The Trickster Prince

Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.

Cheekbones, piercing blue eyes and Peaky Blinders

To mark the news that the fantastic Peaky Blinders has been commissioned for a second series here’s Cillian Murphy smoldering on horseback in the opening scene of the first episode. … Continue reading

October 30, 2013 · Leave a comment

Amongst the nerves of the world: rigging Mayfair’s new telephone lines (1925)

A telephone engineer rigs the new telephone lines high above Maddox Street and Conduit Street in Mayfair in 1925. Rather him than me.

October 29, 2013 · Leave a comment

Listening to Leicester Square: London street noises (1928)

Listening to Leicester Square: London street noises (1928) Returning to blogging after a short break with something different: a wonderful Columbia Gramophone Recording of the street noises of Leicester Square, … Continue reading

October 28, 2013 · Leave a comment

Laddie Boy and a dog biscuit birthday cake (1922)

Venturing across the Atlantic because it seems somehow appropriate today: here’s the famous Laddie Boy — ‘owned’ by President Warren Harding — celebrating his birthday with a dog biscuit cake … Continue reading

October 17, 2013 · Leave a comment

Folk football and the Kirkwall Ba’ game (1920)

Despite the codification of association rules and the development of the modern professional game, older traditions of folk or crowd football continued all the way through the twentieth century. This … Continue reading

October 16, 2013 · Leave a comment

Holiday Haunts (1929)

As the rain falls and the nights close it seems like a good time to have something to look forward to: the first issue of the Great Western Railways’s official … Continue reading

October 15, 2013 · Leave a comment

Bearbones 200 (2013 edition)

Adam and I have just got back from doing the Bearbones 200. Organized by the same guys who do the Welsh Ride Thing and El-an-Back this is a bit different: … Continue reading

October 14, 2013 · 22 Comments

How the office of the future looked in the 1920s (1928)

Patriotism, commercial self-interest and a vision of the office of the future come together in this 1928 advert for Sankey-Sheldon’s “Modern Steel Furniture”. I want that desk.

October 14, 2013 · Leave a comment

All writing is co-writing

  As soon as you mention that you’re thinking about doctoral research or a career in academia people—wise, sane and well-meaning people—will warn you off. They will give a range … Continue reading

October 10, 2013 · 4 Comments

British boys, learn how to own your own farm in Canada! (1923)

A poster produced as part of the marketing campaign through which Canada’s federal government tried to lure young British migrants to the country after 1923.

October 10, 2013 · Leave a comment