From the Archive: Maxim’s Pipe of Peace

Are those winter coughs and colds still lingering? Maybe the Archive can help. This “Pipe of Peace” medical device (delivered to Cotesbach in 1916) was one of many thousands produced in the early twentieth century to treat throat and chest problems such as bronchitis. Soothing vapours could be delivered right to the back of the throat via a long glass tube.

Maxim himself began suffering with bronchitis in 1900 and spent many fruitless months consulting doctors and trying various therapies. He finally attended a clinic in France that used inhalation to aid breathing disorders. In his autobiography, he wrote: “While at Nice, I learned that the inhalants could be taken very much stronger if a small quantity of cocaine were used, but as cocaine was regarded as a poison, it was not expedient to use it.” It took Maxim some time to develop an alternative medication and his inhalant recipe (called ‘Dirigo’) was eventually patented in 1909. The mixture was sold by John Morgan Richards and Sons Ltd, a patent medicines promoter who also, ironically, encouraged the sale of American cigarettes through chemists.

Hiram Maxim (1840–1916) was more famous as the inventor of the automatic machine gun. When his “Pipe of Peace” inhaler was condemned as quackery, he commented: “It will be seen that it is a very creditable thing to invent a killing machine, and nothing less than a disgrace to invent an apparatus to prevent human suffering”.

Correspondence relating to the purchase of a pipe from our archive.

From the Archive: A cold start for the housemaid

Duties of Housemaid

To be downstairs by 6 a.m.

To open shutters and light fires

To call Mr & Mrs Marriott at ¼ before 7 o’clock

To dust dining room & sitting rooms & be ready for prayers at 8.30

To make beds & do bedrooms, sweep & dust front staircase

Servants’ dinner 12.15

To dress and be ready to answer front door bell in afternoon

To take schoolroom tea at 5.15

Monday  To have washing ready by 10.30

Tuesday  To sweep front bedrooms

Wednesday  To sweep back bedrooms

Thursday  To sweep top bedrooms

Friday  To clean water closet

Saturday  To clean housemaid’s pantry

Archive document .2565.2 sets out the daily tasks expected of the housemaid at Cotesbach Hall in the late 1890s. It is marked ‘Copy’ because the original was presumably given to the maid in question. In June 1898, it would have been Josephine Spriggs who received the list but she stayed for only a month before being replaced by Janet Lees, who was herself succeeded the following spring by Elizabeth Pallett. Elizabeth was rapidly followed by Clara Merriman, Alice Line, Agnes Gibbons, Maggie Warren, Eva Palmer, Kate Arnold, Minnie Bell and Arabelle Sawdon, few of them staying for as long as a year.

We do not know whether this turnover was due to dissatisfaction on the part of the staff or on the part of their employers. Wages at Cotesbach were not low by national standards; the youngest of the housemaids were paid £17 per year, rising to £19 with age and experience. This was about a third of an agricultural labourer’s wage but food and accommodation were provided and both were doubtless of a better standard than the girls were used to in their often overcrowded village homes. Working hours were long, however, and half a day off on Sunday (after attendance at church with the family) was probably all the free time that could be expected, so many girls left domestic service altogether as soon as the opportunity arose. Maybe, on the other hand, the girls were dismissed one after the other as they failed to meet the exacting demands of their employers. A late Victorian copy of Mrs Beeton’s “Household Management” gives some idea of the rigour with which the tasks on the Archive list were to be performed: “The first duty of the housemaid is to draw up the blinds and open the windows in all the lower rooms, and to take up the rugs in those rooms which she is going to “do” before breakfast … Then she should lay a cloth over the carpet in front of the stove, and on this place her housemaid’s box. The cinders disposed of, she proceeds to blacklead the grate, and having blackened, brushed and polished every part, she lays the fire. The fires lighted, she … proceeds with her dusting, commencing in one corner and working methodically around the room. Any linoleum or wood surrounds to the carpet must then be gone over with a floor mop. It is not enough in cleaning furniture to pass lightly over the surface … every corner, every pane, every ledge requires to be carefully wiped, so that not a speck of dust can be found in the room.” In the midst of all this, she had to find time to wake the master and mistress of the house with a cup of tea – and all before prayers at 8.30.

On a cold and dark February morning, it is easy to see why keeping staff at Cotesbach Hall – as in so many Victorian establishments – was such a problem.

End of Year Note from our Heritage Manager:

Looking back over the year, what a tremendously full one it’s been of strengthening ties with the local community, building relationships and forming local partnerships, each in its own way a bridge to engaging with the rich and diverse heritage at our fingertips, with the Archive as powerhub supporting all our activities. 

