Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Uppingham-by-the-sea ... Wrap Up!

When I was looking through my mother’s books I came upon this little gem – I had never heard from the family about this episode in the school’s life – so I was entranced to read the book and got hooked.

I thought it would make a good story for a post ... and in the end I couldn’t easily reduce the 47 pages much more than I have ... I also simplified it and kept to the school or calendar year.  I thought I might be able to make it into two posts ... no such luck, and then each post got longer and longer!

As some of you have noted the descriptions are just wonderful and I admit I have plagiarised them for my posts – because Sir John Henry Skrine wrote this beautiful narrative in 1877 for publication the following year by Macmillan and Co.

Bag of Phrases
I also do not have the erudition that is exemplified by the era, the headmaster and the author, Sir JH Skrine: there are many quotations and references in Greek and Latin to poetry, myth and legend, ancient literature, theatre and the arts ... that I wanted to refer to – hence the plagiarism!

I coaxed myself to extract and draft the posts ... many written using Skrine’s words rather than my own; I broke up his paragraphs and italicised some - the exceedingly descriptive phrases he used, or to render a point that I thought was of particular ‘interest’.

Skrine did not have copy and paste!! And his knowledge must have been prodigious to have all these literary references to hand ... I just hit the link?!

A lot of you have noted ...

Ø Exploration for a suitable site done in 3 days, headmaster visited and signed contract, 14 days later the train and 18 carriages had been hired ...

o   the railways had only started 45 years previously ... yet had spread to most mines and ports ... obviously transport around the British Isles was greatly enhanced.

o   The railway line at Uppingham only opened in 1890 .. so everything had to go by horse and cart to Seaton (about 2 miles away)
Steam locomotive

Ø It could be done, without hassle, 135 years ago: a whole school could be bundled up and trained out – it beggar’s belief what would happen today ...

Ø 8 days later – the school boys themselves poured forth from said trains: how had they been notified ... this is not divulged ...

o   The telegraph was becoming available, but certainly wasn’t ubiquitous
o   Telephones were just being invented

A perforated Penny
Red - letters in four
corners and plate 148,
therefore printed
after 1871
o   The Penny Post had come in 35 years previously (1840) ...
§  Did they use letters, or personal messengers, or send the masters out to explain ...?

o   and how about copying anything ... was it done via a letter copying press (James Watt obtained a licence in 1780s), ... or by Notice using word of mouth ...

Ø there was no electricity – so light would be candles or kerosene (paraffin)  lamps;  electricity was being engineered – but it would be another 30 or 40 years before it was for everyman and could be everywhere

Ø cooking would be done on ranges ... gas stoves were exhibited at The Great Exhibition in London in 1851, but it was only in the 1880s that they started to become commercial.   The ranges would have been stoked by coal from the local coal mine. 

Would they have bought ranges in the first place, and then ordered more as until requirements were satisfied ...

o   The Commissariat featured ... fodder could be found, stocks could be provided – even to feed those extra 400 odd souls ...

Ø The absolute trust that must have been inherent here – the headmaster, the masters and their families, the Trustees (because they authorised these major decisions), the boys themselves ... all getting on with and along with their new environment.

The otter
Ø The paths of communication that darted about the country – to the boys’ families; to Uppingham, and from Oxford – where most of the medical information (typhoid and scarlet fever) and support came from – as well as the Old Boys ... the local network.  I bet they’d turn in their graves for our life today ... the web of communication.

Ø Remember what we’re involved in today – is history tomorrow – perhaps in Wikipedia, though this saga isn’t, but the link to the narrative is shown.
Welsh Music 2011

Ø The shoreline reflecting geographical changes; sagas being retold in poetry – eg Taliesen.

Ø Standards were not allowed to drop – concerts were performed, matches were played, theatre was performed ... the boys were looked after in sickness and in health.

Snowdon Lily

Ø Schoolwork was kept up, new subjects appropriate to an innovative headmaster were introduced – archaeological, welsh music, botanical dissections of new creatures and plants – all new possibilities were explored ...

Ø Relationships were formed between school and its new community of strangers – strangers to public school life, to the English too ...  the relationship continues to this day ...

Sign post at Borth

Ø The wonderful description in the 2nd post between Grumbler and Cheerful ...

Ø Sanitary Tom – what a description for the sanitation navvy!

Ø In places I have pointed you to the appropriate page in the little book ... should you be interested in reading the actual account of that particular experience
Merlins - a painting

Ø I found it interesting Skrine discusses bullying and self-governance ...

