Temple of the Muses

I bought some old engravings at auction, a large lot of London around 1828, and also historic buildings ( old castles and the like) of Scotland from the 1790s. There a small number of other UK locations. Before photography this was how places were illustrated, how people learnt about geography, or at least those who had access to books. Speaking of books. A particularly interesting building with a wonderful name that I knew nothing about previously was the ‘Temple of the Muses’, once on Finsbury Square, London.


It was the largest and cheapest bookshop in London (and presumably the country) selling around 1 million books a year. Unfortunately the building burnt down in 1841.

I’ve added a gallery of these old images on the homepage of Geography Photos – see what you can find, and what you can learn about life in the past, how accurate do you think the portrayals are?


Votes for Women

Where did women get the right to vote for the first time?
Denmark granted women’s suffrage in 1915. Near the end of the First World war, Canada, Russia, Germany, and Poland also recognized women’s right to vote. Propertied British women over 30 had the vote in 1918, Dutch women in 1919, and American women won the vote on 26 August 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

UK Representation of the People Act 1918 – key dates

6 February 1918 – The Representation of the People Act is passed giving women aged over 30 and “of property” the vote

21 November 1918 – The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act is passed and allows women to stand for Parliament

14 December 1918 – Women vote in a general election for the first time

1928 – The Equal Franchise Act is passed and all women aged over 21 can now vote

30 May 1929 – Women aged between 21 and 29 vote for the first time


These rare posters are held by Cambridge University Library. I assume that the posters, such as this one produced by the Artists’ Suffrage League, are now in the public domain. I’ve added a small gallery on the homepage of Geography Photos.

Gold from the time of Stonehenge


This gold sun disc is from Jug’s grave, Monkton Farleigh near Bath, dated to 2400 BC not long after the first sarsen stones were erected at Stonehenge.

I have added a new gallery to my homepage of images from the fantastic Wiltshire museum, Devizes. If you are ever down that way it is strongly recommended as a small museum with wonderfully presented archaeological finds of global significance.

Browse through the images here.

All images with the permission of Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, England, UK.

Ipswich Wet Dock – Land Use Change


This was Ipswich Wet Dock in March 1994. I was teaching geography at that time and used to organise field trips for students to study the land use of the area based on them creating plans for how it could be redeveloped. It was still a working dock back then though change was evident as old industries closed and new uses emerged.



This is from January 2018. A total transformation! But it’s interesting to see how some of the old building shapes have been retained in the current designs.


The Blue Grotto, Malta

Very pleasing to have a sale of this picture reported yesterday because it is such a popular subject. It is a major tourist attraction and I was quite fortunate in finding just one boat and to be able wait until it swept around forming a pleasing arc to improve the composition. Many of the other images available either did not have a boat, or had too many boats, or simply a less pleasing – and simple- composition. The boat gives scale to emphasise the real size of the natural arch and limestone cliffs.


The picture has been licensed for use in travel promotion.

Coastal flooding risk at Bawdsey?

At Bawdsey, Suffolk, England the shingle beach has moved inshore, the lagoon has been reduced in size, and beach sediment has accumulated next to the coastal defence flood barrier. The beach is now several metres above the land on the other side of the flood defence wall. A beach is often the best defence against waves but in this case there is such a smooth gradient that in storm conditions the profile will take water up and over the defences. The co-incidence of high tide, low pressure and strong easterly winds could lead to a serious breach here.