“Ill-advised man!”: the Duke of Wellington and his duel

On 13 April 1829 the Roman Catholic Relief Act was passed by Parliament. It was guided through the parliamentary process by the Prime Minster the Duke of Wellington and the Home Secretary Robert Peel, overcoming vehement opposition, including from the King George IV.

Draft of points agreed with George IV relating to Catholic emancipation, 27 January 1829

Part of a memorandum by Wellington listing the points settled on a visit to George IV about the Roman Catholic emancipation question, 27 January 1829 [MS 61 WP1/993/73]

The act represented the legislative move towards Catholic emancipation and for Catholics to be able to take a seat in the Parliament at Westminster. Daniel O’Connell, who had won the by-election in Clare in 1828, and who was leader of the Catholic Association and in the campaign for Catholic emancipation, was now able to take his seat as MP.

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington

Wellington had not originally supported the move for Catholic emancipation and was harshly criticised by those most vehemently opposed. None more so than George Finch-Hatton, tenth Earl of Winchilsea. Winchilsea accused Wellington of “an insidious design for the infringement of our liberties and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State”.

Stung, Wellington challenged him to a duel:

“… Since the insult, unprovoked on my part, and not denied by your lordship, I have done everything in my power to induce your lordship to make me reparation, but in vain. Instead of apologizing for your own conduct your lordship has called upon me to explain mine….

… I now call upon your lordship to give me that satisfaction for your conduct which a gentleman has a right to require and which a gentleman never refuses to give.”

First page of Wellington's challenge to Lord Winchilsea, 20 March 1829 [MS61 WP1/1007/29]

First page of Wellington’s challenge to Lord Winchilsea, 20 March 1829 [MS61 WP1/1007/29]

The duel took place at 8am on Saturday 21 March at Battersea Fields, South London. Wellington was accompanied by his second Sir Henry Hardinge, whilst Winchilsea’s second was Edward Boscawen, first Earl of Falmouth. The physician, John Hume, attended in case of injury and subsequently sent a detailed report to the Duchess of Wellington.

“Lord Falmouth … gave his pistol to Lord Winchilsea and he and the Duke remained with them in their right hands, the arm being extended down by their sides. Lord Falmouth and Sir Henry then stepped back a few paces when Lord Falmouth said ‘Sir Henry I leave it entirely to you to arrange the manner of firing’, upon which Sir Henry said, ‘Then, gentlemen, I shall ask you if you are ready and give the word fire, without any farther signal or preparation’, which in a few seconds after he did, saying, ‘Gentlemen, are you ready, fire !’ The Duke raised his pistol and presented it instantly on the word fire being given, but as I suppose observing that Lord Winchilsea did not immediately present at him he seemed to hesitate for a moment and then fired without effect.

I think Lord Winchilsea did not present his pistol at the Duke at all, but I cannot be quite positive as I was wholly intent on observing the Duke lest anything should happen to him, but when I turned my eyes towards Lord Winchilsea after the Duke had fired his arm was still down by his side from whence he raised it deliberately and holding his pistol perpendicularly over his head he fired it off into the air….”

Part of the account by Dr Hume of the duel, 22 March 1829 [MS 61 WP1/1004/16]

Part of the account by Dr Hume of the duel, 22 March 1829 [MS 61 WP1/1004/16]

News of the duel was met with shock, with some newspapers carrying censorial reports.

Jeremy Bentham was moved to write to the Duke the following day:

“Ill advised man ! Think of the confusion into which the whole fabric of the government would have been thrown had you been killed, or had the trial of you for the murder of another man been substituted in the House of Lords to the passing of the emancipation bill !”

[MS 61 WP 1/1004/17]

Generally, however, Wellington found that this event enhanced his reputation and he was praised in various accounts for his “manly forbearance”.

Further details of the duel can be found in the Wellington Papers Database: John Hume’s full account of the duel is well worth a read.

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Geological Excursions in Special Collections

This week we take a look at some geological ‘finds’ amongst the rare books, focusing on the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when the term ‘geology’ was first used and recognised as a subject in its own right. As canals were constructed and mines sunk, geology’s practical application was becoming increasingly important and its popular appeal can be seen in the many collections of fossils and minerals dating from this period.

Gustavus Brander Fossilia Hantoniensia collecta et in Museo Britannico deposita (1766) Rare Books Cope quarto 55

One keen collector was Gustavus Brander (1720-1787) a director of the Bank of England who collected fossils from Hordle Cliff whilst staying at his country house at Christchurch. These he presented to the British Museum in 1765, the collection being catalogued and illustrated by Daniel Solander (1736-1782). The catalogue attracted much interest as did Brander’s view that the shells could only have survived in a warmer climate. Another collector, on a larger scale, was James Parkinson (1755-1824) who had been collecting fossils for many years prior to publishing his three volume Organic Remains of a Former World (1808-1811). This was aimed at the general reader and became the standard textbook of palaeontology in England.

Plate V James Parkinson Organic Remains of a Former World v.1 (1808) Rare Books quarto QE 711

The interest in geology encouraged the botanical illustrator James Sowerby (1757-1822) to publish British Mineralogy, an illustrated topographical mineralogy of Great Britain which was issued in 78 parts between 1802 and 1817. Sowerby worked from specimens sent to him for identification by mineral collectors from around the country and in 1808 became a Fellow of the recently established Geological Society of London.

Such publications brought fossils and minerals to a wider audience, the illustrations enabling collectors to compare, identify and order their own finds and in turn to contribute to the national geological record. Often hand-coloured, the illustrations provided sufficient detail to act as a proxy for the specimens themselves.

Arsenate of Copper from James Sowerby British Mineralogy v.1 (1804) Rare Books QE 381.G7

The practical and economic significance of geology was evident in the network of canals and expansion of the mining industry in Britain during the eighteenth century. Whilst an understanding of the subject was required for these undertakings, the work itself brought further advances in geological knowledge – often supplying minerals for the collectors and illustrators.

Surveys of the soil and minerals of each county were included in the series of Board of Agriculture reports for Great Britain and Ireland published in the early years of the nineteenth century. That on Derbyshire by John Farey (1766-1826) ran to three volumes and was unusual for its extensive geological coverage. Farey’s interest in stratification stemmed from his association with the geologist, William Smith (1769-1839), creator of the first geological map of Britain, and in the report Farey published for the first time his own analysis of the geometry of faulting.

From: John Farey General View of the Agriculture and Minerals of Derbyshire v.1 (1811) Rare Books Perkins S 453

Descriptions of geological features such as landslips, cliffs and mountains appeared in many of the contemporary guidebooks, sometimes accompanied by illustrations, but it was unusual for such publications to explicitly include geological information. An exception to this was Sir Henry Englefield’s Description of the Principal Picturesque Beauties, Antiquities and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight (1816). Englefield, an antiquarian with geological interests – he was a member of the Geological Society of London himself – commissioned Thomas Webster (1772-1844) a member and employee of the Society to research the geology of the Island and to contribute his findings to the book. Published as an impressive large folio with the subtitle ‘With additional observations on the strata of the island and their continuation in the adjacent parts of Dorsetshire’, the book contains illustrations of many of the geological features of the Isle of Wight and a geological map.

