Forgotten History

CALGACUS03

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There were plenty of rail accidents to choose from in the 1870s, the worst was the Tay Bridge Diaster 28 December 1879, where 75 were killed. This one is remembered in part because like the Titanic, it's due to a massive failure of technology, and partly because of William McGonagall's poem.

The worst rail disaster in the UK was at Quintinshill, near Gretna, in 1915, where a troop train ran into a local passenger train, and a third train ran into these There were 226 deaths. This one is probably forgotten by anyone but railway historians, as it's rather overshadowed by WWI.
The Quintinshill Disaster was another one that the authorities were keen not be too widely discussed. It couldn't be entirely covered up; but I believe that newspapers were discouraged from dwelling on it too much. Coming, as it did, less than two weeks after the sinking of the Lusitania, the government believed that it could severely impact civilian morale.

On a side note, I read on a genealogy forum that there is a persistent rumor/legend that a handful of the survivors of the rail crash deserted in it's aftermath and traveled east to settle down in the Newcastle area. Whether this could be true I don't know (I do know that the muster rolls for the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots who were on board the troop train were destroyed in the conflagration, making confirmation of casualties and injured numbers difficult). Possibly it's the sort of story that a family might make up to comfort younger siblings of the fatalities - that their much missed older brother was actually alive and well in north-east England but daren't come home as the authorities believed him dead.
 

Cochise

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The Quintinshill Disaster was another one that the authorities were keen not be too widely discussed. It couldn't be entirely covered up; but I believe that newspapers were discouraged from dwelling on it too much. Coming, as it did, less than two weeks after the sinking of the Lusitania, the government believed that it could severely impact civilian morale.

On a side note, I read on a genealogy forum that there is a persistent rumor/legend that a handful of the survivors of the rail crash deserted in it's aftermath and traveled east to settle down in the Newcastle area. Whether this could be true I don't know (I do know that the muster rolls for the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots who were on board the troop train were destroyed in the conflagration, making confirmation of casualties and injured numbers difficult). Possibly it's the sort of story that a family might make up to comfort younger siblings of the fatalities - that their much missed older brother was actually alive and well in north-east England but daren't come home as the authorities believed him dead.
It was a consequence of WW1, really. Although there was gross negligence by the signalmen, the troop train and its out-of-date carriages wouldn't have been there but for the war. There is this one in France as well which is not well known -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne_derailment
 

amyasleigh

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The Quintinshill Disaster was another one that the authorities were keen not be too widely discussed. It couldn't be entirely covered up; but I believe that newspapers were discouraged from dwelling on it too much. Coming, as it did, less than two weeks after the sinking of the Lusitania, the government believed that it could severely impact civilian morale.

On a side note, I read on a genealogy forum that there is a persistent rumor/legend that a handful of the survivors of the rail crash deserted in it's aftermath and traveled east to settle down in the Newcastle area. Whether this could be true I don't know (I do know that the muster rolls for the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots who were on board the troop train were destroyed in the conflagration, making confirmation of casualties and injured numbers difficult). Possibly it's the sort of story that a family might make up to comfort younger siblings of the fatalities - that their much missed older brother was actually alive and well in north-east England but daren't come home as the authorities believed him dead.
It was a consequence of WW1, really. Although there was gross negligence by the signalmen, the troop train and its out-of-date carriages wouldn't have been there but for the war. There is this one in France as well which is not well known -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne_derailment
With mention of the Quintinshill rail crash: there was published a few years ago, a book titled The Quintinshill Conspiracy. On initially becoming aware of the book's existence, I wondered whether its theme would be that, in actuality, "it was the Germans what done it": a thing assiduously covered up at the time and long after, because of -- as mentioned above -- the "keeping up morale" factor. Nothing so dramatic, it turned out. I learned (was not interested enough actually to acquire and read the tome in full) that the book focuses on covert "deals" in the aftermath of the disaster, involving governing authorities / railway companies / trade unions: with all of these bodies acting to some extent -- in the interests of expediency -- contrary to their publicly stated positions on some relevant matters. A thing emphasised, is that many railway companies at the time imposed on their staff, heavy burdens in the form of almost-unfulfillable work hours and schedules: almost forcing employees in some instances, to engage in "short-cuts and fiddles" of the kind which the Quintinshill signalmen had been engaging in; though as Cochise says, they were compounding this with truly highly negligent behaviour.
 

