Living by the sea...
Saltburn by the sea
December Saltburn Jazz Xmas Party with
Roots North East presents
THE MILLENNIUM EAGLES JAZZ BAND.
Yorkshire Wassail by Richard Grainger
Friday 6th December Doors and bar 6.30pm Party starts 7.30pm
Now in it’s 10th year, Yorkshire Wassail is a sumptuous celebration of the Festive Season. Folk songs from the Dark Ages, Old Carols, Christmas Characters and plenty of light hearted Christmas fun. Join the talented cast of local singers, musicans, actors and storytellers in a Festive night to get you in the mood for Christmas. More info www.festivalonthemoor.co.uk
Earthbeat Theatre Company presents SCROOGE – The Musical Join Earthbeat this Christmas as they take a familiar Christmas Classic and give it an Earthbeat makeover. As usual we present a show that is touching, exhilarating and riotously funny. Wed 4th December Doors 6.30pm Curtain up 7pm Thur 5th December Doors 6.30pm Curtain up 7pm Tues 10th December Doors 6.30pm Curtain up 7pm Wed 11th December Doors 6.30pm Curtain up 7pm
All or Nothing presents BRASS NECK COMEDY CLUB – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL. Steffen Peddie (MC), Paul Tonkinson & Elis James. Sat 7th December Doors and Bar 7pm Curtain up 8pm
Sun 8th December Doors and Bar 7pm curtain up 7.30pm
Saltburn Film Club presents THE SAPPHIRES Sisters Gail, Cynthia and Julie, along with their wayward cousin Kay, have killer voices and attitudes to match. Performing Country and Western in an Australian outback singing contest, they catch the attention of Dave Lovelace, a struggling Irish musician with a penchant for whisky and a passion for soul music. Starring Chris O’Dowd Runtime 114mins 12 December curtain up at 7:00pm
Sweeping beaches, cliffs, big skies, surf, seabirds, Saltburn has them all and is our favourite place to be. This month sees the publication of another magazine bringing you some special features which encapsulate, accentuate and celebrate Saltburn by the Sea and the rest of our north eastern coastline as part of the great British seaside â€“ its landscape, its history, its attractions and its community.
It's that time of year again when the bustle of the festive season takes over our lives. It's a time to be enjoyed, to create memories that will last for many years; my own post war childhood memories of Christmas come vividly alive during the run up to Christmas Day. The moments I cherish most are all the simple things; playing games with my brothers, hiding under the bedcovers at night reading by torchlight, carols round the tree before bedtime on Christmas Eve, the smell of Mac Red apples assailing my nostrils after tumbling downstairs on Christmas morning and of course that almost unbearable sense of anticipation. The inevitable half crown and a handful of nuts that always found their way into the bottom of my toy 'sack' each year. The peace of absolutely nothing stirring outside in those far off fifties and sixties apart from an occasional boy or girl road testing a 'new' bike, or scooter or pram. It may seem that commercialism has overtaken Christmas, but you can still choose to keep it simple, sincere and magical. A Yorkshire blessing: 'To thi mind peace, to thi heart joy, to thi soul strength and courage; in thine outgoings nowt amiss, to thi homecomings happiness. Seasons greetings to all. Sea Breezes welcomes contributions from readers. If you have a photo, story, poem, event or article of news that you would like to share please e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org and include Sea Breezes in the subject box. Text submitted to the site may be sub-edited for the sake of clarity or readability. Images submitted to the site may be cropped or digitally enhanced (for example, to improve contrast). The editor is under no obligation to publish any text or photos submitted to Sea Breezes and may reject material on the grounds of copyright infringement, offensiveness or other legal considerations. The copyright of all photographs featured within this magazine remains with the magazine or any photographers credited. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without prior written consent. Sea Breezes is produced by saltburnbysea.com, an independent website which is not affiliated with, or officially sponsored by any Local Authority or Tourist Information Centre based in or near Saltburn by the Sea. saltburnbysea.com tries to ensure that the articles and announcements made on the Sea Breezes pages are accurate, but views expressed in articles are not necessarily those of the webmaster. Any offers in adverts are made by the advertiser and details should be confirmed with them. Always confirm event details with the organisers, in case of alteration or errors. ÂŠ 2006-2013 SaltburnbySea.com. All rights reserved worldwide | Created by seasalt |
Saltburn by the Sea
!e No"h Sea
The east coast holds the record for the largest number of sea disasters round the shores of the British Isles. What the North Sea lacks in size it makes up for in ferocity and when a north easterly gale is blowing there is no place on Earth more hostile to man.
A brief history: Until 1881, the Ship Inn had the dubious distinction of also being used as the local mortuary for victims of drowning. Regular occurrences of bodies being washed up on the beach - which had to be accommodated at the Ship Inn whilst awaiting post mortem - prompted the need for a mortuary. This was eventually built for Brotton Local Board, the key being available at Mr Temple's house. The Saltburn Local Board had apparently declined to contribute to the cost of building the mortuary.
The Mortuary was one of three buildings on the site, the nearest to the Ship Inn being the Lifeboat House and sandwiched between that and the Mortuary was the Rocket Brigade building.
Today only the Mortuary remains standing as the Lifeboat House and the Rocket Brigade house were demolished in a road widening scheme.â€Š
The Mortuary was known to have been in use at least until the late 1960's but a chance conversation between Tony Lynn and Doug Kitchen, retired local undertaker, revealed the following information:
It would seem that the general impression about the Mortuary is that it was only used for bodies washed up on the beach and rocks. This was not so. Until the early 1970's when Cleveland County was formed, all persons who died as a result of "sudden death" were taken to the Mortuary on the authority of the Cleveland Coroner who had an office in Guisborough. "Sudden death" was in fact apart from accidental death, when a doctor could not state the cause of death or the person had not seen a doctor in the last fourteen days. The body was then removed by the Coroner's Officer, who was the local policeman on duty and the undertaker. The Coroner would then decide whether a post mortem was necessary or if the body could be returned to relatives for burial or cremation. On this basis the Mortuary was used regularly on what we would today term 365/24. Many was the time when undertakers would be got out of a nice warm bed in the middle of a winter's night to do a removal, when the wind was gale force off the sea with freezing rain, sleet or snow coming in horizontally. Having said that, on weekends, Bank Holidays etc, when the beach was packed with visitors, a police car and a van backing up at the mortuary attracted dozens of nosy parkers, mainly children, asking questions such as "Who's dead mister?" or because a policeman was present "Has someone been murdered?" Those days came to an end when Cleveland County was formed, and full time coroner's officers were appointed within the whole of the County and bodies were removed straight to the pathology department at Middlesbrough General Hospital.
The Mortuary is a Grade II listed building. Internally many original features are intact. The building had been used in more recent years as a wood store and before that as a photographers studio. Tees Valley Wildlife trust had used the building since the mid eighties until recently. In September 2007 Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and English Heritage opened the Mortuary to the public for four days. The tiny room, 12ft x 18ft, became a mini museum which received over 1000 visitors eager to visit the last resting place of dozens of individuals during its working lifetime. The future of the building is as yet uncertain having recently been sold by the local authority to a private buyer.
The interior of the mortuary, left virtually as it was when in use.
The Rocket Brigade The Volunteer Rocket Brigade originated in the early 19th Century with the introduction by Captain George Manby (1765-1854), who lived in Gorleston, of his mortar and rocket-firing rope line apparatus enabling sailors stranded on ships close to shore to be winched to safety. His first success was at Great Yarmouth, 150 yards from the shore, when Manby saved the lives of sailors from the brig Elizabeth with his mortar.
If the stranded vessel was too far from shore for the mortar or rockets, then a boat was used to row the "Rocket" men nearer to the vessel. Once the rocket was fired the rope could then be brought back to shore and tightly secured.
The Volunteer Rocket Brigade, though not part of the RNLI, worked alongside them in rescuing sailors in distress. In the case of an emergency the Volunteers were summoned by a 'maroon, an explosive device not unlike that used to launch the lifeboats.
The basic function of the Rocket Brigade was to save lives by aiming a rocket with a line attached to it at a boat or ship in trouble, the line providing a link between the vessel and the shore. However bizarre this may seem it actually worked and a number of successful rescues have been recorded. One successful rescue was the retrieval of 13 crewmen from the Samarang which had run aground on Marske beach in 1884. In this rescue operation the lifeboats and rocket brigades of both Redcar and Saltburn were involved.
It has been suggested that Rocket Life Saving Apparatus was introduced to Saltburn in 1858, shortly after the First lifeboat, and Coastguard records state that a Voluntary Company was not formed until 1884. However, a letter published in the Hull Packet on Friday 24 October 1851 by Lieut.E H Pace, R.N. shows that the Coast Guard clearly had the use of Carte's rockets during the rescue of at least one vessel at that time.
In the early days practices were held at Hazelgrove, shooting from one side to the other, but during the 20th century two fields south and north-east of Upleatham church were used.
Saltburn Rocket brigade outside the Lifeboat House and Rocket Brigade house.
The cynic on Christmas cards [on reverse] W.K. Haselden Daily Mirror 06 Dec 1909
GINGERBREAD MEN It isn't Christmas without gingerbread men. The range of cutters available in the shops is so good these days you could cut a whole family of gingerbread people. Melted chocolate makes great icing. Makes about 12 small gingerbread people (using 8cm cutters). 60g (2 1/2 oz) softened butter 60g soft brown sugar 110g (4oz) plain flour 3/4 teaspoons each of ground mixed spice, ginger and cinnamon Pinch of salt 1tablespoon milk Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) or equivalent. You will need a large, greased baking tray and cutters. Mix the butter and sugar together. Add the flour, salt, spices and milk and mix til it clumps together. Knead it by hand on a lightly floured board before rolling out to roughly 0.5cm thick. Cut out the biscuits and transfer onto a baking tray. Bake for around 7minutes or until pale golden and slightly brown at the edges. Remove from the tray with a small palette knife and cool on a wire rack. Once cold store in an airtight container. Melt chocolate and decorate the gingerbread men, dipping feet in for boots and use the end of a cocktail stick to draw on eyes and mouth.
