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The History Press blog

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    Portrait of Hannah Greg. National Trust/Quarry Bank Mill Archive



    Born in 1766 Liverpool to a family of linen merchants, Hannah was barely a teenager when her father died.  She inherited his Dissenting faith and a small fortune from him and from her uncle, but she also derived from them and from her mother a commitment to education and welfare, the vocation to help the poor, and an interest  in medicine.


    She acquired at boarding school in London not only a wide education, a love of reading and of the countryside, but also a circle of radical friends, writers, and reformers, who encouraged her to make the most of her abilities.  In Liverpool before her marriage, she shone in the society of the local liberal intelligentsia. As she feared, her freedom to enjoy this life must come to an end when she married; and her first months of marriage to Samuel Greg came as a profound shock. However, taking charge in his family home in King Street, she soon  became a gifted hostess, a strong and intelligent supporter in his business, and a mother, bearing him 13 children.  Though well aware of the iniquity of the slave trade – she had some friends and family who were both implicated in it and others who were campaigners against it - she could not voice her opposition to it while Samuel retained his inherited plantations.


    Quarry Bank Mill. National Trust/Quarry Bank Mill Archive


    Like many Dissenters in Manchester in the 1790s, she felt under attack for her religious and political views, and her support for the Irish added to the climate of suspicion and anxiety which she had to endure. The family decided to spend an increasing amount of time in the country at Quarry Bank, where Hannah could bring up her growing family in a more tranquil environment.   There she wrote her books, (ostensibly for them); and became immersed in the care of the mill workforce.


    She oversaw  the education provided for the apprentice children, believing that the poor would benefit from being able to read and write, to acquire a skill, and to learn lessons from the Bible.  Each of her children spent time teaching apprentices.  Working with Dr Holland, the factory doctor, she also took a compassionate yet practical  interest in sustaining the health of the workforce, dispensing medicine and protecting them against the risk of epidemics.  She helped set up the village infant school, and took the leading role in providing for maternity leave and other welfare measures for the working mothers in the factory community.


    Though frequently suffering from ill-health, she found time to make her home a meeting place for writers, academics, and travellers. She died there in 1828 at the age of 62.


    Several of her children repaid the care and attention she devoted to their upbringing. Bessy, who married the son of her Liverpool friends the Rathbones, became a famous reformer and leader of education, housing and urban reform in that city. Robert, the son who took on the management of the business empire, the estates and even the slave plantation in Dominica, fought for the reform of the franchise, a causes dear to his mother’s heart. He went further, championing the Repeal of the Corn Laws and becoming an MP.  William and Samuel, the youngest sons, started out as brilliant idealists, but setbacks in their business lives tempered their enthusiasm for reform. They are mainly remembered nowadays for their writing.

     

    A Lady of Cotton 

     

    David Sekers was the National Trust’s Director of the Regions until retiring in 2001. He has been writing about Quarry Bank, Styal since 1978, specialising in the famous Greg family.  Prior to joining the National Trust as regional director he was museum director at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal. His book, A Lady of Cotton is available now. 

    The second series of Channel 4's The Mill, is currently airing and will continue with episode 2 on 27 July at 8:00pm. The series is set during rural-industrial England during the 1830s, the gritty drama follows the workers and unpaid apprentices at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire as they slave away at their 12-hour shifts. But the industrial revolution is changing the landscape of the country beyond recognition and the workers are poised to take their fates into their own hands...


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    Eve of The Tatler was introduced in May 1914 and is imagined here at her writing desk, quill poised, by Annie Fish. Her column entertained and amused readers throughout four years of war. (Illustrated London NewsME)

    Courtesy of © Illustrated London News/Mary Evans Picture Library


    If there was anything to distinguish the summer of 1914 from any other it was the exceptional heat. As the mercury rose, The Tatler magazine’s staff worked through the suffocating temperatures. ‘With the thermometer at goodness knows what, these lines are grudgingly contributed by a perspiring and waistcoatless staff,’ it informed readers. ‘The office cat is undergoing a course of ice massage; life is very trying.’ But despite the uncomfortable working conditions, the magazine continued as usual, and it being the height of the ‘Season’, there was plenty on which to report. There were the usual preoccupations and highlights of that time of year – speech day at Harrow; centenary cricket at Lord’s attended by the King, and Children’s Day at the exclusive Ranelagh club. Advertisements reflected the hot, lazy days of high summer – golf balls from J.P. Cochrane, Whiteway’s famous Devon Cyders, Colgate’s Talc Powder available in violet and cashmere bouquet (‘delightful after bathing in the sea’) and the Casino at Dieppe reminded potential customers that it was just five hours from London. Ostend, ‘Queen of the Sea-Bathing Resorts’, in Belgium was publicised as easily accessible by motor car from Paris or Brussels. The sensational murder trial of Madame Caillaux in Paris, accused of killing the editor of Le Figaro, was the talk of smart society, while the equally sensational ‘ravishing’ Russian Ballet was performing at Drury Lane.

