Category Archives: England

The Family Secret

By Marian Bulford

My Gran told me that her mother Lilian, did not like her very much and was not very nice to her, and consequentially for some peculiar reason Lilian did not like my mother or me, either.

I remember Lilian as a very stern presence so I steered clear of her. She did live with my Gran for a time, but by the time I was a teen, she had moved to another daughter’s house to live, so I never had much contact with her.

A photo below shows the four generations myself, Gran Mum and Lilian and I do not look very happy to be in this photo!

When my mother found out she was pregnant with me, 2 years after being married, she told me that Lilian said “Well, you made your bed now you have to sleep in it” Not a very nice thing to say about becoming a Great Grandmother! I never did understand why she did not like us and what she meant by that remark but years later, I was to find out.

For a while, I lived with my Grandparents from 11 years to 14 years. They were very strict but loving and Gran and I went everywhere together, to church the church fétes and shopping trips. Gran taught me to cook and bake.

One day, Gran wanted to go and see her mother who was living in Okehampton, Devon, a train ride away from us in Plymouth.

A train ride, what a treat! I was about 14 and we lived a very quiet life. Off we went, sandwiches and tea packed for the two-hour train journey to visit great-grandmother Lilian.

After my  Gran’s meeting with her mother lunch with the cousins and visiting, it was time to go. We had the train carriage to ourselves.

‘That was a lovely day, wasn’t it Gran?’ In answer, Gran burst into tears I was astounded, my Gran crying? She never cried.

I put my arm around her and asked her ‘Gran! What is the matter are you sick?” she cried some more, blew her nose and then said “I am a bastard”

Well! You could have knocked me down with a feather. Gran NEVER swore let alone say THAT word.

Eventually, she calmed down and I asked her what she was talking about. She must have been very very upset to divulge her mother’s secret to her young grand-daughter.

Apparently, Gran wanted to be baptized in the Church of England, and needed her birth certificate and to eventually claim her Old Age Pension, she also needed this document. That was the purpose of our visit.

When Lilian heard that Gran wanted her Birth Certificate SHE burst into tears and said that she hoped she would be dead by the time her secret came out.

Then, she had to reveal the reasons why she was so upset. Lilian was by then in her late 80’s and told Gran that she had given birth to her in the Leicestershire work house, because she was an unmarried mother. When she received Gran’s birth certificate it had stamped across it, in very large letters the word ‘ILLEGITIMATE’  Lilian had ripped it up and threw it away.

Lilian had, like many before and since, become pregnant at 17. The father Thomas was a Royal Navy Cooper a master carpenter. They met and she became pregnant. My Gran told me years later, that Lilian told her that she ‘fell off the style (or kissing gate) and never got up’ When Thomas did eventually come home from sea, they married. Gran was then three years old so yes, she WAS illegitimate for a while, but the parents had married, just a little late!

This seemed to be the reason Lilian did not like my Gran very much and Lilian did show a great deal of resentment towards Gran, my mother and me.

 

The four generations

IMG_0002
Standing, left Gran. Standing right my mother Front: Marian and Great Grandmother Lilian, 1948

This article is a continuation of a previous story, called “Illegitimate”

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/07/13/illegitimate-2/

 

Vincent Massey’s War-time Contribution

masseyA well-loved letter from my uncle’s collection led me to look more closely at Vincent Massey’s contribution to the Canadian war effort during World War II.

Charles Vincent Massey served as High Commissioner for Canada in London from 1935 until 1946. His wife Alice (formerly Parkin) served by his side fulfilling formal niceties, such as presenting Canadians to the King and Queen and writing letters to the families of fallen soldiers and those who went missing, like my uncle.

The letter she sent to John Mathieu the day his son went missing reads in part:

Dear Mr. Mathieu, This is meant to tell you how deeply my husband and I feel for you since we heard that your son is missing. – we know what these days of anxiety and doubt will mean to you.

Do know with what understanding and sympathy we are both thinking of you.[1]

The note remained within the keepsakes the Mathieu family retained long after the war.

