Monthly Archives: March 2015

The road to Waterloo: Week 5 (23 – 29 Mar 2015)

Members of the Seventh Coalition unite against Napoleon
In the space of just three weeks, Napoleon had completed a triumphant return to Paris and was once again Emperor of the French. He moved swiftly to form a government and to re-constitute the French army.

85 days to Waterloo

At Vienna, Wellington held urgent conferences with the Allied powers to hammer out a military response, while the Allied armies – which had been dispersing – began to rapidly regroup. The Treaty of Vienna was finally agreed on 25 March. Wellington wrote to Lord Castlereagh: “I found it much more difficult than I imagined when I wrote my dispatch… to conclude a treaty with the Allies on the plan of the treaty of Chaumont, which work I have completed only this night” [printed in WD, xii, p. 278-9.]

The treaty bound all parties not to lay down arms until Napoleon had been completely defeated; thus it ended Napoleon’s hopes for a negotiated peace. It committed Austria, Russia, Great Britain and Prussia to putting 150,000 troops in the field, of which not less than 10% were to be cavalry, along with a suitable proportion of artillery. A separate article allowed Great Britain to use subsidies to pay for soldiers provided by the other powers, to make up her contingent. In addition, the Kings of France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, the Low Countries, Sardinia, Barvaria, Hanover, and Wurtemberg, were invited to accede to the treaty.

The following is a translation, from the French, of Article 1 of the treaty:

“The high contracting parties above mentioned, solemnly engage to unite the resources of their respective states for the purpose of maintaining entire the conditions of the treaty of peace concluded at Paris the 30th of May 1814; as also, the stipulations determined upon and signed at the Congress of Vienna, with the view to complete the disposition of that treaty, to preserve them against all infringement, and particularly against the designs of Napoleon Buonaparte. For this purpose they engage, in the spirit of the Declaration of the 13th March last, to direct in common, and with one accord, should the case require it, all their efforts against him, and against all those who should already have joined his faction, or shall hereafter join it, in order to force him to desist from his projects, and to render him unable to disturb in future the tranquillity of Europe, and the general peace under the protection of which the rights, the liberty and independence of nations had been recently placed and secured.”

[The original text is printed in WD, xii, pp. 282-3: blanks have been filled in from ‘Papers presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, April 25, 1815’, a copy of which is in University of Southampton Library, MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/492/7.]

Everyone at Vienna wished Wellington to take command of the Allied forces. On the 28th March 2015, Lord Bathurst sent Wellington his commission, signed by the Prince Regent, as commander of the British forces serving on the continent of Europe [WP1/452/43].  The following morning he left Vienna for the Low Countries. The scene was set for battle.

The road to Waterloo: Week 4 (16 – 22 Mar 2015)

Napoleon arrives in Paris
When news first reached the allies of Napoleon’s escape from Elba and his landing in France, the British government confirmed its support for Louis XVIII. The allies hoped that Louis and the French government would be able to deal with the situation on their own, but it became apparent that this might not be the case.


Napoleon’s progress through France was rapid and seemingly effortless. His charisma and the connection which many of his former soldiers felt for him was sufficient to persuade them to support him. Even Marshal Ney, who had sworn an oath of allegiance to Louis XVIII, proved that he was not immune to his former commander’s charms and, instead of arresting Napoleon, switched sides. Napoleon’s progress north became a series of triumphal entries into towns and cities, acquiring ever increasing forces. By 9 March, when he reached Lyons to find it had risen against the Bourbons, his supporters had grown to some 12,000.

A little after midnight on 20 March, having realised that he could not resist Napoleon’s forces, Louis XVIII fled Paris. On the evening of that same day Napoleon entered the capital in triumph. In an act of great political drama he eschewed pomp and ceremony and gave a speech directly to the people.

Le Moniteur noted that “The King and princes left in the night. H.M. the Emperor arrived this evening at 8 o’clock in his palace of the Tuileries at the head of the same troops which had been sent to block his route this morning.”

Louis XVIII now had to look to the allies to provide assistance to regain power in France, as Sir Charles Stuart set out in a letter to the Duke of Wellington of 25 March:

“The intelligence they have received [from Paris] has … induced the King to send full powers to his plenipotentiaries authorising their immediate and unqualified accession to every measure which the other members of the Alliance … and as Buonaparte’s arrival at Paris has now … decided the question, they are at the same time directed to learn … the extent of means which the allies are determined to bring forward to the re-establishment of a government in France which may be compatible with the tranquillity of Europe …”

MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/452/31

Tour of the exhibition ‘Music hath Charms’: the musical life of the University

To mark the final week of the current exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery, we take a brief tour of the gallery and explore the musical life of the University!

