Monthly Archives: April 2018

30th April, 2018. Density of Population, continued.

A clear knowledge of the total population figure is fundamental to the functioning of a modern country. Forward planning by the government for all social and economic policies relies on this knowledge. Obviously in the 21st century the government needs to know much more than the global figure but the basic premise still stands.

Governments through history have  wondered as to their nation’s population, William I ‘Domesday Book’ of 1086 being a well-known example. Assessments of population often had an initial objective and a longer term objective. William I’s initial objective was to record, and embed, the new landowning situation and to determine the distribution of wealth ahead of taxation measures. In the 16th century there was a dramatic rise in the national population and, particularly in the reign of Elizabeth I, there was fear that this was related to the rise in numbers of vagabonds. It was at this time that some attempt at population figures became possible with the requirement to keep church records (recording by the incumbent of baptisms, marriages and burials).

It was partly as a response to Rev. Thomas Malthus’ (s.p.b.) Essay on Population, published in the 1790s, that Prime Minister Pitt the Younger (see above picture) instituted the first national census in 1801. The system of a national census every tenth year thereafter continued (except for 1941) and continues still. The initiative for the first national census came from a high-ranking government official of the day called John Rickman. Whether or not he was related to Thomas Rickman, author of the 1817 publication Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture (s.p.b.), I don’t know. In 1801 Thomas Rickman was a young man.

So it logically follows that having knowledge of the population requires some control of the population.

(To be continued).

29th April, 2018. People per square mile.

In often heated debates in/on the media in the last few years related to immigration and its associated phrases such as; racism, economic migrants, E.C. policy of free movement and the looming possibility of migrants driven by climate change I have yet to here any commentator, academic or politician home-in on density of population statistics.

According to verified figures as recorded in Wikipaedia Great Britain’s 62 million population is contained within 94000 square miles, although as with virtually all national units certain landscapes prohibit all but a low density population, the proportion of ‘unavailable terrain’ varying from one country to another. Taken overall the density of population across Great Britain is 660 persons per square mile. In the list of national average densities of population the closest country to G.B. is Vietnam, even more than G.B. a long thin country (the picture above shows a village in a mountainous part of the sub-tropical northern part of the country). Admittedly four European nations have a higher density of population, Netherlands (the only European state with a density of population over 1000 per square mile) , Belgium, Monaco and the Vatican City (the last probably a result of its smallness of area rather than an intention of the population to procreate). Admittedly also density of population has risen in Germany and Italy with Germany at 593 per square mile and Italy at 518.

Amongst other countries in the 500+ persons per square mile are; North Korea, South Korea (density twice that of G.B.), Pakistan, Japan, India, Bangladesh (with a density per square mile four times that of G.B.), Israel (pursuing a policy of territorial expansion!) and Lebanon, a small country with a high density of population having now also to cope with over a million refugees from Syria.

All the relatively new member countries of the European Community from eastern Europe have a lower density of population than countries mentioned so far, most very much lower.

Population density and mass migration is a global problem.

(To be continued).

27th April, 2018. A Nation of Animal Lovers.

In the Country Park at Barton on Humber, in an area between the Visitor Centre (T.I.C.) and the Humber bank promenade is an arcing area of land where plants and grasses have been allowed to develop naturally. Nestling amongst the plants is a willow twig statue entitled ‘Daphne’. Daphne was a female fallow dear that, along with a buck initially, decided that this was a good place to set-up home as it was surrounded by a wire fence which they had managed to scale. Soon the buck left but Daphne stayed generally to the delight of walkers and visitors, this including dogs and their owners as Daphne would ‘touch-noses’ through the fence with seemingly any dog being exercised (including Molly see above). The statue (given the medium not sure if this is the right word) stands there now because one night Daphne was mortally mauled by a dog one night and when discovered in the morning her injuries were such that she had to be put-down. Many a tear was shed as news got around and the statue stands testimony to the concept of humans living in mutual respect with other animal species, the classical image of St Francis of Assisi made real.

Witness the children feeding the ducks, geese and pigeons at the Visitor Centre or in the parks and gardens in Hull, delighted by the experience of being in a multi-species location and on an equal footing – or at least most of them.

Witness the post-Brexit promises about agricultural policy being designed to create/preserve wildlife habitat, whether or not this is the personal view of ministers or not the Prime Minister openly recognised the great fondness most British people have for wildlife and ecological diversity.

Witness the work of World Wildlife Fund, of Compassion in World Farming, of Animals Asia and of Animals Free and many others who work tirelessly for animal welfare, particularly so in parts of the world where traditional and/or religious dogma embed the concept that animals are solely created to supply human needs irrespective of physical agony and lifestyle deprivation.

My guess is that even if the dog who killed Daphne were known most people would want the dog to live but re-trained and re-homed, but that the owner be made to take responsibility for what happened.

