Author Archives: krspecialcollections

“Viva Inglaterra!”: los niños arrive in Southampton

In May 1937, los niños, the Basque child refugees, were among approximately 4,000 children escaping the dangers of the Spanish Civil War who arrived at Southampton docks on board the Habana.

The Habana

The Habana arrives at Southampton [MS404 A4164/7/1]

On arrival in Southampton, the children were to be sent to a camp at North Stoneham, near Eastleigh, on a 30-acre field lent by G.H.Brown of Swaythling Farm.  This “canvas town”, as it was called, had been hastily erected and then extended to accommodate twice the original number of refugees after the Home Office changed its decision at the last minute allowing in 4,000 rather than the original 2,000 children.  Work was carried out by hundreds of local volunteers — plumbers, carpenters, employees of the Southampton Gas Company and the Corporation Water Department, the Co-operative Society,  Southampton Labour Party, the Trades and Labour Council the Scouts and Guides, Boys’ Brigade, Southampton Boys’ Clubs, members of the Round Table and the Rotary Club and students from University College, Southampton.  Many gave up their Whitsun holiday to help prepare the camp and, according to reports, “entered into the spirit of the occasion with splendid enthusiasm”.

Aerial view of North Stoneham Camp [MS404 A4164/2/4]

Aerial view of North Stoneham Camp [MS404 A4164/2/4]

Appeals went out for clothes and equipment and for further volunteers to staff the depots where donations were to be sent and to assist with cutting up toweling and filling paliasses with straw.  University College students spent several days cleaning and distempering Moor Hill, West End, a house loaned to the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief to accommodate children who were sick or unable to endure camp life.  Women students from Bournemouth Municipal School of Art converted banners that had been made by art students in honour of the coronation of George VI into sleeping bags for the children.

Children on board the Habana [MS 404 A4164/7/1]

Children on board the Habana as it arrives at Southampton [MS 404 A4164/7/1]

 “Viva Inglaterra!” was the cry that went up as the children, packing the railings of the Habana, made its entry into Southampton.  Most of the children recalled the warm welcome that met them on their arrival in the city.

People line the streets of Southampton to see the refugee children arrive [MS404 A4164/7/1]

People line the streets to greet the refugee children arrive [MS404 A4164/7/1]

One sight that excited and enthralled was the bunting and flags that had been put up for the coronation of George VI and which the Mayor of Southampton allowed to be left up for the children.  As one of the children recalled “Southampton was full of decorations — every lamp post, every balcony, everywhere there was flags and golden wands and posters and all sorts hanging and it was quite a sight…”

Nurses taking children for medical examinations [MS404 A4164/2/23]

Nurses taking children for medical checks [MS404 A4164/2/24]

Each child was given a medical check on disembarkation.  They then were tagged with different coloured ribbons to indicate if they needed to go to hospital, to the public baths for a wash or were able to go straight to Stoneham Camp.  Those marked with red ribbons were taken to the public baths, as one girl found after swapping the ribbon because red was her favourite colour.

After the checks were completed the children were bused to the camp at Stoneham. They were amazed to see hundreds of bell tents, that were as one boy noted “round tents like the Indians in America” an image taken from the Hollywood Western films.  This image reinforced a sense of adventure for the children, even if the reality of living in a camp could be some what different, with the latrine trenches hated by many and music broadcast over loudspeakers each morning to wake the children from their beds.

Life at camp [MS370/7 A4010/1]

Life at camp [MS370/7 A4010/1]

With the fall of Bilbao on 19 June 1937 was a realisation that the children were going to have to remain in the UK for longer than intended.  Alternative arrangements were therefore made for the children.  They were dispersed to be cared for by the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, which accommodated children in a hostel in London, or in the so-called “colonies” set up by local committees across the country.

Set up as a temporary arrangement, the camp was to remain open for four months: the last 220 children departed for St Mary’s Bay Holiday Camp at New Romney, Kent in September.  As the children said “Adios” to their temporary home, the camp administrator, Major Neil Hunter, reflected on the enterprise, including how around 1 million meals had been prepared at the camp over the four month period, and expressed a sincere thanks to all those in Southampton and Eastleigh who had given their support.

North Stoneham Camp [MS404 A4164/7/1]

North Stoneham Camp [MS404 A4164/7/1]

 The Special Collections at the Hartley Library, University of Southampton, holds archives relating to the Basque Children.  There is an online exhibition produced as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project to mark the seventieth anniversary of the arrival of the children.

