“Dear Diary…”

Tomorrow, 22 September, is #DearDiaryDay.  Do you keep a daily diary?  Have you ever tried?  Apparently, it can be great for your mental health!  Studies have shown that expressing our thoughts in a written form on a daily basis reduces anxiety and stress.

Photograph of S.M.Rich "in sports coat" taken in 1902 or 1903 [MS 168 AJ217/1 p. 34 (Friday 3 February)]

Photograph of S.M.Rich “in sports coat” taken in 1902 or 1903 [MS 168 AJ217/1 p. 34 (Friday 3 February)]

The Special Collections holds a variety of diaries and journals, some providing exhilarating accounts by Arctic explorers and of expeditions to the Nile.  However, a more everyday – but incredibly charming – record comes from Samuel Morris Rich.  We have in our strongroom an impressive 45 of his diaries dating from 1904 until his death in 1945: we like to think of him as our own twentieth-century Samuel Peyps (without the scandalous bits!).  Samuel was born in 1877 and for 40 years worked as a teacher at the Jews’ Free School in London; he was also heavily involved in the South London Liberal Jewish Synagogue.  He was married to Amy (nee Samuel) and they had two children, Connie and Sidney.

Photograph of Samuel's wife Amy. [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Photograph of Samuel’s wife Amy [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Samuel includes a photograph of  Amy at the beginning of his first volume (1905) and notes:

This portrait of Amy taken in the summer of 1898 makes a fitting frontispiece to the whole series of diaries. The dress & hat she wore on the first occasion I “took her out” – to the Crystal Palace – we met at Kennington Gate.

People have different objectives when starting a daily journal: they can be useful in resolving issues and achieving goals.  One of Samuel’s aims, it seems, was to improve his reading habits.  On New Year’s Eve 1904 he wrote this preface to his diary for the coming year:

I started a journal on Nov 26th of this year which I hope to continue until that day on which I join the great majority. The practice is useful for many reasons chief among which is the check it puts upon the method of spending one’s days.

The next day, 1 January, he expanded on his intentions:

On the last day of every month I will make a list of all books, essays or pamphlets read during the month: this will serve as an excellent check on my reading and I will be able to examine whether I have neglected to ready any good book whatever during the month.

A glance through various volumes indicates that Samuel didn’t stick to this initial intention; despite this lapse, it is hard to be critical of such a diligent diarist.

Photograph of Samuel and Amy Rich, 1901 [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Photograph of Samuel and Amy Rich, 1901 [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Samuel’s diaries provide a fascinating record of everyday life in the first half of the nineteenth century.  The timespan covers several world changing events including two world wars. On 28 July 1914 – the official date for the outbreak of the First World War – he records that he and his wife caught the 160 bus to Reigate and had “a good steak”.  He does, however, include a newspaper clipping which records that war had been declared by Austria-Hungary: he includes several of these during this period. The end of the War, 100 years ago in November this year, is recorded with great relief and celebration.

It is interesting to consider who Samuel was writing for; was it solely for his own benefit? Perhaps he wished to leave a record of his life for his children and grandchildren? His diaries are now packaged in acid-free boxes and stored in our climate-controlled strongroon: what would he made of that?! Could he ever have imagined that his diaries  would one day be preserved indefinately as a public record?

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Botanical treasures of the Stratfield Saye estate

In October 1836 the botanist John Claudius Loudon wrote to Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, requesting drawings of certain trees on the Stratfield Saye estate for a publication on the hardy trees and shrubs of Great Britain.  His returns showed that there was a Cedar of Lebanon at Stratfield Saye said to be the highest in Britain as well as the largest Hemlock Spruce Fir; he hoped that the Duke might have some drawing of them he could copy. [WP2/43/2]

"Cedrus Libani: the Cedar of Lebanon": J.C.Loudon, Arboretum et fruticetum Britannicum vol. VIII p.396

[“Cedrus Libani: the Cedar of Lebanon”: J.C.Loudon, Arboretum et fruticetum Britannicum vol. VIII p.396]

We have several copies of the resulting publication Arboretum et fruticetum Britannicum in the Salisbury Collection.

Arboretum et fruticetum Britannicum was Loudon’s most significant work but unfortunately also the most time-consuming and costly.  It contained an exhaustive account of all the trees and shrubs growing in Great Britain including their history and notes on remarkable examples.  It included drawings of leaves, twigs, fruits, and the shapes of leafless trees as well as entire portraits of trees in their young and mature state, all  drawn from life.

