Untold lives blog

597 posts categorized "Journeys"

19 October 2023

Henry Harpur – JMW Turner’s Cousin and Lawyer (Part 1)

Researching JMW Turner’s cousin, Henry Harpur, is complicated by the fact that he was Henry Harpur lV.  Henry Harpur l was a solicitor who rented a house in Islington to Turner’s grandparents, William and Sarah Marshall.  Their daughter Sarah married the landlord’s son, Henry Harpur ll.  Sarah was the sister of Turner’s mother, Mary.

Henry Harpur ll left London to become vicar of St Giles, Tonbridge, from 1756 to 1791.  Turner is believed to have stayed with Harpur during his summer holidays and on one visit painted a scene of Tonbridge Castle.

Turner's painting of Tonbridge Castle Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Tonbridge Castle, Kent'. Grey and blue wash over graphite, on paper. 1794. Accession Number: 1588 Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Harpur’s son, Henry Harpur lll, returned to London, where he became a successful lawyer in Westminster, in partnership with a baronet.  He married Elizabeth Lambert at St Giles, Camberwell, on 21 October 1800; by this time the couple already had three children.  Their son, Henry Harpur lV, was probably born on 18 June 1791 and baptised at Christ Church, Southwark on 1 January 1792; he also entered the legal profession.  Despite the sixteen years’ difference in their ages, he and Turner had a close personal and professional relationship for nearly 50 years.

Painting of Henry Harpur IVPainting of Henry Harpur lV - Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Art Collection


Henry married Eleanor Watkins on 11 May 1810 at Christ Church, Southwark and they set up house in Lambeth.  Eleanor was nine years older than Henry.

In 1820, Henry acted for himself and Turner in the challenge to their uncle Joseph Marshall’s will and, as a result, he became the owner of two properties in Wapping: numbers 9 and 10 New Crane, at the southern end of New Gravel Lane (now Garnet Street).

Henry and Eleanor accompanied Turner in 1840 on his trip to Venice, as far as Bregenz on the Rhine.  Leaving Turner, they next visited the Swiss Alps and then went south, via the lakes, to Italy, ending up in Milan.  While Turner was in Venice, Eleanor and Henry wrote to him, enthusing about the scenery in the Alps.  This may well have influenced Turner’s decision to visit Switzerland the following year.

Death notice for Eleanor Harpur from Morning Herald 25 June 1846Death notice for Eleanor Harpur Morning Herald (London) 25 June 1846 British Newspaper Archive

Eleanor Harpur died on 24 June 1846, aged 64.  She and Henry had no children.  On 22 December 1848, Henry married a widow, Amelia Stubbs, née Cotterell, at St James Westminster.

Henry retired as a solicitor in 1849 but still took care of Turner’s affairs and remained a close personal friend.  When Turner’s housekeeper, Hannah Danby, discovered where Turner was living with Sophia Booth, shortly before his death, it was Henry whom she informed of his whereabouts.  Hannah didn’t know that Henry and Amelia had remained in close contact with Turner and had visited him in Chelsea many times during his final illness.  It was Henry who, at the end of November 1851, told the Academy Treasurer, Philip Hardwick, that Turner would not be able to dine with him on Christmas Day ‘as was his custom’ because he was ‘confined to bed and had been since the commencement of October’.

Henry continued to visit Turner in his final days and later told his friend, the painter David Roberts, that Turner was ‘speechless two days at the end’.  This rather spoils the story that Turner expired with the words, ‘The sun is God’ on his lips.  After Turner’s death, to avoid any possible scandal about his relationship with Sophia Booth, Henry and Philip Hardwick arranged to move the body to Turner’s gallery in Queen Anne Street.  Turner had named Henry as his chief executor.


CC-BY
David Meaden
Independent Researcher

Creative Commons Attribution licence

Further reading:
Selby Whittingham, Of Geese, Mallards and Drakes: Some Notes on Turner's Family, with contributions from others, Part 4 The Marshalls & Harpurs, Independent Turner Society (1999).
Franny Moyle, The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W.Turner (London, 2016).

Henry Harpur – JMW Turner’s Cousin and Lawyer (Part 2)

Turner's House logo

Turner’s restored house in Twickenham is open to visitors.

