Monthly Archives: January 2016

Holocaust education and combatting prejudice

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on 27 January (the date in 1945 that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Soviet troops), is a memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust.

Education on the Holocaust is a compulsory part of the history curriculum in England and there are many educational trusts that do important work teaching keys issues that can be learned about the Holocaust. One such organization is the Anne Frank Educational Trust UK, for which the Special Collections at the University of Southampton holds archives (MS 266).

Letter writing competition, 1994, of letters from school children to Anne Frank: MS 266 A896

Letter writing competition, 1994, of letters from school children to Anne Frank: MS 266 A896

The name of Anne Frank still continues to resonate as a symbol of peace with children across the world and the Educational Trust uses her diaries as a means of challenging prejudice and reducing hatred.

In 1993, during the Bosnian conflict, a letter, translated by their teacher, was sent from pupils of the Os Ivan Goran School, Zenica, 50 kilometres from Sarajevo, to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

“We wait spring… war is here. We wait peace…. Nobody hear us, we are an corner of world. All year we hope…. Our teacher… told us about Anne Frank and her hiding and her life… Our youth is very similar. After fifty years history repetition again in Bosnia – war, hate killing, hiding displacements…

We wait spring… we wait peace, like Anne Frank fifty years before. She didn’t live to see peace, but we…?”

This letter led to an Anne Frank Educational Trust UK Children to Children Appeal Bosnia in conjunction with People newspaper and GMTV. With the aim to encourage British children to send message of support and goodwill to children in Bosnia, the campaign elicited a positive response from schools across the UK, with children learning Serbo-Croat phrases to include in their letters.

The Anne Frank Educational Trust UK currently engages with over 30,000 school children each year as part of their educational programme, as well as running writing competitions and other events enabling these children to learn about aspects of human rights and respect for others.

Southampton will be marking the UK’s national Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) with a commemorative event organised by Southampton Solent University and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton. For further details see:

The accession of King Edward VIII

Eighty years ago this week, the nation mourned the passing of King George V. His death, just before midnight on 20th January 1936, was followed the next day by the proclamation of the accession of King Edward VIII. Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David was born on 23 June 1894, the eldest child of the then Duke and Duchess of York, later George V and Queen Mary. Within the family he was always known as David.

Louis Mountbatten and Edward VIII in the garden at Adsdean, (Mountbatten’s home near Portsmouth) before a royal visit to the city, June 1936 [MB2/L20/1]

Louis Mountbatten and Edward VIII in the garden at Adsdean, (Mountbatten’s home near Portsmouth) before a royal visit to the city, June 1936 [MB2/L20/1]

Edward was a popular Prince of Wales who gained celebrity status in the 1920s. He was charming and colourful – enjoyed nightclubbing, point-to-point racing, and golf – activities which he balanced with many royal and charitable duties. He was highly respected for his work with ex-servicemen’s associations and working men’s clubs in this country. Internationally, he undertook several royal tours which were hugely successful, attracting vast crowds and publicity worldwide. In the spring of 1920 he travelled on HMS Renown to Australia and New Zealand with his young cousin, Louis Mountbatten, who acted as his A.D.C. and companion on the tour.

The scale of the welcome they received on the Prince’s birthday at Sydney was staggering – 8,000 children gathered at the Sydney cricket ground to wish him ‘Many Happy Returns’:

[MB2/N5/104, 23 June 1920]

[MB2/N5/104, 23 June 1920]

The close friendship between the cousins can be traced through many photographs in the Mountbatten collection. Louis accompanied Edward on another royal visit to India and Japan in 1921-2 and shortly after their return, the Prince acted as best man at Mountbatten’s wedding to Edwina Ashley. Naval service and royal duties intervened in the following years but in September 1936, they were relaxing together at Balmoral:

[MB2/L19/p.17 from left to right: Edward VIII; Mountbatten; Esmond Harmsworth; Mrs Rogers; Wallis Simpson; Gladys Buist; and Edwina Mountbatten, in the grounds of Balmoral]

[MB2/L19/p.17 from left to right: Edward VIII; Mountbatten; Esmond Harmsworth; Mrs Rogers; Wallis Simpson; Gladys Buist; and Edwina Mountbatten, in the grounds of Balmoral]

After his abdication in December 1936, Edward took the title HRH the duke of Windsor, and was to spend much of his life abroad; Mountbatten continued to pursue his naval career, acting as Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, during WWII, and rising subsequently to be First Sea Lord and Chief of the Defence Staff.

“[My cold] runs so quick, that I defy any one to catch it”: ‘man ‘flu’ in the nineteenth century

At this time of year it seems almost impossible to escape catching some form of cold, cough or flu.  You might think of “man ‘flu” as a modern idea but some 200-year-old correspondence in the Archives shows that there was at least one young Lord who was out for all the sympathy he could get…  

In January 1808 Henry Temple wrote to his sister Frances to complain about the heavy cold from which he was suffering. At the time of writing he was 24 years old and Conservative M.P. for Newport on the Isle of Wight. He had already succeeded to the title Viscount Palmerston as his father had died six years previously.  Later in his political career, Palmerston was for many years Foreign Secretary and then, in the 1850s and 60s, Prime Minister.


Sketch of Palmerston aged 17

In his letter he contemplates whether an offended god might have transformed him into a fountain “for my eyes and nose appear to communicate with reservoirs as copious as those which feed the seven mouths of the Nile” and suggests that the Queen [Charlotte] might not be partial to a “drawing Rheum”.