Since then, I’ve discovered that Vincent Massey was one of the key people behind Canada’s participation in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). The scheme brought 136,849 people to Canada during World War II to train as aircrew and enabled Canada to become a leader in the aviation industry.

Massey was not officially considered a founder to the plan after the fact;[2] but he was the first person to propose the idea in writing. In a 1936 report to Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, he credits the idea to British Air Minister Lord Swinton.[3]

After Swinton’s proposal was turned down, proposals about the same idea came from other players.

During a 1937 trip to London, for instance, Canadian Minister of National Defence Ian Mackenzie received a memorandum in favour of airmen trained in Canada from RAF Group Captain Robert Lekie.

That memo led to King agreeing to train 15 RAF soldiers within Canada. Proposed trainees increased to 50, then 120, then 135, before King backed out in 1938.

The following September, Massey joined Australian High Commissioner Stanley Bruce to meet with officials in the British Air Ministry and Treasury. The month is described in detail by F.J. Hatch in a Department of National Defence publication called “The Aerodrome of Democracy.”[4]

Hatch questions why Massey didn’t attend the last crucial meeting in which Bruce proposed the project to Harold Balfour, Britain’s Under Secretary of State for Air. As Hatch wrote:

Why Massey was not at this meeting is not clear, but his absence has led Bruce’s biographer, and Balfour himself, to give Bruce the full credit for originating the BCATP concept.[5]

If Massey backed off to ensure that there was no hint of his promotion of the idea to King, his methodology worked.

Over the next three months, King’s government negotiated an agreement with the Australian, British and New Zealand governments to create the (BCATP), which was signed in December 1939.

Implementation in Canada began with the Royal Air Force renting out space for schools across Canada to train recruits before they went to Britain.

I believe my uncle Charles Mathieu was probably one of 5,296 people who trained at one of these. A manuscript passed to me by him begins in 1940:

That same night I was an AC2 on the Midnight train to St. Thomas along with twenty other lads from Montreal. We were assigned as G.D.’s [general duties] to help open up the Technical Training School for Air and Engine Mechanics … I spent six months at St. Thomas doing guard duty and being General Duty Joe, however, my last month spent there was decidedly my best.[6]

There is a question about the status of St. Thomas because it doesn’t appear in a list of 152 installations outlined by Dunmore[7] nor in similar lists detailed by Hatch.[8] It does appear on a bigger list of 231 BCATP facilities found on Wikipedia.[9]

[1] Mathieu, John Charles, personal documents, letters and keepsakes.

[2] The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, 1939-1945: An Historical Sketch and Record of the Ceremony at R.C.A.F. Station Trenton. Ottawa: Edmond Cloutier, 1949.

[3] Dunmore, Spencer. Wings for Victory: The Remarkable Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada. Toronto, Ont.: McClelland & Stewart, 1994, pp24.

[4] Hatch, F. J. The Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, 1939-1945. Ottawa: Directorate of History, Dept. of National Defence, 1983, pp13-14.

[5] Hatch, p14 quoting three sources: Edwards, Cecil, Bruce of Melbourne, Man of Two Worlds, London: Heinemann, 1965, p 279; Air Ministry, Notes on the History of RAF Training, 1939-44 (London, 1945), p 126; Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, p 79; Balfour, Harold, Wings Over Westminster, London: Hutchinson, 1973, pp 113-114.

[6] Mathieu, John Charles, personal documents, “All of This Heaven Almost” manuscript, 1947-1950, p1.

[7] Dunmore, Spencer. Wings for Victory: The Remarkable Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada. Toronto, Ont.: McClelland & Stewart, 1994, pp349-360.

[8] Hatch, F. J. The Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, 1939-1945. Ottawa: Directorate of History, Dept. of National Defence, 1983, pp207-212.

