Untold lives blog

125 posts categorized "Leisure"

17 June 2021

Women’s football in the 18th century

Following on from our post celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Women’s FA Cup Final, this post delves back further into the history of the women’s game.

I was surprised to find a newspaper report of a women’s football match at Bath in October 1726.  ‘Yesterday a new and extraordinary Entertainment was set on Foot for the Divertion of our polite Gentry; and what should it be but a Match at Foot-Ball, play’d by six young Women of a Side, at the Bowling Green.’

Report of women's six-a-side football match 1726Report of women’s football match- Ipswich Journal 8 October 1726 British Newspaper Archive

Women’s football featured at the birthday celebrations held in 1790 at Brighton for the Prince of Wales and his brother the Duke of York.  There was a cricket match played by the Duke and ‘many gentlemen of rank and fashion’.  Other amusements included two 11-a-side football matches, one for the inhabitants of Brighton and the other for young women.  Each game had a prize of 5 guineas for the winning team.  There was also a ‘jingle-match’ won by John Baker who dressed up in bells and escaped capture by ten blindfolded people for half an hour.  Baker won a jacket, waistcoat, and gold-laced hat.

Another story which caught my eye was a report of a  football match held at Walton near Wetherby in Yorkshire in 1773.  The married gentlemen of Walton played the bachelors for a prize of 20 guineas.  A fiercely fought contest was waged for over an hour ‘with many falls and broken shinns given on each side’.  The wife of one of the married men was watching her husband being hard-pressed and decided to go to help him.  She was not intimidated by seeing him brought down by the superior strength of his antagonist, but went after the ball and secured victory for her husband’s team.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
British Newspaper Archive (also available via Findmypast)  - Ipswich Journal 8 October 1726; Chester Chronicle 3 September 1790; Leeds Intelligencer 2 March 1773.

 

15 June 2021

Personal Reflections on the Indian Political Service – Part Two: Life in the Gulf

This is the second of three blogs on Mss Eur F226, a collection of memoirs written by former members of the Indian Political Service (IPS).

Ten officers’ memoirs from Mss Eur F226 document service in the Persian Gulf and were recently digitised for online publication by the British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership.  Of these ten officers, all except Herbert Todd (1893-1977) were born between 1900 and 1915.  Naturally, they all served in the IPS, although several began their careers in the Indian Civil Service (ICS).  Some transferred to the British Diplomatic Service following Indian independence.  Their memoirs mainly cover the period 1920-47; a few officers also record their post-IPS careers and even their years spent in retirement.

It was common for an IPS officer to be posted to the Gulf for the first time at a relatively early stage in his career, usually to a junior position.  John ‘Jack’ Bazalgette, who arrived in Bushire [Bushehr] in the mid-1930s to take up the post of Under-Secretary at the Political Residency, remembers how a lack of work led to him being tasked with ‘sorting over the archives which dated back to before 1750 and were fascinating’.  It is intriguing to read of officers stumbling upon little-known details in the archives, much as cataloguers and researchers do today with the same material.

Contents page from John Bazalgette’s memoirContents page from John ‘Jack’ Bazalgette s memoir, 1984. Mss Eur F226/2, f. 2. © Estate of John Bazalgette

The tedious nature of imperial administration is well documented , and several memoirs describe a dearth of stimulating work, although perhaps this was a matter of opinion.  Hugh Rance, who was Assistant Political Agent in Bahrain just after the Second World War, found the work ‘interesting and extremely varied’, whereas his predecessor Michael Hadow describes it as ‘stultifying.’

In their spare time, many officers pursued the same leisure activities to which they were accustomed back home, albeit with notable differences.  Officers recall playing tennis and golf on ‘baked mud’ surfaces in Bushire.  While serving in Bahrain, Hugh Rance played in cricket matches against teams from the Royal Navy, the Bahrain Petroleum Company and the British Overseas Airways Corporation, on concrete or gravel pitches.

Some officers write of feeling isolated in their Gulf locations, whereas others describe active social lives.  According to Rance, Bahrain in the 1940s was ‘a great meeting place’, with many British officers and their families passing through, as well as British and United States expatriates arriving as oil company employees.  He remembers being out ‘nearly every night at some party or other’ when the weather was good.

Front cover of Hugh Rance’s memoir 'A Grandfather's Tale'Front cover of Hugh Rance’s memoir, 1984. Mss Eur F226/23, f. 1.  The copyright status is unknown.  Please contact copyright@bl.uk with any information you have regarding this item.