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the prostitutes of Covent Garden
It has been reprinted as a hardback in recent years. I regret not snagging the copy I saw in a charity shop two or three years ago.

At least I can now browse to my heart's content online, thanks to those links.

We are a less literary age and I doubt a modern equivalent could compete with the no-holds-barred "dating" apps! :btime:
 

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Town Criers were once commonplace, now they are making a comeback, even in this age of instant news.

A small town is calling for the owner of "powerful lungs" to be its first town crier in more than 300 years.

Clare in Suffolk, which has been crier-less since 1711, is advertising for a person to fill the unpaid role, which would be a "focus for civil pride".

It is seeking someone with "a genuine love of history and tradition", and a knowledge of Clare and nearby villages is preferable but not essential.

The new town crier will be in place for Christmas, it is hoped.

Tony Litton, from the town council, said: "It's got to be somebody with a good strong voice and powerful lungs, obviously."

He said the council felt "Clare underplays its history", adding: "We wanted a town crier as a visible symbol of the rich history of the town.

"They've got to enjoy being a showman or show-woman, good with crowds and an empathy with history."

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-suffolk-49580261
 

ramonmercado

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A massacre which was covered up for generations.

In America’s bloody history of racial violence, the little-known Elaine Massacre in Phillips County, Arkansas, which took place in October 1919, a century ago this week, may rank as the deadliest.

The reasons why the event has remained shrouded and obscure, despite a shocking toll of bloodshed inflicted on the African-American inhabitants of Phillips County, speak to a legacy of white supremacy in the US and ruthless suppression of labor activism that disfigures American society to this day.

Phillips County, located deep in the Arkansas Delta, was largely rural and three-quarters African-American; in the small town of Elaine, there were ten times as many black residents as white. The African Americans of Phillips County, like those throughout the South, were subjected to segregation and disenfranchisement, those twin pillars of white supremacy. But the black sharecroppers and tenant farmers there were also the victims of a particularly harsh form of repression known as “debt peonage.” Under this system, they were loaned money or rented land by plantation owners; they were then forced to sell their crops to the owners at below-market rates and to purchase their food and other supplies from over-priced plantation stores, trapping them in a cycle of perpetual debt, with the owners keeping—and often doctoring—the accounts.

In the spring of 1919, a group of Phillips County African-American sharecroppers and tenant farmers, many of them veterans who had recently returned from service overseas in World War I, decided to challenge this system by joining a union called the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America (PFHUA), which had been founded the year before by army veteran Robert Lee Hill, a black tenant farmer in Winchester, Arkansas. The union’s goal was “to advance the interest of the Negro, morally and intellectually,” and its constitution ended with a proclamation: “WE BATTLE FOR THE RIGHTS OF OUR RACE; IN UNION IS STRENGTH.”

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/...r&utm_term=The Ghosts of Elaine Arkansas 1919
 

ramonmercado

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Whatever happened to hippies?

Fifty years ago police stormed across a makeshift drawbridge to evict hundreds of squatters from a prestigious Mayfair address. The three-week-long occupation of 144 Piccadilly had symbolised the stand-off between mainstream society and 1960s counter-culture and made headlines around the world.

By the time several hundred "unwashed Hippies" decided to make it their home, the 100-room mansion in London's West End had stood empty for years.

While squatters had been taking over derelict properties in central London for years, this was a prime address in the heart of establishment London. Next door to 144 was another mansion where the Queen had spent the first five years of her childhood.

After a decade in which rock music, drug-taking and radical political ideas had become increasingly prevalent, to some the occupation symbolised the final breakdown of society.

Reporters on a British Pathé newsreel from the time refer to the squatters as "scroungers and drop-outs" who "thought they could snub the conventions of decent society… doing the real homeless a disservice".

"It sort of dramatised a lot of the public's fears about the counter-culture, the alternative society," says Phil Cohen, now an emeritus professor at East London University but then the squatters' leader and known as "Dr John".

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england...s/england&link_location=live-reporting-story#
 

Kondoru

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Canvey island is a strange place in itself.

It isan artificial amalgamation of several small islands, by Dutch engineers.

Still has a Dutch village.

I have never been but would love to visit.
 

Cochise

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Canvey island is a strange place in itself.

It isan artificial amalgamation of several small islands, by Dutch engineers.

Still has a Dutch village.