Alum Bay from: H.C. Englefield and T. Webster Description of the Principal Picturesque Beauties, Antiquities and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight (1816) Rare Books Cope quarto 98.55

Map from: H.C. Englefield and T. Webster Description of the Principal Picturesque Beauties, Antiquities and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight (1816) Rare Books Cope quarto 98.55

As well as the copies of Englefield’s book, Special Collections also holds a small collection of correspondence between Webster and Englefield (MS47). This deals mainly with the geology of the Isle of Wight, as do Webster’s notes on what Englefield described in his introduction as ‘that part of natural science lately called Geology’.

 

 

Highfield Campus 100: 1930s

Despite the 1930s being coloured with the economic depression, the College managed to achieve stability and progress. Treasury grants were raised again by the Grants Committee, and student numbers reached a peak at 474 in the academic year 1931-2, and were to reach 500 in the session 1932-3. The opening of New Hall was approaching, and a sense of self-assurance and shared determination infused on campus amongst staff and students.

Pages on New Hall from Booklet for University College, Southampton halls of residence, c.1930 [MS 224 A908/5, pp. 12-13]

New Hall, University College, Southampton Halls of Residence, c.1930 [MS224 A908/5, pp. 12-13]

As a result of generous benefactions, the College was able to construct and develop better facilities for its growing disciplines. At first housed in one small room in the main building and afterwards in two huts, Zoology was moved to the “Science Block” after a gift of £8000 was made by an anonymous donor. Completed in 1931, the building provided facilities for work that was impossible to conduct in the huts. The building also enabled the College to accept treasured zoological and geological collections, such as the Cotton Collection of British Birds, which was formerly housed by the Corporation of Winchester and transferred in 1936.

Corridor in the zoological laboratory from the University College Southampton Prospectus, 1934 [MS 224/22]

Corridor in the zoological laboratory, University College Southampton Prospectus, 1934 [MS224/22]

The College was also involved in city projects, which in turn led to the development of its courses. An example was the Dock Extension Scheme project. This involved construction on land regained from the higher part of Southampton Water of those docks which now expand along to Millbrook Point. The extension was completed in 1934 by many engineers who were former students of the College. It was expected that this docks extension would lead to more shipping companies using the port, and therefore more projects for the College to supply young engineers. Professor Eustice’s retirement as Chair of Engineering in 1930 was taken by the College as an opportunity to think about the future of its Engineering faculty, and to create a clear strategy, in time for Professor Eustice’s successor.

Southern Railway – Southampton Docks. Proposed Dock Extensions – Western Shore, Wessex, Volume 2, 1931-33 [LD 789.9 Univ Coll.]

Southern Railway – Southampton Docks. Proposed Dock Extensions – Western Shore, Wessex, Volume 2, 1931-33 [LF789.9 Univ. Coll.]

Southampton’s location near large engineering works made it a suitable place as a hub for engineering studies in the south of England. In the interests of engineering education, it would be beneficial for the training department to be part of a Higher Education institution, where it could be in close proximity to pure sciences with which engineering had numerous connections. Moreover, the College possessed the only engineering department of Higher Education standard on the south coast. This led to the Chair of Engineering’s salary being substantially increased, and an agreement that £5000 would be spent on equipment during the next two or three years, with a similar amount being saved for further accommodation.

The next Chair of Engineering appointed in 1931 was Wing-Commander T.R. Cave-Browne Cave. His career experience included serving in the Navy as an engineer-officer, and transferring to the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Air Force. He also had been responsible for the design, construction, and trial of non-rigid airships, and had conducted research at the Admiralty, and the Air Ministry, as well as serving on the Aeronautical Research Committee. Alongside his Chair of Engineering duties, Cave-Brown-Cave gave informal talks on aeronautical engineering at the halls of residence. Here is an account of a talk he gave at Stoneham House, featured in an issue of the West Saxon.

“We were fortunate last term in hearing Commander Cave-Brown-Cave give us what amounted to a racy and entertaining history of airships in England… I remember most vividly the thrilling account of the destruction of the R 33 over the Humber, the enthusiastic description of speed trials over the Channel in the R 100, and the wonderful impression of speed to be gained when racing only eighty feet above the clouds.” [The West Saxon, Summer Term 1931, p.91]

Letter written by Commander Cave-Brown-Cave, 19 May 1936 [MS 1 4/126]

Letter written by Commander Cave-Brown-Cave, 19 May 1936 [MS1/4/126]

The effects of the 1930s economic crisis led to the College experiencing a temporary drop in the grants received from the local authorities and the Board of Education, causing a small reduction in income. Cuts were also made to staff salaries. The biggest blow to the College, however, was the sudden dip in the number of students due to the changed policy of the Board of Education, and the damage this incurred on the College revenue. In 1929 a 5-year agreement was made between the Board of Education and the College over the supplementary two-year students. Before the crisis, the total numbers accepted to the Education Department was 375 (200 four-year, 150 two-year and 25 one-year postgraduate students), and this number had been almost fully reached. As a result of the economic crisis however, the Board first reduced the permitted total by 12.5%. They then announced in 1932 that under the current situation, the agreement on the College admitting two-year certificate students until 1934 would have to be terminated, except on conditions that hindered rather than benefitted the College.

Faculty of Education course of study slip, 1933-1934 [MS 104 LF780 UNI 5/374/122]

Faculty of Education course of study slip, 1933-1934 [MS104 LF780 UNI 5/374/122]

To meet this situation several staff appointments were terminated. Full-time members of staff were asked to take evening classes for which part-time teachers had been previously employed, cuts were made on funds for apparatus and equipment, and the administrative personnel was condensed. In spite of all these measures, deficits of £1873, £2882, and £6050 arose in 1933-4 and the two subsequent sessions; and in order to meet bank charges, some of the College’s investments had to be sold.

Advertisement for University College, Southampton, Wessex, Volume 3, 1933-36 [LD 789.9 Univ Coll.]

Advertisement for University College, Southampton, Wessex, Volume 3, 1933-36 [LF789.9 Univ. Coll.]

These deficits were the result of the necessary building programme required to provide the Engineering Department with new facilities, which included lecture rooms, drawing-offices, and workshops. In 1931-2, a new engineering block housing all of these and a new boiler house was constructed. Under a new regulation of London University’s External Council, no candidates for engineering degrees could be admitted to the examination unless they had studied in an approved institution. This meant that the new block required an inspection by London University, to which it passed with flying colours.

Bay of the engineering laboratories from the University College Southampton Prospectus, 1934 [MS 224/22]

Bay of the engineering laboratories, University College Southampton Prospectus, 1934  [MS224/22]

The development of the Engineering Faculty included the introduction of the Aeronautical Studies at the College. This was made possible by the development of a wind tunnel in 1934. To begin with, the tunnel was of a temporary nature and housed in an old hut. In 1941, it was rebuilt in more substantial form and filled with modern machinery. Initially, instruction in aeronautical work was provided to students in addition to their normal degree course. As a result of aircraft being increasingly demanded at a fast pace, and the resulting huge development of the mechanical staff of manufacturing companies, there was now an upward need for instruction of a standard, which would qualify students to take the aeronautical papers of the London degree examination. This led to University College Southampton appointing Mr T. Tanner as Lecturer in Aeronautical Engineering in 1936.

