Natural History Museum, London
The Natural History Museum in London is a natural history museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Natural History Museum's main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road. The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, mineralogy and zoology; the museum is a centre of research specialising in taxonomy and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin; the museum is famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast that dominated the vaulted central hall before it was replaced in 2017 with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling.
The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments. The museum is recognised as the pre-eminent centre of natural history and research of related fields in the world. Although referred to as the Natural History Museum, it was known as British Museum until 1992, despite legal separation from the British Museum itself in 1963. Originating from collections within the British Museum, the landmark Alfred Waterhouse building was built and opened by 1881 and incorporated the Geological Museum; the Darwin Centre is a more recent addition designed as a modern facility for storing the valuable collections. Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the Natural History Museum does not charge an admission fee; the museum is an exempt charity and a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture and Sport. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is a patron of the museum.
There are 850 staff at the Museum. The two largest strategic groups are Science Group; the foundation of the collection was that of the Ulster doctor Sir Hans Sloane, who allowed his significant collections to be purchased by the British Government at a price well below their market value at the time. This purchase was funded by a lottery. Sloane's collection, which included dried plants, animal and human skeletons, was housed in Montagu House, Bloomsbury, in 1756, the home of the British Museum. Most of the Sloane collection had disappeared by the early decades of the nineteenth century. Dr George Shaw sold many specimens to the Royal College of Surgeons and had periodic cremations of material in the grounds of the museum, his successors applied to the trustees for permission to destroy decayed specimens. In 1833 the Annual Report states that, of the 5,500 insects listed in the Sloane catalogue, none remained; the inability of the natural history departments to conserve its specimens became notorious: the Treasury refused to entrust it with specimens collected at the government's expense.
Appointments of staff were bedevilled by gentlemanly favoritism. J. E. Gray complained of the incidence of mental illness amongst staff: George Shaw threatened to put his foot on any shell not in the 12th edition of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae; the huge collection of the conchologist Hugh Cuming was acquired by the museum, Gray's own wife had carried the open trays across the courtyard in a gale: all the labels blew away. That collection is said never to have recovered; the Principal Librarian at the time was Antonio Panizzi. The general public was not encouraged to visit the Museum's natural history exhibits. In 1835 to a Select Committee of Parliament, Sir Henry Ellis said this policy was approved by the Principal Librarian and his senior colleagues. Many of these faults were corrected by the palaeontologist Richard Owen, appointed Superintendent of the natural history departments of the British Museum in 1856, his changes led Bill Bryson to write that "by making the Natural History Museum an institution for everyone, Owen transformed our expectations of what museums are for".
Owen saw that the natural history departments needed more space, that implied a separate building as the British Museum site was limited. Land in South Kensington was purchased, in 1864 a competition was held to design the new museum; the winning entry was submitted by the civil engineer Captain Francis Fowke, who died shortly afterwards. The scheme was taken over by Alfred Waterhouse who revised the agreed plans, designed the façades in his own idiosyncratic Romanesque style, inspired by his frequent visits to the Continent; the original plans included wings on either side of the main building, but these plans were soon abandoned for budgetary reasons. The space these would have occupied are now taken by the Earth Galleries and Darwin Centre. Work began in 1873 and was completed in 1880; the new museum opened in 1881, although the move from the old museum was not completed until 1883. Both the interiors and exteriors of the Waterhouse building make extensive use of
Maureen Ward, Countess of Dudley, was a British actress. Born in Glasgow, Lady Dudley was the daughter of James Swanson; as Maureen Swanson, she featured in British pictures during the 1950s and retired from acting in 1961, following her marriage to Viscount Ednam. Maureen Swanson was born in Glasgow on 25 November 1932. After her parents emigrated, she became a ward of Lady Phyllis Griffith-Boscawen. Maureen trained as a classical ballerina at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School before moving into musical theatre and film, she had a successful cinema career with the Rank Organisation in the 1950s, retiring following her marriage to Viscount Ednam. She married Viscount Ednam on 24 August 1961 at Amersham registry office, she was his second wife. Titled Viscountess Ednam, she was styled as the Countess of Dudley on 26 December 1969, following her husband's succession to the earldom, they had seven children: Hon. William Ward Lady Susanna Louise Ward and without issue Lady Melissa Patricia Eileen Ward, married in 1991 to Simon Puxley.
