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:

passport-full

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.

To be beside the seaside…

Bournemouth pier approach and promenade, 1895 Cope BOU 91.5 EAS ph 563

Bournemouth pier approach and promenade, 1895 Cope BOU 91.5 EAS ph 563

The British have a nostalgic love for the “traditional” seaside summer holiday, with its images of building sandcastles, donkey rides and ice cream, together with the stroll along the promenade and the sound of the brass band mentioned in the popular Edwardian musical hall song I do like to be beside the seaside. Most of these attributes associated with a seaside visit can be traced to the Victorian period, for it was in the 1860s and 1870s that the development of English and Welsh seaside resorts, including Blackpool, Llandudno and Brighton, began on a grand scale. The expansion of the railways by the latter half of the nineteenth century allowed speedy travel to the seaside. The 1871 Bank Holidays Act, introduced by the Liberal MP John Lubbock, provided working class with leisure time in which to take a day trip to the seaside. August bank holiday, one of the days officially designated by the Act, became a popular holiday from the mid-1870s onwards.

Day trip excursion train

Day trip excursion train

Victorian seaside attractions included not only a fashionable promenade on which to stroll, bands, entertainments such as Punch and Judy shows, but a pier without which no seaside town was complete. The importance of the pier is illustrated by Bournemouth, where a new pier was constructed in 1878 to meet the demands of growing visitor numbers. Designed by C.E.Birch, this new structure was 838 feet long and 35 feet wide. As the Bright’s Illustrated Guide to Bournemouth (1890) noted “A good pier has long been regarded as an essential to the seaside town… some with little pretension to elegance or comfort, mere promenades and landing stages, others of beautiful design and offering superior accommodation. In this latter class the pier of Bournemouth must be placed.”

Bournemouth looking east, showing the pier, 1895 Cope BOU 91.5 WES ph 564

Bournemouth looking east, showing the pier, 1895 Cope BOU 91.5 WES ph 564

Visitors’ guides produced to publicise resorts to the growing holiday market focused not just on the facilities and entertainments available, but on the natural merits of the area and the simple pleasures of strolling along the beach, bathing and building sandcastles. Bournemouth boasted of its “extensive shore consisting of a clean, dry sand…. The shore, without hesitation, we pronounce unsurpassed by any pleasure town on our coast….” where “merry groups of children” could be found “digging and delving, building castles of a wonderful design, and altogether enjoying themselves as only children can…”

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert shared with their subjects an appreciation of the seaside. The royal family spent their summer holidays at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, with access to a private beach. Indeed, the beach at Osborne Bay was reputedly one of the main reasons the royal couple purchased the house. “We drove down to the seashore and remained there for an hour playing with the children who were so happy”, Queen Victoria noted in her journal in 1846.

Bathing machines

Bathing machines

It is still possible to visit Queen Victoria’s beach at Osborne House. You can view Queen Victoria’s bathing machine and the area where the royal children learned to swim. And during August there are Victorian seaside activities, including a traditional Punch and Judy show, available on the beach: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/osborne/

And we wish everyone visiting the seaside a most glorious time…

Israel Zangwill: the “Dickens of the Ghetto”

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the death of Israel Zangwill. He was a British author at the forefront of cultural Zionism during the nineteenth century. Born in London in 1864 to Jewish immigrants, Zangwill was educated at the Jews’ Free School where he later became a teacher. He produced numerous poems, plays and novels including The Children of the Ghetto: a Study of a Peculiar People (1892) and The King of Schnorrers (1894). His play, The Melting Pot (1908) about a Russian-Jewish immigrant family, popularised this metaphor used to describe American absorption of immigrants and his work earned him the nickname the “Dickens of the Ghetto”.

Israel Zangwill

Israel Zangwill [MS 295 A1018/5]

Correspondence from the collection MS 116/52 Papers relating to Israel Zangwill indicated the circles Zangwill moved in. For example, in January 1894 he wrote to the author and poet Richard Le Gallienne:

I have hesitated to ask you to come up all this way but have decided to give you the option. To-morrow night (Tuesday) from 8.30 interesting men will be dropping in to smoke and talk. The notice is short because the thing is informal. There will be several “Waterloo” men.   [MS 116/52 AJ208/1]

In 1898, he corresponded with Walter Bliss of the American Publishing Company to thank him for sending a copy of Mark Twain’s book: “I hope it will be a big success. Mark is a fine old fellow.”  [MS 116/52 AJ209/5]

Zangwillpostcard

Postcard from Israel Zangwill, Florence, to his mother, Ellen Hannah Zangwill, St John’s Wood, 7 May 1901 [MS 295 A1018/1/2]

We also hold a collection of postcards [part of MS 295 Papers of Louis and Israel Zangwill], many sent by Israel and his brother Louis to their mother while they were on a tour of Europe. Israel was 37 and already a successful author and lecturer.  The text, difficult to decipher in the image, recounts how Zangwill has inadvertently switched hats following a haircut:

I have just discovered I changed hats with somebody in Rome: as good or better but of different shape. I didn’t notice it, perhaps through having my hair cut, so I expected to look different. They wanted 1 franc for Mark’s shampoo, so I had a row and wouldn’t pay it. They always give in. [MS 295 A1018/1/2]

Harry Ward, secretary to the Golders Green Synagogue, was a founding member and honorary secretary of the Israel Zangwill Fellowship. He spent 60 years collecting a vast library of Zangwilliana, now in the University’s Special Collections [MS 294]. Collected over Ward’s lifetime, the material includes Zangwill correspondence – for example with his lecture agent, Gerald Christy, 1895-1906 – as well as Ward’s own correspondence and research papers.  Ward’s comprehensive collection of books by Zangwill, or in which he is mentioned, was added to the Parkes Library.

Israel Zangwill

Israel Zangwill

Zangwill was a founder of the Jewish Territorial Organisation (ITO).  This group of Zionists wanted to find an alternative to Israel for the creation of a Jewish homeland.  In 1906, Zangwill wrote to Carl Stettaeur seeking support for the organisation. Stettauer had visited Russia the previous year to arrange relief work following the pogroms:

At most you can say that your desire to identify yourself with other causes prevents you identifying yourself with the practical work of our Organisation, but what prevents you from paying 1/- a year as a passive member to produce an effect, however distant, that cannot possibly be other than beneficial?   [MS 128 AJ22/F4]

Another smaller collection of papers is that of Ruth Phillips, secretary to Lucien Wolf and Israel Zangwill [MS 116/5].

Zangwill died in 1926 in Midhurst, West Sussex.  In celebration of his life, the Jewish Museum, London has created Zangwill’s Spitalfields, an audio-visual walking tour of the historic Spitalfields area of London’s East End.

Glorying in football

While memories of Euro 2016 start to fade away, the memory of one past English footballing triumph still remains fresh. For on this day in 1966, England won football’s World Cup for the first time since the tournament had begun in 1930. Captained by Bobby Moore, who was described by manager Alf Ramsey as the “spirit and heartbeat” of the squad, England defeated their opponents, West Germany, 4-2. They played in front of a crowd of over 93,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium, London, including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and a much larger TV audience. The then unconventional attacking formation adopted by the team earned them the name of the “wingless wonders”. But the match is particularly remembered for Geoff Hurst’s third goal in the final moments of extra time, making him the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.

Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet trophy.

Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet trophy.

Football has been a part of the sporting landscape of student life at the University since around the turn of the twentieth century. Activities in the early days of the University’s Football Club were on a modest and local scale. Home matches were mainly played at the Shirley Ground: “the great events” as the 1904/5 Students’ Handbook notes, “the intercollegiate matches when we play Winchester and Reading…”  The emphasis of the Football Club of 1900s was on “healthy recreation and vigorous exercise for men students” rather than on sporting prowess. And while it had no problem in attracting sufficient members to field at least two men’s teams, it was less successful in attracting spectators for matches.  “The lack of support which both teams have met with from their fellow students in the past has been deplorable.  It is to be hoped that all Freshmen will feel it their duty to turn out to every match that is played this session, and cheer their College to victory.”  [1905/5 Students’ Handbook]

