Thursday, 15 October 2009

East German Jokes and Early Irish Maps: 15th October: Today's Top History News

by Kathryn Hadley

‘Did East Germans originate from apes? Impossible. Apes could never have survived on just two bananas a year.’
Following the recent release of the files kept by West Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) on East Germany, an article published in Spiegel Online International provides an insight into some of the most popular East German jokes during the communist era.

Collection of early Irish maps (c.1558- c.1610) from the ‘State Papers Ireland’ now available online.
The digitised collection was launched yesterday, October 14th, by The National Archives and includes over 70 maps, some of which are the earliest cartographic representations of Ireland depicting plantations, fortifications and townships during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. Further information is available on the website of The National Archives.

Nayland Rock promenade shelter in Margate, Kent, where TS Eliot is believed to have written some of his most famous poetry, listed at grade II by the Secretary of State for Culture.
TS Eliot (1888-1965) stayed in Margate for three weeks during the autumn of 1921 as part of a rest cure following a mental breakdown and is believed to have composed part of his poem The Waste Land in the seaside shelter.
In a letter to the novelist Sydney Schiff dated November 4th, 1921, he wrote:

‘I have done a rough draft of part III [of The Waste Land], but do not know
whether it will do, and must wait for Vivien’s opinion as to whether it is
printable. I have done this while sitting in a shelter on the front – as I am
out all day except when taking rest.’

The poem was published in October 1922. In 1948, TS Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Statue of Sir Keith Park to be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square on November 4th.
The statue will remain on the fourth plinth until May 2010. A permanent statue of Park will thereafter be unveiled on September 15th, 2010, in Waterloo Place to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park led the Royal Air Force forces over London and the South East of England throughout the Battle of Britain.
In the words of Lord Mayor Boris Johnson:

‘London owes an enormous debt to Sir Keith Park for his courage and leadership,
which helped to win the Battle of Britain. Having a temporary memorial to this
great hero in Trafalgar Square in time for the 70th anniversary of a historic
turning point is our way of showing gratitude for the bravery and commitment he
showed to London and the world.’

Further information is available on the website of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign.

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