The first Duke of Wellington acquired the Stratfield Saye estate in 1818 from a grateful nation following the Battle of Waterloo.  It has pleasure grounds and a landscape park of approximately 523 hectares.  It had previously been owned by George Pitt, first Baron Rivers who had made extensive alterations to the park after he inherited it.  Lord Rivers had succeeded to the estate in 1745 and, through the second half of the 18th century until his death in 1803, he made major changes and improvements.  He is responsible for the walled gardens to the north-west of the house as well as the pleasure grounds planted with their arboretum of exotic trees.

In December 1836 James Johnson – possibly the estate manager – wrote to the Duke giving him details of various trees as requested by Loudon.  The highest cedar of Lebanon was 95ft but likely to grow much higher.   The hemlock spruce is the “largest and handsomest specimen of the kind” he has ever seen.  A spruce fir growing near the cedar is 104 ft high and he also measured a “very fine” silver fir in the peasantry copse.

["The fritillaria meleagris or common fritillary": Curtis's Flora Londinensis vol. III]

[“The fritillaria meleagris or common fritillary”: Curtis’s Flora Londinensis vol. III]

Johnson also encloses to the Duke a letter from the botanist Aylmer Bourke Lambert (1761-1842) concerning the Fritillaria meleagris; according to Lambert, it is “one of the most beautiful and rarest of all the English plants”.  One of the “greatest botanical curiosities in England” and Lambert discovered it in the park at Stratfield Saye “in …abundance”. [WP2/43/105].

The fritillary is now designated as “very rare” in Hampshire.  The following is an extract from the Flora of Hampshire:

The plant’s last site in Hants is in a field adjoining the famous colony on the Duke of Wellington’s estate at Stratfielde Saye, Berks, where is is now carefully conserved.  Sadly … the fritillaries on the Hants site have dwindled until in 1982 Paul Bowman [Hants botanist] could only find four plants.  However om 1986 the Duke began scattering fritillary seeds there … the most recent records are for 8 plants (1993)

Aylmer Lambert is best known for his work A description of the genus Pinus, issued in several parts 1803–1824, a sumptuously illustrated folio volume detailing all of the conifers then known.  The Special Collections has a copy of the 1832 edition.

["Pinus Pinea": A.B.Lambert, A description of the genus Pinus, vol. 1]

[“Pinus Pinea”: A.B.Lambert, A description of the genus Pinus, vol. 1]

Many of the printed volumes referenced here are from the Salisbury Collection, a collection of over 500 books, ranging in date from the 17th century to the 20th century which reflects the passion for ordering the natural world and in this case recording the plants of a particular area, which arose during the eighteenth century and continues today.  It includes examples of national floras such as those of Spain, Germany and Russia, but the emphasis of the collection is on British floras on both a national and a local level.

The dangerous act of reading

6 September is Read a Book day.

The image of women as readers became common in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as literacy rates improved and women began to take part in the literary market. With this, however, came the idea of the danger of reading both in terms of appropriate reading matter and reading as an activity.

Illustration from The Lady's Monthly Museum vol. 8 (1802)

Women reading together from The Lady’s Monthly Museum vol. 8 (1802)

What was permissible for women to read was a matter of intense debate. Indeed, anything might be considered inappropriate since all books could be read subversively. Why books might be inappropriate was based on a range of arguments: that they might corrupt women’s minds and diminish them as women or that women might be unable to cope with emotionally provocative material. The case was also made that reading distracted women from their domestic duties as they learned about the world outside the home: a good and ideal woman should resist the pleasures of reading and take care of her husband and home.

Philosophy and metaphysics were subjects that women were most actively told to avoid, although it was the novel, which was written and read by women in increasing numbers in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, that caused the most cultural anxiety. As soon as novels came to represent a significant share of the literary market, they became the subject of opposition. One accusation was that they created expectations which could not be fulfilled in life.

How women read books also became a matter of concern. Silent reading was considered dangerous and solitary reading self-indulgent and potentially rebellious. Reading aloud to others was encouraged as a defence against the “seductive” dangers of sentimental novels.

Solitary reading [MS 242 A800]

Solitary reading [MS 242 A800]

Mary Mee was the second wife of the second Viscount Palmerston and mother of the future British Prime Minister, Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston. Described as a lively and charming women and elegant society hostess, she shared with her husband an interest in literary enquiry. The catalogue of books in the Book-room at Broadlands during Lady Palmerston’s time shows the range of material available for her to read, included were not just the works from the Classics, but relating to history and travel, poetry, literature and a range of novels, together with many works in French arrayed along the South End.

Catalogue of the Book-room at Broadlands, 1791 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

Catalogue of the books in the Book-room at Broadlands [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

What Lady Palmerston read, which included of history, travel writing and poetry — types of works considered acceptable reading for women — can be seen from her own poetry (“To a lady with Plutach’s works” being one example) and by references in her correspondence.

