Monday, 28 September 2015

The River Effra’s Vanishing Act

"Yes," said Mr. Fawnhope. "There will be verdure, and that, I think, is what my soul craves. I, with my fair Cecilia, to Merton now will go, Where softly flows the Wandle, and daffodils that blow--What an ugly word is Wandlel How displeasing to the ear!"

Whenever anyone mentions vanished London rivers to me, I can't help thinking of Georgette Heyer's 'Grand Sophie' where I first read about the Wandle. So when there was an opportunity to find out about another of South London's rivers, I decided to make like Mr Fawnhope and jump unbidden into a carriage, in search of verdure, watery pleasure and poetry. Even the musical name 'Effra' conjures images of bucolic enjoyment, and according to Mr Ackroyd, 'is named from the celtic word yfrid, or torrent'.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Should the law be used to stop 'Uberification'?

This is the fourth and final debate in this Thomson Reuters series. Having attended two of the others, they have offered an entertaining yet expert view into wide ranging topics such as Right to Be Forgotten, Corporate Crime, and Human Rights. All of these debates can be seen on YouTube and this one will no doubt go up soon. Whether the law should be used to stop 'uberification' was the final motion to be debated and promised to be controversial from the outset.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

'Law Librarians! I want to make your role more interesting’ - #MmIT2015 Conference

Me looking professional
This is the full text of the talk I gave at the MmIT 2015 Conference 'With Power Comes Great Responsibility - How librarians can Harness the Power of Social Media for the Benefit of their Users'. This is a subject very close to my professional heart and I hope you will forgive me the length of this post.


‘I want to make your role more interesting’ was one of the more unusual things that a lawyer has said to me in my twenty year career as a law librarian.

It was September 2013 and inspired by a talk given by commentator Helen Lewis, I had just written an article about internet trolls for my own wide ranging blog. I mentioned this in passing to the lawyer heading up a newly formed Collyer Bristow team – the official sounding ‘Cyber Investigations Unit’. This concentrates on assisting victims of cyber stalking, online harassment and abuse. After a read of my article,  he decided to make ‘trolling’ the topic of the next firm’s Cyber Matters newsletter. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

London's Sailortown in the 18th Century

I fulfilled an ambition at the weekend; to run down The Cut to Limehouse Basin, head on to Narrow Street via Ropemaker Fields, and then on round the Isle of Dogs, using as much of the Thames Path as possible. I was glad to have done it on Monday as the Greenwich Tall Ships hooted their welcome on reaching Island Gardens, and I paused to enjoy the atmosphere. As luck would have it, the river theme continues in to September with the Totally Thames festival and its 150 events over the coming month.
As the festival launched, I was lucky enough to catch Derek Morris at the Guildhall Library today, and listened avidly as he trounced history academics from the past couple hundred years, and wrote off the library's collection of books about the East End. As an opener, it certainly got my attention. He has just completed his own history, with his book 'London's Sailortown 1600–1800, A Social History of Shadwell and Ratcliff, an Early-Modern London Riverside Suburb' (2014) by Derek Morris and Ken Cozens.