Category Archives: Manuscript Collections

2018 – Year in Review

As we move in to 2019 and new endeavours, we take a moment to reflect on some of the Special Collection activities of the previous year.

Exhibitions and events

2018 saw a programme of very different exhibitions hosted by Special Collections. The first exhibition of the year in the Special Collections Gallery and Level 4 Gallery was Print and Process, 1 March to 8 June. The exhibition, which revealed and identified a broad range of print processes, included prints from the Library’s Special Collections, from the University Art Collection and from Fine Art students at the Winchester School of Art.

Print in Process exhibition

Print and Process exhibition

In late June, we held a conference on Basque child refugees together with the Basque Children 37 Association and the University’s School of Modern Languages. In conjunction with this Special Collections played host to the exhibition In Search of the Basque children: From Bilbao to Southampton by the Salford based artist Claire Hignett. Inspired by the archives of the Basque child refugees, Claire Hignett’s exhibition used the properties of domestic textiles to explore memory and the items we keep as souvenirs of our lives.

Floor game from Claire Hignett exhibition

Floor game exhibit from the Claire Hignett exhibition

The autumn exhibitions under the title The Great War Remembered formed part of the University’s Great War, Unknown War programme marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. My War, My Story in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery drew on the Special Collections to present a range of stories from the First World War, including of the University War Hospital at the Highfield campus. We were delighted to have on loan as part of this exhibition the oil painting The Shadow of Cross of War, A Night Scene in University War Hospital, 1918 by William Lionel Wyllie. On show in the Level 4 Gallery were John Garfield: Armistice 1918 – The Cost a photographic journey through cemeteries and memorials of the Great War, and My Ancestor, Their Story which drew on family material from members of staff and students at the University.

Soldier of the Great War

In addition to the research sessions and visits for our own students – such as that mentioned in a blog by Dr Jonathan Conlin – we have an on-going series of events and visits for external visitors. These have included themed drop-in sessions on local history and nineteenth-century society and sessions showcasing British culture for Chinese teachers in June. Special Collections took part in Hands-on Humanities for the second year in a row in November 2018, running interactive events relating to handwriting and printing and creating a digital mosaic image from the items created on the day.

Writing and printing activities at Hands-on Humanities Day

Writing and printing activities at Hands-on Humanities Day

We hosted a visit by the Hampshire Archives Trust, including a talk about the history of the University War Hospital and a private view to The Great War Remembered exhibitions, on Saturday 1 December. Special Collections also ran workshops on promoting collections as part of the Southern University Libraries Network training day on Tuesday 11 December.

Social media

As well as the on-going programme for the Special Collections blog, highlights of which are mentioned below, autumn saw the move from using Facebook to the new Twitter account@hartleyspecialc Features on Twitter so far have included tweets about unusual items in the collections and a glimpse behind the scenes for the national Explore Your Archive campaign and extracts of a student account of armistice 1918.

Sample of knitted spaghetti, one of the unusual items featured on Twitter for Explore Your Archive

Sample of knitted spaghetti, one of the unusual items featured on Twitter for Explore Your Archive

The past year marked a range of anniversaries tied to the collections and blog features have included: the 35th anniversary of the arrival of the Wellington Archive at Southampton on St Patrick’s day 1983; the coronation of Queen Victoria in June 1838; the anniversary of the birth of Isaac Watts, father of English hymnology and son of Southampton; and the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS. Some of the commemorative days featured have been International Women’s Day; Knit in Public Day; National Sporting Heritage Day; Dear Diary Day; Read a Book Day focusing on the dangerous art of reading for women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and British Polo Day.

During May we ran a series of blogs on resources relating to Ireland in Special Collections, such as the poem Farewell to Killarney. Heywood Sumner; the celebrated Hampshire naturalist Dr Canning Suffern; William Mogg, a Southampton-born sailor who was involved in Arctic exploration in the 1820s; Richard St Barbe Baker; Charlie Chaplin and, to mark the start of the World Cup, Lord Mountbatten and his association with football organisations, were some of the individuals to be the subject of blogs. The art of watercolours, cooking for court and countryside, China in the 1880s and botanical treasures of Stratfield Saye are some of the other subjects that have featured. University related blogs focused on the student societies – the Boat Club and the Scout and Guide Club – the University as a War Hospital and what the library accession registers showed about cooperation during the Second World War.

New collections

There was an increased volume of new archive material acquired by the Special Collections during the year. Of particular significance was the Honor Frost Archive, which provides a fascinating insight into the work of a pioneering figure in the field of maritime archaeology. We also were fortunate to acquire a small collection of material relating to Sir Denis Pack, one of the Duke of Wellington’s generals in the Peninsular war, and additional collections of papers of Basque child refugees.

Another significant new collection that arrived during 2018 was the Rollo Woods music collection. Rollo Woods (1925-2018) was a former Deputy Librarian at the University of Southampton, but also a leading expert on folk music who wrote several books on the subject. He was a founder member of the Madding Crowd, the Purbeck Village Quire and the West Gallery Music Association. In 2015 Rollo was awarded the gold badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society for a lifetime of work promoting the folk arts. His collection includes manuscripts of music that he acquired and his working papers relating to his research on West Gallery Music.

Pages from a Dorset carol book, 1803: part of the Rollo Woods music collection [MS 442/1/2]

Pages from a Dorset carol book, 1803: part of the Rollo Woods music collection [MS442/1/2]

The most recent acquisition has been the papers of Gertrude Long. This collection contains a wealth of hitherto unseen images of the University War Hospital, complementing the papers of Fanny Street, another VAD who worked at the Hospital, and whose papers are another recent arrival.

