Friday, 3 June 2016

Lynn's Waffles #VictorianPhotos

In my early days on Twitter I came across some wonderful old photographs posted by @LynnsWPics
Soon I also discovered Lynn’s Waffles and made an Internet friend, Lynn Heiden.  Lynn has a vast collection of historic pictures which she shares widely, so today I have asked her to tell us more about them.
Lynn with Skye in front of some of her Victorian albums

What made you decide to start collecting old photographs?

 It was something that just seemed to happen, we enjoy going to car boot sales and I love old stuff that comes under the category ephemera, so interesting.  I bought my first album quite a few years ago, simply because I couldn’t bear to think that it would get damaged or worse still be thrown away and lost forever.

I love the word ephemera as it sounds so fragile, just like the photos you are saving.

Where do you find them and how do you store them?

Mostly at car boot sales, but also antique fairs and markets.  I try & keep the CDV or Cabinet cards in their original Victorian leather albums, if I have bought them together.  Loose CDVs I have mostly in sections in some fabulous wooden ex wine boxes my husband found at a car boot. Other Cabinet cards I have in larger albums. Postcard photos in categories in albums. But I still have many in bags and boxes awaiting scanning, it’s hard to catch up, as I seem to have acquired rather a lot in the last year!

What are your main criteria for buying an album or photographs?

I try to be a bit selective if I can, otherwise I would be totally overwhelmed.  Cost is a big factor, some sellers want top prices and are not prepared to haggle, so we walk away.  For instance, for a Victorian Album with CDV and Cabinet cards, I have a rough price in my head what I want to pay, depending on condition and content and I try to get as close as I can, even though it might seem a very low offer, and always make it clear to the seller that I am a collector and not buying to resell!  The majority are very kind to me, I also give them a card with my Twitter & Blog etc, so they can check me out ! 

How do you find more information about the subject of some of your pictures?

If I have a name or a place or even both written on the photo, that’s a huge bonus, then I can start searching on Ancestry, Find my Past or Family Search for a start to further the photo’s story.  Also googling the name sometimes brings in great info.  Often though I will ask my followers on Twitter and my Facebook page for help, I have had some super info that way.

Who is the most interesting character in your photograph collection?

That’s a real tough question, because I find them all so interesting, and even though they are not famous people, they all have a life story, and had their picture taken to capture a moment in time, that can never be repeated.

Have you managed to reunite descendants with their ancestor’s photo?

The Jewell suitcase family is my biggest success, over one thousand family photos returned to the family..In three parts on my Blog.

I have had other success too with smaller finds, and my latest only last week, was one CDV returned to family, will be in upcoming Blog.

Do you have a particular favourite photograph?

I love all my Old Photos, but favourites if I have to choose, would be the wonderful different Wedding photos I have, from various era’s and so many family members included in the majority.

If you haven’t discovered Lynn’s amazing collection yet, please go to one or all of the following sites:

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The rise and fall of Joshua Crompton #18thCentury

In a 1950s housing estate on the outskirts of Guildford, there is a tiny trace of the old woodland, once called Gangley Common, where executions took place.  One of those hangings in 1778 was of a man called Joshua Crompton for the crime of forgery.

At a time when there were a considerable number of counterfeit notes being circulated, there is no doubt that Joshua was being used as an example to others, but he was also a victim of extremely bad luck and treachery after a see-saw life of prosperity and penury.

Joshua Crompton was the last born child of a family of 15 in Bolton, Lancashire.  After being orphaned at the age of 10, he travelled to Manchester where he found work with a gentleman’s family, eventually becoming their coachman.  Also in the household was the master’s wife’s sister, who in Joshua’s own words, “had conceived a partiality and tenderness to me.”  He encouraged this, resulting in their marriage, which brought him a small fortune.  Returning to Bolton, Crompton opened up an ironmonger’s shop but this failed so he moved to Liverpool where he became a Sheriff’s Officer, a respectable position.
Red Lion Square, London
But Crompton, unwisely, became infatuated with a young woman and they moved to London together to open up a shop in Red Lion Square.  Having persuaded his mistress to return to Liverpool and giving up the shop, he was sworn in as an officer to his Majesty’s Palace Court, where he dealt with debtors, but ironically by 1775 he had to quit this position because he was in debt himself to the tune of £1500.   He was also concerned about the delicate state of his wife, who was, “lying in.”