 

10 October 2023

A case of bigamy

On 17 February 1816 Captain George Harrower, a free mariner with the East India Company, stood trial at the Old Bailey, accused of bigamy.

Newspaper report of Harrower's bigamy trial Madras Courier 13 August 1816

Extract from report of Harrower's bigamy trial Madras Courier 13 August 1816

It was claimed that on 5 February 1794 Captain Harrower had married Miss Mary Usher in Bombay, and that he had been married for a second time on 12 October 1812 in London to Miss Susannah Ann Giblet, despite knowing that his first wife was alive and well in India.

Marriage entry, Bombay, 5 February 1794, of Mr George Harraway [Harrower] and Miss Mary UsherIOR/N 3/3 f.389 Marriage entry, Bombay, 5 February 1794, of Mr George Harraway [Harrower] and Miss Mary Usher

The Reverend Arnold Burrowes, the East India Company’s Chaplain in Bombay in 1794 who was acquainted with both Captain Harrower and Miss Usher. was deposed to give testimony on the validity of the marriage.  The entry in the copy marriage register sent to London at the end of 1794 was produced as evidence.

Burrowes' testimony also included that he had visited Mrs Harrower in Bombay in November 1813 prior to his return to England, and had been given three letters for a Mr Giblet, a butcher in London.  He delivered these letters in June 1814 along with news of his visit to Mrs Harrower for both the Captain and Mr Giblet’s information, which is how Mr Giblet learned of his son-in-law’s bigamy.

Mr Giblet then visited Bow Street Police Station and requested that his son-in-law be arrested, but he could not be found, as Captain Harrower had fled to France in the company of a Mr Thompson as he ‘feared for his life because of false accusations of Bigamy against him’.

Mr Thompson gave testimony and during cross-examination admitted he had asked Captain Harrower outright whether his first wife was still alive, and that the Captain had admitted it.  He had then told several people what he had learned on his return to England.

Captain Harrower’s own testimony made no mention at all of his first his wife.  He spoke solely of his relationship with Mr Giblet, who was insolvent, and claimed had been extorting him for money having handed over £30,000 since 1812.  He also accused Mr Giblet of having stolen £10,000 that had been settled on his daughter as part of the marriage agreement in 1812.

The judge in summing up the trial observed that only two questions actually mattered. Was the accused legally married to Miss Mary Usher in 1794, and was his second marriage to Miss Giblet in 1812 therefore an act of bigamy?

The jury found Captain Harrower guilty of bigamy, and he was sentenced on 22 February 1816 to six months in Newgate Gaol.

According to the trial reports following the judge’s verdict Susannah Harrower/Giblet was ‘bathed in tears’ and had to be conveyed out of the courtroom.  Her father and Mr Thompson were subjected to much ‘hooting and hissing’ and Mr Thompson was even pelted with mud and dirt.

Captain Harrower lived with Susannah for the rest of his life, and in 1818 the couple petitioned unsuccessfully for his conviction to be pardoned.  They applied again in 1828 for the conviction to be overturned but were still unsuccessful.  It is likely the application was made knowing that Mrs Mary Harrower had died in Bombay in January 1826 and that Captain Harrower was now legally a widower.

Bombay burial register entry for Mary Harrower January 1826Burial entry for  Mary Harrower in Bombay January 1826 IOR/N/3/7 p.429

 George Harrower died in Edinburgh on 9 August 1829.  Susannah Ann Harrower was remarried In 1833 to John Hutchinson.

Karen Stapley
Curator, India Office Records

Further Reading:
Madras Courier, 13 August 1816 accessed via British Newspaper Archive 21 September 2023.
IOR/N/3/3 f.389 – marriage entry, Bombay, 5 February 1794, of Mr George Harrower & Miss Mary Usher in Bombay (Captain Harrower is mistakenly recorded as Harraway in the entry).
IOR/N/3/7 p.429 – burial entry, Bombay, 9 January 1826, for Mrs Mary Harrower.

