Living by the sea...
Saltburn by the sea
November Saltburn Jazz Night with. THE WEAVE (Supported by Jazz North) Led by the genial and super talented Martin Smith, The Weave’s collective threads can be traced through innumerable hook-ups with The Coral, Shack, Space, The Lightning Seeds, Edgar Jones, Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, John Smith and more. Fri 1st November Doors and bar 6.30pm Starts 7.30pm
One of Irish music’s biggest stars , back after last year’s amazing sell out show. SHARON SHANNON. Tues 12th November Doors and bar 7.30pm Curtain up 8pm
Saltburn Film Society presents. BEHIND THE CANDELABRA. A larger than life performance by Michael Douglas as outrageous entertainer Liberace. Also starring Matt Damon and Rob Low. Thurs 7th November Doors 6.30pm Screening 7pm
CAMRA presents. 4th Saltburn Beer Festival. This year there will be 36 real ales plus ciders, perries and local fruit wines. Snacks and soft drinks will be on sail at all sessions. Sponsored by the Spa Hotel. Friday 15th November afternoon session. Friday 15th November evening session. Saturday 16th November afternoon session. Saturday 16th November evening session.
The FABS present MerseyMANIA. MerseyMANIA returns to Saltburn Theatre for the third time! This unique show focuses on the exciting times of 1965 and 1969 at the Liverpool ‘beat club’ The Cavern. The FABS play the great songs that were hits for many of the top acts that performed at the club. Acts such as The Beatles, Searchers, Rolling Stones, Drifters, Kinks and The Who………to name just a few.Friday 8th November Doors and bar 7pm Curtain up 8pm
A Celebration of Graeme Miles. Featuring The Unthanks, The Wilsons, The Young’uns, Mike Nicholson and Robin Dale. Fri 22 November Doors & Bar 7.30pm SOLD OUT
All or Nothing presents. BRASS NECK COMEDY CLUB. Dan Nightingale, Martin Mor & Andy Fury (MC) Sat 9th November Doors and Bar 7pm Curtain up 8pm
In aid of the Doorways Project Saltburn. ELLA ENSEMBLE. A programme of chamber music for piano and strings featuring pieces of music by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn & Mozart. Sat 30th November Doors and bar 7pm curtain up 7.30pm
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.
The leaves are quickly vanishing as the wind and the rain do their work. The clocks have been turned back and we have that extra hour of lateness that heightens our sense of Autumn and the onset of winter. Out for an afternoon walk the other day, I paused in a grove of trees. No wind stirred the branches overhead. After a moment, I heard the sound of a single leaf rattling down through the boughs to settle on the ground just a few feet away from me. Breathing in deeply it came to me that there is a wonderful combination of beauty and melancholy at this time of year that I love to feel and see as I sojourn in the woods. The light at this time of year is also different. The sunlight is paler and weaker, the days are cooler and the sea is all liveliness. We live in splendid surroundings, where the salt spray often splashes on windows and although life can seem bitter sweet I love it. I love the moon on the water, the sunsets, to watch those breakers roll, just the beauty of it all. I cherish the privacy that can be found living on the coast at this time of year - that feeling of just me and the power of the sea. So welcome November in with all its moods, wrap up warm, and take the time to enjoy everything that this time of year has on offer.
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The Saltburn and Cleveland Advertiser
Between the 1870’s and the 1930’s The Saltburn and Cleveland Advertiser was a free monthly publication which prided itself on being the 'Largest, Best, and Cheapest Advertising Medium in Cleveland'. It was published by The Ivanhoe Press, proprietor Joseph Parks, from its office on Windsor Road and circulated 5,000 copies gratis each month, distributed in Saltburn, Marske, New Marske, Guisborough, Brotton and the Skeltons. The following article is the second of a number of articles which were published in monthly episodes throughout 1930.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SALTBURN BY IVANHOE CHAPTER VI (continued) • Feb 7th 1881 S/S Earl of Durham, off Huntcliffe • Jan 12th 1882, cobble sunk off Saltburn. • Dec 8th 1882, Schooner Libra, off Saltburn. • Oct 10th 1884, Barque Samarang, off Marske. • Nov 26th 1884, S/S Hathersage, off Marske. • Nov 7th 1888, S/S Harley, assisted to save vessel and 16 lives. • Oct 16th 1892 Schooner Vigilant, off Saltburn, 4 lives. • May 2nd 1894 S/S Cattersby, stranded off Skinningrove. • Nov 29th 1897, Schooner Lochalsh off Saltburn, 4 lives. • Jan 9th 1901, Steam trawler Honoria, of Hull, Off Marske, 9lives. • Sept 9th 1908, Steam drifter Vanguard III, 9 hands aboard. • May 14th 1914, S/S Stranton (Aberdeen), off Huntcliffe. Bound for Barcelona. • June 15th 1914, S/S Alexandra, off Skinningrove. Bound for Bologne.
The name board of the ill-fated Vigilant can still be seen at the entrance to the allotment of Mr Geo. Turner, the Greengrocer.
Adjoining the lifeboat house was the old mortuary. This building still remains, but fortunately is nowadays but little used.
Saltburn is a very early link in the history of the telephone and it was from Saltburn that Middlesbrough received its first call. Sir Francis Bell having heard of Graham Bell's invention, set to work to make a similar instrument. He ran a wire from his house at Saltburn to the house of his next door neighbour, Mr W. S. Ayrt on, and soon established telephonic communication, being the first to do so, it is claimed, in Great Britain.
The first telephone call received in Middlesbrough was made in October 1877 between Sir Francis Bell at Saltburn and the offices of Messrs. Bell Brothers, Iron Manufacturers.
But little now remains to be told. We pass over many public buildings, information of which can be found in any modern guide book to the district. One essential feature of the town is however the gardens, which art has converted into a paradise of beauty. At the bottom flows the Skelton beck, rippling over its rocky bed, whilst the steep and sheltered sides are laid out in ornamental pleasure grounds and gardens, with devious walks and lawns for tennis etc. Beyond the gardens, the sides of the glen for several miles, are thickly clothed with wood. At the lower end of the gardens are the Assembly Rooms, now utilised as a cinema. An iron girder bridge, 790 feet in length, crosses the glen, over the pleasure grounds T a height of 141 feet above the stream, connecting Saltburn with Skelton Estate. At the upper end of the gardens in a lovely nook is a chalybeate spring, very similar in taste to those which have rendered Harrogate so famous, but it is little used at the present day. Illuminations are still held towards
the end of the season, but the firework displays, so popular before the war, have been discontinued.