A new King and Queen are crowned

On 12 May 1937 the coronation took place of George VI and Queen Elizabeth as King and Queen at Westminster Abbey.

guest list of the royal family and of other royal and other representatives MS 62 MB1/A112

Front cover of guest list of the royal family and of other royal and representatives [MS 62 MB1/A112]

The King and Queen’s daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Margaret, attended the ceremony, together with the Dowager Queen Mary. Also invited were members of the extended royal family, members of the peerage and Members of Parliament. Lord and Lady Louis Mountbatten and Patricia Mountbatten were amongst those who attended, with Lord Louis Mountbatten riding in the processions behind the state coach to and from Westminster Abbey. The guest list further included royals and representatives or ambassadors from across the world, such as Prince and Princess Chichibu of Japan, monarchs of the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland, Yugoslavia, leading colonial administrators, princes from the Indian states. Invitations were issued to representatives of the trade unions and co-operative societies, such as Lizzie McCulloch, a factory worker from Glasgow, one of four people who received an invitation through the Industrial Welfare Society.

Official souvenir coronation programme [MS 62 MB1/A113]

Official souvenir coronation programme [MS 62 MB1/A113]

The coronation is probably the oldest ceremonial in the UK and the earliest preserved coronation ritual dates from the eighth century. All the principal rites of the present coronations — the recognition, the oath taken by the sovereign, the anointing, investiture and crowning — are to be found in the Saxon rituals. The recognition recalls the time when the monarch was presented to their bishops and peers and acknowledged as King by their acclamations. The anointing of the King, which is seen as a pivotal point of the ceremony, culminating in the crowning, represents the sacred as well as the civil office to which the monarch is admitted. Following the crowning by the monarch, for which the St Edward’s Crown is used, the King receives the homage of his spiritual and temporal peers. Once completed, this is followed by the Queen’s coronation, a shortened form of the ceremony, which also can be traced to Saxon times.

The King was arrayed in a robe of purple velvet and the Crown of State, instead of the St Edward’s Crown, for the state procession with the Queen from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in the state coach.

State coach [MS 62 MB2/L21]

State coach [MS 62 MB2/L21]

Timed to leave Westminster Abby at 2.15pm, the route for this state procession in 1937 was considerably longer than that for George V in 1911. Bands were stationed along the route and detachments from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF and reserves, together with representatives from the Indian Army and Navy and contingents from the dominions, took part.

Royal Navy as part of coronation procession [MS 62 MB2/L19]

Royal Navy as part of coronation procession [MS 62 MB2/L19]

The streets of London along the procession route were thronged with people hoping to catch a glimpse of their new monarch. It was a time of great celebration and a day to remember for all those who watched, and the millions who listened to the new monarch make a radio address that evening.

Napoleon’s empire comes to an end

April 1814 saw the end game of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte, with the abdication of the Emperor and the final military conflicts at Toulouse, Bayonne and Barcelona.

After meeting with his military commanders on 4 April, who urged Napoleon to abdicate, he did so on 6 April. The allies then were faced with the question of what to do with him. They concluded that he needed to be deposed and sent into exile as they feared that any attempt to overthrow him would risk civil war.  As Lord Liverpool, the British Prime Minister noted ‘any peace with Buonaparte will only be a state of preparation for renewed hostilities’. Signed by the allies on 11 April 1814, the Treaty of Fontainebleau set out the conditions of Napoleon’s abdication. In return for his abdication as Emperor of the French, Napoleon was granted the title of Emperor, given the sovereignty of the island of Elba, off the coast of Italy, and granted an annual pension of 2 million francs from the French government.

Cartoon, ‘The journey of a modern hero, to the island of Elba’, by J. Phillips.

Cartoon, ‘The journey of a modern hero, to the island of Elba’, by J. Phillips.

This cartoon, by J. Phillips, was published in May 1814, and shows the disgraced emperor riding backwards on a donkey, a typical pose of humiliation, with his sword broken. The poem makes much of the immorality and consequences of his ambition.

Napoleon: A throne is only made of wood and cover’d with velvet

Donkey: The greatest events in human life is turn’d to a puff

Saddlebags: Materials for the history of my life and exploits. A bagful of Mathematical books for my study on ELBA.

The Journey of a modern Hero, to the Island of ELBA

Farewell my brave soldiers, my eagles adieu; Stung with my ambition, o’er the world ye flew; But deeds of disaster so sad to rehearse, I have lived — fatal truth for to know the reverse. From Moscow. from Lipsic; the case it is clear I was sent back to France with a flea in my ear. A lesson to mortals, regarding my fall; He grasps at a shadow; by grasping at all. My course it is finish’d my race it is run, My career it is ended just where it begun. The Empire of France no more it is mine, Because I can’t keep it I freely resign.