On entering the gallery, the first case introduces us to music as an academic discipline, and includes a score for “Sleep, my little one!” by George Leake, who became the first Professor of Music in 1920 and saw the department given faculty status in 1924. Across from this we find a score commemorating the battle of Waterloo, which not only represents the select range of special collections relating to music held by the University, but also ties in with one of the University’s most prominent manuscript collections, the Wellington Papers! A selection of other material in the case reflects student engagement with music, including photographs of master classes for music students using the Turner Sims Concert Hall.

Score for Beethoven’s Symphony no.9 with annotations by Mahler - MS 22 (M 302.B4): 73-032425

Score for Beethoven’s Symphony no.9 with annotations by Mahler – MS 22 (M 302.B4): 73-032425

Moving on to the second case we are introduced to what is probably the most significant of the music manuscript collections held by the University, the conducting scores of Gustav Mahler. As is noted in the exhibition catalogue, like many conductors of his era, Mahler made alterations to scores in his repertoire, with the scores on display bearing his annotations made in the process of conducting, as with the Beethoven scores, or whilst reworking his own compositions.

Next we move on to one of the real standout features of the exhibition in the form of a series of beautifully shot black and white photographs by John Garfield on display in case three. The case extends along the back wall of the gallery with the photographs showcasing a range of performances at the Turner Sims Concert Hall from the past two decades.

Photograph of the Southampton University Operatic Society’s production of The Mikado, 3-6 February 1960 - MS 1 UNI/7/198/1

Photograph of the Southampton University Operatic Society’s production of The Mikado, 3-6 February 1960 – MS 1 UNI/7/198/1

Case four then draws us into the world of light opera and, in particular, the world of Gilbert and Sullivan! The photographs and pamphlets on display are drawn from performances by three operatic societies, the Choral and Orchestral Society (from the 1930s); the Southampton University Operatic Society (from the 1960s); and the Southampton Operatic Society (from the 1970s and 1980s). Moving around to the opposite side of the case, we find a range of college songs and student song books associated with the University during its previous incarnations as Hartley University College (1902-14) and University College Southampton (1914-52). The songs are primarily light heart compositions reflecting aspects of student life at the University, with a number of transcriptions available in the exhibition catalogue.

The final part of the exhibition focuses on the vibrant music scene at the University from the 1950s to the 1970s, specifically in the form of jazz and rock. Case five, together with an accompanying screen display, provides a series of articles and reviews from a range of student publications covering this golden era of live music.  While the early 1960s saw the Southampton University Jazz Club emerge as the University’s biggest student society, largely thanks to weekly live sessions, both the 1960s and 1970s brought a range of performances by the likes of Manfred Mann, T-Rex, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart and Led Zepplin. A particularly fun feature of this part of the exhibition is the audio recording accompanying the screen display, which provides the opportunity to listen to recordings by the University’s own jazz bands, Group One and Apex Jazzmen, originally recorded in 1960.

The areas covered in the exhibition only provide snapshots of the dynamic musical life of the University. Equally, the exhibition only provides a glimpse of the range of music related resources held by the Special Collections Division which consist not only of music sheets and scores, but also material relating to the history of music, the University’s music societies, acoustics and architecture, and cantorial music.

The exhibition runs until Friday 20 March, with a special opening on Saturday 21 March 12pm-4pm, in conjunction with Beethovathon at the Turner Sims Concert Hall.

The road to Waterloo: Week 3 (9 – 15 Mar 2015)

Napoleon is declared an outlaw
Late on Saturday night, 11 March 1815, the news that  Napoleon had landed in France reached the Congress of Vienna. Two days later, on Monday 13, the eight powers there assembled signed a declaration naming Napoleon as an outlaw.


Their statement formally declared that Napoleon’s invasion of France was an illegal act which voided the Treaty of Fontainebleau; signed following his defeat in 1814 this had stripped Napoleon of his powers as ruler of the French Empire and established the island of Elba, where he was exiled, as a separate principality to be ruled by him.

The powers now declared their support for Louis XVIII, the French King, and offered their assistance to resist the attack upon him.

The ‘declaration of outlawry’ exists in several drafts, with the paragraphs in a slightly different order. The text given here is an extract from a translation of the one that was sent to Paris on 14 March 1815, to Sir Henry Hardinge, to be published there.

“By thus breaking the convention which established him on the island of Elba, Bonaparte has destroyed the only legal title on which his existence depended. By reappearing in France, with ambitions for disorder and upheaval, he has deprived himself of the protection of the law and has demonstrated, in the face of universe, that there can be neither peace nor truce with him. […] The Powers declare that, as a result, Napoleon Bonaparte has placed himself beyond the pale of civil and social relations, and that, as an enemy and disturber of the peace of the world, he has rendered himself liable to public vengeance.”

