Category Archives: User perspectives

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.

 

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Palmerston and the slave trade

This week we hand the reigns over to PhD student Rob McGregor who has been conducting research on Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston and his relationship with British anti-slavery.  We could have titled this blog post “A beginner’s guide to historical research” as Rob provides very clear and sound advice for masters and  PhD students who wish to use original archival material in their essays.

The Right Honorable Henry John Temple, Lord Viscount Palmerston, G.B.C. Painted by J.Lucas; engraved by H.Cook. [Cope Collection cq 95 PAL pr 102]

Since the nineteenth-century, Britain has been depicted as an ‘anti-slavery nation,’ guiding the rest of the world to follow its lead in abolishing the Atlantic slave trade as well as the institution of slavery. At the helm of the Foreign Office and later as Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, one of Britain’s least known but arguably most important statesmen, led the nation’s crusade against the slave trade. By the time of his death in office in 1865, he had virtually achieved this mission. However, although he has been remembered as many things, neither scholars nor the public have ever regarded Palmerston as a warm and sincere abolitionist. My PhD therefore looks into Palmerston’s relationship with British anti-slavery, considering his unique position, policy and conviction, as well as his motivations for wanting to end the slave trade.

A Bill respecting the Brazilian slave trade, known as the “Aberdeen Act”. It has been annotated by Palmerston; his note on the front reads “This Bill is amended as original prepared and submitted to the Queens Advocate 30 June 1845”. [MS 62 Palmerston Papers SLT/25]

Over the last three years, I have had the opportunity to read a wide range of sources related to the slave trade, but without doubt the most exciting and useful sources underpinning my work have been Palmerston’s private letters and semi-official correspondence, held in the Broadlands archive of Southampton University’s Special Collections.

This body of documents provides a unique glimpse of Palmerston’s own inner thoughts and views. What did he really think about anti-slavery? Were his public statements a true reflection of his private thoughts? Only by analysing his private letters, it seems to me, can these vital questions be answered.

“An estimate of the number of slaves introduced into Brazil during each year from 1826 to 1863 as far as can be ascertained from the records of the F[oreign] O[ffice].” 4 Aug 1864 [MS 62 Palmerston Papers SLT/36]

It can be daunting when first faced with a lengthy catalogue of primary material to explore. When I began my PhD in 2015, I was lucky enough to be conversant with the practice of searching for materials already, since I had used the archive to research my undergraduate dissertation, also on ‘Palmerston and the slave trade.’ Back then, I had been drawn to a sub-division of the archive entitled ‘Papers on the slave trade.’ It looked perfect, containing 37 items all relating to Palmerston’s anti-slavery endeavours. I looked through these papers closely and, once I had got used to reading Palmerston’s hand-writing – which I gratefully learned was excellent compared to some of his colleagues – I found lots of interesting things, like how the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society had presented an address to him in 1842 thanking him for his ‘generous zeal,’ or a note he wrote to himself about how his ‘blood boiled with indignation’ and his heart ‘burned with shame’ at the ‘miseries of the African.’ But when I started my PhD, I realised I was only scratching the surface.

As a Postgraduate, I learned from my supervisor, Professor David Brown, that the largest sub-division of the archive was his General Correspondence, containing around three-quarters of his letters. In total there are around 40,000 items in the Palmerston Papers, so finding things related to anti-slavery felt like looking for a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, navigating this abundance of materials was not as challenging or impossible as I’d feared.

Memorandum, in the hand of Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, of vessels reported as engaged in the slave trade at and near Rio de Janeiro, 1836-7 [MS 62 Palmerston Papers SLT/11]

I soon learnt that since this particular collection is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, the best way to find sources relating to my subject was to think creatively about who Palmerston would be writing to about it, and crucially, when. To begin with then, I searched the archive’s online catalogue for letters Palmerston had written to known abolitionists, members of anti-slavery societies, and above all his Whig colleagues.

To read through Palmerston’s letters to all of these people, however, would have taken years. There are over 1000 letters between Palmerston and Russell alone! I therefore had to limit my searches to key dates when I suspected anti-slavery would be on the political agenda; when important anti-slavery conferences were taking place or anti-slavery treaties signed, when Palmerston was threatening a pro-slavery country or when naval captains were causing furore at home and abroad by their violent actions on the West African coast.