Lithograph of after the battle of Toulouse [MS 351/6 A4170/2]

Lithograph of after the battle of Toulouse [MS 351/6 A4170/2]

Whist the details of the abdication of Napoleon were being finalised in Paris, in the South of France and northern Spain the war continued. News had started to filter through of the defeat of Napoleon at Arcis-sur-Aube and that the House of Bourbon had been proclaimed at Paris, but until these reports were confirmed neither Marshal Soult, the commander of the French forces, nor Wellington as commander of the allied army, could think of suspending their operations. Thus on Easter Sunday, 10 April 1814, the allied forces attacked Soult’s forces holding Toulouse. Although there were subsequent actions at Bayonne on the 14th and Barcelona on the 16th, Toulouse marked the last major battle between the main allied and French armies before the final end of the war. The battle of Toulouse was to inflict heavy losses on the allied forces, with around 4,500 killed. The French retained control of the northern part of the Heights of Calvinet, but recognising that his position as untenable, and concerned that enemy cavalry was moving to cut him off, Soult decided to retreat to Carcassonne and left the city of Toulouse on the 11 April. Jubilant inhabitants invited Wellington to enter the city the following day, where he received news of the abdication of Napoleon that afternoon.

Wellington and Napoleon never faced each other on the battlefield throughout the years of the Napoleonic wars. This was to change in 1815, when they met for the first and only time at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June.

La Chateau et la Ferme d’Hougoumont

La Chateau et la Ferme d’Hougoumont, Waterloo [MS 351/6 A4170/7/4]

A MOOC on the Duke of Wellington and the battle of Waterloo, drawing on the Wellington archive at Southampton, and led by Karen Robson, Head of Archives, and Professor Chris Woolgar of the School of Humanities, will be given a re-run from 5 June 2017. Further details of this three week course will be available shortly.

In conjunction with this MOOC, the Special Collections will be mounting an exhibition in its Special Collections Gallery, 5-23 June, and there will be a Special Event on Saturday 17 June.  This will feature a private view of the exhibition, a lecture on the Waterloo Despatch, followed by tea and dancing with the Duke of Wellington’s Dancers.  For further details and to book for the event please go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wellington-and-waterloo-revisited-tickets-33522712335

We hope that you can join us on 17 June.

“A friend of science”: the first Duke of Wellington

In honour of Southampton Science and Engineering Week at the University (10-19 March), in conjunction with British Science Week, and the anniversary of the arrival of the Wellington Papers at the University on 17 March 1983, this blog will look at science and technology material within the Wellington Archive (MS 61).

The victory at Waterloo raised the first Duke of Wellington to a level of fame and prominence that ensured a tidal wave of correspondence, elements of which came from those discussing new discoveries or inventions, or seeking Wellington’s patronage and support. The material relating to scientific developments within the Wellington Archive ranges from a copy of the minutes of the council of the Royal Society relating to Charles Babbage’s calculating machine [MS 61 WP1/996/3]; correspondence regarding the discovery of the cause of magnetic variation in the compass and a law to predict the variation [MS 61 WP1/814/16]; to material on new medical apparatus to treat complaints such as headaches, gout or rheumatism [MS 61 WP2/110/52].

Lorenzo Giordano medical apparatus to treat rheumatism

Lorenzo Giordano medical apparatus to treat rheumatism [MS 61 WP2/110/52]

As a career soldier who rose to be the Commander in Chief of the army, Wellington had a interest in developments in military technology. He served as Master General of the Ordnance in the 1820s, a department that he described as being specially charged with “all military equipments, machines, inventions thereof and their improvement”. The archive includes correspondence with Colonel Shrapnel, the inventor of the shrapnel shell, and with Sir William Congreve, together with material relating to improvements in artillery. In a letter of August 1822, Congreve describes the results of experiments of his rockets and concludes that “under Your Grace’s patronage and protection, I feel confident of giving complete perfection to the rocket system in a very short time and making it not only the most powerful but also the most economical weapon that can be used”. [MS 61 WP1/718/6]

Not all inventions, however, were considered to have such potential. An artificial hill, suggested by a Captain of Marines in 1812, “which was nothing more than a high pole” on which Wellington might be hoisted to overlook the movement of the enemy forces, elicited the objection from Wellington: “Damn me, sir, I may tumble down to break my neck”. [MS 61 WP1/361 f. 1]  A steam war chariot designed by John George and Sons, although fascinating and frightening, does not seem to have progressed beyond the design stage.

John George steam war chariot

John George’s steam war chariot [MS 61 WP2/40/119]

Developments in steam and steam transportation in the early part of the nineteenth century are represented in the archive. There is material relating to the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in September 1830 which Wellington, as Prime Minister, attended. The event was sadly overshadowed by the tragic death of William Huskisson, the popular Member of Parliament for Liverpool, an occurrence that shocked the other dignitaries present and potentially coloured Wellington’s opinion of trains henceforth. His archive also contains correspondence relating to the development of steam coaching as an alternative to steam trains, and includes correspondence from Sir James Caleb Anderson, first Baronet, an inventor much interested in the development of steam coaching [MS 61 WP1/1003/21], as well as material on the journey made by one of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney’s steam carriages.