Students studying a model in the 7 x 5 wind tunnel from the University of Southampton 1862-1962 Centenary Appeal booklet [MS224/22 A952/6]

Students studying a model in the 7 x 5 wind tunnel, University of Southampton 1862-1962 Centenary Appeal [MS224/22 A952/6]

By 1931 the insufficiency of the library facilities was deemed so great that a special committee of Senate believed it was halting the effectiveness of the College. The state of finances could offer no solution, until a Mr Edward Turner Sims, a member of the Council who died in 1928, left a generous legacy. In his will he expressed his wish that some sort of memorial to him would be placed in the College. Mr Edward Turner Sims’ daughters, Mary and Margaret, made this wish come true by presenting to the College £24,250 for the construction of a library. In October 1935 H.R.H. the Duke of York (later King George VI) opened the Turner Sims Library. Holding a commodious reading room, a stack room for 12,000 volumes, and six seminar rooms for classics, modern languages, English, philosophy, history and economics, the library was an attractive space for students. So distinguished, the library was provided a prized location in the centre part of the main block on Highfield Campus. Soon after, donations were presented to the library, including in 1938 the collection of Claude Montefiore. The donation consisted of 4500 volumes, of which most focused on theology, Judaica, classical texts, and ancient history. This donation would later become part of the Parkes Library within the Library, which is now one of the largest Jewish documentation centres in Europe.

Official Wessex Edward Turner Sims Library

Interior of the main reading room at Edward Turner Sims Library, c.1938, Wessex, Vol 4, 1937-1938 [LF789.9 Univ. Coll.]

The formation of a School of Navigation had been one of Lyon Playfair’s ideas for the work of the Hartley Institution, and it was finally put into action in 1932, through the Council taking over Gilchrist Navigation School. The Council decided to operate it for an initial 2 years in South Hill. In 1935, the School was made permanent with the support of the local, educational, municipal, and shipping authorities. The appointed Director of the same year was Captain G.W. Wakeford. Restructured and expanded, the School received the recognition of the Board of Trade and the Board of Education. Extending over one year, a residential cadet course was opened in 1937.

Department of Navigation, Wessex Volume 3, 1933-36 [LD 789.9 Univ Coll.]

Department of Navigation, Wessex, Volume 3, 1933-36 [LF789.9 Univ. Coll.]

Despite the development of new facilities, student numbers were falling in the middle and later thirties, and there was a drop in the standard of examination results. Occurring predominantly in the Education Department, where the number of staff members almost matched the number of full-time students, the number of full-time students went from 375 in the session 1934-5 down to 269 in the session 1938-9. Student numbers dipped so low, that the College decided during the session of 1939-40 to have only two halls of residence open – Highfield and Connaught.

Female residents and sub-warden sat in front of Highfield Hall, 1930-31 [MS 224 A919/1]

Female residents and sub-warden sat in front of Highfield Hall, 1930-31 [MS224 A919/1]

It should be noted that this fall in students was not specific to the College, but in fact a countrywide problem. Some institutions however, suffered more than others. One general cause of the fall in students that was known to all higher education institutions was that in times of high employment parents preferred their children to grasp employment opportunities when they existed, rather than to spend time on Higher Education.

Graduates of University College, Southampton, May 1930 [MS224/12 A919/7]

Graduates of University College, Southampton, May 1930 [MS224/12 A919/7]

A Committee was eventually set up to discuss the how the numbers and quality of students could be improved again. They reported in 1939 measures to be taken, which focused on methods of motivating the less reactive students and steps to make the College’s work and resources more widely recognised. The outbreak of World War Two gave little time for these to be put into action however, and the war’s aftermath created a very different situation. Look out for our next Highfield 100 Campus blog post, which will take you through the forties at the University!

“Southampton War Cry” from the Wessex Student Song Book [MS 224 A917/10]

“Southampton War Cry”, Wessex Student Song Book [MS224 A917/10]

World Poetry Day

For this year’s World Poetry Day, we’re celebrating the work of the little-known Hampshire poet, Burnal Charles Lane.

B.C.Lane was born at Hordle, near New Milton, Hampshire in 1900.  His father worked on a market garden belonging to Miss Anna Bateson and she instilled in Lane a love of nature, an interest in literature and also taught him to speak French.

Lane as young man

Burnal Charles Lane aged 20 [MS 16 A655/5]

Lane wrote his first poem aged 16. He was called up for National Service in 1918 and, once it was discovered he could speak French, he worked as a interpreter, including in France and Belgium for the War Graves Commission.

This verse by Lane feels appropriate for the time of year. Note his aside; he must have been interrupted half way through!

CharlesBurnelLane

[MS 16 A655/1/3]

Lane married Mabel in 1930 and they had one daughter, Sarah E. Lane, born in 1945.

Lane with wife and baby

Lane pictured with his wife Mabel and baby daughter Sarah in 1945 [MS 16 A655/5]

Following Miss Bateson’s death, Lane’s father bought the market garden and Lane became a partner.  Lane retired in 1965 which enabled him to devote much of his time to his biggest interest, poetry.  The five boxes of material housed in our strongroom attest to the fact that Lane spent as much time as he could writing!  He also loved walking in the New Forest, usually with his cairn dog.

Lane published some of his poems privately in 1975 with an introduction by the English poet and translator, John Heath Stubbs, of whom Lane had been a fan:

These are the poems of a countryman who was devoted very many years with a single-minded devotion to the making of verse… the best of them seem to me to be lyrics of the purest water.

A fitting close feels to be this rousing verse which Lane penned in about 1924, ode to his beloved home county.

My Own Hampshire

Rich county, I hail thee! the gem of the South!

Southampton, Winchester and sunny Bournemouth!

Thy forest, thy meadows, hills valleys and streams

Are a source of delight to all who dream dreams.

And, if not a dreamer or poet, you’ll find

That Hampshire folk know what is best for mankind.

So come, drink your glass of wine or good ale 

Or, if you prefer it fresh milk from the pail,

And then all together, O come let us sing:

“Of all England’s counties Hampshire is king!”

Fair mistress of England, where Alfred the Great

In Winchester city established his state;

Where stout-hearted Saxon fought Norman and Dane,

And Williams, called Rufus a-hunting was slain.

O, England remembers, remembers thee yet!

Can England her once royal county forget?

So come, drink your glass…

[MS 16 A655/1/1]

 

In the company of Wellington

On St Patrick’s day we mark the anniversary of the arrival of the Wellington Archive at Southampton in 1983. Since then, the Special Collections has acquired a wide range of material that relates to this archive and we take the opportunity to explore some of these.

Part of Wellington Archive

Part of Wellington Archive

The Wellington Archive [MS61] represents the political, military and official papers of Wellington, so collections that provide a more personal perspective on the Duke are always of interest. Christopher Collins entered Wellington’s service in 1824 and worked as his confidential servant for the remainder of the Duke’s life. Amongst the papers in this collection [MS69] are notes and letters from the Duke issuing instructions about ordering straps with buckles and boots, arrangements for mending razors, for preparations for his room at Walmer Castle and the cleaning and maintenance of uniforms.