 

05 October 2023

What about the East India Company Women? Emma Roberts and East India Voyagers

In 1827 Emma Roberts published her first book Memoirs of the Rival Houses of York and Lancaster.  The following year she sailed to India in 1828 on board the ship Sir David Scott with her sister Laura who was married to Captain Robert Adair McNaghten of the Bengal Infantry.  The arrival in Calcutta of this ‘celebrated writer’ was announced in the local press.  India became a major focus of Emma’s writing from this point in her life.

East Indiaman Sir David Scott  at the entrance of the Straights of Sunda. February 1830East Indiaman Sir David Scott  at the entrance of the Straights of Sunda. February 1830, by E. Duncan, handcoloured aquatint published by W. J. Huggins, London, 1833 via Wikimedia

Emma published a book of poetry entitled Oriental Scenes, and edited and composed articles for the Oriental Observer in Calcutta.  Laura died in October 1830, and in 1832 Emma returned to London where she wrote on a wide variety of topics.  But in 1839 she travelled to India taking the overland route via France and Egypt.  She arrived in Bombay in November and quickly became very busy with writing, editing, and a project to provide work for India women.  Sadly she fell ill in April 1840 and moved to Poona hoping to aid her recovery, but died there in September.  Emma was buried on 17 September as a spinster, ‘years unknown’.

Burial register entry at Poona for Emma Roberts 17 September 1840Burial entry for Emma Roberts at Poona 17 September 1840 IOR/N/3/14 p.480

Emma’s book The East India Voyager, or ten minutes’ advice to the outward bound was published in 1839.  There were chapters on: Choice of Cabin; Ladies’ Outfit; Desultory Remarks; Domestic Economy, Diet, Clothing ; The Civil Service; Cadets; The Medical Service; Desultory Remarks upon the Office Of Chaplain; The Overland Journey; Journey from London to Bombay; Expenditure on Journey to Bombay.

The choice of cabin was not so important for young men on the ship as they spent the greater part of their time on deck.  But they were advised to secure at least part of a cabin, however economical they were trying to be, since a berth in steerage was particularly disagreeable.

Ladies, married or single, should opt for upper, or poop, cabins which were light and airy.  The ports seldom had to be shut even in the roughest weather.  The cuddy, where meals were served, was only a few steps away, so there was no need to go out on deck, avoiding the annoyance of a rolling vessel and the risk of meeting crew members.  The disadvantages of the upper cabins was the noise overhead – sailors trampling, ropes dragging, blocks falling, the banging of the hen coops, and the cackling of poultry.  But Emma thought this was good preparation for life in India, and ladies could stop their ears with cotton.

The cabin floor needed to be covered with carpet or mats, and a small rug was useful to put under the feet when eating in the cuddy where the boards were very cold.  The ship’s carpenter could be asked to put up swinging shelves and a piece of board with holes of different sizes for wine glasses, tea cups and tumblers.  Soap was useful as a gift for crew members doing odd jobs, as was brandy because many sailors did not like the rum provided.

Emma also gave advice on the care of dogs on board.  They needed to be brushed, and young dogs were to be given a cup of tea every day, preferably green, with milk and sugar.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator. East India Company Records

Further reading:
Emma Roberts, The East India Voyager, or ten minutes’ advice to the outward bound (London, 1839)
British Newspaper Archive e.g. Bombay Gazette 18 June 1828
For other works by Emma Roberts, search Explore the British Library

03 October 2023

François Frederic Roget - lecturer, historian, ski mountaineer and Huguenot

The pension records of the East India Company and India Office can sometimes lead to the discovery of fascinating individuals whom pensioners or their children had married.

One such individual is Professor François Frederic Roget, a university lecturer, historian, High Alps ski mountaineer and Huguenot.

Cover of Ski-Runs in the High Alps  with a drawing of a bearded man on a mountain slope, presumably F F Roget

Born in Geneva in 1859, he was the son of Philippe Roget and grandson of François Roget a writer and Professor of Classical History at Geneva.  Roget was educated in Geneva and Heidelberg before coming to England (where his mother originated) to work first as a schoolmaster.  He eventually settled in Edinburgh, working first at Fettes College and later at the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews.

In 1896 Roget returned to Geneva where he took up a post at the University of Geneva lecturing on French and English Literature, and he would remained connected with the University for the next 40 years.