Fanny Street (centre) with her fellow VADs Jennie Ford and Ethel Taylor

Fanny Street (centre) with her fellow VADs [MS416/13/4]

Looking ahead to 2019

With the imminent arrival of further acquisitions, new cataloguing projects, a programme of exhibitions – opening with The Leonardo Link: Image-Making from Anatomy to Code on 18 February 2019 – the Wellington Congress 2019 on 12-13 April and Jewish Archives Month in June, it is already looking to be an active year. 2019 is also the centenary year of the move of the University to the Highfield campus and Special Collections will be contributing to celebrations for this. Look out for the first Highfield Campus 100 blog at the end of the month.

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The Gertrude Long collection

The Special Collections is delighted to have acquired a new collection of material that sheds further light on the University as a war hospital. This follows the recent exhibition My War, My Story in the Special Collections Gallery in late 2018, that included a notebook of Gertrude Long from her time as a laboratory assistant at the Hospital.

Gertrude Long (2nd from right at back) and colleagues

Gertrude Long (2nd from right at back) and colleagues [MS101/8 A4303/1/2/2]

Gertrude Long, along with her sister, were members of the Volunteer Aid Detachments (or VADs) who provided various auxiliary as well as nursing support at the University War Hospital. Born in Campton Pauncefoot, Somerset, in 1892, Gertrude Long worked in the capacity of chief laboratory assistant at the Hospital from June 1916 until March 1919. She was to continue working in laboratories for the remainder of her career. Captain William Fletcher, RAMC, the pathologist, who is featured in the photograph above, highly rated her organisational ability and credited her with ensuring that the work at Southampton ran more smoothly than in any other laboratory in which he had worked.

Certificate granted to Gertrude Long in recognition of her services during the war [MS101/8 A4303/2/7]

Certificate granted to Gertrude Long in recognition of her services during the war [MS101/8 A4303/2/7]

The new collection, which contains numerous photographs of the staff and patients, provides a valuable new resource that documents the work at the University War Hospital during the First World War.

Work at Hospital Laboratory [MS101/8 A4303/1/3/2]

Work at Hospital Laboratory [MS101/8 A4303/1/3/2]

The University War Hospital was only a ten-minute run from the docks and designated VAD staff met each ship and were responsible for the process of disembarkation and transportation of the wounded to the hospitals in Southampton. A number of women VADs were part of the team who drove ambulances transporting the patients to the War Hospital.

VAD driver with one of the Red Cross ambulances used to transport patients [MS101/8 A4303/1/29]

VAD driver with one of the Red Cross ambulances [MS101/8 A4303/1/29]

Professional nurses employed by the Hospital were assisted by VAD nurses who did much of the less technical tasks in caring for the patients. The work was extremely hard and nursing staff generally worked shifts of up to 12 hours. The Hospital facilities could be cramped and rather spartan.

Wounded being treated at the University War Hospital [MS101/8 A4303/1/35]

Wounded being treated at the University War Hospital [MS101/8 A4303/1/35]

With the original buildings for the University College soon unable to house the quantity of wounded that were being sent for treatment, a number of wooden huts were built to the rear of the main buildings to act as wards.

Sister Paling and patients from hut 13 [MS101/8 A4303/1/28]

Sister Paling and patients from Hut 13 [MS101/8 A4303/1/28]

The wounded treated at the Hospital came from units drawn from across the UK and from overseas. The photograph below is signed from the “New Zealand rowdies, Hut 1”.

New Zealand soldiers treated at the University War Hospital [MS101/8 A4303/1/54]

New Zealand soldiers treated at the University War Hospital [MS101/8 A4303/1/54]

The cessation of hostilities in November 1918 did not mean that the Highfield site immediately stopped functioning as a hospital. The buildings were not formally handed back to the University until well into 1919, making 2019 the centenary of the move of the University to the Highfield campus. Special Collections will be posting monthly blogs documenting the development of University life at Highfield from 1919 onwards. Look out for the first of these later this month.

“Encourage the reading, help the readers, and to promote the cause, of Jewish books”: The Jewish Book Council

To mark 41 years since the formation of the Jewish Book Council, we take a look at the sources we hold relating to the organisation in MS385.

Jewish Book Week event, 1952 [MS385 A4040 4/1]

Jewish Book Week event, 1952 [MS385 A4040/4/1]

Similar to The National Book Council in promoting the cause of books, the Jewish Book Council was formed with the intention to “encourage the reading, help the readers, and to promote the cause, of Jewish books.” The organisation wished to act as the common connection for all Jewish education, voluntary workers for Israel and Jewries of Europe, and Jewish youth clubs and societies.

The Council started in 1947 as a small group of people led by Dr George Webber, who was a Hebraist and lifelong book fanatic. At the time, there were few Jewish educational activities, and so Webber had the idea of forming an annual festival of lectures accompanied by a book display, which would be called Jewish Book Week. From its beginnings, Jewish Book Week was a community event, and held annually at Woburn House in central London. Various organisations were associated with it, such as the B’nai B’rith and the World Jewish Congress, which also arranged evening lectures as part of the event.

As a public event Jewish Book Week attracts members from across the whole Jewish community.

Aiming to “help and advise the Jewish reader”, the activities of the Council in its early days included composing lists of books (mainly by Anglo-Jewish authors), which they believed should be available for reference or loan in every synagogue, Jewish Society or Club. Other activities of the Council included publishing supplementary lists, helping to arrange exhibitions of Jewish books, and discussing with Public Libraries extension of their collection of Jewish books.

