The Barber’s Pole

Malcolm and I accepted an invitation from the Master of the Worshipful Company of Barbers’ to attend the 36thSir Lionel Denny Lecture.

The speaker on this occasion was Dr Margaret Pelling, retired Reader in the Social History of Medicine in the History Faculty at Oxford University. She had worked primarily on English history between 1500 and 1700.

In her lecture she reminded us that the majority could not read in those years and so signage on commercial buildings had to be very obvious.  The Barbers’ pole usually red, white and blue, was displayed outside the home of a Barber and a bowl was usually hung from the pole. The colours red and white referred to the blood and bandages, however and sadly, there was no explanation for the blue.  Dr Pelling hypothesised that the three colours could represent the colours of the Union Flag, but it was unlikely that we would never know the true reason.

World Skills UK

Chris Causer and I, along with our spouses visited World Skills UK, which took place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham on Saturday, 17 November.

We had been invited to visit by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, and as I had visited many times during my working life, I was interested to see the competition again.

As well as roof slating and tiling, there were competitions for wall and floor tilers, bricklayers and many other crafts in the construction industry.  It was interesting also to see many other skills on show such as robotics, automotive, fitness and beauty on display.

Each of the competitors in the three crafts of interest to us had been given diagrams from which to work and had 18 hours to complete the project.  At the end of the 18 hours each piece was then marked by judges.

The winners were Morgan Chambers from Barnsley College for bricklaying, Joseph Turner from Leeds College of Building for roof slating and tiling, and Odhran Connolly from Southern Regional College for wall and floor tiling.  Each will be invited to our Craft Awards in March 2019 to receive Awards.