Before coming to a conclusion, we should like to point out a little reference culex from a guide book published in 1866. The author, Mr W S Banks, states that: "We found in 1864, in addition to the hotel (Zetland Hotel) above 20 lodging houses and about 150 visitors. I hear the dwellings are likely to be increased. Mr Bell was then erecting; of ironstone, a private mansion of striking appearance, looking seaward, half a mile up the glen." This was Rushpool Hall, since partly destroyed by fire, but rebuilt. THE END
CORRECTIONS Chater 5, para 5 to read, Regents Circus instead of Picadilly Circus. Chapter 5, para 6 to read, Central Hall instead of Parochial Hall.
Saltburn by the Sea
The 'Halfpenny' bridge was a typical example of Victorian enterprise and was completed in 1869 at a cost of ÂŁ7000 and the lives of three workmen. It's span, on top of seven cast iron supports, offered spectacular views of the coast and surrounding countryside. The bridge, when it opened, became known as the Halfpenny Bridge derived from the fact that pedestrians paid a halfpenny toll to cross. The toll was taken at a tollbooth at one end of the bridge. The toll-house, which was built for the use of the toll-collector at the other end of the bridge, still survives today as a private dwelling.
A brief history: Designed to link Saltburn with the neighbouring town of Skelton, the construction of the spectacular 'Halfpenny Bridge' which spanned the valley, crossing Skelton Beck, was under construction by September 1869. This impressive structure, rising 120ft above the Pleasure Grounds at its highest point, would eventually enable travellers to avoid the vertiginous road descent from the town down to sea level, and the equally arduous ascent up the other side of the glen.
The land on the east side of the Glen was owned by the Wharton family of Skelton Castle. Mr J T Wharton apparently wished to encourage the development of land on the east side where there had previously been a small community called Bank Top and the building of the bridge was a prelude to developing this area by making portions of land available for leasehold tenure.â€Š
John Andrew was eventually caught, an enormous fine was levied which he could not pay so he underwent a long term of imprisonment. He died in 1835. Smuggling continued for a while after John Andrew's capture in 1827 but without his brains and organising abilities. This, along with the punishment he recieved and reduced duties on imports all acted as an additional deterrent. Soon the clandestine meetings at the Ship Inn declined as the smuggling cutters ceased to make their trips to the Continent and back to the Cleveland coast. Even after the heyday of smuggling had passed, the village of Old Saltburn remained a seafaring community, with most of the residents earning a living as sailors and fishermen. Some of the men were occupied seasonally in the collection of ironstone nodules from the beach for shipping to Newcastle although steady employment in this field was not secured until the first ironstone mine opened in 1864 at Hob Hill. In 1848, in the first guide book to Saltburn ever published, Walbran said "All visitors to Saltburn should ... make a point of duty, once at least, to drink tea and eat 'Fat Rascalls.'" From this it can be noted that even after the Ship had lost its importance as the headquarters both of the smuggling fraternity and of those interested in the Cleveland Hunt, its situation and its tradition made the Inn a popular summer resort.
The Ship Inn survives today, having been enlarged over the centuries with the original bar closest to the road. Improvements to the Ship came slowly. Although electricity for private comsumption came to Saltburn in 1900, hurricane styled lamps were still being used in the Inn as late as World War II.
On the 4th September 1868, the Middlesbrough News and Cleveland Advertiser reported:
"On Monday the foundation stone of the bridge, which is being built across the glen by Mr J T Wharton esq. of Skelton Castle, was laid by Mr Wilman, the engineer in charge. The spot selected for the site is a little south of Balmoral Terrace,close beside the entrance to the path leading down to the wood. The bridge will be a handsome structure, mainly of iron, and is being erected by Messers Hopkins, Gilkes and Company Limited. The cost will be Ă‚ÂŁ7,500 and it is expected that the bridge will be ready for traffic next year. It is understood that Mr Wharton's object in the construction of the bridge is the bringing into use a large tract of building land on the east side of the glen; and, therefore, a considerable increase in the rising little town may soon be looked for ... "
The notion that the reason for building the bridge was to enable the development of the east side of the glen is further reinforced by a report in the Middlesbrough Exchange on 1st April 1870:
"Until recently only land on the west side of the glen, which is freehold tenure, has been available for buildings. Last year, however, a handsome lattice girder, high level bridge, 660 feet in length and 150 feet in height was erected by the owner of the land across the glen, and the land is now laid out on leasehold tenure on easy terms, and alreadt buildings have been erected..."
The contractor for the bridge was a local firm - Hopkins, Gilkes and Co. - who had already established a reputation for engine building and structural engineering having built the two gigantic viaducts of Belah and Deepdale for the South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway which passed over Stainmore into the Eden Valley in 1860.
The design of the Saltburn bridge bears a strong resemblance to those of the Belah and Deepdale viaducts. However, a number of modifications were made - some of which were quite drastic - and these were not improvements on the previous designs, a fact that was to contribute to the eventual demolition of the bridge. The two viaducts were designed for double-line railway use and both of them were able to cope with an increase in the size of both locomotive and rolling stock over the years, surviving until the 1960's. The Saltburn bridge, on the other hand, was designed solely to carry horses, carts and pedestrians and was never really safe for use by motorised vehicles. It is said that early motor vehicles did use it but Mr Wharton closed the bridge to motor vehicles after a huntsman was almost thrown over the rails when his horse shied from a car.
The projected cost of the bridge was ÂŁ7,000 and the site chosen was Scott's View (as marked on Dickenson's plan) opposite the villa now named Bridge End. A parcel of land across the glen was taken on a 999 year lease by Mr Wharton from Henry Pease, Thomas MacNay and William Thompson in July 1868. The land was surveyed that same month and work commenced immediately afterwards. Work was progressing so well that by January 1869 the engineer, Mr Willman, was predicting it would be finished by April. However, the work was delayed by a serious accident which occured on the 7th April 1868 during which three men were killed and the bridge was not opened until September.
Article published in the Pall Mall Gazette, April 1869.
Following the accident and inquest no further mention is given to the project in local newspapers and there does not seem to have been an official opening ceremony.
On 9th August 1869 the Saltburn Improvement Company approved the proposed tolls for the bridge which by this time was almost completed. The toll of "One Halfpenny" for each person "not being in charge of a horse or vehicle" gave the bridge the name by which it eventually became best known. The toll boards stood at both ends of the bridge until the end of its life.
Mr Wharton's visualised development of Bank Top was not a success. Apart from the toll keepers cottage the only other dwelling built on the east side of the valley was Cliffden, which later became part of the Manor School along with the White House. After the school closed in the early 1970's the building was demolished and the Cliffden Court development now occupies the site.
During its 105 year history the bridge gained a darker reputation as a number of people committed suicide by throwing themselves off the bridge. In the 1960's age began to take its toll on the bridge's supporting structures. In his report of 1971, Mr I M Little, consultant engineer, concluded that the bridge "was in the first stages of dereliction" and that its condition was hazardous to any person or vehicle supported by the bridge or passing under it. "In event of high winds failure could occur with the subsequent collapse of the bridge." A proposed refurbishment programme was considered to be too costly so the decision was taken to demolish the bridge.