“I am now going to read Memoires du Comte Joseph Puisaye and when finished attack Barrow’s second volume [relating to his travels in Africa]. Fine time to improve one’s mind.  You will have at last one of the deepest read mother’s that son ever could boast of,” she noted in a letter to her son Henry, 28 May 1804 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR21/10/28]

And in another letter to Henry, 9 July 1804, she discussed  the multi-volume set of the correspondence of Samuel Richardson published that year: “They are sad .. But interesting to me having … heard so much of most of the characters who are friends and correspondents … and much [is] said of my poor aunt and uncle Godeshall. I wish they had been published in their live, it would have amazed and gratified them.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR21/10/42]

Aside from Richardson, the success of whose novel Pamela might be said to mark the start in the growth of novels within the literary market, Broadlands held novels by a number of women authors, including Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752), Frances Sheridan’s Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761), Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778) and Cecilia (1782), Charlotte Turner Smith’s Emmeline (1788), Ethelinde (1789) and Montalbert (1795) and Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1796). In Frances Burney was a writer who could produce the comic and satirical energies of Smollett or Henry Fielding. Charlotte Turner Smith has been credited with influencing Jane Austen and particularly Charles Dickens. Sheridan’s novel was one of the most popular of the period and focused on the story of a female rake. Yet while it challenged female characterisation and explored the possibility of free choice, the heroine was ultimately to have her freedom quashed.

If Lady Palmerston was to see the idea of free choice for women thwarted in novels, she maintained her own choices in her own life. Writing to her husband on 13 May 1792, after reading a copy of Mary Wollstonecroft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) she noted “I have been reading the Rights of Women so you must in future expect me to be very tenacious of my rights and priviledges.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR11/18/5]

Listing of novels, including Joseph Andrews at north end of Book-room [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

Listing of novels, including Joseph Andrews at north end of Book-room [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

Amongst the array of the works of male novelists available at Broadlands were those of Tobias Smollett, Daniel Defoe, Laurence Sterne and Henry Fielding. Writing to her friend Emma Godfrey, 14 February 1803, Lady Palmerston extolled the merits of Fielding’s Joseph Andrews:

“I believe you have read a new work called Joseph Andrews. It certainly has not many equals. Surely no writer possessed a clearer knowledge at the human heart, of characters or their various casts, and so uncommon a share of wit and humour so ingeniously brought forward as Fielding, that the reader thinks [he] has some penetration in discerning it, for the author appears to assume no merit for the possession of his talents. His introductory chapters, his reflections are perfect of their kind and I hope if any time has passed since you made Mr Joseph Andrews’s acquaintance that you will immediately renew it.”

[MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR18/5/5/115-18]

And on this Read a Book day we hope that you will be similarly inspired to renew the acquaintance with a book that you have enjoyed reading.

American Adventures Month: The Mountbattens’s honeymoon tour of the USA

This month is American Adventures Month, and to mark this occasion, we take a look at the Mountbattens’s honeymoon trip to the USA.

Edwina and Louis Mountbatten at the World Series Yankees versus Giants baseball game with player Bate Ruth [MS 62 MB2/L1/33]

Edwina and Louis Mountbatten at the World Series Yankees versus Giants baseball game with professional player George Herman “Babe” Ruth [MB2/L1/33]

After marrying on 18 December 1922, the Mountbattens spent the first nights of their honeymoon at Broadlands. They then travelled to Paris, Spain, and Germany, before boarding the Passenger Ship, the RMS Majestic, for the United States of America.

The RMS Majestic [MS 62 MB2/L1/30]

The RMS Majestic [MB2/L1/30]

Beginning with New York, the Mountbattens attended baseball games and the Ziegfeld Follies theatre productions. They were hosted by American composer, Jerome Kern, and American actor, screenwriter, and producer, Douglas Fairbanks.

Keen to see everything, the Mountbatten’s sightseeing tour was to include (following New York): Washington and Chicago; Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Hollywood; Florida; and the Far West. The aspiring tour was to be arranged for them by Colonel Robert M. Thompson, President of the Consolidated Arizona Smelting Company, who was a friend of Aunt Victoria’s.

Louis and Edwina Mountbatten with Freddie Neilson at the Grand Canyon [MS 62 MB2/L1/90]

Louis and Edwina Mountbatten with Freddie Neilson at the Grand Canyon [MB2/L1/90]

Following a trip to the Grand Canyon, the Mountbattens were taken to Hollywood, where they visited Paramount Studios. Here, Cecil B. de Mille showed them the sets for his new film.