Jewish Book Council introductory leaflet [MS 385 A4040 1/2]

Jewish Book Council introductory leaflet, undated [MS385 A4040/1/2]

The main activity of the Jewish Book Council is organising Jewish Book Week, now an annual event in the Anglo-Jewish calendar. During the early years of the Council, this event involved a short series of evening talks on literary topics, and small amounts of books displayed and sold. Over time, Jewish Book Week has advanced and expanded, with more emphasis placed on the exhibition and sale of books, resulting in lectures and books having equal value in the annual event. A myriad of literary works are now displayed each year, with books from as far as America and Israel, as well as the United Kingdom.

Jewish Book Week leaflet, 1975 [MS 385 A4040 3/2]

Jewish Book Week leaflet, 1975 [MS385 A4040/3/2]

The lectures held as part of the Jewish Book Week have expanded over the years, with programmes arranged for the morning and afternoon, and for target audiences, such as children, women, senior citizens, and Ecumenists. Some of the outstanding lectures conducted at Book Week have included Professor Jonathan Frankel of the Hebrew University speaking about the Jews of Russia in 1981, and an event marking fifty years after the Anschluss in 1988, which included a performance of a string quartet by Joseph Horowitz, specially composed to mark the event, and talks by George Clare and Richard Grunberger.

Jewish Book Council summer lunchtime lecture series advertisement, 1987

Jewish Book Council summer lunchtime lecture series advertisement, 1987 [MS385 A4040/2/3]

The exhibitions at Jewish Book Week have also developed over time with a trade day provided for publishers, booksellers, and librarians. Jewish Book Week has become such a big event in the Jewish community, that Jewish publishers time the release of books of Jewish interest to fall on the dates of the event.

Jewish Book Week exhibition leaflet, 1971 [MS385 A4040 3/1]

Jewish Book Week exhibition leaflet, 1971 [MS385 A4040/3/1]

Over the years, the Jewish Book Council has built up its activities to cater for children, forming a school programme. Every Jewish primary school in the London areas has been invited to send its top class to Jewish Book Week. In doing this the Council have recognised the long-term need of helping schools arranged their own book events so that all children can participate. To encourage further involvement, the Council also organise a nationwide poetry competition, under the patronage of the Chief Rabbi.

An entry for the Jewish Book Council poetry competition c.1993 [MS385 A4040 3/20/2]

Part of an entry for the Jewish Book Council poetry competition c.1993 [MS385 A4040 3/20/2]

The Jewish Book Council used to receive most of its funding and all of its administrative assistance from the Jewish Memorial Council (JMC). Other organisations that provided small contributions included the Association of Jewish Refugees, Federation of Women Zionists, and the World Jewish Congress.

In 1979, the Council experienced financial difficulties and was almost forced to close down. Determined to keep the Council going, chairman of the Council at the time, Joe Lehter, helped make the executive decision for the organisation to operate on a voluntary and independent basis. Following this change, many people have served on the executive committee and have worked tirelessly to keep the event going and make it prosper. In recent years the Council has come to a sponsorship arrangement with the Jewish Chronicle.

Jewish Book Week leaflet reflecting sponsorship by Jewish Chronicle, 1994 [MS385 4040 4/2]

Jewish Book Week leaflet reflecting sponsorship by Jewish Chronicle, 1994 [MS385 A4040/4/2]

Jewish Book Week has expanded over the years outside its traditional venue in central London – many small communities in London have been encouraged to run their own book fairs based on the Jewish Book Week format and there have been events in Cambridge, Manchester, and Glasgow.

Jewish Book Council Newsletter  [MS385 A4040 2/2]

Jewish Book Council Newsletter, 1986 [MS385 A4040/2/2]

Today Jewish Book Week takes place at the Royal National Hotel in Bedford Way, a much larger venue than their previous venue Woburn House. The event is the second oldest literary festival in the UK, and administers the Risa Domb-Porjes Prize for Hebrew-English translation.

The Jewish Book Council collection that we hold mainly contains material relating to Jewish Book week, 1952-2004, together with papers relating to the formation of the trust and charitable status, council minutes, 1974-87, correspondence, reports and accounts.

Here is a quote from a letter written from Motzoei Shabbat Vayikra to Dr Geo J. Webber, founder of the Jewish Book Council, 15 March 1975 [MS 385 A4040 2/1] :

“A magnificent book week. Lectures good, attendances excellent and to me, more important than all else sales of £1, 220 worth of books which means that more people will have more books to take home and who knows – read. In addition I have been invited to set up book-selling units in the J.F.S. and at Carmel College. Also perhaps bookstalls at Jewish Youth Clubs… In all events at no time between 9.50 am and 10.30pm was there less than six or seven people looking at the books… Some people returned three and four times.”

You can find out more about how Jewish Book Week takes place today at the following webpages:

http://www.jewishbookweek.com/

https://vimeo.com/jewishbookweek

Jewish Book Week Logo

Jewish Book Week Logo

 

Letting the violin sing: the acoustics of auditoriums

Possibly one of the best known and most widely distributed musical instruments, the violin is honoured on National Violin Day held on 13 December each year. Recognised early for its singing tone, it developed in the Renaissance from earlier bowed instruments, including the medieval fiddle, the lira da braccio and the rebec.

Students at a study day at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, 1994

Students at a study day at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, 1994 [MS1/Phot/19/299]

Creating the perfect acoustics for concert halls or auditoriums, that allow the violin to sing, depends on factors such as reverberation or the avoidance of echo. The stimulus of reverberation had been recognised as far back as ancient Rome, with Horace writing of poets who recited their poems at the Roman baths: “How sweetly the enclosed space responds to the voice”. It was the American physicist Wallace Clement Sabine (1868-1919) who developed Sabine’s law, which stated that the product of the reverberation time multiplied by the total absorptivity of the room is proportional to the volume of the room. He thus created a formula that architects and engineers could use when designing a concert hall to achieve the best reverberation time for their particular venue.

