Monday, 30 April 2012

First of May is Garland day, The Vineyard, May 1911

"Please remember the Garland"

Wrote Maude Egerton King in The Vineyard in May 1911.

"In the southern counties of England, it often comes to pass on May morning that the gentlefolk who are still in their beds, or in the act of dressing, or even breakfasting, according to the time-table of the particular house, become aware of children's voices out of doors.  And, if they look, of the children themselves, wearing and carrying floral decorations.  They will hear, spoken or chanted, over and over again: -

          First of May
          Is garland day,
          Please to remember the garland.

When the words reach the ear as -

          First of My
          Is garland dy,

Garland Day in the garden at Sandhouse, Witley
from The Ailing Countryside and prescriptions  for some forthcoming physic by "Home Counties"
c. 1910

There needs no milestone to convince the listener of being within forty miles of Hyde Park Corner (- nb. the 40 miles to Hyde Park Corner milestone stands in Haslemere High Street).  If the district were further removed from that centre of culture, it is quite possible the little chant will be followed by the beautiful May-day song:

          I've been a -wandering all this night
          And some of this day,
          And now returning home again,
          I've brought you a garland gay.

          A garland gay I've brought you here,
          And at your door I stand.
          'Tis nothing but a sprout,
          But it's well budded out
          By the work of our Lord's hand.

Here and there the gentlefolk are dimly conscious that the little group they are looking upon is the very last of a vanishing picturesque past, and, in a sudden stir of pity and pleasure, send out largess.  More often the children are hardly noticed, and if it were not for the servants (who always find something for these and for carol-singers and organ-grinders too) they would clatter away no heavier by a single penny or bun.
detail from embroidered panel,
designed by Godfrey Blount, 1896, V&A Museum

And yet, as sheer matter of fact, these children are the faithful priests of an ancient and universal religion, and their weak shoulders, alone of all to-day, uphold the age-long tradition; of which they know no more than the eternal human heart in their breasts and their unlettered mothers can tell them.  They come from far, and are just the remnant of a great company who have dropped off by the way: whose very names they have forgotten, although they would know and welcome them did they ever meet them again.  They do not know that they are one of the multitude in many lands and ages, but so it is.  The fellows of these little people in pinafores and clumsy boots, sang love-songs of rapturous welcome to the swallow two thousand years ago in Greece.  And to-day, over the same ground, they pass in little companies, carrying a wooden swallow from door to door, asking gifts of fruit and cheese from those who welcome with them this harbinger of fruitful days, and singing.

          She is here, she is here,
          The swallow that brings us the beautiful year;
          Open wide the door,
          We are children again, we are old no more.

They broke the green boughs in the woods of Roman Britain and decked their homes with them for the Floralia, the festival which the Romans brought hither along with sterner things; and they danced around a flowery pole set up in honour of the sweet Goddess of flowers and fruitful promise."

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Country Alphabet by Godfrey & Ethel Blount

I think that this poem jointly written by Godfrey and Ethel Blount encapsulates their values beautifully.  It was published in the April 1911 journal, The Vineyard, in the section titled "for the children".

A is for Almighty God,
   Who has given every treasure;
Agriculture for our Acres,
Art to give us shining Angels,
   Apples for a homely pleasure.

B for Blessing on all Birth,
   Babies, Buds and Beasts,
Endless beauty for the earth,
   Birds and Barley-feasts.

C for Customs, Country ways,
   Cross of Christ in battle,
C for blessed golden Corn,
   C for gentle Cattle.

D for Distaff with its spindle,
   Homespun Dress for happy toil,
D for Days of Admal's labour,
   Digging deep in fruitful soil.

E for Eating gratefully
   Blessing platter, blessing cup,
Easter and the Eucharist,
   Heart to Heaven lifted up.

F for Furrowed, russet Fields
   Holding wealth in store;
For Flowers and Fruit, for Fire and Force
   And flail on threshing-Floor

for Groves and Gardens Green,
   Grain and Grapes on hills,
Glory of purple juice in vat,
   And Grist for a thousand mills.

H shall stand for Heart and Hand,
   For Harvests won from earth;
For Harrow, Hoe and binding Hedge,
   For Hammer, Home and Hearth.

Both I and J shall mean to those
   Who live by country ways,
The Justice, Joy and Innocence
   That fill their simple days.

K is for the Kingly heart
   That lives to serve and bless,
To feel, to rule, to help and heal
   In Knightly Kindliness.