Note from Wellington to Collins sending instructions for preparing his room at Walmer Castle, 1838 [MS69/2/15]

Note from Wellington to Collins sending instructions for preparing his room at Walmer Castle, 13 September 1839 [MS69/2/15]: “have some fire in my room; some hot water for tea; and some boiling sea water for my feet”.

Collins kept a notebook listing the Duke’s diamonds, ceremonial collars, field marshal batons and coronation staves, 1842 [MS69/2/1] and amongst the objects in the collection are the blue ribbon of the Order of the Fleece and the red ribbon of the Order of the Bath which belonged to Wellington [MS69/4/11-12].

Red ribbon of the Order of the Bath [MS69/4/11]

Red ribbon of the Order of the Bath [MS69/4/11]

Collins also kept notes on Wellington’s health [MS69/2/3] and the collection includes a number of recipes, such as one for “onion porage” to cure “spasms of the chest and stomach”, 1850, below.

Recipe for "onion porage" [MS69/4/19]

Recipe for “onion porage” [MS69/4/19]

Three letters from Wellington to William Holmes, Tory Whip, in December 1838 [MS272/1 A9231/-3], likewise deal with the Duke’s health and in particular reports in the Morning Post about this. The Duke complained in a letter of 22 December 1838: “If people would only allow me to die and be damned I should not care what the Morning Post thinks proper to publish. But every devil who wants anything writes to enquire how I am.”

A small series of correspondence of Wellington, and Deputy Commissary General William Booth, which is a more recent acquisition, provide some insight into the management of Wellington’s estates at Waterloo, 1832-52 [MS414].

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington [MS351 A4170/9]

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington [MS351 A4170/9]

A number of military archive collections, including some of officers who served with Wellington, now join company with the Wellington Archive at Southampton. Papers of Sir John Malcolm, 1801-16, [MS308] provide important evidence for Wellington in India, at a formative stage of his career, in comparatively informal and personal correspondence with a friend and political colleague; it includes Wellington’s letters written in the field throughout the Assaye campaign. MS321 is composed of seven volumes of guardbooks of correspondence and papers of Lieutenant Colonel John Gurwood, who was editor of Wellington’s General Orders and Dispatches. The collection relates to Gurwood’s military career as well as his editorial work.

Letter from Gurwood to his mother in which he reports he led the "forlorn hope" at Ciudad Rodrigo, 20 January 1812 [MS321/7]

Letter from Gurwood to his mother in which he reports he led the “forlorn hope” at Ciudad Rodrigo, 20 January 1812 [MS321/7]

Sir Robert Hugh Kennedy served as Commissary General of the forces commanded by Wellington in the Iberian Peninsula, with Sir John Bisset serving in Kennedy’s stead in 1812, and their collection of letter books, accounts and other papers cover the period 1793-1830 [MS271], providing evidence of the work of this department during military campaigns over this period. An order book of the general orders of Sir Edward Barnes, Adjutant General of the army in Europe, 10 May 1815 – 18 January 1816, covers the period of the battle of Waterloo and the allied occupation of France [MS289]. And the diary of George Eastlake, recording a visit to northern Spain with Admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin in September 1813 to discover Wellington’s requirements for naval assistance, provides details of Wellington’s headquarters at Lesaca as well as the army camp at Bidassoa [MS213].

A journal sent by General Francisco Copons y Navia to the Duke of Wellington details the operations undertaken by the Spanish First Army for the period 2-20 June 1813 in relation to those of General Sir John Murray. Murray had landed with a British force at Salou in Catalonia on 3 June and laid siege to Tarragona [MS253].

"Journal du blocure de la place de Barcelonne" [MS360/1]

‘Journal du blocure de la place de Barcelonne’ [MS360/1]

Formerly part of a larger series of documents, Special Collections holds two booklets, signed by F.Mongeur, the Commissaire Ordonnateur for Barcelona, at Perpignan on 3 June 1814, that relate to the administration of Barcelona in 1814. The first, the ‘Journal du blocure de la place de Barcelonne’ has a daily record from 1 February to 3 June 1814 of the French forces [MS360/1]. The succeeding document in the series is a general report, in French, on the administration of the siege of Barcelona by the armée d’Aragon et de Catalogne, between 1 January and 28 May 1814, which gives details of the period of the evacuation of the place, as well as of the food and consumption of foodstuffs and expenditure on supplies during this period. There is a detailed analysis of the composition of the forces, the different corps of troops, companies and detachments making up the garrison at Barcelona [MS360/2].

Signature of Daniel O'Connell, 1815 [MS64/17/2]

Signature of Daniel O’Connell, 1815 [MS64/17/2]

Material relating to politics in the Wellington Archive is paralleled by that within a number of significant other collections at Southampton. The archive of the Parnell family, Barons Congleton [MS64] which contains extensive material relating to Irish politics. Amongst the papers of Sir John Parnell, second Baronet, is material for the Union of Ireland and Great Britain, whilst the papers of the first Baron Congleton include material about Roman Catholic emancipation.

Letter from Daniel O'Connell to Sir Henry Parnell, 13 June 1815 [MS64/17/2]

Letter from Daniel O’Connell to Sir Henry Parnell, 13 June 1815, relating to Catholic emancipation [MS64/17/2]

The Broadlands Archives [MS62] also contain much on British and Irish politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as papers of two nineteenth-century Prime Ministers in the form of Lords Palmerston and Melbourne. A collection of correspondence between John Wilson Croker and Palmerston for the period 1810-56 [MS273] includes much on political, military and official business. Papers of Wellington’s elder brother, Richard, Marquis Wellesley, include material relating to his tenure as ambassador in Spain, 1809, and as Foreign Secretary, 1809-12 [MS63].

Letter from Simon Bolivar to Lord Wellesley, 22 January 1811 [MS63/9/7]

Letter from Simon Bolivar to Lord Wellesley, 22 January 1811 [MS63/9/7]

Since its arrival in 1983, which also heralded the development of the Archives and Manuscripts as a service, the Wellington Archive has acted as an irresistible draw to other collections to join its company.

To find out more about Wellington, or research that has drawn on the collections held at Southampton, why not join us at this year’s Wellington Congress. Registration is open until the end of March.

Robert Morrison, his Chinese Dictionary and Hampshire Connections

Members of a group of Chinese teachers visiting Special Collections recently were very taken with the Library’s copies of Robert Morrison’s Dictionary of the Chinese Language (1815-1823) and Grammar of the Chinese Language (1815). Both books, the first publications of their kind, were given to the Library by John Bullar, a friend of Henry Robinson Hartley, the founder of the Hartley Institution. Intriguingly, the Grammar contains a note from the author to Bullar describing where the language was used, raising the question of how they knew each other – Morrison having spent most of his adult life in China and Bullar being a lifelong resident of Southampton.