Despite his insolvency he managed to purchase the position of Sergeant of mace, when his actions brought him into more trouble.  Meeting with friends in May 1777, he planned visits to the races at Newmarket, Epsom and Guildford Down.  According to Joshua, his successful winnings at Epsom Downs were put in his pocket book and two days later he needed to buy some new boots.  While in Mr Gaskin’s shop, he was tempted to buy a new gown for his wife.  In fact, he decided on four gowns, giving a twenty pound note for the payment of four pounds, thirteen shillings.  Mr Gaskin needed to change the large note at the neighbouring Spread Eagle and after receiving the balance, Crompton returned to London.

On May 20th Crompton set out for Guildford with his friend Richard Wiltshire but the inclement weather tempted them into a Taproom at Ewell.  There Mr Peckering, the landlord, spoke of the dire experience of his acquaintance Mr Gaskin, in Epsom, who had recently been passed a counterfeit £20 note.  The two men continued to Guildford where they arranged a room at the White Horse before drinking in the Red Lion.  Hearing next morning of the arrival of the Bow Street Runners in the town, Joshua ordered his horse and returned to London where he told his tale to the landlord of the City of Bristol in Wapping.  He managed to board a vessel for Scotland, arriving in Dundee on May 31st.  But two days later, he was arrested there by the Runners who had travelled non-stop in response to a tip-off.
Sir John Fielding
In London, Crompton was examined by Sir John Fielding and confined in the new prison at Clerkenwell, before being moved to Newgate prison.  He had given testimony against three other men who had assisted him, including a leading Tea-dealer near Tower Hill and his friend Richard Wiltshire, who was apprehended.  Prior to his trial in Surrey, where the offence took place, Crompton was moved to the new gaol, Southwark.

At this point, his friend, Francis Crooke suggested the possibility of escape.  Dressed in woman’s clothing he walked boldly out of the gaol and later he crossed the sea to Flushing in Holland.  There he picked up his life and was doing well in the smuggling business, but Crooke suggested he return to England, saying that he had obtained a pardon for Joshua.  In reality, the aptly named Crooke had negotiated a two hundred pound reward from the bank and one hundred from the gaol Keeper.

On July 29th 1778, Joshua was taken to Guildford for the trial.  Several witnesses gave convincing accounts that he had knowingly presented the note but there was no evidence that he was responsible for the forgery. Crompton was declared guilty and was condemned to death.  Showing penitence and forgiveness, Joshua Crompton was hanged at Gangly Green, Guildford on August 24th 1778.

Monday, 23 May 2016

#Executed for following Captain Swing

Throughout most of the 19th century public executions were carried out on the rooftop of Horsemonger Lane Gaol in Southwark, where the crowd could watch from below.  On January 10th 1831 it was the turn of James Warner from Albury, Surrey to be hanged for arson.  It was believed that he was one of many farm labourers in southern England who had turned to crime to express their anger at low wages and unemployment.

During the Napoleonic Wars there was a great demand for corn and a shortage of labour but after the war ended in 1815, prices slumped and the returning soldiers flooded the job market.  To add to the pressure on rural workers, new mechanised threshing machines took the place of manual threshing with a flail.  Things came to a head after two bad harvests in 1829 and 1830.  Threatening letters were sent to landowners and clergymen by the fictional Captain Swing.  Many respected people, such as William Cobbett felt there was need for electoral reform and better provision for the poor.

But did James Warner act on behalf of his fellow agricultural labourers or was he expressing a personal grievance?  James Franks, the tenant of a corn mill in Albury had employed James Warner, but had sacked him in 1828 after accusing Warner of beating his horse.  At his trial for, “wilfully and maliciously setting fire to a flour mill at Albury,” Richard Tidy, another employee, reported that James Warner had told him Franks would, “get no good by it; he will get served out for.”

On the evening of November 13th 1830, Mr Franks had been entertaining friends in his house next to Albury Mill.  At 4.30 next morning he was woken by the sound and sight of the mill going up in flames.  Going downstairs to see what was going on, he escaped the shattering of his bedroom window by shots from a gun loaded with horseshoe nails, pieces of flint and small pebbles.  The flames showed the figure of a man in a brown frock coat running away from the fire across the neighbouring land of Mr Smallpiece.  Henry Franks, brother of James, and several other witnesses, were able to describe the man, who was easily identified as James Warner.

It was also revealed at the trial that Warner had been drinking in Guildford on the previous evening and he had complained of greedy employers to witnesses, Richard Moore, a painter, Matthew Mansell, a blacksmith, George Wilkinson, a carpenter and James Challing, a sawyer.  His final statement was that if you held a grudge against someone you should act secretly and alone, and that they would learn something of great importance in the morning.  Warner drank at the Queen’s Head and the White Hart all evening before walking to Albury with barmen Thomas Myon and James Niblett, who contacted the police after the fire.  Searching his house, the authorities found a brown frock coat and a recently fired gun.  A full bench of magistrates at Guildford House of Correction committed Warner for trial at Kingston assizes.