Edwina Mountbatten with Cecil B. de Mille and Louis Mountbatten at Paramount Studios, Hollywood [MS 62 MB2/L1/134]

Edwina Mountbatten with Cecil B. de Mille and Louis Mountbatten at Paramount Studios, Hollywood [MB2/L1/134]

As well as having access to a private railway carriage, the Boston, Colonel Thompson also had a House Boat, which was used to give the Mountbattens a grand tour of Florida across the Atlantic.

A day’s catch on Colonel Thompson’s house boat trip across the Atlantic, Florida [MS 62 MB2/L1/203]

A day’s catch on Colonel Thompson’s house boat trip across the Atlantic, Florida [MB2/L1/203]

After visiting the Far West, the Mountbattens made their way back to New York and returned to England on 9 December 1922.

To find more about the Mountbatten papers, please click on the following link:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/cataloguedatabases/mb/index.page

The abolition of the slave trade remembered

Thursday 23rd August is the UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

The University of Southampton’s Special Collections is home to many printed sources on slavery and the battle for its abolition. The Oates Collection contains over 220 books and pamphlets on the West Indies and the abolition of slavery, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. While the Wellington Pamphlets cover a broader range of topics, the pamphlets on the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies complement those held in the Oates Collection.

The slave trade was formally outlawed within the British Empire by the Slave Trade Act 1807; meaning the buying or selling of slaves was no longer legally permissible, but the continued ownership of slaves, sometimes called ‘the institution of slavery’ remained legal in the British Empire for some years afterwards. The prospect of its total abolition energized debate across the country in the early nineteenth century including here in Southampton, as shown below by this handbill dated 1824 taken from our Cope Collection. The author complains that a meeting held in Southampton to discuss prospects for improving the conditions of slaves in the West Indies was disrupted by a group hostile to any notion of abolition:

…a gentleman present declared to the meeting… that the wretched “Slaves in the West Indies are in a far better condition than many of the lower orders of people in this country!” … such a declaration – so degrading to humanity – so humiliating to Englishmen – was hailed by a number of persons with loud acclamation… I will not condescend to argue the question as I might on the ground of comparative feeding, and clothing, and lodging, and medical attendance. Are these the only claims – are these the chief privileges of a rational and immortal being? Is the consciousness of personal independence nothing?

Handbill to the inhabitants of Southampton, 1824 [ff Cope handbills vol. 2 item 77]

Handbill to the inhabitants of Southampton, 1824 [ff Cope handbills vol. 2 item 77]

The argument that slaves in the West Indies enjoyed better standards of living than some of the poorer peasantry of Britain was attacked by the author of this locally produced handbill as well as the influential abolitionist Thomas Clarkson in his pamphlet on The argument that the colonial slaves are better off than the British peasantry: answered from the Royal Jamaica Gazette of June 21, 1823 (R. Kirby, Whitby, 1824) a copy of which is held in the Oates Collection and has been made available digitally on the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/oates71082042. Clarkson’s pamphlet examines the contents of an edition of the Royal Jamaica Gazette with details of escaped West Indian slaves.

Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson The argument that the colonial slaves are better off than the British peasantry: answered from the Royal Jamaica Gazette of June 21, 1823 (R. Kirby, Whitby, printed for the Whitby Anti-Slavery Society, 1824) [Rare Books HR 1091]

Clarkson demolishes the argument on the comparative condition of slaves and the British labouring poor, noting that the British peasantry are not treated like cattle and branded multiple times with the initials of their masters; they are not made to wear chains or routinely flogged and separated from their loved ones with ‘the tenderest ties of nature forcefully broken asunder’; nor are they routinely locked up in jail for fleeing from their masters. Clarkson asks his readers to contemplate why, if the living-conditions of West Indian slaves were so comfortable, would so many attempt escape in the first instance? Clarkson argues that, even if we accept the spurious arguments of comparative material well-being, liberty ‘constitutes the best part of a man’s happiness’ and he asks us to consider the following scenario:

Tell a man, that he shall be richly clothed, delightfully lodged, and luxuriously fed; but that, in exchange for all this, he must be the absolute property of another; that he must no longer have a will of his own; that to identify him as property, he may have to undergo the painful and degrading operation of being branded on the flesh with a hot iron… and do you think that he would hesitate one moment as to the choice to make? [p. 16]

When the argument defending slavery on the basis of comparative material well-being began to falter, subsequent to scrutiny from Clarkson and others, those who stood to lose out financially were it to be abolished often fell back upon outright racism to justify the practice, as evidenced by the following letter discussing the preservation of slavery in Jamaica, written on 5 March 1830 to the first Duke of Wellington: details of which also can be found on-line through the Wellington Papers database: http://www.archives.soton.ac.uk/wellington/