25th April, 2018. Miscellaneous.

With Spring being so held-back by the bitter weather throughout March (the coldest month of a long cold Winter) the sudden onset of unusually hot weather for April has caused Spring to spring into life suddenly. Suddenly the horse chestnut trees are bursting into leaf, suddenly the umbellifers are growing an inch a day, suddenly, and very belatedly the blackthorn bushes are a blaze of white from the profusion of white five-petal flowers (see picture above). Also bugle, celandine, primroses still in flower and flowering along with cowslips, these seen to good effect around the wooded roundabout above the A15 slip roads to Barton and west (see next blog). The swallows arrived on time, 17th March (poor things), s.p.b.

My new re-chargeable grass cutter, replacing the old 4 star driven but very reliable ‘beast’, is doing the job well so far. From seeing lots of re-chargeable cycles buzzing around, often with seemingly small batteries, it is clear that battery technology has improved a lot in the last decade or so.

Have been asked to devise two more W.E.A. short courses for the Autumn. Have decide on a querky theme ‘History of Not Very Nice Things’ with one topic across each evening class. Topic seen in historical perspective with some social psychology and religion thrown-in. Not sure how it is going to go.

Now going to watch Holby City, had no Casualty to watch Saturday night as ousted by a ‘celebration’ of the Queen’s birthday – what sort of priority is that, anyone would think that she was Britain’s longest ever reigning monarch.

23rd April, 2018. Place of Resort, 3.

Various aspects common to Hull’s public parks were being decided between 1882 and 1884. One was that each should have an imposing main entrance, the picture above is of the ‘triumphal arch’ entrance to Pearson Park which, although earlier than East and West Parks set a benchmark to be followed. The main entrance to East Park off Holderness Road remains, although the main entrance to West Park off Anlaby Road has been much changed, certainly since the opening of the KCom stadium.

A fundamental issue was funding, the source of the capital expenditure needed to create this public facility there being no evidence that entry was ever to be other than free. Various minute references make it clear that the necessary capital was to be borrowed from the Treasury, specifically the Local Government Board (in the same way capital expenditure for building working class housing was to later be supplied by the Public Woks Loan Commissioners at a below the market interest rate – see M. Phil thesis).

Another common feature to these early public parks was a wide thoroughfare around the edge of the site and a central across wide road, these provided a route to be followed by those visitors wealthy enough to have horse and carriage, pedestrian members of the public visiting were to be served by a network of hard-surfaced footpaths.

Like a lot of other social and environmental Victorian reforms Hull’s public parks were prompted by enabling national legislation. A minute of 17/03/1884 records that East and West Parks were to be as ‘styled in the Public Health Act, this, quite possibly, referring to the great codifying Public Health Act of 1870. Apparently the Corporation as such had no power to institute a public park but the Urban Sanitary Authority did (post 1884 minutes still to be studied).

22nd April, 2018. A Place of Resort, 2.

Between early 1882 and late 1884 Hull City Council made great strides forward in its intention to provide for its population ‘places of resort’. The Parks Committee focused its attention on finding and purchasing land suitable for a public park on the eastern and western fringes of the then town, ‘suitable site … in the East and West Districts for the use of the people as and for a Public Park’ (Parks Committee 1882-1884 minutes in ‘Miscellaneous Committees, Book 4).

Although the Holderness House Estate offered 48 acres of ‘most beautifully timbered land’ off Holderness Road with the option of building an access station on the nearby Hull-Hornsea Railway line, the preferred option of the Committee was to buy land offered by the Trustees of the Ann Watson Charity and part of the adjoining (east) Summergangs Farm (Corporation Farm). I suspect the land of the Holderness House Estate was the land later built on by James Reckitt to create the model village which remains today a fine, green area. By Feb. 1883 it had been decided to buy the land for the future East Park from the Charity and part of the Corporation Farm, it being described in the minutes as ‘A more picturesque locality of that extent it would be impossible to find on the eastern side of the Borough, or one more adapted to restore the jaded energies of the artisan or man of business when the labours of the day are ended’. Part of the Borough’s plan was to reserve 26 acres (of the 76 acre total) for peripheral building sites which should ‘command a good price for residences of a high class’.

This had been done at the establishment of Pearson Park on the then northern edge of the growing town some 20 years earlier. The large, mostly detached, mock-gothic properties surrounding Pearson Park survive still albeit sometimes in a poor state of repair. The same layout plan was incorporated into proposals for West Park, the arrangements for which were being discussed in Committee at the same time as for East Park. In the proposals for West Park only the land alongside Walton Street was earmarked for high-status housing. In fact no such house-building took place, the linear space eventually becoming the site of a succession of bowling greens which, along with a clubhouse, remain today – see picture above.

Further discussion of the evolution of West Park next time.