Unsurprisingly, the memoirs discuss the weather and climate at length.  There are numerous accounts of sleeping on roofs and bathing in irrigation tanks in attempts to stay cool during the summer months.  Some found it too much, took extended leave and never returned.  Others stayed on, until replaced by their equivalents from the Foreign Office in 1948. 

In sum, these ten memoirs provide a unique insight into one generation’s experiences of living and working in the Gulf during the last years of British India.

David Fitzpatrick
Content Specialist, Archivist, British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership

Further reading:
India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F226/2, 7, 10, 13, 22, 23, 26, 28, 30 and 34
Personal Reflections on the Indian Political Service – Part One: An Overview

 

20 May 2021

Personal Reflections on the Indian Political Service – Part One: An Overview

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the European Manuscripts section of the India Office Library and Records ran a project called the Indian Political Officers Scheme.  The project’s aim was to collect written accounts from ex-Indian Political Service (IPS) officers who had lived and served through the last decades of British India.  It followed on from an earlier successful project to collect the memoirs of ex-Indian Civil Service (ICS) members, which ran between 1974 and 1979.  A list was compiled of former IPS officers, and to each one a letter was sent outlining the project and soliciting contributions.

The resulting collection (Mss Eur F226) contains the memoirs of 35 former officers (or in some cases, their wives) who responded to the request, some of whom had enjoyed second careers in other spheres such as politics (e.g. Francis Pearson) and diplomacy (e.g. John Shattock and Michael Hadow).  Their memoirs mainly cover the period 1920-47, documenting service as political officers in the Indian States, the North-West Frontier Province, and Balochistan, as well as the Agencies, Residencies and Consulates in the Persian Gulf.  A few ex-officers also record their post-IPS careers and even their years in retirement.

Head and shoulders photographic portrait of Sir Francis Fenwick Pearson aged 58Sir Francis Fenwick Pearson, 1st Bt. (1911-1991). Photograph by Godfrey Argent, 26 November 1969. © National Portrait Gallery, London NPG x166029 National Portrait Gallery Creative Commons Licence

With the exception of Balraj Krishna Kapur, all the former officers were of British or Irish origin.  Some had family ties with British India; a few were also born there.  John Cotton writes of ‘a continuous connection with the Indian service in the direct line for more than one hundred and seventy years’, while Louis Pinhey notes that his great-grandfather was Surgeon-General of Madras [Chennai].  Both Hadow and Patrick Tandy were born in India, as was Charles Chenevix Trench (later a successful author), whose father also served in the IPS.  Many were from privileged families, although a few came from more humble beginnings, such as Thomas Rogers, the son of a shipbuilder, and Herbert Todd, who grew up on a farm in Kent.

Whilst the memoirs largely focus on experiences in the IPS, many of the authors also reflect on other aspects of their lives.  As a result, the memoirs abound with varied and often-amusing anecdotes of the kind that rarely surfaces in official correspondence.  There are stories of trips taken during leave, details of leisure pursuits, and glimpses into officers’ social lives.  Also mentioned are encounters with famous figures, some of which might be expected (e.g. Mahatma Gandhi), whereas others are rather surprising (e.g. Agatha Christie).

Head and shoulders photographic portrait of Sir Joseph Herbert Thompson aged 63Sir (Joseph) Herbert Thompson (1898-1984). Photograph by Godfrey Argent, 17 October 1961. © National Portrait Gallery, London NPG x171150 National Portrait Gallery Creative Commons Licence

Most of the memoirs were written at least 30 years on from the events they describe, in response to the request. Inevitably, the authors are less reserved in their memoirs than in official records, and consequently a greater number of passages contain offensive descriptions of members of colonised populations.

The reflections on British India are mainly positive.  There is some criticism of how Britain handled the transfer of power in 1947, and a few negative remarks about certain senior British officers and politicians, but mostly the authors remember the Empire and their roles within it with fondness.

David Fitzpatrick
Content Specialist, Archivist, British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership

Further reading:
India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F226 

 

07 May 2021

The Women’s FA Cup Final at 50: putting the women’s game on the record

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first Women’s FA Cup Final on 9 May 2021, Chris Slegg, journalist and stakeholder of the Women’s Football Association Archive, held at the British Library, explores his research into the women’s game.

Selection of Women’s Football Association programmes from the 1990sSelection of Women’s Football Association programmes from the 1990s. Copyright – Eleanor Dickens.

