In praise of apples

21 October has become celebrated as Apple Day. Launched in 1990 by Common Ground in Covent Garden, the aspiration for this was to celebrate and demonstrate the variety that is in danger of being lost, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape and ecology.

Golden Pippin and Scarlet Nonpareil from Rare Books Perkins SB 356 Charles McIntosh The orchard (London, 1839)

Golden Pippin and Scarlet Nonpareil from Rare Books Perkins SB 356 Charles McIntosh The orchard (London, 1839)

Apples have been cultivated for centuries: Pliny records details of sweet and culinary apples grown by the Romans in Italy. Whilst there is evidence that apples were grown in Great Britain in the Neolithic period, it was the Romans who introduced new sweeter tasting apples. After the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain, many orchards were abandoned as the countryside was beset by raiders. It was only in the wake of the Norman Conquest that apple growing was revitalised and new varieties of apples were introduced from France. During the thirteenth century, several kinds of apples became established in Britain, often grown in orchards attached to monasteries. In the sixteenth century Richard Harris, the chief fruitier to Henry VIII, introduced a number of new grafted varieties, including the famous Pippins and developed modern-style orchards in Kent. Herefordshire orchards were augmented by the best cider apples from France by Lord Scudamore, British ambassador to France during the reign of Charles II. The more scientific cultivation of apples, however, did not occur until the late eighteenth century. Seen as the most valuable and generally cultivated of European fruits, the apple was considered by Dr Thomas Andrew Knight “not the nature produce of any soil or climate, but owes its existence to human art”. The work on pollination undertaken by Knight, who was President of the Horticultural Society of London, led to improved varieties. It was to influence the work of others gardeners throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Until the eighteenth century fruit plants had been an essential part of the landscape in gardens on large estates. However with the swing from Renaissance formality to a more “natural” look, the cultivation of fruit and vegetables was moved to the, usually, walled kitchen garden. Owners were proud of their kitchen gardens both for their layout and display and considerable effort was taken with the cultivation and development of fruit varieties.

MS 62 BR103/6 Plan and notes by second Viscount Palmerston on fruit grown within the garden, 1769

MS 62 BR103/6 Plan and notes by second Viscount Palmerston on fruit grown within the garden, 1769

The kitchen garden at Broadlands House in Romsey was developed in the eighteenth century and the design of it showed an appreciation of the ascetics as well as the productivity and the variety of fruit to be grown. Fruit was an essential part of the diet in a household and would be used to impress guests with unusual varieties. The Italian practice of fresh fruit at the end of a meal became the height of fashion in the nineteenth century.

The Perkins Agricultural Library at the University contains a range of books that reflect this interest in both the planning and cultivation of kitchen gardens and the craft of growing fruit trees. Guides on the development and successful propagation of fruit plants include Dr Thomas Andrew Knight’s A treatise on the culture of the apple and pear and on the manufacture of cider and perry (London, 1818); William Forsyth A treatise on the culture and management of fruit trees ( London, 1803) and Charles McIntosh The orchard (London, 1839).

Court Pendu from Rare Books Perkins SB 356 Charles McIntosh The orchard (London, 1839)

Court Pendu from Rare Books Perkins SB 356 Charles McIntosh The orchard (London, 1839)

In addition to practical advice provided in such works, others such as The Complete family piece provided recipes for medicinal cures and for cooking.

“To make an apple tansy
Take 3 Pippins, slice them round in thin Slices, and fry them with Butter; then beat 4 Eggs with 6 Spoonfuls of Cream and a little Rose-water, Nutmeg and Sugar and stir them together, and pour it over the Apples. Let it fry a little and then turn it with a Pye Plate. Garnish with Lemon and Sugar stewed over it.”

[Rare Books Perkins TX 151 William Thomas Smyth The complete family-piece and, country gentleman, and farmer’s best guide (1739)]

Knight’s Treatise has a manuscript note added at the end of the volume by James Corbett suggesting the best fruit to make cider:

“The fruit I should recommend for cider is the Black Norman, the Green or Brown Thorn, the Red Stier and the Wilding. If you plant these sorts, they will be all ripe together and therefore fit to grind at the same time, which is of very great importance in making cider. If you grind one fruit quite mellow and another quite green, you will find the fermenting (which spoils all ciders) not easily prevented.”

Apple Day is now an integral part of the calendar of many villages, local authorities and city markets and a focus for activities organised by a range of organisations such as the National Trust properties, Wildlife Trusts, as well as museums and galleries and horticultural societies. For information on the day go to:

The 28th Wellington Lecture and Explore Your Archive events


28th Wellington Lecture
This year’s Wellington Lecture, titled ‘Wellington, a Storied Life’, will be delivered by Bernard Cornwell, the most successful and prolific historical novelist writing today. He is the author of over 50 novels published in 30 countries and in 28 languages and has sold over 20 million books around the world. His non-fiction account of the battle of Waterloo was a number one bestseller and received rave reviews.

Date: Wednesday 19 October 2016 | 18:00, teas & coffees will be served from 17:30

Venue: Building 32/Room 1015 (Triple EEE Lecture Theatre)

For further information and to register for the lecture go to:


Explore Your Archive events
To mark this year’s Wellington Lecture, Special Collections will be hosting a free open afternoon allowing visitors to view material from the Wellington Archive and meet the curators.

While tickets have recently sold out for this event, we will be hosting two further Explore Your Archive events in November and December, focusing on medicine and the arts respectively.

