The Dulwich College Library Folio (18)


Literature  Folio 400 is a series of events and exhibitions to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the first Folio of Shakespeare's play.  The majority of the displays were on the weekend of his birthday and pretty difficult to get to from Liverpool in a day (even if I hadn't been working), but the book owned by the Dulwich College Library is on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich until the 24th September and having already booked a day trip last Friday because the tickets were surprisingly cheap (£60 all in), I decided it was the ideal opportunity to cross an otherwise pretty inaccessible copy off the list.  

The Folio's on show in the Maritime London section of the museum, an intimate exhibition space on the ground floor of an outer atrium which is otherwise spacious and on that day busy with school groups on the usual end of term visits making memories.  As you can see from the photograph, there's the usual hushed lighting and contextual text which creates the impression that the visitor is seeing something extra-special.  No matter how many of these items I've seen and even touched over the years, it's almost always with a sense of awe.

The Dulwich is also unusual because Eric Rasmussen says in his concordance The Shakespeare First Folio, "the fragmented copy exists in two bound volumes, Comedies and Histories".  The comedies aren't even complete with only nine of the fourteen plays and six pages from Romeo and Juliet grafted on.  If there was also a volume for the tragedies, it's become lost somewhere along the way, presumably before it became part of the library's collection.  This is a rare occasion when its possible for a display to include two sets of pages from a Folio.

The accompanying text does a good job of summarising the provenance from the Rasmussen book, describing how Dulwich College was founded by 1619 by Edward Alleyn, the Elizabethan tragedian portrayed by Ben Affleck in Shakespeare in Love, son-in-law of Philip Henslowe, the owner of the Rose Theatre (Geoffrey Rush).  This copy was owned by William Cartwright the son of a friend of Alleyn who seems to have bequeathed it to the library on his death in 1686.  This is not a Folio which has travelled much., although the damage listed in Rasmussen indicates it has been well used.

One volume is open on the title page of The Tempest the other on Richard III, Act 1, Scene 4 in which Clarence dreams of falling from a ship bound for Burgundy witnessing the wrecks of other ships have gone before:

Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea:
Some lay in dead men's skulls; and, in those holes
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,
As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
Which woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by.

As the text label suggests, this captures "the contradictory attitudes of the time towards the sea - on the one hand they represent economic opportunity, on the other a vast, wild and dangerous space."  Later in the scene he talks of "the tempest in my soul".

You can read more about the Folio 400 celebrations here.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1965.

What's in a name? Across its broadcasting years, the BBC World Service has been called three things. It initially launched in 1932 as the Andor-centric The Empire Service, broadcasting on shortwave radio from Daventry's Borough Hill and aimed at English-speaking audiences across the world. Given that the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference had agreed that countries should become

"autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations" 

choosing to still enshrine the word "Empire" in the channel's name seems backward-looking, especially since this had been formalized by the UK through a Statute of Westminster in 1931. However, the "British Empire" was still technically in place, and it wasn't until 1949 that the current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration.

By 1938, the service had begun launching services for non-English-speaking people in Arabic, German, Italian, and French. Near the outbreak of World War II, it was renamed BBC Overseas Service, at which point the channel was funded through a grant-in-aid from the Foreign Office budget. However, the name still implies an "over there" attitude, referring perhaps to the British overseas.

It wasn't until 1965 that the much more inclusive current title, BBC World Service, replaced it. The new name suggests more clearly that the BBC is offering its service to the entire world and not just British people abroad. It's notable that the service continued after 2014, when its costs reverted back to the license fee, which is the definition of public service.