    In its 8 July issue, there was a ripple of concern over the news that in Sarajevo, the heir to the Austrian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, had been assassinated along with his ‘brave wife’. Under the heading, ‘Flutter and unrest in the diplomatic circle of the near eastern powers’, a page of pictures showed  various ministers and ambassadors flitting from embassy to embassy in London. But it was one story of many, given as much space as the forthcoming boxing match between the French idol Georges Carpentier and ‘Gunboat’ Smith or the tragic death of Sir Denis Anson, who had fallen overboard and drowned in the Thames during a nocturnal riverboat party, also attended by Lady Diana Manners and the eldest son of the Prime Minister, Raymond Asquith. In its Small Talk section, At Wimbledon, the American Norman Brookes had beaten four times  champion, the dashing Anthony Wilding, to win the championship while Mrs Lambert Chambers slugged her way to a seventh victory beating Mrs Larcombe in the final. The Tatler ran photographs of the two ‘Titans of Tennis’ exhibiting remarkably similar jaw lines.

    By the end of July, ‘Gay and Glorious Goodwood … the last great gathering of society swallows before dispersing to the sea, the stream and the moors, or the cure’ marked the end of the Season. Eve, The Tatler’s gossip columnist, worried what she would wear in the heat, as ‘Goodwood frocks get smarter and smarter, and really now they’re very much the same as the Ascot ones.’ Some ‘Pictorial Consolation for the Perspiring Londoner’ was offered in the form of a page of pretty women in swimsuits, including ‘a charming young German lady in a quaint costume pour la plage.’ Further on, a fashion spread suggested Burberry for ladies heading to the grouse moors of Scotland that August.


    As weekly magazines, both The Sketch and The Tatler, were at a disadvantage when it came to reporting immediate news. Their first issues of the war featured a photograph of Princess Mary on their covers, wearing her hair up for the first time. (Illustrated London News/ME)

     

    Courtesy of © Illustrated London News/Mary Evans Picture Library

     

    Due to being a weekly magazine, The Tatler was at a disadvantage when it came to reporting immediate news and when Britain declared war on Germany at midnight on 4 August, the Wednesday issue had already gone to press. Thus, inappropriately, its first issue of the war featured the benign subject of Princess Mary on its front cover, looking awkward and a little frumpy, but, significantly, with her hair up for the first time, prompting the caption to read, ‘Our Grown Up Little Princess.’ Perhaps the only hint of the cataclysm about to erupt was a portrait of the popular Count Mensdorff Pouilly, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador in the same issue – ‘a great sportsman and a prominent member of the Jockey Club’ – and two small sketches in the ‘Letters of Eve’ column which commented on the ‘growing military influences on fashion’, though Eve seemed to think that if young men were to be called up for military service then it would more likely be to deal with the situation in Ireland.

    It is only fair to point out that The Tatler was not alone in this blinkered view. Not far from The Tatler offices in Milford Lane, off the Strand, were those of The Sketch magazine, in Great New Street, on the north side of Fleet Street. The Sketch was a friendly rival and senior by eight years (launched in 1893; The Tatler in 1901). It also had the newly mature Princess Mary as its cover girl on 5 August, and its enthusiasm for girls in bathing costumes was even greater, with four whole pages of comely bathing belles shared with readers. Elsewhere, the actresses Phyllis Monkman and Eileen Molyneux were featured wearing a strapless gown and shockingly short skirts respectively, in photographs entitled: ‘Costumes to be Recommended in Hot Weather.’ ‘The Clubman’ column on the 29 July commented, somewhat petulantly, how the London Season had been spoilt by a combination of court mourning (for the Austrian Archduke), troubles on the stock exchange and militant suffragette activity. The Royal Horse Show a few weeks previously had been disrupted by protests, and museums and galleries were closing their doors to visitors in fright because of the potential damage that might be wreaked by the troublemakers.

    The previous week, the same columnist had written about the current shortage of men in the Regular Army, ‘should any national emergency come suddenly upon this country.’ The next week, a photograph of the baby son of the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick (the daughter of the Kaiser) was published with the news that he, and any future children, would be styled ‘Highness’ and designated a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. His uncle, described as ‘our very friendly Crown Prince, the Kaiser’s heir,’ was pictured at a tennis tournament in Zoppot. Elsewhere, The Sketch ran a page of pictures on the lavish party held by Mrs Keiller, aka the artist Doll Phil-Morris, at her home, No. 13 Hyde Park Gardens. The theme of a Venetian masquerade required everyone to dress in masks and eighteenth-century gowns, and her commitment to authenticity led her to flood the terrace of her garden to replicate the Grand Canal and have a miniature Bridge of Sighs constructed to traverse the water.

    This was the world of The Tatler and The Sketch; a world of ballrooms and bazaars, duchesses and debutantes, royal babies, engagements, marriages, fashions from Paris and polo at Hurlingham. As the country’s social compasses, they reported on the smartest functions and the cream of society, casting a spotlight on those who had talent, influence, pedigree, power or simply a pretty face. In an entertaining blend of theatre, society gossip, royal doings, sport, fashion, motoring, travel and irreverent writing and opinion they paint a portrait of a gilded and glamorous elite, whose privileged lives were about to be shaken, damaged and, in some cases,  destroyed by the outbreak of war. 