Construction of Turner Sims Concert Hall [MS373 A3048/3[

Construction of Turner Sims Concert Hall [MS373 A3048/4/1]

The Turner Sims Concert Hall at the University is much valued for recording due to its fine acoustics. In 1967, Miss Margaret Grassam Sims had left the University a bequest which enabled the building of a concert hall to be named Turner Sims in honour of her father. The Concert Hall that opened in 1974, after many revisions to the project, was, according to Professor Peter Evans of Music, “a most effective and attractive auditorium for music”. The acoustics of this hall were the work of the Institute of Sound and Vibration at the University with Professor Philip Ellis Doak acting as a consultant.

The Special Collections holds a small collection of material for Professor Doak (MS373) that relates to his work as consultant on the Turner Sims Concert Hall, including questionnaires relating to tests for the reverberation times of the hall.

Questionnaire from reverberation test on Turner Sims Concert Hall [MS373 A3048/3]

Questionnaire from reverberation test at Turner Sims Concert Hall, c.1974 [MS373 A3048/3]

The Special Collections holds further archive collections relating to acoustics: (MS337) Dr Raymond Stephens and British Acoustical Society; (MS339) Peter Parkin who had a long career in an advisory role at the British Research Establishment; (MS340) the architectural theorist and acoustician (Philip) Hope Edward Bagenal (1888–1979), amongst whose important acoustic projects was the Royal Festival Hall, London; (MS341) Hugh Creighton, who acted as consultant on a range of acoustic projects in the UK, including for the Barbican Centre, London; and (MS342) Keith Rose, who was a consultant for the BBC.

So the next time that you attend a concert or a lecture in an auditorium, spare a thought to those hardworking individuals who have contributed to the perfection of the acoustics.

British Polo Day: Lord Mountbatten and Polo

To mark British Polo Day on the 9th December, which takes place at Jaipur in Northern India, we take a look at our sources relating to polo in the Mountbatten Papers.

“I’ve gone completely dippy about polo, which in my opinion is the best game in the world” [Mountbatten to Prince Albert, 25 January 1922]

Lord Louis Mountbatten on a polo pony, New Barnet, 1923 [MB1/L2/92]

Lord Louis Mountbatten on a polo pony, New Barnet, 1923 [MB1/L2/92]

Polo is a horseback mounted sport, and was invented in northeastern India. The sport was promoted by officers of the British military in the mid-19th century, and is now internationally popular.

The sport is played by two opposing teams with the aim of scoring goals by hitting a small hard ball with a long-handled wooden mallet through the opposing team’s goal. Each team consists of four riders, and the game usually lasts for 2 hours, divided into periods called chukkas.

Lord Louis Mountbatten and the rest of the Warspite polo team, Mandelieu Polo Club, c. January 1927 [MB2/L4/210]

Lord Louis Mountbatten and the rest of the Warspite polo team, Mandelieu Polo Club, c. January 1927 [MB2/L4/210]

In 1921, Mountbatten played his first game in Jodhpur, India. He learnt that it would take practice to become good at polo, which included being a good equestrian. In 1923, he took a month’s course in military equitation with the Life Guards. This, along with coaching by specialists, and a scientific study of his weaknesses, helped him become an exceptional player. As a captain, he helped teams reach achievements that they had not previously, such as the Bluejackets nearly winning the Inter-Regiment trophy twice. The success was a result of detailed discussion and practice. One rule Mountbatten implemented was the team calling each other by their Christian names, which gave the players the opportunity to interpret what the caller was thinking, and to respond appropriately.

“He was the perfect captain, both on and off the field… On the field he never got rattled or bad-tempered. And no matter how silly one was he was always forgiving and encouraging.” [‘Mountbatten and Polo’ by Sir Robert Neville, pp.23-4, MB1/L291]

Lord Louis Mountbatten kissing Queen Mary's hand at the prize-giving ceremony after the Duke of York's Cup polo match, Ranelagh, 1 July 1931 [MB2/L4/211

Lord Louis Mountbatten kissing Queen Mary’s hand at the prize-giving ceremony after the Duke of York’s Cup polo match, Ranelagh, 1 July 1931 [MB2/L4/211]

Mountbatten was not only interested in playing polo, but also improving and refining the sport, going so far as to construct and patent an oval-shaped head to the polo stick which provided “loft and length and a strong head.” [‘Mountbatten and Polo’ by Sir Robert Neville, p.14, MB1/L291] The head was named the R.N.P.A. head, which stands for Royal Naval Polo Association. Mountbatten gave the patent rights to the RNPA, which resulted in them receiving large quantities of royalties for many years.

Frustrated with the existing books on polo not meeting the requirements of a complete beginner, Mountbatten decided to write his own, with the assistance of Peter Murphy. An Introduction to Polo by ‘Marco’ was translated into Spanish and French, and became the bible for all polo-players. Referring to what he learnt when he first started playing polo, Mountbatten begins the first chapter on horsemanship with the following lines:

“Before you start to play polo, make sure that you are able to concentrate on your hitting without having to be busy riding. If you have never ridden in your life, begin by taking lessons from someone competent to give them, for you can’t satisfactorily teach yourself.” [An Introduction to Polo by ‘Marco’ (1931, London), p.3.]