[9] List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Facilities in Canada, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_Commonwealth_Air_Training_Plan_facilities_in_Canada,” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 12 July 2015, accessed July 23, 2015

Illegitimate

Illegitimate
by Marian Bulford

In the March 31st 1901 UK Census Lilian Mary Symons was listed as a ‘servant girl/domestic’ in Leicester, Leicestershire in the employ of Mrs. Mary Whatnall, ‘Retired Lunatic Asylum Matron’ Mrs. Whatnall’s niece also lived in the house.¹

The 18 year old Lilian had, the previous November 25th given birth to a daughter. The father of the baby was a Royal Navy Cooper and master carpenter Thomas Bevan whom Lilian met when she was 17. They had started to court, but neither of them realised she was pregnant when Thomas left for sea. He was gone not knowing he was to be a father and Lilian had no contact with him for the next three years.

Lilian was the oldest in a family of five. Her father was a jobbing gardener and her mother a housewife so they would have had no means to take care of Lilian and another child.

How Lilian must have felt at that time, being pregnant and unmarried is not known, but I can only imagine how she would have had to approach her family and tell them. She also had to tell them that she did not know where Thomas, the father was.

Lilian’s father Thomas Symons unsuccessfully searched for Thomas and he also wrote to the Royal Navy regularly to find out the father’s whereabouts, but to no avail.²

In the 1900’s in the United Kingdom, unmarried pregnant women were often disowned by their families and the work house was the only place they could go during and after the birth of their child. There were no fees, but hard work was expected of the inmates. ³

According to my family, although Lilian was not ‘disowned’ by her family she did give birth to her baby and her child’s birth certificate states the child was born in the ‘Leicestershire Workhouse’.

In addition, the original birth certificate also had the words ‘ILLEGITIMATE’ in large letters stamped over the entire certificate. Lilian immediately tore it up and threw it away. 4

Lilian’s circumstances definitely changed, as I have a wonderful photo of the child at two years old and she is dressed in a very attractive dress with a matching dolly. These are not the usual working attire for someone living in a 1902-era work house and tape recordings of family told me her parents looked after the baby daughter and Lilian went to work for Mrs. Whatnall.

Thomas Bevan did eventually return from sea and Lilian and he got married on 25th April 1904 when the child was three and a half years old.5

In the 1911 Census 10 years later, Lilian is the ‘head’ of a household with three additional children. They lived in the Royal Navy Port of Plymouth, Devon England and Thomas was once again, back at sea.6

The couple went on to have four more children, who all lived to adulthood, including my grandmother, Edith, who had no idea she was born out of wedlock until she was 65 years old, but that is another story!

 Sources:
1 1901 UK Census at Ancestry.com
2 http://www.workhouses.org.uk/life/entry.shtml
3 Family tape recordings
4 Certified copy of a Birth Certificate, Leicestershire City Council, England
5 Registered marriages in April, May and June 1904 Leicestershire, England at Ancestry.com
6 Family tape recordings

Photos Below:

Lilian Mary Symons b. 1882

Lilian Mary Symons 1899

Edith Bevan 1902

Edith Symons Bevan 1902

Thomas Bevan b. 1876

Thomas Bevan, RN

Australia, 1908

 

 

How Now Black and White Cow. Isle of Lewis Obsessions.

This book above, The Genealogy of the Macaulays of Uig and this plaque, below,  in Hudson, Quebec, are related.

The other week, while strolling with our two dogs by the water in Hudson, Quebec, my husband and I passed another  couple walking their enormous pooch, a Newfoundlander-like dog, but one with large black and white patches.

I remarked on the unusual colouring of said canine and one of the owner’s replied, “Yes,  he’s our Jersey dog.”

I asked my husband,  “Aren’t Jersey cows brown? Those black and white cows you see everywhere are called something else. Aren’t I right?”

“Yes,” replied my husband, who grew up in the country so he knows a lot about such things. “Those black and white cows were developed by a guy from here in Hudson. There’s a plaque up on Mount Victoria? Do you want to do see?” It seems he couldn’t remember the name of the breed of cow, either.

So my husband took me to see this plaque, installed to honour the memory of a local man,Thomas Basset Macaulay, who developed a new breed of cow, the Holstein, on his experimental farm on the shores of the Ottawa River.

T.B. Macaulay, as it happens, was also the long-time President of Sun Life Insurance.

OK. So, what’s all this got to do with two-legged genealogy?

Well, the name T.B. Macaulay rang a bell with me.  I have a self-published book, The Genealogy of the Macaulays of Uig, in my house.

