All entries for October 2010

October 28, 2010

'Deserving' or 'undeserving' poor?

Writing about web page


Arguments over whether recipients of state aid or charity are 'deserving' of assistance (or are in fact exploiting the system) have been raging since at least the 1601 Act for the Relief of the Poor. This week's document is a mock application form for charitable relief from the Whitehall Charity Organisation Committee, filled in on behalf of Jesus Christ by Father Charles Marson in 1886. Marson was a Catholic priest and had served as a curate in the East End of London. Through the form, he satirises the Charity Organisation Committee's methods of assessing charitable cases according to their perceived worthiness, rather than purely by their financial need.

The application form is included in the Modern Records Centre resources for the History module 'The Victorian City'. The website also includes examples of the opposing point of view - notably extracts from a speech by Rev. E. Gurdon, Rector of St Anne's, Limehouse, to a meeting of the Council of the London Charity Organisation Society, in which he complains that "careless and indisciminate relief" has resulted in the replacement of the independent East-Ender with a "professional whiner and loafing cadger".

Click on the 'thumbnail' for a larger image.

October 21, 2010

Cuts: so what's new?

Anti-cuts handbill

"We must combine the support of all sections of the community if the present disastrous course of Government policy is to be reversed."

Here is an illustration of  the fact that the cuts in public expenditure which were recently outlined in the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, and the opposition which they have aroused, are just the latest manifestations of a recurring theme in British political history. 

This punchy handbill is one of a number of items collected at a national lobby of Parliament held on on 17 November 1976.  It forms part of the Modern Record Centre's extensive miscellaneous series of political ephemera.  The cuts were the price demanded by the International Monetary Fund for the large loan which the Labour Government had sought in order to address the country's economic difficulties.  As in 2010, one of the main arguments made against such cuts was that a contraction of the public sector would have a damaging knock-on effect on the wider economy.  The role of the money markets was also a controversial issue then as now. 

On the other side of the handbill the remedies proposed by the Trades Union Congress that September are summarised.  They included selective import controls, the tightening of exchange control regulations to limit speculative movements of capital, the encouragement of manufacturing investment by increased public expenditure through the National Enterprise Board, increases in taxation on higher earners, and the extension of public ownership, including the banks and key financial institutions.

Document reference: MSS.21/880((link to on-line catalogue)

Click on the 'thumbnail' for a larger image.

October 14, 2010

Grants vs. loans: The debate over H.E. funding

aaaThe publication of Lord Browne's report has meant that university funding is again in the news, particularly its recommendation that there should be a large increase in the cap on student fees (and by implication an increase in fees).

Arguments over the amount that students should pay for a university education have been rumbling on for decades. The leaflet on the left dates from 1987, when students still received government maintenance grants and didn't have to pay undergraduate tuition fees. It objects to the proposed introduction of student loans and reduction of student grants by the Conservative Government of Mrs Thatcher (described as the "privatisation of our education"), and was produced by Watford and Cassio Student Union and Watford Labour Party Young Socialists (linked with the Militant Tendency).

This is one of several documents relating to post-war Higher Education included in the online resources for the module 'The Sociology of Education'.

Click on the 'thumbnail' for a larger image.

October 07, 2010

An MOT for the TARDIS?

Writing about web page

The machine

The recent announcement of the award of the Nobel Prize for physics to two researchers based at Manchester University has prompted me to assert the scientific credentials of our own institution. This splendid photograph from the University Archive is one of a number we currently have on display both on-line at the above address and in the showcases in the Modern Records Centre foyer. The details we have on some of these are sketchy so perhaps scientific alumni can provide further enlightenment to a mere arts graduate like myself.

We have put on the display as part of the national Archives Awareness Campaign on the theme of 'Discovery - archives in science, technology and medicine". Another strand to this is Pioneers, our exhibition of archives about innovators in science and technology, including Sir Frank Whittle of jet engine fame.

Apologies for the frivolous heading for this picture. This is actually the crossed beam instrument used in the study of the detailed reaction dynamics of gas-phase ion molecule reactions in the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences. Minding the machine (we think) are Dr David Hirst, a member of the department from 1965 to 2003, Martin Jarrold and Keith Birkinshaw (on the left).

Update, July 2011: Having come across this 'blog' entry, Keith has kindly provided us with the following information about the instrument and how it came to Warwick:

The photograph shows a crossed ion-molecule beam ‘machine’ built originally at Shell’s Thornton Research Centre. It allowed a detailed study of collisions between single ions and molecules but experiments required much care and attention to detail because the scattered ion intensity was very low. In 1976 there were several such machines around the world but none working in the UK. Professor Keith R Jennings at Warwick University asked me if I would be interested in taking over the Shell Thornton machine in the Warwick Dept of Molecular Sciences (now Chemistry), after I had worked in Prague from 1972 to 1974 with Dr Zdenek Herman (a leader in crossed-beam research). After examining the machine and talking to John Rosenfeld at Shell I arranged for it to be dismantled and moved to Warwick (1976). I worked for about a year until it was functioning and then was joined by a PhD student Martin Jarrold. David Hirst was a theoretical chemist and the permanent member of university staff assigned to the project but did not get involved in the research.

In 1978 I was offered a permanent position in the Physics Department of the University of Wales Aberystwyth which I accepted. When Martin Jarrold left Warwick I believe there was insufficient expertise to continue running the experiment successfully.

Collisions and reactions between atoms and molecules were of great interest from a fundamental research perspective and also because they occur widely in nature. Collisions between uncharged atoms and molecules were difficult to carry out, partly because of detection of the low intensity scattered products. However, ion-molecule collisions can be studied more easily since ions can be dispersed according to mass, energy, velocity etc. using magnetic and electric fields. Since they are charged they be easily detected electronically and can be individually counted. Ion-molecule reactions occur in the upper atmosphere and in interstellar space. They also occur in high-temperature environments on the surface of the earth e.g. in flames and electric discharges although at atmospheric pressure they are more complex than the single collision observed using a crossed ion-molecule beam machine.”

Keith Birkinshaw, 22/7/2011.

October 2010

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Sep |  Today  |
            1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Search this blog

Blog archive

Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder