THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Untold lives blog

194 posts categorized "Work"

31 July 2018

Strong Foundations: Building the British Library – Structural Engineer Anthony Stevens

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This summer the British Library has been celebrating the 20th anniversary of the official opening of its St Pancras building.  One of the experts responsible for its construction was Anthony Stevens who died on 2 May 2018 at the age of 87.  His daughter Lexy has written this account of his life so that we can pay tribute to his work.

British Library_(c) Arup compressedThe British Library at St Pancras © Arup

Anthony Stevens was born to parents Edward Cecil and Gladys on 28 November 1930 at Wharncliffe Gardens in north-west London.  With his younger sister Betty, he spent his early childhood growing up in St John’s Wood.  When war broke out the family moved out to Hertfordshire, where he attended Watford Grammar School for Boys.
 
University education was not a possibility for him, so on leaving school aged 16, Tony initially worked as a draftsman for British Rail at Watford and then at Euston.  Inspired by the skills of his railway colleagues, he studied at night school for a civil engineering Higher National Certificate.  In 1955 he started work as a Chartered Engineer for Sir William Halcrow, and then joined Arup in 1958. He went on to become a Fellow of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Stevens  Tony compressedAnthony Stevens – photo courtesy of Lexy Stevens

 Tony took over the structural design of the Barbican Estate in the early 1960s and led the group that developed the design for the Barbican Arts Centre. With its location close to the previously-constructed tall residential tower blocks, it was necessary to limit ground movements to avoid damage to their foundations.  The Arup group designed a thick diaphragm wall, supported below by stiff props built inside tunnels. 

  004 compressedThe Barbican Arts Centre © Daniel Imade/Arup

The Barbican Arts Centre received the Institution of Structural Engineer’s Special Award in 1981, acknowledging “the importance of ground engineering works in the successful construction of works of structural engineering”.

  Stevens  Anthony award 1981 Anthony Stevens receiving the Special Award to Ove Arup and Partners for the Barbican Arts Centre – from The Structural Engineer vol. 60A No. 3 (March 1982)
 
His work on the Barbican made the new British Library at St Pancras a natural follow-up project for Tony.   He and colleagues decided that a design life of 500 years for certain structural elements of the building would not be unreasonable.  The book storage was planned in four basements with an overall depth of 25m, making this the largest civilian excavation in London.  Advanced analytical techniques showed only limited effects to surrounding properties, including St Pancras Station and the London Underground tunnels.  Techniques devised for the Barbican and British Library projects remain common practice. Tony was proud to learn that the British Library had been granted Grade I listing in 2015.

British Library_ Euston_(c) Arup2 compressedConstruction of the British Library at St Pancras © Arup

   British Library_ Euston_(c) Arup3 compressedConstruction of the British Library at St Pancras © Arup

  British Library_ Euston_(c) Arup8 compressedConstruction of the British Library at St Pancras © Arup

  British Library_ Euston_(c) Arup6 compressedConstruction of the British Library at St Pancras © Arup

At 62, Tony retired so that he could fulfil a long-held ambition. He studied for a degree at the Open University, attaining Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences and Master of Mathematics, both with First Class Honours. Interviewed by a local newspaper, he said:
"Everybody can do it if they are determined to do the work, but there's quite a lot to do - at least 20 hours a week. People were amazed that I was ready to do it. During my career, there was quite a lot of maths in structural engineering, but I never really understood it. It was ever so interesting - I was finding out about a lot of things I had been taking for granted."

Tony combined an understanding of structure, materials, mathematics (despite his quote in the local paper!), and physics in order to solve problems from first principles, without having the benefit of today’s computers.  He was a leader with responsibilities for some of Arup’s most technically demanding projects, and set high standards. Everybody who worked with him will remember his support and advice, always given with a touch of humour.
 
Lexy Stevens
Architect, Tony’s daughter
with Peter Evans, who led the engineering of the British Library Completion Phase, containing the King’s Library, when Tony retired in 1992. 

Further reading:
A Stevens, B O Corbett, and A J Steele, ‘Barbican Arts Centre: the design and construction of the substructure’ in The Structural Engineer Vol. 55 No. 11 (November 1977).
The Structural Engineer vol. 60A No. 3 (March 1982).
P J Ryalls, R Cather, and A Stevens, ‘Aspects of design for durability at the British Library’ in Ravindra K Dhir and Jeffrey W Green (eds.), Protection of Concrete – Proceedings of the International Conference held at the University of Dundee 11-13 September 1990 (1990).

