Monthly Archives: March 2018

‘Doc’ Suffern at Titchfield Haven

 

Titchfield Haven, Fareham (J.G.Romans)

Titchfield Haven, Fareham (J.G.Romans)

This week, as we look forward to spring, we highlight the work of a celebrated Hampshire naturalist. Dr Canning Suffern (1892-1978) made a significant contribution to ornithology in the county and is perhaps most famous for his association with the nature reserve at Titchfield Haven, near Fareham.  His research papers, held in Special Collections, reflect his wide interests in the field of natural history, and include his scientific notes, records of observations and working papers.

Dr Canning Suffern (1892-1978), courtesy of Dr S Dent, Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve

Dr Canning Suffern (1892-1978), courtesy of Dr S Dent, Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve

Canning Suffern grew up in Worcestershire and developed a keen interest in the natural history of his county, particularly in the area around Rubery, near Birmingham. As a boy he was an enthusiastic birdwatcher and throughout his life he kept detailed records of his observations.  He began reading medicine at Cambridge in 1911 but his studies were interrupted by World War I, in which he served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, as a surgeon probationer.  He completed his medical studies at St Thomas’s, London, and held posts in a number of hospitals before turning to medical journalism.  He later joined the staff of The Lancet as a sub-editor.  During World War II, he served as a controller (operations officer) in the RAF and from 1943-5 was stationed in India. His papers include reminiscences of his war-time service – ‘The log of a loblolly boy at sea, 1915-17′ about WWI – and several chapters on his time in India in WWII (MS 205 A523/1/1-2).

Dr Suffern visited Titchfield Haven for the first time in 1921, while staying with his parents, who lived across the road at the site now occupied by Hill Head Sailing Club. His studies in natural history switched to Hampshire and his ornithological work around Titchfield Haven acted as a catalyst for further collaborative study after World War II.  It was shortly after the war that he began taking parties of birdwatchers around the marshes at the Haven with the permission of the owner, Colonel Alston.  Throughout his life he worked to encourage an interest in ornithology, particularly among young people, teaching them not only to identify birds and other wildlife but to accurately record their sightings. Under his guidance, birdwatchers produced the records which highlighted the Haven’s importance as a wetland habit for birds. This data helped lead to the declaration of over three hundred acres of the Lower Meon Valley, including Titchfield Haven, as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1959.

Dr Suffern’s research interests were wide. In Hampshire, in addition to birds, he observed and recorded dragonflies, butterflies, and moths, particularly at Hill Head, Fareham, and Titchfield Haven.

Sketchbook of dragonflies - folio 1 Agrion Splendens

Sketchbook of dragonflies – folio 1 Agrion Splendens

This drawing from Canning Suffern’s sketchbook of dragonflies is embellished with original dragonfly wings. It was part of his research into dragonflies at a pool at Hill Head in 1950. (MS 205 A517/3/4).

Suffern diaries

MS 205 A517/1/1 Diaries, 1940, 1947, 1950 (open) and 1951

His diaries are a working record of the weather, detailing sunshine, rainfall, type and density of cloud cover, and atmospheric pressure. In the summer of 1950, Suffern discovered a relationship between high pressure and the number of S. striolatum emerging at the pool — the peak occurred on 9 July, when he counted 417 in a single day. His research excited the interest of other naturalists and was published in one of the earliest volumes of the Entomologist’s Gazette.

Dr Suffern’s papers include articles from natural history magazines and journals, and related notes; there are manuscripts of his literary works as a naturalist, as well as his reminiscences. His significant ornithological archive – covering several decades of field work – forms part of the papers of the Hampshire Ornithological Society at the Hampshire Record Office, Winchester (HRO 75M94/C1), which also holds notes for his book The birds of Titchfield in relation to those of Hampshire and of Great Britain historically considered, or, A conspectus of birds mainly with reference to T H [Titchfield Haven].

To this day, Doc Suffern is fondly remembered at Titchfield Haven for his 50-year association with the nature reserve. During the 1960s, as an elected member of Fareham District Council, he fought for the future of the Haven. He lived to see the purchase of the estate by Hampshire County Council and the opening of the reserve for visits in 1975. The ‘Suffern Hide’ is named in his memory – a physical reminder of his life’s work.

Canning Suffern’s research papers, MS 205, are freely available in Special Collections at the University of Southampton – a significant legacy for the natural history of Hampshire.