‘I’ve loved football my entire life.  My book shelves are crammed full of record books and history books about the game, and they are almost exclusively about the history of the men’s game.

It struck me that most football fans are familiar with the classic men’s FA Cup finals.  We all know about the great goals too.  The history of the Women’s FA Cup though has remained largely unknown.  Even finding a comprehensive list of every scorer in a Women’s FA Cup final was not possible.

So Patricia Gregory and I decided to combine our research and bring this history together.  Gregory is a former colleague of mine at the BBC and was a founding member of the Women’s Football Association.

The official magazine of the Women’s Football Association, July 1981.The official magazine of the Women’s Football Association, July 1981. Copyright – Patricia Gregory.

At the end of the 1960s she and her peers at the WFA fought the FA to overturn the ban on women playing that had stood since 1921.  They were successful in their efforts and set up the first ever national cup competition for women in the 1970-71 season which became the Women’s FA Cup we know today.

Those players who took to a bumpy pitch inside an athletics stadium at Crystal Palace as Southampton beat Scottish side Stewarton Thistle 4-1 in the 1971 final paved the way for what we have half a century on - a final attended by more than 40,000 fans (pre-Covid) at Wembley and watched by two million viewers live on the BBC as well as a fully professional Women’s Super League.

Patricia and I set about reading through every WFA newsletter and match programme we could find, as well as searching the British Newspaper Archive, interviewing dozens of former players and managers and viewing any surviving TV footage.

Together with the help of far too many people to mention we have undertaken the most comprehensive review of the Women’s FA Cup Final ever carried out.

Finally some of the statistical mysteries have now been solved.  While football fans are well-versed in the men’s Cup final trivia, through our research we have been able to establish the equivalent record holders in the women’s game for the first time.  We are hoping to surprise them soon with confirmation of their achievements.

“We wanted to celebrate the great games, great goals and great players throughout the decades and to fully recognise the achievements.  Even when the ban was overturned women players weren’t welcome and there was barely any coverage,” says Gregory.

Sexist newspaper coverage in the 70s and 80s was commonplace with reports written almost exclusively through male eyes.  Few journalists seemed to be able to resist referring to any errors as “boobs” and players even had their marital status disclosed during reports.

We’ve come a long way from there but it’s notable that the winners of the FA Vase (a competition for non-League men’s teams who play in the ninth and tenth tiers of English football) collect £30,000 in FA prize money – that’s £5,000 more than Manchester City Women were awarded for winning the 2020 Women’s FA Cup.  There’s still a long way to go in the fight for equality in football.’


Further reading:
The result of this research will be published in the book A History of the Women’s FA Cup Final, released on 6 May 2021 by the History Press. The book celebrates the 50th anniversary of the very first final which was held on 9 May 1971.
The Women’s Football Association Archive British Library Add MS 89306. For further information on the Archive, please contact Eleanor Dickens - eleanor.dickens@bl.uk.
British Newspaper Archive

Programme for the first ever international football match for the England team who played Scotland at Ravenscraig Stadium on 18 November 1972Programme for the first ever international football match for the England team who played Scotland at Ravenscraig Stadium on 18 November 1972.  Copyright – Patricia Gregory.

 

24 December 2020

A Christmas pantomime

Most Christmas pantomimes have been cancelled this year because of the pandemic.  However you don’t have to miss out completely.  On the British Library website there is a digital version of the script of Babes in the Wood first performed at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 26 December 1897.  You can read through alone to amuse yourself, or share out parts amongst your loved ones.  There are roles to suit everyone – the Babes Reggie and Chrissie, Prince Paragon, Baron Banbury Cross, the Spirit of Indigestion, a Bucolic Chorus, giants, gnomes, and jockeys to name but a few!
 

Front cover of Babes in the Wood performed at Theatre Royal Drury Lane 1897-1898 showing Dan Leno as Reggie and Herbert Campbell as Chrissie.Front cover of Babes in the Wood performed at Theatre Royal Drury Lane 1897-1898 showing Dan Leno as Reggie and Herbert Campbell as Chrissie.  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The leading roles were filled by performers well known to music hall and theatre audiences in the 1890s.  Reggie and Chrissie were played by Dan Leno and Herbert Campbell, and Ada Blanche appeared as Prince Paragon.

