The ‘interior’ traveller

Photomontage by Nick Holt

In the Spring of 1790 Xavier de Maistre was confined, under house arrest, and embarked on a remarkable voyage around his bedroom. It was a journey taken almost entirely in his imagination. The book A Journey Around My Room and the later A Nocturnal Investigation Around My Room were the result.

‘There’s no more attractive pleasure than to follow one’s ideas wherever they lead, as the hunter pursues his game, without even trying to keep to any set route. And so, when I travel through my room, I rarely follow a straight line: I go from my table towards a picture hanging in a corner; from there I set out obliquely towards the door; but even though, when I began, it really is my intention to go there, if I happen to meet my armchair en route, I don’t think twice about it, and settle down without further ado.’

In the two books familiar objects are re-viewed and the furniture, engravings etc. explored as if they were being witnessed for the first time in a strange land.

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Picturing the Past

In my archaeological dig into the history of our old boat Eileen, her builder and owners, the holy grail is inevitably  pictorial. Images help me to picture the past. They provide a way into a time and place otherwise difficult to access. Postcards provide a ready glimpse of the town of Tipton that would have been familiar to the boat builder Eli Aston and the boat’s first owner Benjamin Pearson. This was their world.

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The Story of Eileen: ‘FIRST OWNER’

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This aerial image provides a little context for the Tipton Green area. Dating from the 1930’s the Birmingham Canal main line can be clearly seen running parallel to the right hand edge, Victoria Park is in the centre of the image and the streets abutting the Tipton Green Locks can be just made out crowding the upper right hand corner of the photo.

In a previous post (HERE) I described my latest research into Eli Aston the MAKER of our 1903 BCN day boat Eileen. This week’s update focuses on the person who ordered the fabrication of the boat in the first place, one Benjamin or Ben.Pearson.

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