DRIPPING CAKES It’s wonderful to come across old family recipes, those handwritten notes that slide out of your Mother’s or Grandmother’s cook books. Yellowed at the edges, creased down corners and gems of memory. For this reason I love old cook books. I love the simplicity of some of the recipes and the fact that they take for granted that you can cook. The Method is often very brief and the oven temperatures, medium, cool or hot. My latest find even advises stacking the oven with plenty of wood before baking. Of course there aren’t any pictures in most of these books, not even line drawings, so it’s essential to do a little research for some of the recipes. For this months recipe we're sampling Dripping Cakes. As a small child my grandad would often disappear into the kitchen to make toast and dripping, a very old fashioned teatime treat which he loved. On hot toast the pale brown beef dripping paste melted into the bread making a beef flavoured topping to your fat soaked bread. Dripping cakes are the Yorkshire equivalent to Lardy Cake, delicious multi layered, raisin filled, sugar sweet, rich bread. Because of course they're not cake at all, but a sweet white fruity bread. The recipe is in pounds and ounces and absolutely huge – 2lbs of bread dough makes a lot of dripping cake! I reduced the quantity to 500g of dough which is roughly 1lb.
Ingredients and method:
For the white bread dough 500g white bread flour 7g dried yeast 1 teaspoon salt 320mls tepid water
For the dripping filling
115g caster sugar 115g beef dripping (available in a block from your local butcher or most supermarkets) 140g raisins
Put the flour in a large bowl, add the salt and combine. Sprinkle the dried yeast over the flour and stir in. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add all but 20 mls of the water. Using your hands gradually mix in the flour into the water until a wettish dough is formed, add the remainder of water if necessary. Turn out the dough onto the work top and knead for 5 â€“ 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place back in the bowl and cover with cling film, place somewhere warm to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Heat oven to 210c (Gas7) and grease a 20cm or 8inch deep square tin. When the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured work surface. Rollout to form a rectangle and sprinkle with about one third of each of the sugar, dripping and raisins. Fold in three starting with the short end, to create three layers sandwiching the sugar, dripping and raisins between the layers, seal the edges. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat starting with rolling out the dough to a rectangle. Fold again and turn 90 degrees, use the remainder of the sugar, dripping and raisins, finally seal the edges and form into a rough square. Cut into 9 equal pieces and place into the square tin. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 30 mins. After the second proving, place in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the individual squares on a cooling rack, eat whilst warm, like white bread.
Backdraft Things you might have missed...
This article appeared in the Western Gazette, 17th December 1926
The mystery, which has puzzled both the police and Christie fans for more than 80 years began on the evening of Friday 3 December at Styles, the Berkshire home of the crime writer, by then already an established name, with a sixth novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, selling well. Around 9.45pm, without warning, she drove away from the house, having first gone upstairs to kiss her sleeping daughter, Rosalind. Her abandoned Morris Cowley was later found down a slope at Newlands Corner near Guildford. There was no sign of her. For 11 days the country buzzed with conjecture about the disappearance. All the elements of a classic Christie story were there. The Silent Pool, a natural spring near the accident scene, for instance, was said to be the site of the death of a young girl and her brother and many thought the novelist had drowned herself there. Others suggested the incident was a publicity stunt, while, more chillingly, some clues seemed to point in the direction of murder at the hands of her unfaithful husband, Archie Christie, a former First World War fighter pilot. Such was the speculation that the home secretary of the day, William Joynson-Hicks, put pressure on the police to make faster progress. Even the celebrated crime writers Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and Dorothy L Sayers, author of the Lord Peter Wimsey series, were drawn into the puzzle. Conan Doyle, who was interested in the occult, took a discarded glove of Christie's to a medium, while Sayers visited the scene of the disappearance, later using it in the novel Unnatural Death. Christie was eventually discovered safe, but in circumstances that raised more questions than they answered. Alone, and using an assumed name, she had been living in a spa hotel in Harrogate since the day after her disappearance, even though news of her case had reached as far as the front page of the New York Times. Until now the two most popular theories offered for these strange events have been that either Christie was suffering from memory loss after a car crash, or that she had planned the whole thing to thwart her husband's plans to spend a weekend with his mistress at a house close to where she abandoned her car.
Colonel Christie on Tuesday evening waited for half an hour in the lounge of the hotel while she was dressing for dinner, and when she came down he immediately recognised her. He moved quickly towards her, but, so it is said, she did not appear to recognise him. "I do not think she knows who she is or where she is!" Colonel Christie stated afterwards. "I am hoping to take her to London to see a doctor and specialists." Mrs Christie sang, danced and played billiards with other guests during her stay at the Hydro, and on the night of her husbands arrival intended going out to a dance! Not for many years has the hunt for a missing woman assumed such proportions as that for Mrs Christie. The cost to the public has been heavy, and it had been calculated that something like ÂŁ1,000 will have to be found out of rates and taxes to cover the cost of the search.
army of pressmen, who had followed in taxi cabs, were refused admittance. Colonel Christie at Leeds stated that his wife had lost her memory, but now had a faint idea that she was Mrs Christie! More than 500 people, some of whom had opera glasses, waited at Kings Cross on Wednesday in the vain hope of seeing Mrs Christie arrive from Harrogate.
A HEATED ALTERCATION WOMAN'S HUSBAND AND MAN WHO WANTED EXPLANATION. At Manchester there was an exciting incident. A huge crowd had gathered on the platform and outside the barrier. Mrs Christie and her sister led the way out of the station. A well-dressed middle-aged man raised his hat and attempted to enter in to conversation with the novelist. She walked on as though no-one had spoken to her. Colonel Christie, still carrying the baggage, rushed forward and pulled the man away. There was a heated altercation for a moment, and the man remarked to the Colonel: "Surely I am entitled to have from Mrs Christie an explanation of her conduct where-by something like ÂŁ1,000 of public money has been spent in searching for her." Colonel Christie flushed and replied: "You will get nothing; I have said all I am going to say."
BEHIND LOCKED GATES BACKDOOR DEPARTURE FROM THE HYDRO Having left the Harrogate Hydro by a back door in an effort to preserve secrecy as to their movements, Colonel and Mrs Christie, accompanied by Mr and Mrs Watts, brother-in-law and sister to Mrs Christie, travelled by train from Harrogate to Manchester on Wednesday morning. On arrival at Manchester they proceeded by motor car to Abney Hall, the residence of Mr Watts at Cheadle. The lodge gates were immediately locked, and a small
The Golden Age of Detective Fiction The Golden Age of Detective Fiction is generally regarded as spanning the years between 1920 and 1939, although Howard Haycraft, who is credited with introducing the phrase insisted the golden age covered only the 1920s. The golden age is often spoken about in reverential terms, and for good reason, as it saw Agatha Christie introduce Hercule Poirot, Margery Allingham gave us Albert Campion and Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter Wimsey. There are of course many other noteworthy authors such as Anthony Berkeley, Freeman Wills Crofts and John Rhode et al. The 1930s saw the style copied more widely, with authors such as Nicholas Blake, John Dickson Carr and Ngaio Marsh entering the fray and of course the Collins Crime Club. The settings, whilst seen as traditionally English, were to become somewhat formulaic and predictable. The English country house, trains, cruise ships and of course the 'sleepy English village' ultimately personified by Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Many golden age writers called upon personal experience for background and settings for their plots. Ngaio Marsh, for example, who was a theatrical producer, regularly used the theatre as a backdrop (pun intended). Whilst some of the most influential Golden Age detective fiction was written during the early period, the prodigious output of many authors meant that quality and consistency invariably suffered later on. The Golden Age theoretically came to an end in 1939, though most of the authors continued to write in the same vein and new authors rooted their style firmly in the Golden Age. Indeed many of today's contemporary authors follow the same patterns and locations of their Golden Age predecessors as well as sticking to The Ten Commandments as set out by Ronald A. Knox. 'A detective story must have as its main interest the unravelling of a mystery; a mystery whose elements are clearly presented to the reader at an early stage in the
proceedings, and whose nature is such as to arouse curiosity, a curiosity which is gratified at the end.'
This, then, would set the pattern for detective fiction writers for many years to come.
An Overdose of Strychnine... There is altogether too much strychnine about this case - The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie, 1920.
In the midst of World War I a young Englishwoman received a literary challenge from her sister. Could she write a mystery novel in which the true villain was impossible to guess?
The response to that challenge was a tale of strychnine and murder that launched one of the most successful careers in crime fiction. The book was eventually published, after several years of hunting for a publisher, in 1920; its title is The Mysterious Affair at Styles; its brilliant fictional detective is called Hercule Poirot and its author (30 years old at time of publication) is named Agatha Christie. Christie would go on to write 66 detective novels and some 14 short story collections (not to mention the occasional play) before her death in 1976. Over the years, sales of her books have reportedly reached close to four billion. A dazzling success for her famed fictional characters, her famously intricate plotting techniques and also that other celebrated Christie characteristic: she was obsessed with poisons. Poison is the most common murder weapon in Christie's novels – the most dangerous rooms being the bedroom, library, and study. Her first novel was reviewed by the Pharmaceutical Journal, which wrote admiringly: "This novel has the rare merit of being correctly written." I’ve been reading Christie and admiring her devious plotting since my early teens when I was given to raiding my mother’s prized collection of murder mysteries. The wickedness of the poisons, the cold calculation of the poisoners in the stories, always fascinated me. No other crime novelist wrote about poison with such knowledge and enthusiasm as Christie, who once said: “Give me a decent bottle of poison and I’ll construct the
perfect crime.” In fact, at the time that Christie began work on The Mysterious Affair at Styles, she had been working as a wartime nurse, had been employed in a hospital pharmacy (then called a dispensary), and had successfully studied to become a member of the Society of Apothecaries. So she began her career with a subject she knew well. The plot of this first novel involves the strychnine poisoning of Emily Inglethorp, a wealthy and dictatorial elderly woman living at Styles, a classic English country house. The soonto-be victim is recently remarried to a younger man. The marriage has thrown into disarray the inheritance plans of her two step-sons who both also live in the house. Residents also include the exotically beautiful wife of the older son and the love interest of the younger, a nurse who happens to work in a hospital dispensary, and assorted other suspects. Enter Hercule Poirot, in his and Agatha Christie’s classic debut. And not only do we meet Poirot (referred to variously as "a dear little man", "an extraordinary looking little man" and a "quaint dandyfied little man") but also Lieutenant (later Captain) Hastings and Inspector (later Chief Inspector) Japp. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is very much a first novel, a writer finding her style. Christie would grow into an author with a smooth style, skilled in elegant misdirection.
