THE MAGAZINE FOR HISTORIANS MADE BY HISTORIANS!
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS FROM THE PAST In this Christmas edition of The Historians magazine, find out about Christmas traditions from the past ... and more!
A Christmas Coronation
What’s in a statue?
A short history of the Thames frost fairs
A look at William the conquerer’s coronation.
Writer Lilianne Milgrom investigates.
What were the thams frost fairs? Hilary has a look at the historic frost fairs.
Molly the historians guide to Krakow
Joe Louis VS. Max Schemling
Wonders of Westminster
Rebecca in context, womens fashion & glamour during the 1930’s
No Tudor food wasn’t bland, here’s why
Effective markmanship a study of shooting standards during the second Anglo-boer war
See part one of Molly’s guide to Krakow.
A selection of articles about the Victorian era
An insight in to the famous fight
Jo looks at some key statues in Westminster.
A look at womens fashion in Rebecca.
A collection of articles about Christmas traditions
Jo looks at Tudor ingredients to finally debunk the myth
Neil explores the markmanship during the second Anglo-Boer war.
The Scottish section
The battle of Agincourt - what really happened?
20th anniversary of continuous human habitation on the ISS
The Spanish fathingale in the 17th century: Womens bodies controlled through fashion
Read about important ladies from Scottish history
Wayne takes a look at the famous Wiltshire village
A study in to the battle of Agincourt
Jenny celebrates this milestone by writing about the ISS
How did fashion control womens bodies? Find out more in Lauras article.
A note from the editor
PIONEERING, FIERCE AND DARING: WAR CORRESPONDENT
I am so excited to be releasing the first edition of the Historians magazine. I want to thank everyone for their hard work in preparing the articles and hope you enjoy reading everthing that has been created for this magazine. I can’t wait for further editions, thank you everyone for the support. Thanks, Rosie
22 “A CHILD WITH A BIRDSCAGE”: FRENCH 18TH CENTURY SCIENCE IN SCULPTURE
History with Rosie @historywithrosie www.historywithrosie.blogspot. com
A CHRISTMAS CORONATION ... A (CHRISTMAS) CRACKER OF A START CHRIS RILEY Some what surprisingly, the coronation went well, with Archbishop Ealdred, “consecrating William duke of Normandy as king of the English and placed the royal crown on his head.” 4
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hristmas Day 1066, Duke William ‘the Bastard’ of Normandy is crowned King William ‘the Conquerer’ of England. His brother Odo was eventually made Archbishop of Canterbury, the most powerful position in the realm, second only to the King, effectively marking the end of the Anglo-Saxon era of England.
When asked “if they would accept William as their king” the crowd of highborn lords shouted out in both Norman-French and Old-English that they would indeed respect William as King. You’d expect cries of acclaim to be met with calmness and peace but, upon hearing the commotion inside the church, the men stations outside, fearing the worst, assumed there was some kind of riot taking place. The standard and very mature response to such a thing was to burn every building in sight, killing bystanders and in essence, creating the very riot they believed was hap-pening with the walls of Westminster Abbey. William, completely unfazed by the goings on out-side, continued calmly with his coronation, rising as King William I of England as most of his guests scarpered at the sight of burning buildings.
The so called Harrying of the North saw entire villages raised to the ground, with some modern estimates claiming over 100,000 deaths as a direct result of William’s destruction of the north. The harrying of the North profound effect, William is reported to have confessed to have “persecuted the natives of England beyond all reason” after he “fell on the English of the northern shires like a ravening lion” showing that even William the Conqueror felt bad some times. I hope you enjoyed this and would love to hear what you think.
Thanks for Reading.
A contemporary miniature showing Archbishop Ealdred placing the crown of William’s head SOURCE: public domain
A turbulent start After the crushing victory at the Battle of Hastings, William knew he needed to be crowned as soon as possible. After London gave up without a fight, William planned for his coronation to take place at Westminster Abbey, on Christmas Day 1066. Set to be the third royal event of the year, the crowning of the Norman Duke would mark the official start of his reign as King, not bad for the bastard son of a Norman lord ‘ey William? Orderic Vitalis, a near contemporary Chronicler explains the coronation in some detail, telling us that all of the Norman lords and bishops that had traveled with William gathered inside, along with the few remaining Anglo-Saxon nobles, whilst a large contingent of Norman knights were placed at the entrances to the Abbey, just incase it went pear shaped. Some what surprisingly, the coronation went well, with Archbishop Ealdred, “consecrating William duke of Normandy as king of the English and placed the royal crown on his head”.
A 17th Century portrait of William the Conqueror SOURCE: Wikime-
Rocky road to recovery The Bayeux tapestryCommons
After the events of the calamitous crowning, the native English struggled to trust their new Norman overlords with Vitalis stating “[the English] after hearing of the perpetration of such misdeeds, never again trusted the Normans who seemed to have betrayed them, but nursed their anger and bided their time to take revenge”, and take their revenge they would. The victory at Hastings and the crowning of William did not cement Norman power in England, for the next several years, many English shires, especially those in the north (yes, just like Game of Thrones) rebelled against their new French rulers, sparking an almighty response from King William.
Follow Chris on Instagram @chrisriley__ Website: thehistorycorner.org
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lens has turned its eye upon historic statues founded upon dubious ethical and moral foundations. This critical assessment of public monuments has spread like wildfire across the globe and Paris has not been spared from protests and acts of vandalism aimed at statues perceived as colonial and racist. I have no intention of wading into the fraught waters of whether or not these monuments merely record past history or whether they should in fact be relegated to the vast dumping ground of history. However, these current events have illustrated just how powerful public symbols can be. Statues such as the Statue of Liberty for instance, can galvanize an entire nation while removal of public monuments can set in motion a series of events that lead to unprecedented dire consequences. Take for example the Vendôme Column, smack in the middle of the luxe Place Vendôme. You know the one–that towering bronze obelisk decorated with classic bas reliefs and friezes and topped by Emporer Napoleon himself. This monument’s checkered past includes its dramatic toppling in the 19th century, an event that destroyed the life of one of France’s most famous native sons, artist Gustave Courbet.
What’s in a statue? Lilianne Milgrom 6
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think it’s fair to say that Paris is awash in statues and monuments. It’s one of the things I love about the city. If you don’t watch your step you might collide with one of the hundreds of magnificent landmarks scattered about in every arrondissement, reminders of the glorious (and at times not-so-glorious) chapters of French history. Following the spontaneous swell of unrest in the United States in response to the murder of George Floyd, a collective
For those of you familiar with this trailblazing 19th century artist, the name Gustave Courbet may well conjure up images of heavy-flanked maidens, dead stags, village burials or perhaps the iconic and memorable portrait of a woman’s vagina on permanent exhibition at the Orsay Museum. But apart from being an artiste par excellence, Courbet was also a staunch defender of the working man and a tireless opponent of authority in all its forms. His zeal for change landed him in deep trouble during the 1871 Paris Commune–that brief but traumatic period in French history wittily described by Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker as “an Occupy Paris movement destined to become an urban Masada in the middle of the Belle Époque”. The short-lived utopian uprising ended
in a blood bath, but not before our hotheaded artist-rebel inadvertently triggered the toppling of the Vendôme Column and consequently, his own downfall. How, you might ask, did an artist manage to get himself in such a pickle? In 1871, Paris was in total chaos–as Prussian bombs rained down on the city, its feeble governors were clandestinely negotiating with the enemy. The citizens (or rabble, depending on which history book you read) took to the streets and established their own government, nominating none other than Gustave Courbet as protector of the city’s art treasures. But Courbet being Courbet, he wasn’t satisfied with simply defending Paris’ museums and monuments. He made an impassioned speech denouncing the Vendôme Column as a reactionary symbol of ‘brutal force and false glory’. His intention was for the column to be taken apart piece by piece for safekeeping and replaced by something more suitably revolutionary. Instead, the crowds marched off towards the Vendôme Column, lassoed the massive pillar and brought it crashing to the ground. This stirring event is but one of the adventures and misadventures that befell Gustave Courbet during his colorful lifetime. Sadly, it marked the beginning of the end. After the Commune was brutally quashed, Courbet was a wanted man. Imprisoned and held personally liable for the reconstruction of the column, he had no choice but to flee to Switzerland, sick, dejected and betrayed. He died there in 1871, the night before he was ordered to make the first installment of the massive fine for his role in the Vendôme Column debacle.. Courbet is possibly best remembered for his erotic vulvic portrait ‘L’Origine du monde’ (The Origin of the World) on view at the Orsay Museum. In 2010 I had the honor of becoming the first artist authorized by the Orsay to copy Courbet’s controversial work, spending six weeks replicating every fold and pubic hair while interacting
All images are Liliannes own.
with museum visitors eager to share their divergent views of The Origin of the World. The experience was so profound that I spent the next decade researching and writing my recently released novel ‘L’Origine: The secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece’ (Little French Girl Press, July 2020). ‘L’Origine’ is a work of historical fiction that traces the remarkable story of the painting’s unlikely tale of survival. But it is more than a riveting romp through history–it parallels the society’s complex relationship with female nudity. The stories behind any statue, sculpture or painting enrich our understanding and appreciation, so next time you collide with a work
of art, you might do well to wonder what’s behind the façade… Paris-born Lilianne Milgrom is an internationally acclaimed artist and author residing in the greater Washington, DC, area. Her artworks can be found in private and institutional collections around the world. Aside from her blog, she has written essays and articles for publications such as Ceramics Art and Perception, Ceramics Monthly, Bonjour Paris, and the Huffington Post. L’Origine: The Secret Life of the World’s Most Erotic Masterpiece is her first book.
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A SHORT HISTORY OF THE THAMES FROST FAIRS BY HILARY BRADFORD Behold, the Liquid Thames, now frozen o’re, that lately ships of mighty burthen bore. The watermen for want of rowing-boats, make ufe of booths to get their pence and groats.” Richard Kindersley
otentially originating as far back as the 14th century, if not even further, the first definitive frost fair occurred when the River Thames in central London froze solid for a month and a half, and street merchants pitched up on the ice to sell their wares. However, the term frost fair itself was not coined until 1608. By this time, the frost fair had become much more than a marketplace, it included activities such as dancing and games of football. The frost fair of 1683 is perhaps the most famed of all the frost fairs. The Thames stayed frozen for over two months and the ice purportedly reached a thickness of eleven inches. Despite the harsh, wintery conditions, the London public enjoyed the frost fair more than ever before. It boasted even more activities from horse and cart racing to ice skating. Puppet
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shows were also held for children to watch. Surrey-born writer John Evelyn wrote a jovial first-hand description of the 1683 frost fair, “in the streets; sleds, sliding with skeetes, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tipling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, a carnival on the water.” Although the 1683 frost fair whetted the appetite for future frost fairs to come, no other winter managed to hold out quite as long with the exception of the next significant frost fair, held in 1715, with the Thames staying frozen for a week sky of two months. Subsequent frost fairs lasted an even shorter amount of time, much to the dismay and often surprise of the merry public. During a frost fair in 1789, unsuspecting revellers ceased celebrations when melting ice began to haul a ship away from its moorings. The ship had been anchored to a tavern which, due to the strength of the ship, was abruptly pulled into the river. Five people were crushed to death. The final frost fair occurred in 1814, and lasted just a few days. Regardless, the frost fair of 1814 retained all the festivities of previous fairs. Activities and events included gambling and nine-pin bowling. There were even rumours of an elephant being walked across the ice. As with modern Christmas markets nowadays, drinking and eating seems to have been the predominant draw with vendors selling various types of meat
such as roasted mutton, mince pies, gingerbread, gin and much more. The last frost fair ended in the February of 1814 as the ice slowly began to melt. Nobody had anticipated that the 1814 frost fair would be the last, however as well as warming weather conditions, late 1831 saw the creation of a brand new London Bridge. The new bridge rendered the old bridge unnecessary, and it was soon after demolished. The significance of this is that the new bridge was designed with five wide arches beneath it rather than the nineteen narrow arches that the old bridge had been built with. The wider arches meant that bigger ships were able to pass up and down the river, and the flow of the water became much faster. Due to this, the Thames could no longer freezer over, at least certainly not to the degree that it had in previous centuries. Also, the bridge arches were unable to clog up with ice as the former bridge had done. As such, frost fairs became an event of the past.
Follow Hilary on social media; @historichils
PIONEERING, FIERCE AND DARING: WAR CORRESPONDENT MARTHA GELLHORN BY ISABELLA BONEHAM Martha Gellhorn was a highly successful war correspondent in the 20th century. Despite her talent, dedication and remarkable work, she was overshadowed by her 5-year marriage to Ernest Hemingway in 1940. Rather than being known for her pioneering career, she was best known as Ernest Hemingway’s wife and after their divorce, Hemingway’s third wife. She disdained the limelight on Hemingway, writing in a letter to her editor “My articles are always to be signed Martha Gellhorn, always”. Born in Missouri in 1908, she moved to Paris at just 21 where she began reporting on the pacifist movement, however, it wasn’t until the American Great Depression when her career as a journalist launched. At the time she worked with photographer Dorothea Lange and published a book of short stories based on her experiences ‘The Trouble I’ve Seen’ (1936). Following from this, she reported on the Spanish Civil War for the New Yorker and the liberal weekly magazine, Collier’s and went on to report the Second World War. During her reporting of the Second World War, she travelled in France, England, Czechoslovakia, Finland and the Far East, to name a few. Women correspondents were not welcome on the frontline during the War and she was even denied permission to report on the D-Day landings as the American military disapproved of female war correspondents. Instead, her then husband, Ernest Hemingway was given the opportunity. This didn’t stop courageous and dedicated Gellhorn who managed to smuggle herself onto a Red Cross hospital boat bound for Normandy in 1944, locking herself in a toilet until the ship set sail. She reported from the beaches in a nurse’s uniform and became the first female
correspondent to report on the D-Day landings. She went on to be one of the first journalists to enter Dachau concentration camp, the first Nazi concentration camp, and it was her report on the camp that made her famous. She also reported from the Nuremberg trials and created a novel in 1948, The Wine of Astonishment, based on her experiences at the Dachau concentration camp. Adding to her remarkable career, she was the first correspondent in Finland after the Soviet invasion, and accompanied Allied troops at Arnhem and the Battle of the Bulge. Even after her eventful reporting of the Second World War, she went on to report on more conflicts in her later years including the Cold War, Vietnam War, the US invasion of Panama, the Arab-Israeli conflict and many others. In 1990 aged 81, Gellhorn, in a slum of Panama City, reported on the casualties caused by the U.S. invasion. After a long, successful career of reporting and fiction writing, she settled in London where eventually she ended her own life when she was 89, after struggling with blindness and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer which spread to her liver. She is commemorated with a blue plaque at 72 Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, where she lived from 1970 until her death in 1998.
Not only was her career as a journalist remarkable during a time when women were not taken seriously, but also because she continued to work hard at her profession into her later years with the same amount of passion and enthusiasm. Martha Gellhorn was a woman who knew her intelligence, capabilities, privilege and strived to excel at her career and be fearless and courageous in a job that she loved. In a letter to her friends, she wrote that she wanted to be “places where trouble is”. Her passion and dedication to her work is inspiring and her name, like many other successful women in history, should not be overshadowed by her famous former husband. As female journalists today fill our social media timelines, news articles and prime time TV news programmes, it is important to remember, respect and owe gratitude to such remarkable women as war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, who did so much to clear the path for female journalists today.
