Saturday, November 29, 2014

Titanic Sheet Music

Found among a pile of sheet music 3 Titanic items. They incorporate several mythic (but not necessarily untrue) stories around the disaster-- Captain Smith is said to have spoken the words 'Be British'  (possibly his last) to his men and the 8 members of the ship's band carried on playing as the ship sank (possibly there last number was Nearer My God to Thee.) Some accounts say that the band played on until they were waist high in water. The sheet music for Be British came with a set of illustrative coloured lantern slides that could be bought or hired from the publisher. The lyrics include these lines, worthy of poet laureate Alfred Austin himself:

All went well, and the laugh and jest
And the dance went gaily on,
Till they met the ice, and a rasp and a jar,
Told there was something wrong.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Books in Shakespeare's plays

Browsing Ayscough's An Index to the Remarkable Passages and Words made use of by Shakspeare ; Calculated to Point Out the Different Meanings to Which the Words are Applied (Thomas Tegg, London 1827) I checked out its dozen or so entries under 'books'. It is fairly comprehensive (Samuel Ayscough was known as 'The Prince of Indexers') but at about 500 pages is not  a 'concordance' and  its intention was somewhat different, as stated in the title. Henry IV (Part 2) seems to be the play with the most bookish references


Burn but his books. Tempest, Act 3, Scene 2.
Drown my books.  Ibid, Act 5, Scene 1.
The gentleman is not in your books. Much Ado About Nothing, Act 1, Scene 1. 
Tire the hearer with a book of words. Ibid, Act 1, Scene 1. 
These trees shall be my books. As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2.
I have unclasp'd to thee the book of my secret soul. Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 4.
By what time shall our book, I think be drawn. 1 Henry IV, Act 3, Scene 1.
By this our book is drawn; we will but seal and then to horse immediately. Ibid, Act 3, Scene 1.
Turning your books to graves, your ink to blood, your pens to lances. 1 Henry IV, Act 4, Scene 1.
Blotting your names from books of history.  2 Henry IV, Act 1, Scene 1.
Our fore-fathers had no other books, but the score and the tally. Ibid, Act 4, Scene 7.
Made him my book, wherein my soul recorded the history of all her secret thoughts. Richard III, Act 3, Scene 5.
I have been the book of his good acts. Coriolanus, Act 5, Scene 2.
A book! O rare one! be not as is our fangled world, nobler than that it covers. Cymbeline, Act 5, Scene 4.
That book in many's eyes doth share the glory, that in gold clasps locks in the golden story. Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 3.
Was ever book, containing such vile matter, so fairly bound. Ibid, Act 3, Scene 2.


Let it be booked with the rest of the day's deeds - 2 Henry IV, Act 4, Scene 3.


Though I am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman in the scape. Winter's Tale, Act 3, Scene 3.
I'll make him yield the crown, whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down. 2 Henry IV, Act 1, Scene 1.


One that makes sport to the prince, and his book-mates.  Love's Labour Lost, Act 4, Scene 1.


I put thee now to thy book-oath; dry it if thou canst. 2 Henry IV, Act 2, Scene 1.

Book of Sport

Or like a book of sport thou'lt read me o'er. Troilus and Cressida, Act 4, Scene 5. 

And from The Tempest these fine lines - 'My library was dukedom large enough'...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How to Buy Books 1892 and 2015

J.H. Slater's Book Collecting - A Guide for Amateurs (Swan Sonnenschein, London 1892) concludes with a still useful chapter - 'Books to Buy.' The author regrets that there is no device (vademecum) 'capable of being carried in the waistcoat pocket which will enable him to spot a rarity at a glance...' This was just over 100 years before smartphones which, to some extent, now fulfil this very purpose (and if the book has a barcode there are also applications that will emit a noise telling you to buy.) The reference to the need for a register of 'scarce but mean-looking' English books (now known as 'sleepers' and which every good book scout or 'runner' has in his or her head) concludes with a florid latin quotation concerning glory..

Slater starts by mentioning the pathologically acquisitive bookseller Naude and the rich bibliomane Heber...