Further details will be post the Special Collections blog, Facebook page and Events Calendar in the coming weeks.

The Battle of Cable Street – 4th October 1936

The Battle of Cable Street is a significant moment in the history of London Jewry and has often been represented as a turning point in the struggle against Fascism in Britain. This week, commemorations for the 80th anniversary will include a march and a rally in east London – both to remember the past – and to highlight the importance of combating racism and prejudice today.

Anti-fascist protesters run as police approach a barricade near Aldgate during the clashes – crowds had overturned a lorry in Cable Street and used building materials from a local building yard to block the road.

There were at least 100,000 Anti-Fascist protesters on the streets that day (some sources suggest as many as 250,000 people). Jews, Irish dockers, trade unionists, Communists, Independent Labour Party members, women and children turned out to form a “Human barrier to Stop Fascists” [Sunday Referee, 4 October 1936]. “LIKE A SIEGE. 84 arrests, 200 hurt” ran the headlines of the Daily Express, following clashes with police – who made baton charges into the crowds in an attempt to clear the roads.  Just one week earlier, the British Union of Fascists (BUF) had announced its intention to parade in the vicinity of the Royal Mint, where it would be drawn up in military formation and inspected by Sir Oswald Mosley. From here they planned to march through Aldgate and Whitechapel – the heart of the Jewish East End of London – before holding Fascist meetings at multiple venues in the area. [q BZ8211.P73 Parkes Cable St. press cuttings]

'Stop Racial Incitement in East London!!' poster [MS 60/15/53] – thousands of leaflets were distributed prior to the march

‘Stop Racial Incitement in East London!!’ poster [MS 60/15/53] – thousands of leaflets were distributed prior to the march

The BUF had been running a campaign of provocation and violence aimed at stirring up anti-Semitism in the East End for some time. The newly formed Jewish People’s Council against Fascism and Anti-Semitism (JPC) drew attention to inflammatory speeches, indoor and outdoor meetings, processions into Jewish and anti-Fascist districts, and incidents of violence against Jews. Their statement of policy identified the BUF with a modern political anti-Semitism which threatened the democratic rights of the British people as a whole. [MS 60/15/53]

Strenuous efforts were made by local organisations to persuade the government to prohibit the march – the mayors of five East End boroughs asked the Home Office to ban it – but without success.

Petition to the Secretary for Home Affairs [MS 116/6]

Petition to the Secretary for Home Affairs [MS 116/6]

In just 48 hours, the JPC gathered almost a 100,000 signatures for a petition which was presented to the Home Secretary, Sir John Simon. This would not have been possible without the “magnificent assistance” of local Anti-Fascist groups, including the Jewish Councils of Action, the East London Association for combating Fascism; the Ex-Servicemen’s Movement against Fascism, and the members of the Workers’ Circle.

Although the parade went ahead, the scale of the counter-demonstration and the threat of blood shed were so great, that Sir Philip Game, the Chief Police Commissioner, called off the march through the East End to prevent further breaches of the peace. Running battles continued for hours in the streets.

'Fascist Hooliganism!' poster [MS 60/15/53]

‘Fascist Hooliganism!’ poster [MS 60/15/53]

The BUF may have suffered defeat on the day but the fight against Fascism was far from won. The passage of the Public Order Act, 1936, after the disturbances, banned marching in uniform and required police consent in order for marches to go ahead. In the short term, however, historians suggest that life became worse for Jews in the East End. The prominent Jewish involvement at Cable Street and the publicity that violent opposition had produced was exploited by the Fascists to gain sympathy and support.

The story and significance of Cable Street is vividly captured in the papers of the Reverend James William Parkes (1896-1981), held here in the Special Collections at Southampton. Parkes dedicated the greater part of his life to combating anti-Semitism. He had first-hand knowledge of the situation in the East End of London and in 1936 he was meeting local people, giving educational lectures, trying to understand the problem, in order to work out possible solutions. His papers shed a fascinating light on the different approaches and viewpoints within the Jewish community and of the efforts of Gentiles and Christians to join them in the fight against prejudice.

To read about the life of the Reverend James Parkes: MS 60

Cable Street 80:

Arts in the Archives

Starting next week we will be posting images from our upcoming online exhibition titled ‘Arts in the Archives’ on our Facebook page.

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

The online exhibition, set to go live in December, will draw on material from the Archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University, focusing specifically on music, theatre and the visual arts. It will also highlight a number of pieces of artwork that tie in with the history of the University and the development of its Archive and manuscript collections.

The exhibition will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city over the coming months, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Along with the online exhibition, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon in early December inviting visitors to view a range of arts related material from the manuscript and printed collections. More details are to follow!

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

To tie in with the themes of British Art Show 8, the Level 4 Gallery in the Hartley Library will be hosting an exhibition titled ‘Archive Senses’, opening on 6 October. Further details will be posted on the Level 4 Gallery blog.

To follow us on Facebook and view images from the upcoming online exhibition visit:

To view our other online exhibitions and for details of our upcoming events visit:

For more information on British Art Show 8 visit:

For more information on Arts at the University of Southampton visit:

Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PPNN)

This Monday 26th September is the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The goal of eliminating nuclear weapons has been pursued for as long as they have been in existence; the very first resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946 called for “…the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.