[Translated from the French, printed in WD, xii, pp. 269-70]

The road to Waterloo: Week 2 (2 – 8 Mar 2015)

News of Napoleon’s landing reaches Paris
Having slipped away from the island of Elba on 26 February 1815, Napoleon, together with some 1,000 men, landed in the south of France, between Cannes and Fréjus, on the 1 March.


News of his landing reached King Louis XIII in Paris on 5 March. Marshal Soult, the French Minister of War, advised the King that the 60,000 troops already stationed in the south would be sufficient to deal with Napoleon, with 120,000 reservists available to be called up and stationed south of Paris if required. Meanwhile, Marshal Ney left Paris with 6,000 men, promising to bring Napoleon back in an “iron cage”.

As Napoleon marched inland the number of his followers grew, with soldiers sent to arrest him instead joining his cause. At Laffrey, on 7 March, he was confronted by a battalion of the nominally royalist 5th Regiment. After a brief moment of tension (in which Napoleon is alleged to have called out “Soldiers of the 5th, will you fire on your Emperor?”) the soldiers began to cheer him as a hero. Arriving at Grenoble that evening, the inhabitants demanded the gates be opened to the Bonapartists, with the garrison of the city adding yet more numbers to his growing force.

In an accompanying dispatch sent to Lord Castlereagh, the British Foreign Secretary, on 12 March 1815, Wellington affirms his view that Napoleon’s forces will be unable to hold out against the united efforts of the allied sovereigns of Europe:

“It is my opinion that Bonaparte has acted upon false or no information, and that the King will destroy him without difficulty, and in a short time. If he does not, the affair will be a serious one, and a great and immediate effort must be made, which will doubtless be successful.”

MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/453/8

Happy Birthday Nuffield Theatre!!

Southampton University’s Nuffield Theatre was officially opened on March 2nd 1964 by Dame Sybil Thorndike. The first lady of the English stage, who had spent her childhood in Southampton, quipped that she was “the oldest old girl on the stage of the newest theatre in Britain” and she proudly declared that it was the first theatre in the country to be built as part of a university.

The building of the theatre was made possible following a grant of £130,000 by the Nuffield Foundation. It was designed by Sir Basil Spence OM RA who worked closely with Sir Richard Southern as consultant for the interior design and layout of the theatre – Southern remained to be the first Director of Drama at the University. According to the History of the University of Southampton, by A. Temple Patterson (1962) there was an “eager expectation that the theatre… will become a unifying force between the sciences and the arts by engaging the activities of members of all faculties, and will play an important part in drawing closer the University, the town and the region.”

Picture of the Nuffield exterior from the south; photo by Henk Snoek, University of Southampton Handbook, 1965-66 University Collection LF 786.3

Picture of the Nuffield exterior from the south; photo by Henk Snoek, University of Southampton Handbook, 1965-66 University Collection LF 786.3

The national and local press heralded the opening of Southampton’s “first genuine theatre”– the city had no regular playhouse at that time – so the Nuffield would serve both ‘Town and Gown’. A flexible, multi-purpose venue, it was designed to function as a lecture hall, cinema, concert hall and theatre for both open-stage and proscenium productions. The newspaper reports played up the technical brilliance of the new facilities: the forestage could be raised and lowered in two sections to provide an orchestra pit; and there was an electrically adjustable paint-frame and a cloth cyclorama which, according to The Times, unfurled around the back wall “like a sail being hoisted”; and as for the striking modern exterior: “It rears above them like a two-humped monster – a pair of vertically-seamed copper-clad towers, already known locally as ‘the gas-holder’ and ‘the armadillo’ ”; fortunately, however, “The austerity of the interior is relieved by purple carpeting, bright purple seats, and a magenta curtain” (The Times, 6 January 1964).

The early theatre programmes were equally bold to chime with this startling ‘60s colour scheme:

Nuffield Theatre Autumn Season 1964 programme cover MS 291 A3096/2

Nuffield Theatre Autumn Season 1964 programme cover MS 291 A3096/2

Nuffield Theatre The Caretaker, programme 12-13 June 1964

Nuffield Theatre The Caretaker, programme 12-13 June 1964

The first play to be performed at the theatre was certainly traditional: the nation was celebrating Shakespeare’s quarter-centenary and so it was fitting that a professional company from Salisbury Playhouse opened both the new theatre, and the Southampton Arts Festival, with performances of Twelfth Night. Reviews were mixed but the future was clearly bright for the Nuffield.