On December 17th 1974 at exactly 9.30am the crowds that had gathered on Saltburn's promenade witnessed the demolition of one of the town's best known landmarks. This slender and spectacular cast iron structure, which had spanned the Valley Gardens since 1869, was reduced to a tangled heap of twisted metal in just four seconds and the vista through the valley towards Saltburn woods, would never be the same again.
The cost of the demolition was in the region of ÂŁ50,000. The bridge and the Saltburn toll booth have disappeared although the toll house at the Skelton side of the bridge remains as a private residence. A bandstand has been erected on the area where the Saltburn toll house once stood along with an observation platform which has sections of the wrought iron balustrade from the old bridge surrounding it. Further sections of the balustrade were used on the new footbridge which was built to cross the beck in the valley bottom.
On Sunday 10th of November at 10:45am the annual Remembrance Sunday Parade and service takes place at the Glenside war memorial. We walk to the memorial. We stand in silence. Our thoughts reflect on those individuals who have died or been wounded in all the wars we have fought. One message, is predominant - we are all mortal beings. We are born with nothing, we die with nothing. The men named on this memorial all died fighting for their country. For their family. For a way of life called 'freedom'. "We have no glory great enough for you." These are the words carved at the base of the memorial. Sixty four men from the town were killed in the Great War, and Saltburn, like other towns, was struggling to find the money needed to pay for a memorial that would acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice that these men had made. Their lives. (The names of twenty men who died in World War II have also been added to the memorial.) A 'fund' was started by the local council. Although people contributed, the task seemed impossible. One name on the memorial is that of Lieutenant Wilfred Evelyn Littleboy, of the 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was killed on Tuesday 9th October 1917, aged 21 years. He is buried at The Hooge Crater Cemetry in Ypres, Belgium. Lieutenant W E Littleboy was one of the sons of Charles William and Agnes Eveline Littleboy, who lived at Woodlands, Victoria Road, Saltburn. Charles William Littleboy was a partner in the firm of the South Stockton Iron Ship Building Co, which started building ships in 1862. He offered to commission and pay for a suitable memorial and present it to the town. The War Memorial Committee asked Sir William Ernest Reynolds-Stephens, Vice President of The Royal Society of British Sculptors, to design the memorial. Sir William, who was one of the eight sculptors who founded the Royal Society in 1904, visited the town and selected a position on Camp Bank as the most suitable position for the Memorial. The unveiling and dedication of the Memorial took place on November 14th 1920 by MajorGeneral Sir Percy Wilkinson, KCMG, CB. A large crowd gathered, with school children standing to the front of the memorial. After it was unveiled, Archdeacon Lindsay repeated the Dedicatory Prayers and the Reverend A Antrobus, Congregational Minister, led the singing of 'Abide With Me'. The Memorial is a Grade 11* Listed Structure. At present work is needed to secure the area around the memorial.
Saltburn War Memorial First World War Memorial comprising an Arts and Crafts Style broadarmed cross with a short shaft in polished grey granite atop a slightly tapering pedestal and base of the same stone. The cross bears a bronze relief which depicts two angels praying at the head and foot of the recumbent figure of Christ. Two bronze relief laurel wreaths decorate the pedestal on each side.
Comic Postcards from World War I The Great War of 1914-18 was certainly not one of the funniest events to be recorded on picture postcards, especially for those men fighting in the mud-filled trenches of France and Belgium. However, there were artists - both military and civilian - who were able to inject a little humour or satire into their postcard drawings and paintings â€“ even when depicting the gloomiest of situations. This sense of humour, often displayed by the British in the face of hardship or adversity, played a major part in maintaining the moral of troops and civilians. It was a common bond and was usually good-natured and simple. The British could laugh at themselves and at each other with sardonic sayings such as this one: "Dear Mother, this war's a bugger. Sell the pig and buy me out. John. Dear John, pig's gone. Soldier on." Soon after the outbreak of hostilities on 4th August 1914, postcard publishers and their artists seized the opportunity to increase sales of their cards, by recording and commenting on both military and civilian events as they unfolded. Comedy and humour were popular themes and just as in peacetime - people found themselves in funny situations, or said or did amusing things, which would have been splendid subject matter for postcard artists. For instance, in 1915, a private in a reserve trench wrote home,
"I have not long ago finished my tea and it took me nearly an hour to get a biscuit with butter and jam on it down me. I was finishing the last bite when I found I was chewing one of my false teeth. That makes the third one I have had, gone west. If I lose anymore I am afraid I shall have to go in for an Army issue of upper ones. I hope they fit better than the lower ones the Army gave me - I am wearing those in my pocket. Still I shan't complain, as we are here to kill Germans not to eat them."
‘I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on forever. Feeble, inarticulate will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.’ Paul Nash, in a letter from the front back to his wife in 1917.1
The First World War was the first significant conflict of the Twentieth Century, and was possibly the most important one. It signified a massive change in the way that wars were to be fought and was the first truly 'modern’ war through the use of machine guns and tanks, but yet still maintained some of the more traditional forms of fighting, with the use of horses and bayonets as key components in battle. It was also one of the harshest and horrific wars that had ever been seen by the world and it resulted in many different ways of remembering the battles and the significant loss of soldiers. There was state remembrance through war memorials, collective remembrance through community groups, individual remembrance through memoirs, and what could be described as commercial and artistic remembrance through the publication of books concerning the war, and art works dedicated to the war. Each of these different areas had 'modern' and 'traditional' aspects within them, and each group overlaps and interlinks with another, making it difficult to understand any particular official memory. It has to be remembered that the early part of the Twentieth Century was a time of significant change, especially in the world of art, with the growth of movements
1 ! As
quoted in Marwick A., War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century (Macmillan: Houndmills, 1986), pp.83-86.