 

17 July 2018

The mysterious death of Captain Archibald Anderson

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Captain Archibald Anderson was in command of the East India Company ship Nottingham when he disappeared in May 1790.  Accident?  Suicide?  Or something more sinister?

Archibald Anderson (c. 1751-1790) started his career as an apprentice in the Scottish coastal trade in the mid-1760s.  He joined the East India Company’s service as a midshipman in 1770.  By 1786 he had risen through the ranks to be appointed Captain of the Nottingham and in 1790 was returning to England from his second season in command of the vessel.

East Indiaman from Betwixt the Forelands'East Indiaman' from William Clark Russel, Betwixt the Foreland (London,1889) BL flickr  Noc

On 23 May 1790 the Nottingham arrived back in England at the Downs having sailed from Portsmouth in February 1789 for Madras and China.  The following morning the Captain's servants discovered that Anderson was not in his quarters, his clothes for the day were still laid out on his sofa, and he was nowhere to be found on board ship.

The Chief Mate George Max states in his journal:
“The servants missing Captain Anderson, a search was made throughout the ship not finding him, supposed he had fell overboard out of the Stern Gallery, as his clothes laid all on the sopha”.

A second ship’s journal tells a very similar story:
“Am. the Servants missing Capt. Anderson a first search was made thro the ship not finding himself found he had fell overboard in the Night out of the stern gallery as his cloathes was left on the Sopha”.

The general consensus from the ship’s officers and crew was that he must have fallen out of the stern gallery during the night and that they therefore considered his death to be accidental.  Newspaper reports of the incident published on 4 June 1790 however shed two very different lights on what they believed had occurred.

The Hereford Chronicle reported that there had been confrontations throughout the voyage between the Captain and his officers and that he had intended reporting their conduct on his return.  Although not explicitly stated, the tone of the article implies that he may have been pushed to prevent the poor conduct charges from being pressed.

Hereford Journal 4 June 1790Hereford Chronicle 4 June 1790 British Newspaper Archive

The Chelmsford Chronicle however claims his death as a suicide.  It also references the poor conduct and relations between Captain and Officers, but claims that the Captain had in the days leading up to his death apologised for his conduct and stated his intention not to pursue any conduct charges and to leave it be.  He allegedly even dined with the officers two successive evenings, including the evening prior to his death.  The newspaper also alleges he had written a report to the Board of Directors of the East India Company, dismissed his purser and then written and sealed a letter to a friend before throwing himself out of the window.

Chelmsford Chronicle 4 June 1790Chelmsford Chronicle 4 June 1790 British Newspaper Archive

If Captain Anderson did write a report to the Board of Directors and sent it to them prior to his death, it sadly appears that it no longer survives, and his death therefore will forever be shrouded in mystery. 

Karen Stapley
Curator, India Office Records

Further reading:
IOR/L/MAR/B/287H, Journal of George Max, Chief Mate, 27 Nov 1788-12 Jul 1790
IOR/L/MAR/B/287-H, Ship’s Journal 27 Nov 1788-12 Jul 1790 (unknown author)
Hereford Chronicle 4 June 1790,  and Chelmsford Chronicle 4 June 1790 accessed via the British Newspaper Archive

 

06 July 2018

New black Britain and Asian Britain web pages launched

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The British Library holds rich resources for the study of black Britain and Asian Britain. A new suite of web pages highlights the wide variety of material available, including printed, archival, visual, music and oral history collections.  The development of these web pages is discussed in the Asian and African studies blog.

The collections of the former India Office Library and Records, which are held at the British Library, illuminate the long history of South Asian people in Britain.  They document the stories of people from all walks of life including Indian seamen, known as lascars, soldiers and others providing vital support during both world wars, workers, servants such as ayahs (nannies), entrepreneurs, campaigners, students, lawyers and doctors, politicians, sportsmen and Indian royalty.  The people featured below are just a small sample of those whose lives are recorded in the collections at the British Library. 

  Dean MahomedPortrait of Sake Dean Mahomed , 1826 (T 12646)

Sake Dean Mahomed started his varied career in the East India Company’s Bengal Army.  He left for Ireland in 1782 with a Captain Godfrey Baker. After marrying an Irish woman in 1786, he wrote a book about his travels.  His next venture was the Hindoostanee Coffee House which he set up in London.  When that failed, he moved to Brighton where he created a thriving business as a ‘shampooing surgeon’.  Dean Mahomed’s children lived in Britain and pursued successful careers.