The pantomime was ‘written and invented’ by Arthur Sturgess and Arthur Collins, with music provided by James M. Glover.  Arthur Sturgess had been working as a stenographer in London when he sent James Glover a parody of Gilbert and Sullivan that he had written.  Sturgess was introduced by Glover to Sir Augustus Harris, the manager of Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and his career as a writer was launched.
 

Arthur Pelham Collins started work as a seedsman but joined the staff at Drury Lane at the age of eighteen as an apprentice to Henry Emden, the scenic artist.  Harris was impressed with Collins and made him stage manager.  Collins was associated with Drury Lane for over 40 years, becoming its successful managing director.

Sir Augustus Harris died in 1896 and Babes in the Wood was the first pantomime produced at Drury Lane by Collins.  It ran for 135 performances, ending in April 1898.  Sporting Life said the show was an ‘all-round triumph’.  Other reports were more critical.  Sussex Agricultural Express published a review describing Babes in the Wood as a hotch-potch music hall kind of pantomime, with the story subordinated to comic songs and ballets.  St James’s Gazette said that cuts were needed since the evening performance had run beyond midnight, and commented that it was more of a musical comedy than a pantomime, with some content going over the heads of children in the audience.
 

Advert for evening dresses for young ladies from H C Russell of London, with two girls showing off their fineryAdvert for evening dresses for young ladies from H. C. Russell of London  included in Babes in the Wood.  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

So now it’s over to you to decide what you think of Babes in the Wood.  There is an added bonus in the form of many interesting advertisements appearing throughout the text.  You will be offered evening dresses for young ladies with ‘Slips and Knickers in Nun’s Veiling to Match’; self-adjusting trusses; artistic wigs; Albene for baking; whisky; a comic annual; jewellery; pianos; musical boxes; the celebrated C.B. Corsets; and Dr J. Collis Browne’s Chlorodyne for treating coughs, colds, asthma, bronchitis, diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, and many other ailments.

Seasonal Greetings from Untold Lives!

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
British Newspaper Archive (also available via Findmypast) e.g. Penny Illustrated Paper 25 December 1897; Sporting Life 28 December 1897; St James’s Gazette 28 December 1897; Sussex Agricultural Express 31 December 1897; The Stage 31 August and 7 September 1922; The Scotsman 15 January 1932.

 

01 October 2020

‘Can you sign this for me?’ Collecting the autographs of famous 17th century figures

As part of our major digitisation programme, Heritage Made Digital, the British Library have recently digitised and made available a collection of our world-class Tudor and Stuart manuscripts.  For an introduction to this valuable resource, see our blog post Heritage Made Digital: Tudor and Stuart manuscripts go online.  To view these manuscripts, visit our Digitised Manuscripts webpage.

 
There are many treasures in among these new digital acquisitions, but in particular we would like to introduce two curious albums full of signatures.  Their shelfmarks are Add MS 15736 and Add MS 17083.  These manuscripts may not appear at first to be the most illuminating of manuscripts as their pages contain sparse annotations rather than full, descriptive text.  They serve a completely different purpose to those manuscript formats that we are accustomed to, those of letters, diaries, transcripts, drafts and official accounts, but regardless, they offer a fascinating insight into 17th century society, fame and friendship.

Cover  of friendship album or ‘stammbuch’ of George Andrew- red leather with gold fleur de lys decorations Folio showing owner of friendship book was George Andrew
Friendship album or ‘stammbuch’ of George Andrew - Add MS 15736, front and f.1. Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

This is the friendship album or ‘stammbuch’ of George Andrew.  In this book, George Andrew collected the autographs and drawings of the arms of well-known individuals during the years 1612 – 1623.  These autographs were principally collected at Strasbourg and Stier.   Autograph albums such as this one emerged in the German and Dutch linguistic regions and were used by students as a form of memorabilia and a way of recording contacts one had made.  Their initial purpose was decidedly sentimental and they would function in a similar way to the high school yearbook does today.  However, the tradition of collecting signatures grew in popularity and moved out from the immediate vicinity of early modern universities into wider life.  People would carry them on their person during their travels and during their academic life, using them to record dedications from friends, but likewise as a compendium of significant contacts.
 

George Andrew’s book contains some very famous signatures which he would have been proud to hold and show off to his friends.

Autograph of Charles, Prince of Wales)  Autograph of Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia.
Add MS 15736, ff.4-5. The autographs of Charles I (then Prince of Wales) and Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia. Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

These manuscripts can show us who was of importance in the 17th century. Aside from the autographs of princes, kings and queens that these books contain, there are also many bishops, scholars and other members of the aristocracy.

