The Theater That Shakespeare Stole ….!!!

On a cold, snowy December night in 1598, about a dozen men armed with swords, daggers and axes quietly broke into a recently vacated theater in Shoreditch, located just outside the city of London. With the aid of what modest light their lanterns could throw, the men worked tirelessly all throughout the night, dismantling the theater beam by beam and nail by nail, and loading the stripped timber onto wagons. By the time the darkness of the night gave way to the first light of dawn, the theater was gone.

The vandals in question were the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the theatrical troupe to which William Shakespeare belonged. For the past several years, the Chamberlain’s Men had been playing at Shoreditch’s Theatre. This theater, built in 1576, was the second permanent theater ever built in England, and the first successful one to be built for the sole purpose of theatrical productions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London. Photo credit: Diego Delso/Wikimedia

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men was founded in 1594, and within a short period of time it became one of the leading theatrical companies in London. Shoreditch’s Theatre was their home, and over the years, the Chamberlain’s Men played many of Shakespeare’s most famous plays on this stage.

In 1596 the lease for the property on which the Theatre was built expired, and the Chamberlain’s Men tried hard to negotiate an extension with the stubborn owner, Giles Allen. Not only Allen refused to renew the lease, he threatened to take possession of the theater as well. The dispute dragged on for two years, during which time the company performed at the nearby Curtain playhouse. It was at Curtain Theatre that Shakespeare debuted what is arguably his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Theatre of Shoreditch, the one that Shakespeare’s men dismantled.

When it became clear that Giles Allen wasn’t going to give back the land, the Chamberlain’s Men leased a new plot by the Thames, and on 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, the men stole into the Theatre and carefully tore it down. A talented carpenter named Peter Street, who would later build another historic London theater named Fortune Playhouse, recycled the old pieces of wood into an astonishing new theatre—the Globe, capable of holding up to 3,000 spectators.

The romanticized version of the story holds that the Theatre was dismantled during the course of a single night, but historians believe the job could not have been completed in such a short time. Also, there is no proof that Shakespeare was present during the night, although he most certainly would have been following the proceedings closely, for he did have a tremendous interest in having this job done right.

Initially the timber was stored in a warehouse near Bridewell, until the following spring, when the materials were ferried over the Thames and used to construct the much larger Globe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reconstruction of the Globe theatre based on archeological and documentary evidence.

The Globe was up and running by early 1599, and for the next 14 years it presented many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, a misfired stage cannon ignited the thatched roof and the theatre burned to the ground. Although the theatre was quickly rebuilt, Shakespeare probably never wrote for the second Globe. Eventually, like all the other theaters in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642.

A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe”, now stands on the Thames approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theater. It was built in 1997, based on an approximation of the original design, but with only half the capacity.

The new theater was designed to be as authentic as possible to Shakespeare’s 16th century theater. The structure is made of timber alone without any steel support, and it is the only building in London with a thatched roof, since that material was banned after the Great Fire of 1666. Seats are simple benches, although spectators can request cushions during shows. No spotlights, microphones or any kind of modern audio equipment are used. All music is performed live, most often on period instruments, just like it was in the 16th century. Only recently, the Globe began experimenting with lighting and sound rig.

Source….. Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

 

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Why Do Many Historic Buildings in The UK Have Bricked Up Windows?…!!!

There was a time in Great Britain when having windows in homes and buildings were prohibitively expensive.

That time began in 1696 with the introduction of the much-despised window tax, that levied tax on property owners based on the number of windows or window-like openings the property had. The details of the tax kept changing with time, but the basic premise was that the more windows the house had, the more tax the owner had to pay.

In the eyes of the legislature the window tax was a brilliant way to put the burden of tax on the shoulder of the upper class. The rich usually had larger houses with more windows, and so were liable to pay more taxes. Poor people, on the other hand, lived in smaller houses and so paid less. To make the system even more attractive to the poorer class, those houses with fewer than ten windows were exempted from the window tax altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

A building with bricked up windows in Bath. Photo credit: Jo Folkes/Flickr

But the tax was not nearly as progressive as it first seemed. In towns and cities, many poor families lived in large tenement buildings with many windows, and were therefore subject to heavy window tax assessments. The tax was paid by the landlord but the costs of the window tax were passed on to the residents in heavier rents.

But the most fundamental error was the assumption that people wouldn’t respond in creative ways to avoid tax. Many people with a lot of windows started bricking up windows instead of just paying the tax. And often when new buildings were built, the number of windows were reduced, and at times, completely eliminated to avoid tax.

