Skip to main content

Constituencies, wards and local councils

Constituencies (a.k.a. parliamentary constituencies): each electing one Member of Parliament (MP) every 5 years to the House of Commons (Parliament). There are 650 constituencies in the UK.Wards (a.k.a. electoral divisions or electoral wards) is the primary unit of English electoral geography for borough and district councils, county councils or city councils. Each ward elects either one or two councillors to be members of the local council. There were 9,456 electoral wards/divisions in the UK and each ward has an average electorate of about 5,500 people, but ward population can vary substantially.Local council is made up of a number of Councillors (Cllr) who meet regularly to make decisions about the direction of the council and the work it does for the community. As elected bodies local councils are responsible to their local community. Attending a council meeting is the best way to find out what they do and how they make decisions. Members of public can attend public council meetin…

Children in Victorian Derby

In the Victorian age, factory employment concentrated the populace in manufacturing towns and cities like Derby.  Factory working girls suffered from many deficiencies: short, poorly developed, sallow cheeks, bad teeth. They were of course the mothers. Breast-feeding had declined because of the demands of factory employment and many mothers were unable to produce milk. Babies might be given the cheapest food, such as sweetened condensed milk, breeder of rickets. The poorest relied on a mixture of flour and  water, milk-like only to look at. 

The milk-like mixture of flour and water reminds me of low quality milk powder found in Anhui Province, China., which caused  so many 'big head babies' who are severe swelling in its head and body. 

The death rate is high. From the August, 1989, the local newspaper Mercury published weekly statistics of infant mortality. If we take an average of 18 sets of figures given by the end of that year, we might conclude that there were 193 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in Derby, or a near 20 percent death-rate for young children! In the week ending 10 October the figure rose to 296, nearly 30 percent! This is surely a shocking statistic. 

The abyss between rich and poor is large and deep. Board School boys of 10 to 12 years of age were on average five inches shorter than those at private school.  They suffered rotten teeth, weak hearts, poor eyesight and hearing, and weren't tall enough to be recruited by the British army.  This was uncovered  by the outbreak of the Boer War in 1898. Four out of 10 young men in Britiain volunteering for the British army had to be turned down because their physique would not have stood the strain. For the second time in 20 years infantry regiments had to reduce their minimum height requirement to five fee, six inches less than 1880!

Earlier in Victorian times one design fault had bitter consequences for many of the male children of the poorest families. John Claudius Loudon, a Scots-born designer who had huge influence on the appearance of parks and houses, advised builders to make a feature of proud tall chimney stacks. The trouble was that they had to be cleaned and maintained and many had a bend in them that made it convenient for them to be swept by hand.  The hands involved were those of young 'climbing boys' small enough to crawl up the narrow vertical and twisting passages with brushes, scraping tender knees in doing so. 

Many children just suffered from dire  poverty and being much neglected.  In the local newspaper Mercury Borough Police Court report in December 1867, a dirty half-starved little boy of eleven, was charged with stealing three oranges from the stall in the Market-hall, that morning.  The boy had been in the habit of standing in the Market-hall, from morning till night, and if the people there gave him nothing to eat he had nothing; he had also been in a state of almost nakedness.  A Mercury report of another Borough Police Court case in June 1888, a poor girl, aged 9 was charged with begging in a street on Wednesday night. Many children had to stay in workhouse.

Further reading: Victorian Derby -- A portrait of life in a 19th-century manufacturing townby Harry Butterton, Published by Breedon Books Publishing, 2006.


Popular posts from this blog


Heraldry probably began with the knights in armour. When wearing a helmet in battle or in tournaments a knight could not be recognised; so he used symbols to decorate his shield and surcoat. The surcoat was the loose garment worn over the armour to protect it from rain or hot sun and actually was the "coat-of-arms"; it was decorated on the front and back with the same device as on the shield.
The correct expression for entire design is an achievement. An achievement consists of the shield, helmet, rest, wreath, mantling and motto. These are the main parts. To them can be added supporters and a compartment.

In the centre is the most important part, the shield. The surface of the shield is called the field and on it the colourful charges are placed. The shield is called the arms or coat-of-arms and can be drawn in any shape - in an upright position or slanting, which is the position it would fall into if hung on a peg. In Heraldry it slants to dexter.

The helmet denotes the ran…

Is Aladdin a Chinese?

Aladdin is an Arabic name, but he lived in China.  Is he a Chinese?
Aladdin's wonderful Lamp was included in the first European version of the Book of the Thousand and One Nights (1704-1717), but not in the original Arabic manuscript.
So it's a problem who originally invented the story,  Arabic or European? In a 19th Century Pantomime, Aladdin's hometown is Beijing or Peking, spelled "Pekin" in the report,  now capital city of China.
 Derby local newspaper Mercury reported the pantomime in December, 1878. The reporter said "the representation of the city of Pekin, illuminated for a fete, is really very good indeed".  Above all, Pekin, Beijing or no, it would be found to be delightfully local in parts, with the opportunity never missed of getting  at the Derby City Council, as in on Scene:
BADROULBADOUR - And you will live here, dear Aladdin? ALADDIN -  Yes, And livery servants in most gorgeous dresses shall wait upon you - you shall hear the lark Sing from you…

The Meaning of Derby City Council Logo

The logo of Derby City Council looks quite abstract and modern. I wonder what's the meaning of it? The lower-left part of the logo looks like a snail (or the initial letter D in Derby?), the upper-right part seems a river, (Derwent river?) these two parts are connected by a straight line at the bottom.

I did some searches on the web trying to find out the true meaning of Derby City Council logo, but without success. So, I wrote to tourist information, and got the answer from Michael:
The Logo is a representation of two of Derby's oldest emblems, one being a ram the other a buck (deer). Obviously the logo is a modern interpretation of these two figures so it is not obvious unless you know what to look for. Most people do seem to agree with you that it looks like a snail however.
Ram! the curly horn of ram looks like a snail indeed. The ram and the deer are from coat of arms of City of Derby,
In this coats of arms, we can see the deers both in shield (arms) and supporter, but the…