Read more of Isabella’s work over on her blog; https://a-little-insight.com Follow Isabella on social media;I Instagram: @ isabellaboneham Twitter: @ isabellaboneham THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
Molly the Historian’s Guide to Krakow... part one A snapshot of the wonderful city of Krakow, southern Poland.
By Molly Anderson hree years ago, I went to Krakow and visited the location of the ghetto there, where the Jewish population were segregated from the rest of the community. Zgody Square was at the centre of this ghetto. During the German occupation of the city in the Second World War, the once humble market square became a place for furniture and belongings to be piled up and discarded, and crowds of Jews to meet and exchange information and what few goods they had. The Square became a part of the implementation of the Final Solution for Krakow’s Jews as it was here that selections were made for who would go to concentration camps. Others, particularly the elderly, sick and young were executed in the ghetto. Most of the residents who were taken out of the ghetto met their ends in Auschwitz II Birkenau, Płaszów or Belzec.
The artistic installation that is now situated in the Square was designed to memorialise the victims of the Ghetto. 33 oversized chairs are placed there, each representing 1000 lives. There are also more chairs in the surrounding area. It is relatively understated and abstract, and many people walk past it. But the empty chairs are powerfully symbolic. 10
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The chairs look back to when the square was filled with discarded belongings. They convey the inhumanity of the atrocities that took place there and capture a moment in history where human life was discarded as carelessly as the furniture. What’s clear is a feeling of absence. The chairs are empty. They appear solid and cold and simple. Absence was all that was left in this area of Krakow following the war. The Jewish population of this city was around 60,000 before WW2. Afterwards, only 5,000 remained. Empty chairs symbolise an empty city.
Krakow’s Main Square The Empty Chairs of Zgody Square are on the periphery of the city, while Krakow’s Central Square is at the heart of the city’s medieval Old Town. A hive of activity, this 40,000 square foot blend of historic and modern culture, is full of some of the most magnificent architecture in the city. On the north-east edge of the square sits St Mary’s Basilica. The construction of St. Mary’s began in the late 13th century on the foundations of a former Romanesque church. The new temple was consecrated around the year 1320. The church has undergone numerous reconstructions of both its exterior and interior across the centuries. In the square’s centre, the long medieval Cloth Hall stands as testament to the historical importance of Krakow’s as a hub of trade and commerce in Eastern Europe. Today, the hall houses the stalls of local tradesmen selling handicrafts, cloth products and souvenirs. This spectacular building runs through the square from north to south, neatly dividing it in two. The Town Hall Tower is the only remaining section of Krakow’s 13th century town hall. Leaning nearly half a metre to the east, the tower is open to visitors as a viewing platform that offers a magnificent panoramic over the Main Square. (Photos are Molly’s own)
At the southern edge of city, as it meets the river, looms Wawel Hill: the most historically and culturally significant site in the country. I was absolutely blown away by the insane medley of architectural styles represented in the Krakow castle and cathedral complex. The Wawel Royal Castle was built on the instructions of Casimir III and consists of a number of structures from a range of periods, situated around the Italian-style courtyard. The castle is one of the largest and most impressive in Poland, and represents nearly all European architectural styles of medieval, renaissance, and baroque periods. The current castle was built in the 14th-century and was expanded over the next hundreds of years. Wawel Cathedral has been the location of the coronations and burials of many Polish monarchs, while some of Wawel’s oldest stone buildings can be traced back to 970 AD. In 1978 Wawel was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Centre of Kraków. I just love how, in this photo (below), you see an absolute hodgepodge of styles as each aristocratic family wanted to have a chapel attached to the royal cathedral! The people of Krakow take huge pride in their historic landmarks and are grateful that they still survive intact to this day.
Also on Wawel Hill, as if guarding the castle, sits the sculpture of the Wawel Dragon - a famous dragon in Polish folklore. His lair was in a cave at the foot of the Hill, on the bank of the Vistula River. The dragon was allegedly defeated during the rule of the 12th century King Krakus, but there are conflicting accounts of who defeated it. The version I was told on my tour of Wawel Castle dates from the 16th century and gave credit to a shoemaker named Skuba. Many people had tried to slay the dragon and failed. But one day, a poor young shoemaker visited King Krakus and declared that he could do it. The king laughed and said that if Skuba succeeded, he would be rewarded with the princess’ hand in marriage. The dragon had always demanded a supply of cattle to eat and so Skuba filled a calf’s skin with sulfur and placed it outside the dragon’s cave. The dragon took the bait but the sulfur burned his throat, so he went down to river and drank and drank and drank until his stomach exploded. Afterwards, Skuba was rewarded with the king’s daughter in marriage. The Smok Wawelski bronze sculpture was created in 1969 by Bronisław Chromy
Follow Molly on instagram; @molly_the_historian And look out for issue 2 for part two of exploring Krakow! THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
THE VICTORIANS An iconic period in British history, the Victorians are still a fascination for lots of Historians today.
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The wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert: How it broke tradition By Shauna Ralph
ebruary 10th,1840, was a monumental and defining day for the Victorian period. This day saw the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at St James Palace in London. The royal pair were engaged in the October of 1839 after Victoria proposed – a role that was expected of the monarch, regardless of gender, at the time. Not only was their marriage significant because of the gender-power reversal, their wedding broke tradition in several ways and set the framework for the weddings we see today.Tradition meant that royal weddings tended to be small, private occasions that were often held at night. Instead, Victoria and Albert were married at 1pm in the afternoon – an unusual occurrence for any royal wedding. Victoria wanted to make the most of the earlier time and wanted the people of the country to be able to see the bridal procession on its way to St James Palace. One of the most significant ways Victoria broke tradition for her wedding, however, was through her wedding dress. Today it’s deemed as unique if a wedding dress isn’t white, but before Victoria’s wedding it was normal for brides to go for dresses in a variety of colours. When it came to Victoria’s big day, she chose to go for a white dress and to abandon the velvet crimson robes of state. An innocent move on her part, this choice popularised white wedding dresses and set the tone for the occasions today. At the time, Brussels lace was highly fashionable, but Victoria commissioned Honiton lace helping revive the lace industry in Devon. As stated in The Ring and the Crown (p53), ‘it was not until Queen Victoria
married Prince Albert in 1840 that the white wedding dress, ornate cake and large ceremony became fashionable, and the royal wedding ceremony became important for securing the loyalties of the public.’
have been used in every royal wedding since. A sprig of myrtle, grown at Victoria and Albert’s holiday home Osborne House, is now used in each wedding bouquet whilst orange blossoms have been used in the wedding attire of monarchs such as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – orange blossoms featured around the hem of her wedding dress. Victoria’s wedding to Albert set the tone for royal weddings today, and it was from this point that royal weddings would no longer be in private. There is no denying that this wedding was ground-breaking in terms of the traditions it broke, and the foundation it laid for weddings we see today.
Along with her wedding dress, Victoria broke boundaries by choosing to keep the vow of ‘obeying’ her husband. The fact that she chose not to wear her crown, or any other royal accessory on this momentous day demonstrates the fact that she was going into this wedding (or so it seemed) simply as a woman, and not the Queen of England. Instead of wearing her crown, she instead opted for a wreath consisting of orange blossoms and myrtle – items of which
See more from Shauna; Twitter: @historyshauna Instagram: @shaunadoeshistory Blog: shaunadoeshistory.wordpress.com
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WHO WAS PRINCESS BEATRICE OF BATTENBERG? BY MILLIE HEASMAN
eatrice Mary Victoria Feodore was born on the 14th of April 1857 at Buckingham Palace, London. She was the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was known as ‘baby’ until she was a grown adult. Being the baby of the family, young Beatrice was doted on and had a more relaxed infancy than her siblings. Queen Victoria described her as “a pretty, plump and flourishing child with fine large blue eyes, [a] pretty little mouth and very fine skin”. Prince Albert was also very impressed with his daughter’s precociousness and wrote that she was “the most amusing baby we have had”. Her long golden hair often was the focus of paintings commissioned by Victoria. Because she was the youngest child, Beatrice could do things without fear of getting into trouble. When she ate certain ‘forbidden’ foods at the table, her mother would half-heartedly scold her by saying “baby mustn’t have that”. “But she likes it, my dear” Beatrice would answer, mimicking her mother’s voice while helping herself to the food. On the night that Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria rushed to the nursery, scooped up the sleeping four year old and cuddled her. The toddler was wrapped in Albert’s night shirt while in Victoria’s grasp. Beatrice still received lots of attention after her father’s death as she was one of the only people that Victoria would see. Despite this, Beatrice became increasingly lonely and her childish sayings and little giggle faded
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away. She couldn’t play with her brother Leopold as he suffered from haemophilia and epilepsy, so she often resorted to playing with her dolls. This is most likely one of the reasons why she grew up to be very shy. As her sisters left one by one to get married, Queen Victoria began to rely on teenage Beatrice more and more. She took the brunt of the mourning and was often the only thing that could cheer the Queen up. Her mother became obsessed with keeping Beatrice under her control and wouldn’t speak of potential marriage. Her influence began to rub off onto Beatrice, who once remarked “I don’t like weddings at all! I shall never be married, I shall stay with my mother!”. In 1870, Emperor Napoleon III of France was defeated in the FrancoPrussian war and he moved his family to the United Kingdom. Queen Victoria became friends with his wife, Empress Eugenie and Beatrice, now in her early twenties, fell in love with their son Louis Napoleon. Marriage was an option, but sadly Louis Napoleon died fighting in the Anglo-Zulu war, leaving Beatrice heart broken. Eight years later, Beatrice’s sister Alice died of diphtheria and her brother (The Prince of Wales) suggested that Beatrice should marry Alice’s widower, Louis Grand Duke of Hesse and help him raise his five surviving children in England. However, it was illegal to marry your deceased sibling’s partner at the time so the marriage never happened, relieving
Victoria. Victoria was so desperate to keep her daughter by her side, she instructed Beatrice to ignore Prince Louis of Battenberg when he came to dinner. He was yet another rejected marriage candidate. He instead married Beatrice’s niece, Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. While attending their wedding, Beatrice met the love of her life, Prince Henry of Battenberg, Louis’ brother. When Beatrice told her mother that she wished to marry him, Victoria was horrified and gave her daughter the silent treatment for seven months, only communicating by note. Eventually, Beatrice’s siblings convinced their mother that Prince Albert would have wanted Beatrice to be happily married. The Queen gave in and the couple were wed at St Mildred’s Church on the Isle of Wight on the 23rd of July 1885. The Princess wore her mother’s wedding veil and let her Victoria walk her down the aisle. The Queen remained civil during the ceremony, but apparently burst into tears as soon as the happy couple departed on their honeymoon. The marriage itself was happy, but Henry was forced to remain in the United Kingdom and drop all foreign commitments if he wanted to stay with Beatrice. Victoria was so extreme that she sent a warship to collect Henry when he went to visit his brother. After eleven years of marriage, Henry was finally allowed to fight in Africa. He died of malaria while in Africa, at just 37 years old, leaving behind his wife and four children; Alexander, Victoria Eugenie, Leopold and Maurice.
Henry’s death bought Victoria and Beatrice closer together, but often made her children feel neglected. Beatrice’s life was overturned in 1901 when her mother passed away. She wrote, “I, who have hardly been separated from my dear mother, can only realise what life will be like without her, who was the centre of everything”. Her place at court was diminished as she didn’t get along with her brother, now King Edward VII. She followed her mother’s request by spending the next 30 years editing her mother’s journals and burning the originals. 2/3’s of the original writing was edited out. Beatrice spent most of her time on the Isle of Wight and was proclaimed governess of the island after the death of her husband. She saw her daughter become Queen of Spain, and two of her sons die young. She lived to see four kings crowned and was the last of Queen Victoria’s children to die, dying at Brantridge Park in Sussex on the 26th of October 1944, aged 87.
If you want to find out more about Princess Beatrice, follow @princess_beatrice_of_the_uk on Instagram for daily facts and photographs. THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
PORTRAYING YOUNG VICTORIA AND ALBERT BY AMELIA AKA YOUNG VICTORIA
or a few years now I have been portraying Victoria, it first started when my dear friend Pete from The Rochester Dickens Festival suggested I portray Victoria. It began with a little “ Victorian “ ( more of an 1980’s party dress that was over exaggerated ) Pete gave me a little gold and sapphire crown, a blue heart necklace and some beautiful earrings. That was it I thought I was set to be Victoria but oh how wrong I was ! The months running up to the festival I began to do a lot of research on Victoria and the fashion of the Dickens era. The Dickens Festival had a mix of women in crinolines, petticoats and bustles ! All these types of styles and dresses really overwhelmed me and it took me quite a bit of time to find the right time line of dress I wanted to follow. I eventually found the 1840’s, a very big sum of years for Victoria including; her wedding, her becoming the first monarch to ride a steam train, Victoria’s first child, and Victoria’s first assatination attempt. Victoria reigned for a very long time and was the longest reigning monarch and had a very eventful life. Many people see the plump widow in her weeds when they are reminded of Queen Victoria, my goal is to portray Victoria in a whole new light. I wanted to show Victoria as the music, dance, food lover and thrill seeking queen she was. Even in Victoria’s later life she loved to drink and write, she remained in black for the rest of her life when her darling Albert passed but she still had a spark of the Young Queen she once was. I want to focus on the Young Victoria in this article. Portraying the Queen was not only taking on the role of a monarch but as a wife, mother and party lover. I sometimes give educational talks but my favourite has to be using Victoria’s memories as if
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my own, Victoria wrote around 2,500 words per day and only stopped writing till a couple of days before her death. She is one of the most recorded monarchs in history, I am sure Victoria knew her diaries would one day be read by someone that was not herself this is perhaps why she added so much intimate details in her diary. Sadly after Victoria’s death her daughter Beatrice re-wrote all of Victoria’s dairies so not all of the words are Victoria’s. Victoria was very aware of her influence on fashion and took this to advantage, she supported British manufacturers and even held balls to help give custom to Spitalfields silk weavers. Not only did Victoria hold balls in aid of businesses she even based her wedding dress around the Honiton lace she had made in March - November in 1839 a year before her wedding ! Her dress was a plain white silk gown with honiton lace, orange blossoms and white silk slippers. Victoria wanted to be wedded as a wife and not the Queen. This is a reason why she wore no tiara or sparkling jewels, just turkish diamond earrings and a sapphire brooch Albert designed for her. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful replica of Victoria’s sapphire brooch which you can see in multiple photographs of me as Victoria. Creating my replica of the gown was a long process, finding the right person to make it and finding the correct patterns that were as close as we could get. Victoria had the patterns of most of her dresses so they could not be replicated or copied. The dress I currently have is a replica of a dress featured in multiple portraits and paintings of Victoria from around late 1830’s to the 1840’s. I had to make sure everything was perfect ( i have autism which has given me some perks as to
being able to research and remember large sums of information ) so I created a whole facebook album on portraits of Victoria wearing white. I have searched high and low, in books, museums and the good old internet. The dress and regalia was complete but i noticed i still had a crinoline, i realised in the 1840’s crinolines were not yet introduced into fashion so i had to do plenty of research on the undergarments. My tiring but rewarding research finally concluded to a base of a plain petticoat first to stop my legs from being scratched apart by the strachted corded petticoat. The next came a satin, flounced and tucked petticoat. I hand made the flounced and tucked petticoat due to the Coronavirus, I had so much time on my hands that I was sat twiddling my thumbs for a few weeks; i decided i would give making some undergarments a go because not only did I need more petticoats I needed something to keep me from going insane! I have been lucky enough to visit multiple residences and museums with some interesting artifacts including Victoria’s wedding dress and her regalia. Seeing things Victoria actually held/ wore made me have such a strange yet wonderful feeling. To be in front of something my idol would have been in presence with just boggles my mind ! I still have such vivid memories of Visiting the V&A museum and Kensington palace with my sister. I took way too many photographs for reference and to look back on. We visited both places for my birthday ( What history nerd would not want to go somewhere like this for their birthday huh ?! ) I am sure I annoyed my sisters with me blurting out random facts about Victoria I knew previously before visiting the museum.