First football team, c.1900 [Univ Photo Collection LF 781]

First football team, c.1900 [Univ Photo Collection LF 781]

Today the world of college football is a very different one, both in terms of character and organisation. There exist both men’s and women’s teams that compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sport South East Conference as well as competitions overseas. The BUCS football programme has become one of the largest that the organisation runs, with over 450 men’s and 150 women’s teams across 100 leagues. Both the men’s and women’s teams have enjoyed a certain success in the competition with the men’s team topping the Western 2A championship in 2015/16 and the women’s team triumphing in the Women’s 2A Western Conference in 2008/9, after being runners up in 2006/7 and 2007/8.

And so we wish everyone who holds football dear continued enjoyment in “the beautiful game”.

For further information on the men’s team go to:
https://www.facebook.com/Southampton-University-Football-Club-146781968689990/

For the women’s team try:
https://www.facebook.com/SULFC1/

The Cope Handbills

The Cope Handbills are a wonderfully rich collection of over three hundred items, over two large volumes, of political flyers, public notices, newspaper reports and other printed ephemera produced predominantly in Southampton. They cover a sixty year period, from the last quarter of the eighteenth century into the early years of the nineteenth.

Beginning with a newspaper report of November 1776 from the Hampshire Chronicle, relating the victory of King George III’s troops at New York, the items continue through to the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars until the passage of the Great Reform Act of 1832, with a smaller number of items from the later years of the nineteenth century also.

The Handbills form part of the wider Cope Collection cared for by the Special Collections team at the Hartley Library. The Rev Sir William Cope (1811-92), twelfth Baronet, of Bramshill, Hampshire served in the Rifle Brigade before purchasing his discharge in 1839 to become ordained as a priest. He was a minor canon of Westminster Abbey from 1842 until 1852 and chaplain of Westminster Hospital from 1843 to 1851. In 1851 he succeeded to the baronetcy, and at Bramshill developed an interest in the local area, writing on matters of local interest, e.g. A Glossary of Hampshire Words and Phrases (1883) and establishing his ‘Hampshire Collection’. Cope died in 1892, having bequeathed the collection to the Hartley Institution, a forerunner of the University of Southampton. The handbills shine a light onto the momentous political and social developments of a world that was changing rapidly for Southampton’s inhabitants, bringing out the contrasting worldviews which informed the intellectual debates and shaped the larger developments that defined the era.

The increasing power of the state is evident in the notices on the new income tax, first introduced in 1799 (amidst ferocious opposition from some quarters), by Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger as a temporary measure to fund the war with France; the Income Tax was the first tax in British history to be levied directly on people’s earnings. The War with France itself features prominently in the hand bills, with impassioned polemics both in favor of (Item 66, Vol. 1) and in opposition to (Item 60, Vol. 1) the prosecution of the war:

Item 66 (Vol. 1) – A call to arms supporting the war with France

Item 66 (Vol. 1) – A call to arms supporting the war with France

Inside the volumes we find numerous campaign flyers which reveal the maneuverings and diatribes of local politicians on issues ranging from Catholic emancipation to slavery; these underscore how politics was becoming an increasingly visible concern for Sotonians. At the beginning of the era the political life of the town was largely dominated by the Corporation of Southampton, which vacillated between Tory and Whig influences and had the power to sway general elections and send MPs of its choosing to Westminster. MPs were usually country gentlemen from neighbouring counties and of recent commercial or professional success. It was also common, from the 1740s onwards, for MPs to hold West Indian connections or property; slavery becoming a burning issue for some Sotonians in the early 19th century. A petition favouring moderate reform of the slaves’ conditions to prepare them for ultimate emancipation was signed by 1,353 residents of Southampton and presented to Parliament in 1828. A few years earlier in January 1824 a petition to Parliament was requisitioned by William Chamberlayne MP, calling for the abolition of slavery altogether. It was widely supported in nonconformist circles but was strongly opposed by some Anglicans:

Item 77 (Vol. 2) – Anti-slavery polemic

Item 77 (Vol. 2) – Anti-slavery polemic

But the handbills also allow us a glimpse into the more mundane realities of the everyday cultural lives of Sotonians. Alongside the items covering the more serious political and social issues of the day we find flyers for a range of entertainments including fencing demonstrations, scientific and educational lectures, musical performances and exhibitions of a ‘celebrated Irish Giant’ and a lady only thirty inches in stature of ‘lively wit and agreeable conversation’. We also see commercial advertisements for all manner of goods and services from fashionable dresses and hats to book-sales, lotteries, coach travel services to London and Bristol as well as dubious medicinal cures and treatments, including some for electrical therapy and ‘earth-bathing’:

Item 172 (Vol. 1) – Advertisement for a public demonstration of ‘earth-bathing’ by Doctor Graham

Item 172 (Vol. 1) – Advertisement for a public demonstration of ‘earth-bathing’ by Doctor Graham

Intermixed with all these items we find: satirical cartoons; religious and moral tracts; notices of local voluntary militias and military procedures and rules; the bulletins of various reading, archery and dining clubs and public notices proscribing fireworks, rioting and the disruption of church services, as well as notices on everything from public improvements to bank robberies and poor relief.

Taken together, the handbills allow us to build a picture of how the lives of Sotonians changed between 1770 and 1830. By the time of the Great Reform Act of 1832, which was celebrated in Southampton by a festival (Item 141 – Vol. 1) and which had been championed by the Whig faction in Parliament, the era of social and political reform had truly come of age. In 1835 the Whigs also passed the Municipal Reform Act; this broke the power of many town corporations, including Southampton’s, which were deemed undemocratic, inept and unresponsive to the needs of the rapidly changing urban communities they served. Southampton’s corporation, whilst not as dire as those of other English towns, was nonetheless found by the government’s commission of enquiry to be inadequate: “…it is evident that the whole power of the Corporation is in the hands of a few persons…”[1] The Radical William Lankester, although admitting no malpractice on the part of the Southampton Corporation, did complain that the Corporation was apathetic towards improvement, citing a lack of the following: “a new jail should have been built, or a hospital endowed, or schools established, or an efficient police set up, or marshes and ditches drained.”[2]

The decline of the town corporation’s influence was concomitant with the rise of movements and new organisations in Southampton which sought to improve and reform almost everything before them. We see this very clearly in the items establishing new gas lighting for the town (Item 138, Vol. 1); new educational initiatives to improve the lot of the poor in the rapidly expanding suburb of St. Mary’s (Item 143, Vol. 1) and local petitions for the reform of capital punishment (Item 130, Vol. 1).

Simultaneous with this new drive for social and political reform, which transformed the intellectual and moral landscape of the country, we see the continuing rise of commerce, industry and the new forms of transportation which were rapidly altering the physical landscape of the town. This is reflected in handbills concerning everything from the trade in wine and ales (Item 2 Vol. 2), the malpractice of butchers at Lymington (Item 25, Vol. 1) to plans for a new canal linking Southampton to Salisbury (Item 22, Vol. 1) and the jubilant newspaper reports on the arrival in Southampton of Queen Victoria via the new railway in 1843 (Item 108, Vol. 2).

The individual handbills are listed in PDF files which can be downloaded from the Cope Collection LibGuide at:
http://library.soton.ac.uk/c.php?g=131329&p=3368707

Sources

[1] A History of Southampton 1700-1914, Vol. 1: An Oligarchy in Decline by A. Temple Patterson, Southampton University Press, 1966, pp. 176-77

[2] Ibid.

The Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War began on 17 July 1936 when rebel Nationalists led a military uprising against the Popular Front government, a coalition of left wing parties which had been elected earlier in the year.

The Popular Front aimed to continue the reforms which had begun with the establishment of the Spanish Second Republic in 1931. With the ambitious agenda of eliminating deeply-rooted social inequalities, the republican programme encompassed land and education reform, improved rights for women, restructuring the army, and granting autonomy to Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Photograph of a tiled wall in Guernica showing Picasso’s painting, originally produced in response to the bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War

Photograph of a tiled wall in Guernica showing Picasso’s painting, originally produced in response to the bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War

Threatened by these far-reaching changes, diverse political groups rallied together in the so called ‘two Spains’, determined to annihilate each other. The government was supported by workers, a large number of the educated middle class, militant anarchists and communists. In contrast, the Nationalists were supported by landowners, conservative elements in the clergy and military, and the fascist Falange. While government forces successfully quelled the uprising in most regions, the Nationalists continued to control parts of North West and South West Spain, naming General Francisco Franco the head of state.

Britain was among the 27 countries to sign a Non-Intervention Agreement. Despite this, hundreds of Britons, many of them communists, went to fight against the fascists in Spain. In a letter from Professor Dan Pedro to Professor H.Brian Griffiths, Department of Mathematics, University of Southampton, dated 15 Jun 1981, he mentions David Hadden Guest, a former student of the University who was killed fighting in the war:

‘We heard that he was leaving us, and when I enquired whether it was an educational venture, he replied, with a mysterious little smile: “Yes! I suppose that you could say it was educational!” Only when I heard that he was killed fighting against Franco did I understand this remark.’ [MS88/11]

With Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy helping the Nationalists, Communist Russia the Republicans, and Chamberlain’s Britain leading a policy of appeasement amongst Western democratic nations, the war was to last three bloody years. In this bitter conflict, there was a third Spain, which did not want to take up arms, but to live in peace. War, hunger, revolution, counter-revolution, denunciations, persecution, summary trials and executions, and mass repression often resulted in the disintegration of family and community life, desolating a country and forcing thousands of its people into exile.

On 26 April 1937, General Franco, with the support of the German Condor Legion, attacked Guernica and Durango, one of the first bombings of a civilian population in Europe. In April/May 1937, the Basque government and the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief, co-ordinating relief in the UK, organised an evacuation of children from the north front of the war zone. No public funds were made available for the expedition, nor for the care of the children in the UK. Their maintenance was provided for entirely by private funds and those raised by voluntary groups and organisations.

The Habana with children on board [MS 404 A4164/7/1/1]

The Habana with children on board [MS 404 A4164/7/1/1]

Approximately 4,000 children, known as the niños vascos, came to Southampton in May 1937 by boat from Santurce, the port of Bilbao, fleeing the conflict. They were part of a movement which saw more than 30,000 children leave the war zone, dispersed to countries across Europe and overseas.

During the course of the following year the Nationalists continued to gain territory. By April 1938 they reached the Mediterranean and succeeding in splitting the republic in two. This resulted in 250,000 Republican soldiers, together with a comparable number of civilians, fleeing into France. In March 1939 the Republican government was forced into exile. As the remaining Republican forces surrendered, Madrid finally fell to the Nationalists on 28 March. The aftermath of the war saw the establishment of a dictatorship led by General Franco that lasted almost until his death in 1975.

The Special Collections holds archives for the Basque Children of ‘37 Association UK (MS 404), together with small collections relating to Basque child refugees (MS 370) that have come from individuals. Further details on the collection can be found on our website at:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/resources/basquecollections.page

There are also a series of interviews of the niños vascos conducted as part of an oral history project undertaken by the University of Southampton:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/projects/losninos.page

Next year commemorations will be taking place to mark the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the niños in the UK. Further information can be found on the website of the Basque Children of ‘37 Association UK:
http://www.basquechildren.org/

Evelyn Ashley in America

As it is the Fourth of July we have decided to take a look at Evelyn Ashley’s tour of the United States from 1858 to 1859…

(Anthony) Evelyn Melbourne Ashley (1836–1907) was the fourth son of Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh earl of Shaftesbury (1801–1885), and his wife, Emily (1810–1872). He was born in London on 24 July 1836 and was later educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge. After his graduation in 1858, he became private secretary to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, then in his first term as prime minister. After the defeat of the government in the same year, Ashley toured the United States and Canada from June 1858 to [May] 1859 with Lord Frederick Cavendish and Lord Richard Grosvenor.