Sir Goldsworthy Gurney (1793-1875) was a surgeon and chemist as well as an inventor. During the period 1825 to 1829, Gurney built a number of steam-powered carriages intended to commercialise steam road transport. Whilst the earlier versions were not a success, a version designed to provide a separate carriage hauled by an engine made the journey from London to Bath in July 1829. Reaching an average speed of 15 mph, the journey is reputed to be the first undertaken by a mechanised vehicle at a sustained speed and pre-dated the journey of the Stephenson’s Rocket.

Steam carriage journey from London to Bath

Journey of Gurney’s steam carriage from London to Bath [MS 61 WP1/1034/29]

Wellington had connections with the engineer and inventor Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849), the father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, from the period of the Peninsular War, when Brunel undertook contracts for the government, including the supply of soldiers’ boots. Brunel was subsequently to suffer imprisonment for debt due to several unsuccessful projects and Wellington was one of those who pressed the government to secure his release. Brunel’s designs included the Île de Bourbon Suspension Bridge and the operation to build a tunnel under the River Thames. Work on the Thames Tunnel began in 1825 and was eventually completed in 1842.

Drawing of the elevation of a chain bridge over the River Tweed, and of a chain bridge designed by Brunel for the Île de Bourbon

Chain bridge over the River Tweed and a chain bridge designed by Brunel for the Île de Bourbon [MS 61 WP1/679/8]

For anyone wishing to explore a more modern take on science and technology the University of Southampton Science and Engineering Day, is on Saturday 18 March and will be a fitting finale to the week’s events. We hope you enjoy the day.

“Perfecting … that most important communication”: the London-Holyhead highway

1 March is St David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales. To mark this day we will look at a great technological feat of the early nineteenth century – the building of the London to Holyhead highway. A testament to Thomas Telford’s engineering and road building skills, the highway was considered the most sophisticated and advanced roadway of the period.

Nant Ffrancon

Highway at Nant Ffrancon

The Congleton family archive (MS 64) contains correspondence of Sir Henry Parnell, later first Baron Congleton, and Thomas Telford relating to construction of the highway. Parnell, Member of Parliament for Queen’s County in Ireland, as chair of London and Holyhead Road Committee set up under the Holyhead Road Act of 1815, oversaw the project.

The sea passage from Holyhead to Dublin had developed as the primary route to Ireland since the journey from Liverpool to Ireland was long and dangerous in rough weather. This route gained significance after the Act of Union when large numbers of politicians and civil servants had to make the journey regularly. Having landed in Holyhead, the journey by road Holyhead to London took 41 hours on poor quality roads, described as “miserable tracks” in places. Road-weary Irish politicians continually raised the problem in Parliament. Finally, under the Holyhead Roads Act of 1815, together with subsequent acts, loans were provided to improve the route. Thomas Telford was invited to survey the route and to supervise construction.

Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford (1757-1834) was born in Scotland and began his working career as an apprentice stonemason at the age of 14 years. By 1787 he was surveyor of public works for Shropshire and established a reputation as an engineer. In 1790 he was given the task of building a bridge over the River Severn at Montford, the first of around 40 bridges he built in the county. This led to his appointment in 1793 to manage the design and construction of the Ellesmere Canal, which included the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. After the completion of the Ellesmere Canal, Telford moved back to Scotland where he was involved in a massive project to improve the communications across Highland Scotland, including the building of Caledonian Canal, as well work on the construction of roads, bridges and harbours. It was this expertise that Telford brought to the London-Holyhead project. The project which began in 1815 was to take 11 years and involved the construction of various bridges, most notably the Menai Suspension Bridge and the suspension bridge at Conway, as well as the highway itself.

Parts of the road that were considered most dangerous were tackled first, with Telford applying methods that he had already put into practice in Scotland. In 1817 he noted in a letter to Sir Henry Parnell that although “much still remains to be done in order to ensure the perfecting and maintaining that most important communication” he was confident that Parnell would find “satisfactory progress on your return”. [MS 64/22/1/1 Telford to Sir Henry Parnell, 8 November 1817]

To resolve the danger for travellers crossing the Menai Straits using ferries, often battling the dangerous currents and high winds, Telford designed the Menai Suspension Bridge. Completed in January 1826, the Menai Bridge, was the biggest suspension bridge in the world at the time, with sixteen huge chains suspending nearly 600 feet of deck.

In a letter from April 1825, Telford describes the operation putting the first chain across the Straits:

“The first chain has been put across as quietly and as easily as I can wind my watch. From the time the first pin was put in on the Caernarvon shore to when the last pin was put in the top of the pyramid on the Anglesea shore, took just one hour and fifty minutes. The whole operation from moving the platform with the chain from the Caernarvon shore to final fixing in its situation 2h 10 m….”