But Naude had the wealth of Mazarin at his back, and free licence to purchase as and where he would at the Cardinal's expense, while Heber was rich beyond the dreams of avarice;the modern book hunter, whose means we will suppose are limited, must discard the yard measure and the scales, and rely on his judgment, taking care to get the utmost value for his money. He will have to make up his mind to buy or not to buy on the spur of the moment, for while he is consulting his books of reference at home, a golden opportunity may be missed. This is his capital difficulty, and one which it will take years of experience to surmount, for there is no vade mecum capable of being carried in the waistcoat pocket, which will enable him to spot a rarity at a glance ; nothing, in fact, which can compensate for a lack of practical knowledge.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Boozing with the Victorian Society in Crouch End, Hornsey and Harringay

Found in a box of books is this photocopy of a typewritten guide to a ‘pub crawl’ (walk no 41) of various late Victorian ‘gin palaces’ in North London arranged by the Victorian Society on 16th September 1966. The guides were two architects-- Roderick Gradidge and Ben Davis—both of whom had designed interiors for Ind Coope. Judging by their descriptions of the pubs they planned to visit, both were also passionate and knowledgeable fans of late Victorian architecture and design. The grand plasterwork of the ceiling cornices and Art Nouveau stained glass is pointed out as being of special interest. But the two men also emphasised the ways in which Victorian pub architects tried to make   their interiors both glamorous and homely as a way of getting their (mainly) lower middle class drinkers (mention is made of Mr Pooter’s ‘raffish’ friends) to spend hours away from their more humble abodes, much (we might add) in the way that the designers of Music Halls and northern shopping arcades  (one thinks of Frank Matcham ), and grand hotels, were doing in the same era. Here are the guides admiring the combination of grandeur and intimacy found in the Queen’s Hotel, Crouch End (below):
All the way round there were through views, glimpses of the other bars, and as a result one was able to feel that one was standing in one part of a single large space, large enough to tolerate the considerable height without
become vertical. Since the space was so well subdivided…one could feel secluded in a sufficiently small and enclosed space, but since the proportion of the greater space was horizontal a feeling of repose was retained which could not have belonged to tall, restricted vertical rooms.
© Copyright Julian Osley
This method of subdividing an area into small bars by means of partitions, which were half-glazed  with semi-obscured glass, and were not much above six feet high, was peculiar to Victorian pubs, and goes a long way to explaining the incomparable drinking atmosphere they provide... 

Along with the praise of such period interiors and the predictable imprecations cast on alterations by designers from the 1930s onwards, there are several features of the guide that point to its mid-sixties origin. Firstly, the crawl began at ‘6.30’ and ended at closing time.
So no sign of the 24 hour clock here-- presumably so as not to confuse the older topers in the Society, some of whom may have been born when these pubs were being built.-- though I seem to recall that the 24 hour clock had arrived on bus time- tables in the London area as early as 1962.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saturday Book 10th Anniversary - a blurb & Gurdjieff

The Saturday Book (1950) 10th Anniversary edition has this quite modern sounding interview/ blurb printed on the inside flaps of its jacket. It was edited by Leonard Russell who probably wrote it. There is a 1000 to one chance it was written by George Orwell a one-time contributor and no stranger to advertising techniques..

Inside flap reads:

Saturday book
Q. and A.

Q.Ten years is a long time, isn't it for a publication of this kind?
A.There is no other publication of this kind.

Q.No imitations, then?
A.They have all perished - crushed to death by the weight of our reputation.

Q.Ah! And is this tenth anniversary number the best ever?
A. Certainly. It is axiomatic.

Q.How would you describe it in a nutshell?
A.Conservatively, as a master piece.

Q.H'm, any particular favourites among this year's contribution.
A.Let's see - there's Osbert Sitwell, Bertrand Russell, Kenneth Walker, Fred Bason, Olive Cookand Edwin Smith, John Hadfield, Walter de la Mare, F. Spencer Chapman.

Q.But aren't you reading straight from the list of contents?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Eleanour Sinclair Rohde & Aromatic Plants etc.,

Found -- this pamphlet from the 1930s put out by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde (1881 -1950.) As Wikipedia notes, she had a fairly standard house but an enormous garden where it appears she sold plants (mostly aromatic -with ESR it was all about scent) by mail order and possibly to visitors. She was the author of several now sought after works on gardening, especially The Scented Garden (1937) and A Garden of Herbs (1920). In World War 2 she published a useful work that was reprinted several times The War-Time Vegetable Garden (1941).


The finely shredded leaves of all plants marked * are a wholesome addition to salads and turn a dull salad into an interesting one.

(Tanacetum balsamitum).

Aromatic flavour. Used since Saxon times for flavouring ale, etc. 4-ft. Plants 6d. each.

(Angelica archangelica).

Leaves have same flavour as stalks. Recipe for candying stalks sent with plants.
Plants 6d. Seedlings 2d. each.


