Monthly Archives: June 2018

The Coronation of Queen Victoria, 28 June 1838

Today marks 180 years since Queen Victoria’s coronation. Aged 19, and a female, Queen Victoria’s coronation was an event that created an excited amount of interest among all classes. Crowds totalled up to 400,000 persons and £200,000 was expended.

Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria by Richard R. Holmes (1897) [Rare Book DA 55A]

Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria by Richard R. Holmes (1897) Rare Books DA 55A

The coronation was almost the same as that of William IV. One of the exceptions was the route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey was lengthened. This was in order to provide more people with the opportunity of seeing their Queen.

Queen Victoria at her coronation, Queen Victoria by Richard R. Holmes (1897) [Rare Book DA 55A]

Queen Victoria at her coronation

At 10am, Queen Victoria stepped into her carriage, which was a new Royal Standard, (30 by 18 feet), while the bands played the National Anthem and the salute of 21 guns fired in Hyde Park.

Arriving at Westminster Abbey at 11.30am, the Sovereign was received by the Great Offices of the State, with the noblemen bearing the Regalia; and the Bishops carrying the Patina, the Chalice, and the Bible.

The coronation service lasted five hours and involved two changes of dress for the Queen.

After the ceremony, the Ministers gave official State dinners and the Duke of Wellington a grand ball, in which 2000 guests were invited. A fair was also held in Hyde Park, which lasted for 4 days; and theatres in London were thrown open.

Queen Victoria, 1838 Queen Victoria by Richard R. Holmes (1897) [Rare Book DA 55A]

Queen Victoria, 1838

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Waterloo in the public imagination

It was on this date in 1815 that the first Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte faced each other on the battlefield for the first and only time.

Hougoumont, Waterloo [MS 351/6 A4170/7/4]

Hougoumont, Waterloo [MS 351/6 A4170/7/4]

The battle was to exert a powerful influence on the public imagination and commemorations and celebrations ranged from the worthy, such as providing support for those wounded or the families of those killed at the battle, to the frivolous, such as souvenir engravings and maps.

Waterloo subscription, 1815 [MS 61 WP1/487/10]

Waterloo subscription: a printed list of subscribers for the
families of soldiers killed and for soldiers wounded at the battle of Waterloo, 21 September 1815 [MS 61 WP1/487/10]

However, what proved particularly popular with the general public were exhibitions of paintings and artefacts connected with the battle. Fascination in Napoleon Bonaparte became even more intense and he was to feature in a number of exhibitions around London: an estimated 10,000 people daily visited a display of his battlefield carriage.

The Waterloo Museum, which was opened in November 1815, was based at 97 Pall Mall, London, in the former Star and Garter Tavern. It was one of a number of establishments set up to meet the insatiable public demand for Waterloo related memorabilia. Staffed by retired soldiers or those ‘gallant young men who were actually deprived of their limbs in that ever-memorable conflict’, this created a sense of authenticity for the Museum and its collection.

The Museum housed an assortment of armour and weaponry and other military items collected from the battlefield, together with paintings, objects and mementoes of the Bonaparte family.

Catalogue of the Waterloo Museum

Catalogue of the Waterloo Museum
(London, 1816) [Rare Books DC241 CAT]

The first room entered was the armoury, which had walls covered with cuirasses, helmets and caps, swords, guns and bayonets all collected from the battlefield. This included the armour in which Napoleon encased his heavy horse to protect it against sword cuts or musket fire. There were two trumpets, one described as so battered that it bore little resemblance to its original shape.

The Grand Saloon housed items belonging to the Bonaparte family together with paintings and other objects. These included a hat and coat worn by Napoleon in Elba, detailed in the catalogue below.

Items in the Grand Saloon of the Wellington Museum

Items in the Grand Saloon of the Wellington Museum

Amongst the paintings was the huge 15 feet by 6 feet Portrait of Napoleon in his coronation robes by Robert Lefévre (1755–1830) produced in 1811 and the 33 inch by 26 inch The Battle of Waterloo by the Flemish artist Constantine Coene(1780–1841). Depicting the battle at dusk, Coene shows Wellington pointing to a distant spot where the smoke of the Prussian cannon is rising in the horizon. He is dressed in a plain manner, unlike the pomp and imperial glory of Napoleon’s coronation robes. At the rear of the army are wounded soldiers and the widow of an artillery man is shown lamenting over her husband.