The tradition of collecting autographs and dedications also involved collecting visual representations of significant figures.  The friendship album of Sir Thomas Cuming (Add MS 17083) includes a large number of coats of arms that have been painted onto the pages.  These beautiful and delicate paintings would often have been commissioned by the new acquaintance by an artist on their behalf.   One can see how these volumes full of tens of careful paintings would have become quite precious items to their owners.

The Arms of Frederick V,  Elector Palatine of the Rhine  Coat of arms of George William Margrave.
Add MS 17083, f.3v. The Arms of Frederick V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine and f.7v. coat of arms of George William Margrave. Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

These volumes are also illustrative of a particular power structure in place in the 17th century.  The volumes belonged to men because these were part of the traditions of the university arena to which women were not admitted.  They were supposed to present an image of their owners as well-known, connected and cosmopolitan men.  The signatures in these books shows us a network of powerful individuals as only the privileged would have been able to write in this era.  The books are a who’s who of 17th century Europe, an index of the influential, and an equivalent contemporary autograph collection like this would be hard to come by.

Jessica Gregory
Curatorial Support Officer, Modern Archives and Manuscripts

 

31 August 2020

Music hall entertainment for Bank Holiday Monday

In August 1882 the New Star Music Hall in Liverpool advertised a varied bill for Bank Holiday Monday – magic, singing, comedy, dancing, opera.  The venue sought to attract customers not only through the quality of performers booked but also by its claim to be the coolest and best ventilated hall in England.

Bank Holiday Monday programme for the New Star Music Hall in Liverpool August 1882

Bank Holiday Monday programme for the New Star Music Hall in Liverpool - Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald 5 August 1882. British Newspaper Archive

The acts for the evening of 5 August 1882 were listed as-

    Bryant’s Great Marionette

George Bryant operated marionette performances from the 1870s.  Here is a picture of his Marionette Minstrels from a bill for the Winchester Music Hall in Southwark –a ‘Novel, Wonderful and Amusing Speciality’, ‘the Best Mechanical Entertainment in Europe, consisting of Songs, Dances, Jokes, Choruses etc’.

Picture of Bryant's Marionette Minstrels playing instruments from a bill for the Winchester Music Hall in SouthwarkBryant's Marionette Minstrels from a bill for the Winchester Music Hall in Southwark - British Library Evanion Collection 752

    Don Esparto, the Mystagogue, and Miss Lilian Haydn, the Enchantress

Don Esparto was the stage name of illusionist William Smith from Barrow Upon Humber, Lincolnshire.  He combined conjuring with mesmerism.  In one show, he made a man eat a candle in the belief that it was a string of sausages.  Miss Lilian Hadyn acted as his assistant and was described in newspapers as vivacious and a very good serio-comic.

    Sisters and Brother Phillips, the Burlesque Trio, The Three Comical Cards

This ‘Witty, Whimsical and Pantomimical’ act was formed in 1870 by W H Phillips who wrote the songs and material performed.  In 1886 he complained of ‘unprincipled copyists’ malignant vindictiveness and jealousy’.

    Brady and Johnson, the Inimitable Comic Duettists

Albert Brady and Marion Johnson were the stage names of married couple John and Mary Brady.  They performed sketches.

    Mr Harry Steele, Comic Vocalist and Eccentric Skater

Steele’s catchphrase was ‘By Jove! I was nearly down again’.

    Miss Milnes, Soprano Vocalist

The repertoire of Agnes Milnes, ‘the queen of song’, included opera and sentimental ballads.

    Mr George Vokes, Grotesque Comedian

Vokes was said to excite ‘the risible faculties of the audience by his comicalities’.

George-VokesGeorge Vokes by Alfred Concanen, circa 1870s © National Portrait Gallery, London National Portrait Gallery Creative Commons Licence

    Mr Harry Starr, American , Dutch, and Irish Character Comedian

Starr enjoyed considerable success as a variety artist and then became an actor and dramatist.

    Sisters De Laine, Fascinating Duettists and Champion Skipping Rope Dancers

In 1894, Alice De Laine opened a dance academy in London for music hall aspirants which specialised in tuition for skipping rope dancing.

