Saturday Scenes

Wed 23 November 2011

Doom Bar

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 00:41

One hundred years ago, on the 19th of November in 1911, the Doom Bar in Cornwall claimed two ships: the Island Maid and the Angele.

The Doom Bar is a bank of sand on Cornwall’s coast which formed where the Celtic Sea rushes against the flow of the River Camel during the reign of Henry VIII (1491-1547). In between the tides it is submerged by just a few feet, making the entrance to the Padstow extremely dangerous to navigate. The name comes from the gaelic Dunbar which simply means sandbank.

It is said that the Mermaid of Padstow fell in love with a Cornish man who shot her when she tried to lure him into the sea (or possibly because he thought she was a seal). She retaliated by cursing Padstow and throwing sand at the harbour. A dark storm gathered and the Doom Bar formed, ending Padstow’s prosperous time as a port.

The first of two ships to wreck on the 19th of November was the Island Maid. The crew were rescued by the lifeboat before the ship sunk. But soon after, the Angele ran aground. The tide had turned and the sun was setting and the lifeboat crew refused to return to the boat. The coxwain, William Hory Baker, explained what happened at the inquest which was reported in the newspaper:

Papers Past – Grey River Argus – 10 January 1912 – LIFEBOATMAN WHO REFUSED.

“Some of the crew considered it was risky,” said Baker. “By this time, the searchlight from the steam lifeboat was playing on the wrecks, and when my crew saw the terrible seas which they would have to encounter their hearts failed them, and they left the boat.

I had to have the rockets fired to summon another crew. Eventually the boat put off with a scratch crew including some men from the steam lifeboat, and part of the crew of a trawler, a coastguard, and a policeman.

…I would much rather the men’s hearts failed them before they went out than just as they were reaching a vessel,” added Baker. “I never remember the whole of the crew backing out before. The first trip was a very severe one.”

They found only one survivor, the captain. The rest of the crew had drowned. The coroner returned a verdict of “accidentally drowned” and did not fault the crew.

You can read more about the rescues of the past in ‘A Short History Of The Padstow Lifeboat’ compiled by George C Phillips which is available from the Padstow Lifeboat station priced at £3.25. The ticket to Cornwall may cost quite a bit more.

But don’t despair, you can still travel the world without spending a penny.

Exactly one hundred years later, these potentially-historical-events were recorded using digital technology and uploaded so that everyone could share in the moment. We have photographs from Malaysia, the Netherlands, Scotland, Zambia, the US, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Dubai, Wales, Belgium and Spain: take a look!

And these are the photographers who took them:

Incidentally. There is also a Cornish ale called Doom Bar Bitter. In order to make sure this post was 100% authentic, I drank a few pints. It is extremely nice. Any incoherence this week is thus due to the subject matter as opposed to my bad writing.

See you next week!

Thu 17 November 2011

Monster Hunting

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:41

On the 12th of November in 1933, Hugh Gray took the first known photo of the Loch Ness Monster. Reports of a “water beast” in the area go all the way back to Saint Columba, who in the 6th century CE was travelling through the area to meet a Pictish king and spotted a local man menanced by the water beast. Columba subdued the creature with a sign of the cross and a command.

However, interest in the water beast did not peak until 1933, when a road was built along the shore, giving clear views across the loch. The first reference of a “monster” dates from this time and there were many sightings, including a motorcyclist who claimed to have almost crashed into the thing as it crossed the road back towards the loch.


And then on the 12th of Novemember, Hugh Gray snapped this photograph on his way home from church. He said that he’d spotted this “object of considerable dimensions” splashing in the water. Skeptics have suggested that the blurry snapshot appears to show a dog swimming through the water, quite probably Gray’s own.

However, as a result of the photograph in the Daily Express, the Secretary of State for Scotland ordered the police to prevent any attacks on the monster.

In the early 1970s, a number of murky underwater photographs were taken which could possibly have shown a large rhomboid flipper.

Loch Ness Monster – Wikipedia

On the basis of these photographs, British naturalist Peter Scott announced in 1975 that the scientific name of the monster would henceforth be Nessiteras rhombopteryx (Greek for “The Ness monster with diamond-shaped fin”). Scott intended that this would enable Nessie to be added to a British register of officially protected wildlife. Scottish politician Nicholas Fairbairn pointed out that the name was an anagram for “Monster hoax by Sir Peter S”.

It is now clear that the flipper photograph was highly retouched. The original appears to show bubbles or sediment in the water.

The evidence against Nessie continues to mount. The BBC used satellite navigation technology to search the loch and found no trace of a monster. There’s never been a corpse or carcass or even a bone found that could be attributed to such a beast. And naturalists have said that Loch Ness could not sustain an animal of that size, let along a dozen breeding pairs needed to sustain the population.

Seventy-eight years later in 2011, these photographs were ALL taken for the first time on the 12th of November and not a SINGLE ONE is a hoax. See for yourself!