The book once belonged to Edith Nicholson, 1884-1977, my husband’s great aunt,a proud descendant of the Isle of Lewis Scots, those penniless crofters who were cleared from the land in the 1800’s and forced to emigrate to Canada and beyond.

My husband’s great aunt Dede, a teacher, left behind a slew of letters (from 1906 to 1936) and a few other personal possessions, including an 1888 two volume edition of Middlemarch; a yearbook from The Hostel from 1928 (that was McGill’s women’s Phys Ed residence);some yellowed newspaper clippings about the militant suffragettes; and this little genealogy volume, given to her in 1931.

The inscription reads: To Edith Nicholson, in appreciation of her connection with the Nicholson Institute of Stornoway. T.B. Macaulay.

There’s even a picture of Mr. Macaulay inside the book.

And here’s that inscription.

How well Mr. Macaulay knew my husband’s great aunt Dede, I don’t know. Edith had worked at Sun Life between 1917 and 1920, but only as a lowly stenographer in the accounting department.

After that she worked in the Registrar’s office at McGill and as a Tutor-in-Residence at the Hostel and as Assistant Warden at Royal Victoria College. In the 1930’s, Edith stepped out with Carrie Derick, the suffragist and first female full professor at McGill.

Edith’s family, from Richmond, Quebec was cash-poor but well-connected.  J.C. Sutherland, the long-time Superintendent of Protestant Education in Quebec, was a close friend. Edith’s father, Norman, had stumped for Sir Wilfrid Laurier back in the day.

But no Macaulay figures in any of the family’s 1,000 letters, although there are many mentions of Morrison’s and McLeod’s and other Isle of Lewis surnames. As far as I know from the same stash of correspondence, Edith got her job at Sun Life because the head of the Accounting Department lived beside her sister, Marion, on York Avenue in Westmount.

No, these two people didn’t have much in common, except that they were both of Isle of Lewis, Scotland, origin and they both were into genealogy big time. Somewhere along the line T.B. Macaulay learned of Miss Edith’s obsession.

Edith would visit the Hebrides homeland, herself, in 1933. She would bring back loads of information about the Nicolson Education Institute of Stornoway, a school. She was clearly proud of the connection she felt she had with this particular place. And for a few years in the 1930’s she would sign her name Edith Nicolson, without the H.

Now, that’s taking genealogy seriously!

Isle of Lewis genealogy is very well-documented on the Internet. This page leads to a story about how the Nicolsons and the Macaulays of Uig liked to feud over grazing privileges. But, of course.

Edith, second from right, in Navy League uniform, in front of Sun Life Building, 1917, during WWI.

Macaulay’s Secretary wrote the letter to Edith. It was slipped inside the book as was a genealogy of the Nicolson clan from Medieval times and later.

WHY BAPTISTS?

By René Péron

Religious history tells us that what we call The Reformation was indeed part and parcel of several attempts to reform certain aspects of the once dominant Roman Catholic Church. Be it under the influences of Francis of Assisi, Erasmus, Waldo, Hus, most prior moves towards reform from within said Church lasted but short periods of time. It remained for two convinced and strong willed men, namely Martin Luther and Jean Chauvin (whom we know best as Jean Calvin or John Calvin) to found separate though like-intentioned movements for deep and exacerbating reform.

Out of these said movements there was born a surge of people who became followers of the revised theological thinking as promulgated by each of the above named men, each in his own right and own sphere of influence. Thus the followers of the one became known as Lutherans and those of the other as Calvinists.

As is also well known, homo sapiens being a questioning animal, even the followers of the above two men started questioning some of their theological pronouncements. Over the years, much to the dismay of many, such questionings became points of division within the very core of the first Lutherans or Calvinists. These divisions on doctrinal or other issues within “reformed” Christianity over the last several centuries have led to a multitude of groups, such bearing names which they gave themselves or were given by others to differentiate, separate them from other believers in Christianity. Some of these names were outright fanciful whilst others were based on their beliefs or organizational set-ups. Thus Lutherans, Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Brethren, to name a few.