So not only tenants had to pay higher rents, they now had to live with inadequate light and ventilation

The legislation also failed to define a window, allowing tax collectors to charge anything that remotely resembled one including perforated grates in larders, leading to much resentment among all section of the society. It was novelist Charles Dickens who gave voice to these dissatisfaction.

In 1850, Dickens wrote about the window tax in Household Words, a magazine that he published for a number of years:

The adage ‘free as air’ has become obsolete by Act of Parliament. Neither air nor light have been free since the imposition of the window-tax. We are obliged to pay for what nature lavishly supplies to all, at so much per window per year; and the poor who cannot afford the expense are stinted in two of the most urgent necessities of life.

One year later, in 1851, the window tax was repealed—156 years after first being introduced.

The window tax was just one of scores of absurd taxes designed by the British government to raise money. Another one was the brick tax introduced in 1784, during the reign of King George III, to help pay for the wars in the American Colonies. Again the people responded by increasing the size of the bricks so that fewer bricks are needed to raise a house. Many buildings built with oversized bricks still stand in Measham, Leicestershire.

Similarly, between 1662 and 1689, tax was levied on the number of hearths or fireplace in a dwelling, encouraging people to crowd into smaller dwellings and go without fire in some cases to avoid the tax. But the window tax was by far the longest lasting and the most hated.

Even today, the legacy of the window tax can seen be seen in the bricked-up windows in many historic buildings across Britain.

Bonus fact: The term “daylight robbery” is believed to have stemmed from window tax since it essentially amounted to robbing people of daylight through an unfair mean. However, the first printed use of the phrase didn’t occur until 1916, and even then the context didn’t explicitly link it to unfair overcharging. It was only after 1949 that the phrase was firmly associated with “unfairness”. Because of this disconnect—both in time and in meaning—between window tax and the phrase, some etymologistbelieve that the relation between the two is a myth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A satirical cartoon titled ‘The Revolution of the Planets Against the Tax Upon Light’ in response to the window tax introduced in 1696.                                                                                 A family looking forward to seeing more of the Sun when the Window Tax would be repealed. Cartoon by Richard Doyle, 1754.

Source……..Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajam

 

THE ANCIENT STONE IN LONDON THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE IMPORTANT BUT NO ONE REMEMBERS WHY…!!!

Sitting in the heart of London since long before anyone can remember, theories regarding the London Stone range from Roman ruin, to Druidic icon to a talisman of good fortune.

Although many point to John Stow’s Survey of London(1598), where he sets the 10th century as the first mention of the stone in print (he claims he found a mention of the stone in a document from the 900s AD), others feel more comfortable citing a list of Canterbury Cathedral’s properties from somewhere around the turn of the 12th centuries, where it lists Eadwaker æt lundene stane.

Regardless, by medieval times, the London Stone was a fixture in the city, so much so that residents even incorporated it into their names, such as Ailwin of London Stone. Clearly important, by the 15th century the landmark was seen as a symbol for London, and perhaps England; this helps explain why, when Jack Cade led a rebellion against Henry VI in 1450, he reportedly struck the London Stone with his sword in claiming the city for himself, as immortalized by Shakespeare in King Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene VI.

In the 16th century, one popular theory for the stone’s origins was that it had been used by the Roman’s during their occupation (approximately 43 AD – 410 AD) as a millarium or central milestone from which all distances were measured. Charles Dickens even cited this explanation in his Dictionary of London (1879).

During the 18th century, some were speculating that the stone was used in worship by the Druids, although there is no evidence to support it.

In the 19th century, as interest in spiritualism became more widespread, some theorized that the London Stone was a Palladium or talisman dating back to Roman times and Britain’s legendary founder. It was during this time that the now well-known saying appeared: “So long as the Stone of Brutus is safe, so long shall London flourish.”

By the 20th century, serious archaeologists began digging into the London Stone’s origins, and some found that it is situated at the center, or at the gate, of where a large Roman structure, sometimes identified as a Governor’s palace or pretorium, had been.

Today, those who believe in ley lines, straight “lines” that connect sites of historical or geographical significance, claim that the London Stone is transected by several of these lines, while others have posited that the stone was set in the center of the old Roman city, in homage to Jupiter.

 

 

 

 

 

Source….www.today i foundout.com

Natarajan

 

Unlike the Super-Rich defauters ,this Ex-PM”s familyHonoured their loan liability ….