WP1/1100/2

Letter from J.Neilson to Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, discussing the preservation of slavery in Jamaica, 5 March 1830 [MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1100/2]

Dire economic consequences were also threatened should slavery be abolished, but the moral outrage of the practice could not be endured by the British public indefinitely and in 1833 the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, which came into force the following year. This law prohibited slavery in the British Empire but exemptions were made for certain territories, including those administered by the East India Company where slavery continued for a further ten years until 1843. Furthermore, slaves who were ‘freed’ from 1834 were not immediately emancipated but were made to continue working as unpaid ‘apprentices’ until 1838. The British government took out a loan in order to compensate slave owners; the terms of which were finalised in 1835 and were equivalent to 5% of the nation’s GDP. The last instalment of this loan was paid in 2015.

Accessions Registers reveal library wartime cooperation

The news that the University Library is contributing to the programme to help restock the ransacked Library of the University of Mosul confirms the longstanding tradition of cooperation amongst libraries in times of crisis. By coincidence, an earlier example of this recently came to light in the Library’s accessions registers, where amongst the usual entries of ‘lost’ and ‘withdrawn’ some notes were found which recorded the transfer of books to other libraries. In this case the libraries were Plymouth Public Library and Birkbeck College Library and the dates were 1941 and 1942.

Extract from Library Accession Register

It is clear from this, that in addition to the many other ways in which University College, Southampton supported the war effort, it also played its part in helping to restock libraries devastated by enemy action during the Second World War. Plymouth Public Library had been destroyed in March 1941 with the loss of over 72,000 books and Birkbeck Library had suffered a direct hit. With many other libraries suffering the same fate, appeals were made for books to restock those most severely damaged.

The notes in the accessions registers suggest that transferring the books was also advantageous to the Library, enabling it to remove duplicates and free up space – sufficient space being the often unachievable ambition of most librarians. Library Annual Reports confirm that an overhaul of stock had begun in 1940/41 and in response to an appeal from the Universities Bureau of the British Empire, a list of 400 duplicates had already been offered to University College, London, which had lost 100,000 books as a result of fire and water damage following air raids.

The Annual Reports also record the involvement of Library staff in another wartime initiative, the National Book Recovery Appeal which began in 1943. The Appeal had developed from concerns that important books and documents might be destroyed as a result of the Ministry of Supply’s paper salvage campaign which was designed to alleviate the paper shortage caused by the cessation of imports. A Central Committee of Scrutiny was set up to oversee the process and local committees were established to run the ‘Book Drives’. Miss M.I. Henderson, the Librarian of University College, Southampton was appointed as one of the members of Southampton’s Scrutiny Committee and also assisted the New Forest’s Salvage Committee.

National Book Salvage Campaign. Books being examined by Miss H.M. Swift, Mr H.W. Belmore and Miss M. I. Henderson, February 1943.

Southampton’s first Book Drive ran from 6th-20th February 1943, with others being held in Winchester, Basingstoke, Portsmouth and Fareham. Book collection points were established in schools and shops with a central depot at Albion Hall, St Mary’s Street. Books brought in were to be sorted into those suitable for restocking devastated libraries, books for H.M. Forces and those which could be pulped without any loss to scholarship and society. Southampton’s Book Drive yielded over 160,000 books, which took about three weeks to sort. Of these, 3,188 were sent to the Inter-Allied Book Centre for restocking libraries, 16,581 were sent to H.M. Forces, for both recreation and instruction and 141,731 were pulped.

Detail of engraved title page of: John Britton The History and Antiquities of the See and Cathedral Church of Winchester (1817) Rare Books Cope q WIN 26

As an incentive to libraries to get involved in Book Drives, up to 5% of the total number of books collected could be retained locally and the accessions registers reveal that a number of books did make their way into the University Library’s collections. Amongst these was an 1817 edition of John Britton’s The History and Antiquities of the See and Cathedral Church of Winchester, which was added to the Cope Collection, as was C.R. Acton’s Sport and Sportsmen of the New Forest, which still bears a bookplate recording its presentation by Lyndhurst Salvage Committee in August 1943.

From: C.R. Acton Sport and Sportsmen of the New Forest (1936) Cope 97.794

 

 

The 1918 Education Act and Herbert A.L. Fisher

This week we mark the 100th anniversary of the Education Act (1918) by looking at material we hold relating to education in our Cope Collection. Often known as the Fisher Act, because it was drawn up by Herbert Fisher, it raised the school leaving age to fourteen and included the provision of additional services such as medical inspection, nursery schools and centres for pupils with special needs. It applied to England and Wales (there was a separate act for Scotland).

