Friday 31 May 2013

Suffragette – Emily Wilding Davison

This story interested me ... we really do not know what went on 100 years ago ... we think history is recorded accurately, yet, as here, it obviously was very different.

1909 Handbill
Some records on Emily’s protests were only released in 2003 – ninety years after the events ... they are scary.  

I don’t pass judgement ... but I do like to remember that each aspect I see being reported then and now ... that there might be other points to be considered – so often we don’t see or hear of them, or think about things from a different angle.

On 4 June 1913, ardent suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison stepped out in front of King George V’s racehorse, Anmer, during the Epsom Derby.  Thrown violently to the ground upon impact, she never regained consciousness and died four days later.

The Suffragette, newspaper
edited by Emily Pankhurst -
the Memorial issue

Sacrificing herself to the suffragette slogan “Deeds not Words” in protest against Parliament’s refusal to grant voting rights to women, Davison remains a feminist icon, viewed by many as a martyr for women’s rights.

Emily Wilding Davison (1872 – 1913) showed that she was a very determined lady from a young age ... her father died, she was taken out of school ... but she still achieved entrance to study biology, chemistry, English Language and Literature at St Hugh’s, Oxford.

She was a militant agitator within the Suffragette movement, who expressed her frustrations that it was ludicrous that in the early 1900s women still did not have the right to vote.
Is this justice for women?
(open up to read in full
and understand
is this justice for women?)

The Suffragettes had to keep agitating as the Government waxed and wane with opening the voting doors for women ... but as so often the Government pedalled backwards.

For some feminists this was a time to make sure their cause was heard ... and militancy escalated; Davison was arrested nine times, sent to prison, latterly going on hunger strikes and was force fed (in those days – via tube and funnel).

On one such occasion in 1909 she hurled herself ten metres down a flight of iron stairs in protest ... injuring her spine and fracturing her skull.  Her intention, she wrote afterwards, was to stop the suffering of everyone else by carrying out this action.

That fateful Derby day was one of the early occasions when newsreel recorded the event – from three different camera angles ... but it took one hundred years before the films were analysed to see if they matched what had been reported.

Davison falling to the ground -
the horse and jockey were not
badly injured - though the jockey
was badly traumatised.
It was thought that Emily had purposely thrown herself in front of the King’s horse to kill herself ... yet that was not obvious in her demeanour, nor from her life – which was looking forward.

The analysis of the film footage suggests that Emily was in a slightly different place to that historically recorded, and that she likely had full sight of the horses – so knew which horse to target: that of the King’s ...

... and that she very possibly only wanted to attach a “votes for women” sash – which now hangs in the Houses of Parliament.

 Every person in the UK has the right to petition the Crown, but Emily knew that would not be possible with her police record ... and possibly realised that this was one way she could bring the Women’s Suffragette Cause to the King and Queen’s notice.

No one was aware of her intentions, which were to end in such a sad unintentional way ... she was determined, if not wise in her actions ...

Memorial Plaque
on back of cupboard
door where Emily
hid during the night
of the 1911 Censu

To think where would we be today ... if women, like Emily, had not campaigned vigorously for the vote ... they downed ‘tools’ at the start of the War – to put their efforts into working and keeping going the parts of life that their men-folk had been responsible for before the War started.

In 1919 women were granted some rights, but in 1928 the franchise equalled that for men.

I hadn't realised that in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony - Emily was honoured when, amid the depiction of monumental events in British history, there was a tribute to the Suffragettes' struggles, and the key moment in Davison's crusade to win voting rights.  

I need to revisit the Opening Ceremony footage - to learn more, obviously!

EmilyDavison at her Wikipedia page:      Links I looked at

Timelineof Women’s Suffrage across the world – worth a look through ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Get Healthy Bloghop ...

I wasn’t going to do this blog hop and will keep it very short – but I really don’t want to shock you!

Everyone’s posts so far are fascinating reads ... with so much wise advice in them ...

  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables mostly
  • Eat little, preferably no processed foods
  • Eat in a balanced way ... little red meat, occasional chicken, lots of fish
  • Walk a lot more, don’t be lazy .. park away from entrances ...
  • Drink water – lots of it
  • Stretch and work out, as you are able to ...