For information on Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve go to:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryparks/titchfield/visit

For information on Canning Suffern’s ornithological papers at the Hampshire Record Office:

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/archives

We acknowledge with grateful thanks the assistance of the staff and volunteers of the Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, and of the Hampshire Record Office. The photograph of Canning Suffern is courtesy of Dr Sue Dent and colleagues at Titchfield Haven. Any errors are those of the author.

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Rowing against the tide: Boat Clubs at the University of Southampton

To mark this week’s annual Henley boat race between Oxford University and Cambridge University, we take a look at our collections relating to the University’s Boat Clubs.

Starting from Phyllis Court to Temple Island along the famous ‘Henley Reach’, the first Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race for men happened in Henley in 1829. The event didn’t occur again in Henley until 1975, when a Boat Race between men’s lightweight crews from Oxford and Cambridge was organised by Richard Bates, a Cambridge Undergraduate.

The Women’s Boat Race took place in Henley between the years 1977-2014, along with a race between the reserve crews Osiris (Oxford) and Blondie (Cambridge). In 1984, the women’s lightweight race was instated, and a 1,750 metre contest between the two top male and female crews from the Oxford and Cambridge bumps races was inaugurated in 2010.

Another famous route used for boat races between Oxford University and Cambridge University is based along the River Thames from University Post, Mortlake to University Stone, Putney. The plan below shows the route, which is part of a handout for the river race that the University of Southampton participated in on 22 March 1952.

Route for river race from University Post, Mortlake to University Stone, Putney 1952 [MS 310/46 A2075/4]

Route for river race from University Post, Mortlake to University Stone, Putney 1952 [MS 310/46 A2075/4]

As part of the University Archives collection we hold photographs of the Men’s and Women’s Boat Clubs that were part of Hartley Society (previously called the Hartley University College Past Students’ Association). Dating from 1956, the photographs consist of formal ones with the men in their rowing blazers and women in their whites, and celebratory ones showing the christening of new boats given to the Clubs.

The photograph below shows the University’s first team to be entered for Henley Royal Regatta, in the Thames Cup division 1962-3. They also achieved 12th place out of 150 crews in the Reading Head of the River race.

MS1_LF780_UNI_7_291_22_4_BoatClub1962-63_0001

1st VIII Boat Club team, 1962-3 [MS 1/7/291/22/4]

MS1_LF780_UNI_7_291_22_2_WomenRowing_0001

First president of the Hartley Society’s Women’s Boat Club, Miss Knowles, acting as cox, 1937 [MS 1/7/291/22/2]

Southampton University Boat Club (SUBC) registered with British Rowing in 1929, and its first president from that year was Mr Randall Cesson. The diagram below shows the planning of the Club’s logo during the late 1950s.

Club_Logo_Diagram_Cropped_0001

Diagram of SUBC’s logo as part of the Club Secretary’s Report, 1958-9 [MS 310/46 A2075/9]

In the University’s Boat Club papers (MS 310/46) can be found a range of resourceful items dating from 1946-2015; including correspondence, lists of race results and crews, pamphlets, photographs, and programmes.

17th_Annual_Regatta_0001

University Women’s Rowing Association 17th Annual Regatta programme, 9 May 1959 [MS 310/ 46 A2075/7]

The correspondence relates to the organising of fixtures, the repairing of boats, and the purchase of equipment. Here is a quote from a circular relating to a Club meeting to members of the Men’s Boat Club dated circa 1960s:

“All present and past members and all newcomers who are interested in rowing are invited to attend. The year’s rowing programme will be discussed as will be the training of novices. The latter is considered to be of paramount importance; all novices who show keenness and interest as well as ability will find themselves rowing in eights after a few weeks initial training in small boats.”

[Men’s Boat Club circular, MS 310/46 A2075/4]

MS310_46_A2075_3_LaunchingBoat_0001

Launching for first outing, 9 January 1961 [MS 310/46 A2075/3]

An insight into the training regime for SUBC in the 1960s can be viewed from the body-building exercise sheets in the Club papers. Such exercises were suggested to be done daily for 45 minutes. Steps included “Sitting, legs straight, hands on floor near hips, alternate leg raising as high as possible” for 50 seconds, and “make like a windmill with arms in circles, breathe deeply” for 30 seconds. The sheet includes 38 steps altogether, ending with “Weight enough until tomorrow”!

SUBC is now one of the largest clubs of Team Southampton with over 100 members. Alumni include several world class athletes, notably Olympic Silver Medallists Per Sætersdal, Miriam Batten, and Guin Batten.