The vision of a world safe from nuclear proliferation inspired the work of the Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PPNN); an international initiative co-founded in March 1987 by Ben Sanders (based in New York) and John Simpson, Director of the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies (MCIS) at the University of Southampton. The records of the PPNN are now held by the University’s Special Collections department in collection MS424; they represent a unique and rich resource for students concerned with both the history and theory of nuclear non-proliferation.

In the first year of its operation the PPNN was funded through a grant from the University of Southampton as well as through charitable donations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in the USA and the Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury Trust in the UK. Many other organizations supported the work of the PPNN over the ensuing years as it sought to promote nuclear non-proliferation through three distinct activities. The first of these involved reporting on the evolving non-proliferation situation through a range of publications including: quarterly ‘Newsbriefs’ from March 1988 until 2001; Briefing Books: Volume 1 – The Evolution of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime and Volume 2 – Treaties, Agreements and Other Relevant Documents (published in several editions over the years); annual Issue Reviews; as well as a series of Occasional Papers and Studies. These publications were disseminated to a wide international audience of academic researchers, non-governmental groups, civil servants, parliamentarians and the press in order to reinforce awareness of the global non-proliferation situation.

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/1: Newsbrief No. 1 (March 1988)

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/1: Newsbrief No. 1 (March 1988)

The second activity of the PPNN took the form of a series of biennial meetings held from June 1987 onwards for a Core Group of experts. Academics from a range of backgrounds in nations both East and West and North and South met to discuss the non-proliferation situation. These meetings were often attended by staff of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Photograph of the members of Core Group 12 at the A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan, 1992

Photograph of the members of Core Group 12 at the A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan, 1992

The third objective of the PPNN involved briefing the diplomatic community as part of the review process for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which came into force in 1970.

The three main objectives of this Treaty are: preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons technology; promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and working towards nuclear and general disarmament. The NPT comes under review every five years, was indefinitely extended in 1995 and is regarded as the centerpiece of the international non-proliferation regime. Indeed, the PPNN was established in the spring of 1987 with the following remit: “The specific aim of the Programme is therefore to assist in ensuring that the NPT Review Conference in 1990 and Extension Conference in 1995 have successful outcomes.” [MS424 A3079/2/1/2/2].

Since the dawn of the atomic age in July 1945, when the USA exploded the world’s first atomic weapon, it may appear that an inevitable march towards ever greater nuclear weapons proliferation has taken place over the decades. Since that time, nine other countries have developed their own nuclear weapons capabilities and made their first test explosions in the years as follows: USSR/Russia (1949); the UK (1952); France (1960); China (1964); India (1974); Pakistan (1998) and North Korea (2006). Israel has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity concerning its nuclear weapons programme but had probably developed its own capability by the mid-late 1960s. South Africa acknowledged in the early 1990s that it had developed a nuclear weapons capability around 1979, but then subsequently dismantled its own programme.

The NPT could, therefore, be judged pessimistically as having failed to prevent the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons since 1970; given that India, Pakistan and North Korea have since emerged as nuclear powers. But prior to the NPT’s arrival many experts assumed that the number of nuclear weapons states would increase by orders of magnitude as the technical know-how of nuclear weapons technology proliferated throughout the world. As many as twenty other countries that were actively planning or considering their own nuclear arsenals either chose not to pursue them or were thwarted in their clandestine attempts to do so; in part due to restrictions imposed by the NPT, military intervention and other mechanisms of the international community. The aims of the NPT (and by extension the PPNN) in preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons must, therefore, be judged as a relative success.

According to Article VI of the Treaty: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. Although the number of nuclear weapons in the world peaked during the middle years of the 1980s at approximately 70,000, there still exist in excess of 15,000 nuclear weapons at various stages of readiness. Total nuclear or general disarmament has, therefore, failed to materialise after many decades and the NNWS (Non-Nuclear Weapons States) have criticised this state of affairs as a kind of continuing ‘nuclear apartheid’ between the nuclear ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Indeed, it was the perceived lack of progress by the NWS (Nuclear Weapons States) in moving towards nuclear disarmament which prevented a substantive Final Declaration from being reached at the NPT review conference held in 1990, which also concluded Phase I of the PPNN’s activities.

Phase II began in 1991 and continued the PPNN’s work until the NPT Review and Extension conference of 1995, which was successful insofar as it was agreed to extend the NPT indefinitely, 25 years after its entry into force. Success in 1995 was reached in part through a general agreement amongst states to move towards a treaty banning all nuclear test explosions, adopted by the UN the following year. 2016 therefore marks twenty years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 10th September 1996 and since this time only India and Pakistan (in 1998) and North Korea (on several instances from 2006 onwards) are known to have conducted nuclear test explosions.

MS424 A3079/1/3/18/14: draft resolution introduced to the UN General Assembly in October 1995 and calling for a ban on nuclear testing

MS424 A3079/1/3/18/14: draft resolution introduced to the UN General Assembly in October 1995 and calling for a ban on nuclear testing

Paradoxically, it was after the success of the NPT’s indefinite extension in 1995 that the charitable funding the PPNN had come to rely on began to decline.

Phase III ran from 1996 until the NPT Review Conference in 2000 and expanded the PPNN’s remit to focus on “…ways through which the ultimate goal of the NPT might be achieved: the total elimination of nuclear weapons.” [MS424 A3079/2/1/9/1]. The 2000 NPT Review Conference culminated with an agreement amongst the NWS to de-target their nuclear missiles, pointing them away from each other’s territory, marking a departure from the open hostilities of the Cold War. In April 2000 the PPNN launched the Mountbatten Centre International Missile Forum (MCIMF) which sought to ‘assist, promote and advance the current international efforts to develop norms and legal instruments for combating missile proliferation’ [A3079/2/1/10/1].

