Monthly Archives: August 2016

Happy birthday to “Capability” Brown

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

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


Broadlands [Cope Collection cq72 BRO pr 41]

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

South Stoneham

Gardens at South Stoneham House, 1920s

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

The World Archaeological Congress

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

WAC-1 Logo

WAC-1 Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A passport to summer…

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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]


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.