MS310_46_A2075_2_Boatrace_0001

London Head Race, III Boat Club Team, 19 March 1955 [MS 310/46 A2075/2]

For further information on SUBC go to:

http://www.subc.co.uk/

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

 

The Wellington archive and Ireland

It was 35 years ago, on St Patrick’s Day 1983, that the archive of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, arrived at the University of Southampton.

Wellington Papers, 1828 [MS 61 WP1/950]

Group of Wellington Papers, 1828 [MS 61 WP1/950]

This collection of around 100,000 political, military, official and diplomatic papers for the first Duke was accepted for the nation in lieu of duty on the estate of the seventh Duke of Wellington and allocated to the University of Southampton by the Secretary of State for Education and Science. The official opening of the Wellington Suite, the archive accommodation created to house the archive took place in May 1983, and was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.

Official event to mark the arrival of the Wellington archive, 1983

Official opening for the Wellington archive: 1983: Bernard Naylor, University Librarian, Professor Smith (hidden), Chris Woolgar, Archivist, and the Duke of Wellington looking at display of papers

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) was born in Ireland, the son of Garret Wesley, first Earl of Mornington, and Anne Hill, who was the daughter of the first Viscount Dungannon. The archive forms the principal collection of papers of Wellington and covers all aspects of his career from 1790 until his death in 1852. Papers relating to Ireland feature heavily within the collection, ranging from maps and plans to extensive series of papers on parliamentary and government business.

Coloured sketch plan of Dublin Castle and adjoining barracks, March 1844 [MS 61 WP15/26]

Coloured sketch plan of Dublin Castle and adjoining barracks, March 1844 [MS 61 WP15/26]

Wellington started his career as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland, the Earl of Westmorland and Earl Fitzwilliam, 1787-93. Between 1790 and 1797 he sat in the Irish Parliament as Member for the family seat of Trim. Wellington was Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1807-9, managing the government interest in Parliament at Westminster and government business in Ireland. Within this material is much on security and maintaining the peace during a period of turbulence and threat of invasion by Napoleonic France.

In a letter from Wellington to Lord Hawkesbury, Secretary of State for Home Affairs, 23 April 1807, he sends details of the preparations made in Cork to deal with the threat of invasion:

“There are two regiments of cavalry and ten battalions of infantry at Cork and in the neighbourhood, which could be assembled at any point in the course of a few hours.

There is a depot of artillery at Cork, a heavy brigade at Fermoy, and a depot at Clonmell, about forty miles from Cork, so that there are means of defending that part of the kingdom if the fleet should turn out to be an enemy.”

[MS 61 WP1/167/18]

Between 1818 and his death in 1852, Wellington held a number of political offices and official posts, including serving twice as Prime Minister. Several thousand letters for the period 1819-32 relate to Ireland, including political, economic and social discussions and material on the introduction of the Catholic Relief  Bill. The descriptions of this material can be accessed through the Wellington Papers Database.

First page of draft Catholic emancipation act drafted by Wellington and Robert Peel [MS 61 WP1/993/80]

First page of draft by Wellington and Robert Peel of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, January 1829  [MS 61 WP1/993/80]

The main series of Wellington’s correspondence for the period 1833 onwards includes material relating to the Irish representative peerage, politics and elections in Ireland, parliamentary bills, church reform, education, the Irish church, tithes, law and order and military defence, the Young Ireland movement and the prospect of a rising in 1848, as well as the Wellington monument in Dublin.

Report of the Benevolent Society of St. Patrick (London, 1820) [Wellington Pamphlet 1104/5]

Report of the Benevolent Society of St. Patrick (London, 1820) [Wellington Pamphlet 1104/5]

The connection between Wellington and Ireland also can be found amongst papers for the numerous societies and organisations with which he was associated. One such was the Benevolent Society of St. Patrick set up to provide “relief for the poor and distressed Irish residing in and around London, and that of their children”. Wellington was a Vice President of the Society in 1820 and was voted as chairman for the following year. The list of subscribers for 1820 listed his donation as 121 guineas: a donation of 20 guineas made the donor a governor for life.

