Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Firsts


This - so the plaque tells me - is the first (and therefore oldest) war memorial in the world. It commemorates the death of Sir  Bevil Grenville at the Battle of Lansdown in 1643 (I think) so it doesn't seem that old to me, but let me know if you know any older.

It is only a few hundred yards from the oldest dedicated race-course in the world as well - the Bath horse racing course at Lansdown. Again, let me know if you know of an older one, and I will get straight onto Wikipedia about it.

A couple of miles away in Bath Abbey, the first King of all England was crowned in 975 AD. Prior to him, we had loads of little kings dotted about the country, all competing with each other in the importance stakes.

The first poem ever to be written in the English language comes from here too. It was composed by an Anglo Saxon tourist to the city, who was struck by the melancholic ruins of the Roman Baths. They were steaming ruins even in those days, and you would be hard-pressed to recognise the language as English.

The first carrots ever to be commercially grown in England were in the village of Beckington, a few more miles from Bath, and chronicled by my hero, John Aubrey.

Britain's first case of AIDS was contracted in a nightclub a matter of 200 yards from where I write this. I went there but once, and it was a nasty, seedy, underground place near the river, dotted with dark alcoves which could have been made for contracting AIDS in. It is now a restaurant.

That's 6 'firsts', but if I think of any more, I'll add them to the list. I am going to sign off now - Molly style - by asking this question:

How many 'firsts' can YOUR area claim?

24 comments:

  1. I hope I will be the first one here to assert that my area has no firsts. My daughters boycotted the First Communion.

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    1. I wonder if you were the first Irish woman to dig potatoes in Nailsworth?

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    2. What a fine memory you have! The alcohol helps, I suppose.

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    3. I don't drink Potcheen, so you are wrong there.

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  2. We have the world's oldest, and therefore the first, railway tunnel less than a mile from here in Fritchley, Derbyshire.

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  3. This city has been on catch up since the Industrial Revolution rendered it a backwater so no firsts here.

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    1. How about the first person to be born with webbed feet South of Cromer?

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  4. Mine is really boring - BBC Radio Leicester was the first BBC local radio station in Britain. Told you.

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    1. No, that is a fine and honourable first, Elaine.

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  5. My people has a cottage or two on 'The Old Racecourse' Nr Oswestry in Shropshire. The course was first recorded as being used in the early 17th Century, making it considerably older that the 1728 of Lansdown Bath.

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    1. p.s. I was the first person to piss on my compost heap this morning.

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    2. Hmm. I will have to check up on that. I'll ask your neighbour who pissed on the heap fist.

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  6. Don't know any but then I don't really come from round here. I come from Lincolnshire and we did have Sir Isaac Newton and the apple - I suppose that's a first.

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    1. The first to have some sense knocked into him by cider, maybe.

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  7. Ha! First 'modern' automobile made by Karl Benz in my hometown of Stuttgart/Bad Cannstatt. Not as cool as peeing on a compost heap, but not to be knocked either.

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    1. Ah yes - and his beautiful daughter, Mercedes. Most of us name our kids from the backs of busses.

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  8. We had the first mass produced childrens' toy factory, a marble factory. When it burned down just after the turn of the last century, the urchins dug in the ruins for days, harvesting marbles. I may have to do a post featuring a tiny father christmas, another item the factory produced.

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    1. That must win a prize of some sort - surely.

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  9. Maybe the first non-hillbilly to live in my area.

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  10. Not my area now, but what about plasticine in Bathampton, that was a first by William Harbutt about a hundred years ago..

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