As well as his academic work, Professor Roget was also a Genevan historian and many of his papers and publications promoted the Huguenot virtues and values to which he ascribed.  He became a Fellow of the Huguenot Society in 1887 and an Honorary Fellow in 1924, writing many papers and giving many speeches including one for the monument erected in Geneva to commemorate the Calvinistic Reformation.  He was also a prolific author, with over 70 published works to his name covering his professional and personal interests.

His love of Geneva extended to the mountains and he had a reputation both as a very experienced Alpinist and as a pioneer of High Alpine mountaineering on ski.  In January 1909 he succeeded, along with Arnold Lund, to complete a high level traverse of the Bernese Oberland from end to end.  The two men went from Kandersteg to Meieringen, and achieved the first ever winter ascent of the Finstaraarhorn.

Professor Roget was married 3 times and had a son and two daughters from his marriages.  He died in Geneva on 16 August 1938.

It is his marriage to his second wife, Mrs Mary Jane Hutchinson, which brought him into the Madras Medical Fund Contingent Pension Records.  Mrs Hutchinson was the widow of Alfred Hutchison Esq., a Canton merchant and the daughter of Dr Kenneth McKenzie Adams, a former Madras Assistant Surgeon.  Roget had become acquainted with her during his time in Edinburgh, and the couple married on 2 October 1896. They had one daughter Frances Ismay, born in Geneva in 1898.

Mrs Hutchinson’s father had been a contingent pension subscriber to the Madras Medical Fund, and this meant that following his death in 1859, Mary Jane had been entitled to a pension for any periods of time that she was either unmarried or widowed.  As her marriage to Professor Roget ended one such pension period, the details of the marriage were recorded in the fund registers.

Karen Stapley
Curator, India Office Records

Further Reading:
Ac.2073 Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London, Vol. 16 1938-1941, p. 204
IOR/L/AG/23/9/5 Madras Medical Fund List of Contingent Pensioners, 1867-1948

21 September 2023

What about the East India Company women? Mrs Moore and Raja Chandu Lal

In the British Library, there is a portrait of Raja Chandu Lal, the famous minister to the Nizam of Hyderabad from 1809 to 1843.  He was an influential figure who was so powerful that the British suspiciously regarded him as the proxy ruler of Hyderabad.  The on-line catalogue entry for the portrait says that it was a gift from 'Mrs Moore'.  Who was she, and why did she have a painting of a man who Hyderabad’s British resident, Sir Charles Metcalfe, described as having 'the plausibility ascribed to Satan'?

Portrait of Raja Chandu Lal.  Three-quarter-length portrait, dressed in a white muslin robe and turban.British Library, Foster 16 – Portrait of Raja Chandu Lal (1809-1843) by John Godwin Williams (fl.1813-1837), c.1836.  Given to the India Office by Sophia Stewart Moore, née Yates (1808-1905), probably in the 1870s.

Sophia Stewart Yates was born at Madras in 1808.  Her parents, Richard Hassels Yates of the Madras Army and Benjamina, had ten children.  Sophia and her sisters were probably married off quite young, and her brothers would have been sent into the army.  On 29 July 1827, when she was 19, she married John Arthur Moore, an employee of the Nizam of Hyderabad from 1817 to 1838.  He began as a soldier in Hyderabad’s army, then served as the Nizam’s Military Secretary and Auditor of Accounts for 14 years.  He retired from the Nizam’s service for health reasons and returned to Britain with Sophia in 1839.

The painting of Raja Chandu Lal was printed in London as a mezzotint in 1841 by Charles Turner.  The caption below the mezzotint, written in English and Persian, celebrates Raja Chandu Lal as the 'Rajah of Rajahs… the devoted servant of Asuf Jah who is the Roostum of his Age'.   It is impossible to say why the mezzotint was commissioned, but it might relate to Raja Chandu Lal granting Major Moore a generous pension.

Portrait of Raja Chandu Lal.  Portrait, three-quarter length; seated to right in an armchair: wearing a jewelled cap and tunic, necklaces, bracelets on both wrists, and rings on the ring and little fingers of his right hand, resting on his lap. printed in London as a mezzotintBritish Museum, 1861,0810.148 – Mezzotint of John Godwin Williams’ portrait of Raja Chandu Lal.  Engraved in 1841 by Charles Turner, 50 Warren Street, Fitzroy Square, London.