Hercule Poirot's Christmas The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot offers to assist he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. The opening epigraph is taken from Macbeth â€œYet who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?â€? and sets the scene for the story to come: tyrannical patriarch Simeon Lee is murdered on Christmas Eve and suspicion falls on his dysfunctional family. A classic Christie with a country manor, family resentment, and secrets behind locked doors.
'Murder for Christmas' is the title under which 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas' first appeared in the United States, some months after its British publication. When it was reissued in paperback in the USA in the forties, the title was changed to 'A Holiday for Murder'. All the titles promise to see Agatha Christie at her notorious best. A classic murder. In a letter to her brother-in-law, James Watt, she wrote:
My dear James, You have always been one of the most faithful and kindly of my readers, and I was therefore seriously perturbed when I received from you a word of criticism. You complained that my murders were getting too refined, anaemic, in fact. You yearned for a 'good violent murder with lots of blood'. A murder where there was no doubt about its being a murder! So, this is your special story, written for you. I hope it may please, Your affectionate sister-in-law, Agatha.
FIRST RELEASED November 1938 (serialised in Colliers Weekly, US) A good, violent murder. Two traditional themes are combined in 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas'. The murder at an English country house party during Christmas and New Year celebrations. In this case Gorston Hall, in the Midlands. The family of a wealthy, unpleasant old man assemble together at Christmas. Also, the 'locked' room. A body found murdered. No signs of any form of entry from the culprit. No sign of any 'escape' means. A solid oak locked door, no key. Windows shut. Nothing to suggest a murderer entered. The perfect crime. Though this is a novel written at Christmas, there is as little Christmas atmosphere in the novel as there is Christmas feeling in the hearts of its characters: the old patriarch is murdered on Christmas Eve. Each son has a motive. Here lies the first clue. Victim: Mr. Simeon Lee, a bitter, wealthy, cunning old man, head of the family and Gorston Hall. In his youth, handsome, charismatic with women. Founder of a huge financial empire. Including diamond mines in South America. Second and third clue. The suspects: His four sons. The eldest, George Lee, a Member of Parliament and his beautiful bride, Magdalena, twenty years his junior. A murky past. Stephen Lee, returned from South Africa, the prodigal son. A deep love for his deceased mother and hatred of the way Simeon Lee treated her. David Lee and his wife Hilda. Harry Lee and his wife Lydia. A variety of other suspects, such as the butler Horbury. A common plot, but with 'Christies style'. Hidden clues from the beginning to end.
The family suspects are, for the most part, your typical upper class stereotype. One of his sons we see explored in greater detail. Harry Lee. Lydia, his wife, repressed from years of living a sheltered life, no independence. Harry devoted to the daily needs of an elderly parent. His weakness of character, his artistic interests, his dependence on a strong-willed wife delicately and sensitively presented.
Part Four - Christmas Day
' I saw three ships Come sailing by On Christmas Day On Christmas Day I saw three ships Come sailing by on Christmas Day in the morning'
Christie maintains a perfect balance. She is inevitably two steps ahead of her reader, Pilar hands to Poirot a small piece of pink rubber and a particularly the reader who imagines he is one step ahead triangular peg. Clue. of her! The stage is set. Part Five - 26th December Christie approaches this book in seven parts. The finding of the uncut diamonds. The net closes! Part One - December 22nd. A portrait of Simeon Lee as a young man is examined by We are introduced to Stephen Lee and Pilar. Her mother Poirot. A startling resemblance is detected. Not amongst was Jennifer Lee, deceased. Daughter of Simeon Lee. his legitimate children. To the house, Gorston Hall and the reaction of the family to his return and Pilar, whom they have never met. A Part Six - 27th December beautiful dark skinned woman. Jennifer having married a Deception. Spanish man. Simeon Lee, in true style, shows Pilar his rare collection of The murderer is revealed. uncut diamonds. Delighting in her company. A young woman to brighten Christmas. Particularly as she is full of Part Seven - 28th December spirit and outspoken towards him, rather than showing a Final words. timid nature. This Simeon finds, to the dislike of his sons, Departure. a pleasant change.
The question asked, is he going to alter his will to include Pilar. At the disadvantage of other family members, particularly George, who's wife has an expensive lifestyle, being younger and enjoying the affluence money brings. Only the money is from an allowance from Simeon. During an early conversation with them, he intimates a reduction in their living allowance, even though George is a high flying MP. His tastes are according to his lifestyle. Grandeur.
The clue to the murder, on the one hand, lies buried in the family and in family resemblances. The other, is timing. Christie makes great play with this, and appears to make things easy for her audience in disclosing the murderer. References to a sense of dĂŠjĂ vu abound. At one point, Tressilian, the butler, says, 'It seems sometimes, sir, as though the past isn't the past!' A passing reference to the killers identity. Christie is excellent at these small hidden clues, often Part Two - December 23rd missed, but crucial to finding the killer. Poirot, on the A detailed description of the home coming of Harry Lee other hand, misses nothing. and his wife, Lydia.
Part Three - December 24th Pilar visits her grandfather. She touches her grandfathers uncut diamonds; locked in his safe. At exactly quarter to eight Superintendent Sugden arrives to see Simeon Lee re a Christmas donation fund. 'And then clear and high, came a scream- a horrible high wailing scream, that died away in a choke or gurgle'. The strange death of Simeon Lee. Enter the Chief Constable, Hercule Poirot and Superintendent Sugden. All the family and household are questioned individually by the three regarding their movements. Each establishes an alibi.
'Hercule Poirot's Christmas', is one of the least realistic but most ingenious of Christies novels, and Poirot performs brilliantly. He is 'on the scene' because he has been staying with the Chief Constable of Middleshire, Colonel Johnson. Middleshire is a fictitious county: when Poirot last encountered Colonel Johnson, in 'Three-Act-Tradgedy', Johnson was Chief Constable of Yorkshire, non fictitious. A well recommended fireside Christmas masterpiece. 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas', with David Suchet as Poirot, was first shown on London Weekend TV on the first of January 1995.
Also by Agatha Christie. The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding. 12th December 1923. A short story.
Who banned Christmas in England between 1647 and 1660? a) Charles II b) Oliver Cromwell c) The Witchfinder General
Christmas Eve and New Year 1813-14 saw the last what in London? a) Frost Fair on the frozen Thames b) Christmas alms distribution by the monarch c) Epiphany Market on Old London Bridge
Yorkshireman William Strickland is believed to have brought the first what back to Britain from North America in 1562? a) Turkey b) Reindeer c) Stollen cake
At which Yorkshire minster is the Devil's Knell tolled each Christmas Eve, and timed to finish on the stroke of midnight? a) Dewsbury b) York c) Beverley
John Callcott Horsley designed which first commercial Christmas item in 1843? a) Christmas cracker b) Christmas card c) Advent calendar
Which songbird was once hunted at Christmas and killed because its feathers were considered to be lucky? a) Chaffinch b) Goldcrest c) Wren
A ll a b o u t C h r i s t m a s Who noted on Christmas Day 1662, 'had a pleasant walk to White Hall, where I intended to have received the communion with the family! but I have come too late'.? a) Samuel Peeps b) John Evelyn c) Christopher Wren
H u d d e r s fi e l d C h o r a l S o c i e t y famously perform which piece of music in concerts each December? a) J S Bach's Christmas Oratorio b) Handel's Messiah c) FaurĂŠs Dequiem
Answers: 1b 2a 3a 4a 5a 6b 7c 8b
Discover... the Mallyan Spout and Goathland's moorland.
Goathland is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the North York Moors National Park. Its situation, around a large open common, criss-crossed by tracks and kept closely cropped by grazing sheep, has always been attractive. Today, however, many tourists are drawn to Goathland because it is used for the fictitious village of Aidensfield, setting for the popular television series Heartbeat. The Goathland Story exhibition tells the village's history from the time it was an Iron Age centre for making stone querns to grind corn, to today - and there's a special Heartbeat collection of actual props and photographs from the series.
The walk begins with a visit to the 70ft (21m) Mallyan Spout waterfall into the West Beck. At this point the valley carved by the beck has a lip of much harder stone, and the little stream coming from the heather moorland above has been unable to carve its way through. In dry weather only a trickle of water may fall from the side of the gorge into the stream below - which accounts for its name of 'Spout' rather than 'Force' - but after rain it can become an impressive torrent. Take care at all times - and be aware that sometimes it may be impossible to pass the waterfall on the streamside path.
The walk: 1 Opposite the church go through the kissing gate beside the Mallyan Spout Hotel, signed 'Mallyan Spout'. Follow the path to a streamside signpost and turn left. Continue past the waterfall (take care after heavy rain). Follow the footpath signs, over two footbridges, over a stile and up steps, to ascend to a stile on to a road beside a bridge. 2 Turn left along the road and climb the hill. Where the road bends left, go right along a bridleway through a gate. Turn left down a path to go over a bridge, then ahead between the buildings, through a gate and across the field. 3 Part-way across the field, go through a gate to the right into woodland. Ascend a stony track, go through a wooden gate to reach a facing gate as you leave the wood. Do not go through the gate, but turn right up the field, going left at the top through a gateway. Continue with a wall on your right and go through a waymarked gateway in the wall and up the field, to emerge through a gate on to a metalled lane. 4 Turn left along the lane, go through a gate and follow the 'Roman Road' sign. Go through another gate, still following the public bridleway signs as you join a green lane. Continue through a small handgate, to descend to another gate and then on until you reach a ford.
5 Cross the ford and go straight ahead along the track, eventually to reach a road by farm buildings. Turn right up the road and, just before a wooden garage, turn left on a green track up the hillside. 6 Go straight ahead at a crossing track, passing a small cairn and bending left along the ridge. The obvious path is marked by a series of little cairns, eventually taking a left fork where the path divides, to go down a small gill and join a clear track. Goathland church soon comes into sight. Pass a bridleway sign and descend to the road near the church, to return to the start.
Distance 4.5 miles (7.2km) Minimum time 2hrs Ascent/gradient 557ft (167m) Level of difficulty Medium Paths Streamside tracks, field and moorland paths, 2 stiles Landscape Deep, wooded valley, farmland and open moorland
Start/finish At the Mallyan Spout Hotel. NZ 827007 Dog friendliness Dogs should be on leads Parking West end of Goathland village, near church Public toilets Goathland village There are several climbs and descents throughout (including long flights of steps) and to reach the Mallyan Spout waterfall you will need to scramble over a few hundred yards of rocks and boulders which can be very slippery so sturdy footwear is a must.