The Waterloo Museum was one of a number of such institutions that satisfied a general fascination with the battle. When Messrs. Boydell of St James’ Street in London arranged an exhibition of art that included a portrait of Napoleon they were able to charge one shilling admittance, a considerable sum for many workers at that period.

In 1819, Wellington received an account of the enthusiastic reception received by a panorama of the battle created by E.Maaskamp on display in Brussels. [MS 61 WP1/618/19]

Other more formal annual events arose out of a wish to mark the battle, the Waterloo banquet hosted by the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House being one of these. And Apsley House continues to host a Waterloo weekend of events every year.

“He shoots, he scores”: Lord Mountbatten and his associations with football organisations

Today begins the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and to mark this occasion, we take a look at Lord Mountbatten’s associations with Southampton Football and Athletic Company Limited, and the Football Association.

Lord Louis Mountbatten leaning against the rail of his ship, HMS P31, August 1919 [MB2/N4/18]

Lord Louis Mountbatten leaning against the rail of his ship, HMS P31, August 1919 [MB2/N4/18]

During his lifetime, Lord Louis Mountbatten was associated with many charities and organisations, as a member, patron or president. He attended numerous dinners and openings, and gave large numbers of speeches in connection with these societies; while, inevitably, he had only an honorary role in many, others took up more of his time and energy.

The archives comprise mainly correspondence with the organisations, often about invitations to dinners and openings, or to give speeches, and the papers were originally maintained in a separate sequence of files in the office of Lord Mountbatten’s private secretary. The files also contain many information booklets and annual reports sent by the societies. The papers are now arranged in files in alphabetical order by name of organisation.

Southampton Football and Athletic Company Limited

From around 1946, Lord Mountbatten was President of the Southampton Football and Athletic Company Limited. Founded in 1885, the Club started as a church football team that was part of St. Mary’s Church of England Young Men’s Association, where the Club’s nickname “The Saints” came from. The Saints joined the Southern League in 1894 and the Football League Third Division in 1920. At the time Lord Mountbatten became President; the Club had narrowly missed promotion to the Second Division and finished in third place. The correspondence from the Club that forms part of the Mountbatten papers includes Christmas wishes and invitations to home matches. Lord Mountbatten later became Patron of what is now Southampton Football Club in 1955.

Letter from Southampton Football and Athletic Company Limited, wishing Lord Mountbatten a happy Christmas, 18 December 1946 [MB1/L499]

Letter from Southampton Football and Athletic Company Limited, wishing Lord Mountbatten a happy Christmas, 18 December 1946 [MB1/L499]

Football Association

Dating between 1956 and 1959, correspondence with the Football Association in the Mountbatten papers includes requests for Lord Mountbatten to be Chief Guest at Cup Finals; invitations to dinners; and a request to be Honorary Vice-President of the Football Association Council.

Lord Mountbatten was also offered Royal Box seats at Wembley Stadium for himself and his family by the Football Association secretary, of which he accepted for the 1958 FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United:

“It was a wonderful crowd and a great day, and one only wishes that Manchester United could have scored a goal or two while they were pressing so strongly, so as to keep the game more in suspense to the end.” [Letter from Lord Mountbatten to Sir Stanley Rous, Secretary of the Football Association, 6 May 1958, MB1/L145]

For more information about the Mountbatten papers go to:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/cataloguedatabases/mb/index.page

Knit in Public Day

Tomorrow, 9 June, is World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIPDAY).  This is the largest knitter-run event in the world, and its mission is “Better living through stitching together”.  It started in 2005 with 25 local KIPs, or Knit-in-Public events.  By last year, this had amassed to 1125 KIPs in 54 different countries.  Each local event is put together by a volunteer (host) or a group of volunteers. While the origin of the name denotes that it’s all about knitting, over the years it has become an inclusive event for all “fibre lovers”.  The nearest KIP events to the University are in Dorset and Portsmouth.

Image from the Montse Stanley collection [MS 331/2/1/5/195]

Among the papers in the Special Collection strongrooms are those of Montse Stanley which passed to the University following her death in 1999.  She was committed to bringing to a wider audience both creative knitting and the history of knitting. Her personal enthusiasm for all aspects of the history of knitting was based in a professional and very successful career in knitting. She was a well-known designer and maker in her own right, and she also did much to popularise the creative possibilities of hand knitting through books, television and video, and by curating exhibitions.