These are not good times for the Punjab National Bank, which is embroiled in an 11,400 crore-scam allegedly perpetrated by diamond mogul Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle, Mehul Choksi.

For the average citizen, this is yet another instance of a wealthy man swindling public money through dubious loans issued by these banks, and leaving the country without paying back his dues.

Unlike Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, the PNB, which is India’s second largest public-sector bank, also had famous personalities and their families as customers who have honoured their loans.

Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had taken a car loan of Rs 5,000 from PNB. After his sudden demise on January 11, 1966, the former prime minister’s widow Lalitha paid back the loan from the pension she received, reported Times of India.

“We went to St Columba’s School on a tonga. Once in a while, we used the office car, but my father did not allow us to use it regularly for any kind of private work. There was a demand at home that we should buy a car,” said Anil Shastri, his son and senior Congress politician, to the publication.

In response to his family’s demands, Shastri approached a senior official from the PMO and discovered that a new Fiat would cost Rs 12,000. Since the family had only Rs 7,000 in the bank, the prime minister decided to apply for a Rs 5,000 loan which the bank sanctioned that very day.

When the prime minister passed away in Tashkent, where he had gone to sign the declaration of peace between India and Pakistan after the 1965 war, the loan remained unpaid. “It was repaid by my mother from the pension she received after my father’s death,” said Anil Shastri.                                                                                                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 1964-model Fiat with the plate number DLE 6 is today exhibited at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial in the national capital.

Source….www.thebetterindia.com

Natarajan

 

Will Chennai be able to save a 300 year old Plaque connecting it to its Armenian Past …?

The plaque is the last living relic of the Marmalong, the first ever bridge built over the Adyar river in 1726 by Armenian trader Coja Petrus Uscan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you take a walk across the busy roads of Saidapet in Chennai, chances are that you would cross what is perhaps one of the oldest living relics that connects the city to its Armenian past.

To the uninitiated, it may look like an unremarkable slab of stone on a pale green crumbling wall. However, this ordinary looking slab of stone is in fact a 300-year-old plaque that belonged on the pillars of one of oldest bridges in the city.

Marmalong Bridge, the first ever bridge across the Adyar river, was commissioned in 1726 by Coja Petrus Uscan, an immensely wealthy Armenian trader. Uscan, who had decided to settle in Madras after coming to the city in 1724, paid 30,000 pagodas from his own money to build the bridge and another 1,500 pagodas for its upkeep.

“Uscan was immensely respected and perhaps was even one of the only non-British allowed to stay in Fort St George or the White town. A devout believer in St Thomas, Uscan wanted more people to visit the Saint Thomas Mount, and therefore removed the two impediments – the river and the lack of steps – by building the bridge as well as 160 steps to the mount. This was the initial purpose of the bridge. But all that soon changed as the Marmalong Bridge became crucial to the expansion of the city, especially towards the South,” says Chennai-based novelist and historian Venkatesh Ramakrishnan.

Mount Road came after the bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Mount Road, around which the city developed, came 60 years after the Marmalong bridge.

Named after Mambalam, one of the villages near the Adyar, the Marmalong Bridge perhaps laid the foundation stone for the city as it led to the emergence of the Mount Road, around which Chennai developed.

“It was only natural that a road followed after a bridge was built. The British built the Mount Road in the 1800s, around which the city grew. So, in a sense, the bridge led to the city’s birth and is very close to its heart,” Venkatesh adds.

However, the Marmalong only lives in our memories today. Where the arched bridge of Uscan once stood, a concrete replacement called the Maraimalai Adigal Bridge now exists. There are no traces of this Adyar-Armenian connect but for the last living relic – the plaque commemorating Uscan’s construction of the bridge.

With inscriptions in three ancient languages – Persian, Armenian and Latin, the Uscan plaque was established in memory of the great nation of Armenia and is a tribute to the people who helped build the city.

“The Armenian inscriptions are on the lower portion of the plaque. It can’t be read because the writing has faded with time and neglect,” according to Venkatesh.

Crusade to preserve the plaque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The neglected plaque stands near the Saidapet Metro construction site. 

Displaced from its original site, the plaque faces the perils of urbanisation and is further threatened by the metro rail work that is underway.

Years of neglect and development in the area has buried the stone in layers of debris. In fact, the bottom of the stone has disappeared under the ground as the road levels have been rising every year due to re-carpeting, Venkatesh laments.

