In the summer of 2012, a couple of months after the Occupy movement were evicted from a makeshift camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, a small group calling themselves “Diggers 2012” occupied private woodland overlooking Runnymede near Windsor in Berkshire. The site was once part of a university campus that hold been sold to a property developer but had lain derelict for five years. The Diggers of 2012 wanted to create a radical community which would challenge a system that left land unused when it could be used for needy people.
Briony McDonagh at the University of Nottingham (now at the University of Hull) was intrigued that the group at Runnymede used the name of a radical 17th century group that set up camp in 1649 close to Weybridge in Surrey. She is working on a project which tries to establish whether we can trace a link back from Diggers 2012 to Diggers 1649...
Tom Holland went to meet the Diggers along with Briony and Dr Ted Valance from the University of Roehampton.
Photograph of Diggers (above) is used with permission from Briony McDonagh.
Professor John Field at the University of Stirling has just written a book on labour camps in Britain from 1880 to 1940. Entitled Working Men’s Bodies it shows just how many camps there were in Britain and how many moderate, social reformers were taken with something that we today might equate with a totalitarian state. Dr Fiona Watson went to meet John at the site of a former work camp in Carstairs, between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Threat to Medieval Rood Screens
Work in East Anglia has highlighted a new threat to what has been described as a treasure-tove of medieval art. The Church Buildings Council working with the Hamilton Kerr Institute at the University of Cambridge estimate that over 400 rood screens – usually an ornate, wooden partition between the chancel and the knave – are under threat because of the problems associated with centrally heated and poorly maintained churches.
Conservator Tobit Curteis explained what the problems are and extended an invitation to Making History listeners to make it known if the rood screen in their local church is under threat.
Do you have images of rood screens?
Do you have images of rood screens from your local church? Whether they are threatened or in good repair we would like to see photographs of these glorious medieval architectural features.
Making History explores ordinary people's links with the past. The programme is presented by Helen…