Of course it is always possible to shorten this walk considerably by simply descending the pathway to reach the Mallyan Spout and then retrace your steps afterwards and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a scone in the Mallyan Spout Hotel.
The Signal-Man is a ghost story by Charles Dickens, first published in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. It was frequently reprinted thereafter, most commonly in a bound volume of Christmas Stories and "Reprinted Pieces." It was originally illustrated by his longtime friend and collaborator, Clarkson Stanfield.
"Halloa! Below there!"
When he heard a voice thus calling to him, he was standing at the door of his box, with a flag in his hand, furled round its short pole. One would have thought, considering the nature of the ground, that he could not have doubted from what quarter the voice came; but instead of looking up to where I stood on the top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned himself about, and looked down the Line. There was something remarkable in his manner of doing so, though I could not have said for my life what. But I know it was remarkable enough to attract my notice, even though his figure was foreshortened and shadowed, down in the deep trench, and mine was high above him, so steeped in the glow of an angry sunset, that I had shaded my eyes with my hand before I saw him at all.
From looking down the Line, he turned himself about again, and, raising his eyes, saw my figure high above him.
"Is there any path by which I can come down and speak to you?"
He looked up at me without replying, and I looked down at him without pressing him too soon with a repetition of my idle question. Just then there came a vague vibration in the earth and air, quickly changing into a violent pulsation, and an oncoming rush that caused me to start back, as though it had force to draw me down. When such vapour as rose to my height from this rapid train had passed me, and was skimming away over the landscape, I looked down again, and saw him refurling the flag he had shown while the train went by.
I repeated my inquiry. After a pause, during which he seemed to regard me with fixed attention, he motioned with his rolled-up flag towards a point on my level, some two or three hundred yards distant. I called down to him, "All right!" and made for that point. There, by dint of looking closely about me, I found a rough zigzag descending path notched out, which I followed.
The cutting was extremely deep, and unusually precipitate. It was made through a clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter as I went
down. For these reasons, I found the way long enough to give me time to recall a singular air of reluctance or compulsion with which he had pointed out the path.
When I came down low enough upon the zigzag descent to see him again, I saw that he was standing between the rails on the way by which the train had lately passed, in an attitude as if he were waiting for me to appear. He had his left hand at his chin, and that left elbow rested on his right hand, crossed over his breast. His attitude was one of such expectation and watchfulness that I stopped a moment, wondering at it.
I resumed my downward way, and stepping out upon the level of the railroad, and drawing nearer to him, saw that he was a dark sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows. His post was in as solitary and dismal a place as ever I saw. On either side, a dripping-wet wall of jagged stone, excluding all view but a strip of sky; the perspective one way only a crooked prolongation of this great dungeon; the shorter perspective in the other direction terminating in a gloomy red light, and the gloomier entrance to a black tunnel, in whose massive architecture there was a barbarous, depressing, and forbidding air. So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot, that it had an earthy, deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, that it struck chill to me, as if I had left the natural world.
Before he stirred, I was near enough to him to have touched him. Not even then removing his eyes from mine, he stepped back one step, and lifted his hand.
This was a lonesome post to occupy (I said), and it had riveted my attention when I looked down from up yonder. A visitor was a rarity, I should suppose; not an unwelcome rarity, I hoped? In me, he merely saw a man who had been shut up within narrow limits all his life, and who, being at last set free, had a newly-awakened interest in these great works. To such purpose I spoke to him; but I am far from sure of the terms I used; for, besides that I am not happy in opening any conversation, there was something in the man that daunted me.
He directed a most curious look towards the red light near the tunnel's mouth, and looked all about it, as if something were missing from it, and then looked it me.
That light was part of his charge? Was it not?
He answered in a low voice,--"Don't you know it is?"
The monstrous thought came into my mind, as I perused the fixed eyes and the saturnine face, that this was a spirit, not a man. I have speculated since, whether there may have been infection in his mind.
In my turn, I stepped back. But in making the action, I detected in his eyes some latent fear of me. This put the monstrous thought to flight.
"You look at me," I said, forcing a smile, "as if you had a dread of me."
"I was doubtful," he returned, "whether I had seen you before." "Where?" He pointed to the red light he had looked at. "There?" I said. Intently watchful of me, he replied (but without sound), "Yes."
"My good fellow, what should I do there? However, be that as it may, I never was there, you may swear."
"I think I may," he rejoined. "Yes; I am sure I may."
His manner cleared, like my own. He replied to my remarks with readiness, and in well-chosen words. Had he much to do there? Yes; that was to say, he had enough responsibility to bear; but exactness and watchfulness were what was required of him, and of actual work-manual labour--he had next to none. To change that signal, to trim those lights, and to turn this iron handle now and then, was all he had to do under that head. Regarding those many long and lonely hours of which I seemed to make so much, he could only say that the routine of his life had shaped itself into that form, and he had grown used to it. He had taught himself a language down here,--if only to know it by sight, and to have formed his own crude ideas of its pronunciation, could be called learning it. He had also worked at fractions and decimals, and tried a little algebra; but he was, and had been as a boy, a poor hand at figures. Was it necessary for him when on duty always to remain in that channel of damp air, and could he never rise into the sunshine from between those high stone walls? Why, that depended upon times and circumstances. Under some conditions there would be less upon the Line than under others, and the same held good as to certain hours of the day and night. In bright weather, he did choose occasions for getting a little above
these lower shadows; but, being at all times liable to be called by his electric bell, and at such times listening for it with redoubled anxiety, the relief was less than I would suppose.
He took me into his box, where there was a fire, a desk for an official book in which he had to make certain entries, a telegraphic instrument with its dial, face, and needles, and the little bell of which he had spoken. On my trusting that he would excuse the remark that he had been well educated, and (I hoped I might say without offence) perhaps educated above that station, he observed that instances of slight incongruity in such wise would rarely be found wanting among large bodies of men; that he had heard it was so in workhouses, in the police force, even in that last desperate resource, the army; and that he knew it was so, more or less, in any great railway staff. He had been, when young (if I could believe it, sitting in that hut,--he scarcely could), a student of natural philosophy, and had attended lectures; but he had run wild, misused his opportunities, gone down, and never risen again. He had no complaint to offer about that. He had made his bed, and he lay upon it. It was far too late to make another.
All that I have here condensed he said in a quiet manner, with his grave dark regards divided between me and the fire. He threw in the word, "Sir," from time to time, and especially when he referred to his youth,--as though to request me to understand that he claimed to be nothing but what I found him. He was several times interrupted by the little bell, and had to read off messages, and send replies. Once he had to stand without the door, and display a flag as a train passed, and make some verbal communication to the driver. In the discharge of his duties, I observed him to be remarkably exact and vigilant, breaking off his discourse at a syllable, and remaining silent until what he had to do was done.
In a word, I should have set this man down as one of the safest of men to be employed in that capacity, but for the circumstance that while he was speaking to me he twice broke off with a fallen colour, turned his face towards the little bell when it did NOT ring, opened the door of the hut (which was kept shut to exclude the unhealthy damp), and looked out towards the red light near the mouth of the tunnel. On both of those occasions, he came back to the fire with the inexplicable air upon him which I had remarked, without being able to define, when we were so far asunder.
Said I, when I rose to leave him, "You almost make me think that I have met with a contented man."
(I am afraid I must acknowledge that I said it to lead him on.)
"I believe I used to be so," he rejoined, in the low voice in which he had first spoken; "but I am troubled, sir, I am troubled."
He would have recalled the words if he could. He had said them, however, and I took them up quickly.
"With what? What is your trouble?"
"It is very difficult to impart, sir. It is very, very difficult to speak of. If ever you make me another visit, I will try to tell you."
"But I expressly intend to make you another visit. Say, when shall it be?"
"I go off early in the morning, and I shall be on again at ten tomorrow night, sir."
"I will come at eleven."
He thanked me, and went out at the door with me. "I'll show my white light, sir," he said, in his peculiar low voice, "till you have found the way up. When you have found it, don't call out! And when you are at the top, don't call out!"
His manner seemed to make the place strike colder to me, but I said no more than, "Very well."
"And when you come down to-morrow night, don't call out! Let me ask you a parting question. What made you cry, 'Halloa! Below there!' to-night?"
"Heaven knows," said I. "I cried something to that effect--"
"Not to that effect, sir. Those were the very words. I know them well."
"Admit those were the very words. I said them, no doubt, because I saw you below."
"For no other reason?" "What other reason could I possibly have?"
"You had no feeling that they were conveyed to you in any supernatural way?"
He wished me good-night, and held up his light. I walked by the side of the down Line of rails (with a very disagreeable sensation of a train coming behind me) until I found the path. It was easier to mount than to descend, and I got back to my inn without any adventure.
Punctual to my appointment, I placed my foot on the first notch of the zigzag next night, as the distant clocks were striking eleven. He was waiting for me at the bottom, with his white light on. "I have not called out," I said, when we came close together; "may I speak now?" "By all means, sir." "Good-night, then, and here's my hand." "Good-night, sir, and here's mine." With that we walked side by side to his box, entered it, closed the door, and sat down by the fire.
"I have made up my mind, sir," he began, bending forward as soon as we were seated, and speaking in a tone but a little above a whisper, "that you shall not have to ask me twice what troubles me. I took you for some one else yesterday evening. That troubles me."
"That mistake?" "No. That some one else." "Who is it?" "I don't know."
"I don't know. I never saw the face. The left arm is across the face, and the right arm is waved,--violently waved. This way."
I followed his action with my eyes, and it was the action of an arm gesticulating, with the utmost passion and vehemence, "For God's sake, clear the way!"
"One moonlight night," said the man, "I was sitting here, when I heard a voice cry, 'Halloa! Below there!' I started up, looked from that door, and saw this Some one else standing by the red light near the tunnel, waving as I just now showed you. The voice seemed hoarse with shouting, and it cried, 'Look out! Look out!' And then attain, 'Halloa! Below there! Look out!' I caught up my lamp, turned it on red, and ran towards the figure, calling, 'What's wrong? What has happened? Where?' It stood just outside the blackness of the tunnel. I advanced so close upon it that I wondered at its keeping the sleeve across its eyes. I ran right up at it, and had my hand stretched out to pull the sleeve away, when it was gone."
