Tuesday 1 August is Lammas Day when when the first wheat from the harvest is made into a loaf to be the bread consecrated with the wine at a thanksgiving Mass.
Lammas comes from an Anglo Saxon word meaning loaf mass. The ancient custom predates the autumn harvest festival.
There will be the blessing of bread in Borough Market followed by a procession to nearby Southwark Cathedral where the bread will be offered at Mass and consecrated as the Body of Christ.
The Blessing of bread is at Bread Ahead in Cathedral Street at 12.15pm.
Upstream at Cricklade in Wiltshire the hay has been cut on North Meadow where Lammas Day marks the start of grazing. However, the town still observes the old calendar so the gate will not be opened until Old Lammas Day on 12 August.
This later date was when harvest was more likely to have started but this year walkers will find harvest already under way all along the river.
Staines-on-Thames recreation ground is Lammas land where the barons gathered in 1215 before meeting King John on Runnymede to secure Magna Carta.
Nine Elms Bridge is a proposed foot crossing linking St George’s Square in Pimlico with Nine Elms. It would land on the right bank at a point near the new US Embassy.
During the last General Election Labour candidates on both sides of the river strongly opposed the bridge. Marsha de Cordova unexpectedly won Battersea whilst Ibrahim Dogus turned Westminster into a marginal seat.
As with the Garden Bridge there are fears that views and the sweep of open water will be compromised.
The Pimlico consultations are on Friday 30 June 2.30-6.30pm at St Saviour’s Church Hall in St George’s Square SW1 (about 350 yards from the site) and Saturday 1 July 10am-3pm at Pimlico Academy, Lupus Street SW1 (about a quarter of a mile from the site).
The Nine Elms consultations are a week later on Friday 7 July 2-7pm and Saturday 8 July 10am-3pm in Park Court Clubroom on the Doddington Estate off Battersea Park Road SW11 4LD (about a mile from the site).
The first Waterloo Bridge was opened 200 years ago on Wednesday 18 June by the Prince Regent.
The Georgian granite bridge was to have been called the Strand Bridge but after the Battle of Waterloo victory in 1815 it had to be Waterloo Bridge. The opening, in the presence of the Duke of Wellington, was on the second anniversary of the battle..
The Times reported that “the guards wore their new pantaloons”.
The bridge’s 200th anniversary has been marked on the day by the dedication of a bench in the churchyard of St John’s Waterloo.
The seat echoes the present crossing by Giles Gilbert Scott and has been designed by MSMR Architects, based in Waterloo’s Exton Street overlooking the churchyard.
Percy and Mary Shelley took possession of their new home at Marlow in March 1817.
So this year is the bicentenary of their summer in Marlow.
Albion House in West Street was to be their home for a year although at the time they intended to stay longer having purchased a 21 year lease.
They employed a gardener and sowed seeds brought back from Switzerland where Mary had begun to write Frankenstein.
Now during her pregnancy in Marlow she prepared a new handwritten copy for the publisher.
In between there were boat trips up and down the river to nearby Medmenham Abbey, Henley and Maidenhead. Shelley loved the river and had once rowed to Inglesham. He also sat thinking and writing in a boat at Bisham on the right bank.
He walked a lot and sometimes took a woodland path to upstream Medmenham Abbey and back.
In 1817 the High Street was not the direct route to the river crossing. Instead St Peter Street, which now runs into the Thames, was the approach to a white painted wooden road bridge.
Today’s suspension bridge in line with the High Street and The Causeway was not considered for another decade.
With Percy and Mary at Albion House were Claire Clairmont and her baby Allegra by Byron who was in Venice.
Mary’s father William Godwin stayed as did Leigh Hunt and his family.
Shelley’s friend Thomas Love Peacock was also living at 47 West Street, opposite the turning to Oxford, and in his novel Nightmare Abbey gives a picture of the Shelley household.
On Tuesday 2 September Mary gave birth to Clara and the same month she finished her and her husband’s travel narrative A Historyof a Six Weeks’ Tour which was published under Percy’s name in November.
All this time Mary was finding Albion House damp and lacking direct sunshine.
The approach of Christmas saw the couple, despite their lack of regular money, distribute blankets to the poor of Marlow. They were embroidered with the decoration ‘PBS Esq., Marlow, Bucks’.
Do any still exist in the town?
Shelley, who was waiting for his long poem The Revolt of Islam to have its print run completed, spent Boxing Day along the road in Peacock’s house where he started his poem Ozymandias.
New Year’s Day 1818 saw the publication of Mary’s Frankenstein but there was no great public celebration. The title page did not carry the author’s name and her husband had to deny that he was the author.
There were to be no royalties so the couple looked to Percy’s The Revolt of Islam to earn money.
Shelley sent a copy of Frankenstein to Sir Walter Scott who, without knowing that Mary was the author, later praised it in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine.
But that was in March 1818 just days after Mary and Percy had left England.
2018 will see many Frankenstein anniversary events but for Mary her Frankenstein year was really 1817.
NEW LONDON BRIDGE
Sir, Whatever the case for a Garden Bridge (News, Apr 29, leading article, Apr 29; letters May 1), a better idea might be a reconstruction of the medieval Old London Bridge. Surmounted by rows of shops, it would produce a stream of rental income. Its picturesque appearance, including the magnificent Nonsuch House, is known from Hollar’s engraved view. Like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence it would be a draw for tourists and would enhance the attractiveness of the city. Unlike the Garden Bridge, it could attract funding through the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust, whose funds have paid for a number of bridges over the years, including the present London Bridge.
Edmund Gray Oxford