With the multiple pictures and references I took I was able to start creating a replica of Victoria’s Order Of The Garter breast star with diamonds, clay and paint. To me it looked fantastic at first but i began to see all the tiny incorrections and flaws so i ended up purchasing one from a wonderful company who creates replicas for film and production. I still have my replica of the Lesser George I created, it is not perfect but I have not been able to find a correct replica with the cameo of Saint George on it.
The connection of the Dickens festival and Victoria. The town Rochester where the Dickens festival is held is an incredibly historic town, Victoria herself even stayed in a hotel along the high street of Rochester. At the beginning i felt i wouldn’t fit in as the Queen at the festival but I soon started to learn new connections between Victoria and Dickens.
Prince Albert My partner portrays Prince Albert. It is a big role taking on both a Queens and a Prince’s research but the outcome is worth it. There are not as many extant garments of Prince Albert’s clothing but I have to work with what is available. With my knowledge of early Victorian clothing i have been able to put together an accurate presentation of the Princes formal and day wear. Luckily Victoria treasured many of Alberts belongings after his death. I was able to find some exciting items such as a grenadier uniform, his order of the garter regalia set as well as lots of paintings and lithographs of him. Me and my partner have visited many places Victoria and Albert went as well as museums that have exhibitions or items related to the royal couple. This gives us a lot more details on the things we are researching as it’s right in front of us whichs always exciting! Find out more about Young Victoria; www.youngqueenvictoria.co.uk Instagram @youngvictoriaandalbert THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
JOE LOUIS VS. MAX SCHEMLING BY RACHEL LEE PEREZ
he date was June 22, 1938. More than 70,000 attendees filled the seats of Yankee Stadium with yet another 70 million tuning in on the radio. The whole world was engaged in the Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling boxing match that night and for good reason. This was more than just a boxing match. This was nation versus nation. Nazi versus American. White man versus Black man. Joe Louis, born Joseph Louis Barrow on May 13, 1914, moved with his family from Alabama to Detroit, Michigan when he was only a few years old. Their move came at a time when several Black American families moved from the South to Northern industrial cities. In fact, between 1916 and 1918, 400,000 Black Americans made this move for better opportunities and less racial discrimination. It was here in Detroit that Louis began boxing. He was a shy kid with an unfortunate stammer. But boxing at the local recreation center helped him build up his confidence and, in 1932, he made his official boxing debut at the age of seventeen. Just two years into his amateur career, his record was 50-3 with 43 knockouts! Louis faced severe hardship as a Black athlete. He rose up through the ranks at a time when many white Americans did not want to see a successful Black athlete. Louis’ trainers gave him a set of commandments that he must follow which included never having his picture taken with a white woman, never to gloat over a fallen opponent,
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and to live and fight clean. It meant nothing that Louis was a great boxer - one of the best boxers of all time - if he posed any kind of threat to white society and dominance. He had to be seen as a quiet, non-threatening Bible reader. Louis made his professional debut in 1934 where he knocked out his opponent in the very first round. Louis would go on to win all twelve of his professional fights that year with ten of them by knockout. And by 1935, Louis was considered to be the number one contender in the heavyweight division. When a boxing match was scheduled between Louis and German boxer Max Schmeling, everyone was confident that it would be an easy win for Louis. Schmeling, at this point, was considered to be somewhat of a “has-been”. Unfortunately, Louis also expected it to be an easy win and therefore did not train as much for this fight as he typically would have. Schmeling, on the other hand, spent a significant amount of time studying tapes of previous Louis fights to see what he could use to his advantage. He watched every film over and over until he found exactly what he was looking for. He found a small defect in Louis’ style. Following a jab, Louis had a habit of bringing his hand down to his waist as opposed to bringing it back up to his face. And this was something Schmeling took advantage of. On June 19, 1936 in front of a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium, Louis and Schmeling faced off. On one hand, you had Schmeling, a German that represented everything that Americans hated
about Hitler and Nazis. But on the the other hand, you had Louis, a Black man born and raised in American that - despite facing racism daily by white American that did not want to see a successful Black fighter - found themselves supporting this rags-toriches story as they were coming out of the Great Depression and also this symbol of nationalism and pride in the face of another World War. Just as he had planned, Schmeling struck Louis on the chin when Louis brought his jab back down to his waist. Schmeling continued to land punch after punch and eventually knocked Louis out. This was the first time Louis had ever been knocked out. Americans were devastated. There are eyewitness reports of men and women crying in the streets. The Black community was especially hit hard because Louis was their hero. Germany, on the other hand, had the complete opposite response. Hitler himself had flowers sent to Schmeling’s wife with a note in which he called Schmeling “our greatest German boxer”. When Schmeling returned to Germany, he received a hero’s welcome with thousands of Germans lining up for miles to greet him. Hitler ordered for the Louis vs. Schmeling fight to be shown in theaters throughout the country prior to the featured film and had the fight named “Schmeling’s Victory: A German Victory”. A rematch between the two men was scheduled for June 22, 1938. And this was a fight like none other. Americans thrust Louis forward as a representative of democracy at a time
when Black men and women could not vote, did not have equal rights, and Black men were segregated within the armed forces that they joined to defend a country that refused to defend them. But in the face of a battle with what Americans considered to be a Nazi, all but the most hardened racists backed Louis. With more than 70,000 people watching and another 70 million tuning in via the radio, Louis hit Schmeling so hard in the kidneys that Schmeling audible screamed. Louis defeated Schmeling in less than one round. This fight was different. This fight changed America. A Schmeling defeat felt like a Nazi defeat. Schmeling losing felt like Hitler losing. And for the first time, Blacks and white were united in their celebration of Louis’ victory. Despite this fight, Louis and Schmeling would go on to develop a friendship in later years. In fact, Schmeling would serve as pallbearer at Louis’ funeral when he passed away in 1981. Louis is remembered today as one of the greatest fighters that ever lived. He would defend his title as world champion for a consecutive 11 years and 10 months which is still a record to this day in the heavyweight division. He was inducted into the Ring Magazine Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He opened doors for Black athletes and united a nation during a time of depression, war, and tension. To learn more about Joe Louis, his years of service in the U.S. Army, and the heartbreaking tale of his struggles with the IRS, tune into Hashtag History’s Episode 42: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling on any podcast platform! We can be found on all major podcast platforms. We are also on Instagram @hashtaghistory_podcast and on Twitter @hashtaghistory_.
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WONDERS OF WESTMINSTER BY JO MCLAUGHLIN
et’s face it, when someone mentions public sculpture – rarely does it ignite any form of excitement and wonder. Why? Well, if you ask me, an art historian and sculpture specialist, public sculpture suffers historically from the three B’s: Bronze, big and boring. My analysis may seem brutal, but I ask you -how many times have you stopped and really looked at a work of public sculpture? Well, not to worry; there is an unlikely spot in London which has witnessed a wave of new and interesting public artworks which are more than deserving of your time. Westminster, not only the hub of Britain’s government activity, its public sculpture in and around the Palace of Westminster celebrate many great figures in history and surprisingly, not all of them are political figures. Here is a brief look into the interesting histories surrounding 3 public sculptures that you can find in and around this pocket of London.
The Mary Seacole Memorial Sculpture Artist: Martin Jennings Date Unveiled: 2016 Where: Westminster Road, Westminster Mary Seacole was a British-Jamaican nurse who treated British troops during the Crimean War. She was posthumously voted first in a poll of ‘100 Great Black Britons’ in 2014. Travelling to the Crimea i independently, after her attempts to join the official nursing school led by Florence Nightingale was 20
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unsuccessful, Seacole set up a base hospital as a recreational and convalescence facility for officers and was referred to as “Mother Seacole” by those she treated. Returning to England in 1856, she published an autobiography entitled ‘Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands’ the following year. Further to the release of her book, a fundraiser was held in Covent Garden for Seacole by those soldiers she treated after it was discovered she was living in poverty. This fundraiser set Seacole up for life. After her death, she largely disappeared from public awareness until the centenary of her death in 1991 revived an interest by the general public. The figure of Seacole stands facing the houses of parliament. The disc which is behind the figure imitates the land surface where Seacole established her hospital base during the war which the artist scanned and reproduced through the help of 3D printing! Artist Jennings intended the disc to hold a literal significance - as a depiction of the place where her reputation was first established, and a symbolic meaning - a reminder of the block to her ambitions. Seacole’s statue is generally considered to be the first in Britain to recognise a named black woman in history. It was unveiled to the public in 2016.
The Burghers of Calais Artist: Auguste Rodin Date Unveiled: 1911 Where: Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster Upon first glance, Rodin’s Burghers of Calais appears to be a group of helpless figures dress in sackcloth, but there is much more to the work when you look again knowing its history. Rodin was commissioned in 1885 by the French city of Calais to create a sculpture to commemorate the heroic actions of six esteemed members of Calais who sacrificed their lives to save the city during the 100 years’ war which began in 1337 between France and England.The story goes; King Edward III of England had taken
the city and gave the citizen a choice, surrender the six most esteemed members of the city and present the key of Calais to him, or all should perish. Rodin’ sculpture depicts the moments the six noblemen of Calais leave the city, and are making their way to King Edward III’s camp to die. Their varying expressions of despair and terror within the group is masterfully captured by the French sculptor, one of the figures is even depicted carrying the key to the city to present to the king. Under the king’s command, all the men had to have their heads bare, be bound together in rope and be wearing sackcloth which further explains their appearance. The story however has a happy ending, the burghers (townspeople) were save by Edward’s wife, Queen Philippa of Hainault, who was worried the King’s actions would be a bad omen for their unborn child. However, many historians believe this not to be the case and think this was an act of pre-arranged political theatre. There are 12 versions of this sculpture all over the world. Examples can be found in Tokyo, Basel, Jerusalem, California anddCalais.
Millicent Garrett Fawcett Statue – Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere Artist: Gillian Wearing Date Unveiled: 2018 Where: Parliament Square This sculpture honours the life and work of British suffragist leader and social campaigner Millicent Garrett Fawcett who spent her life championing the right for women to vote. Fawcett was a pivotal figure in the forming of the UK’s main suffragist organisation, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, when it was founded in 1897 after 17 individual suffragette groups merged. By 1905 it had over 50,000 members and saw Fawcett become its president between 1907 and 1919. The work depicts Fawcett in her 50’s holding a banner quoting: ‘Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere’,
a quote from one of her speeches given in 1920. The work was unveiled in 2018 to coincide with the centenary anniversary of Fawcett’s passing of the Representation of the People Act, 1918. This act allowed women who owned property over the age of 30 to vote for the first time in the UK, which was about two thirds of women in the country at the time. Fawcett did not stop there however, and continued to campaign for the rest of her life to gain equal voting rights to men. It was not until 1928 that women gained that right. Fawcett died in 1929. The work is incredibly important for two reasons: it is the first sculpture to be unveiled in parliament square dedicated to a woman and it is the first sculpture in the square made by a female artist. At its unveiling, the Prime minister Theresa May said: “I would not be standing here today as Prime Minister, no female MPs would have taken their seats in Parliament, none of us would have the rights we now enjoy, were it not for one truly great woman: Dame Millicent Garret Fawcett.” So remember, next time you see a work of public sculpture, stop for a moment to acknowledge it, it might not be the most exciting thing you have ever laid your eyes on, but the history behind it certainly is worthy of your time.
Mary Seacole statue
Millicent Garrett Fawcett Statue
About the writer; Jo McLaughlin is an art historian, curator, writer and host of the Jo’s Art History Podcast. She writes and presents on all topics art historical. Jo believes stimulating art historical content should be available to everyone and feels that presenting and writing in a fun and relaxed way will help break down the traditional elitism around the subject, which so many often find off putting. You can follow Jo on Instagram @josarthistory Website: www.josarthistory.com Podcast – available to stream wherever you get your podcasts.
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“A CHILD WITH A BIRDSCAGE”: FRENCH 18TH CENTURY SCIENCE IN SCULPTURE BY EVITA KLIPPERT
ighteenth century France is best known for the luxury of the courtiers in the Palace of Versailles. But while Louis XIV and his successors bound the nobles to themselves with feasts, games and royal ceremonies, the French people developed their own intellectual elite: The educated middle classes. Among them were famous representatives of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire, Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. They all belonged to the very heterogeneous third class, which clearly distinguished itself from the second class, the clergy, and had to pay most taxes. This group of people included a wide variety of professions, and here too, some were richer than others. Those who could afford not to work continued to educate themselves and made the 18th century what we know today: The century of the Enlightenment. In that time man was at the centre of scientific research. Scholars such as Rousseau wrote about the natural state of man, JeanBaptiste Dubos about the aesthetics which were born in the 18th century and Diderot wrote an Encyclopédie with Jean le Rond d’Alembert. This new scientific endeavours were also reflected in art, in both painting and sculpture. The sculpture “A Child with a Birdscage“ („L’enfant à la cage“) by
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Jean-Baptiste Pigalle is a fine example of the newly awakened interest in childhood and human development. The sculptor made the marble sculpture in 1749 for the banker Jean Pâris de Monmartel and is known for his realistic depictions of humans. The small child is shown sitting, looking to the side. In its left hand it is holding a birdcage from which the bird has escaped. The symbol of the bird in the cage was already erotically connoted in Dutch art of the 16th century and was a symbol of the fallus in the vulva. In 18th century France, the symbol was interpreted rather vaguely and the escaped bird represented lost innocence. By bringing his right hand to his chin, the child assumes a thinking pose, which is quite unusual for his age. His insight is comparable to the representation of Eve in paradise, who bit into the apple and lost her innocence at the same moment as she gained insight. Like her, the child has lost its innocence and thereby gained new knowledge. The depiction of an actively reflective child corresponds to the sensualist theories of knowledge of the 18th century. The English philosopher John Locke wrote as early as the 17th century that human experience is based on sensory experience. His Essay Concerning Human Understanding from 1699 was widely received in France by French scholars such as Dubos. By creating
the sculpture, Pigalle contributes to the scientific discourse on childhood in his time.