Memorandum, by Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, showing “what has been done about Slave Trade since last year”, 30 May 1837 [MS 62 Palmerston Papers SLT/9/1]

This process served me well. Although I never found one particular letter which answered all of my questions, over time, after reading hundreds of letters in which Palmerston touched on British anti-slavery, a picture was built up which informed the direction and argument of my resulting thesis. Palmerston, it now seems to me, felt a sincere revulsion against the slave trade and wanted to end it not just because it was a long-running British aim or because it was in the nation’s imperial and economic interests, but because he felt genuine humanitarian impulses to end what he considered humanity’s greatest crime.

Thus, for me, using the Broadlands Archive was a creative process, one that required me to think imaginatively and intelligently about how to locate the best sources to help answer my particular research questions. And, due to the unique nature of the sources, it has been both an incredibly exciting and essential part of my PhD research.

Reading Readers in the Special Collections

In this week’s blog post Jennifer Scott, a PhD candidate in the English Department, examines a unique copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Goal held in the Special Collections.

There is something undeniably thrilling about handling an early or rare edition of a much-loved work of literature. An even greater thrill of working with Special Collections, however, sometimes comes from an unexpected discovery. The Hartley Library’s copy of The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde – a copy of the fourth edition of this work from 1898 – was, for me, one of those discoveries, holding between its covers a special collection of its very own.

The book is inscribed ‘R. Bruce Boswell 1898’ and has been treated as a kind of scrapbook. Pasted throughout, on the blank verso sides of the pages alongside the text, as well as on the book’s inside covers, are numerous contemporary newspaper clippings, many of which have been marked and dated in the owner’s hand. The clippings concern Oscar Wilde himself, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, the impending publication of De Profundis in 1905, and debates surrounding penal reform. Boswell’s careful collation of these clippings, as well as his written comments, show a reader forming links between the reports of the press and Wilde’s own poetic description of his prison experience.

Examining Boswell’s pencil markings, which range from ambiguous crosses and question marks to more revealing statements and questions, one gains a sense of a reader who was sceptical of Wilde’s account and of his views – a reader who even had the gall to correct some of Wilde’s most famous lines, changing ‘Each man kills the thing he loves’ to ‘Each man may kill the thing he loves’ and replacing ‘The brave man with a sword’ with ‘The bravo with a sword’!

Yet, one may also discover a reader willing to thoroughly engage with Wilde’s text and open-minded enough to also highlight some consistencies between Wilde’s account and those reported in the papers.

Remarkably, Boswell is not the only reader to have left their mark on this book either. A second reader, identifiable only as E.G.C., has responded to comments by Boswell, showing debates about penal reform, and Wilde’s place within it, to have transcended public spaces such as courtrooms and the House of Commons, and to have also occurred more privately.

This book provides a unique glimpse of some of the ways in which ordinary readers responded to Wilde and his poem following his release from prison in 1897. Despite Wilde’s name being too cloaked in scandal to appear on the ballad until 1899, Boswell’s copy reveals just how open the secret of its authorship was.

The first six editions of The Ballad of Reading Gaol bore only Wilde’s cell number, C.3.3.

The first six editions of The Ballad of Reading Gaol bore only Wilde’s cell number, C.3.3.

Furthermore, it reveals the human complexity of Wilde’s readership, which did not fall, as it is so easy to imagine, into black and white categories of supporters and detractors. The marginalia of R. Bruce Boswell and E.G.C. rather exhibit a developing engagement with this text that was influenced by both public and private debate.

I first wrote about this book in my MA thesis in 2010. I am now studying for a PhD and recently revisited the book for a conference paper, which I delivered at the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) Annual conference on 23 August 2017.

Researching the Nuremberg trials

In this week’s blog post Emma Chadwick discusses her experience researching the transcripts of the Nuremberg trials for her Master’s thesis.

As part of my Masters course in History, I have spent my summer writing my final thesis. Though longer than my undergraduate dissertation, the project has been far more enjoyable because I have had the opportunity to use original manuscripts held in the University’s Special Collections. In particular, I have been using the collection MS 200 which contains documentation from the Nuremberg trials and the subsequent, International Military Tribunals (1946 – 47).

Embed from Getty Images

The core of my project is examining the relationship between collective memory and Holocaust trials and therefore, I have been comparing the Nuremberg trials and the Eichmann trial (1961). Part of my interest in this particular topic came from an earlier visit to the archives to view a series of tapes that contained survivor testimony. I was struck by the trauma and devastation of the survivor more than I had been by literature I had read. As we are now approaching a time when soon there will be no more survivor’s left to bear witness, I wondered how we would represent the Holocaust in the future. Having already done some research in the Nuremberg trials, I found there was an absence of survivor voice and struggled with the silence within the trial. Though the defence brought witness testimony, survivors did not come to court but were asked to provide affidavits as sources of evidence. I questioned how possible it was that a Holocaust narrative could be formed just by using the Nazi documentation that had been left behind. By contrast, the Eichmann trial had over 120 witnesses speak about what they had experienced leaving those within the courtroom horrified. Therefore, I decided that as the resources were right in front of me, I could look at collective memory in both trials by examining the evidence presented at them along with the original transcripts.