 

Dadabhai Naoroji was the first Indian MP in Britain.  NaorojiDadabhai Naoroji -- Mirror of British Merchandise, 1892 (14119.f.37)

Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was born in 1876 in Suffolk, the sixth child of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the deposed ruler of the Punjab. Proud of her Indian ancestry, Princess Sophia was a generous patron of causes which helped Indian people in Britain. Today, she is best remembered as a passionate suffragette campaigning for women’s right to vote.

Sophia Duleep SinghSophia Duleep Singh - The Suffragette, 18 April 1913 IOR/L/PS/11/52, P1608, f.273

The photograph shows Princess Sophia selling The Suffragette newspaper outside Hampton Court Palace, where she lived in an apartment. 

The Bevin Training Scheme was established in 1941 with the support of the British Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin. The Second World War increased demand for skilled engineers in the Indian industries engaged in war-related work. The scheme aimed to provide practical training for young Indians who otherwise would not have the means to travel to Britain. This booklet was produced by the Indian Government as part of an essay competition for Bevin trainees to stimulate public interest in the scheme.

Ambassadors of Goodwill IOR-L-I-1-978Ambassadors of Goodwill - Essays by Bevin Trainees, 1940s IOR/L/I/1/978 f.30

We hope that you will be inspired to look at the new web pages and discover more about our collections relating to the history of black and Asian Britain.

Penny Brook and John O'Brien
India Office Records

Further reading
Asians in Britain
Paper bag reveals forgotten history
Award of Victoria Cross to Khudadad Khan
A tribute to forgotten heroes of the seven seas 
Indian princess in suffragette march
Bevin Indian trainees during the Second World War

 

31 May 2018

Cheap and safe burial ground in London

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In the early 19th century there were many privately-owned burial grounds in London. One at St George-in-the-East in Stepney was leased in the 1830s by William Eastes who worked for the East India Company in London.

Burial ground EastesIOR/L/F/2/7 no.24 of June 1836 Noc

Before joining the Company, William Eastes had been a schoolmaster in Kent. He rented the Dissenters’ Burial Ground which adjoined the small Anglican Trinity Chapel in Cannon Street Road, a source of income to supplement his wages as a warehouse commodore (foreman).

The ground was advertised as cheap and safe, with rates for an adult grave varying between 7s and 16s, and those for children under ten between 4s 6d and 8s.  All graves deeper than five feet were charge 6d per foot extra.  Deeper graves were perhaps a deterrent to body-snatchers.  In August 1830, two well-known resurrectionists were charged with attempting to steal the body of Mrs Brown from the Cannon Street Road burial ground.  George Robins and William Jones were arrested around midnight near the partly opened grave. The police found a sack, a shovel, and a long screw iron for opening coffins. The prisoners were committed to three months in the house of correction.

 
Burial ground bill of saleIOR/L/F/2/7 no.24 of June 1836 Noc

William Eastes also acted as clerk to the Reverend Thomas Boddington of Trinity Chapel.  In 1836 Boddington sold the Chapel to the Reverend James Harris, who found Eastes totally unfit for the situation. Harris wrote to the East India Company in May 1836, complaining of how the graveyard was run and accusing Eastes of vile and fearful abuse, gross language, and a violent demeanour. 

Company warehouse-keeper William Johnson put Harris’s complaint to Eastes, a man ‘somewhat hasty in temper & likely to be violent in any matter of dispute’.  Eastes denied molesting Harris, claiming that he had merely been insisting on his right of way to the burial ground as specified in the lease.  Johnson concluded there was probably blame on both sides. The Company directors admonished Eastes and cautioned him as to his future conduct.

Burial ground plan Plan provided by William Eastes to explain his point to the Company IOR/L/F/2/7 no.24 of June 1836  IOR/L/F/2/7 no.24 of June 1836 Noc

In October 1836, Harris renewed his complaint against Eastes: ‘There is no species of horrid language that this man does not apply to me and my family’.  There had been an altercation when a sheriff’s officer came looking for Harris about a debt he owed.  The Company’s Committee of Warehouses decided not to interfere any further in the dispute.

Harris and Eastes continued to be at odds.  In October 1838 a lascar seaman from an East India Company ship was buried in Eastes’ ground.  Newspapers described the funeral procession and burial, claiming that several thousand people assembled to witness the unfamiliar ceremonies performed by the dead man’s fellow lascars.  Harris was quick to dissociate himself from these events.  He made it known that the burial ground was not connected to Trinity Chapel but ‘leased to a Dissenter in the East India Company’s service, who puts on the surplice, reads the funeral service, and receives the fees consequent thereupon, his wife performing the part of sextoness.  The Rev Mr Harris … has nothing whatever to do with the ground in question, and of course took no part in this “Lascar burial”.’