    Extracted from Great War Britain


    Great War Britain


    Lucinda Gosling works at historical specialist, Mary Evans Picture Library and is the author of Great War Britain, a fascinating, at times amusing and uniquely feminine perspective of life on the home front during the First World War.


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    Giffords Circus

     

    Giffords Circus will be at Highfield Garden World, Gloucester on Friday 1st August from 11am signing copies their new bookGiffords Circus: the First Ten Years

    Each summer a small and glamorous part of the 1930s comes back to life, recreating magic from an era long past. Evoking a tradition common in the English countryside before the arrival of radio, cinema and television, since 2000 Giffords Circus has delighted fans from far and wide with good old-fashioned entertainment, complete with acrobats, jugglers, horses, magic, puppeteers, dancers and comedy. Lavishly illustrated with a wealth of stunning colour photographs, Giffords Circus goes behind the scenes at the not-so-big top, to show how the magic and mystery are created. 


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    Giffords Circus

     

    Giffords Circus will be at Yellow Lighted Bookshop, Hobbs House Bakery Nailsworth on Friday 8th August from 11am signing copies their new book, Giffords Circus: the First Ten Years.

    Each summer a small and glamorous part of the 1930s comes back to life, recreating magic from an era long past. Evoking a tradition common in the English countryside before the arrival of radio, cinema and television, since 2000 Giffords Circus has delighted fans from far and wide with good old-fashioned entertainment, complete with acrobats, jugglers, horses, magic, puppeteers, dancers and comedy. Lavishly illustrated with a wealth of stunning colour photographs, Giffords Circus goes behind the scenes at the not-so-big top, to show how the magic and mystery are created. 


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    Wigston in the First World War

     

    Duncan Lucas,Derek Seaton,Tricia Berry & Jean Dann will be at Leicestershire County record Office, Wigston on 4th August from 6:30 pm. They will be giving a talk and signing copies of their new book, Wigston in the First World War

    Wigston, in the heart of tranquil Leicestershire, was transformed from a peaceful existence in August 1914 as war clouds swept across the skies of Europe. This village, the home of farming folk and framework knitters, suddenly witnessed its young men leaving, in vast numbers, to answer the call of King and Country. Greater demands were placed upon those who remained as the factories and farms responded to the needs of a wartime nation. A unique presence was the Glen Parva Barracks, the Regimental Depot of The Leicestershire Regiment, where tens of thousands of recruits and conscripted men received their basic training to prepare them for war. This is the story of Wigston in the First World War, the men who fought on the front line – one of whom was awarded the Victoria Cross – and those who served on the home front during ‘the war to end all wars’. 


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    Fawley's Front Line by Roger Hansford


    Over the last century or so, the fire brigades of Fawley near Southampton have not only had to deal with the usual domestic blazes and farmyard flames but, thanks to the presence of a nearby oil refinery, have also had to adapt to deal with the threat of highly inflammable, even explosive situations. During an early recorded fire at Cadland Farm in the 1880s, horse-drawn pumps – fed by lines of people passing water buckets – were used to quell an intensive farmyard fire.  By the 1930s, part of the Cadland Estate had given way to the early Fawley Refinery, which loaned its Leyland fire engine to the Fawley Volunteer Fire Brigade that operated 1936-39.  The Leyland was an example of an early motorised fire engine, with solid tyres, an open crew cab, and a basic wooden ladder.  Demands on firefighters increased during the Second World War, and many vehicles were adapted for the National Fire Service; Fawley had two private cars that towed light trailer pumps and a flatbed lorry carrying a water dam. 


    Fawley's front Line by Roger Hansford


    After the war, responsibility for firefighting provision changed to county level.  The pumping appliance known as a Water Tender was the backbone of Hampshire’s fleet, often running alongside the Water Tender Ladder with its longer ladder and enhanced rescue capability.  Fawley Fire Station ran both types of vehicle simultaneously from its opening in 1977 until cuts came in 1995.  Today under its new name of Hardley it possesses a sole state-of-the-art Rescue Pump.  Fire appliance design has been affected by commercial constraints, as the demise of British marques including Bedford, Dodge and Dennis gave way to Volvo fire engines in Hampshire since the early 1990s.  Appliance bodywork and locker construction, once carried out by the brigade’s own workshops or at HCB-Angus in Southampton, is today contracted to Emergency One of Ayrshire in Scotland. 


    Fawley's Front Line by Roger Hansford


    Over the years, Fawley Fire Station has been home to a range of special appliances adapted for three main roles: 1) petrochemical firefighting in nearby industry; 2) rural firefighting in the New Forest; 3) high-volume pumping operations locally or nationally, e.g. for severe fires or floods.  The expansion of industrial and military activities in the Fawley area since 1945 has been further covered by private fire brigade resources, ranging from a basic Land Rover pump, to an articulated petrol tanker converted to carry foam, to a purpose-designed refinery fire tender.


    Fawley's Front Line


    Roger Hansford is the author of Fawley’s Front Line which investigates the changing role of the fire brigade and celebrates the dedication of fire crews on the Waterside over the last century.  It traces how the fire appliance was developed through this period, and adapted for specialist roles in the area.