She married, secondly, in a civil service in July 2011 in London, on 1 October 2011 in Sicily in a Roman Catholic wedding, to Dr. Ludovic Toro, she served as a lady in waiting to Princess Michael of Kent. Moulin Rouge.... Denise de Frontiac Valley of Song.... Olwen Davies Knights of the Round Table.... Elaine One Just Man.... Third Party Risk.... Marina Orders Are Orders.... Joanne Delamere Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Presents.... Marguerite The Vise.... Susan, Craig's daughter / Maria / Maria / Susan Allerton Three Cornered Fate.... The Bob Hope Show.... Herself A Town Like Alice.... Ellen Jacqueline.... Maggie Up in the World.... Jeannie Andrews The Spanish Gardener.... Maria Robbery Under Arms.... Kate Morrison Mullockson The Malpas Mystery.... Audrey Bedford The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre.... Audrey Bedford No Hiding Place.... Ann Evans The Happiest Millionaire Who's Your Father? by Dennis Cannan, opposite Donald Sinden, at the Cambridge Theatre In a 1989 libel case, Lady Dudley testified that she had an affair in the early 1950s with Stephen Ward, the osteopath and artist, one of the central figures in the 1963 Profumo affair.
They became friends when he was commissioned to draw her portrait in 1953 – 10 years before the Profumo scandal. From the 1989 court case, Lady Dudley won "substantial" damages from the publishers of Honeytrap: the Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward by Anthony Summer and Stephen Dorril, in which the authors suggested that she had been one of the "popsies" whom Ward had procured for his influential friends. In 2002, the Countess of Dudley again accepted substantial libel damages from the publishers of Christine Keeler: The Truth At Last, Keeler's own account of the events surrounding her notorious affair with the former war minister John Profumo, in which she referred to Lady Dudley as having been "one of Stephen’s girls". Maureen Swanson on IMDb The Peerage profile
Retail price index
In the United Kingdom, the retail prices index or retail price index is a measure of inflation published monthly by the Office for National Statistics. It measures the change in the cost of a representative sample of retail services; as the RPI was held not to meet international statistical standards, since 2013 the Office for National Statistics no longer classifies it as a "national statistic", emphasising the consumer price index instead. However, as of 2018 the UK Treasury still uses the RPI measure of inflation for various index linked tax rises. RPI was first calculated for June 1947 replacing the previous Interim Index of Retail Prices, it was once the principal official measure of inflation. It has been superseded in that regard by the Consumer Price Index The RPI is still used by the government as a base for various purposes, such as the amounts payable on index-linked securities including index-linked gilts, social housing rent increases. Many employers use it as a starting point in wage negotiation.
Since 2003, it is no longer used by the government for the inflation target for the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee nor, from April 2011, as the basis for the indexation of the pensions of former public sector employees. As of 2016, the UK state pension is indexed by the highest of the increase in average earnings, CPI or 2.5%. The highest annual inflation since the introduction of the RPI came in June 1975, with an increase in retail prices of 26.9% from a year earlier. By 1978 this had fallen to less than 10%, but it rose again towards 20% over the following two years before falling again. By 1982, it had fallen below 10% and a year was down to 4%, remaining low for several years until approaching double figures again by 1990. Aided by a recession in the early 1990s, increased interest rates brought inflation down again to an lower level. From March to October 2009, the change in RPI measured over a 12-month period was negative, indicating an overall annual reduction in prices, for the first time since 1960.
The change in RPI in the 12 months ending in April 2009, at −1.2%, was the lowest since the index started in 1948. Housing associations lobbied the government to allow them to freeze rents at current levels rather than reduce them in line with the RPI, but the Treasury concluded that rents should follow RPI down as far as −2% per annum, leading to savings in housing benefit. In February 2011, annual RPI inflation jumped to 5.1% putting pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates despite disappointing projected GDP growth of only 1.6% in 2011. The September 2011 figure of 5.6%, the highest for 20 years, was described by the Daily Telegraph as "shockingly bad". After a thorough review, in 2012 the National Statistician's Consumer Prices Advisory Committee determined that due to the use of the Carli formula in certain subcomponents, the RPI is biased upwards compared to other indices by a "formula effect" of one percentage point. CPAC concluded that "the use of the Carli formula is no longer appropriate" due to the weak axiomatic properties of the Carli method..
