[Olla-podrida: an affectionate 18th century term for a colourful medley of items]
2 THE LONDON INN
3 INSANITY IN THE NAVY
5 WIT AND WISDOM OF THE SEA
6 EDITOR’S CHOICE
7 THE MUTINEER’S WIFE
+ 2012 Author Events
Julian will be signing copies of his latest paperback, CONQUEST, at The Totnes Bookshop, 40-42 High Street, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5RY, 12 noon – 1 pm, Tuesday May 29 [01803 863273]
The annual Independent Booksellers Week in the UK commences at the end of the month. Julian has been invited to take part and will be signing copies of his books at The Torbay Bookshop, 7 Torquay Road, Paignton, Devon TQ3 3DU, 10:30 am, Saturday June 30. Details of all events are updated regularly on the website.
+ Timber for “Old Ironsides”
Trees growing at the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in southwestern Indiana will one day be part of America’s beloved USS “Constitution”. Repairs aren’t scheduled to begin until 2014, but preparation has begun to identify suitable trees, then harvest, mill, shape and finally install them to match the ship’s original white oak.
+ Royal River Exhibition
It is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this month and among the many celebrations and special events is “Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames.” This exhibition, at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, brings together nearly 400 beautiful, fascinating and often unique objects, including one of the largest-ever loans of Royal Collection objects to any museum.
+ Collectors Set
Just a few Collectors Sets of BETRAYAL still not spoken for. Don’t delay…
+ Stockwin memorabilia
A selection of bookmarks and postcards are available for just a nominal postage charge
+ 1812, 200 years on…
The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812. Among the commemorative events in the US and Canada are:-
If you’re participating in any of these we’d love to hear from you – and do include photos!
+ “Quarterdeck” is back!
The email newsletter for lovers of historical and maritime fiction, edited by George Jepson, has returned. The current issues features an interview with Julian
<http://www.mcbooks.com/newsletter.php> – you can also sign up for future issues, there.
George tells us that he is going full colour from the June issue onwards!
2 THE LONDON INN
Georgian England had a number of excellent eating establishments, probably the most famous of which was the London Inn. Its main dining room could seat over 350.
A fire on November 7, 1765 burnt eleven houses down and made a space available just inside the City, in Bishopsgate Street Within. Money was raised by a tontine, a form of investment by which all the initial shareholders gain a return which increases with the death of each of them until only one survives, when the entire property becomes his.
A magnificent building was designed by William Jupp, with great banqueting halls. It formally opened in 1768 and quickly established itself as a tavern where the best food in the City was to be had. It was not, a contemporary wrote, a place at which a man might say “he had had dinner” but where he will tell you “he has dined”.
As well as a dining establishment, the London Inn was the venue where many organisations were born. On 20 February 1769 a society was formed to support the radical John Wilkes and more were to follow. William Godwin, Joseph Priestley and Tom Paine dined there and toasted the French Revolution.
By contrast, The East India Company, whose headquarters were nearby in Leadenhall Street, made the London Inn the centre of their hospitality for many years.
Sometimes the rooms of the London Inn were let out for artistic performances. “Don Giovanni” had it first public performance there in April 1809, Beethoven’s “Mass in D” in 1839.
Dickens knew the Inn well. He presided at a meeting there in 1841 – for the benefit of the Sanatorium for Sick Authors and Artists, and in 1851 at the annual dinner for the General Theatrical Fund. And it is in the London Tavern that in “Nicholas Nickleby” the public meeting was held “to take into consideration the propriety of petitioning Parliament in favour of the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company.”
The principal cook of the London Inn was John Farley. He wrote a cookbook, first published in 1783, “The London Art of Cookery”. It became very popular and was reprinted in a number of editions.
It was a comprehensive volume, listing produce through the seasons and proposing menus for every month, as well as offering advice on culinary poisons, sustenance for the sick and recipes for seafarers.
In a section entitled “Necessary Articles for Seafaring Persons” are entries on how to pickle mushrooms, the best way to keep potted dripping – “turn the pot upside down and then no rats can get at it. It will keep on shipboard and make as fine puff pastry crust as any butter…” and instructions on steeping dried fish. As well there is a long-lasting ketchup.
The recipe for ketchup promises a sauce that will keep twenty years! If you would like to try you hand, take a gallon of strong stale beer, “the stronger and staler the beer, the better will be the ketchup”, a pound of pickled anchovies (rinsed), a pound of peeled shallots, half an ounce of mace, half an ounce of cloves, a quarter of an ounce of pepper corns, three or four large races (roots) of ginger and two quarts of large mushroom caps, broken into pieces. Simmer until reduced by half, strain, then bottle.
Farley says that a spoonful added to a pound of melted butter makes a fine sauce for fish!
The book also offers a bill of fare for each month of the year. In Georgian times the food was served in two or three “courses” in which a large selection of dishes were all placed on the table at once. To our modern sensitivities it seems a huge amount of food but the Georgians were big eaters – and also the leftovers found their way below stairs to feed the servants.
Here’s June’s bill of fare:
The first Course – Soup, Fish (two different dishes), Fricasseed Chickens, Pigeons Compote, Florentine Rabbits, Ducks a la Mode
and the Second Course – Larded Turkey, Macaroni, Mushroom Ragout, Roasted Duck, Cherry Tart, Transparent Pudding (a sort of custard tart), Stewed Chardoons (a popular vegetable), Rocky Island and Moonshine (both elaborate flummery dishes) and Omilet (omelette).
Wonder if Tysoe has a copy of the book…
The London Tavern was demolished in 1876 and the site is now Nos 1 – 3 Bishopsgate.
3 Insanity in the Navy
In the first half of the eighteenth century seamen suffering from insanity were usually sent to public asylums like Bedlam and the Admiralty paid a subsistence allowance of 4 pounds, 12 shillings per man.