For more from Evita follow her instagram; @art.historian.evita Pictures; : © R.M.N./R.G. Ojeda
REBECCA IN CONTEXT: WOMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S FASHION & GLAMOUR DURING THE 1930S BY TIZANE NAVEA-ROGERS
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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
o goes the iconic opening line of the 1938 novel, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I raced through the book a few weeks ago and fell in love with it. It’s not just the novel’s gothic, haunting atmosphere. But also, how it exudes Thirties style and glamour. In fact, the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock adaptation was marketed as just that: “The Most Glamourous Motion Picture Ever Made”. Rebecca follows the story of an unnamed young woman working as a ladies’ companion in Monte Carlo. After a whirlwind romance, our protagonist marries the handsome and wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter. However, when the newly wedded couple return to Maxim’s resplendent Cornwall estate, they struggle to achieve marital bliss, haunted by the memory of the late Mrs de Winter (the titular Rebecca) who died the previous year in mysterious circumstances. In the novel, clothing is suffused with symbolic value, holding a mirror to the characters themselves. It is both personal and performative, and is often used to embody status, personality and taste. Indeed, fashion threads throughout both the novel and its 1940 Hitchcock adaptation in a highly effective, character-driven way. So, let’s put the book into some context and dive into a little 1930s fashion history!
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Clothing during the Roaring Twenties was exuberant and modern, with shorter dresses and the of synthetic fabrics. However, in the 1930s, fashion saw a return to conservatism, evolving from boyish cuts to more feminine silhouettes. On the whole, Thirties clothing was modest and form-fitting, accentuating a natural ‘high’ waist. Cuts were fitted around the hips and hemlines sunk back down the leg to mid-calf or floor length. Necklines were high and shoulders were structured and wide. In short, Thirties fashion was trim, tailored, modest and feminine. But the Thirties was also an era of contrasts. While we see the rise of mass-produced garments made from cheaper, synthetic fabrics and a flourishing catalogue market (e.g. Littlewoods), the decade also saw the ascendancy of Old Hollywood glamour. Actresses such as Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich and Vivienne Leigh fashioning themselves into style icons. Yet, in Rebecca, our unnamed heroine is unable to achieve such sartorial glamour. Indeed, this becomes a source of anxiety for the character, as she begins to view herself as secondrate to the “exquisitely turned out” and fashionably minded.Rebecca. She is simply not ready for the performance she is expected to play in her new life as Mrs de Winter. Rather, coming from a humble background, Mrs de Winter’s closet is a modest one with dowdy hand-me-down suits and home-made garments: “I can see myself now, memory spanning the years like a bridge, with straight, bobbed hair and youthful powdered face, dressed in an ill-fitting coat and skirt and a jumper of my own creation.” Rather, in the naivety of her youth, she so desperately wishes she “was a woman of about thirty-six dressed in black satin with a string of pearls. Day Wear Rebecca is littered with passages that illustrate Mrs de Winter’s functional and unvaried wardrobe. In one passage, she recounts her typical day wear in detail:
“I can remember as though I wore it still my comfortable, ill-fitting flannel suit, and how the skirt was lighter than the coat through harder wear. My shabby hat, too broad about the brim, and low-heeled shoes, fastened with a single strap. A pair of gauntlet gloves clutched in a grubby hand.”Smart daysuits were indeed very popular during the Thirties, which favoured clean silhouettes and sculptured, defined shoulders. Just like Mrs de Winter’s “flannel” and “woolly” suits, less expensive fabrics grew in popularity throughout the decade. So-called “rough” or “peasant” fabrics, as well as cotton, became the trend. In a typical day ensemble, you might pair your smart jacket with a blouse or top and a mid-length skirt (as pictured). Maybe you’ve purchased a blouse and skirt set, designed to match.
Among other options, you you might’ve worn day or afternoon dresses, dresses with matching bolero (a cropped jacket) or cape. These ensembles would likely have been topped with a fur or wool coat. And since this is the 1930s, a myriad of accessories, including: hat, gauntlet gloves, scarf, handbag and lowheeled, sturdy courts. Dress and knitting patterns were also in high demand during this period, as women continued to opt for home sewing in their droves - just like our Mrs de Winter who wore a jumper of her “own creation”. In the 1930s, the vast majority of women in England sewed and knitted their own garments, such as vests, jumpers, scarves and even sometimes their own girdles! But knitting also became a popular pastime among the ‘young’ and ‘trendy’ who favoured brightly
coloured yarn and intricate stitches. Such garments feature in Mrs de Winter’s own closet with references to a stockinette day-dress “with bare shoulders”. Indeed, knits were a staple of 1930s day wear. Simple, comfortable and, to some, highly fashionable. The Evening Dress There is a scene in Rebecca where our protagonist ventures into the dust-sheeted old rooms in the west wing of the house. These rooms had once been occupied by the late Mrs de Winter when she was alive. Our heroine, driven by an aching curiosity, explores the rooms, including Rebecca’s closet filled to the brim with luxurious dresses and furs. Here, she describes the elegant gowns: “I caught the shimmer of silver over the top of the white bags that enfolded them. There was a piece of gold brocade. There, next to it, was velvet, wine-colored and soft. There was a train of white satin, dripping on the floor of the wardrobe. Peeping out from a piece of tissue paper on a shelf above was an ostrich feather fan.” Shortly after, in a bout of possessive devotion to the titular Rebecca, Mrs Danvers proceeds to taunt Mrs de Winter with these garments, cooing “Mr. de Winter liked [Rebecca] to wear silver mostly […] She looked beautiful in velvet”. Mrs Danvers then caresses Rebecca’s furs, the sable and chinchilla wraps she would have slung around her shoulders on cold nights. The colours and sumptuous materials come to life on the page, epitomizing the luxurious simplicity of 1930s evening gowns. Silky, “dripping” fabrics were most popular during this period, such as chiffon, silk, crepede-chines and satin. Metallic lame also came into fashion. Material was typically cut on the bias to create elegant, flowing lines that draped along the figure. Here, designers were inspired by the images of Greek goddesses. The dresses were long line, with floor length hems and often small trains in the back. The effect was subtle, softly accentuating the waist. They certainly posed in stark contrast to the body sculpting corsetry, hoops
and pads of previous decades! Looking at the above images, you can see how evening gowns of the 1930s were all about luxurious minimalism. The focus was on the cut of the dress, the fall of the trail and the garment’s movement. Dresses were designed to be effortlessly simple, where one could glide languidly in a manner of controlled, sophisticated carelessness.
purposes. Sportswear such as overalls, trousers or shorts were worn for the beach, playing sports or even just watching sports. Slacks were typically wide legged, with a front crease (or very wide, flowing culottes) and a high fitted waist. Beyond days at the beach or playing sports, women didn’t typically wear pants too often during this era. However, Hollywood actresses were instrumental in putting trousers on the map! The likes of Marlene Dietrich a nd Katherine Hepburn were pictured donning slacks, challenging the gender norms of their day. At the time, wearing pantsuits so openly was not without controversy but these iconic stars paved the way for the gradual popularisation of trousers and the chic pant suits we see on the red carpet today.
And so, here we have reached the end of our whistle-stop tour of 1930s fashion, intrepid time-traveller! We explored typical day wear and elegant evening gowns, with a brief foray into the world of women’s slacks. These garments thread throughout Rebecca and are shown in delicious detail on screen, adding real depth and texture to the story’s characters. It has also proffered us a path of escapism, a glimpse into the past, where we can fully immerse ourselves in a world of simple yet sophisticated glamour.
Trousers? Yes, women wore trousers! Or ‘slacks’ as they were typically known in the 1930s. In the novel, Mrs Danvers supposes that Rebecca was wearing “slacks and a shirt” at the time of her death, as she was an active woman who enjoyed sailing. Trousers were simply the more practical choice! Indeed, during the Thirties, slacks were worn exactly for these functional
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The History of Christmas Card writing By Ellis Naylor
If there is one thing that reminds me of Christmas it is the ritual of sitting down and writing to loved ones, an activity which stands the test of time throughout history. Like with many Christmas traditions that we now call out own, the origins of the Christmas card we know today, can be traced back to the Victorian period, although engravings and etchings have been exchanged at Christmas time since the Middle Ages. We have the initial idea of Henry Cole to thank, a civil servant, inventor and the first director of the V&A Museum. He reformed the British postal service by inventing the ‘Penny Post’ and with his friend, John Callcott, designed he first ever Christmas card. His initial idea never did take off, perhaps Cole was ahead of his time but later in 1848, after Prince Albert and Charles Dickens had begun to popularise Christmas, William Maw Egley designed a card very similar to Cole’s that became a success. These early Victorian Christmas cards were influenced heavily with symbolism including both religious and popular Christmas imagery we now think of today, such as other Victorian inventions like the Christmas cracker! Today, I encourage you in this world of social media and instant messaging to perhaps take some time to sit and write a Christmas card. There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing someone is thinking about you at this time of year, especially when this has been a year quite like no other. See more from Ellis; Instagram; @HistorianEllis www.historianellis.wordpress.com
New Years day gifts By Ana Copeland
‘Got up early to get ready our verses and presents for Mama…Placed the basket & all the thing in it in her arm chairs…. Mama saw the basket & was
very pleased with it & its contents. Made us each a present of some Money’ (Saturday 1st January 1814). This excerpt from the journal of Lady Charlotte and Mary Hill, daughters of the 2nd Marquess of Downshire illustrates the tradition of New Years’ Day gifts In England. With the introduction of German Christmas traditions in the Georgian period, New Years’ gift giving became focused instead on Christmas Day. Christmas Day had primarily revolved around feasting before this time and the majority of the upper classes viewed it as a tiresome affair. This tradition stretches as far back as the 13th century at the court of Henry III. Even in the Tudor period the first day of the New Year involved the exchanging of elaborate gifts with royalty and at the court of Elizabeth I, thoughtful, personal gifts were much preferred over money. The exchanging of gifts also occurred among the lower classes and common gifts included glove and clove stuck oranges. The tradition of gift giving on January 1st is still practiced in Russia, France, Switzerland, and Greece.
and the humourist Jerome K. Jerome wrote in 1891 that ‘Whenever…Englishspeaking people meet around a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories.’ In the early 1900s, a Cambridge academic called M. R. James wrote ghost stories and every Christmas Eve he would read them by candlelight in front of an invited audience. In the 1970s the BBC even made a television series called A Ghost Story for Christmas which was briefly revived in 2005. Although we no longer tell spooky stories as a part of our Christmas celebrations, the countless adaptations of A Christmas Carol show that Christmas is still the perfect time for sharing a chilling tale. See more from Frances Instagram: @thehistoriannextdoor Blog: historiannextdoor.co.uk
Mari Llwyd By Claire Miles
In Wales the Mari Llwyd was a ritual, derived from the wassailing folk custom, performed during the 12 days of Christmas. It involved a luckbringing mock horse accompanied by a group of (often rowdy) men Follow Ana on instagram: who exchanged song verses with @exploringheritageni householders before being invited in for home-brewed beer and cake. Ghost Stories The preparation of the mock horse By Frances Durkin began soon after Michaelmas, by Although it might not be the first obtaining a horse’s head and boiling thing we think of when we put up the it until the flesh came off. A pole was Christmas tree and feast on mince then inserted into the skull and a pies, the festive tradition of telling white sheet draped over it. Coloured ghost stories around a blazing fire has ribbons and bells also decorated the a very long history. Oral storytelling Mari Llwyd. As the party approached was a perfect form of entertainment the house it was intending to visit, the during long winter nights and the time leader would tap on the door while around the winter solstice was perfect the rest of the party sang traditional for conjuring tales of otherworldly rhymes. If the door was answered, the apparitions. But it was the Victorians party and inhabitants of the house who embraced these stories and would engage in a ‘battle of wits’ and created a demand for festive scares. verse. Eventually the householders Charles Dickens published his own relented and invited them inside. magazine which often featured his own ghost stories and those by Claire is a history blogger from established authors such as Wilkie Mid Wales who runs the popular Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell. The Hisdoryan blog. She is also the founder public loved these tales and Dickens’ of the History Girls community and supernatural novella, A Christmas hashtag on Instagram. Carol, was first published in December Follow Claire on instagram 1843. It sold out within days. The @hisdoryan enthusiasm for these stories endured THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
NO, TUDOR FOOD WASN’T BLAND AND HERE’S WHY BY JO ROMERO
If you could jump into a time machine and journey back five hundred years you’d find a wide range of flavours, smells and ingredients.” 28
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t’s a subject often discussed in Tudor groups: the food back then was bland, uninteresting and limited. The peasants miserably picked at stale, dry bread on their way to work while royalty banqueted in palaces, eating pretty much nothing but vast quantities of plain, roasted meat and throwing chicken legs over their bejewelled shoulders. Right? Wrong. The truth is that Tudor food was colourful, full of flavour and diverse, even by modern standards. Take the spices they used. The Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye ( first published in 1545) includes recipes for venison roasted with a cinnamon, sugar and vinegar sauce, and pigeons roasted with pepper, saffron, cloves and mace. (1) The fragrant Beef Y Stwyd, which dates to at least the fifteenth century, was a comforting beef stew that also featured cloves, saffron and mace. (2) Fennel seeds were sprinkled over roasted fruits and aniseed was kneaded into the famous Jumbles biscuits. If you could time travel to a Tudor banquet, you’d certainly find their use of spices more abundant and intense than we’re used to today. Most of us don’t put cinnamon and cloves in our meatballs or on spinach, but they did. Spices were expensive, and became more accessible under the Tudors’ expansive exploration and trade. As such, their use in affluent households could have been part of a display of wealth, and some were prepared to spend huge amounts of
money on these costly seasonings. The Household Book of the Bishop of Percy was said, in 1512, to contain more than £25 worth of spices in its inventory, such as pepper, ginger, cinnamon, Grains of Paradise, cardamom, aniseed, galangal, mace, cloves and nutmeg. In modern terms, that equates to around £16,000. Even those further down the social scale could add flavour to their foods - perhaps not with costly ground spices, but common herbs could be foraged, bought or grown in gardens. John Gerard in 1597, recommends serving wild garlic leaves cooked with butter, or as part of a sauce, while other contemporary sources mention parsley, sage, dill, rosemary, thyme and chives. Herbs were used for medicinal reasons as well as for flavour though, Gerard mentioning that sage “quickneth the senses and memory” and juniper, which he said grew near England’s south coast, could be made into a potion and “drunke against the bitings of the viper.” Contrary to popular myth, the Tudors also ate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, although they were cautious about which ones, how they were prepared and how often they ate them. Health was managed through the idea of the humours, and it was important to keep the body delicately in balance by eating and drinking the right foods - not too much of anything considered too hot, cold, wet or dry - all of which could provoke disease. Gerard warns us that radishes and cresses are hot and dry, while spinach
is cold and moist, being “used in sallads when it is yong and tender.” To cool some of these temperaments, fruits and vegetables could be cooked, and fruits like cherries, gooseberries and apples were baked into pies or stewed. Lemons flavoured desserts and main meals or, as The Good Huswife’s Jewell (1585) states, as a salad served on their own, thinly sliced and sprinkled with sugar. So while the Tudors would have been concerned at our modern advice to eat seven portions of fruits and vegetables a day, it’s clear they had access to - and ate - a wide range of them, including turnips, carrots, spinach, cabbage, strawberries and cherries - even if they did enjoy them cautiously and in moderation. It was also under the Tudors that sugar became more popular. Sugar was considered beneficial to health, and it was crumbled up and added to foods and drinks almost indiscriminately. As well as using it to make puddings, they also kneaded it into meatballs and sprinkled it over vegetable fritters. Elaborate marchpanes were fashionable, sometimes worked into tall ships and famous buildings. They added it to their wine, too. Thomas Platter notes from his Travels in England in 1599 that people frequenting taverns and alehouses, “count it a great honour to be taken there and given wine with sugar to drink,” and that they “gaily toast each other”. When Hentzner comments on the visible decay of Queen Elizabeth’s teeth in 1598, he says it is “a defect the English seem subject to, from their too great use of sugar.”Even by our modern standards, the Tudors seemed to have loved sugar a little too much. In a dish that sounds a lot like a sixteenth-century lollipop, a ‘pretie dish’ in The Good Huswife’s Jewell asks us to take a paste made from dates and orange juice, form on a stick and bake - before strewing with sugar. (9) Dried fruits added texture and sweetness with raisins, currants and dates thrown into custards, meat sauces and pies. Rosewater was also used to flavour desserts like trifle, marchpane and pastries. The Tudors were known for their appetite for meat
and fish and this was diverse, too. Cookbooks tell us that wealthier Tudors ate meat including mutton, lamb, goat, hare, chicken and venison. Henry VIII attempted to source “fat quails” from as far away as Flanders to satisfy Jane Seymour’s pregnancy cravings in May 1537. (10) Villagers or townspeople may have had a flitch of bacon hanging in the house to make a soothing bowl of potage, or kept pigs or chickens to provide meat and eggs. On Fish Days, they would have enjoyed anything they could pull off a hook from British waters: eel, bream, plaice, salmon as well as mussels and oysters. Main meals were served with heavily seasoned rich sauces thickened with egg yolks. Cheese, eggs, butter and cream were heavily used in a Tudor kitchen, which bolstered the calorie intake needed for day-long rides through the country, commanding in wars or hatching plans and conspiracies at the royal court.