In 2013, following a consultation on options for improving the RPI, the National Statistician concluded that the formula used to produce the RPI does not meet international standards and recommended that a new index known as RPIJ be published. Subsequently ONS decided to no longer classify RPI as a "national statistic". However, ONS will continue to calculate RPI, among several versions of the inflation index, in order to provide a consistent historic inflation time series; the index factors continue to be used to adjust for inflation in the calculation of chargeable gains for inclusion in the tax computation for entities subject to corporation tax in the UK. In January 2018, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said; the United Kingdom RPI is constructed as follows: A base year or starting point is chosen. This becomes the standard against. A list of items bought by an average family is drawn up; this is facilitated by Food Survey. A set of weights are calculated, showing the relative importance of the items in the average family budget – the greater the share of the average household bill, the greater the weight.
The price of each item is multiplied by the weight given to the item, so that the contribution of the item's price is in proportion to its importance. The price of each item must be found in the year of comparison; this enables the percentage change to be calculated over the desired time period. The RPI calculation employs a variation of the Carli method rather than the Jevons method employed in the calculation of RPIJ and CPI; the unweighted Carli method overstates inflation rates. However as stated above, the RPI calculation employs weights. In practice the comparison is made over shorter periods, the weights are reassessed. Detailed information is published on the Office for National Statistics website; the RPI includes an element of housing costs, whereas the following items are not included in the CPI: Council tax, mortgage interest payments, house depreciation, buildings insurance, ground rent, solar PV feed in tariffs and other house purchase cost such as estate agents' and conveyancing fees.
A further index, CPIH, has been published which includes housing costs but CPIH does not meet current international standards. The Office for National Statistics states that: The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs is the most comprehensive mea
The franc is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The Swiss National Bank issues banknotes and the federal mint Swissmint issues coins; the smaller denomination, a hundredth of a franc, is a Rappen in German, centime in French, centesimo in Italian, rap in Romansh. The ISO code of the currency used by banks and financial institutions is CHF, although Fr. is widely used by businesses and advertisers. The Latinate "CH" stands for Confoederatio Helvetica. Given the different languages used in Switzerland, Latin is used for language-neutral inscriptions on its coins. Before 1798, about 75 entities were making coins in Switzerland, including the 25 cantons and half-cantons, 16 cities, abbeys, resulting in about 860 different coins in circulation, with different values and monetary systems; the local Swiss currencies included the Basel thaler, Berne thaler, Fribourg gulden, Geneva thaler, Geneva genevoise, Luzern gulden, Neuchâtel gulden, St. Gallen thaler, Schwyz gulden, Solothurn thaler, Valais thaler, Zürich thaler.
In 1798, the Helvetic Republic introduced the franc, a currency based on the Berne thaler, subdivided into 10 batzen or 100 centimes. The Swiss franc was equal to 6 3⁄4 grams of 1 1⁄2 French francs; this franc was issued until the end of the Helvetic Republic in 1803, but served as the model for the currencies of several cantons in the Mediation period. These 19 cantonal currencies were the Appenzell frank, Argovia frank, Basel frank, Berne frank, Fribourg frank, Geneva franc, Glarus frank, Graubünden frank, Luzern frank, St. Gallen frank, Schaffhausen frank, Schwyz frank, Solothurn frank, Thurgau frank, Ticino franco, Unterwalden frank, Uri frank, Vaud franc, Zürich frank. After 1815, the restored Swiss Confederacy attempted to simplify the system of currencies once again; as of 1820, a total of 8,000 distinct coins were current in Switzerland: those issued by cantons, cities and principalities or lordships, mixed with surviving coins of the Helvetic Republic and the pre-1798 Helvetic Republic.
In 1825, the cantons of Berne, Fribourg, Solothurn and Vaud formed a monetary concordate, issuing standardised coins, the so-called Konkordanzbatzen, still carrying the coat of arms of the issuing canton, but interchangeable and identical in value. The reverse side of the coin displayed a Swiss cross with the letter C in the center. Although 22 cantons and half-cantons issued coins between 1803 and 1850, less than 15% of the money in circulation in Switzerland in 1850 was locally produced, with the rest being foreign brought back by mercenaries. In addition, some private banks started issuing the first banknotes, so that in total, at least 8000 different coins and notes were in circulation at that time, making the monetary system complicated. To solve this problem, the new Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 specified that the federal government would be the only entity allowed to issue money in Switzerland; this was followed two years by the first Federal Coinage Act, passed by the Federal Assembly on 7 May 1850, which introduced the franc as the monetary unit of Switzerland.