Photograph from the George Grantham Bain collection at the Library of Congress.

Herbert A.L.Fisher (1865-1940) was an English historian, educator, and Liberal politician. He was educated at Winchester College and became a tutor in modern history at the University of Oxford.  In his autobiography, he recalls his own school days with great fondness:

I enjoyed every moment of my life at Winchester; the work, the games, the society of my fellows and of the masters, and the compelling beauty of the old buildings, of the College Meads, and of the sweet water-meadows…

[H.A.L.Fisher, An Unfinished Autobiography, Oxford: 1940]

In 1916, Fisher was asked by David Lloyd George to join the coalition government as President of the Board of Education because “the country would take more educational reform from an educationalist than from a politician.”  Lloyd George assured Fisher that money would be available for reform and that he would have his full support.   Fisher describes how despite a largely conservative cabinet, the Prime Minister’s support ensured the acceptance of every plan.

In 1917 he submitted a memorandum to the Cabinet, detailing the deficiencies in public education and the appropriate remedies.  His maiden speech in the House of Commons introduced a new scheme of educational finance.  That same year he also obtained a second reading for an Education Bill that would curtail industrial labour and give local authorities the ability to promote education from nursery schools upwards.  It became apparent that his proposals were too drastic: there was concern on the part of local authorities who would have to administer the act plus from employers would be losing adolescent labourers.  However, in 1918 the Education Act was passed.  That same year, it was supplemented by the Teachers’ Superannuation Act which provided a pension for all teachers.

The University’s Cope Collection contains Proceedings of Education Committee from 1918 onwards for the administrative county of Southampton.  The minutes record how. in November 1918, several farmers in Overton and Micheldever Districts appealed for the release of children from school for potato digging.

One aspect of the Education Act was the provision of medical inspection and the Library also holds contemporaneous medical reports of the School Medical Officer.  One dating from 1922 states that medical inspection of school children had been in existence in Hampshire for 14 years: the County must have been ahead of the times in this regard.  What was not so advanced is the language used to describe those children we would today consider to have special needs.

The report describes how two groups of children were assessed: “entrants” aged 5 and “leavers” aged around 12 or 13.  There used to be a third assessment of an intermediate group, ages 8 or 9, but this had to be stopped due to lack of staff time: some things never change. During the year, 3,456 children were discovered to have “verminous heads”: any carer of a school-age child will tell you that head lice are still a big problem today.  It should be remembered that this report pre-dates the founding of the National Health Service.

Fisher’s Act had a significant impact on a whole general of children: education provision in the country was not significantly changed for another 26 years until the Butler Act of 1944.

“Be prepared”: Scouting in Special Collections

To mark World Scout Scarf day, we take a look at our material relating to Scouting in Special Collections.

Boy Scout troop at Hartley Witney, Hampshire, c.1910s-1930s [MS 6/16]

Boy Scout troop at Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, c.1910s-1930s [MS 6/16]

Scouting was born from Robert Baden-Powell, who was notable for his defence of the small South African town of Mafeking during the Boer War. A soldier and free-thinker, Baden-Powell wanted to give young people the opportunity to use the same initiative men were required to use during warfare. He had already written a handbook for soldiers, and was encouraged by his friends to rewrite this as part of his planned training programme for young people in Britain. The book was called Aids to Scouting.

Wishing to trial out this training programme, Baden-Powell organised a camp on Brownsea Island in Poole, Dorset, for 20 boys from different backgrounds. Following the success of the camp, he wrote the book Scouting for Boys, which was published in 1908. The book was released for 4d a copy in six fortnightly parts. The publication became the handbook of what was to become the Scouting Movement, which King Edward VII approved. This acceptance also led to the formation of the King’s Scout Award.

The Movement soon grew, with almost 108,000 participants recorded in in its first census in 1910, and over 100,000 being young people. In 1916 Wolf Cub groups were formed for younger Scouts, and in 1920 Rover Scouts for older Scouting members.

Scouting grew not only nationally, but also internationally. The first World Scout Jamboree was formed in 1920, and was held at London’s Olympia. Scouts from across the world came together to celebrate international unison and the growth of their Movement. Lord Baden-Powell died in 1941 but his legacy lived on. Scouting became a metaphor for adventure, usefulness and global friendship.

Our collections relating to scouting include a scrapbook containing photographs, newspaper cuttings, and programmes of Boy Scout activities at Hartley Wintney, Hampshire dating from 1913-31; and the Southampton Scout and Guide Organisation (SSAGO) archive.