Collaboration with the estate, farm, garden and businesses on site, and incredibly hard work on the part of our Centre Manager has enabled us to widen our offering, from foraging walks and fruit tree pruning, to Hall tours and a choice of great fresh food and produce grown on site as a booking option.

 There is more awareness of how business and community can all benefit from working together on open days: 2019 Railway Heritage Day, Open Farm Sunday, Heritage Open Days and Apple Day are all in the calendar for 2020 as is the ever popular Music in the Yard.  Our partners from Lutterworth Railway Society, Leicestershire Museums Collections, Rugby Artists Group, Leicestershire Heritage Apples are all keen to continue working with us, as is too the Lutterworth Field Working and Archaeological Group who organised the digging of test pits in the Manor garden and paddock for the Festival of Archaeology as well as presenting their finds in a talk and showcase for HOD (also thanks to Gazeley Ltd for grant funding for this).  

Regular Talk Tuesdays continued, whether expanding on previous themes: the turbulent history of this area around the time of the Enclosures Riot (Dr Richard Bullock, October), A Woman’s Place? (Wendy Freer, May; Cynthia Brown, June) or introducing new ones: ‘Time Flies’, about changes in transport and communications – for this, we welcomed Eilish Clohessy from Derby Museum of Making to talk about the Silk Mills development and Richard Clarke from Bruntingthorpe to tell us about the history of the iconic Vulcan bomber.  Lastly, Pat Thomas who launched our latest theme ‘Reconnect 2020’ in November.

Our audience reach is expanding, as visitors realise how accessible, unique and diverse we are –among others we’ve had bookings this year from the Farfield Friends (Yorkshire), Market Harborough Business Network, the Organic Research Centre (Berkshire), Institute of Analytical Plant Illustrators (Birmingham).  On every front we have been revitalising former contacts as well as cultivating new ones:  as a result there are promising and varied projects in the pipeline for 2020, a solid basis for discussion and action about website development and student placements, for example, and inspiration – from visitors from New Zealand and the USA who have historic links to Cotesbach, to spread our wings to encompass more present, past, and future.

A huge thankyou to everyone for all your help and support.  There are times this year when life has felt as fragile as a sheet of glass.  Yet with unexpected turns have come results I never dreamed of this time last year, which gives us every reason to step boldly into 2020. 

NB: Don’t forget to get your copy of ‘Kiki, Cotesbach Cat’! 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kiki-Cotesbach-Cat-Sophy-Newton/

Kiki Cotesbach Cat – book available on Amazon. Prints and cards available at CET.

Review of November Talk Tuesday:

Pat Thomas – Green Wash and Green Wisdom

Pat Thomas delivered a truly thought provoking talk on the subject of ‘Sustainability’ to a packed Schoolhouse on 5/11.  Igniting our ‘RECONNECT 2020’ theme for bonfire night, she gave us plenty to kindle the flames.  Visualising global population growth the image ‘Empty World/Full World’ led to the questioning of fundamental values: local vs global, accumulation vs adaptation, and exploration of critical areas including food, energy, land and fashion. A lively discussion brought out people’s shared concern and understanding, largely echoing Pat’s viewpoint that the ideas of ‘having it all’ and ‘sustainable living’ are inherently incompatible.  We are immensely grateful to Pat for giving her time on a subject which could not be more relevant right now, as well as helping to build on the core vision of CET. 

Please visit Pat’s website, especially if you requested her follow up on:  ‘Reasonable Questions to Ask About Any New Technology’ – it’s all there and more!

http://www.howlatthemoon.org.uk/

And if you attended the talk and have any views or reflections you would like to share or indeed any speaker recommendations – all welcome, please get in touch.

From the Archive:

Good, old-fashioned fun-and-games

Running out of ideas for stocking-fillers? An early Edwardian solution to the problem is offered here by Herbert Wiles of Manchester, who opened a toy shop in Pall Mall in 1896 and moved to Market Street (the address on this catalogue, archive number .4597) in 1901. The games featured on this page give us a little snapshot of an era; we find women cyclists, croquet, the great days of rail, the planchette beloved of Victorian spirit mediums, and the Colonial heritage of ‘Assegai’ (the name of an African spear) and ‘Patchesi’ (a traditional game from India). The mathematical ‘Reversi’ (since reinvented as ‘Othello’) and ‘Schimmel’ have a more obviously European origin; Mr Wiles and his wife would visit the Leipzig Toy Fair in Germany every spring to bring back novelties for the British market.