An Introduction to Polo by ‘Marco’ (1937, London) MB6 K3a

An Introduction to Polo by ‘Marco’ (1937, London) MB6/K3a

Mountbatten was also interested in the regulations of polo, which is reflected by the correspondence we hold between Mountbatten and key persons on the proposed international rules of polo. Mountbatten was Chairman of the International Rules Committee between 1939 and 1940, and his role in ensuring one set of international rules was played worldwide involved collecting the International Rules himself, in person. As a result of Mountbatten holding this position, one set of polo rules is used all over the world, whereas previously, the Hurlingham, American and Indian Polo Association rules all differed.

“Your letter dated October 18th with regard to the proposed International Rules and the International Rules Committee arrived here at a very opportune time. The ground that you laid down when you edited the first drafts of a set of International Rules have borne fruit in this country already. I might say that your draft of rules was entirely responsible for the greatest activity that our own Rules Committee has shown in several years. It inspired them to review our own rules completely and at our last meeting numerous changes, none of them fundamental, were suggested.” [Letter from Robert E. Strawbridge, Jr., United States Polo Association, to Lord Mountbatten, 22 November 1939, MB1/L310]

Proposed International Rules of Polo, 1938 [MB1/L310]

Proposed International Rules of Polo, 1938 [MB1/L310]

Thinking of ways that Naval Officers could have their polo interests addressed in the same way that the Army Saddle Club did for Army officers, Mountbatten decided to set up the Royal Naval Polo Association. Organising meetings, funds, and questionnaires, the RNPA was formed in 1930. By 1939 membership of the Association had already reached five or six hundred. The Association changed its name to Royal Naval Saddle Club in 1958.

As well as being the first honorary secretary of the RNPA in 1937, Mountbatten also took up many other committee positions in connection to polo, such as Chairman of the London Polo Committee, Secretary of the Malta Polo Club (and later patron); and in 1955, Patron of Rhinefield (New Forest) Polo Club.

Malta Polo Club Rundle Cup Programme, 4 March 1967 [MB1/L292]

Malta Polo Club Rundle Cup Programme, 4 March 1967 [MB1/L292]

The Mountbatten Papers provide a rich resource for those interested in polo, with material including papers on the early days of the Royal Navy Polo Association and Hunt Club, lists of Royal Naval Saddle Club members and Club minutes, correspondence between different countries on the decision-making of international polo rules, and notes and manuscripts for Mountbatten’s An Introduction to Polo.

“I do hope that you are going to be able to give a little time in your television series to the Admiral’s polo. I believe that you might find that this would be a very popular section of the series with the television viewers. We have had many portrayals of the deeds of the great military Commanders but I think that the combination of outstanding Military leadership with his prowess on the field of sport not only highlights Mountbatten’s amazing ability to keep so many balls in the air at once but makes his exploits of more human and general interest.” [Letter from Major General Sir Robert Neville to Mr Morley, 10 September 1968, MB1/L292]

Lord Louis Mountbatten's polo team, the "Shrimps", after winning the Keyes Cup, Malta, 31 December 1928 [MB1/L4/166]

Lord Louis Mountbatten’s polo team, the “Shrimps”, after winning the Keyes Cup, Malta, 31 December 1928 [MB1/L4/166]

Richard St. Barbe Baker, Man of the Trees

To mark National Tree Week (24th November – 2nd December) we celebrate the life of Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889-1982), the founder of the ‘Men of the Trees Society’ now known as the International Tree Foundation.

A Hampshire man – his great-grandfather had been Rector of Botley in William Cobbett’s time – Baker grew up at West End in a house appropriately named ‘The Firs’. There he helped his father, John St. Barbe Baker, in the tree nursery that he had established after turning his hobby of growing trees into a business following a financial setback. In the book My Life, My Trees Baker described how as a child he explored the extensive woodland nearby, an experience which had a profound effect on him, influencing his decision to dedicate his life to promoting a greater understanding of the vital role of trees in the natural environment.

His father’s involvement in the Evangelical Movement was another important influence and on leaving school, Baker combined his interest in forestry with missionary work when he fulfilled his ambition to move to Canada. There he attended Emmanuel College, Saskatchewan University, and also worked the land as a ‘homesteader’ in preparation for which he had learned to shoe horses in Southampton and practised pioneering in Burridge.

West End c.1904 Rare Books Cope Postcard WES 91.5 CHU

After three and a half years he returned to Britain to take up a place at Cambridge to read Divinity but his studies were interrupted by World War I in which he was commissioned in the Royal Horse and Field Artillery. Wounded three times, his poor health saw him stationed at the Swaythling Remount Depot, before he was invalided out in April 1918. On his return to Cambridge he took the Diploma in Forestry and on being appointed Assistant Conservator of Forests in Kenya began the conservation work for which he became so well known.

Richard St. Barbe Baker Among the Trees (1935) Cope 96 BAK

Baker was ahead of his time in recognising the role of trees as protectors of the environment and the necessity of replacing those which had to be felled for timber, fuel or simply clearing land. After achieving success in this in Kenya, he established the Men of the Trees Society and following a period of five years conserving forests in Nigeria, spent the remainder of his long life working for the Society. Travelling the world he campaigned for the preservation and restoration of forests and the afforestation of desert areas by writing articles, books and scientific papers, also giving popular lectures and holding discussions with government ministers and heads of state. Through his efforts billions of trees were planted as more and more people were persuaded of his view that ‘unless we play fair to our land the Earth we cannot continue to exist’.

