The London 2012 Olympics – Opening Ceremony – MV Empire Windrush

During the London Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony, there was a sketch featuring the SS Windrush, which brought nearly 500 Jamaican immigrants to Britain in search of a better life. They were invited to come here by the Government in order to alleviate a labour shortage. Sounds odd to our ears these days in the midst of an economic crisis, doesn’t it!

The sketch at the Opening Ceremony didn’t last long, but was very significant, especially as yesterday Jamaica was celebrating 50 years of independence. So congratulations to the Jamaicans for that. I’m sure there were plenty of parties of celebration.

Here are the details from Wikipaedia:

‘On 23 June 1948, the MV Empire Windrush arrived in the UK with,amongst other migrants from the Caribbean, 492 Jamaicans onboard whom had been invited to the country to work. Many more followed as the steady flow of Jamaicans to the UK was maintained due to the continuing labour shortage.[3] Between 1955 and 1968, 191,330 Jamaicans settled in the UK.[3] These first generation migrants created the foundation of a community which is now well in to its third if not fourth generation.

The Caribbean island nation of Jamaica was a British colony between 1655 and 1962, these 300 years of English rule changed the face of the island considerably (having previously been under Spanish rule and populated mainly by the indigenous Arawak and Taino communities.’

Oh and just one more thing! I can’t leave this post without congratulating Usain Bolt on his win in the 100m the other night.  I’m sure you all watched it.  Wasn’t it exciting!
This picture from the Daily Mail newspaper.
So now I’ll run away and get on with my housework.
Have a great day everyone!

The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony – The Tree

The thorn tree on Wearyall Hill which had its branches cut off in 2010. Glastonbury Tor is in the background.

Picture and note from Wikipaedia

My favourite bit of the Opening Ceremony on Friday was the beginning, the rural scene. It showed a mound or hill with a tree on top. The mound was to represent Glastonbury Tor. I wrote about that yesterday. The tree represented the Glastonbury Thorn. The explanation follows:

Excerpt from Wikipaedia

‘The Glastonbury Thorn is a form of Common HawthornCrataegus monogyna ‘Biflora’[1] (sometimes incorrectly called Crataegus oxyacantha var. praecox), found in and around GlastonburySomerset, England. Unlike ordinary hawthorn trees, it flowers twice a year (hence the name “biflora”), the first time in winter and the second time in spring. The trees in the Glastonbury area have been propagated by grafting since ancient times.[1]

It is associated with legends about Joseph of Arimathea and the arrival of Christianity in Britain, and has appeared in written texts since the medieval period. A flowering sprig is sent to the British Monarch every Christmas. The original tree has been propagated several times, with one tree growing at Glastonbury Abbey and another in the churchyard of the Church of St John. The “original” Glastonbury Thorn was cut down and burned as a relic of superstition during the English Civil War, and one planted on Wearyall Hill in 1951 to replace it had its branches cut off in 2010.’


William of Malmesbury mentions Joseph’s going to Britain in one passage of his Chronicle of the English Kings, written in the 1120s. He says Philip the Apostle sent twelve Christians to Britain, one of whom was his dearest friend, Joseph of Arimathea. William does not mention Joseph by name again, but he mentions the twelve evangelists generally. He claims that Glastonbury Abbeywas founded by them; Glastonbury would be associated specifically with Joseph in later literature. Cardinal Caesar Baronius,[13] the Vatican Librarian and historian (d. 1609), recorded this voyage by Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Marcella and others in his Annales Ecclesiatici, volume 1, section 35.

The accretion of legends around Joseph of Arimathea in Britain, encapsulated by the poem hymn of William Blake And did those feet in ancient time held as “an almost secret yet passionately held article of faith among certain otherwise quite orthodox Christians”, was critically examined by A. W. Smith in 1989.[14] In its most developed version, Joseph, a tin merchant, visited Cornwall, accompanied by his nephew, the boy Jesus. C.C. Dobson made a case for the authenticity of the Glastonbury legenda.[15]


Unfortunately in 2010, the tree was vandalised. Here is the report:

Excerpt from an article in the Daily Mail Newspaper December 2010.

‘Standing proudly on the side of an English hill, its religious roots go back 2,000 years. But a single night of vandalism has left an ancient site of pilgrimage in splinters.

The Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury has been chopped down in what is being seen by some as a deliberately anti-Christian act.’

Read more:

What was your favourite part of the Opening Ceremony?


The London 2012 – Opening Ceremony – Glastonbury Tor

From ‘this is Somerset’

‘Glastonbury Tor played a starring role in last night’s spectacular London 2012 opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.

A crowd of 80,000 in the stadium, and an estimated audience of a billion worldwide, saw artistic director Danny Boyle’s Tor creation form a central part of the £27 million show depicting Britain’s ‘Green and Pleasant Land’.

  1. Artistic director Danny Boyle unveiled his plans for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony last month

    Artistic director Danny Boyle unveiled his plans for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony last month.’

     Glastonbury Tor – picture from Wikipaedia

‘The iconic Somerset landmark formed an eye-catching part of the ceremony, and was then used to fly the flag of each of the 204 competing nations when the athletes arrived at the venue.

After getting under way at 9pm last night, the ceremony reached a spectacular finale shortly before 1am this morning with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.

The cauldron, formed of 205 copper petals representing the competing nations coming together in London for the Games, was ignited by seven young Torchbearers nominated by a cavalcade of Britain’s past and present Olympic and sporting greats.’

You can read more of this article here: 

Glastonbury Tor has a fascinating history…   You can read more about Glastonbury Tor here.

Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the tree.