          (A. abrotanum).
Plants 6d. each.
For centuries a favourite in cottage gardens. Aromatic yet sweet scent.

Faux armorial bookplate - an enigma

Found - a bookplate or possibly heraldic design for a coat of arms. Among some bookplates and ephemera but printed rather than engraved, perhaps clipped from a printed item (nothing on the back) and measuring six inches square. Possibly a jokey faux armourial design for a bookplate. I have seen other comic designs on these lines.  The words 'Thingummy ad Nauseam' point at its satirical intention. 

I am not sure when people started saying 'Thingummy' for people whose names they had forgotten, or for people who were annoyingly ubiquitous but this design is almost certainly from the 20th century. Bookplates often sum up the interests and pastimes of the collector - in this case it would be drawing, possibly ornithology, deer stalking, coffee drinking, Olympic sports... The flying carpet might indicate an interest in travel, possibly eastern...the bird (a white ostrich or an egret?) wearing specs and holding a pen could mean an interest in literature - along with a wastepaper basket full of discarded papers. The design to the right of the cup could be part of a jigsaw puzzle..

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Eric Parker, Country Writer, Bird Lover & Sportsman

This press-cutting of an obituary was loosely inserted in a copy of Highways and Byways in Surrey (Macmillan, London 1919). It is dated 14/2/55 and was probably cut from The Times. He is so far unknown to the all knowing Wikipedia despite having written many books. A recent article about him  in The Guildford Dragon News is headlined Eric Parker, Who He? In the second hand book world however he is not forgotten on account of his many books, still mostly quite saleable...

Writer on Sport and Countryside

Mr. Eric Parker, a well-known writer on field sports and the countryside and an active campaigner for the protection of wild birds, died at his home near Godalming yesterday at the age of 84. He was editor of the Lonsdale Library and a former editor-in-chief of the 'Field'.

Frederic Moore Searle (Eric) Parker was born at The Grange, East Barnet, in 1870, the eldest son of Frederick Searle Parker and Elisabeth, daughter of William Wilkieson, of Woodbury Hall, Bedfordshire. He was a King's Scholar at Eton and a Postmaster at Merton College, Oxford. He took a second class Hon. Mods. in 1891, and a fourth class in Lit. Hum. in 1893. He entered journalism in 1900, when he became junior assistant editor to Theodore Cook on the 'St. James Gazette'. While still on the staff of the 'St. James's' he started to write for the 'Spectator' under St. Loe Strachey, and when St. Loe Strachey bought the 'Country Gentleman' Parker was appointed editor of that paper, coupling it with regular writing for the 'Spectator'.

The 'Country Gentleman' ceased publication in 1907. By that time Parker has written one book, 'The Sinner and the Problem', and illustrated another, A. K. Collett's 'British Inland Birds. He was always a great Surrey man, and lived in that county for most of his life, and so it was fitting that he should than have been asked to contribute the volume on Surrey to the Highways and Byways series of Messrs. Macmillian. He had a thoroughly enjoyable, thought strenuous, time in prowling about the nooks and crannies of the county, and the result, illustrated by Hugh Thomson, was by no means the least attractive of an attractive series. 

College at Eton

In 1911 he became shooting editor of the 'Field'

Monday, November 10, 2014

I don’t want to be alone (or I was Garbo's double)

General Montgomery, Idi Amin and various Japanese emperors had doubles, and so it seems did the screen siren Greta Garbo. Her name was Jeraldine (or Geraldine) Dvorak and the revelation first appeared in a magazine in September 1931.

The real Garbo left. Thanks
Today, we would call them body doubles and when they are used it is usually to undertake dangerous stunts. Seldom, if ever, are close shots taken of them and even when long shots are used it is only for a second or a fraction of one. Most shots of body doubles are taken sideways or from the back, most memorably as in the case of the seduction scene in The Wicker Man, when we are treated to the attractive backside belonging to the double of Ursula Andress.

The photos show that the resemblance of Dvorak to Garbo was astonishing and only differed in one small respect—the colour of their eyes, which in the era of black and white movies would not have mattered anyway. In the car smash scene in Woman of Affairs Dvorak, and not Garbo, was lifted from the wreckage; and Dvorak also acted in the snow scenes in Love. She could supply a passable Swedish accent and even sang in place of the star in Romance. We know that Garbo was no singer, but why she couldn’t be bothered to act as an injured car passenger or get her shoes damp is not explained in the article. Later sources suggest that she might have been pregnant at the time. Nor was Dvorak required only for long shots. On one occasion a cameraman got away with a ten foot close-up of her face!