such as Dadaism and Surrealism and it is debated about just how much the First World War affected these movements, and how much these movements were used by those trying to remember the war. Did the war cause these movements to flourish, or would they have grown without the horrid and bloody images of the war? It also needs to be remembered that each nation had their own ways of remembering their fallen soldiers, so we have to understand each nation separately. The other problem is that 'memory’ is usually a highly personal experience, and there is no way that we can fully understand every experience of memory, we can only examine certain more obvious forms of memory. To fully understand the idea of memory of the First World War, we have to understand the idea of 'modern’ within Europe at this time. The war was truly modern, with an entirely new form of fighting through trench warfare, which brought with it the problem of the 'invisibility of the soldier', as Robert Michaels, captain in the Austrian Cavalry, explains in a letter to his son: ‘Modern combat is played out almost entirely invisibly; the new way of fighting demands of the soldier that he... withdraws from the sight of his opponent.’2
Families very often have their own ways of remembering their missing, dead and wounded and the struggles that they go through in battle. The First World War
http://media.ucsc.edu/classes/thompson/history30c/03_statemate.html visited on 14th August 2007
had a profound affect on many family units, often with several members of the family going off to fight, and then with many years of separation and in millions of cases, widowhood and orphan hood - at the end of the war there were three million widows and between seven to ten million orphans.3
After the war the
family was celebrated as never before, as the war featured almost like an event in family history, with families having to group together and use their strength to overcome the personal tragedies that they had been given. Their wounded family members came in different forms, some were psychologically damaged through illnesses like shell shock, which were totally modem and not very well understood, and there were other men wounded horrifically from gas poisoning and machine gun wounds, these were ‘ordinary men with extraordinary wounds’4,
caused by the new modern forms of warfare, so the family had to deal with it in new ways. Families used story telling as a fundamental way of remembering the war and what had happened to them. It became almost a path to recovery, by retelling what had happened and by turning the horrors of trauma into something more like misfortune.5 Stories were told to family members, and eventually some of
them were turned into publications, as will be examined later on, and this was the first time that the media was used to tell the real story of how a war was fought.
p42 Winter, J and Siven, E. et al War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2000 4 !
p48 Winter, J and Siven, E. et al War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2000 5 !
p43 Winter, J and Siven, E. et al War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2000
This was the first war where millions were affected, either through losing a family member, or through having a member of their family permanently wounded, and this meant that the way that they dealt with these issues had to be adapted appropriately. This can be seen through the way that families became more affectionate towards each other once the war had ended. Before the war it was not uncommon for families to never kiss each other in public, but afterwards more families would hug and kiss each other, because their heroes had returned6, and they wanted them to know how they felt. This level of closeness Â
between family members shows how much relief there was that family members had returned, especially when so many men had not made it home. This was another part of the 'modern' part of remembrance; many men had not returned because of the new way that the war was being fought, so the memory of the war changed within the family and helped to change the family unit. The war and its effects were so immense that the family had to band together as much as they could. When that became too much for them they had two options, they could either ask the state for help, or they could join together with other people and form associations with those who were suffering in a similar way7, Â
which was quite a new way of dealing with the stresses of trauma. It also helped to deal with the stress that many families and ex soldiers felt because of their injuries and how society was going to look upon them as a result. This
p43 Winter, J and Siven, E. et al War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2000 7 !
P50 Winter, J and Siven, E. et al War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2000
culminated in the formation of associations such as 'The Union of Disfigured Men'8 . Unions such as this were another way that the men managed to
remember the war in general. The feeling of comradeship was essential for these men and they wanted to remember this, as it had crossed class barriers. This meant that the men felt that they had a universal bond, with Laurence F. H. Keeling feeling as though he ‘could never find a family an adequate substitute for a regiment.’9 This form of remembrance came with the modernity of the war
because of the fact that these men had to fight and work together. It was something that those at home would not be able to understand as those at home had not been through the horrors that the soldiers had experienced. They had what became known as a 'collective remembrance' and they met and commemorated the war long after the official ceremonies ended.10
The world of art and literature changed significantly around the time of the First World War, and it is debateable just how much of this was due to the fact that the war was as horrific as it was. It was seen that the First World War had been so monumental and significant that more changes within society could come about as a result. For example, Freidrich Naumann said that he deliberately sat down to write 'Mitteleuropa' during the war because ‘it is only in war that minds are prepared to entertain transforming thoughts.'11 It was genuinely believed that the
P50 Winter, J and Siven, E. et al War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2000 9 !
p26 Leeds, No Man’s Land
P59 Winter, J and Siven, E. et al War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2000 11 !
p82 Marwick A,. War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century, Macmillan: Houndmills, 1986
war would herald great changes in the world of the arts, and this was seen in several areas. P.G. Konody was an art critic and he believed that the First World War had changed things so much that an entirely new system was needed to allow people to express themselves: ‘A more synthetic method is needed to express the essential character of this cataclysmic war, in which the very earth is disembowelled and rocky mountain summits are blown sky high to bury all life under the falling debris.’12
The fact that an art critic was using language like this shows just how much the First World War changed the way that people examined art, and just how modem the war had made art. There was the growth of new art movements, such as Dadaism, which was a nihilistic art movement that came in the form of art and literature that flourished in Europe early in the 20th century, from the middle of the First World War which was based on irrationality and negation of the accepted laws of beauty13. It was more extreme that anything that had been seen
before and was based on the premise that if modem, industrial society was able to produce a war as violent, horrific and devastating as the First World War had been on most of society, then they felt that society was an evil one whose philosophy and culture needed to be destroyed as it was socially and morally
12 ! 13 !
p84 Marwick A,. War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century, Macmillan: Houndmills, 1986
WordNet® 3.0. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from Dictionary.com website: http:// dictionary.reference.com/browse/dadaism
Hugo Ball commented that ‘The war is our brothel’15, which was
encouragement for the movement to do what it wanted to describe what was happening in society as a result of the war. It can be seen that this movement was a highly modem way of expression, and remembrance of the war. Literature became a fundamental way for soldiers to express themselves once the war had finished, and this literature became an entirely new genre, eventually becoming known as 'war literature'16, it was also a chance for soldiers who had
become politicized by the war to write what they had seen during the war. Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front was first published in Berlin at the end of January in 1929. It was so popular that it was translated into English for a British and American audience by June of that year, and by the end of the year it had been translated into about twenty languages.17 The success of this book
caused what became known as a 'war boom' with many publishers suddenly publishing memoirs and novels about the war from ex soldiers, including some very famous works by writers such as Graves, Blunden, Sassoon, Renn, Zweig and Hemmingway18. The war had made the world a lot less innocent, which
meant that these stories took a long time to be published, as Hemmingway suggests in "A Farewell to Arms': 14 !
http://www.geocities.com/allon_art/dada.html copyrighted Allon Schemool visited on 14/08/2007
p210 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990 16 !
p73 Winter, J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; new edition 1998
p276 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990 18 !
p277 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990
‘Abstract words such as glory, honour, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and dates.’19
Paul Fussell believed that the war changed literature totally, as it had swept away the traditional literary conventions and gave the written word a more ironic voice than ever before. Books such as Remarque's were used to describe how many people were feeling; and it was a chance for Remarque to explain his general malaise with life20, and it was his opportunity not to write about what exactly
happened in the trenches, but to explain how the people who had fought were changed by their experiences of the war, and it can be said that All Quiet on the Western Front is a comment on the post war mind more than anything21, which
shows how modem this sort of memory was. This is how the book was viewed, although Remarque refused to admit that this was what he was trying to create; he claimed that he was impartial and said that his book was ‘neither an accusation or a confession’22 about the war.