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  • 08/01/14--02:30: The Friday Digest 01/08/14
  • THP Friday digest

    This week's update features the white glove myth, the prisoners of war who grew 33,000 lettuces and a lot of First World War news.


    Franz Ferdinand (in fur-lined coat) on a hunting weekend with Wilhelm II (left) in 1914. AKG Images


    * The outbreak of war and the July Crisis of 1914.


    Sir Basil Clarke


    * How the state and press kept the truth about the First World War off the front page

     

    Image from http://inside.org.au/britains-great-war-traps-of-memory/

     

    * Do you agree with David Hayes that 'the centenary of the 1914–18 war reveals Britain to be a country of permanent involution'? 


    Tunbridge Wells. Image from http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/ng-interactive/2014/jul/25/the-western-front-in-the-first-world-war-and-now-interactive


    * An interactive look at the western front in the First World War, then and now.


    Bomb damage in Lowestoft, England, 1916.


    Twelve eerie photos of the First World Warblended with the present, 100 years on.

     

    * Rightmove have compared a number of First World War images to their street view today and the results are fascinating.


    The World War One kilt. A specialist at the University of Southampton is impressed with the condition of the kilt, considering how old it is Credit: University of Southampton


    * The mystery message left inside a First World War kilt ...


    Photograph of Dr Jonathan Boff


    * A fantastic article from Jonathan Boff: Zen and the art of commemoration or, how I learned to stop worrying and love WWI


    Team picture of the last England side before the war, travelling to South Africa for a test in the winter of 1913: Seated on windowsill: Bert Relf Standing: Bert Strudwick, ID Difford, Major Booth, Phil Mead, Sydney Barnes, Frank Woolley Seated: Jack Hobbs, Morice Bird, Johnny Douglas, Lionel Tennyson, Wilfred Rhodes In front: EJ ''Tiger'' Smith, Jack Hearne Photo: David Frith Collection


    The cricketers who fought for their country in the First World War.   


    World War One: Guided tour of British soldier's kit. Image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28527237


    * A guided tour of the British soldier's kit


    A detail from the Ruhleben Horticultural Society, July 1917 olvwork423203, Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library


    * The prisoners of war who grew 33,000 lettuces.


     Olympic / Titanic Museum  Back garden, Owned by sheddie J. Siggins. Image from http://www.readersheds.co.uk/share.cfm?SHARESHED=4871

     

    * Is this shed the world's smallest Olympic and Titanic museum?


    This might have been the stairway to heaven, but it was hard to say.. Image from http://battle-castle.tv/2014/07/21/five-tips-for-sieging-your-favourite-medieval-castle/


    * Battle Castle  share five tips for seiging your favourite medieval castle.


    The white-painted depiction of the king’s armour is described as "grotesque" and " resembling a Storm Trooper from Star Wars,"  Photo: AFP/Getty Images/Heathcliff O'Malley


    * The model of Richard III at new visitor centre was revealed this week amid a storm of controversy, with experts calling it 'grotesque', thanks to its resemblance to a storm trooper

     

    Times Advert February 13th 1933


    * Just who were Sanders Bros, and why were they so important?


    Here, the upper part of the Egyptian carving, showing the hieroglyph of Amun (top left); the hieroglyph and the god's face were hacked out on orders of pharaoh Akhenaten (reign 1353-1336 B.C) and were later restored. PHOTO BY V. FRANCIGNY © SEDEINGA MISSION


    *  A newly discovered Egyptian carving, which dates back more than 3,300 years, bears the scars of a religious revolution that upended the ancient civilization.


    Jean Andoche Junot by Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux


    * The defenestration of Jean-Andoche Junot


    The White Glove Myth. Image from http://www.forbes.com/sites/booked/2012/03/21/the-white-glove-myth/


    * Archive documents and the white glove myth.


    61994 Aberdour 11Apr10 c (800x532). Image from http://blog.postofficeshop.co.uk/time-journey-classic-locomotive-great-britain/

     

     * A journey on the classic locomotives of Great Britain.

     

     
     
    The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir aka Neasden Temple.CGP Grey/Flickr/(CC BY 2.0)/CGPGrey.com / Via Flickr: cgpgrey
     

     * Is this London or abroad? A curious look at the capital's rich history.


    Could one of these characters become the next TV detective?


    Could one of these characters become the next TV detective? 


    'Dazzling': 2013 Booker contender NoViolet Bulawayo. Photograph: Krystal Griffiths


    * It's time that the Booker prize stopped telling us the same old story.


    The Baileys top 20... Who would you add to the list? Photograph: Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction


    * Which books by women have had the biggest impact on you? 


    'The publishing industry might just be going a bit crazy' … Nathan Filer. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian


    * Nathan Filer on why you should ignore the superlatives on book jackets


    Great classical music inspired by literature Great books have often been the inspiration behind great music - from 'Don Quixote' to 'Carmen', from 'Anna Karenina' to 'Dorian Gray'. Here is a selection of the best classical works inspired by literary classics. Image from http://www.classicfm.com/discover/music/books-literature-inspired-music/


    * Great classical music inspired by literature.