As North America as we know it today was founded by members of these diverse religious groups said members formed communities of like minded folk and their religious entities bore, bear, names borrowed,  adopted, from the movements found in the country of origin, be it the British Isles or the European continent. . Canada, particularly after the Conquest, inherited similar religious names through the migration of people from the British Isles as well as Europe. To these was the added influence of those U.S. citizens known to us as (a) Loyalists, or more simply as (b) people who crossed back and forth over the common border between Canada and the U. S. A., loosely guarded and even more loosely observed or recognized. Some of these latter individuals belonged to splinter religious entities, thus forming dissentient groups in Canada, keeping their identifying religious nomenclatures. Needless to say, further dissenting members of the established groups perpetuated the practice of adopting names to identify themselves.

In all of this one must not lose sight of the historical fact that in the early days, after the conquest, non-French speaking immigrants were most apt to affiliate, join, with the then official state church, namely the Church of England. However many areas soon saw the arrival of itinerant preachers of the then established denominations, some originating in the British Isles, others in the U.S.A., ; these men would often visit communities which were not, or at least not well, served by the state church. Thus there soon were pockets of folk who formed Baptist, Methodist, or other church groups as they gathered around the said itinerant preachers, adopted their way of expressing their religious beliefs and took on the nomenclature which defined their particular approach to “religion”.

Perhaps this modus operandi was most noticeable in those geographical areas where the established state church had not found it expedient to send representatives. Understandably such areas were in the undeveloped hinterland. Those places, distant from the large centres, such as along the U.S./Canada border, were most susceptible to experience this phenomenon.

All of which leads one to remark or note that when the Province de Québec saw the beginnings of its own “reform” movement amidst the French speaking population in the early 1800s the people who converted to Protestantism  were apt to follow the same pattern in joining one particular religious denomination or the other. One can cite as an example the group which many historians recognize as the first to firmly put down roots and later affiliate itself with a recognized denomination, namely the Baptist one. Its founders, from “la Suisse” (Switzerland), namely Louis Roussy and Mrs Henriette (née Odin) Feller  had felt a spiritual calling to come to Québec to evangelize. Supported by a non-conformist missionary /religious society, La société des missions évangéliques de Lausanne, in Suisse, encouraged by a fellow Christian, namely Henri Olivier, who was already trying to evangelize French language Canadians in the Montréal region, they briefly came to that city and endeavoured to convert the local folk to their view or approach to the Protestant faith.

Troop Train Across The Sind Desert 1916

In 1916, William sailed for India. He was to take up garrison duties in Multan, India (now Pakistan) so as to release regular troops to fight in the War.

William Clegg lived in Liverpool during the early 1900s. He was married to Louisa and together they had eight children; one child stillborn, one child who died at aged two and another at six years of age, leaving five living children.

At that time and for many years afterwards life in Liverpool was hard. Living conditions were crowded, poor and unhealthy. There was not much work, and only the few could hope for a fulfilling life. William earned his living as a paint grinder a dirty, noisy and unhealthy job.

In April 1914, one of the children named Evelyn aged six died. This must have been a very hard year for the family. When WW1 was declared on August 1, 1914, William joined the Territorial Army. He probably wanted get away from the death and poor living conditions and maybe hoping to get a better level of pay to support his family. He was 32 years of age, and he left Louisa eight months pregnant!

The Territorial Army is an army of volunteers which supports the British Army. Volunteer units have existed for centuries, but in 1908 they were merged to form the Territorial Force. Members of the Territorial Force were mobilised in the First World War and served alongside the regular army. [1]

One of the units was The Fifth Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, which had its HQ at 65 St Anne Street Liverpool.

William was supposed to be part of the Home Guard and serve in England but at some point he agreed to transfer to the Rifle Brigade. He was immediately sent to the Curragh in Ireland, and then to Douglas on the Isle of Man for training.

By 1916, he and other troops were on their way to India as part of the “The Indian Trooping Season.”