The film industry was another powerful area where the First World War was remembered, and used a strange mixture of traditional and modem aspects for
p113 Hemingway, E A Farewell to Arms, London, 1986
p280 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990 21 !
p282 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990 22 !
p283 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990
remembrance. For example, Gance's film J’Accuse from 1919 portrays the story of two men, one the husband and one the lover, who meet in the trenches of the First World War, and their tale becomes a microcosm for the horrors of war. The film powerfully captured the idea of mass grief and the sense of death that this war had created23, which other mediums of remembrance were unable to do. In
the film there is a section called The Return of the Dead where the fallen soldiers rise from their graves and march through the countryside protesting at the way their lives had been squandered. This was the first ever anti-war film, with the general message that war is futile and still stands as one of the greatest pacifist works of all time. It was also remade in 1937 with a slightly modified plot, but proclaiming the same message about the futility of war. This was the first time that artists were able to put this sort of message into their work. They were still remembering the fallen and the injured, but they were also creating the message that war was not good for society, which shows how modern the memory could be. Hollywood was not as reluctant as other forms of media to start making films about the war, and made films throughout the 1920s, including films like What Price Glory?, The Big Parade and Wings in 192624. These three films were
American and also did not show the actual horrors of the First World War, centring their stories about the love interests of the soldiers who go off to fight the
23 ! 24 !
p17 Winter, J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; new edition 1998
p277 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990
war. This shows that there were two different types of film being made about the war, portraying both a traditional approach to remembrance of the realities of war as well as a much more modern one. The theatre was also able to provide artists with an opportunity for writing and talking about the war. Perhaps the most famous of these plays was Sheriffs Journey's End, which starred Laurence Olivier in London, and became an international hit once the public became interested in war from 192925. This play
was about the futility of war. However the arts and literature were not only using modem ways to show remembrance. It has been argued that the First World War resulted in an initial step backwards when it came to art, especially in France, and it was only once the war was over and had faded from memory that the artists were able to go out and ‘invent the world’26 again. Literature shows a wealth of motifs and images
that were derived from the classical, romantic and religious traditions of European literature, for example, the use of the image of the Apocalypse, which comes from the Bible. In poetry, for example, there is the famous For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon, which is one of the most quoted war poems ever: ‘They shall grow not old, as we the left grow old At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.’
p277 Eksteins, M, Rites of Spring:the Great war and the Birth of the Modern Age, 1st Anchor Books, 1990 26 !
p528 Winter, J., Journal of Modern History
This is significant as it uses the image of a sunset and sunrise for remembering, which is a very traditional image, and one that had been used often during the romantic period.
Art uses typical romantic and religious imagery to get across some of its message as well as using some of the more ironic and modem ways that had come as a result of the war. For example, the biblical theme of the apocalypse was used by artists such as Beckmann, Rouault and Spencer27. There was also
the growth of 'Images d'Epinal’ which were traditional forms of folk art work, but which became popular before 1914. They were derived from traditional religious sources, and eventually became associated with highly patriotic art, especially for the French.28
It was seen that the ‘Great War' was the first ever truly modem war, but yet it spawned a growth in all things 'unmodern'29, especially where it concerned
memory. Spiritualism grew as a movement after the end of the war, which shows that not all forms of remembrance were modern, as this harked back to the Victorian Period, and was a deepening of obvious traditional values. It was something that grew once the war started, as wars often have an effect on the religious imagination30 . David Cannadine has described spiritualism as the
p145 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p127 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p54 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p54 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
‘private denial of death', but this form of spiritualism and its growth was far from being private31. This spiritualism permeated all forms of remembrance, even in
Kipling's writings where he drew on wartime legends and talked of the spiritualist manner in which people were remembering their dead after the war32. As has
already been mentioned, the film J’Accuse contains a scene where the dead soldiers rise and walk, showing again a further belief in spiritualism, where there is a life after death. The fact that spiritualism was so powerful and popular for so many people shows the conservative nature of some forms of remembrance.
There were also official state memorials, usually in the form of war memorials, and this is something that many people were able to cling to, as it gave them something physical to focus their grief on. The first official symbolic gestures were made in 1920 when the unknown soldier was remembered in Westminster Abbey and under the Arc de Triumph, and by 1921 there were official memorials to these soldiers in the United States of America, Italy, Belgium and Portugal.33
Some war memorials were strictly religious and traditional in character, as they were largely commissioned by the state, however, the language, imagery and icons used on the memorials varied depending on which country had made them, as each country had their own form of language for commemorating their fallen men34. Very often scenes from the New Testament were used, with an example
being at Fraunzell, where the war memorial shows a dying soldier still holding a 31 !
p57 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p73 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p27 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p85 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
hand grenade being cradled by Jesus35. These images showed very brave and Â
heroic men who had not died in vain. In Britain the war memorials show the ordinary man and soldier in the form of 'Tommy', whereas in Germany a much more heroic figure is often painted of the men who died. There is little to doubt that traditional images were not fundamental in these memorials, especially when you look at the example of the Gustrow Memorial, where an angel is suspended, which is a highly traditional and religious image. Another highly traditional memorial comes from Kathe Kollowitz, who created a sculpture of two parents mourning over their sons' grave36. Â
There was also the 'croix de bois', a wooden cross, which became an important symbol for the French and their losses. It was an image that is both very personal and also collective, because anyone who does not have a grave to visit can use this for their own purposes. It also can show the gratitude that the state has for those who have lost their lives, and also reassures those left behind that their loved ones did not die in vain, which is something that the more modern images do not suggest.
However there is the mixture of more traditional icons and more abstract ones in some of the war memorials, for example the 'Trench of Bayonets'. The form of the memorial is very simple and minimalist, simply comprising a steel and concrete covering over an actual trench filled with the bodies of dead soldiers37. Â
p91 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p108 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
p99 - 100 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
Some of the bayonets and the rifle barrels protrude, and these are still being held by the soldiers underneath. This memorial is special as it shows how both the modem and the classic forms of remembrance can be mixed quite successfully. In conclusion, the memory of the First World War was both modem and traditional, and quite often an important mixture of the two. It was the first war where such huge numbers of men died, and where so many men were psychologically affected, so there had to be new ways of remembering their struggle. However, the modem movement, especially in the arts had already been strong prior to the start of the war, with some historians suggesting that the modem movement had started during the 1860s, and had crystallised long before 191438. Â
p3 Winter J Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, Cambridge University Press; New Edition, 1998
50 Spades of Clay...
Growing your own fruit and vegetables.
too late to take a chance on a sowing of broads beans No time to rest. There is just enough daylight to clear if it is done early in the month. Transplant October and tidy up the allotment of any old crops in sown lettuces to grow on under cloches or frames preparation for next year. Don’t leave the remains of space them 6”.15cms square. summer crops to rot and harbour overwintering pests and diseases. Wait for a clear, crisp, sunny day and go Although these winter varieties are tough enough to for it. You’ll feel shattered but a lot better at the end of withstand most British winters it is always best to have some protection on hand ready to protect them if the exercise. needs be. Wet growing conditions can wreak as much damage as the cold Sowing and Planting
Sow a crop of your favourite variety round seeded hardy peas. They can be sown either in the open ground if the weather conditions are favourable or three to 3”/9 cm pot and transplanted later when the roots have reached the bottom of the pot. Transplant any pot raised broad beans sown earlier somewhere sheltered and protected from cold, icy blasts. It not
Now is a good time to plant new fruit trees and bushes. Soft fruit bushes can also be moved now if needed as well.