The franc was introduced at par with the French franc. It replaced the different currencies of the Swiss cantons, some of, using a franc, worth 1.5 French francs. In 1865, Belgium and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union, in which they agreed to value their national currencies to a standard of 4.5 grams of silver or 0.290322 grams of gold. After the monetary union faded away in the 1920s and ended in 1927, the Swiss franc remained on that standard until 1936, when it suffered its sole devaluation, on 27 September during the Great Depression; the currency was devalued by 30% following the devaluations of the British pound, U. S. dollar and French franc. In 1945, Switzerland joined the Bretton Woods system and pegged the franc to the US dollar at a rate of $1 = 4.30521 francs. This was changed to $1 = 4.375 francs in 1949. The Swiss franc has been considered a safe-haven currency, with a legal requirement that a minimum of 40% be backed by gold reserves. However, this link to gold, which dated from the 1920s, was terminated on 1 May 2000 following a referendum.
By March 2005, following a gold-selling program, the Swiss National Bank held 1,290 tonnes of gold in reserves, which equated to 20% of its assets. In November 2014, the referendum on the "Swiss Gold Initiative" which proposed a restoration of 20% gold backing for the Swiss franc, was voted down. In March 2011, the franc climbed past the US$1.10 mark. In June 2011, the franc climbed past US$1.20 as investors sought safety as the Greek sovereign debt crisis continued. Continuation of the same crisis in Europe and the debt crisis in the US propelled the Swiss franc past US$1.30 as of August 2011, prompting the Swiss National Bank to boost the franc's liquidity to try to counter its "massive overvaluation". The Economist argued that its Big Mac Index in July 2011 indicated an overvaluation of 98% over the dollar, cited Swiss companies releasing profit warnings and threatening to move operations out of the country due to the strength of the franc. Demand for francs and franc-denominated assets was so strong that nominal short-term Swiss interest rates became negative.
On 6 September 2011, when the ex
A diamond cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing such as the brilliant cut. Cut does not refer to shape, but the symmetry and polish of a diamond; the cut of a diamond affects a diamond's brilliance. In order to best use a diamond gemstone's material properties, a number of different diamond cuts have been developed. A diamond cut constitutes a more or less symmetrical arrangement of facets, which together modify the shape and appearance of a diamond crystal. Diamond cutters must consider several factors, such as the shape and size of the crystal, when choosing a cut; the practical history of diamond cuts can be traced back to the Middle Ages, while their theoretical basis was not developed until the turn of the 20th century. Design creation and innovation continue to the present day: new technology—notably laser cutting and computer-aided design—has enabled the development of cuts whose complexity, optical performance, waste reduction were hitherto unthinkable.
The most popular of diamond cuts is the modern round brilliant, whose facet arrangements and proportions have been perfected by both mathematical and empirical analysis. Popular are the fancy cuts, which come in a variety of shapes, many of which were derived from the round brilliant. A diamond's cut is evaluated by trained graders, with higher grades given to stones whose symmetry and proportions most match the particular "ideal" used as a benchmark; the strictest standards are applied to the round brilliant. Different countries base their cut grading on different ideals: one may speak of the American Standard or the Scandinavian Standard, to give but two examples; the history of diamond cuts can be traced to the late Middle Ages, before which time diamonds were employed in their natural octahedral state—anhedral diamonds were not used in jewelry. The first "improvements" on nature's design involved a simple polishing of the octahedral crystal faces to create and unblemished facets, or to fashion the desired octahedral shape out of an otherwise unappealing piece of rough.
This was called the point cut and dates from the mid 14th century. By the mid 15th century, the point cut began to be improved upon: a little less than one half of the octahedron would be sawn off, creating the table cut; the importance of a culet was realised, some table-cut stones may possess one. The addition of four corner facets created the old single cut. Neither of these early cuts would reveal. At the time, diamond was valued chiefly for its adamantine superlative hardness. For this reason, colored gemstones such as ruby and sapphire were far more popular in jewelry of the era. In or around 1476, Lodewyk van Berquem, a Flemish polisher of Bruges, introduced the technique of absolute symmetry in the disposition of facets using a device of his own invention, the scaif, he cut stones in the shape known as briolette. About the middle of the 16th century, the rose or rosette was introduced in Antwerp: it consisted of triangular facets arranged in a symmetrical radiating pattern, but with the bottom of the stone left flat—essentially a crown without a pavilion.