Tara Tyler is part of this blog hop - but her A-Z post "Sigma" (can't quite work that word out - but it fell under "S") ... it was the Showercize! that caught my attention ... 

... lots of wonderful ideas that can and should be slotted into those extra seconds, or minutes that we have doing our daily chores.  She may describe herself as the Lazy Housewife .. but if Tara is doing these .. she’ll be pretty fit!

Open Window by Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935)

Fresh Air Indoors ... Open that Window ... Big Think’s “Every Breath You Take.  The Hidden Danger of Aeolian Plankton” ... something not many of us think about – I know I do when I visit a ‘fuggy’ flat, or stuffy building ... open those windows and air your place!  I encourage you to read.

So here’s to a very healthy blogging crew!!  (way-hay .. under 250 words! = just!!)

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday 27 May 2013

Amongst Heroes: the Artist in Working Cornwall

This exhibition at Two Temple Place, evoked immediate memories for me of my Cornish heritage and the times I had over the decades spent in Cornwall.

Charles Napier Hemy
"The Fisherman" 1888
On reading the accompanying book I realised that I was also learning about art history – a subject that had eluded me ... now I was beginning to understand.

The Bulldog Trust, which owns Two Temple Place, has determined to put on temporary exhibitions showcasing publicly owned art from regional collections.

Thus the works displayed reflected the working landscape of industrial west Cornwall ... drawn from the Royal Cornwall Museum’s and other lenders’ collections.

Harold Harvey
"The Old Slip Newlyn" 1908
There were a great many paintings depicting ‘working the sea’, ‘Cornish portraits’, ‘valuing craft and craftsmanship’,  ‘working the land’ ‘honouring horsepower’, ‘changing Cornwall, changing art’ ...

... the works shown revolved around the quaint harbours, the rugged cliffs and farmland reflecting the working activity – creating a rural art that engaged directly with the locality and culture of the time.

Paintings of men and women at work – catching fish, forging iron, mending nets, pit landscapes – demonstrated their appreciation for everyday labour and craft skills.

St Just Tin Miners
by Harold Harvey
The exhibition ‘Amongst Heroes’ presented a particular view of Cornwall as defined by its traditional industries – fishing, mining and agriculture – they offered an historical geography of work in Cornwall – a concept of place and people – at a time of particular transition.

From the 1880s artists had been showing their paintings at the Royal Academy exhibiting Cornish fisher folk in their habitat ... showing the simple, honest, and unconventionally observed truth of life as it was.

The Newlyn and St Ives schools of artists had taken to ‘plein air’ - working away from the conventions of studio-based painting.

"A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach" by
Stanhope Forbes 1885
The very well known A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach by Stanhope Forbes (1857 - 1947) reflects the forces required to fish, land and sell their catch ...

... the busy market activities taking place on the foreshore; the small rowboats delivering fish to the shore from lug-vessels on the horizon, the fish auction at the water’s edge, and the female fish sellers –known as ‘jowsters’ – with their baskets displaying fish to prospective buyers.

Traditional costume was the norm – making use of the typical attire to evoke recognisable Cornish types ... the weathered seaman capped in his sou’wester and the fishwife in a lace bonnet.

Henry Scott Tuke
"Our Jack" 1886
Henry Scott Tuke’s “Our Jack” portrait (1886) is depicted in traditional oilskins and Guernsey, aboard the Lily, one of Tuke’s own boats ...

... it is at once a portrait of one local deckhand, a representative of the intrepid Cornish seafarer in his natural environment, aboard his ship and at home on the open water.

Other paintings depicted the representation of figures engaged in needlework and industrial arts revealing a keen attention to rural craft.

The importance of traditional skills in the making and mending of vital tools and materials ... metalwork in forges and workshops were of great interest to artists ...

... not least due to the arrival of several home grown arts initiatives established at Hayle and Newlyn, which encouraged artists and local people to work together.

In 1890 the Newlyn Industrial Class was set up as part of a drive by the Home Arts and Industries Association to revive craft in rural areas of Britain.
John Pearson
Copper Charger 1893

The aim was to offer gainful employment during quieter fishing seasons ... there was training in embroidery, enamelling, and repoussé metalwork ... 

... this venture enabled the transfer of artistic knowledge, and strengthened links between Newlyn’s artist and fishing communities.