"Into the tunnel?" said I.
"No. I ran on into the tunnel, five hundred yards. I stopped, and held my lamp above my head, and saw the figures of the measured distance, and saw the wet stains stealing down the walls and trickling through the arch. I ran out again faster than I had run in (for I had a mortal abhorrence of the place upon me), and I looked all round the red light with my own red light, and I went up the iron ladder to the gallery atop of it, and I came down again, and ran back here. I telegraphed both ways, 'An alarm has been given. Is anything wrong?' The answer came back, both ways, 'All well.'"
Resisting the slow touch of a frozen finger tracing out my spine, I showed him how that this figure must be a deception of his sense of sight; and how that figures, originating in disease of the delicate nerves that minister to the functions of the eye, were known to have often troubled patients, some of whom had become conscious of the nature of their affliction, and had even proved it by experiments upon themselves. "As to an imaginary cry," said I, "do but listen for a moment to the wind in this unnatural valley while we speak so low, and to the wild harp it makes of the telegraph wires."
That was all very well, he returned, after we had sat listening for a while, and he ought to know something of the wind and the wires,--
he who so often passed long winter nights there, alone and watching. But he would beg to remark that he had not finished.
I asked his pardon, and he slowly added these words, touching my arm, -
"Within six hours after the Appearance, the memorable accident on this Line happened, and within ten hours the dead and wounded were brought along through the tunnel over the spot where the figure had stood."
A disagreeable shudder crept over me, but I did my best against it. It was not to be denied, I rejoined, that this was a remarkable coincidence, calculated deeply to impress his mind. But it was unquestionable that remarkable coincidences did continually occur, and they must be taken into account in dealing with such a subject. Though to be sure I must admit, I added (for I thought I saw that he was going to bring the objection to bear upon me), men of common sense did not allow much for coincidences in making the ordinary calculations of life.
He again begged to remark that he had not finished. I again begged his pardon for being betrayed into interruptions.
"This," he said, again laying his hand upon my arm, and glancing over his shoulder with hollow eyes, "was just a year ago. Six or seven months passed, and I had recovered from the surprise and shock, when one morning, as the day was breaking, I, standing at the door, looked towards the red light, and saw the spectre again." He stopped, with a fixed look at me.
"Did it cry out?" "No. It was silent." "Did it wave its arm?"
"No. It leaned against the shaft of the light, with both hands before the face. Like this."
Once more I followed his action with my eyes. It was an action of mourning. I have seen such an attitude in stone figures on tombs.
"Did you go up to it?"
"I came in and sat down, partly to collect my thoughts, partly
because it had turned me faint. When I went to the door again, daylight was above me, and the ghost was gone."
"But nothing followed? Nothing came of this?"
He touched me on the arm with his forefinger twice or thrice giving a ghastly nod each time:-
"That very day, as a train came out of the tunnel, I noticed, at a carriage window on my side, what looked like a confusion of hands and heads, and something waved. I saw it just in time to signal the driver, Stop! He shut off, and put his brake on, but the train drifted past here a hundred and fifty yards or more. I ran after it, and, as I went along, heard terrible screams and cries. A beautiful young lady had died instantaneously in one of the compartments, and was brought in here, and laid down on this floor between us."
Involuntarily I pushed my chair back, as I looked from the boards at which he pointed to himself.
"True, sir. True. Precisely as it happened, so I tell it you."
I could think of nothing to say, to any purpose, and my mouth was very dry. The wind and the wires took up the story with a long lamenting wail.
He resumed. "Now, sir, mark this, and judge how my mind is troubled. The spectre came back a week ago. Ever since, it has been there, now and again, by fits and starts."
"At the light?" "At the Danger-light." "What does it seem to do?"
He repeated, if possible with increased passion and vehemence, that former gesticulation of, "For God's sake, clear the way!"
Then he went on. "I have no peace or rest for it. It calls to me, for many minutes together, in an agonised manner, 'Below there! Look out! Look out!' It stands waving to me. It rings my little bell--"
I caught at that. "Did it ring your bell yesterday evening when I was here, and you went to the door?"
"Why, see," said I, "how your imagination misleads you. My eyes were on the bell, and my ears were open to the bell, and if I am a living man, it did NOT ring at those times. No, nor at any other time, except when it was rung in the natural course of physical things by the station communicating with you."
He shook his head. "I have never made a mistake as to that yet, sir. I have never confused the spectre's ring with the man's. The ghost's ring is a strange vibration in the bell that it derives from nothing else, and I have not asserted that the bell stirs to the eye. I don't wonder that you failed to hear it. But I heard it."
"And did the spectre seem to be there, when you looked out?" "It WAS there."' "Both times?" He repeated firmly: "Both times." "Will you come to the door with me, and look for it now?"
He bit his under lip as though he were somewhat unwilling, but arose. I opened the door, and stood on the step, while he stood in the doorway. There was the Danger-light. There was the dismal mouth of the tunnel. There were the high, wet stone walls of the cutting. There were the stars above them.
"Do you see it?" I asked him, taking particular note of his face. His eyes were prominent and strained, but not very much more so, perhaps, than my own had been when I had directed them earnestly towards the same spot.
"No," he answered. "It is not there." "Agreed," said I.
We went in again, shut the door, and resumed our seats. I was thinking how best to improve this advantage, if it might be called one, when he took up the conversation in such a matter-of-course way, so assuming that there could be no serious question of fact between us, that I felt myself placed in the weakest of positions.
"By this time you will fully understand, sir," he said, "that what troubles me so dreadfully is the question, What does the spectre mean?"
I was not sure, I told him, that I did fully understand.
"What is its warning against?" he said, ruminating, with his eyes on the fire, and only by times turning them on me. "What is the danger? Where is the danger? There is danger overhanging somewhere on the Line. Some dreadful calamity will happen. It is not to be doubted this third time, after what has gone before. But surely this is a cruel haunting of me. What can I do?"
He pulled out his handkerchief, and wiped the drops from his heated forehead.
"If I telegraph Danger, on either side of me, or on both, I can give no reason for it," he went on, wiping the palms of his hands. "I should get into trouble, and do no good. They would think I was mad. This is the way it would work,--Message: 'Danger! Take care!' Answer: 'What Danger? Where?' Message: 'Don't know. But, for God's sake, take care!' They would displace me. What else could they do?"
His pain of mind was most pitiable to see. It was the mental torture of a conscientious man, oppressed beyond endurance by an unintelligible responsibility involving life.
"When it first stood under the Danger-light," he went on, putting his dark hair back from his head, and drawing his hands outward across and across his temples in an extremity of feverish distress, "why not tell me where that accident was to happen,--if it must
happen? Why not tell me how it could be averted,--if it could have been averted? When on its second coming it hid its face, why not tell me, instead, 'She is going to die. Let them keep her at home'? If it came, on those two occasions, only to show me that its warnings were true, and so to prepare me for the third, why not warn me plainly now? And I, Lord help me! A mere poor signal-man on this solitary station! Why not go to somebody with credit to be believed, and power to act?"
When I saw him in this state, I saw that for the poor man's sake, as well as for the public safety, what I had to do for the time was to compose his mind. Therefore, setting aside all question of reality or unreality between us, I represented to him that whoever thoroughly discharged his duty must do well, and that at least it was his comfort that he understood his duty, though he did not understand these confounding Appearances. In this effort I succeeded far better than in the attempt to reason him out of his conviction. He became calm; the occupations incidental to his post as the night advanced began to make larger demands on his attention: and I left him at two in the morning. I had offered to stay through the night, but he would not hear of it.
That I more than once looked back at the red light as I ascended the pathway, that I did not like the red light, and that I should have slept but poorly if my bed had been under it, I see no reason to conceal. Nor did I like the two sequences of the accident and the dead girl. I see no reason to conceal that either.
But what ran most in my thoughts was the consideration how ought I to act, having become the recipient of this disclosure? I had proved the man to be intelligent, vigilant, painstaking, and exact; but how long might he remain so, in his state of mind? Though in a subordinate position, still he held a most important trust, and would I (for instance) like to stake my own life on the chances of his continuing to execute it with precision?
Unable to overcome a feeling that there would be something treacherous in my communicating what he had told me to his superiors in the Company, without first being plain with himself and proposing a middle course to him, I ultimately resolved to offer to accompany him (otherwise keeping his secret for the present) to the wisest medical practitioner we could hear of in those parts, and to take his opinion. A change in his time of duty would come round next night, he had apprised me, and he would be off an hour or two after sunrise, and on again soon after sunset. I had appointed to return accordingly.
Next evening was a lovely evening, and I walked out early to enjoy it. The sun was not yet quite down when I traversed the field-path near the top of the deep cutting. I would extend my walk for an hour, I said to myself, half an hour on and half an hour back, and it would then be time to go to my signal-man's box.
Before pursuing my stroll, I stepped to the brink, and mechanically looked down, from the point from which I had first seen him. I cannot describe the thrill that seized upon me, when, close at the mouth of the tunnel, I saw the appearance of a man, with his left sleeve across his eyes, passionately waving his right arm.
The nameless horror that oppressed me passed in a moment, for in a moment I saw that this appearance of a man was a man indeed, and that there was a little group of other men, standing at a short distance, to whom he seemed to be rehearsing the gesture he made. The Danger-light was not yet lighted. Against its shaft, a little low hut, entirely new to me, had been made of some wooden supports and tarpaulin. It looked no bigger than a bed.
With an irresistible sense that something was wrong,--with a flashing self-reproachful fear that fatal mischief had come of my leaving the man there, and causing no one to be sent to overlook or correct what he did,--I descended the notched path with all the speed I could make.
"What is the matter?" I asked the men. "Signal-man killed this morning, sir." "Not the man belonging to that box?" "Yes, sir." "Not the man I know?"
"You will recognise him, sir, if you knew him," said the man who spoke for the others, solemnly uncovering his own head, and raising an end of the tarpaulin, "for his face is quite composed."
"O, how did this happen, how did this happen?" I asked, turning from one to another as the hut closed in again.
"He was cut down by an engine, sir. No man in England knew his work better. But somehow he was not clear of the outer rail. It was just at broad day. He had struck the light, and had the lamp in his hand. As the engine came out of the tunnel, his back was towards
her, and she cut him down. That man drove her, and was showing how it happened. Show the gentleman, Tom."
