Tag Archives: New York

Britannia – a woman with a past

I nearly forgot I had to post. It seems harder to remember now that I have stopped numbering the posts.

I really don’t like the days after Bank Holidays. It’s nice having Monday off, but as I always have Wednesdays  off I have to go into work for just one day. It feels like I’m just getting going when I have to stop again.

Today we did parcels until lunch, having had several orders over the weekend. Then I did halfpennies. I’m preparing a listing for halfpennies from Charles II to George III. The earliest is 1673 and the latest just reaches the early 1800s.

In those days they used Latin names for Kings – Carolus is Charles. It’s clearly been in circulation for some time. Judging by the Victorian coins we had in our pockets when we went decimal it was probably in use for a hundred years. Britannia came into existence with the Romans and first appeared on the coins of Hadrian before many centuries of obscurity. She reappeared on the coins of Charles II in 1672, modelled (according to Samuel Pepys) on  Frances Stewart, later the Duchess of Richmond and Lennox. There are various accounts, some stating that she resisted the advances of Charles II, others that she didn’t.

Over the years she gained a Union Flag on the shield, a trident (in place of the spear) and a helmet. In 1673, when this coin was new, we were at war with the Dutch, Sir Christopher Wren was knighted and the Chelsea Physic Garden was opened. When it was a year old we took back the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam and changed the name of the city of New Orange back to New York.

Over the next few years, whilst this coin was still shiny, the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral started and Titus Oates began the Popish Plot.

Interesting times . . .

Murder – A Depressing Subject

I’m feeling very right wing today.

The murder rate in London is, I’m told, higher than the murder rate in New York. Of course, that’s just according to some papers; other papers actually looked at the figures.

It seems that the two cities are very close in total murders, with New York actually two ahead. However, it also seems that this is just based on the first few months of this year. This is not, as anyone with half a brain will tell you, statistically significant. So, if you can’t draw any useful conclusions from the figures what can you do?

Well, I suspect you can draw some useful conclusions about journalists and their approach to statistics when pursuing a story.

You can probably also draw some conclusions about a rise in the London murder rate and the necessity to do something about it.

There are plenty of statistics out there if you want them. I could discuss them at length, but if I did I might send people to sleep.

However, you might like to think about a few facts.


London is quite a safe city.

New York, after much work from the police, is also quite a safe city.

Teenagers are not the only victims, so talk of better youth facilities, whilst well-meant, won’t solve the problem.There are no easy answers.

Everybody has a choice – they are not forced to pick up a gun or knife before they leave the house.

Punishment doesn’t reduce crime, though hanging clearly prevents re-offending. Assuming you hang the right people.

You can’t believe everything you read in the papers.

You definitely can’t believe anything in this blog, which is just the view of one grumpy old man with firm ideas about personal responsibility and the decline of modern society.

Every murder is a tragedy for someone and, if that person was going to grow up to cure cancer or stop Global Warming, it’s a tragedy for us all. Any man’s death diminishes me, as Donne says.

And finally, a quote from the Office of National Statistics. “Over one-third of adult male victims…were killed by a friend or acquaintance”.

I don’t know about you, but my definition of “friend” tends to exclude the likelihood of murder.