Initially, I was overwhelmed by the amount of material in the archives relating to the Nuremberg trials (around 500 boxes) and struggled to see how I would pick what to look at. Helpfully, there was a catalogue on the archives website which explained what was in each box so I began to select evidence that I thought might be interesting to get an idea of the trial. To exemplify, I looked at reports from Reinhard Heydrich (a Nazi officer in the SS) on the ‘Final Solution’ which were clear proof of the Nazi’s plans to exterminate the Jews of Europe. As a history student I am familiar with this, but seeing the words on the original manuscript was still shocking. One sentence that was particularly striking read ‘as far as possible the territories enumerated under 1) are to be cleared of Jews, but the very least to be aimed at is the formation of a very few “concentration” towns’. [MS 200 IMT/16/1] Though the document does not specifically refer to the ‘Final Solution’, it is a piece of a puzzle whereby all the evidence can be put together to unveil these horrific plans.

International Military Tribunal: Opening statement for the United States of America, 21 Nov 1945 [MS 200 IMT/13/1]

International Military Tribunal: Opening statement for the United States of America, 21 Nov 1945 [MS 200 IMT/13/1]

The evidence used at the trials was not just official Nazi documentation such as reports. There were also a number of excerpts taken from Hitler’s, Mein Kampf, and newspapers such as National Socialist Monthly which give the historian a glimpse into the anti-Semitic rhetoric that was spread throughout Germany and Eastern Europe. The writings are again, shocking and disturbing but by looking through such a variety of material helped me to understand the case the prosecution was attempting to build against the Nazi’s by showing the methods they used to rally support that led to the murder of six million Jews.

Using the archives has really helped me develop my skills as a historian. Though in my undergraduate degree I used them to look at the Mountbatten Papers collection, it has been through this project that I have really learnt how to select evidence properly and how to critique sources in a way that portrays my argument effectively. What has also been motivating is having access to real documents; it has been important for me to look at original material – rather than just relying on secondary sources – to shape my understanding of the trials. I am also very grateful to the staff at the Archives who have been very patient with me and always helpful in terms of answering questions and providing me with the material that I needed!

Along with the papers of the Nuremberg trial, papers relating to the Eichmann trial can be found among the collections MS 60 Papers of Revd Dr James Parkes and MS 237-41 Papers of the Institute of Jewish Affairs.

An appointment with the Archives

The Special Collections  has a developing programme of events and visits designed to introduce students to both the collections and the work of the Division.   Last week a group of students joined the team for a behind the scenes visit and a taster session working with the collections.  As well as the opportunity to decipher Queen Victoria’ handwriting, the students assessed albums compiled by the Society of Old Hartleyans relating to student life from the first half of the 20th century, helping to choose items that we could use for promotional purposes.  Here are the choices of three of the group, Greg, Núria and Victoriawith their explanations of why the items appealed to them.

Greg 

As a photograph the striking contrasts of black suit and white shirt make the tone exciting and help to define the faces of the past by highlighting facial features.  Their finely combed hair and crisp collars show the evident attempt on their part to produce a smart picture, tarnished only by the bulb that somewhat hangs randomly on one side of the image as well as the reels of wire stacked in the left of the picture.”

Men's common room, 1918 [MS1/7/291/22/1]

Men’s common room, 1918 [MS1/7/291/22/1]

Greg’s second choice was a photograph of the football team, 1901-2:

Personally, with a keen interest in the history of football in England, this photo gives a sense of the amateur origins of the game of the time.  I love the lack of formality that is conveyed in the mish-mash of clothing on display.  It appeals to me as you are able to see the rugged leather boots and thick long sleeved shirts donned by the players, whilst also seeing the traditional ‛flatcap’ and suit style of the time being worn by gentlemen to the side of the team.  The rawness of the wooden terrace gives a sense of the crowd they played in front of, and the battered pitch an idea of the style of game!