Start to harvest winter cabbage, Brussels sprouts,
leeks and parsnips, wait until after a frost for the parsnips because the chilling effect turns the starches into sugars and this gives them their natural sweetness. Pick the Brussels sprouts working from the bottom of the stalk upwards to make sure that all of the sprouts get a chance to swell. At the same time snap off any yellowing leaves at their base to ensure that there is good air circulation around the plants. It also makes the sprouts easier to pick on cold, wet and frosty days, brrrr!
Dig, dig and dig this is the priority job of the month the more that you can get done before the end of the year the better. Check over any heaters that you rely on to make sure they are working. Check on the wheelbarrow wheel, you may have a lot of carting to do over the coming months. Most of the leaves will have fallen by now collect them up and make a leaf mould stack. Set aside a little time to check on door locks, window catches and secure anything loose or flapping that may be the source Clear the ground of any remaining vulnerable of damage or danger to neighbours on the site. crops such as celeriac, carrots, Florence fennel and put them into store before any hard frosts are forecast.
Soil: Dig the soil well and add plenty of well-rotted manure the autumn before planting. You can also grow a nitrogen-fixing green manure over the site three weeks before planting. Sun: Choose a sheltered, sunny site, protected from strong winds. Grow: Plant in final position once the plants have grown five or six true leaves. Plant 3ft apart. In misummer, remove the top shoot. This will encourage the sprouts to mature together. Mound soil around the base in September to support the plants. Harvest: Early varieties can be harvested from August. Start from the lowest sprouts, when they are tightly closed, firm and the size of a walnut. Snap them off with a sharp downward tug. The flavour is improved once the sprouts have been frosted. At the end of the season the sprout tops can be harvested and eaten. Problems: Protect from cabbage root fly using a collar around the base of the plant. Net the plant to prevent cabbage white caterpillars from stripping it entirely bare: pick off the eggs from the underside and base of the leaves. Clubroot is a soil-borne fungal disease which can hang about for twenty years. Rotate properly, and never compost diseased plants. Grow resistant cultivars.
Sow: Indoors from Feburary onwards, outdoors from late March in nursery bed.
YORKS HIRE PARKIN This month's recipe is Yorkshire parkin. Yorkshire Parkin (originally known as Perkin) is the north of England's version of gingerbread. If you are not familiar with it, it’s a strongly-spiced sticky gingerbreadcum-cake flavoured with treacle and dark brown sugar. It is ideal fodder in the 'parky' weather November brings and is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night celebrating the famous failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses on Parliament in 1605 - Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshireman. It seems like it should be a recipe that has always been, but the earliest mention of it I have been able to find from a primary source is from 1842; a certain Richard Oastler wrote a letter to Sir Thomas Thornhill (who would later become the High Sherrif of Suffolk and a Tory MP) telling him that he’d recieved one on the 1st day of March from Mrs John Leach of Huddersfield. The recipe obviously dates back further but before the advent of the modern cooker (circa the mid 19th century) the cake would have more resembled a biscuit as it would be cooked on the hearthstone. The otiginal recipe would have been reserved for high days and holidays as the spices, treacle and sugars used were prohibitively expensive for everyday use. This cake has to be eaten to be believed; it will instantly make you feel a million times better if you are feeling down, now that the clocks have gone back. It's best eaten with a piping hot cup of tea, preferably in front of a roaring bonfire. Failing that, a roaring fire inside with the dog. The ingredients are very important here – especially two of the key ingedients: black treacle and golden syrup. Black treacle is essentially molasses so you can easily substitute there. However, many recipes that ask for golden syrup suggest using corn syrup as an alternative. Please, please, please do not do that. They are incomparable. Get the real thing. Accept no substitute. Almost as important as the ingredients, is the aging of the parkin. No matter how tempting it may be, do not eat the parkin on the day you have made it. Originally the finished cake would then be stored in a wooden box for anything from a few days up to a couple of weeks to ‘mature’ and become moist and sticky; this method of storing is still the best to get a true moist and sticky cake. As the boxes are hard to come by, wrapping in a little greaseproof will suffice – avoid airtight as the cake will not mature properly.
Ingredients and method:
This recipe is great for Bonfire Night - served with a nice cup of Yorkshire tea. Ingredients: 8 0z (220g) soft butter 4 oz (110g) dark brown sugar 2 0z (55g) black treacle (or molasses) 7 oz (200g) golden syrup 5 oz (120g) medium oatmeal (often sold sold as quick-oats) 7 oz (200g) self-raising flour 1 tsp baking powder 4 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp mixed spice 2 large eggs, beaten 2 tbs milk
Preheat the oven to 140⁰C (275⁰F Gas 1) lightly grease a square 7 x 7 inch cake tin. In a saucepan, melt together the butter, brown sugar, black treacle and golden syrup. It is important to do this on a medium-low heat, you don’t want the sugars to boil, just to meld together.
Whilst they are melding, stir all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and when the syrup mixture is ready, pour it in. Use a wooden spoon to beat the wet ingredients into the dry. Now incorporate the eggs – do this bit-by-bit, or you run the risk of curdling the mixture. Lastly, slacken the mixture with the milk and pour it into your cake tin.
Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes until firm and set and a dark golden brown. Let it cool in the tin. Once cool, wrap the parkin in grease proof paper or keep it in a tin for at least three days before cutting into squares.
STIR UP SUN DAY Christmas pudding was a fixture on our table every year served with hot custard although today it is often served with cream or brandy butter melting over it. But how did Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, both heavy with delicious dried fruit, become popular? In the early medieval period, spices, sugar, and dried vine fruits were restricted to the rich but spiced cakes, pies, and puddings were distributed to retainers, supporters, tenants, relations, friends, and the deserving poor in the Christmas acts of hierarchical hospitality, charity, and gifting, Stir-up Sunday is an informal term used for the last Sunday before the season of Advent. It is regarded as an essential British Christmas traditions and is said to have been introduced to the Victorians by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. It is a traditional day for everyone in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst making a wish. Before Christmas puddings were sold ready made they were always made at home a month before Christmas Day. This gives plenty of time for the fruit in the pudding to mellow, mature and develop that richness and texture that makes it so much better than any ready-made pudding you can buy in the shops. On stir-up Sunday families would return from church to give the pudding it's traditional lucky stir. The mixture was always stirred from East to West in honour of the three wise men who visited Jesus. Whilst stirring the mixture, a wish was made. Traditionally the Christmas pudding is made with thirteen ingredients to represent Christ and his disciples. A coin was added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding. This was supposed to bring wealth to whoever found it on their plate on Christmas Day. The traditional coin was usually an old silver sixpence or threepenny piece. As a child we put a lucky silver horse shoe into our pudding. Thankfully no one swallowed it!