Anniversary festival of the Benevolent Society of St. Patrick [Wellington Pamphlet 1104/5]

Anniversary festival of the Benevolent Society of St. Patrick [Wellington Pamphlet 1104/5]

The Society held an annual festival, usually on St Patrick’s Day. The festival in 1820, held at the City of London Tavern with George Canning in the chair, was delayed until the 6 May due to the death of the King.  The Investigator or Quarterly magazine for 1820 reported that:

“The children were, after dinner, paraded through the room. Their appearance was exceedingly interesting; all of them being clean, healthy and robust.  Several fine young women, who were educated by the society, who are now earning a comfortable and reputable livelihood closed the procession… The Duke of Wellington was nominated chairman for the ensuing year, which office was handsomely accepted by His Grace.  The treasurer then read the list of subscriptions, the total of which, including a bequest of £500 by Captain Morritt, was £1,800.”

The Wellington archive is complemented by a number of other significant manuscript collections that relate to Ireland. These include the Congleton archive (MS 64) which contains personal, family, estate and political papers for the Parnell family, Barons Congleton, from the sixteenth to the twentieth century; the Broadlands archives (MS 62); the Carver manuscripts (MS 63), a collection of papers of the family of Wellington’s older brother Richard Wellesley, first Marquis Wellesley; and papers of the Earls of Mornington (MS 226 and MS 299).

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Celebrating the contribution of women: Edith “Edie” Noble

Held annually on 8 March, International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women throughout history and across nations.

The Special Collections at the University of Southampton holds material for a range of women whose contribution in many spheres is worthy of mention. For this blog we will focus on Edith “Edie” Noble, née Davidson or Davidovitz (MS 381).

ms381_edithnoble-e1520255793980.jpg

Edith Noble, June 1973 [MS381 A4136 1/4]

Born in Hull in 1910, she was one of nine brothers and sisters born to Annie and Hyman Davidovitz. She and her two sisters, Sophie and Min, married three London-born brothers, Ziggy, Charles and Bernard Noble. Edie and her husband Charles joined South London Liberal’s Synagogue in 1939, a year after they married.

Edith was heavily involved with the South London Liberal Synagogue, holding the position of Treasurer in the Women’s Society and as a member of their Council.

Passionate about promoting friendly relations among Jewish women, Edith became a founding member of the Streatham Group of the League of Jewish Women as its Vice-Chairman in 1953.

“From that time in 1953, she has worked untiringly with a will and dedication to make the name of L.J.W. respected in many spheres”. [MS381 A4136 1/4]

League of Jewish Women 25th birthday picture supplement, 1968 [MS381 A4136 3/1/1]

A year later, as group representative, Edith was elected to the League’s National Council. She went on to become founder Chairman of the League’s Publicity Committee in 1957 and National Honorary Secretary in 1961. As the League’s first Extension Officer, Edith worked tirelessly to ensure the organisation was reaching Jewish women all over the country, opening 25 UK groups and achieving thousands of new members between 1967-72.

Edith held many positions in the League of Jewish Women, including President in 1973, as well as positions in the International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) and the National Council of Women. This reflected her commitment towards raising the profile of these organisations, and strengthening connections between Jewish women nationally and internationally.

Certificate awarded to Edith Noble from the International Council of Jewish Women for her outstanding services to the organisation, May 1978 [MS381 A4136 1/7]

Using her links around the world, Edith succeeded in widening the communication net of these bodies, such as by setting up the 13th International Convention for ICJW in Bournemouth in 1984, which she chaired.

Keen for women to keep well-informed of social issues, Edith was the League representative on the Women’s Consultative Council, a government sponsored forum, from 1961. In 1969 this group became the Women’s National Commission, a body that still enables the government to obtain women’s thoughts on current issues.

Alongside these committee positions, Edith also completed welfare work, which included visiting patients on a Thursday morning at the Birchlands Jewish Hospital, serving tables at the South London Day Centre, and hosting and supporting Jewish girls who came to England from Morocco and Iran to work in the London Jewish Hospital.

The correspondence, working notebooks, papers and other documents relating to the Jewish Women’s organisations that Edith was involved in, provides a wealth of information on the work of the League of Jewish Women and International Council of Jewish Women from a committee member’s perspective.

From Edith’s final speech as President of League of Jewish Women:

“It has been said that if it be true that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, then eternal participation is the price of a good society. May the League never lack women to identify with us and participate in the Jewish contribution to the good society.” [MS381 A4136 1/4]

MS381_EdieNoble_scrol

Scroll commemorating Edith Noble’s appointment as the Streatham Group of the League of Jewish Women’s first Life President, 26 May 1976 [MS381 A4136 1/7]

For other blog posts we have completed on women, please click on the following links:

The University of Southampton will be hosting a number of events to mark international women’s day and details can be found at the following links:

University blog –

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/blog/sussed-news/2018/03/08/international-womens-day-how-southampton-women-are-changing-the-world/

Events page –

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/diversity/news/events/2018/03/8-womens-day.page?