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/2: Newsbrief No. 53 – the final issue of the PPNN Newsbrief

MS424 A3079/1/2/5/2: Newsbrief No. 53 – the final issue of the PPNN Newsbrief

Given all these developments, in which the PPNN played a small but worthy role, the story of the non-proliferation movement has been one of incremental and relative success: from the limited proliferation to new states of the weapons themselves since 1970; the overall reduction in their numbers from the 1980s; the decline of weapons-testing since the 1990s; and the reduced role that nuclear weapons now play in the defence strategies of the NWS due to reduced Cold War enmities.

All of these successes, however, seem somehow overshadowed by the failure of the world to move towards complete nuclear disarmament as envisioned in those lofty commitments of the UN General Assembly’s first resolution back in 1946 and echoed a generation later by the NPT in 1970. Why has total nuclear disarmament failed to materialise?

The answer can be found in the complicated tension between the awful and inhumane destructive power of nuclear weapons and the perceived right of a nation to possess them as an ultimate deterrent against aggression, which was encapsulated twenty years ago on 8th July 1996 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory opinion: “…the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law; However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.” Twenty years later the deterrent debate rages on without resolution; posing the most serious barrier to total nuclear disarmament.

Special Collections also holds the collection MS 355 Papers of Milton Leitenberg, relating to nuclear non-proliferation.

The dawn of the tank

“It was like hell in a rough sea made of shell holes,” so recorded Lieutenant Basil Henriques of his tank advance at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Somme, on 15 September 1916. It was on this day that tanks were used for the first time in an en masse attack.

While it was not the case that no fighting vehicles existed at the outbreak of war in 1914, the need for a new fighting vehicle soon became apparent: the ditches separating the forces in the Western Front proved an insurmountable barrier creating stalemate. The light armoured vehicles in existence could not cope with the terrain of the Western Front. The development of a new fighting vehicle that might cross such terrain, breaching the trenches, was at the instigation of Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Swinton. The inspiration came from farming vehicles using caterpillar tracks and early designs were based around Holt tractors.

Battle of Flers-Courcelette. A Brigadier and his staff outside Tank 17 of D Company, which was used as his Headquarters. Near Flers, 21st September 1916. © IWM (Q 2487)

Battle of Flers-Courcelette. A Brigadier and his staff outside Tank 17 of D Company, which was used as his Headquarters. Near Flers, 21st September 1916. © IWM (Q 2487)

Called Mark 1, the first tanks were built in two types: the “Male” with two Hotchkiss 6-pounder guns and 4 machine guns and the “Female” carrying 5 machine guns. Their best top speed was 4 miles per hour, but this was rarely achieved on the battlefield and infantry often moved faster. The tanks were crewed by an officer, 3 drivers and 4 gunners in internal conditions of heat, noise and exhaust from engine and violent movements of the tank that were appalling. Early models also proved to be mechanically very unreliable and vulnerable to shellfire. Yet despite any shortcomings, the initial appearance of the tank caused alarm to the German forces.

Portrait of Lieutenant Basil Henriques MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

Portrait of Lieutenant Basil Henriques MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

Sir Basil Henriques (MS 132) was a 26-year old lieutenant in 1916. Initially gazetted into the Royal East Kent Regiment or the Buffs, Henriques was selected for the new unit of the Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps (renamed the Tank Corps from 1917) and was thus part of the development of the Corps from its inception. During the first part of 1916, Henriques was stationed at Lord Iveagh’s estate in Elvedon, Norfolk, where he trained with and early tank nicknamed “Mother”. He noted that “no mother has ever enjoyed playing with her child as we all did with her. The ‛training’ was one huge game, and we used to look for trees to knock down, and had one or two craters about a hundred yards in width which we would show off to various ‛brass hats’ who came to look at us.” [MS 132 AJ 195/3/9]

On arrival in France the deficiencies of this training soon became apparent. The tank crew had no experience of working with the infantry, with whom they were to fight at the Somme, had never driven the tanks with the flaps closed nor used the periscope and had only driven with a clear view ahead over perfectly even ground. The tank moved fairly well on good ground, but difficulties arose when it needed to turn as it had to halt, making it a target, and gears often jammed in the process.

Although part of a section of three tanks, Basil Henriques and his tank crew were ultimately to proceed on their own to the British front line on 15 September after the other two tanks broke down. Henriques’ tank arrived at the front line ahead of the infantry advance scheduled for 6.20am. After waiting a short time, Henriques, as he recounts, decided to advance forward, encountering a blistering attack from the German lines, wounding himself and his crew:

“As we approached the Germans they let fire at us with might and main. At first no damage was done and we retaliated, killing about 20. Then the smash against my flap in front caused splinters to come in, and the blood to pour down my face. Another minute and my driver got the same. Then our prism glass broke to pieces; then another smash – and I think it must have been a bomb, right in my face. The next one wounded my driver so badly that he had to stop. By this time I could see nothing at all.…” [MS 132 AJ 195/3/9]

While the surprise and, in some cases effect, of the tanks helped the attack at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, they did not prove the decisive factor. They helped break into an enemy position but did not break through the enemy lines. Nevertheless, the potential of the tank as a weapon was recognised and with the action of 15 September 1916 a new era of warfare was begun.