Apprenticeship in craft is the subject of another facet of the Cornish artist at work: the apprentice ‘working the bellows’, while the hammer-men 'at the anvil' ... emphasising the progression from trainee to master craftsman.

Lucy Kemp-Welch
"Horses" 1900
Working the land by hand and with horsepower – shows the traditionally harsh mining landscape around Land’s End and St Just, punctuated by multiple engine houses and undercut by an extensive system of tunnelled lodes and shafts, was also painted by visiting artists.

The rural communities were threatened – this was represented in a region undergoing fundamental changes; those customary tools and practices still used in this furthest corner of England were being preserved in paint ahead of their imminent demise.

Pilchard catch before the Newlyn
Pilchard Works were closed
Lines written in 1991 by Roger Bryant from a folk song:

Cornish lads are fishermen
And Cornish lads are miners too
But when the fish and tin are gone
What are the Cornish boys to do?

Evocative words reminding us of change ... going to Cornwall every year we would have seen the social changes happening under our noses ... now tourism, arts and crafts, small enterprises and some larger employers offer ‘new’ opportunities for the county ...

Fishing Needles
It was a truly intimate assembly of works – oils, watercolours, sketches, industrial art objects, a “Whiff” boat complete with equipment necessities of the age, fishing needles and nets, headline of a fishing net (with initialled cork floats), handcart with iron wheels and pulley handle, wheelbarrow, copper artefacts, a pilchard barrel and stencils ...

... the whole, especially with its accompanying book, have shown visitors an extraordinary record of the lives of working people of Cornwall in the 19th and early 20th centuries: a fresh and fascinating look at the under-appreciated period of art history.

Some of the artists whose works were displayed:  Stanhope Forbes (1857 – 1947); James Clarke Hook (1819 – 1907); Charles Napier Hemy (1841-1917); Christopher Wood (1901 – 1930); Harold Harvey (1874 – 1941); Henry Scott Tuke (1858 – 1929); Percy Robert Craft (1856 – 1934); Edwin Harris (1856 – 1906); Fred Hall ((1860 – 1948); Lucy Kemp-Welch (1869 – 1958); et al ...

The major settlements for artists were the Newlyn School of Painters; The St Ives School of Artists; and The Lamorna Society.

The Plutocrat’s Office – my post on Two Temple Place 

For an overview of Two Temple Place ... please see the excellent write up by Spitalfields Life - here:  At Two Temple Place ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday 23 May 2013

Chelsea Flower Show celebrates its centenary ... a potted history

The century has not passed without incident: three Kings, one Queen, two world wars, a man on the moon, social changes and vast technological leaps that have seen pen and paper be replaced by smartphones, styluses and/or ipad ...

The Royal Horticultural Society’s roots can be found in the ‘Chiswick Fêtes’ of the late 1820s.  Then there was the Great Spring Show in 1862 at the Society’s gardens in Kensington. 

International Horticultural Exhibitions were staged to showcase the Victorian nurserymen and plant hunters range of plants.

After trialling the IHE’s Spring Show at the Chelsea Hospital Grounds in 1912 – this became the Society’s permanent annual Show home ...

In 1913 there were 244 exhibitors within the single tent covering two acres, while outside there were 17 gardens.

Wisteria pergola
Japanese dwarf trees made an appearance, now known as the art form bonsai, new varieties of Wisteria were lusted over ... American cacti were exhibited in 1929 against a painted backdrop depicting the Mojave Desert.  (The exhibit remained here and is now absorbed into the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew).

Extra omnibii and trams were scheduled for the route to the hospital – while some local residents complained about the noise and traffic ...

Premier Events ... 'flower tea-time'
Lunch menus were in French, afternoon teas were priced at 1s 2d (one shilling and two pence) ... and an enterprising ‘barrow boy’ was said to have enjoyed a roaring trade in notebooks and pens ...

Royalty has always graced Chelsea .. and their passion for horticulture shows no signs of abating ... Prince Charles having famously revealed he ‘talks to plants and trees’ ...

... now in 2013 Prince Harry has worked with a landscape designer to create the ‘Forget Me Not’ Garden, which is raising awareness for his African charity, Sentebale (Forget Me Not’) ...

... highlights of the garden include a hearts-and-crown motif that Princess Diana loved and the Trifolium repens ‘William’ plant (pasture clover).