From the archive: The Madness of King George III

13th November 1810 (Tuesday).

“The times are very awful.”

‘My dear Robert’, wrote George Wharton Marriott (a London-based lawyer) to his brother, the Rector of Cotesbach in the Leicestershire countryside, “If I could have found time I should have written to you on Saturday merely to give the good tidings then received of the King. He has since that time not proceeded uninterruptedly towards recovery, but the retrograde steps have not been very important.”

The ‘good tidings’ had come directly from the physicians who were attending the elderly King George at Windsor.A daily bulletin was posted in the window of London’s St James’s Palace, attracting large crowds, and the news published on Saturday 10th November 1810 was that “We consider, this morning, his Majesty to be better than he has been for five or six days past.”  A separate, more detailed, report was written daily for George, Prince of Wales, and what he received on that same Saturday morning was more ambiguous: “The King has not slept since twelve o’clock

…. The King has been occasionally, during the night, clear and distinct, but generally confused and unconnected.”  As George Wharton Marriott observed later in the letter to his brother, “The reports of the actual state [of the King’s health] are various and contradictory in the extreme, and a great deal of the less favourable tales in circulation originate in the interested policy of those who would benefit, or expect to do so, by a new King or a Regency. But it is beyond controversy a very afflicting state to which he is reduced, and enough to have weighed him down, unless timely relief is obtained, at any period of his life, much more so at this advanced one.”

Cotesbach Archive Document no. 460.1

We know, with the dual benefits of hindsight and of medical documents digitised by the Royal Archives, that there was to be no ‘timely relief’. On the contrary, the day on which the letter was sent to Cotesbach saw the funeral of the King’s beloved youngest daughter Amelia, an event which we can now perceive as the beginning of the end. There were to be some lucid days in the weeks to come but more days on which the monarch was agitated, delusional and sometimes violent. In January 1811, King George was deemed unfit to rule and, under the terms of the ‘Care of King During His Illness, etc. Act’, ceded power to his son, the unpopular Prince of Wales. This was the step that George Wharton Marriott had anticipated with trepidation: “If a Regency is necessary, there must necessarily be increased division among our leading men, for [only] some of the present ministry are for the Prince”.  It was with some justification that he observed to his brother, “The times are very awful.”

References:

  • Archive of the Royal Collections Trust:

https://www.rct.uk/collection/georgian-papers-programme/medical-papers-relating-to-george-iii

National Poetry Day

The theme this year is ‘Truth’ so this hymn, written by the Rev. John Marriott, contained in our archive seems appropriate.

Spirit of Truth and Love,
Life giving Holy Dove,
Speed forth thy Flight.
Move o’er the Water’s face
Bearing the Lamp of Grace,
And in Earth’s darkest place
“Let there be Light”.

New project announced: ‘Reconnect 2020’

Our theme for next year, ‘Reconnect 2020’, is about ecology, land use and climate change.

We aim to develop a programme of talks, walks, workshops, events, displays, cross curricular educational activities and volunteer opportunities, which embed positive messages about low carbon lifestyles, protecting biodiversity and small scale farming, exploring issues around food and growing, and providing access to high quality produce, key to the well-being and future of people and the soil.

We will encourage a diverse and practical approach to learning, engaging the senses, developing relationships, sharing ideas and challenging mainstream practice.  Collaboration with Cotesbach Estate provides access to historic, unspoilt environmental resources including the organic garden and farmland.  And our unique archive is a mine of historic perspective, stories of lives before fossil fuels, as unimaginable to us as our lives would be to them. As technology saps intuition, increasing vulnerability to mental illness, so people crave the comparative simplicity of the past.  Yet the past reveals anything but ‘simple’: hardship, economic upheaval, social inequality, amongst many factors which changed and shaped the land – so what does this teach us about ourselves and how can this knowledge help us build a better future?

CET aspires to be part of culture in the making as well as offering a doorway to the past.  We hope this project will help attract creative initiatives, a sense of belonging, an awareness of our evolving charity and how it can benefit many – in time, we hope, becoming a resilient hub, with regional, national and global reach through partnerships with individuals and related organisations.

‘Reconnect 2020’ will help promote the core purpose of Cotesbach Educational Trust, and its vision, equally relevant today as at the launch of our organisation in 2007, of:

‘Reconnecting with place and land to develop skills for the future’

We are curating a programme of talks, walks, workshops, events, displays, cross curricular educational activities and volunteer opportunities, which embed positive messages about low carbon lifestyles, protecting biodiversity and small scale farming, exploring issues around food and growing, and providing access to high quality produce, key to the well-being and future of people and the soil

We will encourage a diverse and practical approach to learning, engaging the senses, developing relationships, sharing ideas and challenging mainstream practice. Collaboration with Cotesbach Estate provides access to historic, unspoilt environmental resources including the organic garden and farmland. And our unique archive is a mine of historic perspective, stories of lives before fossil fuels, as unimaginable to us as our lives would be to them. As technology saps intuition, increasing vulnerability to mental illness, so people crave the comparative simplicity of the past. Yet the past reveals anything but ‘simple’: hardship, economic upheaval, social inequality, amongst many factors which changed and shaped the land – so what does this teach us about ourselves and how can this knowledge help us build a better future?

CET aspires to be part of culture in the making as well as offering a doorway to the past. We hope this project will help attract creative initiatives, a sense of belonging, an awareness of our evolving charity and how it can benefit many – in time, we hope, becoming a resilient hub, with regional, national and global reach through partnerships with individuals and related organisations.

‘Reconnect 2020’ will help promote the core purpose of Cotesbach Educational Trust, and its vision, equally relevant today as at the launch of our organisation in 2007, of:

  ‘Reconnecting with place and land to develop skills for the future’

From the archive: Mystery at Cotesbach Rectory

G. Bennett and J. E. Daniels, October 17th 1873.

Recent refurbishments at the house built as Cotesbach Rectory revealed an inscription inside a window frame. Archive volunteers were asked whether any of our documents could shed light on the writers’ identity.

by permission of Mrs. P. Lean

The joiners in question were George Bennett (1849-1903) and James (‘Jemmy’ or ‘Jimmy’) Edward Daniels (c1852-1908).  They are not mentioned by name in the Archive but there are records of a number of payments to their employer, the Rugby firm of J. Parnell & Son, who were charged with building the Rectory.

The two workmen were quite difficult to trace because they were always on the move. George Bennett, the son of a framework knitter, was born and bred in Lutterworth but in the 1871 census is living as a lodger in Stoke Albany, Northamptonshire. By the time of his marriage to Sarah Ann Foster in the chapel of Wroxall Abbey (where she was a servant) in November 1879, his address is given as Caldecote in north Warwickshire. The 1881 census finds George and his wife Sarah living in a village called Thursley in Surrey. Street directories (listing George as ‘foreman carpenter’) locate the couple in Rugby in the mid-1880s and their three children were born there in the years 1883-1889, but by 1891 the family can be found living in Walsall in Staffordshire. This move was George’s last; he left Parnell’s, took a job on the railway and died in Walsall in 1903.

It seems odd that a carpenter and joiner should need to move so often and so far afield to find employment, yet the pattern is not uncommon when we look at the censuses. Here is George Bennett in Stoke Albany in 1871:

His immediate neighbours include two other carpenters/joiners and a bricklayer, all from outside the area and all lodging with local families – and this circumstance is what gives the clue to the puzzle. The men are evidently in the village for a building project of some kind; they are not looking for work but are a team sent by an employer to complete a job. This prompts us to look a little more closely at the firm of J. Parnell and Son; what kind of projects did they undertake that would require them to send workmen around the country? The answer lies in their reputation not as a small local building company but as an esteemed national concern working with some of the best known architects of the day (Edwin Lutyens and Alfred Waterhouse, for example) and constructing some prestigious edifices. They specialised in ecclesiastical architecture, restoring and extending churches all over the country. Locally, they were responsible for the enlargement (including the addition of the second tower) at St Andrew’s, Rugby in 1877-1885 and the construction of the Chapel and the gymnasium (1871) and the Temple Reading Room (1878-1879) at Rugby School. Further afield, they built chapels, libraries and whole colleges (notably Keble) at Oxford, and refurbished castles from Lindisfarne to Herstmonceux in Sussex. They must have carried out the restoration (completed in 1872) of the church at Stoke Albany where George Bennett was lodging in 1871, and the church at Thursley (restored in the early 1880s) near which George and Sarah were living in 1881. The firm is known to have built Caldecote Hall in Warwickshire, which was constructed during the years 1879 and 1880; Caldecote was the address given by George Bennett at his marriage on 25th November 1879.