The Chinese Language is read in Cochin china, Corea, the Loochoo Islands & in Japan; as well as in China proper, Chinese Tartary and the colonies of Chinese in the Archipelago South of China, note from Robert Morrison in his Grammar of the Chinese Language (1815) Rare Books quarto PL 1107

The fact that Morrison was a missionary and his interest in the Chinese language arose from his undertaking to translate the Bible, suggests that the link between the two men was the British and Foreign Bible Society. As the Secretary of the Southampton Branch, Bullar, a Deacon of Southampton’s Above Bar Chapel, would have known of Morrison’s work and of the grants the Society made towards his publication of the Chinese New Testament in 1814 and the Bible in 1823.

Prior to leaving for China, Morrison had attended David Bogue’s Missionary Academy at Gosport and their paths may well have crossed at this time.  A speech Bullar made in Southampton in October 1827 was reported in the Evangelical Magazine and confirms that he and Morrison were acquainted, ‘I can add, from my personal knowledge of the great, the good, the devoted Dr Morrison, that he told me incidentally that such had been his application to the Chinese language … he had scarcely the pen out of his hand from six in the morning till ten at night.’

Robert Morrison, from Eliza Morrison Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Robert Morrison (1839) Rare Books BV 3427.M

Another Hampshire resident, Sir George Staunton of Leigh Park, provided crucial support for Morrison after he arrived in Canton in 1807. Staunton had had a lifelong interest in China, accompanying his father, also Sir George, on the first British Embassy to China in 1793 and later becoming chief of the East India Company’s factory at Canton. In his memoirs, Staunton wrote that from the time of Morrison’s arrival they were in constant communication, either personally or by letter.

Sir George Staunton, from his Memoirs of the Chief Incidents of the Public Life of Sir George Thomas Staunton (1856) Cope 95 STA

Staunton helped Morrison to find language tutors, it being illegal for the Chinese to teach their language to a foreigner, and later gave him employment as a translator for the Company. When it became know that Morrison had published the translation of the New Testament, it was Staunton’s intervention which enabled him to keep his job – both the East India Company and the Chinese Government prohibiting the work of foreign missionaries. The Company did, however, recognise the value of Morrison’s Dictionary, not least to its own employees, shipping a printing press to Macau so that it could be published.

Robert Morrison Dictionary of the Chinese Language v.1 pt.1 (1815) Rare Books quarto PL 1071

Leaving Morrison to his translating and missionary work, Staunton returned to Britain in 1817, settling at Leigh Park in 1819 and pursuing a political career. His love of China was reflected in his house and the development of the estate, though much had still to be done when Morrison, back in Britain for two years, paid a visit in September 1825. According to his wife this was the ‘longest interval of rest that Dr Morrison allowed himself to indulge in during the two years of his sojurn in England’. Morrison was able to admire the Temple which commemorated several friends from China whom he and Staunton had in common, but the Chinese bridge, Chinese boathouse and Chinese summerhouse described in Edward Lloyd’s Notices of Leigh Park Estate (1836), had yet to be built.

The Chinese Boathouse from Edward Lloyd Notices of the Leigh Park Estate near Havant (1836) Rare Books Cope HAV 72

After this visit, Morrison never returned to Britain, dying in Canton in August 1834, and leaving as his legacy the contribution he made to the opening up of cultural relations between Britain and China, through his pioneering publications on the Chinese language.

Robert Morrison A Grammar of the Chinese Language (1815) Rare Books quarto PL 1107

Highfield Campus 100: 1920s

As we move into the 1920s, we find the University College settling into its new Highfield site.  By 1922, we were home to a grand total of 350 students!  In 1925, 32 of these students secured honours degrees, with 9 placed in the first class. While there were 14 departments in total, the bulk of the student body was made up of trainee teachers, engineers and a large contingent of ex-service men financed by Ministry of Labour; those reading for a degree were in a small minority.  In terms of staff, the University College had 10 professors, 4 readers, 20 lecturers and 4 demonstrators. The administrative staff consisted of the Registrar, David Kiddle, plus two male clerks.  Principal Vickers recounted “what they lacked in numbers […] they made up for by devotion to the interests of their students and their loyalty to the college.”

MS1_Phot_39_ph3112_r

Exterior view of the University College, south wing, with staff and students, c. 1920-5 [MS1/Phot/39 ph3112]

Developing the student accommodation was a key priority for the decade. The first official men’s hall of residence, Stoneham House, was open for the start of the 1921 session and could accommodate 100 residents; it was billed as having “electric light and central heating throughout” – so all the mod-cons! This sixteenth-century mansion house had been the seat of the Barons Swaythling before they moved to Townhill Park House.

MS1-2-5-17-246-e1545054957357.jpg

Staff common room at South Stoneham House [MS1/2/5/17/246]

South Hill House for women “an enlarged private house in beautiful gardens” opened at the same time; this joined Highfield Hall, meaning that there were two residences for female students.  Now part of Glen Eyre in Bassett, South Hill was on loan to the College from the President, Claude Montefiore, and received 30 female “freshers”.

ms 244-12-a919-5southhillhouse 1928-9

Betty Wicks and other residents pictured outside South Hill Hall of Residence, c. 1928-9 [MS224/12 A919]

In 1927, the College bought the freehold of Highfield Hall, with a view to erecting a more modern building. The South wing of the new Highfield Hall was available for occupation by the end of the decade, 1929, although not formally opened by the Duke of York until 1 July 1930.

MS1_Phot_39_ph3133_r

Group photograph outside the winter garden of Highfield Hall, c. 1928, with some of the women in fancy dress. [MS1/Phot/39 ph3133]

There were several key individuals who were instrumental in the development of the institution. At the top, throughout the decade, Claude Montefiore gave continuity as President (akin to Chancellor), with his long tenure from 1913-1943.  At the start of the decade, Dr Thomas Loveday replaced Dr Alex Hill as Principal (i.e. Vice Chancellor); his term was fairly short-lived and he was replaced by Kenneth Hotham Vickers in October 1922 who worked to achieve full university status for the institution.

MS1_Photo_39_ph3415_r_0001

Kenneth Hotham Vickers, Principal of the University College 1922-46, seated at his writing table [MS1/Phot/39 ph3415]

Principal Vickers recounts:

The best and most fruitful stage of my education began when I took up residence in Southampton in September 1922 with very little conception of what lay before me […] On my first day in College I was waylaid by the Professor of Physics who was alarmed at the dangerous condition of his first floor lecture room, which was showing signs of subsiding […] On the whole, the accommodation was sufficient for the work then being done, but the huts were an eyesore, and their upkeep and heating a constant worry. [MS113 LF780UNI 2/7/85/101]

Professor John Eustice was Vice Principal throughout the decade.

At the start of the decade, Albert Cock was appointed as Professor of Education and Philosophy.  That same year, the University gained a Chair of Modern Languages with the promotion of Patchett from German lecturer and H.M. Margoliouth as Professor of English Language and Literature.

MS 1 A4108.3 English graduates including Prof Margoliouth

English graduates including Professor Margoliouth [MS1 A4108/3]

In 1921 the University College gained its first Music Professor, George Leake;  he was also organist and choirmaster of St. Marks Church.