The man, who wore a rough dark dress, stepped back to his former place at the mouth of the tunnel.
"Coming round the curve in the tunnel, sir," he said, "I saw him at the end, like as if I saw him down a perspective-glass. There was no time to check speed, and I knew him to be very careful. As he didn't seem to take heed of the whistle, I shut it off when we were running down upon him, and called to him as loud as I could call."
"What did you say?"
"I said, 'Below there! Look out! Look out! For God's sake, clear the way!'"
"Ah! it was a dreadful time, sir. I never left off calling to him. I put this arm before my eyes not to see, and I waved this arm to the last; but it was no use."
Without prolonging the narrative to dwell on any one of its curious circumstances more than on any other, I may, in closing it, point out the coincidence that the warning of the Engine-Driver included, not only the words which the unfortunate Signal-man had repeated to me as haunting him, but also the words which I myself--not he--had attached, and that only in my own mind, to the gesticulation he had imitated.
50 Spades of Clay...
Growing your own fruit and vegetables.
The year is coming to an end and the longest day is this month and this heralds the slow advance towards next season. So take a bit of time to reflect on your successes and to consider what went wrong with some crops. Always remember, that there are no failures in gardening it is always down to the weather, furry things or if all else fails Acts of God. Allow yourself a little relaxing time around the New Year and be ready to hit the ground running in 2013.
Sowing and Planting
Keep picking the Brussels sprouts to ensure the sprouts don’t blow open. Also harvest winter cabbage regularly although according to variety they can remain in the soil for months. The parsnips and leeks can be left in the ground to be lifted as needed.
If a prolonged cold or wet spell is forecast you can lift leeks and parsnips to store them in containers of old compost or soil to be used at a later date. Cabbages and even sprouts can be lifted with their roots in a soil ball and stored in a shed or greenhouse. Don’t forget to water the soil occasionally.
There isn’t anything to sow in the garden this month except your onion seed which should be sown in trays or pots in a gentle heat towards the end of the year. Treat yourself for once and spend some dream time looking through the pages of the seed catalogues putting your order together and to posting it asap. King’s Seeds make it so easy for you there are no excuses, and their catalogue is an Aladdin’s cave of
General December is the ideal time to prune apples and pears, gooseberries and currants. Autumn raspberries can be pruned right back to ground level between now and February. Leave the stone fruits, peaches and plums, until summer to protect them from silver leaf disease. Cut out the dead, diseased, damaged as well as crossing or rubbing branches of apples, pears and gooseberries. Aim for an open goblet shape that lets the wind blow away unwelcome airborne spores. Currants can be cut back hard. Once established, taking out as much as half will only serve to reinvigorate them. Remove the dark old wood right down to base, leaving the lighter new wood and cut off anything that is in the wrong
place. Grape vines are a little more complicated but need to be pruned before Christmas. If left until later they will 'bleed'. A golden rule when pruning is to use sharp tools that are up to the job.
Check over all of your tools in the shed to make sure that they are safe and fit to use next season. Clean the metal and wipe it over with something like 3 in 1 oil. Clean and wipe down all wooden handles with linseed oil. It not only preserves the wood but makes it more comfortable on the hands. Check for pests and diseases on any produce in store especially for rat and mouse damage. Set the traps to catch them if you have to.
Once the plot is all wrapped up and ready for winter, you can feel fully justified in curling up by the fire and enjoying the fruits of your labours as the year draws to a close.
Soil: Grow on stone-free ground manured for previous crop. Dig in a green manure beforehand if soil is poor. Prefers sandy soil. Sun: Full sun or light shade. Grow: Requires very little work. Weed and ensure crop is well-watered. Harvest: After the first frosts. Can be left in the ground until February. Problems: Canker is the main problem: grow varieties such as 'Avonresister' and 'Gladiator'. Carrot fly may attack: cover with fleece if this pest is prevalent on your site.
Sow: You must use fresh seed every year. Sow from first week of March onwards under cloches, 1cm deep and 6in apart. Germination is very slow.
R V Hilton
‘Commemoration of War: Stanley Spencer at Burghclere and Charles Sargeant Jagger, The Royal Artillery Memorial.’
Sir William Ernest ReynoldsStephens 1862-1942
The name Reynolds Stephens is carved on Saltburn War Memorial. The sculptor was born in North America to English parents, returning to England when he was a small child. Initially training as an engineer, he gave this up for art at the age of twenty, attending the Royal Academy School 1884-1887, exhibiting his first watercolour in 1885, followed by his first sculpture in 1887. A key influence in his development was the English painter Edward Reginald Frampton 1870-1923, a specialist in murals, especially war memorials at churches. Reynolds-Stephens painted in a flat, stately style, and much of his work showed the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites and Alfred Gilbert. As a designer, he made objects such as light shades, fireplaces and wall decorations, using floral and plant-like forms in Art Nouveau style. He also worked in stained glass, depicting symbolic subjects and landscapes. He worked with a variety of materials in his sculptural work, including precious stones and ivory. He also made statuettes, such as Guinevere's Redeeming, one of several Arthurian subjects. At the end of World War I the War Memorial Committee asked Sir William, who was then Vice President of The Royal Society of British Sculptors, to design Saltburn's War Memorial. Sir William, who was one of the eight sculptors who founded the Royal Society in 1904, visited the town and selected the position it now stands in on Camp Bank as the most suitable position for the Memorial. Saltburn War Memorial, an example of 'collective' remembrance, shows a traditional symbolic return to a religious theme. However, the design on our Memorial is not, as previously thought, unique. It has been cast from the same design as the altar found in the side chapel of the church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Warley, Essex, England.
The new church of St. Mary the Virgin at Great Warley was built 1902-4 and dedicated in 1904. It is thought by many to be the foremost example of the Art Nouveau style. It is noted for its unique art nouveau interior, designed by Sir William Reynolds-Stephens who worked closely with the architect, Charles Harrison Townsend. The church, which has as an historical Grade1 listed status, suffered bomb damage during World War II when all the original stained glass windows designed by Reynolds-Stephens - were blown out.
Saltburn War Memorial First World War Memorial designed by Sir William Reynolds-Stephens. The cross bears a bronze relief which depicts two angels praying at the head and foot of the recumbent figure of Christ. The same relief forms the centre of the alter dedicated to the memory of "British fighting men who made the supreme sacrifice during the Great War" in the side chapel of the church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Warley, Essex. (below)
Courageous women saved his life. One, much later, became his wife!
My name is Rebecca Virginia Hilton-Hodgkiss. My father was Frank Hilton-Hodgkiss and my mother Margaret Mary Mullineux. Both my grandfathers fought in the First World War, and my uncles in the Second World War. This is a story about one of my uncles, Edwin Mullineux and how he met his wife after escaping and hiding from the German army in World War 11. He now lives in America, aged 96. Like him, many of the elderly have experienced the rigours of war. Some talk freely, while others are reluctant to bring back memories of those difficult periods in their lives. Many of these stories of bravery and challenge go untold.
Edwin Mullineux was born in Congleton, England, the eldest of six children. Initially uncle 'Teddy' planned to enter the priesthood. However, at the age of sixteen he made a decision that altered the course of his life. In 1934, he joined the army and eventually became a member of the Royal Regiment, guarding Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Bank of England. When war broke out he was posted in northeastern France. When the Germans attacked Belgium on May 10th, 1940 his regiment was sent to the front lines. "It was a terrible winter there, and I contracted the flu," he recalled. "I got separated from my battalion and was transferred to another unit". Soon he found himself in Dieppe, France, guarding docks filled with French and English soldiers wounded in battle, as well as many German wounded prisoners. A bombing raid by German Stukas sank the ships and eventually my uncle and his crew, unable to stop the attack with only a 'Bren gun'- similar to large machine gun- found themselves retreating to nearby woods. When the Germans bombed the woods, they became further separated from their detachment. A short time later they were captured by the Germans. "We weren't given much to eat, occasionally the Germans would throw us loaves of black bread that we had to fight for to nourish ourselves. One day, late in the afternoon, we were marched next to a cornfield that was tall in crops. Myself and a few others managed to escape by running into the cornfields without being seen". Speaking French was to be helpful in the following days as he trekked his way across Belgium, which was now fully controlled by the Germans. One man he met outside a small village spoke only Flemish, however, they managed to communicate. The man took my uncle into his home, hiding him until later that evening when two women came to meet him. One was a middle aged mother. The other was her nineteen year old daughter. The mother was Belgian, but her daughter had been born in Long Beach, as her mother had lived in the United States since 1919, often returning to Belgium to settle family business. Uncle Teddy told me she was called Bertha and she was connected to a small band of freedom fighters made up of local townsfolk. The freedom fighters tried to help downed Allied pilots and escaped soldiers by providing them with food and clothing, frequently offering a nights stay in their sheds, barns or attics.
Bertha and her mother took my uncle home with them and hid him via a disused access in their bedroom that led to a small attic. The Germans, ever suspicious of the storefront that she and her mother operated from the front of the house where they lived, kept an eye on them and the Gestapo made frequent searches of their home. After three weeks of recovery from yet another illness Uncle Teddy left the security and protection of their home to relocate his unit. He told of many soldiers and pilots that came to the house during that time. "American, English, French, African, Indian, and even Belgian soldiers, were all fed and given donated clothing from the farmers in the area, then sent on their way. When it came for me to leave, I wanted to give Bertha a kiss goodbye, but her mother stood behind her in the doorway, with arms crossed, and I thought better of it". Edwin had developed a real affection for Bertha so he kept her address in mind anticipating a future when he might meet with her once more. Eventually he returned to his unit to fight. However, once again he was captured. Again he managed to escape. During his escape he was badly wounded in his leg. Unable to walk and suffering with pneumonia he was captured by the Germans and taken to a small concentration camp just a few miles from Auschwitz. While interned he started writing to Bertha, and sent his letters through the Red Cross, always aware of her role as a resistance fighter. My uncle continued to write until after the war when Bertha eventually joined him in England where they got married. They moved to the United States in 1948 after his last tour of duty in the reserve was over. After the war he received recognition for his service as a Grenadier Guard during the war, with the Kings appreciation. Aunt Bertha received recognition from the Bureau of Research for Help Given to Escaped Allies in Brussels, Belgium, for her help given to the Allied Service personnel during the German Occupation from 1940 through to 1944. My uncles story is so much more. His experiences at the various camps he was assigned to were horrendous. However, his courage never failed, nor his humour. A book could be written about his complete exploits, and the underground story of Bertha's encounters. My aunt kept a diary of her days in the resistance. A spiral notebook, 57 pages in all. She passed away on July 4th, 1991.