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
Records of the East India Company Finance and Home Committee: IOR/L/F/1/4 pp.119, 520; IOR/L/F/2/7 no.24 of June 1836; IOR/L/F/2/11 no.64 of October 1836
British Newspaper Archive e.g. London Courier and Evening Gazette 24 August 1830; London Evening Standard 8 October 1838; Belfast Commercial Chronicle 10 October 1838

 

24 April 2018

A Danish sailor befriended and buried in Norfolk

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In September 1881 an inquest was held at a cottage in the Norfolk village of Gooderstone.  The coroner was investigating the death of a young Dane who had been living there with agricultural labourer William English, his wife Sarah, and their eight year-old son George.

The Danish lad had arrived in Gooderstone on Sunday 4 September.  He called at one cottage and made signs to show that he was hungry.  Having been given some bread and butter, he moved on to the home of the English family.  They were eating their dinner.  Sarah could not understand what the young man was saying but she was moved by his sad and distressed appearance.  She invited him to share their frugal meal of Norfolk dumplings and gravy, afterwards offering him a place to stay.

SailorFrom Real Sailor-Songs collected and edited by J. Ashton (London, 1891), p.229 BL flickr  Noc

The visitor managed to explain with a few written words in English that he had been a sailor in a Danish ship.  He claimed to have been shipwrecked on 28 August. After he and a companion had been in the water for five hours, they were picked up by a fishing boat and taken to King’s Lynn harbour.  There the two separated and he had begged his way to Gooderstone.  The inquest was told that the ship had been identified as the Eros and that the sailor had deserted.

The sailor helped his hosts by doing domestic chores, washing and ironing clothes with skill.  Mr Oldfield of Caldecote found him work in the fields. 

Oxborough - Frank English with  pitchforkAgricultural labourers at Oxborough during 1930s, including Frank English (middle front with pitchfork). Family photograph Noc

On 20 September the young man was riding a horse whilst carting manure.  The horse took fright and ran away with him.  He clung to the harness for some distance but was flung off.  The wheel of the cart ran over him.  He was taken home to the English family and tended with as much kindness and sympathy as if he was their own child.  A doctor was summoned but there was little hope of his recovery.  Sarah English had no money to pay the medical bill and promised to sell a watch left to her by her first husband to raise the money. 

However the daughters of local MP William Tyssen-Amherst of Didlington Hall heard what had happened.  They visited the Dane and gave orders for everything necessary to be provided for him.  The Catholic priest from nearby Oxborough village also attended him.  Sadly the sailor died on 21 September.

The Danish authorities had been informed by Mr Tyssen-Amherst and they pledged to meet the funeral expenses.  The sailor was buried in Oxborough churchyard on 23 September under the name of Carl Hansen aged 19, although local newspaper reports call him Carl Jorgensen.

Such accidents were far from uncommon.  One year later, in September 1882, a cousin of William English was killed in a very similar way in Oxborough.  Four year-old Walter English was taking food to his father in the harvest field when a horse took fright and bolted.  The tumbril wheel ran over the child and killed him instantly. He too is buried in Oxborough churchyard.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
British Newspaper Archive e.g. Norwich Mercury 1 October 1881, Norwich Chronicle 1 October 1881, Norwich Mercury 13 September 1882.

 

19 April 2018

The Plans, Maps and Views of Lieutenant-General William Skinner, Chief Engineer of Great Britain

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Born to a merchant in St Kitts in the Caribbean, William Skinner (1700-1780) lost his parents at a young age and was adopted by his Aunt and her new husband Captain Talbot Edwards, Chief Engineer in Barbados and the Leeward Islands.

Skinner was educated at military colleges in Paris and Vienna and received his warrant as practitioner engineer in 1719. By 1757 he had risen through the ranks to become Colonel William Skinner, Chief Engineer of Great Britain, and in 1770 he was made Lieutenant-General.

Image 1A View in Newfoundland (Add MS 33233, f. 26)

At the British Library we hold Skinner’s personal collection of maps, plans, surveys and views (Add MS 33231-33233) which show the variety of places where he worked throughout his career, as well as giving an insight into the working process of a military engineer in the 18th century. 