    Amazon 's tension with book publishers grew out of a reliance on the ecommerce retailer's innovations like the Kindle.. Image from http://mashable.com/2014/07/30/amazon-has-killed-publishers-they-just-dont-know-it-yet/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link


    * Why publishers (still) matter.


    * In a digital world, what does out of print mean? 


    * Douglas Preston on Amazon, Hachette, and indie authors


    How Amazon brought publishing to its knees — and why authors might be next ...

     

      Which history and publishing stories have you enjoyed reading this week?


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    As soon as summer hits, people all over the country spill out into parks and gardens to enjoy the summer sunshine. The summer classics of cider and Pimms get wheeled out along with the barbeque but if you are looking for something a little less ubiquitous this year, then a homemade cordial or cocktail could do the trick nicely. 

    I have always liked cocktails so in May 2012, I launched a series of four fun cocktails using my name: Delicious Jane, a vodka and grapefruit juice cocktail; Deadly Jane, a rum, orange and pineapple juice cocktail served in a poison bottle; Desirable Jane, a Bacardi and lime based cocktail; and Dirty Jane, a vodka and raspberry cocktail. All these are very popular although the best loved is the Deadly Jane, the recipe for which is below ...
     

                            How to make perry                  Deadly Jane cocktail recipe                  To make raspberry wine    
                                         

     

    Have you tried making any cocktails or cordials? Share your favourite recipes with us here!     


    The Duchess of Northumberland's Little Book of Cocktails, Cordials and Elixirs         


    The Duchess of Northumnberland is the author of The Duchess of Northumberland's Little Book of Cocktails, Cordials and Elixirs.  Found in the archive at Alnwick Castle, this little book features some of the oldest recipes for cocktails and cordials ever recorded. As well as tasting delicious, many of them have health-giving properties to treat everyday ailments such as asthma, weakness, balm and lip salve.


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    Like W.G. Grace before him, Jack Hobbs transcended cricket. He finished the 1914 season with 2,697 first-class runs at an average of just under 60, but faced criticism for initially failing to volunteer to fight. Hobbs later said he hadn’t realised ‘just how serious the war would be’.


    It is part of the irony of the dark high summer of 1914 that few ordinary Britons had any inkling of an imminent threat of war that might directly involve themselves until almost the last moment, and that by the time they did so events had already conspired to transform Germany’s idea for a lightning-fast attack on France from an option into an inevitability.

    The start of hostilities came as a far greater shock to London than it did to Berlin, St Petersburg, Vienna or Paris. Things began in earnest only on Friday 31 July, when the financial markets panicked. Over the bank holiday weekend, military personnel on leave were recalled to their units, the band of the Royal Irish Rifles received its immediate mobilisation orders while in the middle of a concert at Tunbridge Wells, and Edward Grey told the German ambassador that any violation of Belgium ‘would make it difficult for the Government here to adopt an attitude of friendly neutrality’. Germany’s failure to pledge that it would not enter Belgium, Grey had added, ‘has caused an unfortunate impression’. The normally imperturbable Foreign Secretary spoke these words with some heat, it was later reported, ‘taut and shrill with emotion, the Adam’s apple dancing up and down his narrow neck’.

    On the fourth Sunday after the teenaged assassin had finally succeeded in firing two shots into the royal car at Sarajevo, German cavalry units began moving into Luxembourg to seize bridges and rail lines leading into both Belgium and France. In London, the paper-boys shouted ‘War Special!’ and sold large-scale maps of Europe, helpfully marking the ‘contestant nations’ in red and black. According to the Daily Telegraph journalist Philip Gibbs, soon to become a noted war correspondent, ‘in Fleet Street, editors were emerging from little dark rooms with a new excitement in eyes that had grown tired with proof-correcting … it was a chance of seeing the greatest drama in life with real properties, real  corpses, real blood, real horrors with a devilish thrill in them.’

    On 31 July, the schools match at Lord’s began in a steady drizzle in front of a crowd of over 5,000, perhaps an indication of how many people tried to cling to normality. While the young cricketers ran from the field in the rain at Lord’s, ministers were now finally confronted with the accelerating pace of aggression in Europe. The new French premier René Viviani admitted he was in a state of ‘frightful nervous tension’ which, as his War Minister described it, ‘became a permanent condition during the month of August’. The French naval secretary, a medical doctor with no previous government experience, appears to have had a nervous breakdown and had to be abruptly replaced. Viviani later remarked that the war seemed to him to have ‘come like thunder out of a clear summer sky’, and that until almost the last moment ‘the French people and the newspapers they read were preoccupied’ with other affairs.


    British troops arrive at Le Havre, where the initial state of mild excitement at being on a French summer holiday gave way to one of first weariness and then horror.


    As the Foreign Secretary addressed the House of Commons on the crisis on the afternoon of 3 August, bank holiday Monday, a crowd of 8,650 sat in sweltering heat at Lord’s to watch two more teams of schoolboys play cricket. ‘It was curious,’ Grey himself later wrote, ‘how at this hour, the normal and unhurried poetry of English life went on.’ The few official public remarks on the situation up until then, Churchill felt, could easily have come ‘from the secretary of a firm of provincial lawyers reading the minutes of the last meeting’.