Roasted apples and sugar seeds
So do you still think Tudor food was bland and limited? If you could jump into a time machine and journey back five hundred years you’d find a wide range of flavours, smells and ingredients. The palace kitchens would be busy with the shouts and clatters of pots and pans simmering meat and fish dishes in thick, eggy sauces and the turning of spiced meats that crackle and hiss over the fire. You’d catch the waft of a fresh apple pie strongly spiced with cinnamon and cloves being brought out of the oven. A cook in the corner strews sugar over a platter of vegetable fritters before waving them away. In the centre of town on a frosty morning you’d sense smoky bacon, cabbage and leek being simmered in broth, a waft of ale and perhaps a sweet tang of roasted apples. Tudor food was sweet, heavily spiced and rich. It definitely wasn’t bland. Would you try Tudor food?
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Queen Mary I By Valerie Schutte
The Inheritance of Queen Mary I y the beginning of 1553, King Edward VI began thinking about the succession, specifically, if he died without male issue and whose male heirs would succeed him. All of his closest relations were females and none yet had any male children. The final version of the document in which he wrote of his desired succession is more commonly known as Edward’s “Deuise for the succession.” By late spring 1553, Edward was suffering from a respiratory illness that would not abate. By mid-June, it was reported that Edward’s condition was beyond recovery. Ambassador Jehan Scheyfve reported to the Emperor that by June 11, Edward “was attacked by a violent hot fever, which lasted over 24 hours.” Furthermore, “he has been unable to keep anything in his stomach” and “his legs are swelling.” “On the 13th and 14th, in addition to the Council, several of the foremost judges of the kingdom were summoned, apparently in order to draw up the King’s will and interpret the laws and statutes touching the succession.” Thus, Edward finalized his “Deuise,” making Lady Jane Dudley, nee Grey, the next monarch, to be succeeded by her male heirs, hoping to have a Tudor male heir within one generation. However, this “Deuise” was never ratified by Parliament, because Edward died before its next meeting, meaning that the “Deuise” was never confirmed into statute law. On July 6, Edward died. His death was kept a secret until Jane was taken to the Tower of London and plans for his altered succession could be confirmed. Mary, however, either aware of Edward’s state or informed
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by a person close to Edward, fled to Kenninghall in Norfolk on July 5 before Edward’s Council summoned her to court under false pretenses on July 7. On July 9, Mary was proclaimed queen in Norfolk, but on July 10, Jane was proclaimed queen in London. The matter was not to be settled for nine days, upon the Council’s decision to revert course and support Mary instead. On July 19, Mary was proclaimed queen in London and Jane was kept in the Tower as a prisoner. Mary arrived in London on August 3, met with celebration and jubilation for her inheritance.
The Allegory of Queen Mary I as a Marigold William Forrest wrote A New Ballad of the Marigold to celebrate Queen Mary I’s accession in July 1553. It is comprised of fourteen stanzas, with the final word of each being “Marigolde.” The first four stanzas lay out the allegory of the marigold, noting that God has created all things – “Sonne, Moone, and Sterres,” “fruites,” and “flowres” – yet Forrest’s favorite creation is the “Marigolde.” In stanza six, the final stanza before it is revealed that the marigold is an allegory for Mary, the marigold gets anthropomorphized. “To Christ Gods Sonne, our willes to put, and by his woorde, to set our futte, stiffly to stande, as champions bolde, from the truthe, to stagger nor stutte, for which I praise the Marigolde.” As Forrest writes it, the Marigolde is chosen by God and has stood firm as a champion, not backing down from the truth. Here, Forrest again alludes to Mary’s struggle for the throne and how she is the true heir. Uniquely, he calls her a
“champion,” a word not used in other accession literature. Forrest then goes on to discuss Mary’s qualities, such as education (stanza 9) and how she is favored by God (stanzas 10-12). Stanza thirteen tells her subjects to be obedient to her, and the final stanza declares how the new queen will bring peace and unity to England. Like so many other pieces of accession literature, Forrest wants Mary’s reign to move forward peacefully and positively. He creates an image of Mary as a peacemaker, rightful, chosen, virtuous, educated, and a champion, certainly not how she is thought of only a few decades later.
Valerie Schutte, Ph.D, FRHistS is the author of Mary I and the Art of Book Dedications: Royal Women, Power, and Persuasion (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) See more: www.tudorqueenship.com Instagram: @tudorqueenship
The Dissolution of the Monasteries in the North of England. By Rebecca Wilson Britain is peppered with the majestic ruins of its devotional past. Henry VIII’s Break with Rome and subsequent Dissolution of the Monasteries laid waste to hundreds of religious houses throughout the country between 1536-1539. Those years changed the very fabric of people’s lives. Monasteries were the social reform of their day. They administered medicine, cared for the sick, fed the hungry, gave alms and acted as homeless shelters. They even, in some cases, provided basic education to local children, in a time before schooling was commonplace for low born. However, the Church had its critics selling indulgences and lapsing into ‘incurable depravity’ though some think that this was done for financial gain . Nevertheless, without the religious houses, the most vulnerable in society were left without support and according to some contemporary accounts, there was a marked increase of vagrancy. As the new Head of the Church in England (Act of Supremacy 1534) Henry absorbed the annates or ‘first fruits,” profits due to Rome, himself. In the following January, he commissioned the Valor Ecclesiasticus , which measured the worth of every religious house in England and Wales. Those worth less than £200 per annum were closed; a further act in 1538 saw the closure of the rest. The commissioners were sent to: “examyn, serche, and enquire, by all the ways and means that they can by their dyscrecions, of and for the true and just, hole and entyere yerely values of all the manors …or belonginge to any Archebushopricke, &c. within the lymyttes of their Commyssion.” The Pilgrimage of Grace (Autumn 1536) rose up in opposition to the changes and tens of thousands marched,
gaining support in Yorkshire, North Lancashire, Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland. The King made vague promises to sate the crowd and the rebellion lost momentum. Some have viewed the rebellion as a noble retaliation against the religious changes, whereas others have suggested it was merely a protest against the reduction of holy days (holidays) under the guise of religious zeal. The fallout was brutal with a total of 216 executed, including several knights and Lords, 38 monks and 16 parish priests. The sub-prior of the Cartmel Priory, several cannons and ten villagers were hanged for their part in the rebellion. The monks of Hexham Abbey, William Trafford, Abbot of Sawley, William Thyrsk, former Abbot of Fountains Abbey and Sir Francis Bigod were also hanged. Others were decapitated and some hanged, drawn and quartered, one woman, Margaret Stafford, was burnt at the stake. Special cruelty was reserved for two of the ringleaders. Sir Robert Constable and Robert Aske were left to hang in chains from the walls of Hull and York, respectively. Following the rebellion, some Clerics submitted their houses willingly, terrified to anger the King further. As a result, those like the last Prior of Durham, Hugh Whitehead, became the first Dean of Durham Cathedral Chapel and later retired on a healthy pension. Richard Preston, former Prior of Cartmel, had sided with the Crown’s forces during the rebellion and was rewarded with a parochial living to supplement his pension. Monastic lands were sold or rewarded and as in the case of Lindisfarne, stone from the monastery was used to build Lindisfarne castle (1550); the Priory building itself used as a naval store. Similarly, at Durham, these buildings
were repurposed as strategic posts in the defence of the North. New landlords tended to be unsympathetic to their tenants and were often evicted, their rent increased, and enclosures were made across the Common Land. Relics were destroyed, and the tomb of St Cuthbert in Durham, for example, was demolished, his exhumed body reburied under a plain slab to strongly discourage pilgrimages, leading to a loss of revenue in these towns. It is thought that many hundreds of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts were destroyed during this time; entire libraries thrown into the flames. Only three out of six-hundred and fortysix were saved from York Augustine Library, sadly, it seems this story is not uncommon. It could be argued the Dissolution of the Monasteries was the single most devastating act of the 16th C. The smashing of early stained glass, the loss of livelihoods, the countless volumes of manuscripts, the destruction of holy buildings, and the loss of social care damaged the intellectual legacy of England and punished the most vulnerable in society.
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‘EFFECTIVE MARKSMANSHIP’: A STUDY OF BRITISH SHOOTING STANDARDS DURING THE SECOND ANGLO - BOER WAR (1899 – 1902) BY CAPTAIN NEIL GUERIN (ADJUTANT SMALL ARMS SCHOOL CORPS)
y previous role as the team Captain for the British Army Combat Shooting Team provoked me to look at how British Army Operational Marksmanship has evolved over the last century. This reflection could of course be an endless mire of after-action reviews, so keeping it focussed and relevant is most certainly at the centre crosshairs of this short study. ‘But my opinion gained during my experience of the Tirah and the South African campaigns is that the shooting of our infantry is not worthy of the accuracy and the long-range powers possessed by the present rifle’. Lord Methuen. The Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902) was a significant turning point in doctrine and the application of marksmanship across the British Army. Subsequent training from 1902-1914 was a significant improvement over the pre-Boer War British colonial warfare tactics, with the School of Musketry in Hythe being a weighted influencer that would shape the famous rifle skills of the Old Contemptibles of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in the opening battles of the First World War. Observations during the war and backed up by criticism pointed out the heavy reliance of the
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British Army on volley fire over individual marksmanship and the failure to consider the effective range of the modern rifles used by the Boers. These lessons generated significant changes in the tactical and organisational structure of the British Army. They also influenced new doctrine and new training. These strategic lessons laid the groundwork for reform as the British Army focused on providing an expeditionary force to fight abroad. The shift significantly affected the new structure developed after 1904. The Boers lacked a formally constituted army and instead relied heavily upon a volunteer militia system, with those volunteers being formed into units known as commandos. Boer citizens responding to the rallying call were expected to bring their own firearms and horses, thus providing a well-armed and highly mobile force. Aside of many natural advantages, the Boers often opened fire at ranges well over a mile, and this long-range rifle fire came as an unpleasant surprise to the British troops, who were not trained to fire at ranges of above 800yds . The Boers being particularly effective when engaging dense formations, and with notes later written by Lord Roberts in his tactical ‘Notes for Guidance’ urging infantry to adopt extended formations between 1500 and 1800 yards from Boer positions . The Boer War was synonymous with many an intense
firefight. Colonel Forbes MacBean (Commanding Officer 1st Gordons) noted a ‘certain percentage of men who are uncommonly good shots in the average Boer firing line’. The natural skills of these marksmen could be attributed to the linage of the average Boer being a game hunter, with rifle shooting and marksmanship being at the core of the culture for many years prior. In contrast the average British Soldier enjoyed few advantages by comparison to his Boer counterparts when it came to marksmanship, Lord Methuen offered a stark assessment of the issue: ‘The shooting of the Regular troops was conducted under exceptional difficulties on account of the clearness of the atmosphere and because the enemy offered no good target, but my opinion gained during my experience of the Tirah and the South African campaigns is that the shooting of our infantry is not worthy of the accuracy and the long range powers possessed by the present rifle’. The Army trained and focussed their individual rifle fire up to 500m and thereafter relied upon a collective (section) effort, little has changed in modern day doctrine. Frontal attacks against enemy positions frequently suffered heavy losses, with in-theatre lessons learned before the British was able to gain the upper hand. British musketry training was heavily based on the experiences of the second Anglo-Boer War.
There was later a significant effort to mimic the skills of Boers, with an emphasis on snap-shooting, firing from behind cover and engaging fleeting targets at unknown distances. Training that must be encouraged in the modern-day dynamic marksmanship culture. The culmination of British marksmanship training was the ‘Mad Minute’, in which a soldier was required to fire fifteen aimed shots at a target at least three hundred yards within sixty seconds. Particular pride was attached to the ‘Mad Minute’ exercise, which was generally considered to be a true test of a marksman. The award of coveted marksmanship badges and extra pay for soldiers who had reached the required standard further encouraged training and development. Before the war, officercontrolled fire with collective volley firing, and accuracy was not desired or sought. After the war, the focus was heavily on individual accuracy and firing under battlefield conditions. The change resulted in superior marksmen that significantly enhanced the firepower of British infantry and cavalry. In 1902 a British Officer had judged Boer marksmanship as ‘extraordinary’ and the army as a whole had sought to imitate it. An impression of the success of this process is gained by the fact that a German veteran of 1914 dubbed British shooting as ‘miraculous’. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the British Army of 1904 – 1914 paid a handsome compliment to the marksmanship of the Boers. In summary, and as a lasting thought, Lord Kitchener saw the Boer rifle culture as a key element in their successes; ‘Our men were not as quick and accurate as their opponents in shooting rapidly, but they had not been trained for this during peace time, and could not, therefore be expected to excel in what the Boers had learned to practice from childhood’
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ISABELLA MACDUFF – A BRUCE MARTYR OF THE SCOTTISH WARS OF INDEPENDENCE BY BETH REID
he Scottish Wars of Independence were a pivotal era of Scotland’s history. From 1296 to 1357, political instability and regular violence reigned supreme between Scotland and England. There is a general focus on male figures in the study of this period, through the notable military activity and need for strong kingship in the face of challenge to Scotland’s autonomy as a kingdom. This focus undermines the crucial roles played by noblewomen in this tumultuous chapter of Scottish history. This article will seek to challenge this by examining the significance of one such crucial noblewoman - Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan. Isabella is a criminally underrated heroine of the wars. While her exact birth date is not known, it is estimated that she was born from c.1270-c.1280, to Duncan, Earl of Fife, and Johanna de Clare, a daughter of the Earl of Hereford. The first record of Isabella’s activity is from 1297 while managing her husband’s estates in his absence. Isabella was married to John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, the cousin and close friend of John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch. The Comyns were a powerful family and opponents of the equally powerful Bruces. Isabella’s own natal family, the MacDuffs, were loyal to Edward I of England and his overlordship of Scotland. This placed Isabella in an incredibly compromised position when she placed a crown on the head of Robert the Bruce in March 1306, rebelling against her husband.
