Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Slavery and the Disenchantment of Bath with particular Reference to Gender and the Picturesque

We request your attendance at the Ball to be held upon the First of November. The Ball will be an amusing Masque Ball, but without masques.  How could the idea of such an evening of paradox be entertained?
Pray, read on, after a perusal of some of our possible ports of call.

1.     Anne St John Maxwell Adams – 216 slaves in Barbados 2. Alexander John Alexander – MARLBOROUGH BUILDINGS 4. Mehetabel Austin (nee Piercy) 369 slaves in British Guiana. William Austin – ditto 6. Simon Barrow – LANSDOWNE GROVE – 9 slaves in Barbados; 81 slaves in Barbados, 120 slaves in and Jamaica 7. Colthurst Bateman STANLEY VILLA WESTON PARK – 175 slaves in Jamaica, and 95 slaves in Jamaica 8. Thomas Beard – 9 RABY PLACE – 164 slaves in Barbados - Ditto PULTENEY STREET 128 slaves in Barbados and 279 slaves in Jamaica 9. Charles Blair 15 PULTENEY STREET 218 slaves - Jamaica 10. William Blenman 11. George Weare Braikenridge QUEEN’S SQUARE 256 slaves in Jamaica 12. Rebecca Broadley – 124 slaves in Antigua; 71 slaves in Montserrat; 47 slaves in Tobago 13. Jane Elizabeth Bunting WALCOT 6 slaves in Jamaica and 13 slaves in Jamaica 14. Philip Caddell 18 ROYAL CRESCENT 257 slaves in Barbados 15. James Chopin – 89 slaves in St Vincent 16. Edward Hudson Clarke 4 OXFORD ROW 34 slaves in Jamaica 17. James Crowcombe - 89 slaves in St Vincent 18. Eliza Rebecca Cuthbert 34 PARK STREET 124 slaves in Antigua and 71 slaves in Montserrat 19. Elizabeth Cuthbert (nee Willock) ditto + 47 slaves in Tobago 20. William Lindsay Darling 15 CATHARINE PLACE 59 slaves in Dominica and 6 slaves in Dominica 21. John Hyde Doyle – 102 slaves in Antigua 22. Edmund Jordan Eversley – 12 slaves in Barbados and 209 slaves in Barbados 23. Sarah Ann Findlater SEYMOUR STREET 60 slaves in Jamaica and 45 slaves in Jamaica 24. Rev. George Ingram Fisher 13 BENNETT STREET 342 slaves in Jamaica 25. Jane Fitzgerald (nee Welch) 26 PARK STREET 147 slaves in Jamaica 26. Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Lewis Fitzgerald – ditto 27. Thomas Inigo Wickham Freeman – 167 slaves in Antigua and another duplicate entry for him at 3 JOHNSTONE STREET 28. David Graham PRIOR PARK BUILDINGS 33 slaves in Trinidad and another 6 slaves in Trinidad 29. Rev. William Gunthorpe – 297 slaves in Antigua 30. J.P. Hardy 18 GREEN PARK BUILDINGS 35 slaves in Barbados 31. Thomas Noel Harris – 301 slaves in Barbados 32. John William Hicks 17 LANSDOWNE CRESCENT 144 slaves in Jamaica 33. Samuel M. Hinds 7 RABY STREET 125 slaves in Barbados 34. Frances Ottley Horne (nee Ottley) 103 slaves in St Vincent 35. John Eykyn Hovenden 6 CAMPEN CRESCENT 225 slaves in Jamaica 36. Charles Snell Kensington 21 GAY STREET 59 slaves in Tobago 37. Catherine W. Lawrence 26 PARK STREET 1 slave in Nevis 38. Eliza Lawrence spinster – ditto 39. Charlotte Augusta Lyall (nee Bayley) 17 HENRIETTA STRETT 162 slaves in Jamaica 40. John Lyons senior – 274 slaves in Antigua 41. James Heywood Markland 1 LANSDOWNE CRESCENT 410 slaves in Barbados; 438 slaves in Jamaica; 91 slaves in Jamaica; 41 slaves in Jamaica 42. James Dottin Maycock 3 PARAGON BUILDINGS 5 slaves in Barbados; 122 slaves in Barbados; 151 slaves in Barbados; 160 slaves in Barbados 43.  Jonathan Morgan 8 THE CIRCUS 165 slaves in St Vincent; 185 slaves in St Vincent; 110 slaves in St Vincent 44. Ditto, but 19 ROYAL CRESCENT 45. Mary Dehany Mountague 26 PARK STREET 81 slaves in Jamaica 46. Rt. Hon. Lord James O’Bryen 3rd Marquess of Thomond 217 slaves in Antigua and 217 slaves in Antigua and 158 slaves in Antigua 46. Thomas Parker senior 47. Rev. Charles Paul Writhlington Rectory, Radstock, 126 slaves in St Vincent 48. James Aylmer Paynter 13 GROSVENOR PLACE 80 slaves in Jamaica 49. Mary Penfrill 13BENNETT STREET 342 slaves in Jamaica 50. Francis Ford Pindar GAY STREET 15 slaves in Barbados; 204 slaves in Barbados 51. Mary Ann Prince – 182 slaves in Jamaica 52. Bezsin Reece 7 SYDNEY PLACE PULTENEY STREET 163 slaves in Barbados 53. John Reece 3 BORTHWICK TERRACE 67 slaves in Barbados 54. Mary Rollinson 16 slaves in Nevis - £297 3s 7d