Normally, troop ships left England in September and returned on another ship, with the last ships leaving India in March. This pattern was probably established once troop ships no longer sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and started using the “Overland Route’ and then the Suez Canal after its opening in 1869.[2]

Travel was restricted to the cooler months so that acclimatised troops from Britain were not traveling from the ports of Bombay or Karachi to their cantonments during the heat of an Indian summer.

William travelled on the troop ship “Ballarat,” which was mistakenly diverted to Karachi by senior officers.

It was against regulations to cross the Sind Desert from Karachi to Multan because of abnormally hot temperatures, but William and the other troops with him did so anyway.  They were exposed to terrible conditions. More than 200 men suffered from heat stroke and 20 of them died.

During an inquiry, three senior officers were blamed for not looking after the men. Questions were raised in India and England.

The governments of India sent the following telegram to the British House of Commons:

We can now give a considered opinion, having received a report of committee. The responsibility for diverting the ship from Bombay to Karachi rests with Brigadier-General Roe who was acting as Quartermaster-General at the time. He knew acclimatised troops had never before been sent in large number by rail in the middle of Summer through the Sind Desert. He knew, or should have known that the Commander -in-Chief in December 1915, had decided that Karachi should not be used as a port at which wounded and sick British troops should be landed and distributed to other stations, on account of danger of sending in the hot season through Sind.

It follows, that before (the ship) Ballarat was diverted to Karachi, Acting Quarter-Master-General should have consulted Commander-in-Chief but did not do this. Having taken on himself responsibility, he should certainly have warned Karachi military authorities to take special precautions for safety of troops during journey by rail. He did not do this.

We, therefore, must hold him responsible, and propose to remove him from his appointment as Deputy Quarter-master-general. It is clear from evidence, that the mischief began before disembarkation, many men having been seen on deck bareheaded in the sun, a thing no officer with Indian experience would have allowed. All the officers on board were quite inexperienced, and we cannot hold them blameworthy.” [3]

The lengthy telegram went on to add that the troop train left Karachi with 13 officers and 1013 men and was insufficiently equipped, overcrowded and without experienced officers.

The three British officers named in the inquiry were “cashiered,” which means they were dismissed from their positions for a breach of discipline.

William Clegg and 19 others died in the Multan Military Hospital, which is now in Pakistan. He left behind his wife and 5 children.

He was originally buried in Multan but the commonwealth War Graves Commission has found it impossible to maintain War Graves in Pakistan so his name also appears on the large British War Graves Cenotaph in Karachi.

William was the grandfather of my husband John Clegg.

[1] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/research-guides/army-auxiliary-1769-1945

[2] https://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Trooping_season

[3] http://papersPast.natlib.govt.nz/dominion

Food Rationing Post WW 2

I think queues were invented in the UK. We queued for everything and even though I was only about four-and-a-half  years old, I remember queuing with my mother. One time, when she was heavily pregnant with my brother, she sent me into the shop to keep her place, whilst she rested on the wall outside.

I marched in, went straight up to the front of the queue and stated my order…….I remember very well, the smiles and laughs, but I got my order right away and, once outside, instructions from Mum on the correct way to queue.  My Mum told me that ‘food was all we thought about’ how to get it what to make with it, how to stretch it.

We ate everything from the animal. Called ‘offal’ it included heart, kidneys, brain and stomach–all made into quite tasty dishes. I don’t know if I would have eaten the dishes, had I known what I was actually eating!

¹During rationing, 1 person’s typical weekly allowance would be: 1 fresh egg, 4 oz margarine, 4 oz bacon (about 4 rashers), 2 oz butter, 2 oz tea, 1 oz cheese and 8 oz sugar.

 Meat was allocated by price, so cheaper cuts became popular. Points could be pooled or saved to buy pulses, cereals, tinned goods, dried fruit, biscuits and jam.

We used to have a dish called ‘tripe’ boiled animal stomach with onions. Or liver and onions still popular today. If you got a tongue at the butchers you could make many meals with it. Fried, or pressed in aspic to make ‘brawn’ then cut up to make sandwiches with or add to salads.

A favourite after the Sunday roast was “bubble and squeak” which was the left-over potatoes and greens cut up small and fried to a crisp with cold meat and pickled onions, usually fed to us on Monday as the family laundry was done on that day. Corned beef hash was another dish mixed with cabbage and potato and fried.