So confident were the studio chiefs in Dvorak’s ability to stand-in for the star that on one famous occasion they arranged for her to impersonate Garbo off-screen as well.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Gaudier-Brzeska Exhibition 1956

This was a mimeographed typescript found in a book on World War 1 art. Many thanks to J. Wood Palmer.

   Self Portrait 1913


   Gaudier-Brzeska was born Henri Gaudier at St Jean de Brays, Loiret on October 4th 1891. He was killed in action with the French army, after twice being decorated for bravery, at Neuville St Vaast on June 15th 1915. For any man this span of life would be counted brief; for the average artist it must preclude any significant development in this work as well as physically limiting his output. Gaudier-Brzeska was not an average artist; for him the three or four years of his working life as a sculptor were sufficient in which to pass through the phases of promise and arrive at a maturity, producing during this period so astonishing an array of sculptures and drawings that his achievement must be unparalleled in our time.

   Enough has been written already about his early life in France,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Camp Out This Year!

A great camping book from about 1911, positively evangelical in its emphasis on the joys of life under canvas. The author is not to be confused with the US writer Henry William Gibson whose Camping for Boys came out in the same year. That Gibson is said to be responsible for the American Summer Camp movement which did not take off in Britain. J.Gibson's cookery books for scouts are highly prized..

How about your Holidays ?
Have you tried Camping ?



Author of "Camping Out”;
"Camp Cookery”; "Hand-
book of Scout Crafts”; "Scout
and Guide Diaries"; Etc.

Copyright under Act of 1911


The Best Holiday for the Least Money.

Our Slogan :

   The object of this booklet is to increase the ranks of the great army of Campers. Many have joined the ranks during the last two or three years and made camping out a permanent institution. Many more would join the ranks if they realised the real joy there is in camping out. No one need hesitate to join that vast and yearly increasing army of campers out, to share their pleasures and comforts.
   Take up the Slogan and camp out this year and this booklet will have done its duty well.
"Once a Camper, always a Camper !"

Why do children ask questions?

 Found in Intellectual Growth in Young Children by Susan Isaacs (Routledge, London 1930) this collection of children's questions. Susan Sutherland Isaacs (1885 - 1948) was an educational psychologist. Basically she bellieved that children learn best through play. For her, play involves a perpetual form of experiment..."at any moment, a new line of inquiry or argumemt might flash out, a new step in understanding be taken". This is where the chapter on questions comes in. It was actually written by her husband Nathan Isaacs (1895 - 1961). He was a metallurgist but collaborated on her later work. The piece after the selection of questions goes some way towards explaining their significance.

 Why do ladies not have beards? 

 Why are the funnels (on a boat) slanting?

 Why do animals not mind drinking dirty water?

 Why have you got little ears and I have big ones although I am small?

It (exit of a tunnel at a distance) looks very weeny. Why does it?

 Why are the snails in the water?

Why can I put my hand through water and not through soap?

What's there? (Of houses behind a fence at night) House. Why can't we see them?

Why won't it (wet raffia held in fire) burn?

Susan Isaacs as a child.
(National Portrait Gallery)

(Seeing word PULL on lavatory Pull), Why are there two l's? We don't need two, do we? One would do wouldn't it? Why has it got PULL? We know what to do, don't we? We don't need that, do we?

Why does the soap look smaller in water?

Why don't they (shadows) go before us?

Why can't we see the stars in the day-time?

Why doesn't the butter stay on top (of hot toast)?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Colossus - the first true electronic computer

Found - in a paperback novel from the 1980s this press cutting. It is from a glossy magazine (possibly Electronics World) and is a letter from one G.O. Hayward. This is the war hero Gil Hayward who had worked at Bletchley Park and was given a medal by the Prime Minister in 2010 and died a year later aged 93. He had worked on the "Tunny" decryption machines at  at the Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill, North London, and later at Bletchley Park. These were used to break the code of even higher grade secret messages than the Enigma machine. Towards the end of the war, up to 15 of the Tunny machines were in use at Bletchley Park, providing Allied leaders with around 300 messages from the German High Command a week. Among other things, Tunny provided key intelligence for D-Day. The Colossus computer was developed from it...

His Telegraph obituary notes that he was interested in electronics from an early age - "On his own motorcycle.. he built an indicator which integrated a clock with his speedometer and indicated his average speed.

The rebuilt Colossus seen from the rear
He also built a new type of weaving machine and a device for surveyors which instantly measured the distance between walls without a tape measure." In the 1980s Hayward