Ø Connection with home (Uppingham) being maintained throughout ... via correspondence, parcels and those deliveries of prize stems of roses in a tin, fruit and vegetables ...

Ø They had a fairly rough time ... storms, fevers, losing boys ....

Ø Delicious words delivered fruitfully ... “ruth”, “niggardly”, “eygre”, an annus mirabilis ... valedictions on departure and on their return arrival ...

Let us have light old style
Edward Thring an original thinker and writer, was a well celebrated British educator; he raised the school to a high state of efficiency, and stamped it with the qualities of his own strong personality.  He nearly bankrupted himself during the school’s escape ...

These words in the first post “It was like shaking the alphabet in a bag, and bringing out the letters into words and sentences; such as the sense of absolute confusion turned into intelligent shape” – is definitely the way I felt ... lodging phrases and interesting facets into the grey matter as I read – then hoping a story would emerge, that would engage readers.

This is fromAmazon
it is available in various
The whole may be read courtesy Project Gutenberg ... and then you can pass comment on whether I’ve made a good stab with these recitations ...

I’ve loved your comments – it’s great to be able to write posts and then know that others are enjoying the story line ... I’m so grateful for your support.

The aged book is on its way back to my cousin, as the little narrative appears to belong to my uncle – why we had it I have no idea ... and nor does anyone else I guess.

The home that is Uppingham
Still Uppingham-by-the-Sea has entered another realm of its life in the 21st century – first published in 1878, then transcribed into Project Gutenberg in the 20th century, and now posted here in the 21st century ... the narrative continues to amaze and be entrancing in its telling.

(For interest Uppingham’s population in 1886 was around 2,560 – and now 125 years later it is between 3,800 – 4,000 ....)

Gelert - by Charles Burton Barber
(1845 - 1894)
To Dog Lovers, Welsh Lovers, Myth and Legend Lovers ... here is one last story ... before my tale is completely done ...  it is set in northern Snowdonia, some way north from Borth.  Madeleine from Scribble and Edit mentioned the link in a comment on my recent Dog’s post.

Gelert is the name of a legendary dog gifted by King John of  England (1166 – 1216) to  Llywelyn the Great.  As sad a folk-tale motif as you will find ... The Legend of Gelert, within the history of the village Beddgelert.  Other information can be found under Wikipedia.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Karen Jones Gowen said...

Hilary, You always make history interesting and relevant. Thank you for the enthusiastic research you share with your followers!

jabblog said...

The Legend of Gelert always brings tears to my eyes - such a sad tale.

MorningAJ said...

It's been fascinating. Thanks for passing it on to us.


I agree with KarenG you make history so interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Having trouble with my Internet Explorer, won't show my blog yet shows Facebook. But Google Chrome my blog is ok.....a strange world.


Jo said...

Thanks for reducing me to tears at the end Hilary. Actually I found this post the most fascinating of all as I just hadn't been registering the difficulties of communication or the newness of available transport. Nor the stoves available for those days. We are getting so used to emailing, phoning, turning on the electricity, etc. we just don't register what it was like until we actually have it pointed out to us which you did in this blog. Thanks.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - just delighted you're enjoying my posts and the history in particular.

@ Janice - I hadn't heard Gelert's tale before, so am pleased to feature it here.

@ Anne - hope you enjoy the Project Gutenberg booklet ..

@ Yvonne - many thanks, so pleased you enjoy my stories ..

Sorry about the internet challenges - I use Chrome .. but have to revert to IE for some commenting.

@ Jo - I think this is what I've learnt since blogging - I think about the past, or the other side of the story ..

Your comment about not registering how life was in the past, and how we work now ... compared to the challenges of yester year .. I'm pleased my posting highlights this aspect to you..

You're so right .. we just don't realise how much we've progressed ..

Thanks Karen, Janice, Anne, Yvonne and Jo ... great comments and lovely to see you - cheers Hilary

Old Kitty said...

Well thank you so much for bringing to life this amazing story of historical school life - it's great to know the boys were stimulated intellectually and spiritually in a most fabulous environment! Take care

Unknown said...

What a story!

On a side note, I was watching Britain's Got Talent and saw a Welsh Boy's Choir. I think it was Welsh. Anyways, amazing.

Betsy Brock said...

Wow! Fascinating..but most of all I'm so impressed with your thoroughness and ability to bring us all the interesting tidbits!

Crack You Whip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Lady's Life said...

What a sad narrative about Gelert.
Dogs can be sooo wonderful for babies.