MS 101/6 George Leake "Sleep my little one!"

Sheet music for Sleep my little one, set to music by George Leake

The Department of Law was created in 1923. In 1926, Dr W.Rae Sherriffs was appointed first chair of Zoology.  That same year, the University College was joined by Percy Ford who worked towards building a faculty not just of economics but social sciences.

The Engineering Faculty also saw great expansion with a scheme of part time and day and evening training for apprentices of local engineering and shipbuilding firms. The project was supported by Messrs. Thornycrofts and Co. of the Supermarine Aviation Works at Woolston and of the Avro Works at Hamble.

Principal Vickers gives an honest account of the physical condition of the Highfield campus:

Standing in acres of ground lying either side of a public road, it consisted of two wings of the original design joined together by a covered way. As an after thought, three small laboratories and a building for the Engineering Department, all “semi-permanent” structures, had been erected behind these two wings. The Hospital authorities had added a large number of wooden huts of “temporary structure”, which were sold to the College.

MS1_Phot_39_ph3211_r

Aerial view of the University College looking east, showing part of University Road and Hartley Avenue, c. 1928-9 [MS1/Phot 39 ph3211]

And Vickers elaborates further on the College accommodation:

The main structure was not very prepossessing and suffered from the addition of certain stone adornments; it was built of unattractive brick. Already it was showing signs of unsteadiness. In front of the College there was an unmown hay field, at the back all the unoccupied space was a wilderness. Across the road, in front of the College were more huts.

MS1_Phot_39_ph3099b_r

Exterior view of the University College, north wing, c. 1925 [MS1/Phot/39 ph3099b]

The opening of the George Moore Botanical Building by Duke of Connaught in June 1928 was a key achievement. It housed laboratories for the Botany Department and its construction was made possible through a legacy left by George Moore, a former member of the College Council. The driving force behind this project was Professor of Botany, S.Mangham. At the same time, plans were laid for a botanical garden; this now has a second life as Valley Gardens.

ms1_2_5_17 department of botany, the main laboratory showing prof mangham with students

Department of Botany: the main laboratory showing Professor Mangham with students [MS1/2/5/17]

Various new committees established during this decade including for general purposes, grounds, works and halls and refectory.  Alongside this the work of Senate was developed and this also generated several new committees, including Research Committee and Development Committee.

A good social life was as important for students then as it is now.  This dance card from 1921 shows that nights out were somewhat more formal 100 years ago.

ms224 a909.1.3 soiree

Dance card for a soiree at the Royal Pier Pavilion, 24 February 1921 [MS224 A908/1/3]

This decade saw the acquisition of an assembly hall and the Montefiore sports field which greatly aided the student social scene. Football, hockey and netball were some of the sports in which the students could partake and these activities are well reflected in our photographic collections.

MS1_Phot_39_ph3164_r

Tennis team, 1921 [MS1/Phot/39 ph3164]

In 1926 Gilbert and Sullivan concerts were held in the Old Assembly Hall, conducted by D.Cecil Williams, Master of Music at University College, Southampton.  The “RAG” (student-run fundraising) events also featured heavily.

ms224_12_a919_5_rag_0002.jpg

Photo the RAG concert, 1928-9 session, taken from the papers of Betty Wicks [MS224/12 A919/5/2]

Towards the end of the decade, in 1928, the Wessex publication was founded as “a record of the movement for a University of Wessex”. That same year the Extra-Mural Department formed with Kenneth Lindsay as secretary; classes of various types opened in close co-operation with the Workers’ Educational Association, Women’s Institutes and other bodies in local area. A four year course in education was also instituted.

By the end of the decade the University College had faced its fair share of challenges, many financial, but was well established at its Highfield home.  We will close with Principal Vickers reflections on the University College, Southampton spirit:

Not many days had gone by before I realized that there was that corporate spirit and devotion to all that the College stood for, which can only be learnt fully by those who have together passed through days of danger and tribulation […] There was in the College something which was intangible, but very real, compounded of a belief in University education, a devotion to the place and their job and their readiness to give the raw young Principal all the backing that he needed. [MS 113 LF 780 UNI 2/7/85/101]

Francis Cleyn the Elder

We take the opportunity of the new Special Collections exhibition – exploring image-making in relation to the Leonardo da Vinci drawings on display at the City Art Gallery – to look at a collection of drawings held by the Special Collections.

The Librarian of the Hartley Institution was authorised to spend £5 a year (around £313 today) on Old Master drawings and by the late 1870s there was a growing collection. The album of 163 sketches by Francis Cleyn the Elder was one of these acquisitions.

Cover of Cleyn album [MS292]

Cover of Cleyn album [MS292]

Unprepossessing in appearance, with its limp paper and parchment binding of the first half of the seventeenth century and sheets of a stained and dirty rag paper, the album represents one of the largest collections of Cleyn’s drawings and designs. Cleyn was best known for his tapestry designs, but he was also an accomplished designer of seals, title pages, book illustrations and decorative interior design schemes. Many of the sketches in the album have been identified as preparatory studies for engravings, sculpture and tapestries.

Cleyn was the chief designer at the Mortlake Tapestry Factory for Charles I of England and under the Commonwealth. Originally from Rostock, Cleyn worked first for King Christian IV of Denmark before Christian loaned his services to his brother-in-law, James I of England. James I set up the Mortlake Tapestry Factory in 1619: by the reign of his son Charles I it employed as many as 140 people and produced some of the finest tapestries woven in Europe in the 1620s and 1630s.

Drapery studies by Cleyn, including kilt of Roman soldier [MS292 f.18r]

Drapery studies by Cleyn, including kilt of Roman soldier [MS292 f.18r]

Sketch by Cleyn of winged putti [MS292 f.5r]

Sketch by Cleyn of winged putti [MS292 f.5r]

Cleyn was considered one of the best ‘storytellers’ in English art and played a remarkable role in tapestry design. Among the drawings in his album are five for a series of ‘Love and Folly tapestries, for Charles I, which were probably prepared in 1626, perhaps in connection with the King’s marriage to Henrietta Maria, and three designs for the Mortlake series of ‘Horses’ tapestries — Perseus and Andromeda, Meleager and the Calydonian Boar, and Minos and Scylla, from a set of six.

Preparatory sketch by Cleyn for a tapestry ‘Perseus and Andromeda’ [MS292 f.34r]

Preparatory sketch by Cleyn for tapestry Perseus and Andromeda [MS292 f.34r]

The ‘Horses’ tapestries were among the possessions of Charles I inventoried after his death whilst the Leonardo da Vinci drawings currently on display in Southampton and 11 other venues around the UK became part of the Royal Collection in the reign of Charles II in the late seventeenth century.

Drawings from the Cleyn album are on display in the Special Collections exhibition The Leonardo Link Image-Making from Anatomy to Code which opened on Monday 18 February.

Sir Marc Brunel (1769-1849) and the Duke of Wellington

The Wellington Papers held by the Special Collections, Hartley Library, contain extensive correspondence with Marc Brunel, born in France in 1769 and the father of the more celebrated Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Marc was also a gifted and innovative engineer whose most famous project was the Thames Tunnel, the first successful tunnel ever to be built under a body of water, and for which achievement he was knighted by Queen Victoria. This year is the 250th anniversary of his birth.