Dylan Thomas - A Holiday Memory
August Bank Holiday - a tune on an ice-cream cornet. A slap of sea and a tickle of sand. A fanfare of sunshades opening. A wince and whinny of bathers dancing into deceptive water. A tuck of dresses. A rolling of trousers. A compromise of paddlers. A sunburn of girls and a lark of boys. A silent hullabaloo of balloons. I remember the sea telling lies in a shell held to my ear for a whole harmonious, hollow minute by a small, wet girl in an enormous bathing suit marked Corporation Property. I remember sharing the last of my moist buns with a boy and a lion. Tawny and savage, with cruel nails and rapacious mouth, the little boy tore and devoured. Wild as seedcake, ferocious as a hearthrug, the depressed and verminous lion nibbled like a mouse at his half a bun and hiccupped in the sad dusk of his cage. I remember a man like an alderman or a bailiff, bowlered and collarless, with a bag of monkeynuts in his hand, crying "Ride 'em, cowboy!" time and again as he whirled in his chairaplane giddily above the upturned laughing faces of the town girls bold as brass and the boys with padded shoulders and shoes sharp as knives; and the monkeynutts flew through the air like salty hail. Children all day capered or squealed by the glazed or bashing sea, and the steam-organ wheezed its waltzes in the threadbare playground and the waste lot, where the dodgems dodged, behind the pickle factory. And mothers loudly warned their proud pink daughters or sons to put that jellyfish down; and fathers spread newspapers over their faces; and sandfleas hopped on the picnic lettuce; and someone had forgotten the salt. In those always radiant, rainless, lazily rowdy and skyblue summers departed, I remember August Monday from the rising of the sun over the stained and royal town to the husky hushing of the roundabout music and the dowsing of the naphta jets in the seaside fair: from bubble-and-squeak to the last of the sandy sandwiches. There was no need, that holiday morning, for the sluggardly boys to be shouted down to breakfast; out of their jumbled beds they tumbled, and scrambled into their rumpled clothes; quickly at the bathroom basin they catlicked their hands and faces, but never forgot to run the water loud and long as though they washed like colliers; in front of the cracked looking-glass, bordered with cigarette cards, in their treasure-trove bedrooms, they whisked a gaptooth comb through their surly hair; and with shining cheeks and noses and tidemarked necks, they took the stairs three at a time. But for all their scramble and scamper, clamour on the landing, catlick and toothbrush flick, hair-whisk and stair-jump, their sisters were always there before them. Up with the lady lark, they had prinked and frizzed and hot-ironed; and smug in their blossoming dresses, ribboned for the sun, in gymshoes white as the blanco'd snow, neat and silly with doilies and tomatoes they helped in the higgedly kitchen. They were calm; they were virtuous; they had washed their necks; they did not romp, or fidget; and only the smallest sister put out her tongue at the noisy boys. And the woman who lived next door came into the kitchen and said that her mother, an ancient uncertain body who wore a hat with cherries, was having one of her days and had insisted, that very holiday morning, in carrying, all the way to the tramstop, a photograph album and the cutglass fruit bowl from the front room. This was the morning when father, mending one hole in the thermos-flask, made three; when the sun declared war on the butter, and the butter ran; when dogs, with all the sweet-binned backyards to wag and sniff and bicker in, chased their tails in the jostling kitchen, worried sandshoes, snapped at flies, writhed between legs, scratched among towels, sat smiling on hampers. And if you could have listened at some of the open doors of some of the houses in the street you might have heard: -
"Uncle Owen says he can't find the bottle-opener -" "Has he looked under the hallstand?"
"Willy's cut his finger -" "Got your spade?" "If somebody doesn't kill that dog -" "Uncle Owen says why should the bottle-opener be under the hallstand?" "Never again, never again -" "I know I put the pepper somewhere -" "Willy's bleeding -" "Look, there's a bootlace in my bucket -" "Oh come on, come on -" "Let's have a look at the bootlace in your bucket -" "If I lay my hands on that dog -" "Uncle Owen's found the bottle-opener -" "Willy's bleeding over the cheese -"
And the trams that hissed like ganders took us all to the beautiful beach. There was cricket on the sand, and sand in the spongecake, sandflies in the watercress, and foolish, mulish, religious donkeys on the unwilling trot. Girls undressed in slipping tents of propriety; under invisible umbrellas, stout ladies dressed for the male and immoral sea. Little naked navvies dug canals; children with spades and no ambition built fleeting castles; wispy young men, outside the bathing-huts, whistled at substantial young women and dogs who desired thrown stones more than the bones of elephants. Recalcitrant uncles huddled, over luke ale, in the tiger-striped marquees. Mothers in black, like wobbling mountains, gasped under the discarded dresses of daughters who shrilly braved the gobbling waves. And fathers, in the once-a-year sun, took fifty winks. Oh, think of all the fifty winks along the paper-bagged sand. Liquorice allsorts, and Welsh hearts, were melting. And the sticks of rock, that we all sucked, were like barbers' poles made of rhubarb. In the distance, surrounded by disappointed theoreticians and an ironmonger with a drum, a cross man on an orange-box shouted that holidays were wrong. And the waves rolled in, with rubber ducks and clerks upon them. I remember the patient, laborious, and enamouring hobby, or profession, of burying relatives in sand. I remember the princely pastime of pouring sand, from cupped hands or bucket, down collars or tops of dresses; the shriek, the shake, the slap. I can remember the boy by himself, the beachcombing lonewolf, hungrily waiting at the edge of family cricket; the friendless fielder, the boy uninvited to bat or to tea. I remember the smell of sea and seaweed, wet flesh, wet hair, wet bathing-dresses, the warm smell as of a rabbity field after rain, the smell of pop and splashed sunshades and toffee, the stable-and-straw smell of hot, tossed, tumbled, dug and trodden sand, the swill-and-gaslamp smell of Saturday night, though the sun shone strong, from the bellying beer-tents, the smell of the vinegar on shelled cockles, winkle-smell, shrimp-smell, the dripping-oily backstreet winter-smell of chips in newspapers, the smell of ships from the sundazed docks round the corned of the sandhills, the smell of the known and paddled-in sea moving, full of the drowned and herrings, out and away and beyond and further still towards the antipodes that hung their koala-bears and Maoris, kangaroos and boomerangs, upside down over the back of the stars. And the noise of the pummelling Punch and Judy falling, and a clock tolling or telling no time in the tenantless town; now and again a bell from a lost tower or a train on the lines behind us clearing its throat, and always the hopeless, ravenous swearing and pleading of the gulls, donkey-bray and hawker-cry, harmonicas and toy-trumpets, shouting and laughing and singing, hooting of tugs and tramps, the clip of the chair-attendant's puncher, the motorboat coughing in the bay, and the same hymn and washing of the sea that was heard in the Bible. "If it could only just, if it could only just," your lips said again and again as you scooped, in the hob-hot sand, dungeons, garages, torture-chambers, train tunnels, arsenals, hangars for zeppelins, witches' kitchens, vampires' parlours, smugglers' cellars, trolls' grog-shops, sewers, under the
ponderous and cracking castle, "If it could only just be like this for ever and ever amen." August Monday all over the earth, from Mumbles where the aunties grew like ladies on a seaside tree to brown, bear-hugging Henty-land and the turtled Ballantyne Islands.