Chuck said...

Fascinating as always Hilary..."shaking the alphabet in a bag" was a great line!

Birdie said...

I have always loved history. We have come so far the last 100 years. Thanks for the post!

Patricia Stoltey said...

With all this incredible history gathered together in blog posts, you have all the research done for a great historical novel. Are you working on something, Hilary?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Old Kitty - glad you enjoyed the boys' year in the life of ... I'm sure it gave them a great base for all eventualities of life ahead.

@ Clarissa - thank, I thought so too.

It's not something I watch .. but I think there was a Welsh Boy's Choir on there - were they beaten by a dog?

@ Betsy - I like to have the basic facts available to put the history into some form of context - so delighted to know you enjoyed the tidbits!

@ Crack You Whip - thank you for the comment, even if you removed it ..

@ A Lady's Life - Gelert - such a sad tale .. exactly as you say - my eyes welled up.

@ Chuck - many thanks - that is one of Shrine's phrases "shaking the alphabet bag" ...

@ Birdie - good to see you .. and as you say we have come so far in just over 100 years ...

@ Patricia - delighted you enjoyed my "extractions" in the various blog posts! ... but as it's already in a book and complete in its entirety ... except brought over into a 21st C blog .. I hadn't thought about writing a historical novel ... not sure I could either. But thanks for the thumbs up that I might be able to!!

Cheers everyone - now I must get across to your blogs .. lovely weather here - happy days - Hilary

Coral Wild said...

Hello Hilary
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of Uppingham-by-the-Sea. What a fascinating tale and retold so well by yourself.

We often forget how "recent" all our "mod cons" are. After all it's only about 30 years since personal computers were widely available (although for the next generation down that is already a lifetime!).

We get so used to the conveniences of life nowadays that we forget that the lack of them was "normal" for people a 100 years ago.

In many ways, they don't make our life more efficient or happier now, do they?


Lynn said...

I am intrigued by the legend of Gelert.

Arlee Bird said...

It's a mixed bag: My preference is weighted toward living in these modern times with all of the accompanying conveniences, but there are some things to be said for those days of yore. Back then they made do and did well with what they had.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Carol Kilgore said...

This is amazing. I really would like to visit England one day. Half of my ancestors hail from there.

Patricia said...

This is fascinating and such magnificent sharing Thank you so much.
I have spent all morning getting caught up after being away and I now need to take a break and rest my eyes

I so enjoyed reading your posts and back tracking

I reviewed a book called the PAPER GARDEN by Molly Peacock the poet, it is a biography of Mary Delany the 18th century artist who did botanical collages starting at age 72...I would invite you to check out that book to add to your historic tales and stories....amazing read. Amazing
You do such good work :)

Thank you for your kind words on my post are so supportive Thank you my friend

Susan Scheid said...

What an absolutely priceless find this was, and thank you so much for setting forth this tale in such sumptious detail. The Legend of Gelert, sad indeed, though Gelert certainly does have a handsome resting place, at least. Thank you, Hilary!

Blond Duck said...

I loe the story of Gelert.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue - delighted to see you here -enjoying this tale. You've hit the nail on the head ... so much has happened as each generation of time has passed.

Again you're right - what was normal then ... certainly would be hard to find now! The nation of 'just get on with it' seems to be wrapped in its own selfishness a great deal of the time.

Some are able to escape the selfish noose and help others .. thankfully ...

@ Lynn- I hope you found Gelert's story fascinating.

@ Lee - you're right there .. it is convenient now-a-days isn't it .. but certainly we were brought up to keep 'everything' - it always had another use somewhere ...

@ Carol - I hope you can get over to your part of England sometime - and this post has perhaps whetted your appetite a little. Good to see you.

@ Patricia - good to see you and glad I help a little from this distance. Delighted you enjoyed this story ..

Paper Garden sounds an interesting book .. I'll add it to my to buy list!

@ Susan - I was hooked from the time I opened the little book until I finished it. Such a fascinating story. Delighted you enjoyed the 'saga' ..

The Legend of Gelert was a great prompt from Madeleine - seemed right to put it in here .. and no doubt is a great tourist attraction.

@ Blond Duck - I know you love dogs.

Thank you so much - good to see you all .. enjoy the coming weekend .. cheers Hilary

FEDO said...

Wow i like thats picture view. :) hilary nice to know you.

Karen Lange said...

What a wonderful discovery! Such interesting stuff, so grateful you've shared it! Thank you, Hilary, for always sharing such lovely and wonderful gems. You make the blog world a much better place.