Unfortunately, the East India Company’s directors in London blocked Major Moore from receiving the pension of 500 rupees a month, claiming that it was 'extremely inexpedient for the Local Government to allow British Officers to be pensioned by the Nizam’s Government or by that of any other Native Prince or Chief'.  Several 'influential men petitioned the Company to allow him to collect the pension, including Charles Metcalfe, the resident at Hyderabad who once described Raja Chandu Lal as 'Satan'.

John Arthur Moore died on 7 July 1860, when Sophia was 52.  Following the East India Company’s liquidation and absorption into the British state, Adolphus Warburton Moore (1841-1887), John and Sophia’s son, became the India Office’s Political Secretary in the 1870s.  He prompted his mother to give the portrait of Raja Chandu Lal to the India Office.

Sophia died in 1905, at the age of 97.  It is intriguing to think that Raja Chandu Lal, a man who the British caricatured as evil, was the subject of a portrait that John and Sophia Moore cherished.  One wonders if young Sophia, who moved to Hyderabad as a teenager and left in her early 30s, personally knew Raja Chandu Lal.  It seems he was kind to her and her husband.

CC-BY Jennifer Howes
Art Historian specialising in South Asia

Creative Commons Attribution licence

Further reading:
Account of John Arthur Moore’s service in India, including letters of support from Charles Metcalfe and Lord Elphinstone to receive a pension from the Nizam of Hyderabad. British Library, IOR/F/4/1780/73179, f.1v-5.
Archer, Mildred. The India Office Collection of Paintings and Sculpture (London: 1986), 47-48.
Foster, William. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Paintings, Statues, &c. in the India Office (London: 1924), 16.
Raja Chandu Lal. 'Translation of a note from the Minister, under date 27th November 1838 to the Resident'. British Library, IOR/F/4/1780/73179, f.19.

 

12 September 2023

How to smuggle an elephant

The British government benefitted greatly from a number of structures and processes already in place in the region of South Asia.  An important but not very celebrated one was the use of elephants as a hybrid of machinery and workforce.  Not only did they serve to transport products, they were also essential in routine industrial work like loading and unloading ships.

Photograph of elephants at work in Rangoon, moving stone blocksElephants at work in Rangoon. Photographer Philip Adolphe  Klier (1845-1911) British Library Photo 88/1(22) 

Elephants at work in India, moving heavy objects

Elephants at work from Annie Brassey, The Last Voyage - to India and Australia, in the ‘Sunbeam’, New York: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1889, pp.131 (W51/1046)


Because of their crucial function in the carrying out of human plans, elephants were highly valued.  That made interest and research in those animals flourish and even encouraged the development of vaccines.  However, the knowledge produced was highly focused on productivity and disregarded most local knowledge.

Drawings of four elephants showing their diseasesElephants and their diseases: a treatise on elephants. British Library Or 13916 (f.2r)

The importance of elephants made them vulnerable not only to exploitation but also to smuggling and fraud.  A file in the India Office Records holds correspondence associated with the case of Mr Dalrymple-Clark, Superintendent of the Government kheddas, enclosures to tame and keep wild elephants.

Military officers supervising the rounding up of elephants in Ceylon Capturing elephants in Ceylon. c.1825. Military officers supervising the rounding up of elephants. British Library WD2096 

Ian Hew Warrender Clark was born in Chelsea on 1 December 1853, the son of Colonel John Clark and Charlotte Sophia Dalrymple.  He later changed his surname to Dalrymple-Clark.  On 26 November 1873 Dalrymple-Clark joined the Bengal Police Department.  He was promoted to District Superintendent in July 1886, and then appointed Superintendent of Kheddas in Burma in October 1902, a position of responsibility.  However Dalrymple-Clark apparently profited from selling government elephants privately under the name of a Mr Green.  Dalrymple-Clark was said to have reported that an outbreak of anthrax had killed 26 elephants, giving him cover to sell them to private companies in the region himself.  That resulted in him being chased in India and London by deputy superintendent Mr Soord.  Having retired to England, he was arrested in London in December 1909 under the Fugitive Offenders Act and prosecuted for breach of trust and falsification of accounts.