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and her MacDuff family. Why was Isabella’s crowning of Robert the Bruce so significant? Robert’s murder of John Comyn of Badenoch in February 1306 was deeply unpopular, made worse by Robert’s seizing of the throne a month later. With minimal support for his kingship, Robert needed to use symbolic legitimacy to cement his authority. One of these symbols was the crowning of the king, an ancient tradition that belonged to the MacDuff Earls of Fife. With the current earl loyal to Edward I of England, Isabella chose to step in and carry out this important act, sealing her opposition to both of her families. Robert was quickly challenged following his inauguration, and sent his female family members north to safety, including Isabella. Unfortunately, this group were captured by the Earl of Ross and handed over to the English, becoming valuable captives. Isabella’s rebellious actions brought the wrath of Edward I of England upon her; she was hung in a cage at Berwick Castle, where she would remain for four years. The last record of Isabella comes from 1313 when she was transferred to another location. She is absent from the list of hostages returned to Bruce in 1314 following his decisive victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, which suggests that Isabella died in captivity, only one year before she would have gained her freedom. Isabella’s monumental decision to rebel against her families cost her dearly, but
resulted in Scotland’s most famous king, who achieved written recognition of Scottish independence in 1328. Without her, Robert’s reign may have looked very different.
A statue of Roberts crowning
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ENGLAND OR FRANCE? MARRYING INTO THE SCOTTISH THRONE. BY SIOBHAN RALFE
e’re all aware that dynastic marriages played a key role in international relations in history. Prior to the 15th century however, the Scottish Royal’s were quite unique when it came to this. Aside from a few English noblewomen, the wives of the King were often than not from within the country. Due to the clan-based society that Scotland operated within, this caused a number of issues, mainly due to the competitive nature it brought to the Crown. From James I onwards, we see Queen Consorts arriving from outside the nation, and in turn this led to Scotland joining the world stage. It would be premature to label them as a ‘world power’, but they were in a prominent position. The country that mainly recognised this was France. Between James II & III we witnessed a little marital peace – their brides arrived from Guelders and Denmark respectively. Although there benefits for all parties here; for example, Scotland gained the Shetland and Orkney Islands from James III’s marriage to Margaret of Denmark, these marriages were much more equal and based on friendly relations dating back to James I. England and France, however, were not friendly marriages and Scotland here was very much a pawn, as opposed to an equal. This was recognised within Scotland too; contempt rose against James III when he agreed with Edward IV that James IV would marry Cecily of York and Joan Beaufort & Margaret Tudor were treated with a coldness laced with suspicion. England took on the act of the aggressor; historically, they were determined to capture Scotland
and if it could not be done by marriage, it would be done by war. Edward IV did and Henry VIII did the same too; particularly during the period known as the ‘Rough Wooing’, when he essentially wanted to kidnap Mary, Queen of Scots, raise her in England and rule Scotland through her. France took the same actions, but under the guise of the protector. The influence was already there behind the Crown; James V had first married Madeleine of Valois, daughter of Francis I, and then upon her death, Marie de Guise, a daughter of one the leading French families. France agreed to protect Scotland against English aggression, which culminated in the Treaty of Haddington (1548). Mary was due to marry the Dauphin Francis and in exchange, France would act as the Scottish protector. Subsequently, this allowed France to act in the same manner the English had planned; Mary was raised at French court and was manipulated by Henri II into securing a dynastic claim for the Scottish throne for France. In turn, the regency in Scotland was manipulated first by the Earl of Arran, who bounced between English and French loyalties and then by Marie de Guise, who ruled Scotland under the best interests for her daughter. But at this time, the best interests were also the French interests. Different Henry, same motive. Scotland, therefore, has very much bounced between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, you have international marriages, particularly with England and France. These are not equal marriages however, just a piece in the everlasting rivalry between the two nations. At home, contempt and resentment rose against whoever the Scots perceived to be ruling at the time.
Surely then, the way to fix this problem was to marry at home, keep Scottish interests very much Scottish. An impossible act; the clan-society had seen to this and meant an internal marriage would be accused of the same as an international one; protecting the interests of one group only. It would not be remiss, therefore, to argue the best thing that could happen to the Scottish Crown would be to envelope another power and become the player, rather than the pawn. Whilst James VI & I rule was not without a hitch then, inheriting the English throne in 1603 was perhaps the only way at the time that Scotland could have shaken off the shackles of foreign power. Siobhan is a History grad focusing on gender history, particularly Queenship in Early Modern Scotland. Siobhan also sprinkles in a little bit of work, life and travel in occasionally. You can check her out on her Instagram & Blog! Instagram: @womenwhowearthecrown Blog: www.womenwhowearthecrown.wordpress.com
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HER OWN HOME: FEMALE HOMESTEADERS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY BY KAITLYN WELDON “I just had a feeling I wanted to get away from my former home and go out in this world. All I had was a desire to go, and I did…” The Homestead Act, signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 allowed settlers to move to the American West and take 160 acre tracts of land. The Homestead Act allowed single and widowed women to apply for land just like the men. Several women took advantage of this opportunity. There were a few rules, the person on the claim had to “prove up” or advance the land and build a shelter. The person could apply for land ownership after living there for five years. One loophole allowed a person to buy the land outright for $1.25 after they had lived there for six months. Much of the land in the West was stolen from Native Americans. The “surplus” land came from crooked treaties and the Dawes Act. This article will tell the story of one woman who chose to homestead. Elizabeth Corey (1887-1954), “Bachelor Bess,” moved to South Dakota in 1909 to file a claim on a piece of land. She applied for a ‘relinquishment’ claim in Stanley County and was awarded the right to homestead it. Corey filed a claim on her homestead on August 17, 1909 and filed the necessary publication announcement on August 12, 1916 to receive the title for the land. Once approved, the land would be hers permanently. Her plot of land was two miles away from the Speer School where she taught. Corey 36
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successfully ran her homestead while teaching. Some female homesteaders took up teaching jobs to supplement the income needed to run a successful homestead. Schoolhouses became a central place where people could gather for box socials, dances, and occasional programs put on by the students and their teacher. Corey had teaching experience before arriving in South Dakota. She had an Iowa teaching certificate and had taught in Harlan, Iowa in a rural school for four years. Corey was an outstanding teacher, she was recognized at the annual teaching institutes for her talents in the classroom. She lived on her homestead until 1947 when she sold it for $2,000.00. She then moved to a small house on the outskirts of Pierre, South Dakota. Elizabeth Corey’s story illustrates how women homesteaders were resilient. She stated in one of her letters to her family, “It takes a strong character to make good here.” Women homesteaders left a formidable legacy; they were “capable, independent, strong, and courageous.”
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THE NUTCRACKER BY JESSICA STOROSCHUK
any of our holiday traditions are based in the home. Shared meals, decorating with light and greenery, gathering at specific times. Given that it is a colder and darker time of year in the Northern hemisphere, it does make sense. However, there is one holiday tradition that often takes us outside of the home: The Nutcracker. This ballet has a special place in many of our hearts, and is an enduring holiday memory. How did The Nutcracker ballet come to hold a cherished place in our Christmas celebrations? The Nutcracker is widely known as a ballet, but it originates as a book by ETA Hoffman.Published by Prussian Hoffman in 1816, the plot differs slightly from the ballet but follows the same general idea. The ballet opens at Clara’s family home during the big Christmas party. Clara’s godfather,Drosselmeyer, gives her a nutcracker for Christmas, and her brother Fritz accidentally breaks it while roughhousing. Drosselmeyer does fix it, though, and Clara is able to go to bed. In her dreams, the Mouse King and his animal army attack her but are warded off by the Nutcracker Prince and his army. After defeating the Mouse King, Clara and her Prince are welcomed to the Magic Kingdom by the Sugar Plum Fairy. In the second act of the ballet, they watch different dances of sweets and flowers before she returns to real life. Clara wakes up, and the family goes outside to see a fresh snowfall. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky created the ballet which premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892. The plot wasn’t set in stone, but the standard elements of Clara
(known as Marie), the Nutcracker Prince,and the Sugar Plum Fairy were all there. Russian society adored the Imperial Ballet, but this performance was not lauded. It was paired with an opera which was not ideal as it meant that the second act started shortly before midnight. The audience was bored, felt that it dragged, and that there were too many children on stage. Subsequent productions were key to The Nutcracker’ s success as a holiday tradition. George Balanchine, considered the father of American ballet, premiered his version of The Nutcracker for the New York City Ballet in 1954. Famed dancer Maria Tallchief performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy, which immediately drew crowds in. The classic sets, gorgeous tutus, and full cast quickly ensured that it became a Christmas tradition. Other companies began to perform Balanchine’s Nutcracker , as well as other versions, and it became the permanent mainstay that provides the majority of most companies’ operating budgets today. Along with many people collecting wooden nutcrackers in many forms now, attending The Nutcracker ballet is an annual tradition for many. It is often the first ballet that people attend as a child, and they continue the tradition of attending throughout their life. Though different productions take on local flavours such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Ukrainian folk dancers, Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy are a Christmas constant. Jessica Storoschuk is the historian behind AnHistorianAboutTown.com, a history, culture, and style blog. On socials: @AnHistorianAboutTown
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BY WAYNE COLLINS Little Imber on the Downe Seven miles from any Towne Sheep bleats the only sound Life twer sweet with ne’er a frown Oh let us bide on Imber Downe” 38
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he year is 1943. Britain is at war with Germany. In the small rural village of Imber on Salisbury Plain, a farm hand has returned home from a hard day’s work in the fields. He is greeted by his wife who hands him a letter that had arrived earlier that day, asking them to attend a meeting in the village school room. On that cold November evening, they are told they are to be evicted from their village to support the war effort and must leave within 47 days. What they didn’t know was that they would never return. Now, here I am in 2020 telling the story of the Imber folk - my family being some of them. A settlement is said to have been on the site of Imber since 967AD and is also mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. By 1851, the village was at its peak population of over 450. It’s probably fair to assume that the people of Imber would have lived a relatively quiet, rural life over the years, that is until the late 19th Century. The War Office started to buy up farms and their land to use for military training. For many farmers the price was too good to refuse, so the areas surrounding the village slowly turned into military-owned land. By 1943, the population of Imber was now only around 150. Most of these remaining residents still worked in agriculture, but many had already moved on to neighbouring towns and villages, my family included. For those still living in Imber it may not have come as a surprise to receive the
the eviction notice that day, but it would have made the war feel closer to home than ever before. Although difficult to leave their homes, most would have felt it their duty to allow their precious village to be conscripted to the war effort. Imber quickly became a hub of military activity - mainly home to American soldiers training for the inevitable invasion of mainland Europe, in particular the D-Day landings. The streets of the quaint British village were now replicas of the towns the allies would soon be fighting their way through. Many of the buildings suffered shell damage - people’s homes no longer how they had left them. Although the villagers had been told they could return home 6 months after the war had ended, it became clear that this wouldn’t be possible. Salisbury Plain and the village of Imber are still owned by the MOD today. It’s mainly off limits but at certain times of the year, usually around Easter and Christmas, the ghost village is open to the public. There’s something both eerie and sombre about being there now during the drive across Salisbury Plain you pass remains of old tanks used for target practice and purpose built compounds imitating the Middle East. In the village itself, most old dwellings and public buildings are either no longer standing or are boarded up. You can still see The Bell Inn pub, Imber Court Manor House and Seagrams Farm House. However, one building has always remained
untouched by the army - the Church of St Giles. It’s in this churchyard that the graves of some of my ancestors can be found. My Great Great Grandad and his wife were both born in the village and married at the Church. In a book I was given by my Nan, my Great Grandad tells the story of his father; ‘My dad’s name was Arthur Wyatt. He were born at Imber, on Salisbury plain: you see, my people were Imber people…’ My Imber based family goes back hundreds of years before Arthur, and it’s these special links to the village that made me want to dig deeper into its history. Regardless of my family ties, I think this is one of the most interesting places to visit in the South West and I’d recommend it to any history lovers. “Little Imber on the Downe Seven miles from any Towne Sheep bleats the only sound Life twer sweet with ne’er a frown Oh let us bide on Imber Downe” Anon See more from Wayne: Website: www.thebeardedhistorygeek.com Instagram: @thebeardedhistorygeek
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BATTLE OF AGINCOURT, 1415 - WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? BY ALEXANDER GRAY
he date is 20th October, 1415. The place is a strip of open land between the forests of Tramecourt and Azincourt. The morning air is cool and crisp, tainted with the smell of the recent rain diluting the clay-rich mud of the French fields. We all know the date, we all know the story. But, what actually happened at the Battle of Agincourt? Any school-grade history tutor may tell you a fantastical tale of heroism in the darkest hour, glory despite all odds, and a lot of muddy French knights. It makes for a great story and a perfect legend, but perhaps knowing the historical truth is more important than a legend. The often-told story of Agincourt is that of an English army, exhausted from endless marching through the French countryside, riddled with dysentery and other gruelling ailments, and matched with an army of mounted French knights who heavily outnumbered them. The fable then goes on to tell us about how the outnumbered English army, armed only with longbows and billhooks, managed to take down thousands of heavily armoured knights on horseback who were struggling in the mud and drowning in the pools of thick brown water from the previous nights rain. Against all odds, King Henry V and his band of weary, yet battle-hardened men, managed to defeat the main force of the French elite. So, is this how the battle of Agincourt truly went down? The answer is yes...but also no. To tell you about what really happened on the morning of October 20th 1415, we need to go back a little further. Henry and his English army had recently laid siege to the French
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city of Harfleur (18th August - 22nd September), despite the English reigning victorious and successfully taking the city, they had suffered considerable losses both in combat and due to illness. Hygiene was a common issue during stagnant sieges and Dysentery was a leading cause of fatalities during Medieval military campaigns. We don’t know exactly why King Henry decided to set off from Harfleur and begin marching around the French countryside, but we do know that Henry chose to send the sickly soldiers home so only the fittest and healthiest would embark with him on his new campaign. Long days of marching followed, with Henry’s army covering up to twentyfive miles in a single day, all the while brandishing the English royal coat of arms quartered with the Fleur-DeLis on his banners, which was seen as an insult to the French, possibly intentionally riling them up to force a quick response from the French army, rather than giving them time to wait and formalise an organised response to the English kings’ threatening behaviour .In the run up to the day of the battle, there was a lot of intercepting scouts and messengers, and in the most spectacular turn of luck, the English managed to capture the French messenger who was carrying the proposed battle plans for when the French army would finally manage to collect their forces together and engage the English. Anne Curry, specialist in the Hundred Years’ War and leading historian of the battle of Agincourt, published a copy of the original battle plans in her multiple works dedicated to the Hundred Years’ War. The French battle plans were good,
since the French knew that the roaming English army were built up of mostly longbowmen (thanks to the scouting done beforehand), they intended to execute a typical pincer movement to hit the flanks of the English army, where they typically had their archers, to break them up and disperse them. After the initial cavalry charges, the French would then dismount and engage the remaining English men-at-arms on foot. With this valuable window into the mind of the enemies intentions, Henry devised a plan to deploy his men in a specific way to make it impossible for the French army to do what they had intended. Instead, he picked a specific location to deploy his battle lines - a strip of open field between two patches of woodland. The foot soldiers formed a line across the field from one edge of the woods to the other, with archers just behind the wood lines either side, with dense trees behind them and wooden stakes in front of them to protect the archers from cavalry. Another important point is the issue of command structure within the French army at the time of Agincourt. The English army had King Henry with his group of appointed commanders, and a single army following his lead. On the other hand, the French army was made up of multiple separate armies all marching under a different banner to each other, that had agreed to meet up at a single location and join forces. Each army had its own commander and each commander wanted to be the one to lead the amalgamated military force to victory over the invading English. Once they realised King Henry V had seen their proposed battle plans, discussing a new plan
would prove very difficult and the French commanders were at loggerheads with each other, refusing to back down and let another take the limelight as they were certain that they could defeat the English. In the end, the French army decided to attempt the original battle plan despite the geography of the environment not being appropriate. The French knights got on their horses and attempted a charge on the English longbowmen but soon realised that the muddy ground was slowing them down and making them sitting ducks for the English archers, so they soon decided to dismount and continue on foot. At this point, I feel it is important to dispel a common misconception which is that the French knights were wearing such heavy armour that they could barely move and were simply shot at by the famed English longbowmen. It is true that the French knights had been wearing their heaviest configuration of armour at the battle of Agincourt, but this was to avoid heavy losses from arrow-fire. It is very difficult to kill a fully armoured knight with an arrow. The thickness and curvature of the steel plate harness was specifically designed to make arrows glance off rather than get lodged inside the metal, so the only vulnerable parts were the areas in armour that were less protected to provide more mobility such as the arm pits, and groin. It was thanks to this well-protective armour that the French knights were able to dismount and continue on foot despite the heavy bombardment of arrows being aimed at them. Being a Medieval reenactor myself, with experience of fighting in a full suit of armour, I can also confirm that wearing full armour does not impede your movement by much, and the sacrifice of mobility is very much worth the extra protection that it gives. A full suit of early 15th century armour would weigh between twentyfive to thirty-five kilograms and there will always be a balance of mobility versus protection however the armour is tailored to your body shape and attached in such a way to make it feel as comfortable and lightweight as possible.