We request that ladies dress, not according to the fashion, but in the manner of the nuances of the newly pronounced aesthetic of countenance and deportment. We wish ladies to arrive, according to their choice of a presentation of self, as Sublime, Picturesque or Beautiful.

Each lady should also select a further refinement of her chosen category, by choosing a card upon her arrival. The cards of chance will be as follows:

Sentimental; Submissive; Sprightly; Forceful; Impetuous; Affecting; Heroic; Passive; Saintly; Calm; Yielding; Careful; Affectionate; Elegant; Graceful; Versatile; Vivacious; Witty; Cheerful; Playful; Brilliant; Amusing.

Ladies should then act in a corresponding manner.

Gentlemen should, after some examination, ask for a dance – and -

When a gentleman asks a lady for a dance, he should write down his judgements as to the lady’s presumed self-definition, major and minor, and pass his card to his chosen lady. If his judgements are correct, a dance shall ensue; if false, the lady may choose to whisper a hint or enact a mime or charade.

Such a Ball is of the latest fashion and a la mode  - an evening of elegant sophistication is guaranteed.

We are particularly pleased to announce that we shall be calling at the homes of Bath residents who have an interest in the West Indies, as our way of displaying our opposition to the abolition of the institution of slavery. Our Trust in National prosperity is contingent upon the maintenance of slavery, as every rational person knows.

We feel sure that the Ball will be welcomed by all supporters of plantations, the Atlantic trade, and consequent prosperity - for the maintenance of such prosperity is our national trust.

I wish to state my thanks to Anne Bermingham, for without my reading of her chapter The Picturesque and ready-to-wear femininity in The Politics of the Picturesque edited by Stephen Copley and Peter Garside CUP 2010, the idea of this enchanting ball could never have happened. Looking forward to seeing Sir Willoughby Aston 5th. Bart., owner of 24 slaves in Antigua.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Bath Slavery Trail: 2nd walk, Nov 1st.

A message from Richard White:
'Greetings walkers!
I am planning to do the next walk out experiment on Sunday 1 November. Again exploring ideas of enchantment and disenchantment as we walk out of Bath passing the homes of former slave-owners. Continuing to think how these people should be acknowledged today...

The plan is to meet outside 44AD Gallery and then head out past some of the more iconic bits of Bath and out onto the edge of the downs to Beckford Tower, then back down into town following another route.

Beckford’s Tower is one of the more visible sign of the slave trade on Bath's skyline but perhaps we will discover more.....do join me and do contribute anything you know that might get us to the mechanics of this enchanted city!

Practicalities: Meet at 10.00 and back about 15.00 … maybe a drink at the Hare and Hounds on the way back?
(Beckford Tower is right near the park and ride so  that provides possibilities for walkers from out of town as well as a bus service back into town if you need an earlier finish...)

Terrain: Its about 5 miles...about a third is walking in town and then we will head out into the country, some uphill stretches and through a wood. I have not recced all of this.

Bring smart phones, recording devices, cameras, sketching etc

Please pass this on and let me know if you plan to join the walk.

Best wishes

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Slavery, Stately Homes and Country Houses in the South-West

‘The stately homes of England
How beautiful they stand
To prove the upper classes
Still have the upper hand’

Forget the satire contained within the lyrics of the song as a whole,
These four lines contain the quintessential cultural messages
About being born to rule,
About hierarchy, aristocracy, blue blood, lineage and ‘Heritage’:
Grandeur, wealth, stability, beauty, power, art, culture, landscaped gardens,
Arcadia, follies, the classics, aesthetics, elegance, manners, the Grand Tour,
The Augustan Age of Elegance,
The Age of Enlightenment -
This is the overt heritage of the English Stately Home.

