News in brief

Funding for Strictly ballroom

The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, home to Strictly Come Dancing’s annual ballroom special, has received £764,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help enable repairs to be made to the venue, including its historic plasterwork ceiling. The ballroom is part of the Grade I-listed Tower Building, which first opened to the public in 1894 and is considered the home of ballroom dancing in the UK.

Shirley Ballas, Head Judge of Strictly Come Dancing, said: ‘Blackpool holds a special place in the heart of every ballroom dancer across the world. It is a town steeped in ballroom dance history and somewhere everyone hopes to dance one day. For me, I won my three British Professional Latin Championships in Blackpool, titles that I cherish. I am overjoyed to learn of the Government’s investment to aid in the restoration of one of Blackpool’s historic ballrooms. Thank you, Oliver Dowden MP, I still owe you that cha cha lesson!’

WWI nurses identified

During the First World War, more than 100 nurses served at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, helping to care for wounded soldiers returning from the front line. After the establishment was abruptly closed following a fire in 1916, however, any records that could identify these women were lost.

In 2018, English Heritage colourised some of the photographs of the nurses and put out a call asking if anybody knew them. Now one, Olive Buller, has been named, after her granddaughter Carol Jephson saw the photographs on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. Carol owned Olive’s autograph book, which bears the names and stories of many of the nurses she served with, as well as soldiers she helped to recover, enabling many more names to be matched to individuals.

Rare psalter acquired by the British Library

The British Library has recently acquired a copy of what is known as the Lucas Psalter, one of only a handful of independent Psalm manuscripts dating to the second half of the 15th century. It was made in Bruges and is known as the Lucas Psalter because it contains the arms of Thomas Houchon Lucas (1460-1539), secretary to Jasper Tudor and Solicitor General under Henry VII. Based on eight large, finely painted initials, the manuscript appears to be the work of the Master of Edward IV, regarded as one of the most-influential artists during this period.

PHOTO: British Library.

The British Library plans to digitise the entire Psalter and make it freely available online, after which the manuscript will go on display in its permanent gallery.