L shall stand for happy Labour,
   Loom and fruitful Land;
Love that makes the world go round;
   Life from God's own hand.

M for Men and Master too
   In the Meadows Mowing;
M for Miller in his Mill
   With the Mill-wheel going.

N for Nature with her Night,
   Need of pain and wrestling,
Bringing New-birth with the light,
   New love for the Nestling.

O for Ordered Orchard ways;
   Wind-blown Oat-stalks bowing;
Oaks and Oil and Olive-groves;
   Patient Oxen ploughing.

P for Peasant, Plough, and Prince,
   Patriot, Pagan, Praise,
Pastures green  and Purity,
   Prayer and Peaceful days.

Q for Quaint and homely Quince;
   Q for hero's Quest;
Q for Quenchless, Quickening life
   In cottage, byre, and nest.

R for Reapers in the harvest,
   Rain and Rainbow, Roses, Rooks.
R for noon-day Rest from labour,
   Garnered Riches, golden stooks.

S for Spade and Scythe and Sickle,
   Share and Sword and Saint afar;
Sorrow, Secret, Seed and Spirit,
   Song and Sun and shining Star.

T for Thatch and Tree and Tool,
   Town and old Tradition's lore;
And the Tune the rhythmic flails
   Thump upon the Threshing-floor.

And U shall stand for Unity
   And sympathy of hearts,
And patient Use that trains the hand
   To Useful country arts.

And V is for true Victory,
   And Virtue tried by fire;
For happy Vine-clad Village homes
   Around the Village spire.

Wine and Water, Wheat and Wealth,
   Wage, and Wassail-making;
Winnowing, Wind and Wintry World
   Ere the spring be Waking.

X the Xtians Xmas love
   With creche and Xmas-tree;
X the Cross on which our Christ
   Wins immortality.

Y for leaves of autumn yellow;
   Years that Yield the Yearned-for truth,
Whilst the ancient earth renews us
   With her everlasting Youth.

Z our Zeal and sacred passion,
   Breaking bread in happy wise,
Learning in such simple fashion
   To regain our Paradise.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Another Peasant Tangent - a Francis W. Troup factory

Recently I was surprised to discover that I walk past a Francis W. Troup designed building on the way to work everyday.  Not a building in Haslemere, but in London.  There is a listing of all the buildings that Troup was identified as having designed in Jackson's F.W.Troup: Architect 1859-1941 (Building Centre Trust, 1985), and this is how I made the discovery.  

164-180 Union Street, London
Spicers Ltd' Envelope Factory extension
designed by F.W.Troup in 1914

Jackson records that in 1914 Troup designed an "extension to an existing red brick building, it was a six storey, sixteen bay, ferro-concrete framed structure faced in white glazed bricks above a blue brick plinth.  The functional quality of the fabric was echoed in the fittings - metal windows, and patent stone lintels and rainwater heads made by Stuart's Granolithic Company Ltd."  The building was at an envelope factory for Spicers Ltd, and this was the second building that Troup designed for Spicers Ltd, the first being Blackfriars House (New Bridge Street, London) in 1913.  

the main entrance to 164-180 Union Street, Southwark, London

the meeting of the old Envelope Factory building (182-194 Union Street)
with the extension designed by Francis Troup in 1914 (164-180 Union Street)

The building stands at 164-194 Union Street (Southwark, London), the Troup section of the building stands at 164-180 Union Street and is now called Linton House.  The blue brick plinth looks black to me, but perhaps it always was this colour.  The white gloss bricks set the building apart.  The mass of metal windows still prevails.   The rainwater heads are too far above street level to see clearly but I suspect they have been replaced.

Linton House is host to a number of offices and a cafe.  The view from the road is dominated on one side by the Shard.   I wonder what F.W. Troup would make of it now.  In the present day, this building intrigues passers-by who can look through the basement windows into the Paxman Limited showroom and workshop, "one of the world's leading horn makers".  

As an amateur, I can see no obvious connection between this building and those on Kings Road, Haslemere but I thought I would share.

Paxman Limited showroom,
164 - 180 Union Street, London
building designed by F.W. Troup in 1914

182-194 Union Street, Southwark, London
original Spicers Ltd's Envelope Factory
for which F.W.Troup designed the extension:164-180 Union Street

164-194 Union Street, London
originally Spicers Ltd's Envelope Factory
with F.W. Troup's extension on the right in white brick
Linton House interior office view

the view from outside 164-180 Union Street
is now dominated by the Shard

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