Letter concerning enquiry into Dalrymple-Clark - first page Letter concerning enquiry into Dalrymple-Clark - second pageEnquiry regarding Dalrymple-Clark IOR/L/PJ/6/504, File 456


In early 1910, Dalrymple-Clark returned to face trial in Rangoon.  In July, after a trial involving an elephant identity parade, he was found not guilty of criminal breach of trust.  In February 1911 he was cleared of falsifying elephant returns.  His assistant superintendent, John Briscoe Birch, and two Indian members of staff, Mukerji and Gupta, were convicted of criminal breach of trust and sentenced to five years in prison.

The India Office Records holds published and manuscript material from circa 1600 to 1948 and relating to the British experience in India, including both official and private papers.  The Legal Adviser’s Records (IOR/L/L) hold the records of cases of legal dispute in British territory in South Asia.  That material is invaluable in providing interesting insights into local entanglements between human, animal and environmental agents.

Bianca Miranda Cardoso
Manuscripts Cataloguer

Further reading:
IOR/L/L/8/178 Correspondence associated with the case of Dalrymple-Clarke, prosecuted for breach of trust and falsification of accounts regarding Government elephants and arrested in London under the Fugitive Offenders Act, Dec 1909-Oct 1911.
IOR/L/PJ/6/1061, File 432 - Allowances for Mr Soord while on deputation to England in connection with the criminal prosecution of Mr Dalrymple-Clark.
British Newspaper Archive- many articles on the ‘Kheddah cases’
Colonizing elephants: animal agency, undead capital and imperial science in British Burma | BJHS Themes | Cambridge Core 2, 169-189. 
Saha, J. (2021). Vital Resources. In Colonizing Animals (pp. 51-82). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
How to ship your elephant 

 

07 September 2023

A Victorian holiday embarrassment

On holiday in Brittany in 1864, a Victorian clergyman from Norwich bravely tested the seaside facilities at St Malo, unfortunately with embarrassing results.

Head and shoulders portrait of Arthur Charles Copeman sporting a large beardPortrait of Arthur Charles Copeman via Wikimedia Commons

Three diaries of the Reverend Canon Arthur Charles Copeman (1824-1896), father of the medical scientist Sydney Monckton Copeman, have recently been added to the British Library’s collections.  Two describe the daily life of an English clergyman, while the third volume details a month-long tour around Brittany with his brother-in-law, seeing the sights.

Two weeks into the trip, the pair walked from Mont Dol to the town of St Malo.  Having secured a room in a local hotel, they made their way down to the beachfront, presumably to refresh themselves after their hot and dusty journey.

View of St Malo with windmills on the shore and boats sailing on the seaView of St Malo from Vues des côtes de France dans l'Ocean et dans la Méditerranée peintes et gravées par M. L. Garneray, decrites par M. Étienne de Jouy. British Library shelfmark: 650.b.7 Images Online

Copeman describes in detail what they discovered at the shore:
‘We found a congeries of little wooden cells ranged on the sea-ward side of a gentle slope which was thronged with ye ladies & gentlemen of S.Malo with whom it appears the favourite and fashionable promenade – and an office for the issue of bathing tickets which was beset with applicants’.
(Congeries, an unfamiliar word, defined by the OED as ‘a collection of things merely massed or heaped together’.)

Having secured a bathing ticket, the pair were pleasantly surprised to find it entitled them to temporary possession of two of the beach huts, together with towels and bathing costumes.

The Reverend was particularly taken with the available attire, enthusing it was ‘of the simplest construction but of imposing & indescribable effect’.  Once within this pair of loose blue shorts and sleeved ‘gaberdine’ top, he thought he would have been unrecognisable to even his closest friends.  However, Copeman believed he and his companion attracted ‘the admiring inspection of the promenade’ as made their way down to the sea.

And yet, their favoured bathing suits would prove to be their undoing.

‘When emerging after a delightful bathe, we found our wondrous costume clinging everywhere tenaciously to the skin & bringing out in strong relief every irregularity of a development somewhat obtrusively bony.’

Shocked by the betrayal of their previously modest attire, the pair ‘took fright & with a leap & a run we regained our dressing houses whence were heard roars of convulsive laughter till we re-appeared in civilised attire’.