Marc’s first major contact with the Duke of Wellington was after the financial failure of his project to construct boot-making machinery for the army, although he had previously corresponded with him on other projects including a plan for a new bridge at Rochester in 1819-20. The demand for boots collapsed after Waterloo, which resulted in Marc’s incarceration for 88 days in 1821 in a debtor’s prison, along with his wife Sophia. He felt that he had been treated very unfairly by the Government, and appealed for help to the Duke, who managed to secure a grant of £5000 to obtain his release. Wellington wrote to Charles Arbuthnot in July 1821 “..Mr Brunel has rendered most important services to the public in all departments of the state whose business is to superintend the provision of the equipments for carrying on war” [MS 61 WP1/673/3].

Marc Brunel’s many other inventions included a stocking knitting machine, improvements in printing and Liverpool’s first floating landing stage. Another major achievement was his improved block-making machinery for the Admiralty, pulley blocks being essential parts of rigging on sailing vessels, and the reason he first came to England in 1799. In September 1821 he sent drawings of two chain bridges to the Duke of Wellington with a letter explaining his reservations about the design of the first, and why he believed his own design was superior.

Drawing of two chain bridges by Marc Brunel [MS 61 WP1/679/8]

Drawing of two chain bridges by Marc Brunel, 1821 [MS61 WP1/679/8]

The Special Collections holds a number of letters, including drawings, from Marc Brunel concerning the Thames Tunnel. The Tunnel was planned to link Rotherhithe and Wapping and Marc designed an ingenious tunnelling shield to achieve this. This idea is the basis of modern tunnelling shields, including that used in the Crossrail project under London. Brunel’s original patented design was circular, but unfortunately, partly due to lack of funds, a rectangular shield was adopted for the Thames, allowing disastrous inundations.

Tunnelling shield: drawing by Marc Brunel, 1838 [MS 61 WP/2/49/34]

Tunnelling shield: drawn by Marc Brunel, 1838 [MS61 WP/2/49/34]

Letter from Brunel relating to tunnelling shield, 1838 [MS61 WP2/49/33]

Letter from Brunel relating to tunnelling shield, 1838 [MS61 WP2/49/33]

“I may, I presume, take the liberty of saying a word from our Region (1of morning). All is going on well here; but it is through an expedient applicable to the emergency. Emergencies I may say. Pelted as we have been by the River with all kind of missiles besides water, I have resorted to protection which I frequently illustrate by the Blinds of your Grace’s windows. . . . Every one of the boards may be unhinged easily without affecting the stability of the rest.”

Lithograph showing men at work in the tunnel from Marc Brunel A new plan for tunnelling

Lithograph showing men at work in the tunnel from Marc Brunel A new plan for tunnelling [Wellington Pamphlet 1094]

Work began on the tunnelling project in 1825, but suffered many setbacks and was not completed until 1843. The ground under the river did not consist of the solid clay that had been hoped for, but included water-bearing sand and gravel. This caused a number of very dangerous inundations, one of which carried away the young Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was assisting his father with the project, and causing him serious injuries. Working conditions were made even worse by the state of the river at that period, which was little more than an open sewer, causing much sickness among the workmen. Throughout the project, Marc Brunel kept the Duke of Wellington informed of its progress, as on 1 September 1837 when work had just resumed after another inundation.: “It is from the lowest regions of the Thames that I have the honor of addressing you. … [I] found the Shield undisturbed and not one brick missing to the structure”. [MS61 WP2/47/65]

Plan of the Wapping shaft: drawn by Brunel, 1842 [MS61 WP2/83/12]

Plan of the Wapping shaft: drawn by Marc Brunel, 1842 [MS61 WP2/83/12]

The last letter that we hold from Marc Brunel is dated March 1844 [MS61 WP2/118/15], when the tunnel was complete except for the carriageways to the entrances. Brunel requests a pension from the government, and outlines his long career:

“I came to this country five and forty years ago. In 1802 I erected . . . the Block Machinery at Portsmouth, which remains to this hour successfully at work . . . I was subsequently employed in erecting Saw Mills on a new principle in both Woolwich and Chatham Dock Yards. . . .Several other mechanical inventions, the Great Circular Saw, now so extensively used, the Cotton-winding machine, which led to the general use of cotton thread, are also instances if improvements of which I am the Author.”

Wellington has written a draft reply across the letter:: “[The Duke of Wellington] is the Commander in Chief of the Army … not the President of the Board of Trade. He has no control over the Public Purse.” The Duke received a great many requests of this nature, and had there are many other examples of such replies.

Reply from Wellington to Brunel, 29 March 1844 [MS61 WP2/118/15]

Draft of reply from Wellington to Marc Brunel, written across the top of the letter, 29 March 1844 [MS61 WP2/118/15]

Marc Brunel’s tunnel under the Thames is still in use today as part of London’s railway network. Trains began running here in 1869, although the tunnel was originally intended for horse-drawn traffic and pedestrians. Brunel was unable to construct the carriageways down to the tunnel as the money had run out, but pedestrians were able to access it by a spiral staircase.

Some of the Brunel items feature in the new Special Collections exhibition The Leonardo link: image-making from anatomy to code which will open on Monday 18 February.

Archivist projects: Cataloguing the Papers of Michael Sherbourne

This week archivist Lara Nelson discusses a recent cataloguing project focusing on the papers of Michael Sherbourne, a human rights activist who played an influential role in the movement to win Jews the right to emigrate from the Soviet Union.

Michael Sherborne [MS434 A4249 7/2]

Michael Sherbourne [MS434 A4249 7/2]

Born on 22 February 1917 in London, Michael Sherbourne’s family name was Sheinbaum. His father’s parents were from Poland and his mother’s Sephardi family (descendants of Spanish exiles), had lived in England since the seventeenth century. His father worked as a tailor and a taxi driver, and his mother was a housewife. In the 1930s Michael and his three brothers anglicised their surname to Sherbourne.

Michael was politically engaged from an early age. When British fascists attempted to march in one of the Jewish areas of London, a 19 year old Michael was to be seen taking part in the anti-fascistic action of the Jews, who filled the streets and blocked the march. This single event made Michael realise the importance of unity and determination in gaining victory over a powerful enemy. He took this on in his fight for the independent Jewish state and in his struggle for the liberation of Jews from Soviet captivity.

As a result of the Great Depression in 1929, unemployment was rife in Great Britain, peaking at just below 3 million by 1932. This partly led to Michael Sherbourne leaving school at sixteen, and joining the Civil Service. Interested in Zionism however, Sherbourne soon left the Civil Service and went to what was then Palestine, and joined the Zionist organisation Hechaluts, which means “the pioneer”.