Image from the Montse Stanley collection [MS 331/2/1/5/198]

Fans of knitting may also be interested to know that the sixth interdisciplinary and international In the Loop conference will be held at Winchester School of Art (WSA), University of Southampton 19-20 July 2018. This year marks the tenth anniversary of In the Loop and to celebrate this WSA is hosting In the Loop at 10, a special conference which will celebrate the outstanding contribution that the conference, its organisers, and its participants have made to knitting scholarship, while also promoting new research on all aspects of knitting.

Image from the Montse Stanley collection [MS 331/2/1/5/205]

The Handel Commemoration 1784

The Handel Commemoration held during the last week of May and the first week of June 1784 was the musical and social event of the year. Marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the composer’s death, the series of three concerts – two of sacred music at Westminster Abbey and one of secular music at the Pantheon – proved so popular that the Westminster Abbey concerts had to be repeated. Those who paid the one guinea entrance fee were treated to one of the “grandest and most magnificent spectacles which imagination can delineate”.

An Account of the Musical Performances in Westminster-Abbey and the Pantheon by Charles Burney (1785) Rare Books q ML 410.H2

The event was recorded in great detail in An Account of the Musical Performances in Westminster-Abbey and the Pantheon… by Charles Burney (1785), a copy of which has been presented to the Library by a former student. The book contains illustrations of the ticket designs and the assembled performers, a plan of the orchestra and lists of those who took part as well as reviews of the concerts. Dedicated to King George III, the book’s erratic page numbering  (vii, [1], xvi, 8, *8, 9-20, *19-*24, 21-56, 21, [6], 26-41, [6], 46-90, [5], 94-139, [3] p.) was in part the result of additions and revisions suggested by the King, who showed a keen interest in all matters relating to the Commemoration. With the concerts taking place in the aftermath of the constitutional crisis in which William Pitt took office in place of the Fox-North coalition, the high profile event presented George III with an opportunity to promote a sense of national unity and a healing of the political divide.

View of the Orchestra and Performers in Westminster Abbey

According to Burney, Westminster Abbey was transformed for the event. The  staging built for the performers at the west end, rose from seven feet above floor level to an impressive forty feet, where the organ, constructed for Canterbury Cathedral, but being given a trial run, was placed in a gothic frame. Large instruments were assembled to produce enough sound to fill the space and the orchestra had 250 members, with the choir bringing the total number of performers to 522. A Royal Box was built at the east end of the aisle, where there was also seating for the “first personages of the kingdom”, including the organisers, the Directors of the Concerts of Ancient Music, identified by their white wands tipped with gold. Over the course of the concerts, £6,000 was raised for the Fund for the Support of Decay’d Musicians, a charity supported by Handel himself, and £1,000 for Westminster Hospital, whose own charity concert had been displaced by the Commemoration.

List of vocal performers

Coverage in the newspaper and periodical press both in the days leading up to the concerts and in those that followed was unprecedented. There was correspondence concerning retention of the tickets, which included designs by well-known artists and engravers, it was announced that ladies with hats would not be admitted and they were requested to come “without feathers and wearing small hoops, if any”. Reviewing the first concert, the Gentleman’s Magazine could not “in any adequate terms describe the grandeur of the spectacle” the King appearing to be in an “extasy of astonishment” on seeing the sight before him. The Commemoration was widely reported in provincial newspapers, the Hampshire Chronicle also having difficulty in finding the words to describe the sight.

Hampshire Chronicle 7 June 1784 Rare Books Cope per ff 05

Not all of the coverage was so positive. The Universal Magazine suggested that the grandeur of the undertaking was out of proportion to the object, whilst the radical newspaper, Parker’s General Advertiser, dwelt on the vapour which overcame delicate constitutions and the heat which caused many people to faint, something which Charles Burney preferred to put down to the effect of the “choral power of harmonical combinations”.

The success of the Commemoration was such that it was repeated in the following three years and in the early 1790s, by which time there were smaller audiences and, in the era of the French Revolution, more opposition to displays of aristocratic patronage.  Nevertheless, it established a tradition of large-scale performances of Handel’s choral works, with Burney’s book providing a record of the first such event.