Bathing at Brighton - bathers standing in the waves in front of the bathing machines

Bathing at Brighton from George Cruikshank, Cruikshank's sketches British Library shelfmark: RB.23.a.34787 Images Online

It is perhaps reassuring to know that self-consciousness in a bathing costume is not new, and was affecting people nearly 160 years ago.  Fortunately, the Reverend also refers elsewhere in his journal to other occasions when he bathed without incident, away from the prying eyes of a popular promenade, in locations more suitable to the shyer swimmer.

I am pleased to report that Copeman did not let this event dampen his spirits or lessen his opinion of St Malo, as this final quotation demonstrates:
‘Joking apart however no one can fail to be struck with the admirable arrangements here & elsewhere on ye French coast for the enjoyment & safety of the bathers’.

Matthew Waters
Manuscripts Cataloguer

Further reading:
Add MS 89721/3 - Journal of the Reverend Arthur Copeman of a walking tour of Brittany, France.

 

05 September 2023

Sanatorium for European soldiers in Western Australia

In 1859 a British Army medical officer, Henry Huggins Jones, published a booklet: Western Australia, recommended as a sanatorium, for the restoration to health and usefulness of European soldiers, prostrated by those diseases of India, for which the climate of the hill stations does not afford a remedy.

Title page of 'Western Australia, recommended as a sanatorium, for the restoration to health and usefulness of European soldiers'Title page of Western Australia, recommended as a sanatorium, for the restoration to health and usefulness of European soldiers

The ‘invaliding season’ in India started at the end of autumn.  Regimental officers put forward the names of men incapacitated for further Indian service.  The annual invaliding board then passed the men who usually went back to the UK.  If other men showed symptoms of needing a change of climate after the board had met, the army surgeon had no alternative but to carry on treating them unless the regiment was stationed within reach of a sanatorium.  Jones believed that men were dying unnecessarily and proposed that they be taken from India to Western Australia.  The voyage by steam vessel would be beneficial because of the ‘health-reviving influence of the S.E. trade wind’.

Jones criticised military hygiene – cramped living quarters, stinking urinals, ‘confined’ bathrooms, bad drainage, imperfect clothing, unfiltered water, badly managed cooking.  Western Australia offered a plentiful supply of fresh water, natural products and food crops.  It was free from epidemics which hit other parts of Australia.  There were few fever cases, and no syphilis.  Dysentery, diarrhoea, and liver disease were rare.  The climate was healthy: from mid-March to the beginning of November ‘not surpassed by any in the world’.  During April to October ’there is an elasticity of the atmosphere indescribably exhilarating, when nature allows a license to the European, denied to the resident of India.  Man feels intended not to die’.

The advantages of the plan were said to be:
• Many useful lives would not be lost in India.
• Soldiers might like Australia and take their discharge to settle there rather than be invalided to the UK.
• Once their health improved, soldiers could be dispersed throughout the colony to strengthen the military presence.
• If there was another uprising in India, an immediate large force would be available in Australia.

A principal hospital at Perth and convalescent barracks in different parts of the colony could be staffed with medical officers from India who had suffered from the climate.  Once recovered, soldiers could be returned to India in early November to avoid the hot season when temperatures could reach over 100˚F.  This heat caused lassitude ‘though totally differing from the same sensation experienced in India’.

Henry Huggins Jones had been born in India.  He was baptised in Calcutta on 8 February 1824, the son of John Benjamin Jones, a writer in Palmers & Co’s office, and his wife Frances.  He joined the British Army as a surgeon and served in both India and Australia.  In 1854 Jones married Frances (Fanny) Brockman at Gingin in Western Australia.  Henry and Fanny had eight children, born across the globe where the Army postings took them: Australia, India, Ireland and Gibraltar.

Jones was appointed to the rank of Surgeon Major in January 1869 on completion of 20 years’ service.  However he died on 21 May 1869 at his home in Bristol aged 46, leaving Fanny to raise their family, the youngest aged just eleven months.  Fanny did not remarry and died in Bristol on 21 February 1925.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
Jones’s postings to different British Army regiments can be traced through the British Newspaper Archive – his name is often recorded as Henry Higgins Jones.

 

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