The form of admission was worded: “Whereas —-, belonging to H.M.S. —- is seized with distraction and become miserable, we desire you will be pleased to give directions that he may be received into Bethlem Hospital, if upon examination he appears to be a fit object of charity.”
Later, seamen were sent to an establishment run by Messrs. Miles and Co. at Hoxton in London, or “The Retreat” at York. There were also special wards at Plymouth and Haslar.
In 1815, the distinguished naval physician Gilbert Blane put the figure of insanity in the navy at a proportion of 1 to 1000, as compared to 1 to 7000 in the population as a whole – that is seven times higher than in civilian life. He was unable to explain this to his satisfaction but suggested that the number of head injuries, often the result of drunkenness, was a major cause. The height between decks in ships was never more than 5 feet 10 inches and although most mariners ducked beams as a matter of course, this habit often deserted them under intoxication. Another factor, no doubt, was the consequences of shock or blast for guns crews.
It is interesting to note that in Blane’s figures, there is a higher than expected incidence of insanity among officers; a ratio of one to eight of officers to sailors. The average proportion of officers to men in the Service was roughly one to twenty.
This rather confounds Blane’s assertion that head injuries were the major cause of insanity in the Navy.
One madman nearly changed the course of history. He was a Mr Mears, a brilliant navigator and draughtsman and schoolmaster in the frigate “Perseus”, whose captain was the future King William IV, Prince William Henry. Mears made two deliberate attempts on the royal life. For some reason nothing was done about the first but then Mears appeared on the quarterdeck the next day brandishing a large carving knife. He charged the captain’s door with such force that a panel was knocked in. The sentry on guard was a Marine named Vaughan. He rushed at him, throwing him, it was reported, “a distance of full five yards”. Then, “the unfortunate maniac gave the most hideous screech that ever issued from the lungs of man.” Mears was removed to hospital confinement in Antigua, then to England.
+ The Kydd Cap
For a chance to win a stylish Navy Blue Kydd Cap, email the answer to this question to <email@example.com> by June 20 – name the British commander during the Glorious First of June battle. First correct entry out of the hat on closing wins! Please include your full postal address.
And if you’d like to go into a draw for a copy of the hardback of MUTINY, name two female characters in the Kydd series.
Emails to <firstname.lastname@example.org> by June 20. First correct entries drawn win!
Congratulations to Any Lindenburn, winner of “The Log of the Cutty Sark”, the contest prize in last month’s issue.
5 WIT AND WISDOM OF THE SEA
“There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” – Joseph Conrad
6 EDITOR’S CHOICE
Master and Madman
by Peter Thomas & Nicholas Tracy
published by Seaforth
Like Julian’s fictional character Thomas Kydd, Anthony Lockwood was born in humble circumstances, press-ganged into the navy and rose through the ranks. Both men were great sailors. Kydd will eventually become an admiral, Lockwood achieved the post of Surveyor General and right hand man to the governor of New Brunswick, Canada. But there the similarities end. Lockwood succumbed to mental illness at the height of his powers. This was largely down to his deeply-felt democratic determination that was out of step with the times and his unrealistic expectations of social justice propelled him into insanity. He staged a one-man coup d’etat that ended with him being shipped back to London to live out his days as a mental patient.
Peter Thomas was a professor of English who came across Lockwood during some research he was doing on another topic. Fascinated, he spent 20 years piercing together Lockwood’s story and before his death in 2007 he asked Nicholas Tracy, the distinguished naval historian, to complete the work.
Thomas said of Lockwood: “He is one of those figures from the past who appear to represent essential elements of their times by failure rather than success. In his downfall he presented questions which concerned both the thinkers and men of action of his day – questions concerning the nature of political authority, the limits of reason, and the rights of the individual.”
7 MRS PARKER
Readers of Julian’s fourth Kydd series book MUTINY will recall Richard Parker, leader of the mutineers during the 1797 Nore mutiny. He was hung on June 30, aboard HMS “Sandwich”.
A complex character, he has been the subject of speculation as to his motives – but one thing is certain: he deeply loved his wife.
Parker was born in Exeter in the English county of Devon. He received a good education and at the age of twelve went to sea as a midshipman, becoming a master’s mate. He gave up a career at sea when he married Anne McHardy and the couple moved to Scotland, where Parker unsuccessfully speculated in business in Edinburgh. Too embarrassed to ask his wife’s family for help when financial difficulties arose he panicked and decided to take the King’s bounty and become a common sailor.
Meanwhile Anne had appealed to her family in Aberdeen for help but the money came too late. He had sailed.
She coped as best she could and then heard about the mutiny, and that the ringleader was one Richard Parker. Anne was interrogated by agents of the Home Secretary. When she was released she petitioned Queen Charlotte but received no reply. On hearing that the hanging was set for June 30 she made haste to Sheerness but was unable to see Parker before he was hung.
She asked for his body to give him a proper burial, fearful of grave robbers.
Eventually she located the secret graveyard where the navy had buried him and with four women helping her dug up the coffin, got it over the wall and in a cart took it to the Hoop and Horseshoe public house in London. Long queues of people lined up to see it. The Duke of Portland, the home secretary, feared that it would become a rallying point and had to body stolen but word leaked out and crowds blocked the streets near the workhouse to which it had been taken. The Home Office had it secretly buried at St Mary Matfelon’s church. Anne found out and succeeded in having the official Christian ritual for the dead performed.
Anne Parker died in poverty in London in the 1840s. St Mary Matfelon was destroyed in German air raids in World War II.
We have a hardback of MUTINY to give away, see CONTESTS.
Browse Julian’s website at <http://www.julianstockwin.com/>