From the start of his career Skinner was sent all over the world.  He became known as an authority on fortifications, and worked on important projects including the building of fortifications on Menorca and surveying Gibraltar, where he later served as Director of Engineering.

Image 3A View of the South Front of the Mountain of Gibraltar (Maps K.Top.72.48.d.)

After the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Skinner was asked to lead a major project to build fortifications in the Highlands. Fort George, built on the sea front north-east of Inverness, was finally completed in 1769 and is still in use today.

Image 4A Plan of Fort George (Maps K.Top.50.33.)

Skinner became Chief Engineer in 1757, just after the Seven Years War (1756-1763) had begun, and many projects that he worked on at this time were as a result of this conflict. In 1761 Skinner was sent to Belle Île in France, which had been captured by the British in order to have a base from which to attack the French mainland. General Studholme Hodgson who had led the raid on the island, complained about ‘the set of wretches I have for engineers’, at which point Skinner was brought in to survey the defences and provide accommodation and shelter for the Armed Forces which had been left to hold the island.

Image 5Plan of the Citadel and Part of the Town of Palais Belle-Isle (Add MS 33232, f. 3)

As Chief Engineer all military building projects needed to be submitted for his approval. One such project was the building of fortifications around St John’s in Eastern Newfoundland. This area had been reclaimed from the French in 1762 after the Battle of Signal Hill, which was the final battle of the Seven Years War in North America.

Image 6A View of Conception Bay, Newfoundland (Add MS 33233, f. 34)

William Skinner died on Christmas Day 1780. He kept on working right up until the end of his life, and had passed on his engineering talent to his grandson, who worked successfully as an engineer in the US.

All the items from Skinner’s collection are available to be viewed in the British Library Reading Rooms, and one of his views of Newfoundland (Add MS 33233, f. 34) can currently be seen in our Treasures Gallery.

Stephen Noble
Modern Archives and Manuscripts

Catalogue links:

Maps and Plans, chiefly of fortifications or surveys for military purposes, Add MS 33231 A-PP
Surveys of Belle Isle, France, and plans and sections of its fortifications during the British occupation after its capture in 1761, Add MS 33232
Views of fortifications and landscapes, Add MS 33233

 

13 April 2018

When the driver crosses his fingers – motoring superstitions

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It’s Friday the Thirteenth, an ideal day for sharing a story about superstitious behaviour.  So here are some superstitions just for motorists.

According to an article in the Leicester Daily Mercury of 19 June 1939; ‘…even the Age of Machinery has its own superstitions.  A philosopher might think that the era which has produced the internal combustion engine among other things, would be above superstitious beliefs only fit for the dim dawn of mankind, when people lived in terror of the incalculable caprices of gods and demons, beneficent or very much the reverse. Far from it!  The man who drives the mechanised vehicle has his own private fancies about good or ill fortune, just like the man who urged his string of pack-horses across the trackless waste of mediaeval England’.

Car driver cropped N10002-55Detail from cover of menu for annual banquet of National Association of Automobile manufacturers 22 January 1904 - C.120.f.2 volume 3, no.32 Images Online  Noc


Here are some of the superstitions described:
• Long-distance lorry drivers do not like driving on Wednesdays.
• Bus drivers don’t like Friday the Thirteenth.
• It is unlucky for drivers to turn back after starting out for work.  Never go back indoors to collect a forgotten lunch box.  The bad luck starts as soon as you cross the threshold, so stand in the road and ask someone to bring your sandwiches out to you.
• A taxi driver who has had a streak of long waits for fares will queue in the cab rank until first in line and then drive off without taking a passenger.  In this way, the bad luck shifts to the next driver in the line.
• Beware meeting a cross-eyed woman when starting out in the morning – break the bad spell by getting into conversation with her.
• A cab driver will not change the first piece of silver taken each day but stow it away in a pocket.
• It is unlucky to lose a glove but lucky to find a rusty nail.
• Running over a tin can will bring misfortune.

How many of these superstitions are still observed today?  I’m off to look for a rusty nail to keep in my car just in case…

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
Michael Compton, ‘When the driver crosses his fingers’ - Leicester Daily Mercury 19 June 1939 British Newspaper Archive

 

29 March 2018

Love and tragedy in the British Library: The story of Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling Part 2

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Edward Aveling was a well-known public thinker, noted for his secularist views and socialist politics. In 1882 he registered to the Reading Room at the British Museum, which set the stage for his romantic pursuits as much as intellectual ones.