Have a great weekend,

scarlett clay said...

Sounds like a jewel of a book for sure, going to go back and read the previous posts! Love the alphabet quote ~Scarlett

Diane said...

As always your posts are interesting and educational. I just love that painting of the merlins. I am very keen on falconery and this is a gorgeous picture. Diane

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Hilary, this was a total delight to read. Your enthusiasm for history inspires me. Can't wait to see what you post next.

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
Apologies for my absence. However, I have arrived. Having read this latest instalment, once again, I marvel at the meticulous detail.
I shall endeavour to do further reading of The Legend of Gelert.
Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the sunshine.
Take care,

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Super post...I loved all the pictures. I will have to say the Gelert one kind of freaked me out though.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Juliet said...

I'e enjoyed this postscript, and the mystery of this book being preserved in your family, falling into your hands, and now being told on your blog. Some stories just don't want to die!

Patsy said...

Your mention of the telegraph and the penny post reminds us how easy it now is to pass on information. Odd that we don't seem to be much better at communication!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Fedo - good to meet you too and glad you enjoyed the photos.

@ Karen - wonderful comment, thank you so much - delighted you enjoyed these few posts.

@ Scarlett - hope you enjoy your year as Uppingham moves to the sea and back. Isn't that alphabet quote - just great ...

@ Diane - delighted that you enjoyed this post - I'm so pleased I put the Merlin picture in .. you've done so much .. falconery too - can you do that in France now too?

@ Joylene - so much goes on doesn't it that we don't think about .. the 1870s seem to be a turning point in history .. when the modern age was really getting going with its new early technological developments. Help .. what next!

@ Gary - no worries Summer is here. Penny won't enjoy Gelert, I'm afraid ... just glad you enjoyed the journey to Borth and the school's sojourn there.

@ Sharon - it was an interesting period in history - so I enjoyed summarising their trials and tribulations. I'm afraid Gelert isn't a happy story - but his legend lives on .. in the village and his grave there -

@ Juliet - you're right there - some stories don't want to die do they - I hadn't thought that what I was doing .. was bringing it back to life - for another generation perhaps. Glad you enjoyed it.

@ Patsy - yes and in those days - they were probably better and much more thoughtful communicators - not just punching in a few txt letters and we're meant to interpret feelings, sense of meaning etc etc - so true.

Thanks everyone so much for your wonderful comments .. we're having glorious weather here - summer has arrived. Cheers and have happy weekends .. Hilary

Glynis Peters said...

A wonderful few posts! How interesting they all are. I also jotted down a few notes for my research book. I never know when I might need an 1800's snippet of info.

Thanks, Hilary!

Liara Covert said...

Love how you invite readers to explore the relevance of history. I trust you are compiling some of your insightful research for books. Would be a great idea.

Paula RC said...

Wow, reading your blog makes you look at the world from a different angle. I find out things I didn't know about and then I find I need to know more and before I know where I am I'm seaching out something else. I'm off to check out the legend of Gelert

THank you for sharing this with us.
Best wishes to your Mum, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Glynis - delighted you enjoyed these postings and summary - and made notes ... good to know!!

@ Liara - I have the blog posts and loads of Word docs .. and this little brain?! One day something will happen - how, why or what I've no idea.

Just so pleased you enjoy my posts - thanks.

@ Paula - many thanks .. very chuffed at your comment and delighted you enjoyed your visit.

I'm afraid Gelert is a sad tale - very evocative of that era ..

Many thanks re my Mama .. she 'ticks' on and appears comfortable .. we visit twice a day ..

Cheers to you Glynis, Liara and Paula .. lovely seeing you here .. Hilary

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary. You site is a gem for those interested in history and just plain fascinating things! Thanks for another great post and I love how you've put this together using various materials.


Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I want to live in the home that is Uppingham :). Thank you so much for all the history you share - it's fascinating!! When I meet with kids to talk about my book and books in general, we often talk about finding the STORIES in hiSTORY.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Denise - delighted you included fascinating snippets, as well as the history. I enjoy finding out things, so keep my eyes open - and refer back to my books occasionally.

@ Melissa - lovely to see you - so glad your RV journey is settling down and you're getting used to your nomadic life!

Well I sure hope you send some of the children off in this direction - the Uppingham Story is fascinating isn't it.

So pleased you enjoyed it - and putting that STORY into history with both these stories .. though Gelert is extremely sad.

Thanks for coming by - cheers Hilary