Village Fetes (and Wallis Bird)

Last weekend we had a lovely family day at the Innocent Village Fete in Regents Park. It’s a nice idea to take a big green space in the centre of London and do an old fashioned village fete (complete with ferret racing, welly throwing and scones) and add in some good live music (Wallis Bird – our absolute favourite singer songwriter at the moment) and a helter skleter and other kid-friendly rides.
As part of the site to promote the event, there’s a handy Fete Finder which will help you find an actual village (or school) fete in your area. And although their fete blog is currently preoccupied with celebrating their own event, it also acts as a nice celebration of fete culture in general.

I thought that fetes would be the sort of things which appeal to I Like Old Shops so I emailed Anne who runs that site to ask if she knew of any other sites which celebrate this particularly British custom. Anne says:
"Not sure if this is in the right ballpark but Strange Britain is good for customs and weird folklore and Wacky Nation does similar. There’s also a good book by Iain Aitch called A Fete Worse Than Death that covers the same ground."

If you’ve never heard Wallis Bird, do listen to the songs on her MySpace page. The songs are good on cd, but live she’s exceptional – a bundle of charisma and a fantastic performer. One of the songs from her set in Regents Park on Saturday has already turned up on YouTube – Click on the play button on the right of this text to enjoy.

BBC Memoryshare

>> An introduction to Memoryshare
>> View Memories
Memoryshare aims to be a living archive of personal memories from 1900 to the present day. This is really engaging and accessible social history, contributed by BBC viewers and listeners across the UK. Anyone registered with can contribute to Memoryshare either by submitting their own stories or commenting on stories posted by other users. Memories can be browsed by date or by subject.
Highlights include

Ugly animals, Life on Mars video clip, Trumpton Quiz & 24 game

Uglyoverload >> Ugly Overload
Last month we drew your attention to Cutecore – a site devoted to photos of various adorable fluffy, furry and downy animals.
Ugly Overload is the yin to Cutecore’s yang – it’s the web’s premier collection of photos of creatures more likely to make you go ‘eurgh’ than ‘aaah’.

>> Media Guardian: Kids Classic Spoofed for Life On Mars
>> Watch the Life on Mars/Chigley spoof clip (Windows Media format)
>> Life on Mars: Official site
BBC One’s terrific time-travel cop show returns for a second (and final) series this spring. Fans of the show will love this clip which turns John Simm’s character DI Sam Tyler into a Chigley/Camberwick Green-style puppet

Chigley >> Trumptonshire Quiz
Most people who grew up on Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley will recall Windy Miller, Mrs Honeyman and firemen Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble & Grubb – But can you name Mrs Dingle’s dog, Chippy Minton’s wife, or the very first character ever to appear on Camberwick Green?

>> 24: CTU
Sky have created a terrific site to promote the new series of Kiefer Sutherland’s real-time anti-terrorist thriller 24. Enter your mobile number, email address and the access code 99K36F. You will then receive emails and texts from Sutherland’s character Jack Bauer and other characters from the show, who apparently need your help to apprehend their terrorist nemeses!

Who Do You Think You Are

Family_history >> Who Do You Think You Are
Each new series of BBC One’s celebrity genealogy programme prompts fresh interest in online family tree research, so I make no apology for a repeat plug for the BBC’s excellent family history pages.
Investigating your family tree remains one of the most popular online pastimes, but it can be an intimidating process for those who are new to the world of genealogical research.
The BBC site is designed to be helpful to beginners and experienced users alike. As well as information about the current series, there’s a complete beginners toolkit for getting started with genealogical research. Family history expert Dr Nick Barratt provides articles and standalone video tutorials which explain the basics of tracing your roots with case studies, extensive links, and a useful interactive tool called Bloodlines, which lets you plot your own family history on a scrolling timeline which details key events from the early 1800s to the present day.
In addition a section called Your Photos invites you to dig out (and upload) old family photos which may have lasting social or cultural interest. From steam railways to royal visits, sporting events, workplaces or family occasions you’ll find a fascinating mix of images from the early 20th century up to the 1960s.

Ceefax Online

>> (Ceefax search engine)
>> Teletext Now and Then
This is more an exercise in enjoyable nostalgia than a super-useful service, but it does serve as an enjoyable reminder of text-based information services in the days after the testcard but before the internet!

Every Hit

Everyhit >> Every Hit
I first discovered this fantastic guide to the UK Singles Chart a couple of years ago, but I’d forgotten how useful it is, until a friend reminded me about it recently. The site provides a searchable database of every top 40 hit from January 1952 to the present day. You can find out what was in the top ten when you got married, list all of an artist’s hits (alphabetically or by date), search for all the hits by Steves and Tims or check how many Top 40 hits feature the word fish or cheese in the title!

Family History links

Website of the Day: Wednesday January18th


You may have heard Sheila Hancock on last Wednesday’s programme talking about her involvement in BBC One’s family history series Who Do You Think You Are.
The programme’s accompanying site is an excellent introduction to genealogical research in the UK, with guides to reading and interpreting census records and piecing the past together using war memorabilia and house history. There are comprehensive links to the UK’s best genealogical websites and an excellent interactive tool called Bloodlines which lets you store relevant information in a personal online folder.

One of the non-BBC sites used extensively during the series is – who are offerring free access to the complete 1901 census for the duration of the series.

See also:

>> The 1861 Census on 1837 Online

>> Free BMD
>> Stepping Stones (original census images for 1841-1871)

>> Scotland’s People


>> BMD Index

>> Statistics Agency
>> Genes Reunited

JCB & Creep: Animated Videos

Jcbsong >> JCB Song
>> Radiohead: Creep (Low Morale animated video)
I’ve not featured many online animations on the programme, as it can be hard to do them justice on the radio. However these award-winning animated videos from illustrators Monkeehub are so amazing that they deserve a much wider audience. You’ll have a long wait to load these videos if you don’t have a broadband connection, but they are well worth the wait!
Both videos are moving and visually stunning, and the JCB Song is a feel-good nostalgia-fest. It’s the autobiographical story of a five year old boy going for a ride in his dad’s JCB (complete with references to Bruce Lee, Zoids, Transformers and Mr T’s B. A. Baracus character from The A Team). The whole site is seen from the perspective of the little boy with the video appearing to be drawn with pencils in his schoolbook!
The band who recorded JCB Song are Nizlopi (who were recent guests on Dermot O’ Leary’s Saturday Show ). You can find out more about them and listen to clips from their album at

Happy Birthday Friends Reunited / Amazon Search Inside

Website of the Day: 20th July 2005

Frconnections Happy 5th Birthday to Friends Reunited today:
>> Friends Reunited
>> Genes Reunited
>> Friends Reunited Connections

Searchinside_1 and welcome to Amazon UK’s "Search Inside" facility which lets you search the text of over 125 thousand books for key words or phrases, making the site as much an invaluable research tool as it is an uber-retailer.
>> Amazon UK Search Inside

The 1861 Census

Website of the Day: Wednesday 2nd March 2005

1837online >> The 1861 Census (on 1837 Online)
Three Years Ago, when the National Archives website launched the online version of the 1901 census, the new site was overwhelmed by the weight of visitors, so there is likely to be huge interest in this new venture from leading family history site 1837Online. This is the first time that the 1861 census for England and Wales has been made available online. It launches today, with full details of households in London, Middlesex, Kent and Surrey. Over the coming months the site aims to upload over twenty million records from the 1861 census to cover the whole of England and Wales.