Richard St. Barbe Baker My Life My Trees (1970) Cope 95 BAK

In later years Baker often returned to Hampshire, notably in June 1958, when he undertook a ride of 330 miles through Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, in emulation of William Cobbett. During the nineteen days in the saddle, he spoke to thousands of schoolchildren with the aim of raising their awareness of the environment. The completion of the ride was marked with a lunch for Cobbett’s descendants which he saw as a way of mending relations between the families, his great-grandfather and Cobbett having fallen out.

When visiting the later owners of  The Firs, Baker spent time reminiscing about his childhood and recalling the first woods he knew. There he had recognised that trees maintain ‘the balance between beauty and utility’ and came to believe  that ‘in the sanctuary of the woods we may breathe deeply, exhaling all thought which is not creative and inhaling the breath of life.’

Richard St. Barbe Baker Green Glory (1949) Cope 96 BAK

Baker’s work was recognised by the award of an honorary doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan in 1971 and an OBE in 1978. Following his death in 1982 at the age of 92, he was also remembered locally with a memorial plaque and road naming at West End, and something he would undoubtedly have appreciated, the planting of a grove of thirty trees by The Men of the Trees at Hatch Grange.

A number of Baker’s books can be found in the Cope Collection and a small collection of his correspondence with Grace Mary Mays is in the Archives and Manuscripts Collections MS 92.

The anniversary of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918

Earlier this year we celebrated the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, 1918.  This extended the franchise in parliamentary elections, to men aged 21 and over, whether or not they owned property, and to women aged 30 and over with land or premises with a rateable value above £5.  Although an important milestone it was just the start of giving British women full political enfranchisement.  This month marks the anniversary of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 which allowed women to be elected into the House of Commons.

There were several organisations established with the aim of votes for women.  These included the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies; the Women’s Franchise League and the Women’s Social and Political Union.  There was also a specific movement within the Anglo-Jewish Community: the Jewish League for Woman Suffrage (JLWS) was founded in 1912 to campaign for, among other things, the vote for British women.  They also worked towards religious suffrage such as votes for female synagogue seat holders.  Core members of the Jewish League came from the upper-middle-class Franklin extended family who worked alongside male supporters such as author Israel Zangwill. Other organisations, such as the Union of Jewish Women, while not established with this specific aim, became involved in the suffrage campaigns. 

The Liberal politician, Hebert Samuel, first Viscount Samuel, was key to the passing of this Act. He had not initially been a support of women’s suffrage but on 23 October 1918 he moved a separate motion to allow women to be eligible as Members of Parliament. The vote was passed by 274 to 25, and the government rushed through a bill to make it law in time for the 1918 election.

Herbert-Louis-Samuel-1st-Viscount-Samuel

Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel by Walter Stoneman, for James Russell & Sons. Bromide print, circa 1916 NPG Ax39163 © National Portrait Gallery, London

In 1897, Samuel married his first cousin Beatrice.  The Special Collections holds correspondence from Henrietta Joseph, wife of George Joseph, mainly to her younger sister Beatrice, 1916-33.  Henrietta and Beatrice were daughters of a banker, Ellis Abraham Franklin.   The eight bundles of letters reflect Henrietta’s extensive philanthropic and social activities.

One of the founding members of the Jewish League for Woman Suffrage was Henrietta (Netta) Franklin.  She also served as president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.  Her sister, Lily Montague, was the founder of the UK Liberal Jewish Movement.  Netta and Lily’s father was Samuel Montagu, first Baron Swaythling.  Swaythling’s eldest son, and Lily and Netta’s elder brother, was Louis Montagu, later second Baron Swaythling.  The Special Collections also hold papers of his wife Gladys Helen Rachel Montagu, Baroness Swaythling and her family.

Well-known novelist and Zionist, Israel Zangwill was an ardent suffragist and worked alongside his wife Edith and her family, helping to establish United Suffragists, one of the later campaign organisations.  The Special Collections holds several smaller collections relating to Zangwill as well as many of his published books as part of the Parkes Library.

Israel Zangwill

Philanthropist and social reformer Constance de Rothschild, (later Lady Battersea) was introduced to the women’s movement in 1881 by suffragist and temperance worker Fanny Morgan.  Battersea helped Morgan to undertake a political career that resulted in her election as mayor of Brecon.

Constance, Lady Battersea

Constance, Lady Battersea, nee de Rothschild, wife of Lord Battersea, photographed in 1926 aged 81 [MS 116/62 AJ 178/6/2]

It was through connections established by Battersea that the Union of Jewish Women was persuaded to become involved in religious and national suffrage campaigns. This image is taken from the papers of Mrs Violet Rothschild Montefiore-Court whose correspondents included Lady Battersea.

Despite the achievements of 1918, full equality was not achieved for another ten years.  In 1928 the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act was passed giving the vote to all women over the age of 21 on equal terms with men.

Donkeys, Chintzes and a Mysterious Fragment: eighteenth-century trade and politics in Special Collections

In this week’s blog Dr Jonathan Conlin discusses a group visit by undergraduate History students to the Special Collections.

From the slightly soapy feel of vellum to the sweet smell of laid paper, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century archives are a feast for all the senses, not just sight. This week eight third-year history undergraduates joined me at Special Collections for a hands-on session looking at the economic life of eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland. The visit formed part of a year-long Special Subject addressing the great economic thinker Adam Smith (1723-90). In first semester we engage in a lot of close reading of Smith, in search of tools to help us answer the big questions: what is wealth? what is happiness? how can a process of development Smith called “the progress of opulence” make us better as well as richer human beings? Smith’s world can be an alien place, however. Special Collections allows us to touch, smell and even read vestiges of the trading activities which we discuss in the seminar room, week-in, week-out.

MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR4/1/1

MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR4/1/1

Starting with grand adventures in pursuit of profit, a 1695 contract [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR4/1/1] records Henry Temple’s £100 stake in a £6,000 entreprise: a round-trip voyage to India. Worth around £14,000 today, this was a significant investment in the cargo of two ships, the Scarborough and Rebecca, who would probably have returned with spices and printed cottons. Over the following century the Industrial Revolution would see such chintzes being woven at home in Britain, on machines, rather than handlooms – a process which in turn helped bring about the “Great Divergence” in the economic fortunes of Europe and Asia. These are all big questions we return to again and again in the course. Holding the paper in your hand, however, more urgent questions spring to mind: did the ships complete their perilous journey?

MS 155 AJ144/5A/1

MS 155 AJ144/5A/1

Fifteen years on and the War of Austrian Succession has broken out, with Britain and her allies fighting France in Spain and elsewhere. For government contractors like Joseph Cortissos there was no business like war business: large fortunes were to be made supplying armies in the field with donkeys, wine, horses, bread and other goods. Given the healthy margins, competition was tough, and Cortissos (a former diplomat) would have had to pull every string in his reach to get this prize. Written in Portuguese and English, his accounts of goods provided to allied English and Portuguese armies [MS 155  AJ144/5A] are clearly working documents, as the columns of scribbled sums on the back attest. Contracting was a risky business, however, and just as controversial as it is today in warzones like Iraq (heard of Halliburton, anyone?). Cortissos’ bills were never fully paid.

Detaiil from MS 64/3/1

Detail from MS 64/3/1

A collection of papers [MS 64/3] from Portlaoise (Ireland) dating from the late 1770s shows the grubbier side of Georgian “democracy” in all its glory. The Irish parliamentary seat had been controlled by the Earls of Drogheda, but in 1776 control partly passed to the Parnell family, whose papers are at Southampton. “Management” of elections required keeping close tabs on voters. Voters had first to be created: any Freeman of the Corporation could vote, so borough patrons simply created hundreds of (hopefully!) loyal voters, men (women did not get a look in) who could be trusted to place their vote (in public – no secret ballot then) for the right candidate. Once created, voters had to be watched, as long lists of votes with worried crosses next to the names of voters considered “doubtful” demonstrate. This machine ran on patronage, outright bribery and lots and lots of beer, consumed by the barrel over the week-long poll. Political life was lively and everyone had their part to play: but was it democracy?

And so to the vellum. Tucked at the back of the file is a long thin strip of vellum with what appears to be a list of names partly discernable on it. This clearly is (or rather was) a roll; you can see the join where the sheets of vellum were stitched together. But where is the rest? Is this the electoral roll of the borough? If so, why is it here in Southampton? Someone seems to have snatched it and then attempted to shred it. Why? And, having lost most of it, why did they keep one long, narrow, twisted piece? As a relic? A prize? The most exciting finds are those which defy description.

Dr Jonathan Conlin teaches modern history at the University of Southampton. His books include a biography of Adam Smith, for Reaktion’s Critical Lives series.

 

They came from near and far to do their patriotic duty – staffing the University War Hospital

Staff at the University War Hospital [MS 1/Phot/39 ph3104]

Staff at the University War Hospital, 1918 [MS1/Phot/39 ph3104]

11 November 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. To commemorate this, we take a look at the contribution of the staff of the University War Hospital at the Highfield campus site.

Under the command of Dr Lauder, who had been the Medical Officer for Health for Southampton, the Hospital was staffed by professional nurses and members of the Volunteer Aid Detachments (known as VADs). As well as nursing, VADs also worked in a range of auxiliary capacities from driving ambulances bringing the wounded to the Hospital, to laboratory assistants, clerks, cooks, housemaids and laundresses.

With the start of the war, Southampton hospitals recruited every nurse, VAD and others who could be spared from auxiliary hospitals in the surrounding counties. But as the war progressed, the need for further staff increased.  Gwynnedd Lloyd, a friend of the daughters of Dr Lauder, was considered too young as a 17 year-old to volunteer in 1914. However, in the aftermath of the battle of the Somme, she was invited to join the VADs and to work at the University War Hospital.

The VADs lacked the training and skill of the professional nurses and tended to perform duties that were less technical. As a new VAD, Gwynnedd Lloyd noted that her duties consisted of “making beds and waiting on sister” as well as taking trolleys around and twice a day collecting rubbish. But as time went on, with the flow of the wounded into the hospitals and the demands it placed on the staff, the line between the professional and the volunteer became far less distinct, leading to recognition that the VAD and nurse differed little beyond the level of training. Gwynnedd Lloyd was assigned to assist with one of the hutted wards at the Hospital and even as a relatively untrained VAD was expected to cover shifts of around 10 hours.

Hutted ward decorated for Christmas, c.1915 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3108]

Hutted ward decorated for Christmas, c.1915 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3108]

The women who volunteered as VADs saw their work as a patriotic duty and a useful contribution to the war effort. Whilst some were local to Southampton, others who served as nursing staff at the University War Hospital came from all across the UK, the Channel Islands, Ireland and Canada. It is estimated that somewhere in the region of 4,500 Irish women served as VADs during the war effort, and amongst the staff of the University War Hospital were women from a number of Irish counties including Counties Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford and Tyrone. Canadian VADs were initially only employed in their homeland working in convalescent hospitals. However, as the war dragged on, it became apparent that they were needed overseas and the staff at the Hospital in 1918 included a number of nurses from New Brunswick in Canada.