With the construction of the Saidapet Metro station underway, historians who are fighting to save the plague urge the CMRL to give the stone a place of honor in the metro station.

Highlighting the importance of preserving such relics, Venkatesh says, “The Armenians have contributed immensely to this city. I believe it is important to preserve all traces to this link. It is really unfortunate that while the Uscan stone stands neglected, another plaque at the Fourbeck Bridge is preserved by the Architectural Society of India,” he said.

A dedicated group of Chennai historians have launched a Facebook page “Retrieve Uscan Stone” to draw attention to the issue and save the plaque.

“The Saidapet Metro work is too close to the plaque. We have been urging the officials to move the relic to a better place, may be a museum or a memorial site. We just don’t want to lose a precious piece of the city’s history,” Venkatesh says hopefully.

Source….https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan

 

5 People Who Survived the Unimaginable…

We are all going to die – ideally from old age and in our sleep, less ideally from the Universe concocting a terrible, inescapable, and painful end just for us. Fortunately, there’s no such thing as a totally inescapable scenario. Once every now and then, a person finds themselves face-to-face with Death and decides to yank the robes from under his feet and make a quick getaway. Below you’ll find the stories of five such people.

1. A Paraglider Naps Her Way across the Upper Atmosphere

In February 2007, German paraglider Ewa Wisnerska was sucked into an unexpected thunderstorm in Australia. As testimony to that storm’s intense hatred of flying people, a Chinese paraglider had been pulled into that exact same storm earlier that day. His lifeless body was found 50 miles away.

Not content with just the one victim, the storm nabbed Ewa mid-flight and dragged her high into the air. At 3,000 feet, her exposed skin was frostbitten. Her glasses, like the rest of her clothing, were covered in ice so thick that she couldn’t even make out her own glider – which the violent weather kept collapsing, so she had to constantly battle to keep her glider in working condition.

At 20,000 feet, the air temperature was down to -58 degrees Fahrenheit, and ice had encased her entire body. The lack of oxygen also caused her to pass out. You really wouldn’t expect to wake up from a nap like that.

The previous record altitude for a paraglider was 24,000 feet. Geese fly at 27,000 feet and so did Ewa, briefly, on her way to 29,035 feet – which is the exact height of the summit of Mount Everest. At this point, the storm was getting frustrated that she was still alive, so it lifted her up to 30,000 feet just to see if she could survive the cruising height of a passenger jet, without the jet. She could.

At 32,000 feet, the storm gave up and she began to descend. At 23,000 feet, she woke up and realized that she had no way to brake or steer (due to her frozen hands), so she rode out the storm and hoped that she’d eventually land safely. Which she did, 40 miles from her starting point.

Apart from some bruising and frostbite damage, she was perfectly fine. This is probably because she was unconscious for most of the flight. Your heart rate slows when you’re out cold, and this would have played a huge part in her survival.

2. Jacob Miller Sleeps Off Headshots

The Battle of Chikamagua in Tennessee during the Civil War was the second heaviest Union defeat after Gettysburg, with around 36,000 casualties. One of these casualties was Jacob Miller, who was shot between the eyes on September 19, 1863.

Miller’s Union allies thought he was dead so they left him behind. The Confederate army thought the same and walked right over him as they pushed forward. They didn’t know that Miller had the ability to sleep off a headshot.

When he woke up with a new hole in his head, he realized that he was now at the back of the Confederate line. So, using his gun as a crutch, he waddled along parallel to the fighting until he could pass back over to the Union side. Since his uniform was drenched in blood, the Confederates didn’t recognize him as an enemy.

After making it back to friendly turf, the surgeons refused to remove the bullet as they told him he was going to die anyway. In fact, the Union troops were about to retreat again, and the doctors deemed Miller too sick to move, so it looked like he was going to be left behind again.

Miller was having none of this and started retreating with them. His face was now so swollen that he had to manually lift his eyelids to see where he was going. He kept retreating with the Union troops, with no intention of stopping and dying. Eventually, he was picked up by an ambulance wagon.

Nine months after the incident, doctors finally got around to removing the shot from his head. The bullet hole never closed, and although Miller would go on to live a long life, he spent the next thirty years sweating bullets, as pieces of the shot would occasionally make their way out of his wound.

3. A Man Elbows His Way Out of a Watery Grave

In early 2017, Jake Garrow was plowing the snow from an ice road in Ontario, Canada, when his skid loader hit an unexpected thin patch and plunged into the frozen waters, taking Garrow with it.