I have never been but would love to visit.
I have a regular contract there. It is a place apart , like most small islands. The dutch cottages are still there, and the locals still think of it as several separate areas although to a stranger it looks like one single suburb. I love the place. If you ever do visit PM me and I can give you some contacts.

They have recently welcomed an entire Orthodox Jewish community that no longer felt comfortable at their previous address. The way they went about trying to learn about each other is fascinating and endearing in these hostile times.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/oct/08/shalom-canvey-island-haredi-jews-moving-to-essex

edit: By coincidence, this cottage is currently for sale : -

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-73681636.html

I have no commercial interest, your mileage may vary etc. Having chosen to move north from Essex many years ago I can't afford to go back anyway.
 
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Dick Turpin

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I took a walk through Cheapside during my lunchbreak today.

For those who don’t know, Cheapside is the thoroughfare that runs from what is known as the hub of the City of London, (Bank of England, the Mansion house etc.) to the St Pauls area of the City. Traditionally Cheapside has always been a shopping district and derives i’s name from the Olde English word for market place (cheeping)

My walk took me past St Mary le Bow church which is famous for its Bells, and those born within their sound can claim to be true Cockneys. There used to be a blue plaque on the wall of the Church noting this, and each year a set of pearly Kings and Queens would conduct a ceremony there. I attended a couple through the years and found them to be quite enjoyable.

When I walked past this afternoon, I noticed that the blue plaque had been removed and replaced by this.

WTF

Forgotten History..? Forgotten heritage more like.
 

CALGACUS03

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I haven't read through the entire thread; but I think that it's doubtful that anyone has posted about the early photographic collection of John Wood of Coldingham.

I first became aware of the collection when I was a student and earned money during holidays and at weekends driving buses around Berwickshire. I had a break in Coldingham one day and found an old petrol station/garage which was open to the public, and the walls of which were lined with examples of his photos. It's good to see that a few of them have made it online.

Some of them can be viewed here.

There would be even more survivals; but as the article linked to above says:

After Wood’s death, his daughter Evelyn asked Forsyth, who was the village handyman, if he could make use of some old glass. Forsyth snapped up the offer and cleared away two lorry-loads from the Wood household. Two lorry-loads of glass negatives!

What surely must have amounted to thousands of these unique photographic plates were then washed clean and used to glaze greenhouses and sheds. Others were trampled underfoot as “rubble” before being concreted over to make bases for those same buildings
.
:horr:

I had both great-grandparents (on my mother's mother's side) and great-great-grandparents (on my mother's father's side) living in Coldinglham in the 19th century; so who knows, they might be among the faces in these photos. :)
 

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" . . . thousands of these unique photographic plates were then washed clean and used to glaze greenhouses and sheds."

My grandfather, belonged very much to the "these-will-come-in-handy" generation. His sheds were filled with old negatives on glass plates, liberated from the local newspaper. History of a sort! I occasionally wonder what kind of images they would have rendered, had they been spared to go on a modern scanner.

I gather that newspapers used glass plates as part of the photogravure process, so they were not necessarily ancient - he retired about 1960.

From what I remember, they were not artistic at all, mainly groups at weddings, dances and masonic dinners. Ironically, I don't think they were ever actually used for makeshift glazing, just shed-hoarded, like so many other things! :rolleyes:
 

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" . . . thousands of these unique photographic plates were then washed clean and used to glaze greenhouses and sheds."

My grandfather, belonged very much to the "these-will-come-in-handy" generation. His sheds were filled with old negatives on glass plates, liberated from the local newspaper. History of a sort! I occasionally wonder what kind of images they would have rendered, had they been spared to go on a modern scanner.

I gather that newspapers used glass plates as part of the photogravure process, so they were not necessarily ancient - he retired about 1960.

From what I remember, they were not artistic at all, mainly groups at weddings, dances and masonic dinners. Ironically, I don't think they were ever actually used for makeshift glazing, just shed-hoarded, like so many other things! :rolleyes:
At one stage a mate of mine lived in a loft whose insulation was held up with printing plates. I don't know the technology but they were large sheets of tin with the type and so on impressed in to them. i know nothing about vintage printing, but no doubt someone on here will know what process was involved.
 

CALGACUS03

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So: I must ask whether the original literal meaning of the word 'desert' meant "a remote deserted place of any climate"? As opposed to a hot (only) deserted place, as is now what the word means....