Letter from Chief Scout Sir Charles Maclean to the University of Southampton Scout Club, 9 December 1964 [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

Letter from Chief Scout Sir Charles Maclean to the University of Southampton Scout Club, 9 December 1964 [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

Scouting and Guiding began to occur in universities as early as 1915, with the first units occurring at Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, and London. In 1947, the Varsity clubs gathered at Beaudesert, Staffordshire, for a camp, which began the concept of rallies. Up until 1969, rallies were organised in the way of taking place over 7-10 days, with an AGM.

The first logbook for Southampton Scout and Guide Organisation dates from 1961, with entries covering activities such as freshers’ coffee evenings to attract new members, night hikes, and inter-varsity rallies in various cities across the country.

University of Southampton Scout and Guide Club logbook, 1961 [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

University of Southampton Scout and Guide Club logbook, 1961 [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

The log books also contain other records, such as dinner menus and souvenir programmes for key events, such as visits of the Chief Scout.

Hampshire County Scout Council souvenir programme to mark the visit of the chief scout, 1964 [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

Hampshire County Scout Council souvenir programme to mark the visit of the Chief Scout, 1964 [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

Along with camping, night hikes, and national rallies, SSAGO have also taken part in the university’s RAG week. In 1964, the Club decided to build an elephant float.

“ A couple of weeks before Rag, devious goings on were observed at the Rangers’ hut in Broadlands Road, and a metal structure weighing half a ton was seen to be constructed…We didn’t win a prize, but everyone (even those who got a blast from Nellie’s trunk) enjoyed themselves”. [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

Nelly the Elephant - RAG

Nellie the elephant SSAGO float at RAG week, November 1964 [MS 310/59 A4018 2/1]

Other SSAGO activities have involved horse riding and swimming; and visiting local authorities and organisations such as the Ordnance Survey, the Southern Daily Echo newspaper offices, and Southampton Police Headquarters.

“We were met by an officer with lots of shiny buttons, who I believe was an inspector, and he was to show us the various departments. After a general introduction, we started our tour with a call at the Information Room, which we were told is the ‘nerve centre’ of all the activities, and immediately scenes from “Z-Cars” sprung to mind.” [MS 310/59 A4018 2/2]

The SSAGO archive continues to grow with two logbooks recently added to the collection, dating 2010-2015, and 2016-2017.

SSAGO logbooks 2010-2015 and 2016-2017 recently added to MS310/59

SSAGO logbooks 2010-2015 and 2016-2017 [MS310/59]

For further information on SSAGO go to:

https://southampton.ssago.org/

https://www.susu.org/groups/ssago

 

The notable art of watercolours

Redhill, August 1876 by Sissy Waley [MS 363 A3006/3/5/4 page 37 1]

Redhill, August 1876, by Julia Matilda Cohen [MS 363 A3006/3/5/4 page 37 number 1]

For any young woman to consider herself accomplished, according to the snobbish Caroline Bingley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, she required the following skills:

“…a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages….; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions…”

Such accomplishments marked out women as belonging to a certain class and were part of what made them marriageable. Drawing and embroidery were part of a conventional education for young women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and manuals such as Bowles’s Drawing Book for Ladies were produced to provide images for copying.  It has been suggested by some critics that encouraging women to copy from already-existing works of art was a way of constraining originality, thus ensuring that women artists remained amateurs rather than professionals.

Watercolour of view in the garden at Northcourt, 18-- [MS 80 A276/5]

View in the garden at Northcourt, 18–, by Lady Gordon [MS 80 A276/17/5]

As July is World Watercolour Month, we look at some examples of watercolours produced by women held within Special Collections.

Watercolour of garden just made at Northcourt, 1843 [MS 80 A276/17/3]

Garden at Northcourt, 1843 [MS 80 A276/17/3]

The Gordon family collection (MS 80) contains some fine examples of watercolours of the family home and garden, Northcote on the Isle of Wight. These are the work of Julia Isabella Louisa Bennett, Lady Gordon (1775-1867) and possibly also by her daughter Julia Gordon. Lady Gordon was an accomplished artist, remembered as one of J.M.W.Turner’s few known pupils, who also studied with David Cox and took lessons from Thomas Girtin. Other examples of her work are held at the Tate in London and in National Trust collections.

Pride of India, Cape Province, 1932, by Charlotte Chamberlain [MS 100/1/3]

Pride of India, Cape Province, 1932, by Charlotte Chamberlain [MS 100/1/3]

Charlotte Chamberlain was a member of the Chamberlain family of Birmingham, one of seven daughters of the industrialist Arthur Chamberlain. She was a graduate of Newham College, Cambridge, and of the University of Birmingham, the foundation of which her uncle, the politician Joseph Chamberlain, had played a leading role. On the death of their father in 1913, Charlotte and her sister Mary moved to the New Forest and they both became closely involved with the development of and notable benefactors of what was later to become the University of Southampton.