Sisters De LaineAdvert for Alice De Laine's dance academy - Music Hall and Theatre Review 31 August 1894 British Newspaper Archive

       The Band - Grand Selection from Donizetti’s opera Anna Bolena

The performance started at 7.30pm. Tickets for the front stalls cost 1s 6d, stalls and promenade 1s, and the body of the hall 6d.  The Liverpool Mercury described the evening’s programme as ‘unusually interesting’.

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
British Newspaper Archive e.g. London and Provincial Entr’Acte 26 July 1873; Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald 5 August 1882; Liverpool Mercury 8 August 1882; The Era 22 August 1880, 3 October 1885, and 8 May 1886; Midland Counties Advertiser 1 November 1888; Music Hall and Theatre Review 31 August 1894.


28 May 2020

The mysterious Captain Gladstone, RN - a bookbinding James Bond?

Beautifully tooled bookbindings signed with the initials C.E.G. appear on printed books dating from the early 20th century.  These are the initials of Charles Elsden Gladstone (1855-1919) of the Royal Navy. 

Extract from record of service for Charles Elsden Gladstone The National Archives ADM 196-19-266Extract from record of service for Charles Elsden Gladstone - image courtesy of  The National Archives, ADM 196/19/266 ©Crown Copyright

The National Archives chart his somewhat unusual career.  Like his later fictional counterpart James Bond, he attained the rank of commander.  Also like Bond, he used cutting edge tech.  There is even a suggestion of covert intelligence gathering activities!  Admiralty service papers refer to an early specialism in torpedos, submarine weaponry and skill in photography which aided research on the subject of armaments.  He saw action in 1873 when he was landed with the Naval Brigade in the Ashanti War, while serving on the corvette H.M.S. Druid.

Photograph of starboard side of H.M.S Druid, a corvette at sea with sails down, 1880Photograph of starboard side of H.M.S Druid, a corvette at sea with sails down, 1880 - image courtesy of Royal Collection Trust 

As for hobbies, Gladstone’s name is included in the annals of specialist societies relating to microscopy and optical magic lanterns, interests which suggest he had a keen eye and feeling for accuracy.  His family house was based in Thanet where he lived with his wife, a son, a governess and enough domestic help to make his situation comfortable.  Gladstone’s life, therefore, is quite well documented, but, annoyingly for the fans of bookbinding, not his connection to the craft!

Apparently Gladstone family lore confirms that Gladstone bound books but what does this mean?  Traditionally, binding was a two stage process, making the structure (called ‘forwarding’) and applying the decoration (‘finishing’).  Practitioners did not usually teach themselves.  Apprentices spent seven years training with an accredited bookbinder.  Did Gladstone master both techniques and who taught him?  I have found no evidence either way.

People outside the craft did learn to bind but were usually guided by professionals in some way.  A contemporary of Gladstone’s, Irish barrister Sir Edward Sullivan (1852-1928), ‘finished’ ready-bound books to a high standard.  Today, these bindings fetch high prices, as do Captain Gladstone’s though to a lesser extent.  Was this a pastime for Gladstone or the means of raising income?  The latter seems unlikely as his navy salary was good and his retirement pay (from 1904) was £400 a year.  In 1919, the Liverpool Probate Registry listed the gross value of his estate as £27030 2s 5d.

Gladstone’s well bound colourful goatskin book covers, displaying a range of finishing skills, are attractive additions to sales catalogues.  Antiquarian book sellers have included images on their websites, notably David Brass Rare Books, Temple Rare Books (see Temple Rare Books online Book of the Month January 2014), and Nudelman Rare Books.  The bindings usually (though not exclusively) include all-over designs comprising small flower and leaf motifs, have smooth spines and elaborately decorated turn-ins.  Here is the British Library’s example, Alfred de Musset's On ne badine pas avec l’amour.

Gladstone's binding of Alfred de Musset's 'On ne badine pas avec l’amour' with small flower and leaf motifs Alfred de Musset, On ne badine pas avec l’amour (Paris, 1904) British Library shelf mark C.188.114 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

 

 Tooling on the turn in of Gladstone's binding showing the initials C.E.G.

Tooling on the turn in showing the initials C.E.G.  - Alfred de Musset, On ne badine pas avec l’amour (Paris, 1904) British Library shelf mark C.188.114 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

For a naval officer Gladstone was a quite remarkable bookbinder!

P.J.M. Marks
Curator, Bookbindings

Further Reading:
The National Archives Admiralty records ADM 196/19/266; ADM 196/38/621; ADM 196/40/207
Dreadnought Project
Commander Charles Elsden Gladstone

 

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