Many large, famous Indian diamonds of old feature a rose-like cut. However, Indian "rose cuts" were far less symmetrical as their cutters had the primary interest of conserving carat weight, due to the divine status of diamond in India. In either event, the rose cut continued to evolve, with its depth and arrangements of facets being tweaked; the first brilliant cuts were introduced in the middle of the 17th century. Known as Mazarins, they had 17 facets on the crown, they are called double-cut brilliants as they are seen as a step up from old single cuts. Vincent Peruzzi, a Venetian polisher increased the number of crown facets from 17 to 33, thereby increasing the fire and brilliance of the cut gem, properties that in the Mazarin were incomparably better than in the rose, yet Peruzzi-cut diamonds, when seen nowadays, seem exceedingly dull compared to modern-cut brilliants. Because the practice of bruting had not yet been developed, these early brilliants were all rounded squares or rectangles in cross-section.
Given the general name of cushion—what are known today as old mine cuts—these were common by the early 18th century. Sometime the old European cut was developed, which had a shallower pavilion, more rounded shape, different arrangement of facets; the old European cut was the forerunner of modern brilliants and was the most advanced in use during the 19th century. Around 1900, the development of diamond saws and good jewelry lathes enabled the development of modern diamond cutting and diamond cuts, chief among them the round brilliant cut. In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky analyzed this cut: his calculations took both brilliance and fire into consideration, creating a delicate balance between the two. Tolkowsky's calculations would serve as the basis for all future brilliant cut modifications and standards. Tolkowsky's model of the "ideal" cut is not perfect; the original mo
A diamond rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a discovery of diamonds. Major diamond rushes took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in South Africa and South-West Africa. In 1871, the discovery of an 83.50 carat diamond on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje on the farm Vooruitzigt in South Africa led to the foundation of Kimberley Mine, the town of Kimberley. This diamond rush was termed the "New Rush". In 1908, the discovery of a diamond near Grasplatz station in German South-West Africa led to a diamond rush developing the town of Lüderitz and creating several mining settlements that today are ghost towns. In the 1990s, several frequency domain heliborne electromagnetic anomalies were discovered by Charles E. Fipke around Lac de Gras, a lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Several mines were established. Gold rush
The Vanished Diamond
The Vanished Diamond translated as The Southern Star, is a novel by Jules Verne, first published in 1884. It is based on a manuscript by Paschal Grousset; this novel takes place in South Africa amongst the diamond fields in the district of Griqualand. Most of the land is owned by Mr. John Watkins. A shanty town filled with miners has sprung up, all with the hope to get rich; the main area of diamond mining is the Vandergaart Kopje. The protagonist is Victor Cyprien, he moves to the Griqualand district to study the formation of diamonds. While he is there he falls in love with Alice, he asks him for her hand in marriage but is denied on his lack of money and stature in the community. He decides that he could amass a fortune by mining with Thomas Steel, they proceed to dig. Victor hires a team of Africans to mine the claim; the claim collapses. He manages to rescue one of Mataki. Achieving no great finds, Victor is disheartened. Alice begs Cyprien to return to his studies. So Victor decides to attempt to artificially make a diamond.
His experiment seems to work. He gives it to Mr. Watkins for Alice. Mr. Watkins holds a banquet in honor of his accomplishment; the diamond, christened as The Star of the South by Alice, is on display during this banquet. Midway through the banquet, the diamond vanishes as well as Mataki. Mataki appears to flee with the diamond and Mr. Watkins, offers Alice's hand to whoever brings the diamond back. Victor and three other suitors set off to hunt Mataki down, they prepare to travel across the Veld. Victor brings along two companions his laundry man, Li, a member of his digging team, Bardik. Along the way, the other three of his companions perish at the hands of animals or disease. Victor captures Mataki; the only reason he ran was because he was afraid he would be hung unjustly for the diamond's disappearance. Victor finds the diamond in the stomach of Alice's ostrich, Dada. Cyprien is hung because his discovery of making artificial diamonds threatened the livelihood of the miners, he is only saved by Mataki's confession.
Mataki found the diamond when he was covered by the landslide and stuck it in Victor's experiment in gratitude. Victor is shocked. Not caring about the diamond's origin, Mr. Watkins is glad for the recovery and holds another banquet. Mr. Vandergaart, the original owner of the land bursts in with a certificate saying that the land is once again his. John Watkins is devastated and is more devastated when the Star of the South disintegrates. Shocked he dies the next day. Victor and Alice marry and live ever after; the Southern Star is a 1969 British-French comedy crime film based on the novel, directed by Sidney Hayers and starring George Segal, Ursula Andress and Orson Welles. Original text of the novel in French on Wikisource. L'Étoile du sud, audio version