Portrait of Evelyn Ashely [Broadlands Archives MB2/H1]

Portrait of Evelyn Ashely [Broadlands Archives MB2/H1]

Among his papers, which now form part of the Broadlands archives, are a range of items relating to his travels in the United States. These include correspondence (BR61 and BR62), photographs (MB2/H1), a series of notebooks and journals (BR68), and three notebooks containing a lecture given by Ashley reflecting on his time in North America (BR60/6/3).

Black and white engraving of a scene entitled ‘Philadelphia’ from a letter from Evelyn Ashley to his sister Lady Victoria Ashley, 1 February 1859 [Broadlands Archives BR60/1/7]

Black and white engraving of a scene entitled ‘Philadelphia’ from a letter from Evelyn Ashley to his sister Lady Victoria Ashley, 1 February 1859 [Broadlands Archives BR60/1/7]

During his travels he visited many of the major American cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Washington. The above engraving of Philadelphia is from a letter written to his sister Lady Victoria Ashley, on 1 February 1859, of which he writes:

I beg leave by means of the engraving above to introduce you to the city of ‘Brotherly Love’ and if by ‘brethren’ is also meant ‘cousins’, transatlantic or others, it assuredly deserves its name for I was received into a family and lived with them a whole week, besides being most hospitably entertained everywhere… In other respects also this city deserves its name for in charitable and philanthropic institutions it is prominent. The large building with columns is the Girard College – Stephen Girard was an eccentric old French bachelor who by unremitting industry made a prodigious fortune and when dying about 30 years ago left the whole of it to found and maintain this institution where 300 orphans and boys are brought up and educated in a course of five years residence the whole entirely gratuitous and it is a noble institution and he has buried himself in the centre of the building surrounded by proofs of his not having lived and laboured in vain… [Broadlands Archives BR60/1/7]

 While he describes Baltimore as a ‘cheery bright city’, he views Washington as a ‘most curious rambling place’, writing:

Tell Papa that I presented my letter of introduction which he gave me to the President and that I dine on Friday in consequence at the White House where once a week takes place one of these large political gatherings called by the natives ‘steamboat dinners’, as the size and miscellaneous character of the guests is only parallelled by the meals on the Mississippi Steamers… [Broadlands Archives BR60/1/7]

New Orleans, 1858 [Broadlands Archives MB2/H1]

New Orleans, 1858 [Broadlands Archives MB2/H1]

During his travels in Illinois he visited Chicago and was witness to one of the famous Lincoln–Douglas debates of 1858. He describes the scene as follows:

We attended one gathering; it was remarkable. A rough platform had been raise in the middle of a wood, all around were farmers’ carts and gigs; the horses unyoked and browsing at a distance. These had come from far to hear and judge for themselves of the merits of the rival candidates. Every bough of each overhanging tree had its occupant […] I took my seat at the back of the raised structure by the side of an American friend of mine, who introduced me to one of the champions as he stepped up to the cleared space in front, leaving the procession at the head of which he had arrived. That friend was General McClellan, since that time G[eneral] in Chief of the American Army; that champion was Abraham Lincoln, then a small unknown prairie farmer, now President of the U.S. [Broadlands Archives BR60/6/3]

On the nature of the debate he observes:

The politics of America are very elaborate and it was wonderful to see how all the points were caught. But they do not cheer like we do, but howl their approbation. It was like a pack of hounds waiting for their quarry to be thrown to them to devour in the shape of a telling hit or smart repartee. [Broadlands Archives BR60/6/3]

However, his view of Lincoln is somewhat less favourable:

Tall and lank with a suit of black cloth very grey from dust, a slouched hat and large awkward feet and hands he did not come up to my idea of a “leader of men”. [Broadlands Archives BR60/6/3]

Evelyn Ashley’s guide in the States [Broadlands Archives MB2/H1]

Evelyn Ashley’s guide in the States [Broadlands Archives MB2/H1]