    To the schoolmaster and future cricket scholar Harry Altham: 'The outbreak of the war will always be associated in my mind with Lord’s. I was up there watching the Lord’s Schools v. The Rest match, and can remember buying an evening paper on the ground and reading in the stop-press column the opening sentences of the speech Grey was then making in the Commons, and subsequently travelling down from Waterloo to Esher, where I was staying with the Howell brothers, and seeing in the blood-red sunset over the Thames an omen of the years to come.'

    A case can be made for saying that that match at Lord’s was as good a symbol as any of how some of Britain’s most gifted, and seemingly privileged young athletes would be cut down in the spring of life. The Times later thought the game had ‘the peculiar character of that summer written all over it’. It certainly personified the point about how the old men make the wars and the young ones fight them. 


    The Final Over: The Cricketers of Summer 1914

     

    Christopher Sandford is the author of The Final Over. August 1914 brought an end to the ‘Golden Age’ of English cricket. At least 210 professional cricketers (out of a total of 278 registered) signed up to fight, of whom thirty-four were killed. However, that period and those men were far more than merely statistics: here we follow in intimate detail not only the cricketers of that fateful last summer before the war, but also the simple pleasures and daily struggles of their family lives and the whole fabric of English social life as it existed on the eve of that cataclysm: the First World War.


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    Scottish Independence: Yes or No

     

    George Kerevan and Alan Cochrane at the Scottish Festival of Politics, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh from Friday 15th - Sunday 17th August. They will be doing talks and signing copies of their bookScottish Independence: Yes or No

    In September 2014, a referendum will be held in Scotland to decide whether or not Scotland should become independent and cease to be part of the United Kingdom. In this book, two of the nation’s leading political commentators will address both sides of this historic debate. George Kerevan will put forward the case for voting Yes, and Alan Cochrane will make the case for voting No. In this volume, the first title in this Great Debate series, the authors will present the distinctive arguments for both sides, fully preparing you to make up your own mind on a decision that will shape the future of Scotland and of Great Britain. 


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    Scottish Independence: Yes or No

     

    George Kerevan and Alan Cochrane at Waterstones, Aberdeen on Wednesday 6th August from 7pm giving a talk and signing copies of their bookScottish Independence: Yes or No

    In September 2014, a referendum will be held in Scotland to decide whether or not Scotland should become independent and cease to be part of the United Kingdom. In this book, two of the nation’s leading political commentators will address both sides of this historic debate. George Kerevan will put forward the case for voting Yes, and Alan Cochrane will make the case for voting No. In this volume, the first title in this Great Debate series, the authors will present the distinctive arguments for both sides, fully preparing you to make up your own mind on a decision that will shape the future of Scotland and of Great Britain. 


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    Voices from History: East London Suffragettes

     

    Sarah Jackson and Rosemary Taylor will be at Brick Lane Bookshop on Friday 8th August from 7-9pm, giving a talk and signing copies of their new book, Voices from History: East London Suffragettes

     

    In 1914, the East London Federation of Suffragettes, led by Sylvia Pankhurst, split from the WSPU. Sylvia’s mother and sister, Emmeline and Christabel, had encouraged her to give up her work with the poor women of East London – but Sylvia refused. Besides campaigning for women to have an equal right to vote from their headquarters in Bow, the ELFS worked on a range of equality issues which mattered to local women: they built a toy factory, providing work and a living wage for local women; they opened a subsidized canteen where women and children could get cheap, nutritious food; and they launched a nursery school, a crèche, and a mother-and-baby clinic. The work of the Federation (and ‘our Sylvia’, as she was fondly known by locals) deserves to be remembered, and this book, filled with astonishing first-hand accounts, aims to bring this amazing story to life as its centenary approaches. 


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    Giffords Circus

     

    Giffords Circus will be at Stroud Bookshop, Gloucestershire on Friday 15th August from 11am signing copies their new bookGiffords Circus: the First Ten Years

    Each summer a small and glamorous part of the 1930s comes back to life, recreating magic from an era long past. Evoking a tradition common in the English countryside before the arrival of radio, cinema and television, since 2000 Giffords Circus has delighted fans from far and wide with good old-fashioned entertainment, complete with acrobats, jugglers, horses, magic, puppeteers, dancers and comedy. Lavishly illustrated with a wealth of stunning colour photographs, Giffords Circus goes behind the scenes at the not-so-big top, to show how the magic and mystery are created. 


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    Giffords Circus

     

    Giffords Circus will be at Toppings & Company, The Paragon, Bath on Thursday 21st August from 11am signing copies their new book, Giffords Circus: the First Ten Years

    Each summer a small and glamorous part of the 1930s comes back to life, recreating magic from an era long past. Evoking a tradition common in the English countryside before the arrival of radio, cinema and television, since 2000 Giffords Circus has delighted fans from far and wide with good old-fashioned entertainment, complete with acrobats, jugglers, horses, magic, puppeteers, dancers and comedy. Lavishly illustrated with a wealth of stunning colour photographs, Giffords Circus goes behind the scenes at the not-so-big top, to show how the magic and mystery are created. 