[MS 64/22/1/4 Letter from Telford to Parnell, 26 April 1825]

Menai Suspension Bridge

Menai Suspension Bridge

A report of the official opening of the bridge in 1826, noted: “The horses trotted over it in their regular pace; and although a heavy gale of wind was blowing at the time, there was no perceptible difference in the motion of the coach, whether on the suspended road-way or on the masonry arches. About nine o’clock Sir Henry Parnell and Mr Telford crossed over the bridge in the travelling coach of the latter; and during the whole day visitors from all parts of Carnarvonshire and Anglesey passed over in their carriages, besides numerous foot passengers. In the evening the workmen who had been employed at the bridge were regaled with a substantial dinner and abundance of cwrw da [good beer]…”

The Menai Bridge is one, and certainly a notable example, of nearly 80 percent of ancillary structures constructed by Telford as part of the highway project that still survive today. Telford’s original embankment terraces still enable the modern A5 road to cling to the hillsides. And modern road surface is built on top rather than replacing Telford’s original foundation and surface.

So on this St David’s Day we celebrate the contribution of a great civil engineer and the enduring legacy he has made to the transport infrastructure of North Wales.

Signature of Thomas Telford

MS 64/22/1/1 Signature of Thomas Telford

 

Unlocking an archival treasure trove

Catalogues are the key to unlocking the treasure trove of archival material. We are therefore delighted to announce that descriptions for archive collections MS 301-400 now are available on the Special Collections website:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/cataloguedatabases/webguide1.page

Totalling several thousand boxes of material, the collections MS 301-400 provide an incredibly rich and diverse research resource. A significant proportion of the collections have some Anglo-Jewish focus, complementing the extensive Anglo-Jewish Archives already held at Southampton, but overall they have a broad thematic sweep.

New collections in strongroom

New collections in strongroom

Alongside those of Jewish organisations, such as notable collections for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (MS 302) or the Leo Baeck College, London (MS 316), are a range of material for individuals and families, such as Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler, Sir Robert Waley-Cohen, the Henriques family, Dr Schenier Levenberg and William Frankel, who was editor of the Jewish Chronicle, to name but a few.

It is particularly pleasing to note that there has been a slight increase in the number of collections reflecting the lives and work of Jewish women. These range from the archive of Marianne Ellenbogen (MS 324), a German Jew who escaped incarceration by the Nazis after her family were arrested in Germany in August 1943 and went on the run spending two years travelling across Germany, to Trude Dub, Leicester correspondence of Jewish Chronicle (MS 325), Dr Asenath Petrie, psychologist and poet (MS 349) and papers of Gladys, Lady Swaythling (MS 383).

Photocard of Marianne Ellenbogen

MS 324 A2007/1/9 Photocard of Marianne Ellenbogen

Amongst papers of Lady Swaythling relating to her voluntary and philanthropic work, is material for the Wounded Allied Committee and Belgian refugees at Allington Manor, a home of the Swaythlings that was donated as a military sanitorium during the First World War. The collection also includes much relating to social events, and contains dinner books kept by Lady Swaythling that provide a wonderful insight into the etiquette, diet and arrangement of dinner parties in the interwar years.

Belgian soldiers and staff at Allington Manor

MS 383 A4000/6/1/13 Belgian soldiers and staff at Allington Manor

There are a number of small, but significant, collections that complement the papers of the first Duke of Wellington held by the University. The correspondence of Wellington to Sir John Malcolm (MS 308) was used in the compilation of Wellington’s Dispatches and fits perfectly with a second collection, that of the papers of Lieutenant Colonel John Gurwood (MS 321), who was the editor of the Dispatches.  Gurwood served under Wellington during the Peninsular War and distinguished himself leading the forlorn hopes at the storming at Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo.  His archive includes material on his military service, including letters to his mother, 1810-12, alongside the papers relating to his work for Wellington compiling the Dispatches.  Another interesting Wellington related collection (MS 351/6) contains the scrimshaw nautilus shell, engraved by C.H.Wood, depicting Wellington on one side and St George slaying the dragon on the other, produced in the 1850s, together with a number of Peninsular War and Waterloo related illustrations.

Wellington at Waterloo

MS 351/6 A4170/2 Lithograph of Wellington at Waterloo

The papers of Alan Campbell-Johnson, a public relations specialist, who in February 1947 became the first and only press attaché to a Viceroy of India, represent a significant addition to the material held within the Broadands Archives (MS 62). Campbell-Johnson accompanied Lord Mountbatten for the transfer of power to the newly independent India and Pakistan and remained with Lord Mountbatten, while Mountbatten was the first Governor General of India. Campbell-Johnson sustained a connection with Mountbatten for the remainder of his life and his archive provides an insight into the management of the presentation of partition to the media and, in the long term, in the managing of historical reputation.

