#MakeupMonday: A Makeup Brush Brings History to Life

Our Airbnb in Durham, UK includes a rather extraordinary historical element that the renovators were required to preserve in this historic Georgian building. Can you spot it?

The building dates from 1708. It was a private home, and then a gentleman’s club for over a century. It’s a listed Grade II building, so historical features are required to be preserved. The range is one of only six Durham-made ranges of the era known to exist in situ. I suppose this means it can’t be dusted?

So why am I telling you all this on MakeupMonday?

Because…. I OF COURSE dug through the ashes in all the range’s many ovens! What else could I do?

And lo, I found some paper!

And of course I had to investigate!

So I pulled it out, and set to the task of cleaning.

But it was delicate. Oh so delicate.

So what to do? Naturally, get out one of my extra travel makeup brushes, and set to work!

blowing off some soot

Et voila! A 1948 official communication! From the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries!

But to whom? There seemed to be one printed address on the top layer of paper (which included the words Elvet St. – our address), but this quickly brushed off to reveal some handwritten words beneath.

But what does it say? It’s hard to make it out!

It seems to read:

….side (or …sicle?)

Rise slowly


Bp A….

To the internet I go. And quickly discover: there is indeed a Rise Slowly Farm in… Cockfield Village, on Raby Moor, just outside of Durham, near the market town of…. Bishop Aukland!

So there we go! Without being able to read the name, I don’t know what else to glean, but how fun to get this far.

Curiosity sent me back to the ashes and soot, and i spotted another crumbled and tightly wadded scrap of paper. I unfolded it gently. Here it is:

Isn’t it wonderful? Do you place it in the mid-1940s, with those amazing shoulders?

Without my handy makeup brush, none of this would have happened!

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About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.


#MakeupMonday: A Makeup Brush Brings History to Life — 2 Comments

  1. Wow! That’s really cool! I didn’t know you were coming to the UK — how exciting. Are you coming to the Midlands and the south? London? I will point my students in your direction!

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