"Could donkeys go on the ice?" "Only if they got snowshoes."
We snowshoed a meek, complaining donkey and galloped him off in the wake of the ten-foot-tall and Atlas-muscled Mounties, rifled and pemmicanned, who always, in the white Gold Rush wastes, got their black-oathed-and-bearded Man.
"Are there donkeys on desert islands?" "Only sort-of-donkeys." "What d'you mean, sort-of-donkeys?" "Native donkeys. They hunt things on them!" "Sort-of walruses and seals and things?" Donkeys can't swim!" These donkeys can. They swim like whales, they swim like anything, they swim like -" "Liar." "Liar yourself."
And two small boys fought fiercely and silently in the sand, rolling together in a ball of legs and bottoms, Then they went and saw the pierrots, or bought vanilla ices. Lolling or larikking that unsoiled, boiling beauty of a common day, great gods with their braces over their vests sang, spat pips, puffed smoke at wasps, gulped and ogled, forgot the rent, embraced, posed for the dicky-bird, were coarse, had raibow-coloured armpits, winked, belched, blamed the radishes, looked at Ilfracombe, played hymns on paper and comb, peeled bananas, scratched, found seaweed in their panamas, blew up paper-bags and banged them, wished for nothing. But over all the beautiful beach I remember most the children playing, boys and girls tumbling, moving jewels, who might never be happy again. And "happy as a sandboy" is true as the common sun. Dusk came down; or grew up out of the sands and the sea; or curled around us from the calling docks and the bloodily smoking sun. The day was done, the sands brushed and ruffled suddenly with a sea-broom of cold wind. And we gathered together all the spades and buckets and towels, empty hampers and bottles, umbrellas and fishfrails, bats and balls and knitting, and we went oh, listen, Dad!- to the Fair in the dusk on the bald seaside field. Fairs were no good in the day; then they were shoddy and tired; the voices of hoopla girls were crimped as elocutionists; no cannonball could shake the the roosting coconuts; the gondolas mechanically repeated their sober lurch; the Wall of Death was safe as a governess-cart; the wooden animals were waiting for the night. But in the night, the hoopla girls, like operatic crows, croaked at the coming moon; whizz, whirl, and ten for a tanner, the coconuts rained from their sawdust like grouse from the Highland sky; tipsy the griffon-prowed gondolas weaved on dizzy rails, and the Wall of Death was a spinning rim of ruin, and the neighing wooden horses took, to a haunting hunting tune, a thousand Beecher's Brooks as easily and breezily as hooved swallows. Approaching, at dusk, the Fair-field from the beach, we scorched and gritty boys heard above the belabouring of the batherless sea the siren voices of the raucous, horsy barkers. "Roll up, roll up!" In her tent and her rolls of flesh the Fattest Woman in the World sat sewing her winter frock, another tent, and fixed her little eyes, blackcurrants in blancmange, on the skeletons who filed and sniggered by.
"Roll up, roll up, roll up to see the Largest Rat on the Earth, the Rover or Bonzo of vermin." Here scampered the smallest pony, like a Shetland shrew. And here the Most Intelligent Fleas, trained, reined, bridled, and bitted, minutely cavorted in their glass corral. Round galleries and shies and stalls, pennies were burning holes in a hundred pockets. Pale young men with larded hair and Valentino-black sidewhiskers, fags stuck to their lower lips, squinted along their swivel-sighted rifles and aimed at ping-pong balls dancing on fountains. In knife-creased, silver grey, skirt-like Oxford bags, and a sleeveless, scarlet, zip-fastened shirt with yellow horizontal stripes, a collier at the strength-machine spat on his hand, raised the hammer, and brought it Thor-ing down. The bell rang for Blaina. Outside his booth stood a bitten-eared and barn-door-chested pug with a nose like a twisted swede and hair that startled from his eyebrows and three teeth yellow as a camel's, inviting any sportsman to a sudden and sickening basting in the sandy ring or a quid if he lasted a round; and wiry, cocky, bowlegged, coal-scarred, boozed sportsmen by the dozen strutted in and reeled out; and still those three teeth remained, chipped and camel-yellow in the bored, teak face. Draggled and stout-wanting mothers, with haphazard hats, hostile hatpins, buns awry, bursting bags, and children at their skirts like pop-filled and jam-smeared limpets, screamed, before distorting mirrors, at their suddenly tapering or tubular bodies and huge ballooning heads, and the children gaily bellowed at their own reflected bogies withering and bulging in the glass. Old men, smelling of Milford Haven in the rain, shuffled, badgering and cadging, round the edges of the swaggering crowd, their only wares a handful of damp confetti. A daring dash of schoolboys, safely, shoulder to shoulder, with their fathers' trilbies cocked at a desperate angle over one eye, winked at and whistled after the procession past the swings of two girls arm-in-arm: always one pert and pretty, and always one with glasses. Girls in skulled and crossboned tunnels shrieked, and were comforted. Young men, heroic after pints, stood up on the flying chairaplanes, tousled, crimson, and against the rules. Jaunty girls gave sailors sauce. All the Fun of the Fair in the hot, bubbling night. The Man in the sand-yellow Moon over the hurdy of gurdies. The swingboats swimming to and fro like slices of the moon. Dragons and hippogriffs at the prows of the gondolas breathing fire and Sousa. Midnight roundabout riders tantivying under the fairylights, huntsmen on billygoats and zebras hallooing under a circle of glow-worms. And as we climbed home, up the gas-lit hill, to the still house over the mumbling bay, we heard the music die and the voices drift like sand. And we saw the lights of the Fair fade. And, at the far end of the seaside field, they lit their lamps, one by one, in the caravans.
Les TrĂ¨s Riches Heures