In October 1858 his party struck out towards the prairies and plains of the North West, travelling through Minnesota and modern day North Dakota. In a letter to his brother Anthony, dated 2 October [1858], Ashley writes from Crow Wing, Minnesota, an Indian trading post, which he describes as ‘the last outpost of civilization in the North West of the American possessions…’ [Broadlands Archives BR60/1/2/4]. While there he meets with the Chippewa Indians and discusses their ongoing conflict with the Sioux. He also provides a description of his party, their supplies and the intended route: travelling first to Pembina and then on to Fort Garry at the Red River settlement of Selkirk, before joining an expedition on the plains to hunt buffalo.

Of the journey to the frontier Ashley writes:

The want of good water was now and then felt, but generally we camped by the side of a well flowing stream. The novelty, the delight of life in the wilds is indescribably fascinating to those who have lived in a settled country. The independence, the excitement of when and where to camp, the new animals, the boisterous health, all these concomitants of a journey to regions yet untamed by man compensate amply for any provisions which are incident to the mode of life. The very small matter of waking up and looking full into the stars above while your companions lie unconscious around you induces in the mind of the novice a succession of most pleasurable emotions. The slight danger of Indians, slight then but from last accounts anything but slight now, increases the zest with which the preparations for each night are completed and stirs up the imagination to people the darkness with fancies. [Broadlands Archives BR60/6/3]

Despite rumours in the newspapers of Ashley’s demise at the hand of the Sioux, the party returned safely from their excursion to the frontier in December 1858. They arrived in Cincinnati in time for New Year’s Day and continued their tour of the States for several more months.

‘President Lincoln delivering his inaugural address in front of the capital at Washington’, Illustrated London News, March 1861 [quarto per A]

‘President Lincoln delivering his inaugural address in front of the capital at Washington’, Illustrated London News, March 1861 [quarto per A]

In June 1859 Palmerston was return to office with Ashley recommencing his role as the Prime Minister’s private secretary, a position he held until Palmerston’s death in 1865. During this time Palmerston oversaw the British response to the American Civil War. Around 1864, while giving a lecture on his American tour, Ashley outlined his own views on the war, which he believed would soon come to an end. Reflecting on the situation he writes:

The Americans have great qualities some inherited from us, some all their own. They are brave, energetic and warm hearted with a real desire for improvement and progress for its own sake. I thanks heaven also that, tho at the 11th hour they have vindicated their love of freedom. I feared for one moment that the sacred flame was flickering which had been handed to them by their ancestors, the great principle for which their forefathers fought and died. [Broadlands Archives BR60/6/3]

As celebrations take place across the United States, we would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Fourth of July!

Celebrating our meadows and grasses

National Meadows Day, which takes place on the first Saturday of July, has become an annual event to celebrate our meadows. There are over 100 events planned across the UK on Saturday 2 July providing the chance to visit meadows and raising awareness of this overlooked habitat. For further information go to:
http://www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk/celebrating-meadows/national-meadows-day

While it is not uncommon to find pressed flowers within the pages of an older book, finding books in which plant specimens were part of the original publication is relatively unusual. The Perkins Agricultural Library is fortunate in having seven such books of dried grasses, ranging in date from 1790 to 1896. The publications resulted from the ongoing drive to improve the quality of pastures in order to support more livestock; farmers needed to be able to identify pasture grasses accurately and for this purpose dried plant specimens were preferred to botanical illustrations.

Only one author mentions in any detail the practical problems involved in producing such a book. In his introduction to Natural Illustrations of the British Grasses (Bath, 1846), which contained sixty-two specimens, Frederick Hanham wrote that 62,000 plants had to be collected and prepared, with half as many again to ensure successful specimens. Not surprisingly he described the undertaking as involving “no slight or ordinary anxiety and exertion”.