Sentebale, the charity, aims to ‘help vulnerable, children, the forgotten victims of poverty and Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS epidemic’.

The cream teas, the sudden showers, the panama hats; few events on our green and pleasant isle seem quite as quintessentially English as the Chelsea Flower Show.

And yet, few fixtures in the UK calendar can rival Chelsea for international flavour.  Any visitor will find themselves ‘transported’ to diverse destinations – whether they be the balmy tropics of Grenada’s rainforest, a rocky lagoon landscape in Corsica, or a cottage garden in New England.

Such exotic exhibits are not, by any means, a recent addition to Chelsea.  There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the early pioneers of the show were just as keen for foreign flowers to be in bloom under English skies.

In 1927, campaigners trying to protect the interests of British companies asked the RHS to boycott exhibits from overseas – a firm rebuttal was issued, with the words “Horticulture knows nothing of nationality”!

The Royal Horticultural Society also knows ‘nowt about gnomes’ ... not beloved, not wanted, not admitted, ruled against ... but this year the RHS has relented, in a way!  A gnome amnesty has been called for the first time in its history.
Entering into the gnome spirit

Gnomes have made an appearance at the Show.  The white gnomes have been decorated by artists and celebrities – and will then be auctioned off on ebay in aids of the RHS’s Campaign for School Gardening.

The Show  in 11 acres has grown to more than 500 exhibitors from around the world, including 15 show gardens, eight artisan gardens and 11 fresh gardens (see what happens when top designers set their imaginations free: outlandish, outrageous, colourful and controversial, these gardens are guaranteed to fascinate). 

Delphiniums and Begonias from
Blackmore and Langdon
There are some 150 exhibits in the Great Pavilion, predominantly from nurseries and florists, and almost 250 trade stands across the site.

Three floral exhibitors, who exhibited at the first show in 1913, will be on display in the floral pavilion: McBean’s Orchids, Blackmore +Langdon (delphiniums and begonias), and Kelways (peonies and irises): with stunning stands ...

Kelways, as designers, plant growers and suppliers, have also been involved with 11 stands including the Australian “Trailfinders Garden” (best in Show) and the Best Fresh Garden being awarded to “After the Fire” ...
An orchid from McBean's Orchids,
outside Lewes, Sussex

Gardens being featured raise awareness in our society ...

  • The Food and Environment Research Agency garden will highlight the threat that British trees and plants face from harmful imported pests and diseases and the adverse impact of invasive non-native species;
  • The Massachusetts Garden is inspired by the works of poet Emily Dickinson;  apparently Emily, during her lifetime, was known more widely as a gardener, perhaps, than as a poet;
  • The Wasteland Garden – an existing derelict urban space transformed into a garden using lots of waste materials;
  • After the Fire: Cancer Research Garden;
  • Arthritis Research Garden – reflects the personal journey and emotions of someone with arthritis;  Chris Beardshaw the garden-designer tells his story here ...
  • First Look: The SeeAbility Garden addresses the issue of sight loss.
  • H2O: Royal Bank of Canada’s roof garden (Professor Dunnett had masterminded the Olympic Park arena) aims to highlight urban water management.  It’s an urban rooftop garden, integrating recreational space with innovative biodiversity and habitat features.
  • Trailfinders Australian Garden – won the best in show – an off-grid garden made using recycled water ...
  • A celebratory centenary concert, hosted with Opera Holland Park, will be held within the RHS Chelsea showground.
  • The RHS Lindley Library will plot the history of the show with an exhibition of historical photographs, and others being shown throughout the showground.
Primula Auricula Silverway
Brigitte Daniel
 - print held
in Lindley Library

The preparation for the event runs in a 15 month cycle, and so before this year’s centenary Show opened, the plans for 2014 are already on the drawing board.

While the 161,000 visitors stream through the gates on the five days, two reserved for members, the last three are when the public can come in, while the Monday is Royal and invitation only day ...

The set up takes 25 days, and will be taken apart in only eleven days: returning the site to the way it was found – some mean feat.

Chelsea embodies an important human endeavour – that of working with plants for the enrichment and sustenance of the earth, our lifeblood  ...

The RHS mission statement includes ‘to encourage excellent in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening’ – an ongoing legacy.