For the majority of us, sinking 100 feet to the bottom of a freezing lake is a terrible way to go, but Garrow is not most of us. As he sank, he looked around for the cord release that would pop the back window open. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find it. So rather than fumble around futilely, while water rushed into his cab, Garrow smashed the back window using his elbow.

Now he was free from his skid loader, but he still had to swim 100 feet through pitch-black, ice-covered water and hope that he could find the hole that he fell through. Miraculously, he managed it, and emerged from the ice with little more than a perforated eardrum.

However, his ordeal wasn’t over yet. Garrow had to walk a mile to the main road in soaking wet clothes with a wind chill of -22 degrees Fahrenheit, and then stand at the side of the road freezing because not a single motorist stopped for him.

He only managed to get a ride to the hospital because a familiar contractor happened to drive by. To add to his plight, Garrow was contacted by the Ministry of Environment and was told to get his skid loader out of their lake by June.

4. Everything That Could Go Wrong With a Spaceship Landing Did

In 1969, at the height of the space race, Russian Cosmonaut Boris Volynov was flying a solo re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere on Soyuz 5. He was returning after having just dropped off two colleagues on another ship, and unfortunately, designated driver gigs are as awful in space as they are on Earth. During re-entry, the equipment module on Soyuz 5 failed to detach, which messed up the balance of the spacecraft and caused it to turn around.

This was a major problem, as the heat of bursting through Earth’s atmosphere was expected to burn away a good three inches of the special ablator coating in the thicker side of the vessel, which had a good six inches of it. Unfortunately, Volynov was now flying back into Earth backward, and the side of his ship facing the flames was just a mere inch thick.

To add to this, his body was also being submitted to nine times the gravitation force of Earth, making all attempts to fix the dire situation border-line impossible. At this point, ground control was already busy passing around a hat to collect money for his family. Volynov was facing certain death until he suddenly noticed something: The malfunctioning part of the ship that had failed to detach was also getting sheared off by intense heat. Summoning all his strength, he managed to maneuver the Soyuz 5 to its correct position in the nick of time.

Problem solved! Well, not exactly. He had new problems to contend with. The ships parachute had taken damage and could only partially deploy. To add to this, the rockets designed to soften the landing had also failed completely. Soyuz 5 hit the ground like a meteor. Volynov survived this too, but he was thrown around the cabin and broke a number of teeth.

He now had another problem to contend with. He had landed in the Ural Mountains, far away from his intended landing spot in Kazakhstan. The weather outside was -36 degrees Fahrenheit. If he stayed put, he’d be long dead before anyone rescued him.

When the rescue team arrived hours later, they found an empty Soyuz 5. However, they followed a set of footprints, peppered with blood and bits of teeth, and found Volynov warming himself in a peasant hut, which he had managed to locate by following a distant column of smoke.

5. Scientists Witness a Volcanic Eruption… From Inside the Volcano!

In January 1993, a group of scientists from 15 different countries gathered in Colombia to assess the danger of the 9,000 foot Galeras Volcano, which has irrupted irregularly for centuries. The volcanologists thought it would be fairly safe as it had last erupted six months earlier, and no seismic activity indicated that it would do so again. Therefore, 16 people ventured into its cone to gather samples and valuable information.

To its credit, the volcano waited until the most dramatic moment to launch its attack. An hour earlier, and all the scientists would have perished as they stood right at the inner crater. An hour later, and they would have been at a relatively safe distance. But no, Galeras waited until they had just stopped work for the day, and still had a sporting (yet slim) chance of escaping. Then, and only then, did the ground start to rumble. The volcano erupted and sent a 90-story cloud of ash, smoke, and gas into the air.

Three scientists were hit with a blast of heat so hot that it reduced them to ash. Six were bombarded and crushed to death by scalding rocks. When the dust settled, nine scientists had been killed, and those who were still alive were seriously injured.

Dr. Stanley Williams, the leader of the group, was standing right by the crater’s rim when the eruption came. He managed to avoid the blast of heat, but was still assaulted by a maelstrom of white-hot boulders. A rock struck him in the head, instantly shattering his skull and sending bone fragments deep into his brain. He managed to stumble away, only to have his legs savaged by another rock bombardment.

That might have been the end for him, if it wasn’t for two of his colleagues, Marta Calvache and Patty Mothes. Both had inexplicably decided to climb toward the volcanic eruption to look for any survivors. They managed to locate Williams and drag him to safety.

Source….www.ba-bamail.com

Natarajan