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    Scottish Independence: Yes or No

     

    George Kerevan and Alan Cochrane will be at Waterstones, Sauchiehall St, Glasgow on Thursday 28th August. They will be holding a debate relating to their bookScottish Independence: Yes or No

    In September 2014, a referendum will be held in Scotland to decide whether or not Scotland should become independent and cease to be part of the United Kingdom. In this book, two of the nation’s leading political commentators will address both sides of this historic debate. George Kerevan will put forward the case for voting Yes, and Alan Cochrane will make the case for voting No. In this volume, the first title in this Great Debate series, the authors will present the distinctive arguments for both sides, fully preparing you to make up your own mind on a decision that will shape the future of Scotland and of Great Britain. 


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    My Family and Other Scousers

     

    Dave Joy will be at Pritchard’s Bookshop, Crosby on Saturday 30th August from 1pm onwards signing copies of My Family and Other Scousers: A Liverpool Boy's Summer of Adventure in '69

    This evocative memoir recalls the long, heady days of Liverpool in the summer of 1969, as seen through the eyes of eleven-year-old Deejay. Infused with a distinctive Scouse sense of humour, this book tells the story of how Deejay filled his summer holiday having adventures – and misadventures – with his mischievous gang of young friends and working at Wellington Dairy, the family-owned, horse-drawn milk business located in the Liverpool suburb of Garston. Deejay intends to be the next in a long line of dairy farmers and sets about learning as much as he can about the family business. Amusing and entertaining, surprising and sometimes moving, Deejay’s account vividly captures one boy’s growing appreciation of the family history that preceded him and a growing understanding of his place in the world. Key to that understanding is the very special relationship that can exist between a boy and his dad. 


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  • 08/06/14--02:00: Britain's Italian influence
  • Italian hotel ephemera


    Situations that determine the direction in which our genealogical roots may take can be diverse and far reaching. Many of us might have an ancestor of a different nationality than our own ‘hiding’ within the branches of our family trees; it is just a matter of following the clues to their country of origin.

    On many occasions, these links are formed due to the influx of migrants to British shores during previous centuries. For example, by the 1851 census, approximately 4000 Italians were living in England. The majority of them came from the mountain and lake regions of Italy, bringing their artistic talents and craftsmanship with them in an attempt to earn extra money before returning home in time for their harvests. Within thirty years, the next generation of Italians followed their predecessors, eager to escape rural poverty in their own country, and choosing to settle in Britain for good. Men brought their wives and children, and those who were single married into local families establishing small pockets of Italian communities.

    From ships’ chandlers and plasterers, clock makers to ice cream vendors, their choice of occupations was diverse. Consider using the census to check for patterns in your ancestors’ employment histories as evidence may point to a family trade passed down through the generations, or the establishment of a small family run business.


    Italian tram tickets


    But not all of our ‘foreign’ ancestors were introduced into our family line as migrants to Britain. Equally, our British forebears may have travelled to foreign climes – on business or pleasure – and found a ‘marriage match’ that was to add new and fascinating links to our genealogical trees. Perhaps you’ve discovered family letters and documents referring to voyages overseas; promotional material and ephemera from hotels and destinations abroad, or correspondence written in a foreign language suggesting that the traveller was a regular visitor to that country.

    In an age of planes, trains and automobiles, and with the aid of GPS, TV, radio and Internet access, we take the ease with which we travel for granted. For our forebears every aspect of a foreign trip was an exciting, yet daunting experience, so many took the opportunity to document their adventures in their own hand.  The survival of a diary or journal revealing the personal feelings, thoughts and experiences of a person’s travels abroad provide us with unique and priceless memories, and as with all areas of genealogical research, the smallest detail can shed light on a whole new aspect of your ancestral history that you previously never knew existed.  

     

    Ancestors on the Move


    Karen Foy is the author of Ancestors On the MoveFollowing the tried and tested routes established by cargo ships, Karen Foy describes the development of passenger travel, the changing face of the vessels used and the demand for both comfort and speed. From transportation to trade, adventure to emigration, through persecution or for pleasure, she explains the reasons behind our ancestor’s desire for overseas travel and reveals the records and archives we can search to complete our own genealogical journey. 


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    It was my pleasure to attend The Living Daylights reunion presented by Bondstars at Pinewood Studios, at which Alec Mills – a veteran cinematographer and cameraman of seven James Bond films and all-round good egg – launched his new book Shooting 007, published by The History Press. In attendance were the cast and crew of The Living Daylights, and as a self-confessed James Bond nut (since childhood) it goes without saying that this was a book launch to remember.

    My rather unhealthy obsession with the 007 movies has continued well into adulthood, so I spent much of the day having to remind myself that I was there in a professional capacity! Alec signed books all morning and part of the afternoon for the many fans who queued up to meet him. They weren’t disappointed.