The War Game

"Michael Apted presents previously secret Cabinet Office files that reveal how the BBC director general and its chairman consulted with Whitehall to ban 1965 film The War Game."
[BBC Sounds]

"On the front of a folder of declassified 1965 Cabinet Office papers from the national archives, scribbled in pencil by an unknown hand, is a legend that reads: “HMG censorship of BBC film The War Game”. It is enough to make anyone familiar with the troubled history of this film draw a sharp intake of breath."
[The Conversation]

"By late 1964 Harold Wilson’s newly elected Labour Government had already broken its election manifesto to unilaterally disarm Britain, and was in fact developing a full-scale nuclear weapons programme, in spite of wide-spread public protest."
[Peter Watkins]

"Parliamentary question asked in the House of Commons by William Hamilton MP about the TV film ‘The War Game’, December 1965 (CAB 21/5808)"
[The National Archive]

"The BBC has a duty in law and within its own charter to be, as far as possible and at all times, neutral and independent. How well it manages this is up to the viewer and listener’s individual views: as a rule, complaints are usually 50-50 in accusing the BBC of taking the other side in an argument."

Tomorrow's World

"Many of us watched the iconic BBC TV series Tomorrow's World, as it made predictions about the future in which we now live.  Was it correct in its assumptions and predictions?  Former presenter James Burke takes a journey through the archive, and explores how the series fared."
[BBC Sounds]

"This inaugural edition of 'Tomorrow's World' includes three very different features. Derek Cooper, with help from consultant physician Dr Charles Fletcher, investigates new advances in kidney dialysis machines designed to work in the home. A second report looks at a Dutch flood defence system that has inspired plans in the UK to help ease a shortage of fresh water, while Professor Philip Morrison discusses the likelihood of the Mariner 4 space probe discovering evidence of life on Mars."
Presented by Raymond Baxter (pictured).
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

The BBC Archive pages have numerous whole episodes and clips from Tomorrow's World across the years.  There are some other bits and bobs on this clips page.
[BBC Archive]


"This BBC Schools programme looks at the job of the Post Office Telephonist. It covers the recruitment and training process and the work involved in the exchange including handling 999 emergency calls. Includes shots of the Continental Exchange at Faraday."
[BT Archive][BBC Programme Index]

"Examines the nature of mechanical waves and how they travel."
[Academic Film Archive of North America][BBC Programme Index]

"In the first of two programmes, male homosexuals talk about their condition.  Comment by Michael Schofield, Research Director, Central Council for Health Education."
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

A topical programme of sounds and voices to provoke midday listeners with minds of their own.  Presented by the Radio Newsreel production team.
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

"The news of Winston Churchill's death brought the UK to a standstill. BBC Television presented an obituary to a beloved war hero and a much-respected statesman. Archive footage, stills and contributions from old friends and colleagues told the colourful history spanning 90 years."
[BBC Clips][

"Presenting the world's greatest jazz singer accompanied by The Tommy Flanagan Trio and featuring her special guests The Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)."
[Perspective][BBC Programme Index]

"Sometimes, this site indulges in a complicated analysis of TV shows. And sometimes someone just sends me in some scans that are interesting, and I immediately bung them up. Both approaches are valid. After all, how else would you know how much the rhubarb crumble cost at Wood Norton in 1971?"
[Dirty Feed]


"Jack Weir reports on the new Melvaig transmitter which opened today, which will relay television across parts of Northern Scotland."
[BBC Rewind]

"Did they have ice-cubes in India in 1880?’ is the sort of question to which the Library constantly has to find an answer. Demand of one kind or another — for information, books, maps, periodicals, newspapers, booklists, or advice on any of them — is what makes the Library tick."


"From an anonymous donor, then, here is a bunch of studio schedules detailing what was recorded in various BBC studios at the tail end of 1965, and the start of 1966."
[Dirty Feed]

"The start of Doctor Who in November 1963 did not mark some grand turning point in the history of British television."
[Off The Telly]

"Very few things change overnight in television. Sometimes, it takes decades."
[Dirty Feed]


"For broadcasting, the outstanding event of the year was the death of Sir Winston Churchill.  The BBC is proud to have played its part in enabling millions of people, in Britain and throughout the world, to join in the nation's homage."

"The only thing that really matters in broadcasting is programme content; all the rest is house-keeping."  These words which introduce the report of the Canadian Committee on Broadcasting 1965, sum up the universal truth about broadcasting wherever it is taking place."
[World Radio History]