As a child and teenager I regularly visited my aunt and uncle. Often they returned to stay with my mother and father in England. I have four cousins in America. Patty, a few years older, inherited the diary her mother, my aunt, kept. It is a fascinating read - my aunts courage was exceptional as was that shown by my uncle.
‘It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us. A year impairs, a lustre obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory, then indeed the lights are rekindled for a moment - but who can be sure that the Imagination is not the torch-bearer?’ ~ Lord Byron1
This essay sets out to explore the commemoration of war through treating two war memorials – the Sandham Memorial Chapel and the Royal Artillery Memorial - as ‘visual narratives’2.
Commemoration is defined in two ways. Firstly,to honour the memory of a person or event with a ceremony and secondly to be a memorial to someone or something. Derived from the Latin commemorare, commemoratum, ‘to keep in mind’. ‘To keep in mind’; four very evocative words when contemplating the huge losses sustained during World War I, 1914 -1918. 3
Marcel Proust, the greatest French Novelist of the 20th Century, in a private letter written in 1918, compared the soldiers of the Great War to the cathedrals north of Paris. ‘Today I weep, and I admire the soldiers even more than the cathedrals. For the cathedrals are but the setting in stone of a heroic
Byron: Detached Thoughts, no 51 (1821 – 22) published in Byron’s Letters and Journals Vol. 9 ed. By Leslie A Marchand, 1979 2 !
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/file.php/1632/formats/print.htm visited 16/12/2006 . Narrative: A recording of an event or telling of a story in a visual form, from Latin narrativus, from narrare to relate. 3 !
Estimates of the number of men killed in fighting during the First World War range from around 8.5 million to 10 million dead, with over 20 million wounded. These figures may well be under-estimates. The war was also directly responsible for a large number of civilian deaths including around 2 million in both Russia and Turkey, 275,000 in Bulgaria, 500,000 in Romania and 600,000 in Serbia. All nations were affected by the War. Youel D & Edgell D The Somme - Ninety Years On D.K 2006
gesture, which the soldiers today renew at every moment.’4 Cathedrals could
be rebuilt but who would rebuild the lives of the millions of individuals traumatised by war and help them come to terms with such loss. Jay Winter suggests the concept of ‘communities in mourning’ as a means to understand the scale of mourning at the end of the war. Stephane AudoinRouzeau and Annette Becker5 discuss the theory of ‘circles of mourning’ with
the inner circle being the dead mans parents, grandparents, wife, children, and siblings. I myself see a more fluid, less static theory, one I term ‘graduations of colour’. (see Appendix 1) I see two distinct levels of commemoration. One as ‘collective’6 and the other
Collective commemoration is acknowledged in a tangible form
through the public placing of a structural memorial whilst individual commemoration is firmly grounded in memory and can take many forms through the use of a variety of media. War memorials commemorate the loss of individuals, armies or battalions in war. They reveal how people and nations thought about commemoration and stand as a testament to how strong the need was to commemorate the loss of life in war. This need was particularly powerful post 1915 when the decision
Marcel Proust, Correspondence generale, 6 vols. (Paris: Plon, 1930), vol vi, p. 193.
5 ! Audoin-Rouzeau.
S, Becker A., trans. Temerson C., 1914-1918 Understanding the Great War, chapter 9, Personal bereavement. 6 !
Collective memory is a term coined by Maurice Halbwachs, separating the notion from the individual memory. The collective memory is shared, passed on and also constructed by the group, or modern society. The debate was taken up by Jan Assmann, who wrote Das Kulturelle Gedachtnis (The Cultural Memory). More recently scholars such as Paul Connerton have extended the concept to include the human body as a site for the collective processes of retention and propagation of memory. Pierre Nora’s contributions to the role of place and spaces of shared memory (the ‘lieux de memoire’ that we all inhabit) are also significant. The collective memory of a nation is represented in part by the memorials it chooses to erect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_memory visited on 17/12/2006 ! 7
The loss of individuals in wartime was inscribed in individual memory, or rather in the actions and thoughts of individual people, particularly the family members and fellow soldiers.
was taken by the War Office to ban the repatriation of the war dead. The bodies remained on the battlefields in military cemeteries established in the combat areas. The Americans and French were the only nations granting the individual the right to request that bodies be sent home for private burial. There are many ways in which individuals and communities might want to commemorate the loss of life and fulfil the need to remember. The first part of this essay explores how Stanley Spencer created his own unique, personal memorial to those who died in the First World War. Spencer was deeply affected and enormously stimulated by his experiences of the war and this culminated in his decoration of the walls of the Sandham Memorial Chapel which was especially designed to display his work8.
Stanley Spencer was born in Cookham, Berkshire in 1891. Spencer spent the entire war in the ranks, first as a medical orderly at the Beaufort War Hospital in Bristol. He volunteered for services in Macedonia in August 1916, and later saw action in the front lines. During his war years he was unable to continue his painting. In April 1918, while he was still at the front, he was approached by the Ministry of Information who tried to obtain his services as a war artist but failed to obtain his release from his regiment. On his return to England in December 1918 Spencer was immediately commissioned by the Ministry of Information with a suggestion by Muirhead Bone that he should paint, ‘a religious service at the front’ for the nation’s war records.
Spencer agreed to
do ‘a Balkan subject’.10 In February 1919 Spencer started on ‘Travoys Arriving
with Wounded at a Dressing Station at Smol, Macedonia.’ 8 !
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Imperial War Museum file 290/7
Stanley Spencer to Florence Image, letter of 16th May 1918.
Based on his
experiences in Macedonia, the painting did not express the pain or sordid details of war. Instead it conveyed a sense of peace in the middle of confusion with an implicit sense of spiritual ascendancy which was to be repeated in his murals at Burghclere.
Sir Stanley Spencer, Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916, 1919, oil on canvas, 183 x 218.5 cm, Imperial War Museum, London.
Spencer was enormously stimulated by his wartime experiences but they had an unsettling effect on him. After the war he had produced a number of paintings but these mostly portrayed religious themes. He had visualised, during his war service, painting his experiences but for some curious reason he allowed several years to elapse and it was not until the summer of 1923 that he began to compose a series of war studies based upon his experiences in Bristol and Macedonia and his ideas began to develop into a more specific and ambitious scheme. He produced numerous drawings which were seen by
Mr and Mrs J L Behrend when they visited Henry Lamb in Dorset with whom Spencer was staying. They greatly admired the drawings and they decided to build a chapel to house his scheme. The Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere was to be a personal memorial dedicated to Mary Behrends brother, Lieutenant Henry Willoughby Sandham, who had died of an illness contracted while on active service in Macedonia. The traditional character of the project is clear, but its presentation of the entirely ordinary and unheroic world of military life makes Spencer’s Memorial unique. As Sue Malvern states ‘Spencer’s Burghclere Chapel series is both an example of reportage by a veteran and a war memorial also.’11
The building was designed by architect Lionel Pearson, (who also collaborated with Jagger on the Royal Artillery Memorial). Spencer himself gave strict instructions to Pearson with regard to the interior of the chapel, including the measurements of the bays and the form of the arches and dado.
Malvern S., ‘Memorizing the Great War: Stanley Spencer at Burghclere’, Art History, Vol 23 No 2 June 2000 pp. 182-204
Sir Stanley Spencer, The Resurrection of the Soldiers, 1928-9, oil on canvas, Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere.
The paintings, informed by his direct wartime experiences, are essentially autobiographical and convey his testimony as a participant. A series of eight arched panels take us through scenes of Spencer’s war depicting images and memories of his work as a ward orderly and then on to the hillsides of Macedonia and active service in the Balkans. The pictures show an almost religious sense of ritual and the visitor is reminded of the Stations of the Cross in the way the interior of the Chapel has been designed. Violence is notably absent from these war scenes. Instead Spencer’s concern is with the reality of life as it was. The paintings celebrate the intervals between action when the soldiers busy themselves with the everyday routine tasks - washing, eating and relaxation. No one fights, no one kills, no one dies.