Chitterlings (intestines) were sometimes eaten cold. Pigs trotters added to a hearty mix of vegetables made a wonderful meal with dumplings. Many people made their own blood puddings.

Gran’s beef olives was a favourite meal. That was skirt steak, when we could get it, beaten to death with a rolling-pin cut into strips and the strips stuffed with sage and onion stuffing rolled up and secured with a tooth pick and roasted for hours on end.

Dripping’ was the various fat from animals carefully preserved (no refrigeration in those days) in a crock and kept on the cold, stone floor in the larder to spread on a piece of bread sprinkled with salt – very tasty!

Most people had an allotment and grew as many veggies as possible. Wasting food was a criminal offence during the war my Gran told me. Too bad that does not apply today!

²The Ministry of Food produced leaflets and posters advising housewives to be creative and one of England’s best known cooks, Marguerite Patten gave cooking tips on the radio.

‘Mock’ recipes included ‘cream’ (margarine milk and cornflour) and ‘mock goose’ (Lentils and breadcrumbs). Powdered eggs and Spam from the US were mainstays of wartime and after. Kippers and Sprats were a fish easy to obtain in Plymouth Devon, a Royal Naval fishing city where I was born.

This is an example of a ‘Government Recipe’ taken from the book ‘Ration Book Cookery Recipes and History. Published by English Heritage, London 1985.

Mock Goose

150 g (6 oz) split red lentils

275 ml (1/2 pint) water

15 ml (1 tbls) lemon juice

salt and pepper

For the ‘stuffing’

1 large onion

50 g (2 oz) wholemeal fresh breadcrumbs

15 ml (1 tbls) fresh sage, chopped.

Cook the lentils in the water until all the water has been absorbed. Add lemon juice and season. Then make the stuffing. Sauté the onion in a little water or vegetable stock for 10 minutes. Drain, then add to the breadcrumbs. Mix in the chopped sage and mix well. Put half the lentil mixture into a non-stick ovenproof dish, spread the ‘stuffing’ on top, then top off with the remaining lentils. Put in a moderate oven until the top is crisp and golden.

I have tried this recipe, and it was really good, considering not much was in the ingredients.

Despite the stresses of wartime, it was reported that the health of the poor improved. Babies and pregnant women were allocated extra nutrients such as milk, orange juice and cod liver oil.

Post war, the orange juice we got for my baby sister was condensed in a small bottle and carefully measured out by the teaspoon and mixed with water. For all the hardships I was never hungry and I do believe that I had a healthy start to life, due to rationing.

¹ http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/topics/rationing_in_ww2

This is an interesting slide show regarding rationing.
² http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8511000/8511309.stm

Visiter le Londres de Shakespeare

London in 1561.  Go see this amazing map at Agas map, university of Victoria:  it is a bird’s eyeview of the city, first printed on wooden blocks.  I heard about it on the French CBC radio show, La tête ailleurs.

 

J’écoutais La tête ailleurs le dimanche 23 février 2014 comme chaque dimanche, à la radio 95.1 fm radio-canada première.  J’ai été très intéressée lorsqu’ils ont parlé de cette carte,imprimée sur des blocs de bois

Détail de la carte d'Agas montrant Londres vers 1561
Détail de la carte d’Agas montrant Londres vers 1561     Photo : Université de Victoria

Une carte de Londres datant de 1561 permet aux internautes de visiter la ville au temps de Shakespeare grâce à Janelle Jenstad, de l’Université de Victoria, en Colombie-Britannique. Notre collaborateur Thomas Leblanc présente cette étonnante expérience dans sa chronique « Le cartographe amateur ».

Dans ses cours sur la littérature anglaise, Janelle Jenstad utilise cette carte de Londres, appeléeCivitas Londinum ou carte d’Agas, pour faire voyager ses étudiants dans les rues, les tavernes, les églises, les cafés et les théâtres du 16e siècle. Ces lieux ont presque tous disparu à la suite du grand incendie de 1666.

La carte d’Agas – Université de Victoria