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OpenLearn Live: 7th October 2015

Updated Monday, 5th October 2015

The small town with links to the army, navy and airforce - then more free learning through the day.

OpenLearn Live explores the links between the worlds we live in, and the worlds of learning and research. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Yesterday, we caught up with drugs in rugby, developments in cancer treatment centred on Brazil, and the implications of the Safe Harbour ruling.

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Today's posts

Rugby brothers

There seem to be a lot of brothers who play rugby. But is that anything more than a strange coincidence, or are influenced to take up sports by our sibling's choices?

The level of family involvement in the 2015 Rugby World Cup appears to confirm research that family influences a players’ introduction and experience of the sport in a variety of ways – from taking up the game to sibling rivalry driving performance. Being an England fan I was already aware of the two sets of brothers in the England squad – Billy and Mako Vunipola and the brothers Ben and Tom Youngs (whose father Nick was a former England scrum-half ).

Read Siblings in the scrum

London housing protests

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference this morning, David Cameron outlined a desire to turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy. While he lays his plans, however, discontent is already bubbling as Londoners feel priced out of their own communities. For the OU's Gerry Mooney, the protests have a familiar air to them:

This is all exactly 100 years after the Glasgow rent strikes of 1915, another period that lacked affordable and decent rental accommodation and squeezed those who could least afford it. World War I saw numerous rent strikes in different towns and cities around the UK including Leeds, Sheffield and Wolverhampton  in 1913-14, but the Glasgow protests were the ones that transformed the country and ultimately brought forth state policies for working-class housing.

Read London housing protests echo Glasgow rent strikes

Nobel prize for chemistry

The winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry have been announced this morning - the prize is shared between  Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for their research into the process by which DNA is able to repair itself.

The Guardian is running a liveblog on the award, and reaction to it.

If you wonder how this might make a difference to your life - well, one way is that by understanding how DNA repairs itself, you can stop cells you don't want replicating, like cancer cells, from fighting treatment. Kat Arney explains more in a blog about the link between beating cancer and DNA repair.

A week in Rutland: Cottesmore

This week, we're starting each day with a quick visit to places in Rutland. Yesterday, we called by Stoke Dry, a place with strong links to the RAF. Today, we're heading to the north of the county, and Cottesmore - which can claim connections with the army, the navy and the air force.

Harriers Lined Up at RAF Cottesmore Following Retirement from Service Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: under open government licence Harriers lined up at RAF Cottesmore in 2010

With a population of over 2,000, Cottesmore is the third largest settlement in Rutland - originally, its size was dependent upon local quarrying for ironstone. That tradition is celebrated today by the Rocks by Rail Museum at Cottesmore which recreates both the quarrying and the trains used to ferry the ore to the furnaces.

More recently, the town has owed its size to the presence of nearby air base. RAF Cottesmore opened in 1938, originally as a training base; then as a home to two squadrons until the outbreak of the Second World War. The initial was response to war was the base being emptied in case it became a target for enemy action. When no attacks were forthcoming, the RAF returned; from 1940, Cottesmore again provided a training base. In 1943, its role changed again as the USAF moved in. They would remain until the end of the war. Subsequently returned to the UK air force, Cottesmore returned to its role as a training facility; and from 1957 until 1969 it provided a base for the V bombers which carried the UK's air to ground nuclear capabilities. Various uses were made of RAF Cottesmore across the 70s, 80s and 90s, but in 2009 it was announced the base would be closed - in part to help fund a purchase of helicopters.

Perhaps ironically for an air force base which takes its logo and slogan from the local hunt, the saviour of Cottesmore as a military facility would be Liam Fox who, as then defence secretary in 2011, announced plans to transfer the property to the army. Renamed Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore is now home to the Army's East of England brigade.

And the link with the navy? That, too, comes through the Cottesmore foxhounds - the navy operated a Hunt class of ships which took their names from British hunts. There were three HMS Cottesmores - the first, a minesweeper used during the First World War and after to sweep German mines from the Irish and North Seas. Scrapped in 1923, she was replaced by a destroyer launched in 1940. Her role was to escort other naval vessels - on D-Day, she protected the ships sweeping mines off Gold beach, and then provided cover for the landing armies. After the war, she joined the reserve at Devonport, and then in 1950 was sold to the Egyptian navy. The last Cottesmore was another minesweeper, although by her launch in 1982 "sweeping" had been superceded by the term "Mine Countermeasures Vessel".  In 1997, she became a patrol vessel and in 2005, declared surplus. The ship's bell was brough to Rutland to find a home in the village of Cottesmore; the ship itslef was renamed Skalvis by its new owners, the Lithuanian navy.

See more from OpenLearn on 20th century history




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