So, the French army has now dismounted and are about to engage with the English foot soldiers in melee combat, they have suffered losses from their failed cavalry charge but the battle is not over yet. The English archers are continuing to unload arrows into the French army, getting as close to the enemy as possible to ensure accuracy with each shot. King Henry V has been using himself as bait, showing himself in the middle of the English lines, luring the French army towards him so his archers arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put under pressure. Historical accounts even report that the French knights felt as if they were being shot at from behind as they continued to march towards the English foot soldiers, passing the English archers in the woods. Storytellers may tell tales of how outnumbered the English were at the battle of Agincourt, however, due to the disagreements shortly before the battle regarding the leadership of the French army, many French soldiers did not attend the battle, including a few thousand crossbowmen and archers who, if utilised, could have swung the battle in their favour. Regardless, the fighting ensued and the French still managed to push the English line back â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a spears lengthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, according to the historical accounts. Due to the fact that the French advance on foot depended on the English archers already being dealt with, and the fractured chain of command taking its toll on the development of the battle, the efforts of the dismounted French knights in combat proved not enough. After hours of hand-to-hand combat, the French lines cracked, and soldiers began to turn and flee. During the Medieval period, it was the code of chivalry to capture enemy knights for ransom, however, due to so many French knights being captured after the rout, King Henry V realised he did not have enough men nor the resources to keep them all under control, and feared they would, again, begin to fight. Henry ordered many French knights to be put to death, sacrificing the code of chivalry to protect his men and ensure his victory.
And so, this is how the battle of Agincourt unfolded, not quite the legend of a few thousand archers, riddled with disease and starvation, taking down tens of thousands of mounted French knights armed to the teeth - but personally I feel that the true story of Agincourt is just as heroic and fascinating as the stories we may have been previously told. A special thanks to Tobias Capwell, Tod Cutler, and Anne Curry for providing the information and historical accounts to help make this article possible.
See more from Alex: Instagram: @alex_the_history_guy Or find his youtube channel: Alex the history guy
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20TH ANNIVERSARY OF CONTINUOUS HUMAN HABITATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION BY JENNY ROWAN
It is not really surprising, then, that the ISS is the single most expensive human-made object in history with an estimated total cost of $100 billion” 42
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wenty twenty marks the 20th anniversary of continuous human habitation of the International Space Station (ISS). It is somewhat taken for granted that there have been humans living in space above us every single day since 2 November 2000, but in a way that speaks to the ISS’s success. No other space station in history has come close to its scale or longevity. It came into being as a mishmash of several different projects. Skylab – the first American space station – had been deorbited in 1979, six years after it had first been launched. NASA had not designed it to last – they had cobbled it together using leftover hardware from the Apollo era after all. In 1984 President Reagan announced that the US intended to build a permanent orbiting laboratory within a decade which was going to be known as ‘Freedom’. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, had launched the world’s first ever space station – called Salyut 1 – back in 1971. Five further Salyuts followed going into the 1980s, and in 1986 they launched Mir, the largest ever space station to that point. It meant that the Soviets had built up considerably more experience in running long-duration space missions than the US. However, in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and threw the future of the country’s space programme into doubt. It had been in the process of designing a successor for Mir called Mir-2, but economic hardships meant the project was cancelled despite one module already
having completed construction. NASA was also facing its share of problems at this point. Space Station Freedom had failed to achieve enough Congressional support and hadn’t advanced past the mock-up stage. It hadn’t been completely axed, though, and the US began to negotiate with not only Russia but also with Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency about the possibility of a joint project. The seeds of the International Space Station (ISS) had been sown. This wasn’t necessarily a completely altruistic move from the US, as there had been concerns about where the efforts of formerly-Soviet aerospace engineers would be redirected if they found themselves out of a job. As things stood, though, in November 1998 a Russian rocket launched the first segment of the ISS to an altitude of 248 miles (400km). This was followed the next month by the first Americanbuilt segment on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Then, in July 2000, another Russian rocket launched the ‘Zvezda Service Module’, which provided the ISS with life support and crew quarters. Zvezda, incidentally, was the module that had initially been built for Mir-2 prior to that project’s collapse. This paved the way for the crew of the first long-duration mission to the ISS to take up residence. People had stayed on the ISS prior to this – fitting it out with the necessary wiring and equipment – but they did so only for short periods and left it empty inbetween visits. On 2 November 2000, however, Bill Shepard, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri
Pavlovich arrived at the ISS to begin a six-month stay, the first of 64 ‘Expeditions’, as they’re known, to date. Expedition 65 is set to begin in April 2021. Including Shepherd, Krikalev and Pavlovich, a total of 242 people from 19 countries have visited the ISS. They usually spend six months on board, having to exercise two hours a day to maintain their muscle mass, bone mass and cardiovascular health (in zero-gravity the heart doesn’t have to beat as hard to pump blood around the body, so it needs to be ensured it doesn’t become ‘lazy’). Some, like Scott Kelly, Misha Kornienko and Christina Koch spend a full year on board. There are usually either three or six people living on the ISS at any one time, but this number has occasionally risen to nine due to overlapping assignments. In 2009 there were even 13 people on board, the joint recordholder for most people in space at the same time. Scientific and medical experiments take up the majority of astronauts’ and cosmonauts’ time while they’re on the ISS, as well as education and outreach activities. Then there are spacewalks, of which 231 have been conducted so far. These are done to make repairs or upgrades to the Station. The longest ISS spacewalk to date lasted 8 hours and 56 minutes, conducted by James Voss and Susan Helms in March 2001. Speaking of upgrades, despite being started in the 1990s the ISS didn’t actually completely finish construction until 2011. Solar panels and modules were added over the years that ballooned it to 357 feet (108 metres) in length, with the living and working space inside equivalent to a sixbedroom house. It is not really surprising, then, that the ISS is the single most expensive human-made object in history with an estimated total cost of $100 billion. Despite this massive global investment, however, the station’s future is actually relatively unclear. Things will continue as is until 2024. After that, there are several possibilities. Operations could be extended until 2028, which is what current negotiations are working.
towards. Day-to-day running could be handed over to private companies, allowing national agencies like NASA to focus their time and resources on returning to the Moon and venturing further out into deep space. It could be recycled with its parts being cannibalised for future space stations. Or it could be ‘mothballed’ completely and left to deorbit and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Whatever the future holds, there’s no denying the impact that the ISS has had over the course of its first 20 years. It is one of the greatest ever feats of engineering and has made invaluable contributions to science and medicine. But perhaps its greatest legacy is that of the international cooperation that created it. It’s proof of the sorts of results that can be found if countries are willing to work together in the name of a common goal that benefits all of humanity. See more from Jenny: @goforlanding on Instagram @jennyrowan_ on Twitter Blog: goforlanding.wordpress.com
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WHAT PLACE DO ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUMS HAVE IN OUR POSTCOLONIAL SOCIETY? BY MARLENE NAGEL
he increase in objects in German collections has never been greater before or since than in colonial times. In most cases, this meant ambiguous acquisition conditions and provenances for the objects, since acquisition processes and circumstances were often not considered important enough to be recorded. How different these acquisition contexts could be is shown by the fact that even before 1900 there was a market in Africa and Asia for ethnographica produced by indigenous people for Europeans and sold to them. The agency of the societies of origin that they voluntarily sold and exchanged the ethnographica, must not be denied to them under any circumstances. In a context such as colonialism, in which unjust power relations were at the root of the problem, however, it is necessary to examine carefully whether even here it might not have been involuntary transactions. In this case, restitution claims from societies of origin can be brought to European museums. Due to the wide variety of acquisition circumstances and the often ambiguous provenance, museums should not make hasty judgments and should always decide individually after extensive provenance research. Ethnological museums, however, naturally also established the distinctions between Orient and Occident, European and non-European and the concepts of race and ethnicity, with which they naturally supported and disseminated the colonial world view. With the colonial objects, more and more
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racial-theoretical views also entered museum science. Some ethnologists and missionaries were critical of these ideologies, but rather because they saw their “authentic objects of research” in danger. The consequence was a “rescue operation” of the objects, which meant even more intensive collecting and looting. The impression arises that ethnological museums are in a crisis of meaning. Initial reactions, such as the renaming of ethnological museums as world museums show that ethnographic museums have recognized the need for change. When most of these museums were founded in the 19th century, ethnographic shows were more popular than ever and the world was in the grip of colonialism. The aim was to confirm to the European population that they were the more civilized ones by presenting and reproducing these foreign worlds as “realistically” as possible. Their function was therefore to provide information about the cultures and traditions of the colonized areas and to get to know the new dependents. Since informing about other cultures is now conveniently possible in the 21st century via the Internet or travelling and the colonial empire has not existed for about 100 years, ethnological museums have lost their actual reason for existence. This is also shown by the significant decline in visitor numbers. A new definition of ethnology and ethnological museums was unavoidable, which resulted in many new museum concepts in recent years. World museums in the 21st century feel that they must legitimize themselves and the position of their institutions in today’s post-colonial society. But also other museum sectors such as museums of antiquity, art museums or historical museums have to face up to their colonial past and work through their traces. In colonial discourse, the focus is almost exclusively on ethnological museums. But the reality is that mostly all museums have profited from the “collecting mania” during the colonial era. Even countries that did not formally have a large or even no colony benefited from the unjust
power relations of colonialism. Thus, Germany, alongside the great colonial powers France and Great Britain, has always dismissed its smaller empire as insignificant and therefore not needed to be dealt with. Regardless of the size of the colonial empire, unimaginable atrocities and genocides took place in smaller colonies like Germany. Even countries that had no colonial possessions profited here. Switzerland, for example, of course did not officially participate as a colonial ruler, but they were heavily involved in the transatlantic slave trade. In my opinion, however, a postcolonial reappraisal of museums does not mean a fundamental demonisation of them, but rather the establishment of a tolerant liberal-minded way of thinking. This means, for example, that restitutions must be considered, and that action should always be taken in equal dialogue with societies of origin. New functions and tasks could also be, for example, the museum as a place of intercultural encounter that conveys respect for the supposedly “foreign”. New methods, such as contemporary references, the integration of contemporary artists from their societies of origin or the identification of commonalities with the European should break up old clichés and stereotypes. A mixture of critical selfreflection and the integration of nonEuropean perspectives by consulting experts from societies of origin will be the new guiding principles of the ethnological and other colonial connected museums. Since monuments have fundamentally lost their relevance in the public consciousness, (ethnological) museums could become a postcolonial place of remembrance that finally anchors colonialism in the collective consciousness of our society. See more from Marlene Instagram: @museology_marlene
BANKING ON TROUBLES BEFORE CHRISTMAS BY BEN NORMAN
n that Christmas cinematic classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, bank manager George Bailey heads off a Yuletide run on his bank – just! But when a bank fails in real life, the repercussions can quickly spread far and wide. We saw that during the recent financial crisis of 2007-8, when several large financial institutions were bailed out in rapid succession, and the wider economy suffered with rising unemployment and a hit to productivity. People’s confidence was severely dented then, even though bank customers in the UK and elsewhere were assured that their savings in their bank were guaranteed. Bank shareholders – including many retail investors with small shareholdings – also suffered: they saw the value of their shares plummet, though at least they weren’t liable for more than they had originally invested. Now imagine a world where depositors don’t have their savings guaranteed. And where shareholders in a bank are liable for an unlimited amount to cover any losses incurred. That was the legal set-up in mid-19th Century England. (See, for instance, Turner (2014).) So when, during the week of the 24th November 1857, “the Directors of the Northumberland and Durham District Bank [‘NDDB’] lament[ed] to announce that owing to a long continued monetary pressure, and the difficulty of rendering available the resources of the Bank, they…felt themselves obliged to suspend its operations”, both depositors and shareholders of the NDDB had cause to feel nervous in the run-up to Christmas. The NDDB Directors sought to reassure their customers that “deposits and credit balances will be fully paid with as little with as little delay as possible”, while announcing in the same breath that “a meeting of the shareholders will be convened for an early day”.
(All quote from Phillips (1894)) Their ability to make good their promise to depositors depended on the Directors persuading their shareholders to stump up the shortfall. A first meeting of shareholders took place already on 27th November, and resolved that each shareholder should pay £5 per share latest by 14th December. The pressure was on, though. That same day as the first shareholder meeting, the Bank of England’s lawyers, Freshfields were writing on behalf of the local MP to the NDDB’s Directors, seeking repayment of £430 he had paid in at the Morpeth branch just two days earlier:
December 26th. At the January 22nd 1858 shareholder meeting, they were appointing liquidators. The atmosphere was febrile – with even an element of belated Christmas panto (see the hisses and “oh oh” for boos, as reported in the Newcastle Chronicle’s account of that meeting) The liquidation took several years, with a devastating impact on some of the less wealthy individuals who lost money (see, for instance, this Morpeth Herald report of an inquest in May 1858).