Hartley College football team, 101-2 [MS1/7/291/22/1]

Hartley College football team, 1901-2 [MS1/7/291/22/1]

The early days of the University’s Football Club were on a modest and local scale.  Home matches were mainly played at the Shirley Ground.  The emphasis of the Football Club of 1900s was on “healthy recreation and vigorous exercise for men students” rather than on sporting prowess, hence the lack of formality in the clothing that Greg noted.

Núria

Swimming teams, 1933-6 [MS1/7/291/22/2]

Swimming teams, 1933-6 [MS1/7/291/22/2]

Núria’s choice of photographs of the swimming teams was inspired by both the gender balance in the teams and the costume they wore: “It’s mostly boys in the pictures, although there are 7 girls in one of them, which probably shows the start of gender equality in regards to swimming club membership.  I also like the gender equality in the swimming costumes: the men’s costumes are also covering their chests, like the women’s.  The swimming club photos are the ones where you can see the biggest fashion change!

The one-piece costume as worn by the men in these images was typical of the designs in the 1920s. In response to demand designs became more body-conscious and athletic abandoning long sleeves and replacing them with generously-cut armholes. This mass produced one-piece enjoyed a considerable chunk of the market in men’s swimwear in this decade.

Núria also was drawn to the images of the tennis club in the 1920s and 1930s, evoking memories of her experience of joining a sports club at the University.

Tennis players, 1927-9, 1933 [MS1/7/291/22/2]

Tennis players, 1927-9, 1933 [MS1/7/291/22/2]

The photo album I’m looking at is a collection of photographs from the sports clubs at university.  The tennis photos seem to be the only one where men and women appear together.  I really like the sense of inclusion that these photographs transmit, it reminds me of my own experience when I arrived at Southampton and joined the fencing club, where I made really good friends, both men and women.  I also find it curious that one of the ladies in the 1927 picture is wearing a tie.

There are other photographs in the collection which show women students wearing ties.  This was a period of formal dress codes when academic dress was still required when students attended lectures and exams.

Victoria 

Swimming club, 1951-2 [MS1/7/291/22/3]

Swimming club, 1951-2 [MS1/7/291/22/3]

For Victoria, it was the informality and realism that appealed in this photograph.  “It really looks as though two of the people have got the giggles when the photo was being taken.  The woman on the right is also pulling a face – this might not have been deliberate, but does add realism to the photo.

The second choice relates to the reunion picnic, in the New Forest, at Whitsun, 1951, of the Society of Old Hartleyans: this was the final event of the weekend programme, including a dinner attended by 226 the previous evening.  The minutes of the annual general meeting of the society noted that “11 members attended a picnic to Beaulieu Heath organised by Mr Glover-James”.

Victoria notes, “it is the informality that appeals to [me] more than anything and the fact that … people look happy…. The photo also provides an insight into the clothing… and even though this is a picnic, people are still fairly formally attired”.

Society of Hartleyans reunion picnic, 1951 [MS1/7/291/22/3]

Society of Old Hartleyans reunion picnic, 1951 [MS1/7/291/22/3]

The Special Collections will be running a number of drop in sessions focusing on different aspects of its holdings in the autumn.   So if you are interested, do keep an eye out for announcements.  We hope that you might be able to join us.

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

The travels of William Mogg, RN (1796-1875)

This week the public outcomes for students undertaking their second year History Group Projects will go live. They will include exhibitions, articles, presentations, websites and documentaries, with a number of projects drawing on material from Special Collections. Group 7’s project draws on the journals of William Mogg…

Christopher Columbus, Francis Drake, Marco Polo, James Cook, Robert Falcon Scott… These men all have one thing in common. They are famous explorers who made ground-breaking discoveries through their travels across the world. However, what most people don’t know is that we have our very own local traveller from here in Southampton: William Mogg. This figure, forgotten by history, was actually part of some of the most significant and famous voyages of exploration during the nineteenth century.

Photo of William Mogg wearing the medal presented to him ‘for Arctic discoveries, 1818-1855’ [MS 45 A0188]

Photo of William Mogg wearing the medal presented to him ‘for Arctic discoveries, 1818-1855’ [MS 45 A0188]

Born in 1796 in Woolston, Southampton, Mogg joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1811, serving in the continental blockade of the Napoleonic war. From 1821-5 he joined Captain Lyon and Sir William Parry on their Arctic expeditions on HMS Hecla and Fury, which Mogg describes in his second journal. He also travelled around South America from 1827-33 on HMS Beagle, an expedition on which Charles Darwin was also present on.