Frank Prince

MS 328 A834/1/11//10 Frank Prince

Frank Templeton Prince was at one time a professor of English at the University of Southampton and his archive (MS 328) is just one of a number of collections with connections to the University. Prince was a poet of some renown, probably best remembered for his collection Soldiers Bathing (1954), the title poem of which is one of the most anthologised poems of the Second World War. He was admired by and influenced the New York school, a group of writers that flourished in the 1960s. His work has been somewhat overlooked more recently, however, and the archive has been a major resource in a reassessment of Prince’s poetry and legacy.

Finally, we turn to the Montse Stanley Knitting Collection. Montserrat Bayés Sopena was committed to bringing to a wider audience both creative knitting and the history of knitting. The Montse Stanley Knitting Collection at the Hartley Library comprises her working papers, photographs, postcards and illustrations (MS 331) together with a wide range of over 800 knitted objects and garments and small tools and sample yarns (MS 332): an invaluable resource for all aspects of knitting as well as for social history.

Silk purse shaped as a pineapple

MS 332/50/10/3 Silk purse shaped as a pineapple

Printed material from the Montse Stanley collection now forms part of the Knitting Reference Library at the Winchester School of Art Library.

We hope that you enjoy looking through the catalogue descriptions and perhaps find that serendipity moment when you make a delightful discovery of something unexpected.

User perspective: a postgraduate’s experience in using the Special Collections for the first time

To coincide with Postgraduate Open Day, MA student Jenny Whitaker reflects on her experience of using the Special Collections.

Jenny Whitaker, MA student

Jenny Whitaker

The Hartley Library’s Special Collections are one of the University of Southampton’s greatest assets, but as an undergraduate student studying here I must confess I didn’t fully get to grips with the scale and variety of the resources available. In several recent MA History Research Skills sessions, which have involved examining just a few of the Collection’s myriad resources, I came to appreciate much more fully the richness of the material we are lucky enough to have here at Southampton. Our focus during the classes has been on specific issues, such as the process of documentation or the role of numbers in historical sources. Whilst these criteria helped to focus our academic attention and regard the sources in new ways, for me the most striking aspect of the Collections is the sense of having history at one’s fingertips. Nothing, for me, engages the mind on a historical question, figure, or event, in quite the same way as a primary source in your hands. Deciphering elegant but illegible historical handwriting and tracing life stories through ledgers are activities which can seem to many the preserve of the only most established academics. However, the Special Collections is highly accessible and welcoming. Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the material for me was its incredible liveliness; especially the evocativeness of individual handwriting styles and notes taken in the margins. Moreover, whilst archival research is usually driven by a precise aim or question, it often seems to throw up serendipitous little pieces of information which a researcher would not have anticipated, or amusing snapshots of past lives. One such occurrence, spotted by an eagle-eyed classmate, occurs in an eighteenth-century account book detailing payments made to the servants of one Henry Temple; a payment has been made to a ‘cook maid’ by the eerily appropriate name of Mary Berry.  Strange coincidences aside, interacting with the Special Collections has been an incredibly interesting and insightful experience, and one I’m looking forward to repeating as my postgraduate career continues.

Mary Berry, cook maid

MS 62 BR 10/1/1 Mary Berry, cook maid, listed as staff at Broadlands, 1740

Waterloo & MS 300: Peninsular War papers of S.G.P. Ward

Last year’s celebrations for the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo saw many commemorative events to mark the famous Allied victory of 18th June 1815. Conferences, lectures and new publications continued the historical debate on the history and significance of the Peninsular War. Waterloo has exerted a powerful influence on the public imagination for over 200 years – many contemporaries visited the battlefield as tourists, recording their experiences in works of art and literature. Souvenir engravings and maps, and exhibitions of paintings and artefacts relating to the battle, were popular at the time:

Chateau of Hougoumont

‘An entrance to the Chateau of Hougoumont: “It was here that the great battle of the 18th began…. the house was set fire to… and all the wounded perished in the flames.”’

The Barn at La Haye Sainte

‘The Barn at La Haye Sainte: “It was in this extensive building that more than 500 hundred limbs were amputated – what hospital of contemporary establishment can vie with it.”’

MS 300 A4011/16/2: sketches by Robert Hills of the ‘important scenes of action about the plains of Waterloo’, c. July 1815, published in The Illustrated London News, December 1945

These sketches are part of a series drawn by Robert Hills a few weeks after the battle. Note the slightly sensational captions which he has added to the scenes!

The Hill sketches were published in the Christmas 1945 edition of The Illustrated London News. A copy can be found in MS 300, the Peninsular War papers of Stephen George Peregrine Ward, military historian. These were donated to the University of Southampton along with his notable Peninsular War library. It is no coincidence that there was renewed interest in the study of the Napoleonic Wars in the post-WWII era: Mr Ward had served in Western Command during the Second World War, during which time he was introduced to the administrative problems of running a general staff and to the Murray papers in the National Library of Scotland. This, together with the acquisition of many of the Peninsular War items from the library of Sir Charles Oman, c. 1946, was the genesis of Ward’s work on the Peninsula, leading to his Oxford B.Litt. thesis, published as Wellington’s headquarters: a study of the administrative problems in the Peninsula, 1809-1814 (Oxford, 1957) and Wellington, (London, 1963).