(Source: Bank of England Archive, File F12/16)
(Source: Bank of England Archive, File F12/16)
No doubt other larger creditors of NDDB were seeking to get their money back too. Indeed, with rumours swirling, some had been withdrawing funds even prior to the NDDB’s suspension: an eyewitness account recorded how in midNovember already “One man drew some seven or eight hundred pounds in sovereigns; he had no bag, and of course the bank would not give one, so he took the money in his hat. When on the door step, the crown came out, and he had the greatest difficulty to save his treasure” (also Phillips (1894)). Many of the shareholders didn’t meet the £5 per share demand on them by December 14th. The bank was on a slippery slope, and shareholder meetings were held on December 15th and (really ruining their Christmas…)
Eventually, though, NDDB customers did recover a good proportion of their funds. And even the shareholders did OK: the Newcastle Guardian & Tyne Mercury reported in April 1864 how “the unfortunate District Bank appear[ed] likely to have an unexpectedly satisfactory liquidation. The iron trade has, during the past year, been in a most prosperous state, and its revival has acted most favourably on the state of the affairs”. There is a lot more to be uncovered in these files. If this post has whetted you’re appetite, I’ll gladly return with more in a future #historiansofinstagram newsletter!
@gooodbanker studied history as an undergraduate. His career has been in public policy. He is currently working in partnership with institutions in low-income countries to support their development. In his heart-ofhearts, though, he is a historian – and relishes opportunities like this to explore interesting episodes from the past.
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THE MONSTER OF SOBIBÓR BY LEON PÄTZOLD
specially in modern times, when right wing parties are gaining back influence within Europe, it is important to talk about the past and its impact on the present and future. Some may find this annoying and probably also not worthy to talk about, because it happened “a long time ago, where neither me nor my parents were even born“. But I highly disagree with this statement. And to underline and explain my thoughts on History and its impact on modern times, I want to tell you the unbelievable story of a man called Ivan Mykolajowytch Demjanjuk. Some may know his name, some may not – but I guess most of you do not know the whole story of his life! And I want to change that. Ivan Demjanjuk was born on 4th April 1920, in a small and poor village in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. His parents were both disabled; his father had lost most of his fingers during World War 1 and his mother has broken both of her legs during an accident. Therefore, he and his siblings had to work a lot in order to survive. This was one out of the three most difficult phases in Ivan’s life. After the Collectivization, which means that all of the country’s agricultural production is handed over into government ownership, in 1933, the situation of Ivan’s family became even worse. A great famine broke out in the Ukraine and more than ten million people starved to death – also known as “Holodomor”. Ivan later explained that he only survived by eating mice and the roots of dead trees. His ability and strong will to survive will define several moments of his life. When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Ivan was forced to enter the Red Army and fight on the front against the Germans. He was wounded during his first battle and brought to a hospital. Ivan stayed there for a month, until
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he was again forced to enter the fight against Nazi Germany. During a battle in Crimea, he and thousands of others were captured and brought to a German prison camp. It is worth mentioning here, that the word “Camp” didn’t do this situation justice. In reality, the prisoners found themselves on a field, surrounded by a fence. There was no infrastructure, no roofs – simply nothing. Because of the lack of medicine, several diseases broke out and only 1/3 of the prisoner survived this horrible captivity. Ivan was one of them - again he showed the will to survive. In October 1945, Ivan Demjanjuk entered an American military camp, in order to be registered as a “displaced person“. Two years later, he married a Ukrainian woman. He moved to the US and was able to fulfill his own American Dream. He settled in Cleveland, started working as mechanic and soon had the means to afford a small house. It seemed like his life had finally changed for the better, until the year 1975. In this year, the ministry of interior in Washington DC received a list of names, the so called “Trawniki Identification Cards“, from a Ukrainian journalist. Ivan’s name was one of them. In order to understand the impact of these identification cards, we have to go back in time once again. After the German attack on the Soviet Union, the Nazis were able to conquer large parts of the Ukraine. Therefore, they needed people to work for them, in order to manage the new parts of their Reich. So-called “Volksdeutsche“, mostly Russians with a German background but also Ukrainians, were asked to help organizing the newly conquered regions. In addition to that, they were given something to eat and some money, if they agreed to work in the extermination camps of Sobibór and
Treblinka. Based on these information, the the following, fundamental question of potential guiltiness arises: Is someone who tries to survive – which he or she only can, by accepting the offers of the Nazis – guilty for the things he or she does, out of some kind of compulsion? A question we all have to ask ourselves and also decide for ourselves, as there is no correct answer. With that being said, we can now come back to Ivan Demjanjuk and what was happening after the appearance of the “Travniki Identification Cards”. At first, nothing happened – one should now, that American law does not allow to bring someone to justice, if the action did not happen on American soil. After months of useless investigations, the list was routinely sent to Israel, so that survivors of the Holocaust could identify the names or identities of any perpetrators. And as you can imagine, the eyewitnesses were able to identify one person – Ivan Demjanjuk. More than ten different people were able to identify him by his photo and they all knew him under the following name – Ivan “the Terrible”. It was said, that this man was even more evil than Hitler himself; that he cut off women’s breasts and men’s penises and he also raped women and children, no matter their age. When the survivors were asked, where Ivan “the Terrible” had worked, they all answered the same: Treblinka extermination camp. But there was a problem: Ivan had written in his Visa, that he had been living in Sobibór at the time of World War 2. And even though there was a lot of evidence, that he could not have been working in Treblinka Extermination Camp, the Dep. of the Interior decided to hand over Ivan Demjanjuk to the Israeli justice system. On 27th February 1987, he was
brought to Israel by plane, where where a big hall was prepared for his trial. It was seen as a second Eichmann-Trial (Eichmann was one of the leading Nazis, who was sentenced to death in Israel in 1961) and therefore, the whole proceeding was broadcasted live on television. The public opinion of Ivan was brutal and full of hatredBut the prosecutor was facong a problem – the only real evidence was Ivan’s „Trawniki Identification Card“, and the statements of several survivors of the Holocaust. One of them was Eliahu Rosenberg, who was imprisoned in Treblinka, where he had lost his whole family. When he was asked by the judge if he could remember anything, he answered: “I remember his eyes. I have never seen something more evil.“ After facing Ivan Demjanjuk during the hearing, he stated that there was no doubt and this man must be Ivan “the Terrible”. However, there were indeed doubts about the testimony of Eliahu, as he himself wrote in one of his diaries, that Ivan “the Terrible” was killed during a riot in early 1944. The judge did not care at all, but as a reader, another question arose in my head. Is it okay to tell victims of horrible crimes, that they are wrong? An easy question one can think, but it isn’t. Because not believing can also mean not accepting the pain of the victim or at least, not trusting his or her statement. This can cause even more pain! I do believe that Eliahu made his statement to the best of his knowledge, but extreme situation can lead to wrong memories. In addition to that, many survivors of horrible events like the Holocaust, suffer from a feeling of being guilty for the death of their family and friends – which they are of cause not! But in order to get supposed revenge, they sometimes tend to remember things, which actually did not happen - by accident. After many months of hearings, Ivan Demjanjuk was sentenced to death on 18th April 1988, whereupon the crowd broke out into jubilation. Ivan’s lawyers, however, did not give up and after some time, when the Soviet Union broke apart and opened their archives, they were able to set up a
new trial. Two prosecutors had found more than 37 statements of former prisoners, who all claimed that Ivan “the Terrible” had been working in Treblinka and was killed during a riot. Therefore, the Israeli Supreme Court exonerated Ivan Demjanjuk and he was able to return to his family in the US. Even though, many were not happy about the acquittal, it was a triumph, since the Israeli justice showed, that they were not interested in revenge, but in a real and fair trial. As I mentioned before, Ivan returned home and the story could end here. But it doesn’t. The US court decided, that he might not be Ivan “the Terrible”, but that there was enough evidence, that he had indeed been working in Sobibór extermination camp. However, based on this, there was another problem. Nocountry was willing to take him and as I mentioned before, the US was not able to set up a trial, due to legal reasons. But then Thomas Walter, a German official who was working in the so called “Authority for investigation on Nazi Crimes“, decided that Germany must set up a trial. But just like in the US, German officials can only investigate people who commit crimes either on German territory or against a German citizen. Therefore, the prosecutor told Mr. Walter, that he must proof that Ivan had committed a crime against a German citizen. After carrying out several investigations, Walter came to realize that most of the Jews, who were killed in Sobibór, were from the Netherlands and West Germany. However, he failed to identify a crime which could be tied to Demjanjuk specifically, and was therefore not able to fulfil the legal basis that was demanded by the prosecutor. Because of that, Thomas Walter hired an appraiser, who confirmed that “[…] the camp (= Sobibor) itself was the crime“. But what does that mean? Well, it implies, that whoever had been working in any of those camps, was part of the respective camp and therefore, killed those persons. This means, that whoever had been working there also killed the German citizens, which again means, that the prosecutor could choose any German
citizen and can always connect it to Ivan Demjanjuk, since he was part of the whole system. Because of this conclusion, the Bundesgerichtshof (=Federal Court of Justice) accepted the different charges against Ivan Demjanjuk. On 30th November 2009, the trial in Germany began. Ivan Demjanjuk, who was 89 years old at that point, made no statement and the only thing he ever said was: “I am not Hitler, so what’s the matter“ This question leads again to the general question of guiltiness. Is it right to sentence him, a “normal” SS member, even though, many high NS officers were not sentenced during the Nuremberg trials. There is no final solution for this, but in my opinion, it is indeed important to show, that the justice system does not tolerate any kind of murder. Ivan Demjanjuk could have refused to work in Sobibór – he might have died, but he also knew about the consequences. The question of “What would I have done?” is one that has moved entire generations since the Second World War. With the direct threat to my own life, I can personally not rule out the possibility that I might have made the same decisions as Ivan Demjanjuk. But if I could have lived with this decision like he has and deny my guiltiness – that is a totally different story. On 11th May 2011, the court sentenced Ivan Demjanjuk to 5 years in prison for murder in 28,060 cases and therefore followed the argumentation of Thomas Walter and the appraiser. Due to his age and since the judgment was not approved by the Federal court at that point, he was not sent to prison, but to an old people’s home. Ivan Demjanjuk died on 17th March 2012. See more from Leon: Instagram: @historyfaces Tik tok: @history.faces
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SPANISH FARTHINGALE IN THE 17TH CENTURY: WOMEN’S BODY CONTROLLED THROUGH FASHION BY LAURA GRANDA-MATEU
he Guardainfante was a type of farthingale, which developed through time from a bell shape to a huge rectangular shape, which could remind us of the 18th Century Mantuas from France and England. The Spanish word “Guardainfante” can be translated as “hide the infant”. This hanging structure for the skirt would act as an extremely rigid armour that would limit the movements completely; to this, we need to add the rigid (type of) bodice which would limit the movement of the arms as well. Could this rigidness and stillness be seen as the materialisation of the rigidness needed for women at the Spanish Court? No improper movements could be made, no movements in the clothing, no possibility of sitting, almost no possibility of walking and difficulty going through doors. Is this fashionable armour an extension of the censorship of the movements, both in body and in soul, I wonder. Its popularity reached its peak during the reign of Queen Mariana of Austria (1649–65), and declined after Philip IV’s death in 1665. However, before we get to its moment of splendour, it is necessary and fascinating to look back and see how this item became the centre of a political and social debate at the Spanish Court and a tool to control women. When the Guardainfante appeared in Spain around the 1630s it caused strong views and criticism: critics denounced the Guardainfante as a
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as a scandalous and indecent garment that ruined the reputations of women who wore it and corrupted society. Why all this rage and strong opinions about this fashionable item, which was popularised by the women at Court? The Guardainfante was seen by many as an item used for women who wanted to trick their husbands, hiding illicit pregnancies. Detractors of this item would use aggressive and offensive language to refer to it, and would condemn the women who used it. According to them, women were using it as a weapon to fight against male authority. The value of a woman, her reputation, her credibility, her fertility, her honour, her respectability, her whole persona was under question if she refused to follow the orders and abandon wearing this item. The Guardainfante needed to be controlled, so women and their bodies could stay in the right path. The one that was dictated for them. Finally, social pressure won and on 13 April 1639 the Guardainfante was banned for all women except for prostitutes aiming to discredit this garment which was so in vogue. “The King our Lord orders that no woman of any rank or class may wear the guardainfante, or another device, or similar costume, except for those women with a license from the authorities who openly make ill use of their bodies” (On the public announcement of the new sumptuary laws, see AHN, Consejos, Libros de gobierno, libro 1224, fol. 65). However, this ban would not last long.
The item continued to be worn by the King’s own wives and daughters. Anna of Austria (1649 –65), second wife of Queen of Phillip IV (1621-1665), would make it fashionable again. It became one of the iconic items of the Spanish Baroque. For the last period of Philip IV’s reign, this item which had been banned and associated only with prostitutes, became so popular thanks to the women in Court, that it grew bigger than ever in physical size and political importance, becoming even a symbol of the country and popularised beyond their borders. None have survived, physically. We have some patterns and we have wonderful depictions in portraits. The iconic style of the Guardainfante can be seen in the portraits by Master Diego Velazquez; beauty and perfection in those magical brush strokes contrasting with the darkness and rigidity of that fashion - women dressed to impress. But there are so many questions that are still unanswered (or under scholarly research), such as how did the Guardainfante feel when wearing it? Did women want to wear it? Was it really used outside Court and on stage? Was it used for different activities? Did non-aristocratic women wear it, in order to emulate the royal fashion? Was it actually a misogynistic garment to restrict women physically? After the Spanish king Charles II died without an heir in 1700, the Spanish Court dress, as the leading fashion in Europe, would decline; the new French Bourbon dynasty that took over the Spanish throne would keep
wearing the Guardainfante during a transitional period, but the Madrid court would eventually adopt the French fashions that would continue to dominate Spanish trends for the rest of the eighteenth century. Fashion was changing as well as Court protocol; a bit more of movement in the textiles can be seen, linked to a relative openness in society, and in particular, a relatively (although limited) freedom of women, or at least moving their dressed bodies a bit more. As with everything in fashion, there is always a comeback for every single item and trend. The Guardainfante comeback would be in Spain at the end of the eighteenth century; the new item would be called ‘tontillo’. It can be seen in Goya’s famous portrait of 1789 of Queen Maria Luisa of Parma (1751–1819; Queen 1788–1808). This new item might have been associated with the values of a former glory and splendour of the now exhausted and debilitated empire. We could also think that comebacks are not limited only to the clothing items, but to the societal demands and expectations for women in terms of fashion, even laws coming from the authorities dictating what women can or cannot wear, how and when to wear it, and what morals and labels are associated to them depending on the item they wear, or don’t wear. Even the credibility of a woman in front of a jury can be put in question depending on what she was wearing on the night that a certain horrendous attack happened to her. Isn’t this outrageous and exhausting? I look at Princess Margarita; every time that I wander around the Prado Museum in Madrid, I visit her. I look into her eyes, that five-year-old wearing the wide and fashionable Guardainfante. Were you also exhausted, Margarita? Did you want to move your arms? Did you want to make your skirt move with the wind, feel free like the wind, I wonder. See more from Laura Instagram: miss.northerner Website: historydelights.com THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
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