Amongst the ranks of the VADs were not only nurses, but a myriad of auxiliary roles such as orderlies, stretcher bearers, clerks, cooks, housemaids and laundresses. Most of the women who served in these roles tended to be from the local area. Fanny Street and her two friends, Jennie Ford and Ethel Taylor, who feature in current Special Collections exhibition My War, My Story, were from Southampton. All three worked in the laundry of the University War Hospital for the whole duration, with Fanny Street becoming the Head Laundress by 1917.

Fanny Street (centre) with her fellow VADs Jennie Ford and Ethel Taylor

Fanny Street (centre) with her fellow VADs Jennie Ford and Ethel Taylor [MS416/13]

And we find that members of the same family all worked together at the hospital. Three members of the Trodd family from Southampton and members of the Bailey family from Eastleigh worked as maids and cooks. Annie and Hettie Needham from St. Denys were both employed as clerks. And Barbara and Gertrude Long, who lived in Freemantle, worked as a clerk and a laboratory assistant respectively. The Archives holds a notebook and three scientific reports kept by Gertrude Long during her time at the Hospital (MS101/8).

Notebook of lab assistant Gertrude Long [MS101/8]

Notebook of lab assistant Gertrude Long [MS101/8]

And so, as we come to the centenary of the end of the First World War, we remember all those who made a contribution, not least the young women who, in some cases, crossed an ocean to help staff the War Hospital here at the University.

Florence Nightingale, nursing and the Crimean War

In 1825 Henry Holmes, agent for the third Viscount Palmerston reported to his master:

Embley has been sold to a Mr. Nightingale from Derbyshire. He is related by marriage to Mr. Carter the MP for Portsmouth and married to a daughter of William Smith, MP for Norwich.

Embley Park in East Wellow, near Romsey, was a stone’s throw from Palmerston’s Broadlands estate. William and Frances Nightingale moved in with their two young daughters, Parthenope, and Florence who would have been 5 at the time of the purchase.

Watercolour of the entrance into the Walis Orchard from the gate of the Forest Lodge, Embley [Cope Collection cq 91.5 EMB]

William was an enlightened man.  He stood as a Whig candidate for Andover, supported the Reform Bill and moved in the same circles as his neighbour, Palmerston.  In 1830 he wrote asking to see his speech on the “Catholic question” [i.e. Emancipation]. [BR113/12/5].  William seconded Palmerston’s candidacy for his Romsey seat in 1830 and they hunt and shot together. 

William chose to tutor his daughter Florence at home, something which was unusual for the period.  Florence felt her vocation in life to be nursing but her family, particularly her mother, were unsupportive.  However, in 1853 she became superintendent to the Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances in London.  Her father had granted her a generous allowance of £500 a year to enable her to take up this position and she impressed everyone with her skills as a nurse and organiser.

Sketch of “Miss Florence Nightingale, the Soldier’s Friend” drawn by Elston, and published by Ellis,1856 [Cope Collection cq 95 NIG]

The Crimean War broke out in March 1854.  The public were appalled by the reports of inadequate nursing of wounded soldiers and the secretary of state at war, Sidney Herbert, was held accountable.  Florence Nightingale was close friends with Sidney and his wife, (Mary) Elizabeth since a meeting a few years previously and thus, on 21 October 1854, she was sent out to the Crimea, with a staff of 38 nurses.  It was during this period that Florence Nightingale began her pioneering work in modern nursing.

After her return from the Crimea, Florence focused on her sanitary and statistical work.  We have three letters she sent to her Hampshire neighbour Palmerston while he was Prime Minister. In May 1862 she writes concerning a reorganisation of the War Office a started by her late friend Sidney Herbert:

This plan ensured direct responsibility in the hands of all departments instead of shifting unstable responsibility hitherto the curse of W.O. administration.

[MS 62 Broadlands Archives GC/NI/5]

The following year she contacts Palmerston again, having been “thinking all night on this matter” [Herbert’s sanitary reforms] in which she is “deeply interested.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives GC/NI/7]. 

The Crimean War had highlighted the need for an additional hospital.  A site at Netley, on the Southampton Water, was chosen for ease of landing invalids direct from the transport ships.  The plans for the hospital had been made and building started before Nightingale returned from the Crimea.  She wrote a report regarding what she considered to be fundamental flaws in its construction, lighting and ventilation, suggesting alternatives, but Lord Panmure, the [Secretary of state for War / Secretary at War], was unresponsive.  She therefore went over his head to the Prime Minister, her Lord Palmerston but the hospital was built following the original plans.

The Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley. Taken from The Leisure Hour, April 1833 [Cope Collection c NET 45]

Another influential friend of Nightingale’s was Inspector-General Maclean, a Professor of Military Medicine at the Netley Military Hospital.  Here we find a link with the University as Maclean gave the Hartley Institution – a forerunner to the University –  help and counsel in the later nineteenth century.

The University has a long affinity with the health sciences.  In 1894, the Institution was recognised by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons as a place of instruction for students preparing for their first medical examination.  It was not until 1982 that some 20 students joined the University as the first cohort for a nursing degree.  A new school of Nursing and Midwifery was formed in 1995 by the amalgamation of the NHS College of Nursing and Midwifery with the exiting nursing group in the Faculty of Medicine.  Nursing at the University is now ranked 9th in the world and third in the UK according to the QS World Rankings by Subject 2018.

The Nightingale Building on the Highfield Campus which houses the School of Nursing and Midwifery [MS 1 University Collection Phot/19/352]

Florence’s Nightingale’s achievements in the field of nursing are commemorated on campus by the Nightingale Building which opened in September 2000 to house School of Nursing and Midwifery.