Sir George Murray

Sir George Murray

MS 300 A4011/15/8ix: an engraving of Rt. Hon. Gen. Sir George Murray G.C.B., F.R.S., painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, engraved by H.Meyer, published by Fisher, Son & Co., (London 1831)

We have recently catalogued an additional deposit of S.G.P. Ward’s papers held in the Special Collections at the University of Southampton. MS 300 A4011 includes a copy of his B.Litt. thesis and a number of his publications, articles and lectures. Ward was working on a biography of Major General Sir George Murray, Wellington’s Quartermaster General in the Peninsula. The work remained unfinished at his death, but Ward’s typescript draft – which includes complete chapters – as well as many of his research notes, form a valuable resource for historians. An acknowledged expert, Ward wrote the Oxford D.N.B. entry for Sir George Murray – which is current today.

Another useful part of this collection is the large number of photographic prints of portraits and paintings – both of Murray and his family, as well as of generals and military figures of different nationalities – from the Napoleonic period.

Ward acquired original manuscript material as well as copies and transcripts of archive sources relating to the Peninsular War. An unusual example is the Commissariat papers of Henry Whitmarsh c. 1812-14, (MS 351/7 A4237). These shed light on the logistical problems involved in moving large numbers of cattle between army depots in the Iberian Peninsula – essential for the maintenance of Wellington’s army. We learn that Henry had expected promotion, but was disappointed, and he complains that many gentlemen were obliged to return to England for their promotion.

In ‘Notes by Brigadier General Pack respecting Almeida’ (MS 351/9 A4242) we read a first-hand account of Brigadier General Sir Denis Pack’s experiences in the Peninsula in April and May 1811. The notes were enclosed in a letter to a friend dated 22 May 1811 and both are full of interesting detail. Pack’s Portuguese brigade, under the orders of Major General Campbell, was to support the blockade of the French garrison at Almeida: “On the 3rd [May] about 2 o’clock a.m. I received orders to relieve all the picquets of [Campbell’s] division with my brigade to which, with the addition of an English battalion (the Queen’s 400 strong) and 2 guns, I was informed the blockade was intrusted under my direction. A more distressingly anxious command I never had – Massena’s first attack on Lord Wellington’s lines (distant about 5 miles) commenced at 10 o’clock that day. The garrison almost immediately became emboldened, stronger picquets than usual were sent out from it; frequent skirmishes ensued and signals were distinctly made by rockets, guns, and lights, which were answered by the enemy’s army or from Ciudad Rodrigo.” When the French garrison escaped, Pack and his picquets pursued them all the way to the bridge over the River Aguedo at Barba de Puerco. General Campbell and his men arrived “most critically at the moment [the enemy] was making good his retreat across the Agueda – ten minutes sooner would have placed him in safety – ten minutes later, and his destruction would have been inevitable; as it was in killed, wounded, drowned and prisoners I should imagine he lost nearly half his men.”

To find out more, why not visit the Archives and Manuscripts to view the manuscript collections.

Ardour in the Archives: Valentine’s Day Special

In the western world it’s hard to miss that 14th February is Valentine’s Day. You might choose to mark the occasion – or perhaps you feel exasperated with the increasing commercialisation suggesting we must spend money on gifts to express our love. Whatever your perspective we hope you enjoy this delve into the Broadlands Archives to find some accounts of love and marriage from centuries past. The Special Collections hold extensive family papers for the Temple family, Viscounts Palmerston, who once lived at the Broadlands estate near Romsey.

Matrimonial ladder

MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR34/6 Matrimonial ladder

Writing to her future husband, the second Viscount Palmerston, nearly 250 years ago Frances Poole has concerns but not, she professes, of the monetary kind:

[Saturday night, 12 o’clock (1767)]…not being able to persuade myself that I am young enough, or amiable enough, to insure you lasting happiness: I say nothing of not being rich enough, for scruples of that kind may be carried to a degree that is not generous; besides I could not have a serious thought of any body that could be influenced by things of that sort.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR16/9/3]

The second Viscount replies with reassurance: [Thursday night, eleven o’clock] “How lasting happiness is likely to be anybody’s lot I do not know but this I know that I must find it with you or nowhere.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR16/9/4]

They were married later that year but sadly Frances died in childbirth less than two years later.

The second Viscount Palmerston was lucky enough to find love for a second time. He married Mary Mee on 5 January 1783 and they had four children. There is extensive correspondence between Henry and Mary which clearly shows they were happily devoted to each other. In a letter from 1782 Palmerston talks of “how much I think of her and long for her society”. [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR20/1/9]

Henry and Mary’s eldest son was Henry John Temple, the future third Viscount Palmerston, Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister. Palmerston earned himself the nickname “cupid” because of his many romantic liaisons.