Although Mogg is not an established figure in the history of exploration, he played an important role aboard ship and his account of everyday life has proven very significant in enhancing our views of 19th century culture and attitudes.  He served as a clerk on Parry’s expeditions where he recorded meteorological material. His journals also include annotated copies of Robert Fitzroy’s Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and the Beagle, which describes the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe.

Throughout Mogg’s six journals he describes his travels to the Arctic, South America, Wales, the West of England, Switzerland and Italy, and within these he also includes a number of drawings, postcards and photographs which he collected during his travels. In his journals, Mogg recorded some incredible stories of his interactions with different native populations such as Arctic Esquimaux, Feugians, and the Patagonians. He immersed himself in the various cultures that he encountered, and has many tales to share of the people he met along the way. He talks of hunting trips he went on, games played with the natives, the languages he learned and even tattoos he was given! Mogg does not only provide interesting and humorous anecdotes, but grants us an insight into another time; a world very different to ours today.

The journals also provide a rare glimpse into the personal thoughts of a man who experienced more in four decades, than most people would in an entire lifetime. His attitudes to different cultures, places and people are fascinating, and his journals are a truly valuable piece of history that should be treasured by Southampton. William Mogg’s journals reveal just how important every member of a crew can be. Although history only notes the leaders of such voyages, Mogg shows that these men would never have been able to achieve the things they did, were it not for the crew which helped them along the way.

A group of second year history students are currently studying journals 2 and 3 from the University’s Special Collections and have created a website to present their fascinating research, aiming to shed light on the life and work of William Mogg, and bring his sadly unknown journeys to life.

Please visit http://www.moggexplored.fallows.org/ to find out more about one of Southampton’s lost historic figures.

Article by Hollie Geraghty

References

Southampton University Special Collections, <http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/cataloguedatabases/webguidemss45.page>,[Accessed 03/05/16].

Mogg, William, The Papers of William Mogg, 1811-c.1870, Journal 1, 2,3,6, Special Collections Division, Hartley Library, University of Southampton.

User perspectives: The Jewish Lads’ Brigade & Club in Manchester

This week Sarah Mills, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Loughborough University, discusses her use of the special collections as part of a research project on the Jewish Lads’ Brigade in post-war Britain.

“This research project aimed to explore attitudes and approaches to religious youth and youth work in post-war Britain and was funded by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). To address these research aims, the project drew upon the case-study of one uniformed youth organisation – the Jewish Lads’ Brigade founded in 1895 and their activities between 1945-1969. The general papers of the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade at Southampton (MS244) and related collections in Manchester provided important context into the wider post-war reconstruction efforts of the youth organisation as it embarked on an ambitious ‘advance again’ to attract the modern Jewish teenager.

The national Jewish Lads’ Brigade post-war circular ‘Advance Again’

The national Jewish Lads’ Brigade post-war circular ‘Advance Again’

During fieldwork, I became increasingly interested in the unique work of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade & Club in Manchester, led by dynamic (non-Jewish) professional youth worker Stanley Rowe from 1954 onwards. This rich material at Southampton (MS223) allowed me to trace some of the wider geographies of youth work and the politics of paid/unpaid labour within youth organisations. Indeed, national debates about the role of youth and community work, and faith-based volunteering, were played out at the local scale at the JLB & C. A range of material including annual reports, correspondence, scrapbooks, newspaper cuttings, photographs, and youth magazines represented the Club as a vibrant and popular space in the city for Jewish youth and their non-Jewish friends.

Teenagers at the Jewish Lads’ Brigade & Club, Manchester

Teenagers at the Jewish Lads’ Brigade & Club, Manchester

Overall, the example of the JLB & C has provided a useful lens through which to view wider social and political changes in youth culture and Anglo-Jewry at this time, as well as uncovering some of the wider politics of youth work, volunteering and employment. I’d like to thank Karen Robson and all the staff at the Library & Archives for their assistance with this project.”

Sarah has recently published a journal article based on this fieldwork. This is available online for free until October 2015 or via most University library subscriptions.

User perspectives: Examining arts patronage at Broadlands

This week Ruby Shaw discusses her exploration of the Broadlands archives as part of research undertaken for her MA in Historic Interiors and Decorative Arts at the University of Buckingham.

“When contemplating the daunting question of deciding upon a topic for my dissertation, it was almost by chance that I came across the Broadlands archives at the University of Southampton!  Although I knew that I wanted to base my research around a historic house within my local area (I am studying for an MA in Historic Interiors and Decorative Arts with the University of Buckingham but live in Southampton) I was surprised by how few local archives there are with collections relevant to art history students.  Then I stumbled across the Broadlands archives and what a wealth of material it has to offer!

