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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Meeting in St Paul's Church on January 13th

Poster for the meeting on Wednesday, January 13th
 at 7:30pm in St Paul's Curch, Starcross. Our speaker will be Andrew Cadbury who will talk about his family and the history of chocolate

Here's the link to this poster. Please can you print and display? Cheers

Because we don't want to exclude anyone from coming, we won't charge for admission, and we won't have a membership fee, but we need to cover the £20 cost to hire the rooms, and we also need money for our projects.
We raise money by asking you to bring a raffle prize - perhaps some of us might bring a chocolate raffle prize this time? We also sell tea&coffee withabiscuit, which costs £1, and we sell our hard enamel badges for £5. We also have some copies of the late Dick Forrester's book What was an Atmospheric Railway priced only £3 - they are advertised on eBay for twice that price!

We are always looking for speakers, and for help with running this group, and with our projects. The current projects are:

  • Making a trail of peacocks' tails to commemorate Captain George Peacock. There will be a Dartmoor-style letterbox stamp sited near to each peacock tail. On St George's Day, 23rd April, we will sell you a trail card, and invite you to follow the trail and collect the stamps. There's a peacock's feather for the first 50 completed cards.
We are looking for a trophy or two to present to the best peacock tails - perhaps you may have an old trophy you no longer need? Or we could use a ceramic pot if it has two handles at the top.

  • Recreating or locating the missing Stairs Cross. Read about this project on these links:
 The history of Stairs Cross
Starcross Parish Council backs the project if we can further prove the existence of a Stairs Cross
photograph of the stairs where the Stairs Cross was sited

We need someone to research the archives of Sherbourne Abbey. Perhaps we could raise enough money to fund a geophys exploration of the estuary, to see if the Stairs Cross lies buried underneath the silt. Maybe Henry V11th's men didn't destroy the cross, but merely tipped it into the estuary mud?

  • Exploring archaeological remains. 
There's a wartime bunker around Warboro. Read about it on this link Operational Base of the Starcross Auxiliary Unit Patrol

ARCHI, the historical search hound, has  discovered 117 archaeological and historic sites within 10km of Starcross 117 archaeological sites near Starcross from ARCHIUK
Are there some enthusiasts to explore some of these sites.  Which site interests you the most?

  • Commemorating Captain George Peacock. Captain Peacock invented the screw propeller... so let's have an enormous screw propeller with his name on it. Maybe site it on Parish Council land on The Strand?  We need researchers to discover more, and someone to contact Captain Peacock's descendants to tell them what we'd like to do. Then we'll need to approach the Parish Council with our ideas. 
HERE'S a link to some information about him from the Royal Museums at Greenwich. The links to the illustrations have been taken down, but they may be available elsewhere on the Royal Greenwich Museums' website
HERE'S another link. This is to the information on the National Archives website

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Dogs of War

Excerpted from The Curious Map Book by Ashley Baynton-Williams. Out now from the University of Chicago Press. 
When the first world war started in 1914, most commentators thought that the war would be of short duration, and this was reflected in the relatively light-hearted caricature maps issued in the first months of the war. By the second year, when the true scale of the conflict became apparent, such propaganda maps took on an altogether darker tone.
Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark!, published by G. W. Bacon, depicts the principal protagonists as dogs. The stereotypes are as familiar today as then: the British bulldog, the French poodle, and the German dachshund. Serbia, however, is depicted as wasps, stinging the Austrian mongrel. North of the British Isles is a puppet master in naval garb (sometimes said to be Winston Churchill, at the time first lord of the admiralty) who is gradually moving Royal Navy ships on station to blockade Germany by sea.
Walter Lewis Emanuel (1869–1915) contributed the descriptive text outside the lower border; he was a famous English humorist, known for his contributions to the magazine Punch and for a series of anthropomorphic dog books such as The Dogs of War (published in 1906 and reprinted in 1913), which was illustrated by the artist Cecil Aldin (1870–1935). Emmanuel’s text reads:
The Dogs of War are loose in Europe, and a nice noise they are making! It was started by a Dachshund that is thought to have gone mad – though there was so much method in his madness that this is doubtful. [Note for the ignorant: The German for Dog is Hund. The English for German in Hun. Dachshunds means badger-dog – and he is sometimes more badgered than he likes.] Mated with the Dachshund, for better or for worse, was an Austrian Mongrel. By the fine unwritten law of Dogdom big dogs never attack little ones. There are, however, scallywags in every community, and, egged on by the Dachshund for private ends, the Mongrel started bullying a little Servian. And then the fat was in the fire, for the little Servian had a great big friend in the form of a Russian Bear, and he stood up for his pal. And that was what the Dachshund wanted. He hoped that a big row would ensue, and in the confusion he intended to steal a bone or two that he had had his eye on. The Dachshund now began to look round for friends, but they seemed strangely scarce. He had relied on an Italian Greyhound, a thoroughbred, named Italia, but Italia dissembled her love in the strangest way, and asserted that War was a luxury which she could not afford just now [...] The Dachshund, to his annoyance, found only one friend, and that was a dog of Constantinople. ...Meanwhile the rest of the European Happy Family looked on, and who shall say how the row will spread? There’s the Greek with his knife ready to take a slice of Turkey; there are the Balkans determined not to be baulked of their own little ambitions; there’s the Spaniard fond of Bull fighting so long as he is not a John Bull; there’s the Portugee just spoiling for a scrap; there’s the Swiss suffering from cold feet; there’s the Dutchman... All this, and more, may be seen depicted above. Search well and you will find many things. But not Peace. Peace has gone to the Dogs for the present – until a satisfactory muzzle has been found for that Dachshund. Meanwhile the Dachshund’s heart bleeds for Belgium – and his nose for Great Britain.
It is interesting to note that a German copy of the map was published in Hamburg early in 1915, presumably in an attempt to highlight and discredit the perceived self-interest of British war aims. It is also interesting to speculate on the market for such a map, originally sold for a shilling (5p); the image is child-oriented, and it may be that the map was aimed at parents and schools as a tool to explain the background to the conflict. When handled in the house or classroom, the maps would have been easily damaged, which explains their relative rarity today.

Ashley Baynton-Williams is an antiquarian map dealer and researcher based in London and the author of several books.