresses and caftans from the Seventies, aim to examine the evolution of undergarments into loungewear.

A series of garments taken from international designers’ past runway collections will explore the ways designers have often blurred the lines between underwear and outerwear, public and private. Highlights include a spring/summer 1996 muslin dress worn with lace briefs, designed by John Galliano for Givenchy couture, a delicate lace dress by Jean Paul Gaultier from 1989, and a pair of flesh-colored leggings embellished with mirrored glass by Vivienne Westwood.