Alternatively: was Longfellow writing in metaphor?? Ice deserts?
It isn't often on this board that I can bring to bear something that I learned at university (many years ago) so I hope that you'll bear with me for quoting a post over two years old.

Apparently, in the early years of Christianity, a cult grew up in the Middle East that encouraged it's adherents to take themselves off to remote places; there to pray to God, undisturbed by other people and material possessions.

In time this movement was propagated by Christian missionaries to the furthest, western borders of Europe; to present-day Britain and Ireland.

In the Middle East the followers of this 'path' found their "desert" in the sandy, hot areas that most of us would associate with deserts today. However, these being hard to find in Ireland, Scotland, etc. the 'deserts' chosen in these areas were remote islands, promontories, and the like. Hence place names like Dysart in Fife, Dysert in County Clare, and the frequent association of early Christian missioneries names with islands; also places of solitude e.g. Eilean Donan, Insch Kenneth, North Rona, etc.

A number of examples of this can be found in the hagiography of Saint Columba, the Life of Saint Columba, written by his successor Adamnan. In it you find:

"This man who goes to seek a solitude in the ocean, will not be buried in a solitude, but will be buried in that place where a woman will drive sheep across his grave." And so the same Baitan, after long wanderings over stormy waters, not finding the desert, returned home and remained there many years the master of a small monastic house
From the notes for the work above :

An ocean solitude

That is, a desert island in the ocean, where he might live as a hermit.
And in a light-bulb moment I've suddenly realised from where the word "deserter" might come. The Life describes "deserters" as those people who left their lords and masters in order to seek such a solitude or 'desert':

To day, once more desiring to find a solitude, Cormac is beginning to sail out from that region which, situated beyond the river Moy, is called Eirros Domno ; yet will he not even this time find what he looks for ; and this for no other fault of his than that he has taken with him on the voyage the monk of a certain religious abbot without his permission, a deserter, who ought not rightly to accompany him."
I promised with rigorous oath that I would serve him all the days of my life. But after a few days passed in servitude, disdaining- to serve man and wishing rather to obey God, I became a deserter from that earthly lord, and broke my oath and fled, and I have come to thee, the Lord prospering my journey."
So, certainly historically, a desert was a place of solitude, rather than a place boasting a certain climate.

Sorry to bring this old post up again, but I just love it when things come together like that! :headspinner:
 

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EnolaGaia

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It isn't often on this board that I can bring to bear something that I learned at university (many years ago) so I hope that you'll bear with me for quoting a post over two years old.
We encourage folks to delve into the elder recesses of the forum's postings and revisit past themes and discussions. Some of the most substantive threads have accreted via a series of on-again / off-again discussions strung out over many years.


... And in a light-bulb moment I've suddenly realised from where the word "deserter" might come. The Life describes "deserters" as those people who left their lords and masters in order to seek such a solitude or 'desert':
There's a connection, but I'm not sure it's quite the same as you suspect. According to the Online Etymological Dictionary:

https://www.etymonline.com/word/desert

... the noun "desert" originally connoted something abandoned / forsaken and only later came to mean a particular type of barren / arid place. This preceded the earliest known usage as a verb, which similarly meant "to abandon" / "to forsake", and only later came to specifically mean "to leave without permission."

It seems the notion of abandonment / forsaking (rather than the character of that to which the abandoner migrates) is the common theme.

I'm not sure how this interpretation aligns with your insight.
 

CALGACUS03

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... the noun "desert" originally connoted something abandoned / forsaken and only later came to mean a particular type of barren / arid place. This preceded the earliest known usage as a verb, which similarly meant "to abandon" / "to forsake", and only later came to specifically mean "to leave without permission."
Thanks for your comment EnolaGaia, the connection between the verb and noun had never really dawned on me until I was actually writing the post and as I said; it was an 'OMG' moment. :hapdan:

I suppose too that I would have to take into account the that Life of Saint Columba (Vita Columbae) would have been written in Latin, and so I'm at the mercy of the translation as to the exact words used by Adomnan in the original.

If asked, prior to making the possible connection above, though for a simile of the verb 'to desert' I would probably have said 'to abandon', i.e. the physical act of leaving someone/something in order to go to a place or places unknown. It would never have occurred to me that it might mean 'to leave someone/something in order to seek a desert' - that's what totally tickled me. :yay:

Edited to add link to Vita Columbae
 
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