Basil and Rose Henriques on their wedding day MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

Basil and Rose Henriques on their wedding day MS 132 AJ 220/2/1 f.1

A memento from the battle, one of the glass shards that injured Henriques, and which he then had set in stone in a ring for his wife, will be on show at the Tank Museum in Dorset as part of an exhibition marking the centenary of the tank.

Turbulent times for PMs

This week parliament returns after the summer recess with a new Prime Minister taking charge of the UK at one of the most turbulent times in recent political history. We take the opportunity to look at the challenges facing two former PMs whose papers are held by Special Collections…

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769–1852), became a national hero after successes against the French in the Peninsular War, 1808–14, and the Waterloo campaign, 1815. While he is best remembered for his military service, the Duke had a parallel political career. Starting as aide de camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1787, he sat in both the Irish and UK Parliaments, 1790–7 and 1806–9 respectively, and was Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1807-9.

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington writing the despatches after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815: Illustrated London News, 20 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington writing the despatches after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815: Illustrated London News, 20 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

His ability to manage the politics of the war was a crucial element in the success of his command in the wars against Napoleon and in the occupation of France, 1815–18. The Duke returned to Britain and politics, taking a seat in Lord Liverpool’s Cabinet in 1818 as Master General of the Ordnance. However, in post-war politics he was characterised as a reactionary, and his reputation waxed and waned through the debates on Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform.

Wellington became Prime Minister in 1828. One of his first achievements was overseeing Catholic emancipation, the most significant measure of which was the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 which permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in the parliament at Westminster. Wellington had been converted to the cause when he came to realise the role emancipation could play in ending the conflict which had arising from the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland in 1801. However, there was strong opposition to the bill which was seen as a threat to both the Protestant constitution and the supremacy of the Church of England. Lord Winchilsea, a popular hero of Protestant constitutionalists, was one of those hostile to the bill and his criticism of Wellington led to a duel between the two men which took place in Battersea Park in March 1829. They both deliberately missed each other in firing, and honour was satisfied.

In a letter dated 22 March 1829, Jeremy Bentham remonstrates with Wellington for fighting the duel:

Ill-advised man! Think of the confusion, in which the whole fabric of 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 Wellington Papers 1/1004/17]

By 1830 the need for parliamentary reform was gaining broad support. The current system was recognised as neither representative nor balanced, with many urban areas underrepresented and qualifications for voting limited. When the issue was raised in Parliament on 2 November, Wellington took a strong stance against reform, defending the existing system and refusing to support expansion of the political franchise. His anti-reform position led a high degree of personal and political unpopularity.

The same year saw the Swing Riots, centred in many areas on the economic difficulties of agricultural labourers, with machine-breaking and rural unrest. The fictitious Captain Swing also expressed general discontent with the Wellington government and lack of progress with the popular cause of reform. The Wellington papers contain a series of letters attributed to Swing in which the Duke is threaten, including the following, dated 4 November 1830:

Sir, Your base vile conduct to and treatment of your fellow subjects, your determination to turn a deaf ear to their remonstrances, has made you an object of popular vengeance and of popular hatred.

Take my advice, act openly and nobly as becomes a Briton: reform that vile nest of corruption which is bred in Downing Street, destroy those vultures that prey on the public liver or beware! I say beware! Beware! Beware!
[MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1159/93]

Later that month, on 15 November 1830, Wellington was forced to resign after he was defeated in a motion of no confidence. He was replaced by Earl Grey, leading a Whig government, and continued to fight reform in opposition before finally consenting to the Great Reform Bill in 1832.

Illustration of the funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington passing Apsley House: Illustrated London News, 27 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Illustration of the funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington passing Apsley House: Illustrated London News, 27 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Wellington briefly returned to the role of Prime Minister in 1834 while waiting for Peel to return from the Continent, after which he held the positions of Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. Much of his later political career was spent leading the Conservative peers in the House of Lords, and he sat in Peel’s Cabinet of 1841–6 as a minister without portfolio. He was Commander-in-Chief of the army for the third time from 1842 until his death: on earlier occasions conflict with his political duties brought his tenure of office to an abrupt conclusion. Nonetheless he remained popular in the mind of the nation. His death in 1852 was marked by unprecedented scenes of public mourning and, as befitted his status as a national hero, Wellington was given a state funeral.

Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston
The renown of Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865), rests on his service in high political office: he was Foreign Secretary, 1830–4, 1835–41 and 1846–51; Home Secretary, 1852–5; and Prime Minister, 1855–8, 1859–65. These posts he held in Whig/Liberal governments. He had formerly served in Tory administrations, as a junior minister — a Lord of the Admiralty in 1807–9 and Secretary at War, 1809–28, joining Wellington’s cabinet for an uneasy five months in the last year, departing with Huskisson after disagreements with Wellington on foreign affairs and parliamentary reform. The Duke had said little to Palmerston at the end, reporting later that ‘he did not choose to fire great guns at sparrows.’ While Palmerston’s commitment to service can be seen in terms of national rather than party interest, he became increasingly reliant on Liberal support, especially during his time as Prime Minister.

Illustration of Lord Palmerston making the Ministerial Statement on Dano-German Affairs in the House of Commons: Illustrated London News, 2 July 1864 [quarto per A]

Illustration of Lord Palmerston making the Ministerial Statement on Dano-German Affairs in the House of Commons: Illustrated London News, 2 July 1864 [quarto per A]

Palmerston was serving as Home Secretary when the Crimean War broke out in March 1854. As such, he had limited control over British policy during the lead up to the war. In a memorandum, date 20 January 1855, he writes of the “present lamentable condition of our army in the Crimea” and places the blame directly on those in authority. [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/1/96] Palmerston’s view that poor administration was to blame for the current state of the war was widely shared. Shortly after Parliament passed a bill to investigate the conduct of the war, Lord Aberdeen was compelled to resign as Prime Minister. Despite Queen Victoria’s reservations, Palmerston was generally seen as the best man for the job and was invited to form a government on 4 February 1855.

Palmerston was over 70 when he finally became Prime Minister, a position he was to hold almost continuously from 1855 until his death in October 1865. On his accession to the premiership, the resolution of the Crimean conflict was a pressing concern. Palmerston took a hard line on the war with the aim of permanently reducing the Russian threat to Europe. Following the surrender of Sebastopolin in September 1855, Russia came to terms and the war ended in the spring of 1856 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March.

During the remainder of his first term in office Palmerston oversaw British responses to Second Opium War in China, beginning in 1856 when Chinese authorities’ seized a British-registered ship engaged in piracy, and the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The following year, an assassination attempt on Napoleon III by Italian republican Felice Orsini led Palmerston to introduce a Conspiracy Bill, making it a felony to conspire in Britain to murder someone outside the jurisdiction. The bill was defeated on its second reading and Palmerston was forced to resign in February 1858. However, Lord Derby’s subsequent minority government was short lived and resigned after only one year. In reply to a letter from Disraeli asking him to join a Conservative led administration, Palmerston writes:

I am very much obliged to you for the kind and friendly terms of your letter, and if I say in answer that many reasons which it is unnecessary to go into would prevent me from entering into such an arrangement as that which you suggest might be possible, I trust it is needless for me to assure you that no want of personal good feeling towards Lord Derby or yourself, or towards any others members of your government, could form a part of those reasons.
[MS 62 Palmerston Papers GC/DI/140]

Palmerston formed a Liberal government the following month, returning to power in June 1859. His second terms saw his support for Italian unification during the period 1859-61 and commitment to British neutrality during the course of the American Civil War, despite his personal sympathies lying with the secessionist Southern Confederacy. While he was strongly opposed to slavery and the slave trade, he had a fraught relationship with the United States throughout his career and felt that successful Southern secession was in Britain’s best interests. In a letter to Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Secretary of State for War, dated 30 December [1862], he writes of the likelihood of an attempted invasion of Canada by the Northern States:

I cannot say that I believe there is much real danger of an American invasion of Canada. They are making no progress towards the subjugation of the South, and if they were to gain some decisive victories, and compel the south to sign a treaty, they would be compelled to occupy the country with troops, in order to prevent rebellion from again raising its head. At the same time, the language of the Washington government is so insolent and menacing, and their demands so unreasonable, that they may at any moment render it impossible for us to avoid war any longer.
[MS 62 Palmerston Papers GC/LE/167]

Having served fifteen years as Foreign Secretary, foreign policy continued to be Palmerston’s main strength during his time as Prime Minister. However, in terms of domestic policy, he oversaw the passage of important legislation, including reform of the divorce laws in 1857, the Companies Acts of 1858 and 1862, Offences against the Person Act of 1861, and the Poor Law Act of 1865.

Lord Palmerston as an elder statesman, West Front, Broadlands: an albumen print probably from the 1850s [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/17]

Lord Palmerston as an elder statesman, West Front, Broadlands: an albumen print probably from the 1850s [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/17]

Three months after winning another general election in July 1865, Palmerston died on 18 October, aged 80. He was the fourth person not of royalty to be granted a state funeral, after Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Nelson, and the Duke of Wellington.

Happy birthday to “Capability” Brown

This year we celebrate the 300th birthday of Lancelot “Capability” Brown.  His precise birthday is unknown but he was baptised on 30 August.  An English landscape architect, he earnt the nickname “Capability” because of his ability to assess the “capabilities” of the natural landscape: so it wasn’t, as one might assume, Brown himself who was “capable” or “gifted” but the landscape itself that had the “capacity” for improvement.  Brown was immensely sought after by landed families and in 1764 was appointed King George III’s Master Gardener at Hampton Court Palace.

Numerous examples of Brown’s work can be found in Hampshire. In 1767 he begun a major architectural transformation of the Broadlands estate near Romsey; the work was later completed by architect, and Brown’s son-in-law, Henry Holland.


Broadlands [Cope Collection cq72 BRO pr 41]

The Broadlands Archives contains one letter from “Capability” Brown to Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, concerning work undertaken from 1766 to 1779.  He writes from Hampton Court on 17 November 1779 to discuss his bill and tell Palmerston that the man currently at Mr. Fleming’s will level the hedgerows: “he is an old man but very sober and very honest.” [BR103/18/7]

The grounds were clearly being enjoyed by the second Viscount and his family and friends as shown by his (undated) measurements of the “pleasure ground”:

The tour from the south door to the river by the upper walk, by the river skittle ground wood, by the brook side to the vase and back by the upper walk to the house which may be called the short tour is one mile one furlong and 3 poles or one mile and half a quarter nearly. [BR103/18/11]

Broadlands was not the only Hampshire estate on which Brown applied his landscaping genius.  Hans Sloane inherited the estate of Paultons Ower, near Romsey, from Hans Stanley in 1780 and changed his name to Hans Sloane Stanley as a sign of gratitude.