Rye-grass or Lolium Perenne in Frederick Hanham Natural Illustrations of the British Grasses (Bath, 1846) Perkins f. SB197

Rye-grass or Lolium Perenne in Frederick Hanham Natural Illustrations of the British Grasses (Bath, 1846) Perkins f. SB197

Broadly similar in aim, the books differ in approach. In John Milne & Sons’ British Farmer’s Plant Portfolio (1896) there are only a few pages of written description, but the grass specimens are superb and well displayed. David Moore in Concise Notices of British Grasses Best Suited to Agriculture (1851) also includes tables of the quantities of seeds of different grasses required for various purposes, whilst Hanham’s Natural Illustrations of the British Grasses (1846) is an altogether different undertaking. As well as describing the plants, he also includes “instructive and appropriate extracts from the best authors”, and hopes that the reader, through nature, may look to nature’s God.

Zig zag clover in John Milne & Sons’ British Farmer’s Plant Portfolio (1896) Perkins f. SB193

Zig zag clover in John Milne & Sons’ British Farmer’s Plant Portfolio (1896) Perkins f. SB193

Hortus Gramineus Woburnensis (1816) by George Sinclair is the only book of the seven to report the results of experiments involving grasses, in this case a comparison of the nutritive qualities of grasses sown on different soils. This lavish folio volume is also unusual in containing dried seeds as well as dried grasses.  In his introduction, Sinclair wrote that the scientific study of grasses had been neglected in favour of other branches of agriculture – exactly the same opinion being expressed by Milne some eighty years later.

We do hope you enjoy taking part in National Meadows Day and perhaps you will participate in events identifying some of the grasses on view in these neglected habitats.

World Refugee Day

Today is #WorldRefugeeDay and the start of @RefugeeWeek.  This UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary.

The University’s Special Collections documents stories of millions of refugees who have sought sanctuary in the UK from Spanish refugees seeking assistance from the first Duke of Wellington after fleeing their country in the 1820s, to those who have been victims of more recent wars.

For example, in 1922 Atlantic Park opened in Eastleigh, at the time one of the biggest transmigratory camps in the world. Its purpose was to bring migrants together in one place, provide them with better conditions and protect them from unscrupulous people. A large proportion of the people at the camp were Ukrainian Jewish refugees.

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Booth in the interior of the hall at Atlantic Park, Eastleigh, with a number of the refugees in residence at the transit camp, 1920s [MS 311/53]

Conditions in the camp, however, were generally far from acceptable and deaths were not infrequent. Due to increasingly strict immigration laws, many refugees remained in the camp for longer than intended, unable to settle in a new, safer home.  A report on condition in the camp can be found in the minutes of the Executive Committee of the Union of Jewish Women. [MS 129/B/6 AJ 26]

The Kindertransport is perhaps one of the more famous humanitarian efforts of the Second World War.  Chief Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld – executive director of the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council from its foundation in 1938 until 1946 – supported children coming to the UK in 1938 and was personally involved in escorting groups of Jewish children from the ghettos in Poland to Great Britain in 1946-7.

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Polish refugees (oldest and youngest) brought to the UK by the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council, c.1946 [MS 183/1006/1]

The archive (MS 183 section F) contains a great deal on the administration and organisation of CRREC’s work in the field of both the rescue and support of refugees, particularly child refugees, 1938-49.  For refugees brought over to Great Britain by the Council, for example, information can be found in the form of photographs, biographical profiles, correspondence and refugee fund assistance cards.  Landing cards and identity cards complement the block passport and other mass travel documents which exist for child refugees who travelled with the Council.

This collection is one of a number of archives relating to Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s – detailing both the work of organisations and providing individual or personal accounts. Other collections include the Polish Jewish Refugee Fund (MS 190); papers of Diana Silberstein, 1936-46, a native of Sarajevo, who came to Britain as a refugee (MS93) and a typescript autobiography of Dr D.Fuerst, a refugee dentist from Nazi Austria (MS116/68).

The world is currently experiencing the largest refugee crisis of recent times and questions surrounding asylum and immigration are more topical than ever.  These stories – some inspiring, other distressing – must serve to provide some lessons from history.  This is undeniably an important part of the history of the United Kingdom which should be preserved and remembered.