My dear Fanny,

I cannot see to write you a long letter for since the night before last I have been a complete Democritus  and have been incessantly occupied in weeping – not the misery of man, but the coldness of the weather.  If you were to see me you would instantly believe in the metamorphoses recounted by Ovid, and imagine that some offended Deity had changed me into a fountain; for my eyes and nose appear to communicate with reservoirs as copious as those which feed the seven mouths of the Nile, and my one mouth would very soon be inundated, if I were to follow Philip Francis’s receipt and lock up all my handkerchiefs.  However my cold though violent is not oppressive and though I cannot read much I have had some visitors yesterday and to day, whose society I have enjoyed the more as I did not entertain any apprehension of communicating to them my disorder, for though colds are said to sometimes be infectious, mine runs so quick, that I defy any one to catch it. Perhaps you will wonder how I came by it, but the fact is that though some how or other I headed it I could not stop it.  I hope however to get quit of so troublesome a companion before the drawing-room; as the Queen might not be so partial to a drawing Rheum, and it would  not do for Lord of the Adm’ty to address the Prince with the same request made to him by young Nollekens.

[Letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, Albany, to his sister Frances Temple, 16 January 1808 MS 62/BR24/8/2]

Palmerston might have looked back through the family archive for some remedies. His great grandfather, also Henry Temple, the first Viscount Palmerston, kept volumes – likewise preserved in the Special Collections – in which he chronicled a variety of information. He records not only his financial accounts but also family records and medicinal recipes. They include a “linctus by Sir Hans Sloane” and remedies for rheumatism, gout, and “mad dog” bites among others.

Palmerston in late life

Palmerston in later life

There is a remedy for a “dry old cough” containing syrup of horehound, syrup of coltsfoot, honey, oil of turpentine, diapente, sugar candy, balsam of sulphur, syrup of sugar, elecampane, aniseeds and liquorish.  [MS 62/BR2/1]  As this remedy was recommended for horses Palmerston may have deemed it unsuitable.   Medical and veterinary practices were more closely  aligned at this time, however, and the same volume does contain a recipe for a cold ointment for strains “in horse or man”.

Food and reflection

As we settle into 2016 we reflect on recent activities from the past year…

Over the holiday season many of us have indulged in a range of winter comfort foods and festive treats, from turkey and sprouts to mince pies and puddings. In the lead up to the Christmas break visitors were invited to Special Collections for our third and final Explore Your Archives event of the year, with the focus of the afternoon being (somewhat appropriately) food! The material on display covered areas such as the cultivation of food, food preparation, household management, food supplies, consumption of food (including some fine dining), and food relief.

Lankester & Crook price lists for the Christmas Season on display for the 'Food, Glorious Food' open afternoon

Lankester & Crook price lists for the Christmas Season on display for the ‘Food, Glorious Food’ open afternoon

Beginning with a section on cultivation, one of the first items was a plan and catalogue for trees in the kitchen gardens at Broadlands from 1769 which, incidentally, coincided with work done on the estate by ‘Capability’ Brown whose 300th anniversary will be celebrated later in the year. This was followed by a selection of material relating to the management of crops and livestock.

The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses, with the aim being to “promote broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by pulse farmers, be they large scale farms or small land holders.” As the planet’s population continues to increase, pulses such as beans, lentils and peas, are recognised as a sustainable crop which provide a low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

The Perkins Agricultural Library, which primarily supports research on the general practice and improvement of agriculture in the 18th and 19th centuries, also holds a range of material focusing on areas such as household management. On display was William Ellis’ The country housewife’s family companion (London, 1750) which contains the following useful tips for preserving broad beans and peas: “To preserve broad beans and pease dry: take them out of their pods before they are ripe and while their skin is green strip them of their skin and dry them thoroughly in the sun; rub them all over with winter-savory, and barrel them up in straw or chaff, or without either, provided you keep the air from them. In winter or spring, or when they are wanted, soak them six hours in warm water, and then boil them for eating…” [Perkins TX 151]

A highlight from the selection of cook books and recipes was Florence Greenberg’s classic Jewish Cookery Book. First published in 1947, the book proved hugely popular with post war Anglo-Jewish households, bringing a mix of British and continental cooking. She described the Jewish influences as being seen clearly in the fish dishes, sauces and puddings.

There were also many examples of fine dining drawn from the papers of third Viscount Palmerston, Lady Swaythling, Lord Mountbatten, and W.W.Ashley and Cunard cruise ships, including menus, dinner books, and letters reporting on dinner parties and social gatherings. In contrast, somewhat less savoury culinary descriptions were to be found among the journals of William Mogg. Written during his time on Captain Edward Parry’s expeditions to the Arctic in the 1820s, Mogg describes methods used to thaw the crew’s frozen supplies — leaving them in a fire hole for three days — as well as the Christmas festivities enjoyed by the crew.

Chris Woolgar giving his talk on food related resources

Chris Woolgar giving his talk on food related resources

The visit to Special Collections was followed by a talk by Chris Woolgar who provided a highly engaging and comprehensive analysis of a number of the items on display. The evening was then rounded off with some tea and seasonal treats!

As we plan events for the year ahead we would like to thank everyone who attended our open afternoons over the past few months. Details of forthcoming events will be announced on our blog and website in the near future.

We hope to see you in Archives soon!