    With a foreword by Sir Roger Moore, Shooting 007 tells the inside story of Mills’ twenty years of filming cinema’s most famous secret agent, as well as looking back on a career that took in Return of the Jedi on film and The Saint on television. It’s a must-read for all James Bond and British film industry aficionados. And I count myself among them!


    ...


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  • 08/08/14--05:15: The Friday Digest 08/08/14
  • THP Friday digest

    This week's update features the First World War centenary, how The Lord of the Rings was influenced by the First World War and a 4,000-year-old hair tress. 

     Birmingham remembers fallen men and woman with the Minimum Monument WW1 ice exhibition

     

     
    A global view of the First World War
     
     
     Winston Churchill in 1916 with the Royal Scots Fusiliers
     
     
    1911 census showing the Parr family in North Finchley
     
     Tandey and Hitler: The British hero who did not shoot Hitler
     
     Why Britain was right to go to war in 1914 - historians Margaret MacMillan and David Reynolds share their views in response to Niall Ferguson
     
     World War 1 in Colour (Photos)
     

    Lost portraits of the Somme: 100 images of Tommies posing before they went over the top. Now can you help to identify them?
     
     British troops near Ypres in 1917
     
     Scottish Women’s Hospitals ambulance drivers
     

    British West Indies Regiment (Imperial War Museum)
     

     Syrian refugee children at Al Zaatri refugee camp in Jorrdan
     
     
    Great War Fashion
     
     Ringwraiths from The Lord of the Rings (top) and German cavalry soldier in World War One
     
     British 'angels' who braved WW1 trenches
     
     How The World Went To War In 1914
     
     Memory and the Great War
     

     Art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, by artist Paul Cummins, at the Tower of London
     

    'Lights Out' ends day of WW1 centenary commemorations
     
     Duke of Cambridge and General Lord Dannatt
     
     
    1914: the Great War has become a nightly pornography of violence
     
     ‘The Last General Absolution of the Munsters at Rue du Bois’, by Fortunio Matania. This painting relates to an incident in France in May of 1915, when the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers suffered very heavily at Rue du Bois, in the Pas-de-Calais close to Arras. Credit: Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans
     
     The entrance steps with the North Front in the distance, 4 December 1932
     
     Excavation of Robin Hood's village of Edwinstowe
     

    James Sadler's son John ascends in his father's balloon on 1 August 1814
     
     Alston pupils unearth 4,000-year-old gold hair tress
     
     A short history of the Post Office
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     41 Cloth Fair - The Oldest House in London
     
     
     



     
    Hambledon Hill
     
     


     

    Teenage boys

     

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    The best books of 2014
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     


     

      Which history and publishing stories have you enjoyed reading this week?


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    Post Office Regiment


    The Post Office dates way back to 1660 when it was established by Charles II. Under the guise of the General Post Office (GPO), it soon grew as an important organisation integral within the infrastructure of England during the seventeenth century.  Just one year after it was formed, the postage date stamp was first used and the inaugural Postmaster was also appointed called Henry Bishop tasked with overseeing the GPO. As both the state system provider and telecommunications carrier, the GPO expanded across the British Empire from having an initial jurisdiction across just England and Wales; then for the whole of Great Britain.

    It was over 100 years later when the next significant milestone in the life of the GPO saw uniformed post men take to the street for the first time (1793).

    A key moment in terms of the developing infrastructure of the postal network came in 1829 when the first purpose-built mail facility was fully operational. Located in St Martin's Le Grand, EC2, the building designed by Sir Robert Smirke was 400ft long by 80ft deep.

    The invention of the adhesive postage stamp by Rowland Hill in 1837 was a key milestone for the Post Office and just three years later the Penny Black was established. As the first stamp issued anywhere in the world for sending letters the Penny Black Stamp remains iconic to this day and led to the introduction of the Post Office pillar box in 1852.

    Less than 20 years later and the first military links to the Post Office were formed in 1868 as the 49th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers Corps, known as the Post Office Rifles came into being made up of GPO employees. These initial military connections to the GPO were then to be magnified as the organisation played a pivotal role during the First World War.

    By the outbreak of the conflict in 1914, the Post Office employed over 250,000 people and nearly a quarter of these were enlisted with the army. As well as the 12,000 men who fought with the Post Office Rifles regiment, some 35,000 women were employed in temporary positions during the Great War as the GPO played a pivotal role in maintaining communications throughout the conflict.

    1969 was another poignant year for the organisation as the GPO was dissolved to become known as the Post Office for the first time instead. In the same year the savings bank offering of the Post Office was transferred to the treasury and re-branded to become National Savings.

    Postal distribution efficiency was significantly increased by creation of post codes introduced five years later in 1974. From there the previous telecommunications arm of the Post Office disappeared in 1981 when the British Telecommunications Corporation was formed.

    The Post Office Ltd as it is known in its current form came into existence in 2001. Ten years later the Postal Services Act 2011 was significant in that it led to the Post Office Ltd becoming independent of the Royal Mail Group as of 1st April 2012.

    As a newly formed mutual organisation, independence from Royal Mail enabled the Post Office to make independent strategic decisions. Network modernisation, including recently announced extended opening hours will see the Post Office Ltd evolve further moving forward. 


    History of Post Box


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