William Mogg and Arctic exploration

As Britain and Europe experiences a period of extreme cold and snow, we delve into the journal of William Mogg describing his experience of Arctic exploration in the early 1820s.

Iceberg adhering to icy reef, 1828

Iceberg adhering to icy reef [MS 45 AO183/2 p.349]

William Mogg (1796-1875) was born in Woolston in Southampton. He joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1811 and served in the continental blockade of the Napoleonic war. He was part of a number of survey expeditions in the brig Investigator in 1817 and in 1827-30 voyaged on the Beagle alongside Charles Darwin. Mogg  also served as a clerk during Captain William Edward Parry’s second and third Arctic expeditions, on board HMS Hecla and HMS Fury, 1821-5. The journal – part of a set of 6 volumes (MS 45) held in the Special Collections – covering these journeys provides a fascinating insight into these expeditions.

Captain Parry was to be a key figure in the discovery of the North West Passage and the three voyages that he made between 1819 and 1825 produced invaluable research. During his first expedition, he voyaged through the Parry Channel and three quarters of the way across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

HMS Hecla and Fury sailed from Deptford in April 1821 for the second expedition, the goal this time being to find a passage near the northwest end of Hudson Bay. Having sailed through Hudson Strait and investigating Foxe Basin, they found themselves frozen in at ‘Winter Island’ for nine months when the ice closed in. During Parry’s third expedition in 1824-5, ice in Baffin Bay disrupted progress and the expedition was forced to winter in Prince Regent Inlet.

HM Ships Hecla and Fury in winter quarters

HM Ships Hecla and Fury in winter quarters [MS 45 AO183/2 p.359]

Mogg describes how “the ice began to form in a compact manner around the ship … strongly indicated … that our present position should become our winter quarters”. [MS 45 AO183/2 p.62] Crews were put to work cutting a channel to enable the ship to sail further up the bay. “Our first weeks imprisoned in our first icy quarters was fully occupied, clearing and preparing for the winter, every arrangement was made, which could contribute to our general health and comfort by our worthy Commander (Parry).” [MS 45 AO183/2 p.63]

Conditions were testing. While there was provision of a warming stove as way of heating, the crew had to undergo a reduction of rations to ensure that there were sufficient supplies.

Despite the hardships endured, Mogg’s journal reflects the indomitable spirit of those on the expedition, recording delight at the encounters with the groups of inhabitants of those inhospitable regions of the world, whom Mogg called Esquimaux, of the wildlife he observed, including bears, foxes, wolves and whales, and of the adventures of the crew.

Snow village of the Esquimaux

Snow village of the Esquimaux [MS 45 AO183/2 p.141]

Of the measures introduced to relieve boredom of life on board – theatrical performances and evening schools – Mogg wrote of the production of R.S.Sheridan’s play The Rivals: “the first performance came off this evening and evidently gave general satisfaction if we may judge by the constant plaudits from the stentorian voices of the audience”. [MS 45 AO183/2 p.72]

List of cast for The Rivals as performed by crew for the Theatre Royal, Winter Island

List of cast for The Rivals as performed by crew for the Theatre Royal, Winter Island [MS 45 AO183/2 p.70]

There also was a pleasure to be derived from culinary treats. He noted that on Christmas Day 1821, the crews enjoyed a dinner of roast beef, which had been killed and frozen upward of 12 months previously, “garnished with mustard and cress, of a pale colour from being grown between decks in the dark, … with sundry pies and puddings of preserved meats and cranberries, not to be despised in any climate”. [MS 45 AO183/2 p.82]

Explorations by the crew on the ice in temperatures of “59° below the point of freezing” brought with them the risk of frost bite. “It is not an uncommon circumstance that in the operation of applying the hand to the frozen cheek, or nose, it also becomes frozen while doing so, but in order to prevent serious casualties of this nature Captain Parry issued general instructions that no person should quit the ships alone, or un-armed, in order that the companion might detect the burns in each other’s face.” [MS 45 AO183/2 p.90]

So as we venture out into the snow and chilling temperatures, let us give a thought to Captain Parry, Mogg and the intrepid crew of these Arctic ventures.