Aveling-EdwardEdward Bibbins Aveling - Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, Moscow via Marxists Internet Archive CC BY-SA 3.0 logo


In his essay ‘Some humours of the reading room at the British Museum’, Edward suggested that ‘a special district should be set aside for ugly readers’ with a police force to ‘prevent those who were plucked and dissatisfied from forcibly asserting their right to a place amongst the well-favoured’. Aveling’s piece, written for Progress journal, displays his savage wit and weakness for ‘dainty-figured, sweet-faced women’. 

Humours of the reading room 1Edward Aveling, ‘Some humours of the reading room at the British Museum’, Progress (1883). P.P.5857.e.

Unscrupulous, spendthrift, and reptilian in appearance, Aveling was roundly disliked by many of his peers. However, he possessed a charm that exceeded the sum of his parts, and proved an unaccountably seductive figure. In 1883, Aveling first encountered Eleanor Marx in the Reading Room, and commissioned her to write a short biography of her father for Progress. The two quickly fell in love. By June of 1884, they were presenting as married; but only unofficially, since Eleanor was under the impression that Aveling had another wife from whom he was long separated but could not divorce. As she told her friend, writer Dollie Radford:
‘Well then this it is – I am going to live with Edward Aveling as his wife. You know he is married, and that I cannot be his wife legally, but it will be a true marriage to me – just as much as if a dozen registrars had officiated…’

Photo 27.09.17  14 58 14 Photo 27.09.17  14 58 25 Photo 27.09.17  14 58 29 (2)Letter from Eleanor Marx to Dollie Radford, 30 June 1884. Add MS 89029-1-25.


Eleanor and Edward collaborated in their political work, which included the pamphlet The Woman Question: From a Socialist Point of View. But Aveling's egalitarian mores did not extend to his home life. His hot temper, unexplained absences and frequent infidelities made a mockery of Eleanor’s devotion to him, and the values they publically espoused.

Aveling, much like Eleanor’s father Karl, was known for borrowing money. The British Library holds various records of his debts, including one of £50 to the artist William Morris. ‘I regret to say,’ he writes in a letter dated December 1896, ‘that I am not in a position to repay now. Long arrears of difficulties are still slowly being cleared off’. Eleanor shouldered the burden of Aveling’s spending, settling his scores from her own income.

Photo 03.10.17  11 14 08 Photo 03.10.17  11 14 15Letter from Edward Aveling to William Morris’s agent, 1 December 1896. Add MS 45346, f. 96.

Sometime between 27 and 31 March 1898, Eleanor discovered that Aveling – under an assumed name – had secretly married his mistress, a young actress named Eva Frye. We know not how the revelation came about, but for Eleanor, it proved a fatal blow. On the morning of 31 March, she was found dead in her room, having swallowed a phial of prussic acid. Though the exact circumstances of her demise remain unclear, the socialist community generally blamed Aveling for Eleanor’s death. ‘I have little doubt in my mind,’ wrote Olive Schreiner, ‘that she discovered a fresh infidelity of Aveling’s, and that ended all. I don’t know if you know the life she had with him: she has come to me nearly mad having found him in her own bedroom with two prostitutes... I am so glad Eleanor is dead. It is such a mercy she has escaped from him’.


 Schreiner 1
Schreiner 2
Schreiner 3Letter from Olive Schreiner to Dollie Radford, June 1898. Add MS 89029-1-26.

 

Izzy Gibbin
Doctoral student, University College London - Anthropology department

Further reading:
Rachel Holmes, Eleanor Marx: A Life (London, 2014) [ELD.DS.71583]
Tara Bergin, The tragic death of Eleanor Marx (Manchester, 2017) [DRT ELD.DS.167611]
John Stokes (ed.), Eleanor Marx (1855-1898): Life, Work, Contacts (Aldershot, 2000) [YC.2000.a.13685]
Yvonne Kapp, Eleanor Marx – Volume I: Family Life 1855-1883; Volume II: The Crowded Years 1884-1898 (London, 1972-6) [X.0809/449]
Chushichi Tsuzuki, The Life of Eleanor Marx 1855-1898: A Socialist Tragedy (Oxford, 1967) [X.709/5699]

Love and tragedy in the British Library: The story of Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling Part 1

Discover the links between the British Library and Karl Marx and his daughter Eleanor, through original documents from their work in the British Museum Reading Room and their political activism in London. Free exhibition in The Sir John Ritblat: Treasures Gallery 1 May-5 August 2018.