Paultons, c.1830.  [Cope Collection cq72 PAU pr60]

The estate, now covering 3000 acres, was modelled and designed by Capability Brown in the eighteenth century.  The park is now better know as the home of Peppa Pig World.

South Stoneham House in Swaythling was once the seat of the Barons Swaythling. The building is currently owned by the University and until recently was used as a hall of residence.

South Stoneham

Gardens at South Stoneham House, 1920s

The previously formal grounds were landscaped between 1772 and 1780 by Capability Brown at a cost of £1,050. In 1819 it was bought by John Willis Fleming, who also owned the manor of North Stoneham the location of yet  another of Brown’s landscape projects.

The original Cadland House was built in the late 1770s for Robert Drummond, a member of the prominent banking family. Designed by Henry Holland, it had a landscape park laid out by Capability Brown, which included a fishing lodge surrounded by an eight acre garden.


Image of Cadlands Park, 1780 [rare Books cope cq 72 CAD, pr.44]

In the late 1940s, the house was demolished to make way for the Fawley Oil Refinery. The present Cadland House stands on the site of the fishing lodge and its garden, one of Brown’s smallest designs, has recently been restored.

Highcliffe Castle was built between 1831 and 1835 by Lord Stuart de Rothesay within the grounds of High Cliff, a Georgian mansion designed for the 3rd Earl of Bute, grandfather of Lord Stuart. High Cliff was built between 1773 and 1787 and Capability Brown was involved in some part with the design of the grounds.  High Cliff was one of only two Capability Brown seaside sites the other being Cadland. Both of these sites were in Hampshire but in 1974 the County boundary was moved eastwards, thus placing the earlier “Brown” park and its successor house, Highcliffe Castle, in Dorset.


Highcliffe drawn by Callander [Cope Collections cqHIH 72 pr 599]

There are numerous events taking place as part of the Capability Brown Festival 2016 including Capabili-Teas, talks, tours, conferences and family-friendly events.  A textile exhibition on a Capability Brown theme will be on display at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens until October.

The World Archaeological Congress

Next week marks thirty years since the first World Archaeological Congress took place at the University of Southampton. In our latest blog post we take a brief look at the controversial events leading up to the conference.

WAC-1 Logo

WAC-1 Logo

The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) began life as the 11th Congress of the Union Internationale des Sciences Prehistoriques et Protohistoriques (UISPP), an affiliate of UNESCO and recognised by the latter as the official body of world archaeology. The 11th Congress of UISPP was set to take place in Southampton in September 1986, with the responsibility for organisation delegated to a British national committee. However, as preparations were underway, growing violence in South Africa midway through 1985 brought heightened awareness to the issue of apartheid. This led to pressure from Southampton City Council and other organisations funding the conference to impose a boycott on South African participation. The decision of the British organisers to implement the ban led to UISPP refusing official recognition of the conference, citing the case as one of academic freedom. The decision received considerable coverage in both the popular and scientific press and resulted in a series of resignations and withdrawals. It also led to a significant split of opinion among the academic community with a number of open letters circulated arguing both for and against the ban.

Poster for a public meeting on the struggle against apartheid in South Africa [MS 406 A4167]

Poster for a public meeting on the struggle against apartheid in South Africa [MS 406 A4167]

Despite these setbacks, Professor Peter Ucko, the National Secretary of the Congress, insisted on moving ahead under a new name: the World Archaeological Congress. The first WAC was held in Southampton from 1-6 September 1986. It drew in 1000 people from 100 countries, with special efforts made to provide a more open and inclusive platform and encourage indigenous people from underdeveloped countries to attend. The conference also brought into stark focus the idea of archaeological ‘objectivity’, challenging the orthodox view that the profession was either above or outside politics.

The success of the conference has since enabled the WAC to continue to promote openness, inclusivity and diversity through a series of major international conferences held every four years. These have included WAC-2 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela in 1990; WAC-3 in New Delhi, India in 1994; WAC-4 in Cape Town, South Africa in 1999; WAC-5 in Washington, D.C., USA in 2003; WAC-6 in Dublin, Ireland in 2008; and WAC-7 at the Dead Sea, Jordan in 2013. However, subsequent conferences have not been without political and social complications, with organisers of WAC-3 in India being heavily criticised after a controversial decision was made to ban discussion of the recent destruction of the Ayodhya mosque.

The WAC has also sponsored a series of regional thematic Inter-Congresses, including ‘Archaeological ethics and the treatment of the Dead’ in Vermillion, South Dakota in 1989; ‘Environment and Archaeology’ in Puerto Rico in 1992; ‘Urban origins in Africa’ in Mombasa, Kenya in 1993; ‘Nomadism – Past, Present in Global Context and Historical Perspective, The Phenomenon of the Hsiung-Nu’ in Buryatia, Russia in 1996; and ‘The Destruction and Restoration of Cultural Property’ in Brac, Croatia in 1998.