They depict an
unemotional narrative conveying the mundane lives of the soldiers. As Winter observes, ‘No glory here, Spencer, like thousands of other forgotten men inhabited the vast underbelly of the British Army and did so in very unheroic settings.’ 12
The eight arched panels lead to the most remarkable feature of the chapel. Here the largest of Spencer’s painting, the massive Resurrection of the Soldiers occupies the entire east wall, and so, because of its size and location, is the focus of the whole chapel. The colours of the painting are sombre – browns, blues and greys - offering a startling contrast and drawing direct attention to the complex pattern of the angular, leaning, white crosses which dominate the scene and the light tones of the human faces. Spencer does not use familiar religious images of resurrection – the men literally come to life, rising from their graves to shake off the crosses they no longer need. It ! 12
Winter, J., Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, The Great War in European cultural history, Cambridge University Press, 2003 p168
is not a scene of horror, but one of resurrection and redemption. The painting not only commemorates Spencer’s dead comrades but also offers them salvation. The observer is left with no doubt that the paintings in the chapel are intended to be a memorial.13
Because the series does not obviously condemn war or depict its horrors the memorial can be seen as distinctive and unique, being both testimony and memorial. As such it does not exist in the ‘public’ realm of memorials but serves as a private act of commemoration. Stanley Spencer’s paintings were commissioned privately, the chapel was owned by his sponsors, with limited public access. It was commissioned to commemorate the loss of a brother, the centre of ‘graduations of colour’. The chapel is not on a national scale; remembrance is limited to the immediate family, close friends and those soldiers who fought alongside each other. As a commemorative building and place of worship it represents private grief, solitude, a sister’s bequeath to an incomprehensible loss. The Chapel14 itself
is now under the care of the National Trust. The second part of this essay explores the work of Charles Sargeant Jagger with particular reference to the Royal Artillery Memorial15. The work of Jagger
is similar to that of Spencer in that it requires a visual response. We can respond by asking similar questions; how the narrative came into being, the context in which it was produced, what form it took, and most importantly, how it communicates meaning.16
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Visited on 22nd December 2006
Visited on 21st December 2006
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Jaggers’s commission was on a national ‘monumental’ scale to commemorate a regiment’s activity in war. Jagger would have needed to reflect on the choice of site, the size and grandeur of the memorial and the response of the chosen ‘audience.’ The audience would not only operate on a national level, but the monument would also initially become a focal point for those mourning the lost individuals who served in the Royal Artillery buried on foreign soil. Over time, what began as an act of commemoration would become ‘ephemeral’ in its nature and the memorial would transform into a sculpture with increased interest at certain times of year (for example during the two minute silence) – thus emphasising my own theory of graduating concentric circles of colour to signify grief and mourning. There is a difference of intent between commemorations designed for public display and those for private viewing. This in turn determines the way the object is produced and would have influenced Jagger’s whole approach to the commission. The choice of site for the Royal Artillery Memorial was Hyde Park Corner, in London. In stark contrast to the privately commissioned quiet chapel setting of the memorial paintings executed by Spencer the location is busy, public and stands close to the Royal Artillery Headquarters. Contrary to the work undertaken by Spencer, the process by which the Royal Artillery Memorial would reach fruition would be entirely different. It was lengthy, costly and involved a whole entourage of individuals. Many First World War memorials came into being as a result of committees being formed and agreements reached, and commissions for construction given. Archives still exist through which the history of the projects can be
traced – public meetings, committee minutes, newspaper reports. These are in the public domain, public documents emphasizing the public intention of the commemoration. Such was the case for the Royal Artillery Memorial.17
When the Royal Artillery War Commemoration Fund (RAWCF) invited Jagger to submit a proposal in February 1921, his ‘ willingness to explore challenging themes relating to the war was his chief testimonial’.18
This was significant because the RAWCF had discovered that obtaining a ‘sculptural group in bronze on a suitable pedestal, such as will be unmistakably recognisable as an artillery memorial’ was harder than expected.19
For the previous eighteen months they had considered several proposals, eventually recognising the previous work of Jagger, in particular the 6’’ howitzer in the Ypres panel. Jagger showed he accepted that weaponry had a place in the iconography of commemoration. ‘The basis of my design consists of a very simple idea. A big powerful howitzer on a base which would be characteristic of an emplacement.’20
Charles Sargeant Jagger was inspired to create the memorial after his own battlefield experiences, which included fighting in the trenches at Flanders and suffering several gas attacks. He served throughout the war and in 1918 received the Military Cross for bravery. Immediately this brings to mind Stanley Spencer. Both men were established in the artistic world, both were commissioned as war artists and both continued their careers after the war, 17 !
Compton A, The Scupture of Charles Sargeant Jagger, Henry Moor Foundation, 2004
Von Donop 1925 pp11 -12
Von Donop 1925 p46
Minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting of the RAWCF, 22nd July 1921
Jagger as a sculptor, Spencer as a painter. Both portraying visual narratives and commemorating their experiences in the only way they knew how. Jagger’s ‘memorial took over four years to complete, from 1921 when the agreement giving him the commission was signed, to late 1925 when the memorial was dedicated’.21
The unconventional design and content of the sculptural scheme was the focus of much critical response after it’s unveiling. This memorial has none of the glamour of earlier war memorials. It does not depict the usual conquering heroes surmounting the monument. Instead we encounter the large, brutal form of a giant howitzer placed high upon a large plinth of Portland marble which is also carved with shallow stone reliefs depicting the reality of war and the confined spaces in which the gunners worked.22 This great mass of stone
acts as a foil to set off the four bronze figures which are the principal details of the design. The four statues stand on each of the four sides of the memorial, a driver, a shell carrier, an artillery captain and a dead soldier. Each is emphasized by their isolation which draws the immediate attention of the viewer. Each statue is depicted in realistic form emphasizing the human effort that was needed in manning the guns. On the east side the shell carrier looks straight ahead, with rolled up sleeves and a solid, immobile yet powerful stance. In Jagger’s words, the ‘Artillery represented Strength, Power and Force’23 and it is this reality that Jagger has evoked in the memorial.
On the north side of the monument we find the figure of the dead gunner. Although the figure obeys the artistic conventions of realism we do not come 21 !
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http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/file.php/1632/formats/print.htm visited on16/12/2006
Minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting of the RAWFC, 22nd July 1921
face to face with death because Jagger has covered the body with a greatcoat, ensuring the figures anonymity and thus presenting a symbolic representation of all those who had died. This figure is central to the overall scheme as it alters our perceptions of the memorial. Before his introduction the figures evoke the different elements and activities of the artillery gunners at work. They are strong and powerful and very much alive. However, with the introduction of the Recumbent Artilleryman they appear to have a vulnerability because the purpose of the memorial scheme is brought sharply into focus. In the creation of this monument Jagger has drawn on his own brutalising war experiences which were underscored by the loss of close friends and comrades. The unconventional design of the scheme which contrasts the realism of the figures against the reliefs of the gunners in action and is dominated by the massive Howitzer creates a complex interplay. The impact evoked these different elements serves to remind the observer that war is not only about death but is also about endurance. We return to those four important words ‘to keep in mind’. I have taken two very different responses to commemoration of war. One expresses an individual response – that of memory, the memory of a brother. The other is collective – a memorial dedicated to the Royal Artillery. Both represent uniquely different approaches to the form that memorials can take. Pierre Nora discusses at length the role of the official and unofficial memorials in the light of the First World War. He defines ‘dominant and dominated sites of memory’.24 The former are spectacular and imposing whilst the latter
represent a spontaneous response to heartfelt remembrance.
The Royal Artillery Memorial is placed in a prominent setting. The massive howitzer surmounts the memorial at an angle which is in sharp contrast with the static horizontality of the base. This public monument dominates its busy surroundings by its sheer size, designed by Jagger to force home the horror and terror of war in the minds of the public. Here Jagger faces death squarely with his realistic bronze sculpture of a dead soldier – a lone corpse, lying recumbent, unknown, in sharp contrast to the living reality of his three companions, emphasizing a vulnerability amidst their strength.25
Hidden in the depths of rural Hampshire the red-bricked Sandham Memorial Chapel sits amid tranquil lawns and orchards with views of Watership Down. It is clear in its intention - a religious building, consecrated by a bishop, with paintings on the wall depicting ordinary soldiers doing ordinary things. This extraordinary project is considered to be the artist’s greatest achievement and one in which Spencer deals with death through his depiction of resurrection.26
There is no evidence of pain or the sordid details of war. Instead the scheme conveys a sense of peace in the middle of confusion. The paintings portray love and fraternity, not hatred or suffering. The artwork is, however, more than just testimony and clearly represents atonement although Spencer’s refusal to show suffering isolates his work from the traditional concepts of Christian reconciliation. Through his paintings Spencer has taken his war time experiences and looks beyond death itself towards salvation through resurrection and redemption.
25 ! ! 26
They stand as an unofficial commemorative
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http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-sandhammemorialchapel.htm visted on 16/12/2006
memorial in response to individual memory and a private need for remembrance.
â€˜to keep in mindâ€™
Bibliography Andoin-Rouzeau, S., and Beeker, A., ‘Personal Bereavement 1914-1918 Understanding the Great War, Profile Compton, A., The Sculpture of Charles Sargeant Jagger, Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, 2004 Evans, M and Lunn, K., War and Memory in the 20th Century, Berg, 1997 Winter, J., Remembering War, Yale University Press, 2006 Winter , J., Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, the Great War in European History, Cambridge University Press, 2003 Royal Academy of Arts, Stanley Spencer RA, Weidenfield and Nicolson London, 1980 Malvern, S., Memorizing the Great War; ‘Stanley Spencer at Burghclere’, Art History Vol 23 No 2 June 2000 pp 182-204 Moriarty, C., ‘The Material Culture of Great War Remembrance’, Journal of Contemporary History Vol 34 (4) pp653-662 Nora, P., ‘Reasons for the Current Upsurge in Memory’, Eurozine 2002 Tate Online http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ArtistWorks? cgroupid=999999961&artistid=1351&tabview=bio consulted on 15.12.2006 First World War.com http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/misc.htm consulted on 17.12.2006
American Historical Review http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/ 106.3/ah000906.html consulted on 17.12.2006â€¨
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/file.php/1632/formats/print.htm consulted on 16.12.2006 Royal Artillery Memorial http://www.nicholasmiddleton.co.uk/RAM.html consulted on 20.12.2006 Art of the First World War http://www.art-ww1.com/gb/visite.html last consulted on 19.12.2006 Imperial War Museum http://www.iwm.org.uk/ last consulted on 19.12.2006 National Trust http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/wfindaplace/w-sandhammemorialchapel/ last consulted 19.12.2006 Times Digital Archive http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/111/1/1/ purl=rc6_TTDA?sw_aep=tees
last consulted on 19.12.2006
The Royal Artillery Memorial, 1921 – 25, Charles Sargeant Jagger
In Proud Remembrance of the Forty Nine Thousand and Seventy Six of All Ranks of the Royal Regiment of Artillery Who Gave Their Lives for King and Country in the Great War 1914-1919.
The Times Thursday March 10th 1927 page 12â€¨ Issue 44526, Col C
The Times Artillery War Memorial Abstract from Unveiling Ceremony Arrangements Tuesday September 22nd 1925 page 7 Issue 44073, Col C
Recumbent Artilleryman Royal Artillery Memorial 1924 -25
Pictured is a dead artilleryman, his body covered by a greatcoat. Underneath is inscribed the words ‘Here was a Royal Fellowship of Death’ from Shakespeare’s Henry V.
‘Graduations of Colour’
The theory is based on ‘circles of mourning’ but takes a more fluid approach. Bereavement, grief and mourning can interact on two levels. The collective through memorial and the individual through memory.
And at times both
interconnect, for example on Armistice Day. ‘Graduations of colour’ is hazy, less static and more ephemeral. The centre initially during and just after the First World War had to be the soldier who bore witness to the death of a comrade. That circle would also encompass the parents receiving the news of the death of their son. Radiating out from this would be close and distant family, chosen friends, colleagues and acquaintances. The difference with this theory is that an individual can move through different circles at different times. Over the years feelings change, memories fade, but an event (e.g. a smell, a sound, or other sensory stimulus) can trigger a response which takes the individual out of the white and grey areas, back to the black centre. This is more representational of individual responses to grief.
Les TrĂ¨s Riches Heures