Marc Quinn sculpture
Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show 2013

The Lindley Library, London 

The Daily Mail RHS Chelsea article – they have also produced a souvenir edition, from which much of this information came from.

The Guardian – Gnomes at Chelsea
ParamountPlants – Marc Quinn sculpture
RHS –Marc Quinn’s Flower sculptureThe Rush of Nature’ will be auctioned by Sotheby’s to help raise funds for the next generation of horticulturalists.

Chris Beardshaw should now be in a wheelchair - arthritis article in The Express

My July 2009 historical post on the acceptance of plants into urban living – pre Chelsea

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Choose to Shine – International Be Positive Day ...

Choose to Shine Day – frankly what would look better than this image?  Not a lot ... cheers me up just to look at it ...

International Be Positive Day is the goal we set ourselves for EACH and 

EVERY DAY ...  and no-one has this better down to a T than Lenny ... and I hope you pay him a visit, preferably for the last two posts ...

King Protea
The first on Mother’s Day – nothing could be more poignant than his words – but look how his words lead us to the Choose to Shine post ... we could all do with this realisation that we were granted this life and to fully engage and enjoy we should always be positive ...

Sharon and Robyn are hosting this fantastic idea ... and to them I say – THANK YOU!!

A leopard ..  it's Africa
Being me ... I’d like to highlight Judy Croome, she who is hiding away in the South African winter writing furiously.  Judy’s mother lost her husband of 57 years last year ... and this year decided she needed a different mindset ...

... she contacts Judy, and says before I visit London, and your sister, I think, at age 79, I’d like a TATTOO .... please visit Judy’s post where she tells the story ...

Cape Town by moonlight
Judy has also just been picked up by Huffington post – so she is over the moon ... and I do love Judy’s books – she was extraordinarily kind to me, when my mother was ill ... “The Weight of a Feather” is a delightful read ...

My review of Judy's book "Dancing in the Shadows of Love" ... is so evocative of Africa ... my post is here .... 

Pam and I ... 
I went to Brighton last week to meet Pam McIlroy, who blogs as an avid reader ... what a great meeting - laughter all the way ... John, another knowledgeable reader too, happened to have decided to attend the Brighton Festival ‘discussion group’ on “What Makes a Book Worth Publishing?" – both Pam and John live in Nottingham ...

Pam sat on the discussion panel – while it was a treat to meet two wonderful readers ... Pam runs the Nottingham Book Club, while she tweets her thoughts as she reads a book ... under the Twitter hashtag  #TAIR .... this hashtag approach to reading has created a great deal of interest ...

Pam's story can be read here ... "Confessions of a Book Addict" ... 

I'm adding this as Pam has just posted about the Brighton Festival Event - and her panel discussion, including "How to Judge a Writing Competition, Overcoming Stage Fright and making her soul sing" ... excellent article on the event.

Then many of you are writers, authors ... and the farmer, James Oswald, who has recently been picked up by Penguin ... once you get past the ads – the video clicks in (with wonderful Celtic music) ... it’s only just over 2 minutes ... from The Independent ...

You can get to read his story – how with creative flair, clever marketing skills and a bit of luck have made his book into a best seller ...

Farmer of Highland Cows and Romney sheep in Scotland makes good by drafting stories as he farms!  He still lives in a static caravan – dreams are what make us ...

... here The Daily Mail tells his story ... he’s been writing all his life ... but an incredibly unfortunate event ... made him even more determined to succeed ...

Then last but by no means least ... an interesting article in Saturday’s The Independent on "Bookbarn International" ... about the long tail as far as second-hand books are concerned ...

... you may not like the story as we’re all authors with new stories to tell – but read on – this chap, William Pryor, has had his difficulties – he may be a descendant of Darwin  ... but read to see what he’s overcome ... while ...

... towards the end of the interview they quote the following ... “After all, it was Darwin who said it’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

Makes you think doesn’t it .... Choose to Shine – what a great motto for International Be Positive Day ...

Be Positive ... be cheerful, smile often, laugh happily ... live to live – enjoy every hour in each day – there may be 24 of them ... but we only have one life – it’s better to BE POSITIVE ...

The terrible ravages that nature can unleash - have left many in mourning, shocked and  extremely worried about their future ... my thoughts are with all affected.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories