Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #160

Dear Reader,

Fonts can suggest an atmosphere and sense of time. With Tula, my novel about an actress, I’m looking to invoke the 1920s, so I’m experimenting with Snell Roundhand and American Typewriter.

Brooklyn Bridge is a location in chapter two of Tula. She goes there to deliver a parcel for her father and notices a cameraman filming. While she’s engrossed in the filming, someone steals the parcel.

At the time of its opening, on May 24, 1883, Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span of 1,595.5 feet.

🖼 Chromolithography of the “Great East River Suspension Bridge” by Currier and Ives, 1883.

Was Clara Bow a good actress? On a human level, this question is irrelevant – Clara dragged herself out of abject poverty and pursued her dream; that’s all that matters. On an artistic level, it would be nice to answer the question, so here’s my opinion.

First, what other people said about Clara’s acting ability. Fellow actress Louise Brooks: “She was absolutely sensational in the United States … in Dancing Mothers … she just swept the country … I know I saw her … and I thought … wonderful.”

In 1981, producer Budd Schulberg described Clara as “an easy winner of the dumbbell award” who “couldn’t act.” Furthermore, he compared her to a puppy that his father B. P. Schulberg had trained to become Lassie.

Director Victor Fleming compared Clara to a Stradivarius violin: “Touch her, and she responded with genius.” Another director, William Wellman said, “Movie stardom isn’t acting ability – it’s personality and temperament … I once directed Clara Bow (Wings). She was mad and crazy, but WHAT a personality!”

While Grace Kingsley of the Los Angeles Times said; “Don’t miss Wine. It’s a thoroughly refreshing draught … there are only about five actresses who give me a real thrill on the screen – and Clara is nearly five of them.”

Clara Bow in Stars of the Photoplay, 1924

Clara Bow didn’t require direction: she required background about a particular scene, then a wise director would light the set and allow her to go with the flow. She understood character, and how to convey that character to an audience, not en block, but with subtle asides that would convey different messages to males and females, to those who would love her character, and to those who would disapprove. The net result: (nearly) everyone loved her performances.

Brought up in the silent era, Clara knew how to convey emotions through facial expressions, particularly through her eyes. Her glances were worth a page of dialogue, while her ability to cry on demand was legendary.

My opinion: Clara Bow was a great emotional actress. She knew how to get inside a character, how to portray a character, and how to connect with an audience. I agree with Victor Fleming – on the silver screen, Clara Bow responded with genius.

***

Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the answers to these questions in her roots?

Eva Marie’s grandfather was John Q Saint, a postmaster from Indiana, living in Iowa in 1900. What did the Q stand for? This document provides the answer, and a whole lot more.

The Q in John’s name stood for Quincy. Furthermore, his parents were Jonathan and Emily, and they were Quakers.

John Quincy Saint
Event Type:Birth
Birth Date:19 Dec 1847
Birth Date on Image:19 1847 Twelfth
Birth Place:Henry, Indiana
Father:Jonathan Saint
Mother:Emily Saint
Monthly Meeting:Duck Creek Monthly Meeting
Yearly Meeting:Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Meeting State:Indiana
Meeting County:Henry

So, my next task is to discover more about Jonathan and identify when his family became Quakers – did they join a Quaker community in America, or were they persecuted Quakers in Britain, seeking a new home?

***

Sleight of Hand, Series 1, Episode 15 of The Rockford Files is different to all previous episodes. The main reason for the difference is Sleight of Hand was based on a novel, Thin Air by Howard Browne. 

This episode is Rockford noir with little in the way of humour. Rockford becomes seriously aggressive on a couple of occasions too, both justified. 

In long-running series, writers are always looking for new angles for their characters, so it’s easy to understand why the Rockford writers were drawn to this story, but did it work as an episode of The Rockford Files?

I reckon the radical nature of this story would divide fans. Some would recognise that the story was built on an interesting premise – a baffling disappearance – while others would appreciate that the story was written for a different main character, a married man.

Georgian London established itself as a place for fashionable living with new streets and squares in Westminster, plus plush palaces for entrepreneurs and aristocrats. It fashioned a society based on exploitation and profit. It became a city without a soul.

Through the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and a network of coffee houses, fortunes were made – and lost. Money, stocks and shares were king. However, the financial pie is of limited size, and for every big time winner there were scores of big time losers. For every palace, scores of slums blighted the city, and ruined peoples’ lives.

Two new bridges across the Thames linked the north and south of London. The city spread into the countryside. Houses sprang up. The landscape altered beyond all recognition. 

Workshops and manufacturing centres fed the need for essentials, and luxury goods. Breweries quenched thirsts – alcohol was safer to drink than London water – while artisans displayed their skills in pottery and porcelain production, in clock and watchmaking, in furniture making, and in silk weaving.

London was a cosmopolitan place. But, as someone might have said at the time, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Westminster Bridge, depicted by Joseph Farrington, 1789. 🖼 Wikipedia.

Roy Clarke was born on 1 June 1925. A winger, he played professional football for Cardiff City, Manchester City, Stockport County and Wales.

A natural sportsman at school, Roy served his country during the Second World War as a coal miner, digging the ‘black gold’ that kept British industry going, which in turn kept the war effort alive.

In 1942, Roy signed for Cardiff City as an amateur. When league football resumed in 1945, he turned professional. 

Cardiff City won promotion from Division Three (South) in 1946 – 47. In May of 1947, Roy signed for Second Division Manchester City for a fee £12,000. 

At that time, Manchester City secured promotion to the First Division. This meant that Roy achieved the unusual feat of playing in three different divisions in consecutive matches.

Roy secured a regular place in the Manchester City team. Over the next decade he made 349 league appearances scoring 73 goals. He was also an FA Cup winner in 1956. During that match his friend, Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, broke his neck, but played on.

In 1958, Roy wound down his professional career at Stockport County. On the international stage, he won 22 caps for Wales.

After his retirement from football, Roy became the manager of the Manchester City social club. Along with his wife, Kathleen, he provided an environment for fans, management and players to forge closer bonds. The club ran for nearly 25 years.

***

Independent Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California, October 21, 1950. “Lady Stars Gain Height.”

Highest grossing film of 1920: Way Down East.

A silent romantic drama, directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lilian Gish, Way Down East is best remembered for its climatic scene in which Lillian Gish’s character, Anna, is rescued from doom on an icy river (pictured).

Way Down East was heavy censored. The Pennsylvania film board demanded over sixty cuts, rendering the story meaningless. The mock marriage and honeymoon between Lennox and Anna had to go, along with any hints of her pregnancy. Other cuts included scenes where society women smoked cigarettes and an intertitle, which featured the words “wild oats”.

Clara Bow Quotes: “When I was ten years old I knew what I wanted – to be a screen star was my idea of heaven. But what chance had I? My family was poor. We lived in a not too pleasing section of Brooklyn, and my only contact with the screen was an occasional visit to a neighbourhood theatre, paying my admission with pennies and nickels earned by taking care of neighbours’ children when not looking after my (sick) mother.”

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #159

Dear Reader,

I’ve completed the basic outline for Tula, my novel about an actress finding fame in the 1920s, and losing her mind in the process. Sixty-eight chapters. I’ve written the prologue and chapter one. The prologue is Tula’s asylum admission form, with her doctor’s notes. 

The form and notes are based on 1920s asylum records, and a record from my family archive – a Victorian aunt spent a number of years in an asylum. My youngest son, who hopes to become a psychologist, helped with my research. He also named the doctor, Dr Brooks.

Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the answers to these questions in her roots?

I’ve traced the Saint family back to the 1900 US Federal Census, which reveals the following about the family:

John Q Saint
Age52
Birth DateDec 1847
BirthplaceIndiana, USA
Home in 1900Marshall, Marshall, Iowa
Ward of City2nd
StreetNorth Fourth Street
House Number410
Sheet Number17
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation412 322
Family Number447
RaceWhite
GenderMale
Relation to Head of HouseHead
Marital StatusMarried
Spouse’s NameLydia G Saint
Marriage Year1870
Years Married30
Father’s BirthplaceIndiana, USA
Mother’s BirthplaceIndiana, USA
OccupationPost Master
Months Not Employed0
Can ReadYes
Can WriteYes
Can Speak EnglishYes
House Owned or RentedRent
Farm or House

So, Eva Marie’s grandfather was John Q Saint, a postmaster from Indiana, now living in Iowa. In 1900, John had been married to Lydia for thirty years, and they had three children living with them, including Eva’s father, John.

John Q Saint’s neighbours all had respectable professions, as insurance and real estate agents, clerks, etc. The Saints lived in a respectable neighbourhood and, it would seem, enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.

John Q Saint’s parents were from Indiana, but before searching for them, I’d like to discover more about John Q including what the Q stood for – Quentin? Quincy? Quillan?

More next time.

***

An official in 1922 checking that swimsuits were no more than six inches above the knee. However, emboldened by the right to vote, and the crazes for dance, jazz, ragtime and blues, women were in the mood to throw away the tape measures and challenge authority in general.

Alvin ‘Shipwreck’ Kelly, 1893 – 1952, achieved fame in the 1920s and 1930s as a pole sitter. He calculated that he spent 20,613 hours sitting on flagpoles, including 210 hours in sub-freezing weather and 1,400 hours in the rain. 

Kelly married Frances Vivian Steele, an elevator operator, a match clearly made in heaven, or at least close to it.

Some social historians contend that sex was ‘invented’ in the 1960s. However, the rest of us know that it began in the 1920s when people started necking in automobiles, like the Austin 7, introduced in 1922.

Aura Lee, Farewell, Series 1, Episode 14 of The Rockford Files contains echoes of the pilot episode. Lindsay Wagner reprises her role as Sara Butler. Bill Mumy, who was Sara’s brother in the pilot, also appears, but as a different character.

Bill Mumy appears as Trask, an artist. Trask’s paintings are abstracts, to say the least. In a classic exchange, Rockford asks Trask if he requires a permit to sell his paintings (because they are so bad). Trask replies, “I told you, I paint what I feel.” Rockford: “You must not feel well.”

My honest opinion: the premise of this episode was excellent – a senator is involved in a hit-and-run accident, which leads to murder. The resolution though was a bit convoluted, explained in a brief conversation, rather than shown over several scenes. 

Instead of the mystery, the writers of this episode decided to concentrate on Rockford and Sara’s relationship, which was fine because James Garner and Lindsay Wagner sparkled in their scenes.

Between 1700 and 1800 the population of London increased from 600,000 to over one million. The city established itself as the largest in the world, with commercial and military interests providing the bedrock.

London derived its energy from the free market, which basically meant ‘anything goes’. Services, goods and people – yes, people – could be bought without legislative restraint. Shipowners exploited the colonies while, at the other end of the scale, pickpockets sold gold watches. In eighteenth century London, these people were much of the same: steal from someone, then make a handsome profit.

Some people were offended by the scale of the greed. They compared London to a modern Babylon, devoid of morals and probity. However, writer James Boswell stated that his blood ‘thrilled with pleasure’ and that he regarded London as a city of happiness.

Maybe Boswell didn’t notice that, at its heart, London was still a medieval city without the capacity to deal with a huge rise in the population. In the eighteenth century,  London became notorious for its high volume of prostitutes, it’s large numbers of feral children, and its disgruntled mobs.

Wise heads reasoned that such chaos could not continue, that the quest for ever-larger profits was unsustainable, that the city was in danger of spiralling out of control. The wise heads were proved right because by the fourth quarter of the century, revolution was in the air.

🖼 London from the east, 1751.

John Charles was born on 27 December 1931. He is regarded by many as Wales’ finest-ever footballer. Indeed, many rate him as Britain’s greatest all-round footballer.

During his glory years at Leeds United and Juventus, John excelled as a centre-forward and as a centre-back. He moved to Leeds United, in 1949, from his hometown club, Swansea Town. After a break for National Service, John was the Second Division’s top goalscorer in 1954. 

As club captain in 1955, John led Leeds United to second place and promotion. The following season, Leeds finished eighth in the First Division while John was the division’s top goalscorer.

John’s qualities included strength, pace, technique and vision. Furthermore, he was a great header of a football and possessed a keen eye for goal.

John’s qualities attracted the attentions of Italian giants, Juventus. In his five seasons with Juventus, John won the Scudetto three times and the Coppa Italia twice. 

In 1962, John returned to Leeds; moves to Roma and Cardiff City followed. He was never cautioned nor sent off during his entire career. Indeed, John’s respect for his opponents earned him the nickname Il Gigante Buono – The Gentle Giant.

John represented Wales over a period of fifteen years, from 1950 to 1965. In 1958, he was a member of the Wales World Cup squad.  During that tournament, John scored in the 1 – 1 draw with Hungary. 

Injury ruled John out of the quarter-final against Brazil. Wales lost 1 – 0. Who knows what would have happened if John had been fit to participate in that match.

Next week, more news about my new project, Tula, plus background information.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #156

Dear Reader,

Are actresses/writers/etc born or made? Where does their talent come from? To answer this question, I intend to trace the ancestry of creative people born in the first quarter of the twentieth century, to see if their ancestors displayed any creative traits.

I’m starting with my favourite actress, Eva Marie Saint. Eva Marie Saint first came to my attention in the movie ‘36 Hours’, where she co-starred with my favourite actor, James Garner. After that, I enjoyed her classic performances in movies such as On The Waterfront and North by Northwest.

Eva Marie Saint’s acting career is well documented. For this project, I’m interested in the period before she was famous, and in her ancestors’ roots. Where was she born? Where did her ancestors come from? What trades did they follow? Time to search the records…

I’ve found Eva in the 1940 United States Federal Census. This is a public record. The census reveals Eva’s age, approximately 15, that she lived with her sister, Adelaide aged 17, and her parents, John Saint, 48, and Eva, 43. The family lived in Bethlehem, Albany, New York. John was a District Credit Manager for a tyre company while Eva’s mother was a housewife. Their neighbours were chemists, printers, engineers and a piano teacher, so a pleasant district. 

The piano teacher hints at local artistic endeavours, but nothing to directly link Eva’s family with the arts, as yet. Nevertheless, a good start with plenty of leads to follow.

***

As London developed during the seventeenth century, the city saw great advances in medicine, science and philosophy. It became a home to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society. Many learned people made a positive contribution to the sciences. However, London also attracted its fair share of quacks.

The quacks peddled a wide range of ‘miracle’ cures, especially for embarrassing diseases like syphilis. The quacks used to gather at the gates of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. There, William Salmon sold an ‘Elixir of Life’, and an antidote to the plague.

Anne Laverenst ran her business in Arundel Street. She treated syphilis and removed women’s bladder stones. Coffee houses were also popular locations for quacks. These establishments carried advertisements for cures such as ‘Fletcher’s Powder’, which was effective ‘against all diseases, except death’. 

🖼 William Hogarth’s ‘The Visit to the Quack Doctor’.

Ivor Allchurch, the sixth of seven children, was born on 16 October 1929 in Swansea to Charles Wilfried Allchurch and Mabel Sarah Allchurch, née Miller. Ivor’s parents were originally from Dudley, Worcestershire, but they moved to Swansea post World War I in search of work.

After school, Ivor worked in a foundry and a fish market. However, his main passion was football. An inside-forward, he began his professional career with Swansea Town. He remained with the club for ten years, scoring over 100 goals.

Ivor training with Swansea in 1951. 📸 National Museum of Wales.

Aged 28, Ivor moved to Newcastle United for a fee of £28,000. Four seasons later, he joined Cardiff City for £18,000, then finished his career back at his hometown club, Swansea Town.

In total, Ivor won 68 caps for Wales, a record at the time. Along with Trevor Ford, he was the leading goal scorer for his country, scoring 23 goals, a record eventually broken by Ian Rush. 

Ivor made his international debut on 15 November 1950 in a 4 – 2 defeat to England. During the 1958 World Cup, he scored twice for Wales and helped his country to reach the quarter finals.

In qualifying for the 1958 World Cup, Ivor scored in both legs of the play-off match versus Isreal. In the finals itself he scored in a 1 – 1 draw versus Mexico and in the 2 – 1 group play-off victory against Hungary.

Wales captain Dave Bowen praised Ivor for his World Cup performances. He said, “They looked at Ivor and wondered where he had been hiding. He could have played for any of the teams out there, including Brazil.”

In 1962, Ivor won his 50th Welsh cap in a match against Scotland. He ended his illustrious international career in 1966 in a match against Chile, bowing out with the accolade of “The Golden Boy of Welsh Football.”

***

Clara Bow was, arguably, America’s first major superstar. At the apex of her stardom in 1929 she received 45,000 fan letters a month. Yet, Clara was born into abject poverty. Indeed, it’s possible that her birth was not even recorded. Certainly, no record of her birth survives.

Various records list Clara’s birthday as 29 July, but the years vary – 1905, 1906 and 1907. The 1910 US census was taken on 15 April. Clara was recorded as aged four in that census, which suggests she was born in 1905.

The 1910 census also recorded that Clara was one of three children born to her parents, Robert and Sarah, but the only one alive. A heat wave gripped her home city, New York, in July 1905, with temperatures topping 100 °F. Many people died.

Later, Clara wrote: “I don’t suppose two people ever looked death in the face more clearly than my mother and I the morning I was born. We were both given up, but somehow we struggled back to life.”

To be continued…

***

The Dexter Crisis, Series 1, Episode 10 of The Rockford Files was written by Gloryette Clark. John Thomas James and Stephen J Cannell had authored the previous episodes. The pace of this episode was slightly slower than previous episodes – nothing wrong with that.

Gloryette Clark was a long-time associate of Roy Huggins, aka John Thomas James. She served as writer, director, film editor and stock footage librarian. An external motel shot in this episode was the same as a shot in episode 9, In Pursuit of Carol Thorne. These shots were expensive to produce, so it’s understandable that they were reused. 

Las Vegas was a main location for this story, but no filming took place there. The cover shots were all stock footage, although you don’t notice this as the story unfolds.

None of the series regulars – Rocky, Beth, Becker or Angel – feature in this episode, which makes me wonder if it was adapted from a standard private eye story into a Rockford Files story. That said, Rockford’s traits do stand out, especially when he’s reluctant to thump someone, despite provocation.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #152

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Italian version of Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series, book seventeen.

This Case is Closed, Series 1, Episode 6 of The Rockford Files is a feature-length episode. The series often featured ninety-minute episodes, which explored more complex plots, social issues, and included special guest stars. 

The longer episodes also allowed for a slower pace of direction, and longer scenes, such as the car chase at the beginning of This Case is Closed.

Joseph Cotton, pictured, appeared in this episode. A leading Hollywood actor during the 1940s, Joseph Cotton’s theatre, radio, movie and television credits are numerous. He appeared in many classics including Citizen Kane and The Third Man.

After the Great Fire of London in 1666 many individuals presented great schemes to rebuild and revolutionise the city. These individuals included John Evelyn, Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. 

Their plans included replacing the narrow, dangerous and unsanitary medieval streets with avenues, piazzas, canals and fountains. 

A Fire Court – a panel of judges – was established to swiftly deal with legal issues and it soon became apparent that speed rather than any grand design would be the order of the day.

London was rebuilt at speed, mainly by utilising the foundation footprints established by Saxon and medieval predecessors. You could argue that a great opportunity was lost. Certainly, the Victorian slums that later followed support that argument.

🖼  John Evelyn’s plan for rebuilding London.

By 1676, the area of London destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666 had been completely rebuilt. Streets were widened while wooden civic buildings were rebuilt in stone. The architects looked to France, the Netherlands and Italy for stylistic inspiration.

Fifty-two churches were rebuilt while thirty-six were abandoned, their parishes merging with neighbouring parishes. The Great Fire represented an opportunity for transformation, but in general Londoners opted for continuity. Their principal aim was to get on with daily life. Therefore, they looked to replicate the past rather than create a city of the future.

Traffic increased, especially the flow of carts over London Bridge. In 1670 this led to the appointment of the first London traffic policemen. Compared to today, the traffic travelled on the opposite side of the road.

🖼 Ogilby and Morgan’s London Map of 1677.

Welsh Football Legends

Robert Earnshaw was born on 6 April 1981 in Mufulira, a mining town in Zambia. He was one of five children born to David and Rita Earnshaw. David managed a gold mine while Rita was a professional footballer in Zambia.

Football was deeply engrained in the Earnshaw family. Robert’s uncle, Fidelis, played professional football while two of his cousins, Kalusha and Johnson Bwalya, represented Zambia at international level.

School for Robert was different to say the least. His father secured a job in Malawi as the manager of a coal mine. The family relocated to Malawi where the children attended St Andrew’s School in Lilongwe, a six-hour drive from the family home. On Mondays Robert and his four siblings boarded a plane to school, stayed a week then, on Fridays, flew home.

Sadly, in May 1990, David Earnshaw contracted typhoid fever and died. In 1991, Rita decided to relocate. She moved her family to Bedwas, Wales, where her sister lived.

Robert later reflected, “It was the first time I had been away from Africa…Every little thing was different, everyone spoke English over here and although I could speak a little bit I had to learn. But when you’re a kid you just get on with it.”

In Wales, Robert developed his soccer skills, kicking a football around with his friends and classmates. Aged 12 he joined GE Wales and scored 80 goals in a single season.

Robert’s skills attracted the attention of Cardiff City. He made his professional debut on 6 September 1997 as a substitute during a 2–0 defeat to Millwall. It took time and a number of loan spells before Robert established himself in the Cardiff City first team. Hat-tricks and honours followed as Robert helped Cardiff City to the First Division in 2002-03.

Robert enjoyed a nomadic professional career playing for several English clubs along with clubs in Canada, Israel, and the United States before, in July 2012, returning to Cardiff City. His transfer fees totalled £12,650,000.

Robert could have played for Zambia. However, he decided to represent Wales. He reasoned, “I thought long and hard about what to do, but Wales was my country. It was where I grew up.”

Robert won Wales caps at youth and under-21 level. His excellent displays in a Welsh shirt and at club level earned him a place in the national side. Robert made his debut in May 2002 against Germany at the Millennium Stadium. He made sure that it was a memorable occasion, scoring in a 1 – 0 win. Unsurprisingly, he was named man of the match.

Robert cemented his place in the national team and became a leading member of the Euro 2004 qualifying squad. Another highlight of Robert’s career occurred in 2004 when he scored a hat-trick in a 4–0 friendly win over Scotland.

Over a decade, Robert represented Wales on 59 occasions, scoring 16 goals. On 25 May 2011 he had the honour of captaining his country against Scotland in the Nations Cup.

A remarkable fact about Robert’s career: he is the only player to have scored a hat-trick in the Premier League, all three divisions of the English Football League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and for his country in an international match.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #151

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Dutch version of Operation Locksmith, Eve’s War, Heroines of SOE book two.

Tall Woman in Red Wagon, Series 1, Episode 5 of The Rockford Files is a ‘flashback’ story with Rockford recalling events after a bullet-inducing concussion. 

Rockford’s printing press appears in this episode. One of the main features of The Rockford Files was the way Rockford teased information out of various people by impersonating numerous officials, his credentials always supported by cards freshly minted by his printing press.

There is no neat ending to this episode. I like that format and sometimes use it in my stories. In the main, readers and viewers like the author to wrap up all the lose ends, but in real life lose ends often roll on, and on…

📸 A still from Tall Woman in Red Wagon.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed 436 acres of land and made thousands of people destitute. The fire began on Sunday 2 September 1666 in Thomas Farriner’s bakery on Pudding Lane. By 7 am 300 houses had burned down.

The fire raged for four days consuming 13,200 houses, 87 churches, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Guildhall, and 52 livery company halls. Amazingly, the death toll did not reach double figures. However, the fire did make 100,000 people homeless.

London in 1666 was a tinderbox. Timber houses crowded the narrow streets. A dry summer had parched the ground. On the morning of the fire, a strong easterly wind fanned the flames, which leapt from building to building.

Each parish was equipped with axes and hooks to pull down buildings and create firebreaks. However, the fire was so intense that most people grabbed their belongings, tossed them on to boats and fled via the river. Others ran for the city gates.

Looters ran riot. Charles II travelled through the city on his horse, imploring people to fight the flames. The Lord Mayor, Thomas Bludworth, dithered fearing that if he ordered people to pull down their houses, they would respond with compensation claims.

From Pudding Lane, the fire spread to warehouses, then Cheapside, London’s principal street, then St Paul’s Cathedral. John Evelyn reported that the cathedral’s stones exploded like grenades, while molten lead flowed like a stream.

The fire reduced 80% of the city to ruins. For days, the ground was too hot to walk on. Without familiar landmarks, people wandered around, lost. Many camped in nearby fields. 

Charles II, and many Londoners, blamed the fire on an Act of God. Sin was its source, particularly the sin of gluttony. The reasoning for this? – The fire started in Pudding Lane. Indeed, an enquiry concluded that the fire was an accident, delivered by the Hand of God.