And here are the monstrously magnificent photographers who took them:

You should join us next weekend! It’s easy:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Thu 10 November 2011

Do Not Collect $200

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 20:49

On the 5th of November 1935, Parker Brothers released the board game Monopoly. But where the game come from? That’s a somewhat convoluted tale.

The game was apparently designed by Charles Darrow, an unemployed salesman who based the streets on Atlantic City, New Jersey. He sold copies of the game for four dollars but as the orders increased, Darrow contacted Parker Brothers to see if they would be interested in producing the game. Parker Brother’s responded turning him down. They said the game was too complicated, too technical and took too long to play.

Darrow produced five thousand copies to sell on his own. A woman named Sally Barton played the game at a friend’s house and told her husband George Parker about it. George Parker was the president of Parker Brothers at the time. Parker bought Monopoly from Darrow and marketed it nationally. Darrow became a millionaire from the royalties.

Howwever, as far back as 1904, there was a disturbingly similar board game patented, the Landlord’s Game. This game had the basic concepts in place, including the “continous path” without clearly defined start and end spaces. The properties were rented and placed in groups. The names of the streets were indicative of the area (Poverty Place, Easy Street and Lord Blueblood’s Estate) but the general layout looked the same. The Landlord’s Game was popular and many people copied the game once they’d been introduced to it. The new creator would paint the squares onto a table cloth, often adding favourite street names and new rules. It was effectively an open-source game and as it spread, it became known as “Auction Monopoly”, later shortened to “Monopoly”.

Monopoly Monopoly – Charles Darrow

Friends of Ruth Hoskin, Eugene and Ruth Raiford introduced the game to a hotel manager in Germantown, Pennsylvania named Charles E. Todd. Todd knew Charles and Esther Darrow, they were occasional guests at the hotel and Esther Darrow was a next-door neighbor to Todd before she was married Charles Darrow. Todd claims that sometimes in 1931:
“The first people we taught it to after learning it from the Raifords was Darrow and his wife Esther … It was entirely new to them. They had never seen anything like it before and showed a great deal of interest in it… Darrow asked me if I would write up the rules and regulations and I wrote them up and checked with Raiford to see if they were right and gave them to Darrow – he wanted two or three copies of the rules, which I gave him …”

George Parker had actually been approached about the Landlord’s Game twice before and declined it. After Parker Brother’s purchased Darrow’s version, they re-discovered the Landlord’s Game and realised their new release was simply a modification of it. Darrow admitted that he had copied the game from a friend’s set. Parker Brothers bought out the patent for the Landlord’s Game and revised their agreement with Charles Darrow, receiving worldwide rights to Monopoly in return for covering the legal costs to defend the trademark.

So everyone’s a winner … except for the early developers, of course.

Meanwhile, on the 5th of November 2011, these photographs were taken and copied and shown all over the Internet:

And here are the winners who took the opportunity to submit:

Have you got a camera or a smart phone?

You should take a photograph on Saturday. It’s easy to join us!

Simply send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url and the location and all the rest happens automatically!

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Thu 3 November 2011

Hidden Gems on Twitter

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:02

On the 29th of October in 1964, thieves unlocked a restroom window at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and crept into the museum after it closed. They stole over $2 million in gems from the J.P. Morgan collection.

They got the idea from the film Topkapi, “the theft of the century,” a fantastic heist film about the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The thieves lowered themselves with a rope from the upper floor and raked the gems from the cases.

Their inside information that the displays did not have alarms was not quite correct. The Star of India display was actually set up with an alarm but the battery had died. Having got away with the theft, the men were caught because they bragged of their sensational heist. Most of the gems were found in a locker in a Miami bus station but one of the most famous gems, the Eagle Diamond, was never recovered. At the time of the gem’s discovery, it had been the largest diamond found in the continental United States.

Eagle Diamond – Wikipedia

The Eagle Diamond was discovered in Eagle, Wisconsin in 1876 by a man named Charles Woods while he was digging a well. The land in which he was digging was not his own; it belonged, rather, to Thomas Deveraux, and Charles and his wife Clarissa were merely renters. Woods did not think the stone was very valuable, and believed it to be a topaz, because the color of the 16.25 carat (3.25 g) crystal was a “warm sunny color”. Some years later, when the Woods family fell on hard times, Clarissa sold the stone for $1.00 to a Samuel B. Boynton of Milwaukee.

And on the 29th of October in 2011, these priceless gems were submitted as Saturday Scenes:

And these are the brilliant, multi-faceted people who took them:

Wouldn’t you like to join us?

It’s easy to take part!

1) Take a photo on a Saturday and upload it to a photo site like Flickr or Twitpic
2) Tweet the url for your photograph to @SatScenes
3) Watch for the next post here to see a great set of all the photographs together.

I’m looking forward to seeing your scenes!

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