Red gum, Cape Province, 1932 [MS100/1/3]

Red gum, Cape Province, 1932, by Mary Chamberlain [MS100/1/3]

A member of one of the prominent Anglo-Jewish families, Julia Matilda Cohen née Waley (1853-1917) married Nathaniel Louis Cohen in 1873 when she was 20 years of age. The Waley Cohen collection (MS 363) includes Julia’s sketchbooks for the period 1874-81 and 1895.

From Beddgelert [MS363 A3006/3/5/4 page 37 number 2]

View from Beddgelert, June 1875, by Julia Matilda Cohen [MS363 A3006/3/5/4 page 37 number 2]

The earlier sketchbook was an album given to her as a repository for her sketches by her Aunt (Elizabeth) and Uncle (Jacob Quixano Henriques) in September 1874 to mark her reaching her majority. It contains sketches of places she visited around Britain and Europe including: Perthshire, Scotland; Windsor Castle, Chichester and Bournemouth, England; North Wales; and Simplon, The Tyrol, Domodossola, Venice, Verona and Lake Como, Italy.

View from Cricceth Castle, 1878, by Julia Cohen [MS 363 A3006/3/5/4 page 45 number 2]

View from Cricceth Castle, 1878, by Julia Matilda Cohen [MS 363 A3006/3/5/4 page 45 number 2]

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Son of Southampton, Father of English Hymnology

On the 17th July, 1861 – the anniversary of his birth – a crowd gathered in a Southampton park to witness the inauguration of the statue of Isaac Watts, one of the town’s most famous sons. Financed by public subscription, the statue was the work of Richard Cockle Lucas, the eccentric sculptor of Chilworth and depicted Watts facing towards the town in the attitude of a preacher, with basso- relievos on the sides of the pedestal recording his activities as teacher, philosopher and poet.

The statue of Isaac Watts in Richard Cockle Lucas’ studio (Rare Books Cope 73 LUC)

The events of the day are recorded in the Cope Collection’s copy of Memorials, Historical, Descriptive, Poetical & Pictorial, Commemorative of the Inauguration of the Statue to Dr Isaac Watts in the Western Park, Southampton (1861), which also noted that the area around the statue would in future be known as Watts’ Park. A procession which began at 2 o’clock was followed by poetry readings, hymn singing and an inaugural address given by the Earl of Shaftesbury, the proceedings being concluded by a soirée at the Royal Victoria Rooms at which ‘a large assemblage of persons of all ranks, parties and denominations’ enjoyed refreshments at moderate charges.

Memorials … Commemorative of the Inauguration of the Statue to Dr Isaac Watts (1861) [Rare Books Cope SOU 96 WAT]

Born into a nonconformist family in 1674, Isaac Watts was educated at the free grammar school until the age of sixteen when he left Southampton to attend the dissenting academy at Stoke Newington. His life as an Independent minister was greatly influenced by these early years during which his father, also named Isaac, was imprisoned for his beliefs and was, for two years, forced to live away from the family. Two Bibles which belonged to the Watts family at this time are now in the University Archives, the family Bible which belonged to Isaac Watts senior which records his marriage to Sarah Taunton and the birth of their children, and a smaller pocket Bible, passed from father to son, in which the younger Isaac added his own contemplations and acrostic petitions.

An acrostic by Isaac Watts in his copy of the Bible [MS 52]

Southampton also played a part in Isaac Watts’ career as a hymn-writer. It was on a lengthy visit after he had finished his education, that he began composing many of the hymns for which he became famous. The story was told that after accompanying his father to a service at the Above Bar Independent Church, he complained about the quality of the hymns (the texts, not necessarily the singing) and was told to mend the matter himself. This he did and in 1707 published his Hymns and Spiritual Songs. In 1719 The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament followed, in which Watts interpreted the Psalms in a way which reflected Christian worship. The town has also been suggested as the inspiration for some of the lines in Watts’ hymns, particularly those in ‘There is a land of pure delight’.

Memorials … Commemorative of the Inauguration of the Statue to Dr Isaac Watts (1861) [Rare Books Cope SOU 96 WAT]

Today the links between Isaac Watts and Southampton are clear to both see and hear as the tune ‘St Anne’, commonly used for one of his best known hymns, ‘Oh God our help in ages past’ (a paraphrase of Psalm 90), rings out from the Civic Centre clock tower overlooking Watts’ Statue in the centre of Watts’ Park.