Thomas Farriner, the baker, escaped the fire. England was at war with France and the Netherlands at the time so, looking for a human scapegoat, the population persecuted a Frenchman, Robert Hubert, a man who suffered from mental health problems. 

After a trial, the authorities hung Hubert. However, evidence later proved that Hubert’s ship arrived in London after 2 September 1666. 

My ancestors – adults, children, babies – experienced the Great Fire. That horror must have remained with them for the rest of their days.

🖼 Painted in 1675, the Great Fire of London (artist unknown). This scene depicts the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666. To the left is London Bridge; to the right, the Tower of London. Old St Paul’s Cathedral is in the distance, surrounded by the tallest flames. The accuracy suggests that the artist had local knowledge.

Welsh Football Legends

Derek Tapscott was born on 30 June 1932 in Barry, Wales to Stanley and Florence Tapscott. He was one of sixteen children. 

Derek attended High Street Junior School. Upon leaving school he worked as a delivery boy for a butcher, an assistant to a television repairman then as an apprentice bricklayer.

At a time of National Service, Derek received his call in October 1950. He joined 4 Training Regiment of the Royal Engineers. At 18 Derek was already playing for Barry Town and the Royal Engineers granted him permission to link-up with the club on match days. During his National Service, Derek became a member of the drill staff and was promoted to the rank of corporal. 

After his National Service, Derek returned to bricklaying. His appearances for Barry Town continued. His skill caught the eye of the Tottenham Hotspur scouts and they invited him for a trial. However, Derek didn’t sign for Tottenham Hotspur. Instead, in October 1953, he joined their rivals, Arsenal. His transfer fee: £4,000.

Derek began his Arsenal career with a prolific run in the reserves, scoring 13 goals in 15 matches in the London Combination League. On 10 April 1954, he made his first-team debut against Liverpool and scored twice. He scored five more goals in five further matches that season.

During the 1954-55 season Derek established himself in the Arsenal first team. In 1955-56 from inside-forward he became the club’s top scorer, a feat he emulated the following season. He scored 21 and 27 goals respectively. 

European competition, in the form of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, beckoned. On 4 May 1956, Derek played for a London XI that defeated a Basel XI 1 – 0. 

Manchester United’s final domestic match before the tragic Munich air disaster was against Arsenal. That game developed into a nine-goal thriller with Manchester United taking the honours, 5 – 4. Later, Derek described the game as “the best I ever played in.”

Derek’s 1957-58 season was blighted by injury and he lost his first team place to Vic Groves. This resulted in a move, in September 1958, to Cardiff City. The transfer fee: £10,000. Derek left Arsenal with the impressive record of 68 goals in 132 matches.

Derek made his Cardiff City debut in a 4–1 win over Grimsby Town. The club continued to record impressive results and in 1960 they 

won promotion to the First Division. During this period, Derek scored six goals during a 16 – 0 victory over Knighton Town in the Welsh Cup, a club record.

Derek featured in Cardiff City’s first venture into European competition. He played in the team that reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup scoring the winning goal against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the second round.

Further injuries curtailed Derek’s appearances for Cardiff City. At the beginning of the 1965-66 season he joined Newport County. However, he left that club at the end of that season and moved into non-league football where he played until his retirement in 1970.

On his retirement, Derek could look back at successful spells with Arsenal and Cardiff City, for whom he scored 102 goals in 234 appearances. He could also look back at an illustrious international career, representing Wales.

After only one appearance for Arsenal, Derek was named in the Wales squad for a match versus Austria. He made his debut on 9 May 1954 in Vienna. Austria won 2–0. Nine consecutive appearances followed as Derek established himself in the Wales team.

Derek scored his first international goal on 22 October 1955 during a 2–1 win over England. In the 1959 British Home Championship he scored in the final two matches of the competition, against England and Northern Ireland. From 14 appearances for Wales, Derek scored one other goal, at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham on 23 November 1955 against Austria. 

After football, Derek worked for sports goods companies Gola and Diadora. He published his autobiography, Tappy: From Barry Town to Arsenal, Cardiff City and Beyond, in 2004.

Derek died on 12 June 2008. In 2012, Barry Town inducted him into the club’s Hall of Fame.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