‘Broadlands in Hampshire, the seat of Lord Palmerston' drawn by Lord Duncannon

‘Broadlands in Hampshire, the seat of Lord Palmerston’ drawn by Lord Duncannon

The archives are probably better known for material relating to the career of Lord Palmerston, the 3rd Viscount, who became prime minister to Queen Victoria.  Yet Lord Palmerston’s father, Henry Temple the 2nd Viscount, was an influential eighteenth-century figure, particularly as a patron of the arts.  This interest in art and antiquities was ultimately reflected in the collections and interior decoration of his country house at Broadlands.

Although I have often stolen a glimpse of Broadlands house through the gates, I was unaware until now of how much of its eighteenth-century interiors and furnishings survive.  This includes paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds with whom Lord Palmerston enjoyed a close friendship.  Many famous names have also been associated with the construction of Broadlands.   The first phase of Lord Palmerston’s building campaign in the 1760s, for example, was carried out by the famous landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown.  A further phase in the 1780s was meanwhile executed by the architect Henry Holland, most famous for his construction of the splendid Carlton House in London for the future George IV.

From an initial consultation of the archives, I could see that there was an extensive range of material to conduct a stimulating research project.  This material has been drawn upon to explore the role of Henry Temple, the 2nd Viscount (1739-1802) as a collector and architectural patron at Broadlands.   Numerous visits to the archives have given me the pleasure of delving into Lord Palmerston’s Grand Tour travel journals, as well as art sale catalogues, architectural drawings and correspondence with various dealers.  Viewing an original letter by “Capability” Brown was a particular treat!  Some of the correspondence between Lord and Lady Palmerston also makes for amusing reading.  The unfavourable temperament of the plasterer at Broadlands, Joseph Rose, for example is highlighted by the repeated reference to him as “Mr Melancholy.”  Humorous appeal aside, these personal insights have been extremely valuable in helping to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between architects, craftsmen and clients during this period.

BR101/34 List of pictures and marbles purchased by Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, in Italy, 1764

BR101/34 List of pictures and marbles purchased by Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, in Italy, 1764

In general, the wide range of material in the Broadlands archives has allowed for an enjoyable exploration of a much overlooked patron of the arts in the eighteenth-century, from Lord Palmerston’s acquisition of antique sculpture on the Grand Tour to his purchases of contemporary Wedgwood pottery.   This exploration has only of course have been made possible with the help and patience the archives team, for which I am very grateful.”

User perspectives: Researching Royal Refugees using the Palmerston Papers

Matthew Brand, who is a post-graduate research student at the University of East Anglia, reflects on his use of the Palmerston collection at Southampton.

“When one thinks of refugees, royalty don’t usually come to mind. This is perhaps also true of the 19th century, when countless European liberals and revolutionaries fled to Britain. However, many politicians and royal families also arrived, including French Kings and their families (Charles X in 1830 and Louis Philippe in 1848), and Spanish pretenders who sought to acquire the throne by force of arms – Don Carlos in 1834, and his son Carlos Luis, Count Montemolin in 1846.

Ships sailing near the Culver Down cliffs

Ships sailing near the Culver Down cliffs

I first made use of the Palmerston Papers for my MA dissertation, and have continued to use them whilst studying for my PhD. The collection is vast in scope; the nineteenth century was an era of ‘government by correspondence’, and private, rather than “official” letters often contained sensitive information.

Among the most intriguing items I have found is a letter from Don Carlos to King William IV, in which Carlos arrogantly excused his departure to lead his troops in a brutal civil war. He also wished that his family, who had remained in Britain, returned to Spain and left the damp English climate behind. Palmerston appears to have kept the letter because Britain did not recognise Carlos as King of Spain.

Other interesting documents include a disagreement between Palmerston and his Ambassador to France, Lord Normanby, in December 1851, about whether French President Louis Napoleon’s coup d’état had been in response to the exiled royal family’s rumoured plots. Another extraordinary exchange, with Prime Minister Lord Grey and Ambassador to France Lord Granville, discusses the potential implications of Charles X and his family’s departure to Austria in 1832. Charles’s daughter-in-law, the Duchesse de Berry, was then evading capture in France after a failed rebellion.

Palmerston’s diaries, draft newspaper articles and correspondence have helped me to piece together the story of a neglected but often important group in Victorian Britain. This fascinating collection and the archivists’ endless patience and professionalism have been of enormous benefit to my research.”