But what of the covert heritage of some of these august piles –

Plantations, sugar, tobacco, the triangular trade, slaving,
Slavery, slavery compensation, colonial office in the West Indies,
A concealed Keynsian multiplier effect, a hidden Venn diagram link …
Or innocent coincidence on the journey
From the counting house to the country house …

So where might you visit in our area on a radical pilgrimage,
So as to make a walk of studied counter-heritage memorialization,
Deconstruction and re-interpretation -

Here followeth a list taken from Madge Dresser’s chapter,
Slavery and West Country Houses,
From the English Heritage publication Slavery and the British Country House,
This list starts in the north of Gloucestershire and takes an erratic southerly line,
Down through Bristol and into Somerset,
With a post script detour west beyond the Severn and the Bristol Channel:

Wallsworth Hall, Badgeworth Court, Quedgeley House, Barrington Park, Frampton Court, Lypiatt Park, Cirencester Park, Newark Park, Ozleworth Park,
Badminton House, Dodington House, Dyrham Park, Cleeve Hill House,
Oldbury Court, Henbury Great House, Kingsweston House,
Ham Green House, Leigh Court, Wraxall Court, Tyntesfield, Belmont,
Wraxall House, Naish House, Clevedon Court, Charlton House,
Ashton Court, Tracey Park, The Cedars (near Wells),
Hadspen House, King Weston House, Court House, Earnshill, Coker Court,
 and now west over the river,
Lydney Park, Tutshill House (near Chepstow), Piercefield (near Chepstow).

Also think about Brentry House (now called Repton Hall), Bristol,
Reflect on the revered landscape designer, Humphrey Repton,
Reflect on the cult of the picturesque, the cult of the Sublime,
The Romantic Imagination, the fashion for the Gothick,
The Shakespearian trope of this ‘sceptred isle’,
The lyrical self-contained world of the stately home,

Think about Goldney House in Clifton,
Where as Roger H Leech put it, with support from M Leone:
The setting out of these elite falling gardens can be seen as forming part of the process called ‘Georgianisation’, in this instance the ‘ideology of naturalising the hierarchical conditions of social life through landscape architecture’.

And that means we have to leave the insular world of the stately home,
Within this ‘sceptred isle’, and think about The Tempest,
Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban,
Especially the representation of poor Caliban,

For ‘heritage’, like ‘charity’, does not always begin at home.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Rugby, W.W.Ellis, and the People's Game

In the year of Our Lord, 1800 and 23,
William Webb Ellis invented rug-bee,
He was playing football, when just for fun,

He picked up the ball and away did run; 

At a fee-paying school, the pupils are master,
The teachers all cried: “Good show, Ellis, just run faster!
Carry the ball and use your hands to pass,
This game shall be for the ruling-class!
The Oiks might think you’ve gone off your rockah,

But we’ll play ruggah, they’ll play soccah.”

And so William Webb Ellis achieved his fame,
By inventing a brand new top toff game –

But just imagine he’d been a Socialist,
And liberated money, not ball, with his bourgeois fist,
Just imagine when he went off his rocker

That he emptied his teammates’ burgeoning lockers,
And then gave the poor all his teammates’ money,
And just imagine that the masters found that funny; 

It means that world tournament of rugby nations,
Would today see acts of financial liberation,
Two sets of teams, both scoring points,
By redistributing wealth to all us oiks

Stealing money from merchant and from banker,
And if they didn’t, the crowd'd cry “------”
Passing money to the poor would be the aim

Of all these televised rugby games,
The BBC clean round the bend,
In its new role as the People’s Friend;
And so William Webb Ellis, you so nearly could

Have been a latter day Robin Hood,
You could have been a postmodernist icon

Of proletarian liberation;
But you show that anarchy is not just destruction,
It can be an act of imaginative invention -
And so the next time you see rugby on TV,
Just reflect on what might have been,
And hope that some modern day William Webb Ellis

Will destroy upper class Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon and tennis,
And then in a final act of resurrectionist rage,
Reverse the rules of the Stock Exchange,
By leading all the toffs of the world in this millenarian strain:

“It’s the same the whole world over,
It’s the rich wot gets the blame,
It’s the poor wot gets the treasure,
It’s wot we calls the People’s Game.”