Palmerston did eventually settle down marrying his long-standing mistress, the recently widowed Emily, Lady Cowper. The Archives contains the poem he wrote for her on their tenth wedding anniversary:

“To Emily, Sunday morning, 16 December 1849

Ten quick revolving years have past

Since hand in hand securely claspt

Before that altar bending low

We pledged the heartfelt marriage vow…”

[MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR23AA/2/1]

Reflections on war and warfare: Week 30 (22 – 28 September 2014)

As of March 2014, we are posting weekly extracts of writings on war and warfare drawn from our manuscript and printed collections. Ranging from items on the Maratha wars to the Second World War, the extracts will reflect opinions both from the battle front and from those at home.

22 September 1855 The fall of Sebastopol
The Black Sea port of Sebastopol, on the south-west coast of the Crimea, was the main naval base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The capture or destruction of this stronghold became the main military object of the allied armies opposing Russia during the Crimean War. Sebastopol endured an 11-month siege before finally capitulating on 9 September 1855. The loss of Sebastopol was a factor in Russia ceding peace the following year.

“It appears that a month or three weeks ago the Emperor of Russia wrote to the King of Prussia that Nakchamoff [Vice Admiral Nakhimov] reported he would defend Sebastopol as long as the Czar chose. The account of its capture therefore came by surprize upon them… If we can keep a larger force in the Crimea during the winter than the Russians can and I think this must be so, the Russian army will retreat from fear of being cut off…”

MS 62 PP/GC/RU/492 Letter from Lord John Russell to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, 22 September 1855


22 September 1918 The Allied Balkan victory
In September 1918, the Allies (France, Montenegro, Russia and Serbia) succeeded in breaking through on the Macedonian front. Despite being stopped by the Bulgarian force at Dojran, Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was forced to sue for peace. Bulgaria capitulated and Serbia was liberated.

“Isn’t the news wonderful from this front! I wonder how far our advance will have gone by the time this reaches you. I have it straight from the Staff that that main Turkish force in Palestine has been hopelessly cut up, and it is doubtful whether they will be able to make another stand!”

MS 116/8 AJ 14 Volume of typescript ‘excerpts’ from letters from H.D. Myer, 22 September 1918


23 September 1940  The King and Queen visit the East End
George VI and his wife had resolved to stay in London, despite German bombing raids and, on 13 September, they narrowly avoided death when two German bombs exploded in a courtyard at Buckingham Palace.  In defiance, the Queen famously declared: “I am glad we have been bombed. It makes me feel we can look the East End in the face”. Throughout the war, the King and Queen provided morale-boosting visits throughout the United Kingdom including to bomb sites and munitions factories.

The following extract is from Miss Edith Ramsey’s autobiographical reflections on life in Stepney during the War.  Ramsey had lived in Stepney since 1920 and describes it as the “point of arrival” for Jews in England; prior to the war she worked as the Principal of an evening institute arranging classes for teenagers and adults.

“On 23 September, 1940, King George VI and the Queen, now the beloved Queen Mother, visited Stepney and talked to air raid victims in the wards of the London Hospital.  That day was the 200th anniversary of the meeting in a city tavern, when ‘seven gentlemen foregathered and subscribed 100 Guineas to be used for an intended new infirmary’ – the foundation of the London Hospital.”

MS 116/82 AJ 221 Typescript of “Life in Stepney during World War II, 1939-45” by Edith Ramsey


24 September 1939
Death of Sigmund Freud

“Sigmund Freud died just before midnight last night – one of the great men of all time! The Germans destroyed his works, & stole his property – immortal shame!”

MS 168 AJ 217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 24 September 1939


27 September 1810 Battle of Busaco
As part of his plan for the defence of Portugal, Wellington ordered the construction of a series of impenetrable defensive positions in the region around Madrid, known as the Lines of Torres Vedras. Work began in the autumn of 1809 with the first line completed one year later. Following the third French invasion of Portugal in 1810, Wellington’s Anglo-Portuguese army, occupying the heights at Busaco, were able to beat of the French forces on 27 September. Following the battle, Marshal André Masséna found a way round Wellington’s northern flank, forcing the Allied forces to fall back behind the lines. However, Wellington’s scorched earth policy meant that the French army would soon be brought to a standstill in a barren land. As indicated in the below passage, the real threat facing the invading French force would be starvation.

“We have been engaged with the enemy for the last three days, and I think we shall be attacked again to-morrow; as I understand they must carry our position, on which, however, they have as yet made no impression, or starve.”

WP1/312/310 Copy of a letter from Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley, first Viscount Wellington, Convent of Busaco, to Charles Stuart, British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Portugal, 27 September 1810