James Daniels (his usual name – of which more later) was also very mobile, although his various comings and goings were not quite so closely related to the demands of the building trade. He was born in Horsley, a village near Stroud in Gloucestershire, but not baptised until his family had settled in Rugby a few years later. Successive censuses in 1861, 1871 and 1881 place James in Rugby, but he married Emily Smalley at the Independent Chapel in Kilsby on 11th December 1873 (quite possibly while he was still working on Cotesbach Rectory) and the couple must have moved to Wales soon afterwards as their daughter, Florence Emily, was born in Abergavenny in the last quarter of 1874. Another daughter, Mary Jane, was born there a year later. By the beginning of 1877, the Daniels family was back in Warwickshire and a son, Frederick William, was born in Newbold. The 1880s were spent in Rugby, with listings of James in the census of 1881 and a street directory of 1889.

We can place James (now calling himself Edward James Daniels) in Aston in the spring of 1891 due to an unfortunate brush with the law; on 31st March, as reported in the newspapers, he stole a woman’s purse. He was in custody in Warwick Jail when the census of 1891 was taken on the night of 5th April and, when his case came to court on the 7th, he was sentenced to a month’s hard labour. This was not James’s first court appearance; there was, in November 1888, the small matter of his being on a neighbour’s premises ‘for unlawful purposes’ and the subsequent assault of said neighbour, for which a £5 fine was imposed by Rugby magistrates. Neither would it be his last appearance, although by the time he stood in the dock in Derby charged with bigamy he was calling himself Harry Knight.

Giving evidence at James’s trial, his daughter said that her father had changed his name in 1897, after he had left her mother and ‘following some trouble at Birmingham’. It was in the name of Harry Knight (‘bachelor’) that he had married Jemima Elizabeth Hodgkinson (spinster) at St Werburgh’s Church in Derby on 21st January 1900. James/Harry was apprehended on the bigamy charge ‘as he came out of Derby Prison’ on Saturday 15th March 1901, according to the arresting officer. He had just served a month for ‘loitering with intent to commit a felony’ in Derby’s fish market. Bigamy having been proved to the jury’s satisfaction at the Summer Assizes, he was sent back to jail for a further three-month term with hard labour. James Edward Daniels, still using the assumed name of Harry Knight, died in Derby in the spring of 1908.

From the Archive: Back to School

One line in a letter from a Victorian schoolboy catches the attention. John Marmaduke Marriott (aged just fifteen) writes home from Winchester College to his Papa in Cotesbach with, amongst other news connected with his return to school, the fact that “I am having claret every day here.”

Despite Samuel Johnson’s famous assertion that “Claret is the liquor for boys”, it seems that by this era such was no longer generally the case. Most boys at Winchester were not given claret. There were concerns about the quality of drinking water in the College until the 1880s – as witnessed by letters in the Winchester College Archive expressing worries about typhoid and blood poisoning – but the normal drink for scholars at mealtimes was bottled beer. Why, then, was Johnny given claret?

At Rugby School in Victorian times the usual drink was also beer, but the author of “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” included a scene in which Tom was given wine as a restorative. In 1877, Dr Francis Anstie published a book “On the Uses of Wine in Health & Disease” in which he recommended as much as a bottle a day for sick and convalescent adults. Claret was the doctor’s suggestion, since it was light in alcohol, kept its flavour when diluted with water and cost only a shilling a bottle for “an admirably sound ordinary Bordeaux”.

Was illness the reason that Johnny was given wine every day? Two clues in the document seem to support the theory. Firstly, the letter is dated 13th May 1868, an odd time to be returning to school unless he had been ill enough to be kept at home for a while. Johnny reports, in addition, that one of his acquaintances “said I did not look so well as she expected I should”. He is evidently still recovering from some fairly serious ailment.

Sadly, Johnny had no chance to recover completely. Family tragedy struck repeatedly while he was still at school. Only hours after this letter was written, his brother Robin (heir to the Cotesbach estate) fell to his death from the window of his rooms at Oxford University. Then his parents died unexpectedly within months of each other. After these “two such terrible blows”, his tutor commented that Johnny’s state was fragile and he had to postpone Oxford entrance exams. As an adult, his behaviour became increasingly worrying until, in 1900, his brothers were forced to correspond about the search for “something better than an asylum for Johnny”. The institution they eventually found was the Retreat in York, which was run by Quakers in line with their belief in respect and compassion. Johnny died there in 1910.

References:

.2765 : Letter to Rev. J. P. Marriott from his son John Marmaduke dated 13th May 1868

.4147.3 : Letter from Rev. E. C. Adams to Charles Marriott dated 11th April 1872

.5538.2 : Letter to Charles Marriott from his brother James dated 26th October 1900