Young Michael Sherbourne, 1939 [MS434 A4249 7/3]

Young Michael Sherbourne, 1939 [MS434 A4249 7/3]

Hechaluts was a group for the youth, providing news about the land of Israel (which at the time was Palestine); courses in Hebrew; Hebrew songs and dances; and pioneer training, which was named Hachshara. Sherbourne joined this training programme at the age of eighteen. The trainees practised agriculture and learned to be farmers. Sherbourne put what he learnt into practice at a training farm in Kent, where he was to meet his future wife, Muriel Cohen. After receiving their certificate for Aliyah, they left for Palestine on the first day of World War Two, 1 September 1939. They joined Kibbutz Anglo Balti for 6 months, then left for Haifa, where Michael was employed in the Royal Navy, and where their eldest daughter Norma was later born. Sherbourne’s involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean Fleet of the Royal Navy provided the opportunity for him to become fluent in French and Hebrew and to study Arabic.

Michael Sherbourne and his wife Muriel in USA, 1989 [MS434 A4249 7/2]

Michael Sherbourne and his wife Muriel in USA, 1989 [MS434 A4249 7/2]

 After World War Two ended, the Sherbourne family returned to England. Shortly after the birth of Sherbourne’s second daughter Lana, Michael was forced to return to Palestine in 1948 to join the Israeli Army during the War of Independence. Michael was a fighter in the IDF (Hativat Sheva, Mahal), and participated in the decisive battle for Latrun.

As Muriel contracted tuberculosis, the Sherbournes could not stay in Israel long-term. In London Muriel underwent treatment for this over a 2-year period. Sherbourne focussed on training to become a teacher, taking a 13 month course at a teacher’s training college in London. At the College were 30 Jews, of which 28 were members of the Communist Party, causing Sherbourne to always be in disagreement with them. As a result of a challenge to learn Russian Sherbourne learnt took up evening classes, and went on to study a degree in Russian. Some say that Sherbourne also learnt Russian to learn the language of the enemy. After achieving his degree, Sherbourne switched from teaching metalwork and machine-tool mechanics to teaching foreign languages, and became Head of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at a large secondary comprehensive school in North London, until he retired in 1979.

MS 434 A4249_4_12_2 Section of Soviet Socialists Map

Section of Soviet Socialists map, c.1960s [MS434 A4249 4/12/2]

Even after taking a school party to the Soviet Union, and speaking to Jews at the Synagogue in Leningrad, Sherbourne did not learn about the Jewish problem in Russia until he attended a meeting in London where Jewish women from Leningrad spoke of their experiences. Following this meeting, the Association of Jewish Ex-service Men and Women organised a committee to help Soviet Jews, to which Michael and his wife Muriel asked to join. After telling the Committee that he could speak Russian, the first job delegated to him was to ring some of the Jews that had suffered in Russia. As Sherbourne made the phone calls, he received more and more numbers to call, particularly from a lady called Eder Nudel. Nudel made it her business to find Jewish prisoners who were given the misleading title of prisoners of Zion. Over a period of fifteen years, Sherbourne made up to six thousand telephone calls. Sherbourne would use the phone calls to find out when the person had applied for permission to immigrate, when they were refused, what difficulties they had faced from the police, and what their current situation was. Sherbourne would then communicate this information to the Israeli Embassy in London, and the activist group, the 35’s Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry. Over time, Sherbourne succeeded in forming a solid chain of communication between what he termed the “Refuseniks” and Jewish organisations wishing to help them emigrate from Russia.

Michael Sherbourne on the telephone with his recording equipment, c.1980s-1990s [MS434 A4249 7/4]

Michael Sherbourne on the telephone with his recording equipment, c.1980s-1990s [MS434 A4249 7/4]

After meeting members of the 35s Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry at a conference held by the Chief Rabbi in Britain, Sherbourne began to work closely with the organisation. Peaceful protests were made outside theatres where Soviet artists performed, publicising the names of refuseniks and calling on the Soviet Union to release the Jews. Jeans were also sent to refuseniks to help them to earn money.

Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry calendar, 1989 [MS 434 A4249 5/6]

Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry calendar, 1989 [MS434 A4249 5/6]

Retiring from the synagogue and teaching in the late seventies left time for Sherbourne to write articles and give public talks on Soviet Jewry. Topics of these talks included “Russian Jewry: Triumph or Tragedy?”, “A Brief Account of Russian Anti-Semitism and the 35s Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry”, and “Jews in the U.S.S.R. – Cultural Genocide”. Sherbourne also attended talks relating to these topics, such as “Final Reckoning: Was the Soviet Union really ‘bad for the Jews’?” given by John Klier at the sixth annual Maccabean Lecture at King’s College London. Known as a strong personality in the campaign for Soviet Jewry, Sherborne received many enquiries, such as authors requesting his thoughts on their books and articles on the subject. An example includes Martin Gilbert on his publication Shcharansky Hero of Our Time.

Poster for talk given by Michael Sherbourne on ‘Russian Jewry Past, Present, and Future’, 2004 [MS 434 A 4249 1/3 Folder 8]

Poster for talk given by Michael Sherbourne on “Russian Jewry Past, Present, and Future”, 2004 [MS434 A4249 1/3 Folder 8]

Putting his skill of being able to read and write in Russian to good use, Sherbourne also spent his time in the 1990s translating documents from Russian and Hebrew into English. Documents included publications, poems, and even family history and legal documents.

Front cover of We are from Russia by Paulina Kleiner translated from Russian by Michael Sherbourne , MS434 A 4249 2/1/1 Folder 1]

Front cover of We are from Russia by Paulina Kleiner translated from Russian by Michael Sherbourne, [MS434 A4249 2/1/1 Folder 1]

In 1971 Sherbourne invented the term “Refusenik”, when the Jewish movement in the USSR started to expand and the number of Refuseniks increased dramatically. Sherbourne went so far as to write to dictionary publishers and writers of newspaper articles when he thought that they had defined the word incorrectly, or had used the term incorrectly. Criticism included specifying that the term Refusenik refers only to a Jew, and that the term is not Yinglish, as it is a direct translation of the Russian word “Otkaznik”. He has also corrected publishers when he believed that definitions provided for “Red Sea” had been incorrect.

Some records within the Sherbourne collection relate to Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry. These include correspondence discussing the history of the organisation, newsletters and bulletins, and circulars and calendars. We also hold the collection MS 254 Papers of the Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry.

The Sherbourne collection provides a rich resource of material for the study of the campaign against the Soviet Jewry. Not only is there material which shows the point of view of parties outside Russia, there are also copies of the Russian magazine Kohtekct that contains articles relating to Soviet Jewry. Extensive material also relates to the conflict in the Middle East, as well as on anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and the Kristallnacht.

Thanks to the efforts of individuals like Michael Sherbourne, and organisations like the Women’s Campaign for the Soviet Jewry, Jewish communities in Russia have formed that have direct contact with many synagogues in Great Britain, who regularly meet.

“But there, in – inside the former Soviet Union, the children are teaching their parents to understand Judaism. It’s—it’s an amazing thing, how it’s risen, like Phoenix from the ashes. It’s amazing.” (Interview with Michael Sherborne, p.23, 6 September 2003 [MS434 A4249 1/1]

Michael Sherbourne on protest march in San Francisco near the Soviet Consulate, [MS434 A4249 7/2]

Michael Sherbourne on protest march in San Francisco near the Soviet Consulate, [MS434 A4249 7/2]