World Archaeological Bulletin, Number 1 (1987) [MS 406 A4167]

World Archaeological Bulletin, Number 1 (1987) [MS 406 A4167]

Special Collections holds two collections relating to the WAC: the papers of Peter Ucko (MS 406 A928) and the papers of Peter Stone (MS 406 A4167). Peter Stone was project manager and co-ordinator of the Archaeology and Education Project at the University of Southampton from 1985 to 1988. During this time he was heavily involved in the creation and development of the WAC, acting as Honorary Chief Executive Officer between 1998 and 2008. His recently catalogued papers contain a range of material relating to organising several of the international conferences and inter-congresses, with a particularly significant amount of material focusing on WAC-1. The papers include correspondence, minutes of committee meetings, articles, press cuttings, promotional material, programmes and pre-circulated papers. Other material in the collection includes WAC publications such as WAC News: The World Archaeological Newsletter and the World Archaeological Bulletin, the first edition of which focused on the issue of academic freedom, particularly in terms of its relationship to apartheid and archaeology.

WAC-8 is set to take place in Kyoto, Japan and will run from 28 August to 2 September 2016.

A passport to summer…

This week, a recently catalogued item in Special Collections has set us thinking about summer travel abroad – in the past as well as the present.

Hidden inside this brightly coloured wallet is a nineteenth-century British passport. It is a far cry from our modern passports – the familiar booklet of paper pages complete with photo and description. Instead, this is a single sheet of parchment, bound in linen at the edges, carefully folded, and stitched into a leather-covered wallet.

This is the passport of “Mr. Charles Lewis (British subject) accompanied by his wife; travelling on the Continent” [MS 351/8]. It was issued and signed by George William Frederick Villiers, fourth Earl of Clarendon, who was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at the time and is dated 5 October 1853. There are no details for Mrs Lewis – not even her full name – and she did not travel on a separate passport. Another nineteenth-century example in our collections is for “Mr Evelyn Ashley, British subject, his wife and maid travelling on the Continent” [MS 62/BR68] and it is not unusual for passports to include servants, valets or maids in this way. By this date, the language and format of the passport followed a standard pattern; the main details were pre-printed and only the particular details of the bearer were written in by hand. Interestingly for the date, it is written in English. It is generally stated that until 1772, both Latin and English were used for passports, then French alone until 1858, and English only from that date onwards. Although the destination abroad is given in general terms we can tell where Mr Lewis travelled because the passport is ink stamped and countersigned, front and back, by various consuls and police departments, including those for Calais, and Aachen:


Aachen, or Bad Aachen, lies today in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, near the Belgian and Dutch borders – the Dutch know it as Aken – the French as Aix-la-Chapelle. It had been occupied and annexed by the French in 1801, and passed to Prussia in 1815, but its significance stretched back beyond the days of Charlemagne – whose palace was here and whose tomb lies in the magnificent cathedral. From the 1830s it was also part of a growing railway network – was Charles passing through on his European travels or was Aachen his destination? Famous for hot springs from Roman times and a popular spa town, Charles and his wife may have been enjoying a holiday here.

Who was Charles Lewis? We don’t know: we are told that prior to World War I the possession of passports was largely confined to merchants and diplomats. By the 1850s, when Charles made his journey, those applying for passports had to be relatively well connected and well-heeled, in order to be able to afford the necessary fee and to supply a reference. You can see Charles’ signature on the lower left-hand corner, as it was a legal requirement that the passport was signed.

Why did Charles carry a passport? The answer may seem obvious to us today when the requirement to carry a passport is widely accepted – but Britain did not oblige foreigners to show a passport when they disembarked here. Belgium and France, on the other hand, required them: so Charles had his passport viséd at the French Consulate in London, and by Joseph Octave Delepierre, the Belgian Consul and Secretary of Legation in London. By doing so he was probably following Foreign Office advice. The nineteenth-century traveller needed to know the correct procedure for travel and this was not straight forward. We know this from an exchange in the correspondence of the first Duke of Wellington, dated 1835, when the subject of passports was under discussion:

“It is the practice of the Foreign Office to give a passport to an individual about to travel on the continent. But that passport is to enable the individual to travel in or quit this country; it will not enable him to quit the place in which he may land unless countersigned by the foreign minister residing here or by some authority at the place itself.  The usual practice of travellers is to have the passports given to them at the Foreign Office countersigned by the minister residing here on the part of the sovereign of the countries through which they may travel.  Or if they do not take this course they are under the necessity of having their passports countersigned by one of the local authorities on their entrance.  The signature of an authorised person of the country through which the traveller may pass appears to be considered indispensable in every instance in which passports are required.  The Duke suggests that the best course to be pursued is to have clear instructions drawn up indicating to travellers the course which they are to pursue to enable them to travel through the country or about the country and that every measure should be adopted to obtain for each traveller the necessary passports…” [MS 61 WP2/41/39, 31 March 1835]

Later that year when Lord Mahon proposed to introduce the subject into the House of Commons, Wellington returned his paper on passports with the following comment:

“The King’s subjects have a right to travel and even to quit the Kingdom without passport, let or hindrance. They require passports on landing in foreign countries by the laws of those countries.  If they touch the matter at all it must be by the assistance of the neighbouring powers.  They would have to prevail upon them to stop Englishmen going abroad without the permission of the Foreign Office: this would not look well.  The Duke objects generally to Mahon’s proposal as well as to his proposed tariff.” [MS 61 WP2/33/101-2, 18 May 1835]

Wellington’s comments reflect the general dislike of the ‘passport system’ which was seen as bureaucratic and costly by the public, but there was also a resentment at the very idea that an English gentleman might need permission to travel – or be required to produce a document to establish his good name and character in the eyes of the world. Whatever the wider debate, we do know that Charles Lewis went to some effort and expense to obtain his passport, and that its value ensured its survival.