On January 1st 1831, the jury rapidly convicted of Warner of arson, although the charge of shooting at Franks was dropped.  But when the judge put on his black cap and sentenced him to death, many thought the penalty too harsh.  He was to be an example to others who protested with violence about their poverty.  In the words of the judge, “You meant to urge others to the commission of crimes, which have of late become so lamentably prevalent and which nothing under God’s providence but the strong arm of the law can check and repress.”

On 8th January 1831 the magistrates at Guildford and Clandon sent letters to the Prime Minister stating that there was evidence to implicate other local people in the crime.  It emerged that on 14th November 1830, the day before the fire, the Home Secretary had received a letter, stating that James Franks had become, “odious to the people when he was lately the overseer of the poor.”  A note was later found near the workhouse in Guildford which said, “Warner is murdered.  Franks, Drummond and Smallpiece shall die….. I could clear him at the place, you false-swearing villain. We fired the mill.  Starving and firing go together.”

Although James Warner was the only agricultural protester to be executed in Surrey, 18 others were sentenced to death in other parts of the country between 1830 and 1832.  505 men were transported to Australia and 644 were imprisoned.  In 1832 the Reform Act was passed in Parliament and in 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act established a network of inspected Workhouses.  And yet the case of the Tolpuddle Martyrs was still to shock the country in 1834.

For interesting sources about the Swing disturbances go to this page on the National Archives

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Philippa of Lancaster, Queen of #Portugal

Growing up in the fascinating household of her father John of Gaunt, did Philippa anticipate she would one day be Felipa of Portugal, mother of the most significant dynasty in her adopted country?  This medieval princess was the granddaughter of the Plantagenet King, Edward III.  After the death of her mother, Blanche of Lancaster, from the Black Death when Philippa was 9, the infamous Katherine Swynford became her governess.  In 1371 John of Gaunt made a political marriage with the Infanta Constance of Castile, but Katherine was his mistress.

The Savoy Palace

John of Gaunt was not popular with the people of London and during the Peasants Revolt in 1381 their home, the Savoy Palace, located between the Strand and the river Thames, was destroyed.  Kathryn bore him four children, given the surname Beaufort and they were legitimised when John married Katherine, after the death of Constance in 1394.

During his marriage to Constance, John adopted the title, King of Castile.  The Anglo-Portuguese alliance arranged with King João in 1386 meant that John was able to land with an army in Spain and mount a campaign for the throne of Castile. Even with the help of Portuguese troops, he was unsuccessful, but a marriage was arranged between King João and Philippa.

The Marriage of  King João and Philippa of Lancaster
Although King João had previously kept a mistress there is evidence that his marriage to Philippa was a happy one.  They had nine children of whom six survived to be called the “illustrious generation”.  Their first son was Edward Duarte who became King after his father’s death, their third was the famous Prince Henry the Navigator.

Felipa of Portugal visited many parts of her adopted country and was well loved by the Portuguese people.  In 1409 she and her husband visited England where her brother was now King Henry IV.  Peace had been made with Castile but Felipa wanted action to be taken against the Moors.  João and his sons planned an attack on the fortified city of Ceuta in North Africa but while the ships were being supplied, Felipa contracted the plague.  She was taken to the convent of Odivelas in hope of a recovery in the cooler hills.  Having ordered three jewelled swords, she asked her husband to promise that he would knight his three sons with them.  She died with her daughter Isabel and her husband by her side, at the age of 55.

Although quickly buried at Odivelas, eighteen years later when King João died, her body was moved to lie next to her husband at the chapel of Batalha.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Silent Memories

This is appeal on behalf of the creator of this stunning sculpture, Johanna Marshall

Can you Help. I cannot really go into why I need your help but I've been let down due to me not being a famous / known artist. If I was well known it would not be a problem this piece would be out there. 
Hi I am an artist that made this sculpture ' Silent Memories' it took me over a year to produce the piece, I put my heart and soul in this work. I have a First Class BA Honours and a Master in Fineart. I have done several private commissions. Plus a recent sculpture placed in the Red Cross Head office London.
This sculpture was shown at Westminster Abbey, only there for a few hours for the Blind Veterans Uk Centenary I would love this to be a permanent reminder of the suffering of these young lads of WW1. Each holding on the shoulder of the one in front leading the way to an uncertain future. 
The comments from people who saw the piece was amazing most Said it should be made in bronze and put in a prominent place. Some people even cried and said it was so poignant. 

Where do I go from here ? How do I get this sculpture placed in a rightful place. I would be grateful for any constructive advice and help.
Thank you.
This is Johanna's Facebook page:-