16th July 1906. To, or not to, Vaccinate.

Today in 1906 a question was raised in the House of Commons concerning the imprisonment of people regarding Section 31 of the 1867 Vaccination Act.

Vaccination against the killer smallpox became compulsory in 1853 when the authorities were able to cull the local registers of births, marriages and deaths for record purposes. 

The 1867 Act replaced previous legislation and placed control under the Poor Law Guardians. Vaccinators were to be paid 1shilling to 3 shillings, depending on distance travelled. There were penalties for non-compliance.(1)

The Legislation tried to tighten up the law to force the Guardians to provide an adequate service, and to compel doctors to fill in certificates efficiently and to prosecute where non-compliance was evident, which could involve imprisonment for the parents.

However, in practice, there were few prosecutions and many a child went unvaccinated so that in the 1871 smallpox outbreak many needlesly died.


Gillray Cartoon 1802 showing a vaccination.

Vaccination had come into its own when Edward Jenner made the first breakthrough with Smallpox in 1796, at a time when it was not easy to ensure that vaccination was well advertised or easily available and that the lymph needed was effective and safe.

The poor relied on charity and occasionally the Poor Law Authorities, whilst the more affluent paid doctors. The reform of the English Poor Law of 1834 followed by the 1836 Registration Act gave a basis for the Public vaccination Act enabling the new Poor Law Guardians to set up a Public Vaccination Service, via Poor Law, Medical Officers.

Scotland lagged behind England for many reason regarding geography and lack of a registration system until 1863 when a variation of English practice was introduced.

However as today there was much prejudice against vaccination on moral and religious grounds with many believing the vaccination would produce the disease.

One authority figure in the 1880.s against the practice was Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-discoverer of Evolution, who believed that outbreaks of smallpox were caused by unsanitary living conditions, not requiring vaccine for its prevention, claiming doctors were misleading the public with their statistics, for their own gain, which has a modern ring.

(1) The legislation was replaced by the NHS 1946 Act.

Ref: wikipedia.org.

Ref: H.C. Debate. 16 July 1906. vol. 166 c 1341.

Ref: gla.ac.uk.

Ref: Gillray: Ann Ronan Picture Library.

Ref: missedinhistory.com.


15th July 1963. Peanuts.

It is ironic that John Strachey who died Today in 1963 became the Marxist-Leninist theorist and Labour politician, having come from a line of Strachey baronets going back to early pioneers in industrialisation, enterprise and capitalism. (1)

John Strachey, as the Labour Government’s Minister of Food in the 1940.s is forever associated, at a time of shortage of food, including vegetable oil and fats, with the disastrous1946 East African, ‘groundnuts scheme’ in the protectorate of Tanganyika.

Groundnuts or peanuts are a valuable crop, as aside from being rich in Essential Nutrients, the variety of industrial uses are wide, ranging from paints, oils, polishes, soap, use as cellulose-rayon and paper-plastics, wallboard and even nitro-glycerin. No wonder the post-war government thought it a good idea.

The Groundnuts Scheme became a synonym for political and administrative bungling, for apart from selecting an extremely dry area, unsuitable for groundnuts, the clearing of the ground provided a poor yield. In the event after costing the enormous, for those days, £50 million, the project was scrapped in January 1951, with the only legacy a giant dust-bowl and the sniggers of the nation.

Peanuts are not ‘nuts’ but ground legumes, which produce a valuable oil-crop with widespread applications, and botanically called Hypogaea ( underground), as they are produced underground.


An annual legume, peanuts can fix Nitrogen in the soil, but on the downside can harbour potentially fatal bacteria in its root nodules and may have the mould Aspergillus Flavus, a carcinogen Aflatoxins. (2)

In the 1950 film the ‘Happiest Days of Your Life’, the head-teachers Margaret Rutherford and Sims discuss to which corner of the Empire to escape to, and she says she has a brother growing groundnuts in Tanganyika.

Comedian Spike Milligan referred to the aircraft Concorde, as a ‘flying ground nuts scheme’ in a Private Eye cartoon.

Though peanuts are a favourite snack, those with peanut allergy should avoid eating these nuts as they can induce an Anaphyllactic Shock and even death.

(1) Evelyn John St. Loe Strachey born at Chew Magna, Somerset.

John Strachey (10.5.1671-11.6.1743) was an ancestor.

(2) Common cooking and salad oil contain peanut oil, (46%) monosaturated fat (Oleic Acid); polyunsaturated (32%; Linoleic Acid), and 17% Saturated fats (Palmitic Acid).

Ref: wikipedia.org/Pic.

14th July 1871. Open Wide!

In the early 19thc a large percentage of Army recruits were not accepted as their lack of teeth meant they couldn’t bite off the bullet cases. However after 1815 there was a glut of ‘Waterloo Teeth’ for the manufacture of false dentures.(1)

Today in 1871, (St. Swithen’s Eve), the Rev. Kilvert in his diary reported, ‘going to Hereford to McAdam to see the apparatus for giving the new anaesthetic’.

This was Nitrous Oxide (N2O)-Laughing Gas-introduced in the 1840.s and which was thought safer than Chloroform.(2)

However this would have been available for the minority, ‘well-heeled’, who could have gone to a dentist for preventive dentistry.

Most of the potential army recruits, owing to poor dental hygiene, would have rotten teeth which would have been extracted either by themselves, or by paying 6d at the local market to a ‘tooth-puller’.

The problem regarding army recruits defective teeth was raised in the Commons in September 1909, when John Ward asked the Secretary of State for War, ‘whether many of recruits for the regular army are rejected because of defective teeth’.

Early false teeth for the military.

Mr Haldane replied: ‘[They] will receive treatment…given that provisional cost…does not exceed £1’: Mr Ward [retorted], ‘Is that the value of a recruit, a sovereign’?

A recruiting poster of the 1910.s by the Gloucester Territorial Force declared: ‘Any of you fond of cycling?, if so cycle for the King/ Bad Teeth no Bar’, which gives an insight into the state of the nation’s teeth, and these would have been young men!

In 2000 a Warwick professor showed the relationship between lack of teeth and the smile, through past portraits and photographs, which showed a distinct lack of teeth.

This is not surprising as from 1835-1935 national consumption of sugar went up five-fold, and many a girl as a birthday present had all her teeth removed to save on dentistry fees. (3)

One beneficiary of the rotten state of the nation’s teeth was William Addis, incarcerated in Newgate for inciting a riot, in the 19th century, and credited with inventing a toothbrush of horsehair and bone, and whose family was to own the Wisdom brand (dating from 1940), until 1996. (4)

Control efforts post-WWII centred on the addition of fluoride to the water supply after finding it could reduce tooth decay.

(1) It took WWI to finally discover the importance of healthy teeth.

(2)  A sweet smelling organic compound CH Cl 3 .

Chloroform apart from use as an anaesthetic is used in dyes and pesticides and once in toothpaste and cough syrup and ointments. It is still legal as a solvent used in fluorocarbons and is made by reacting chloride of lime (bleaching powder) with acetone and ethanol and reacts with dilute acid to produce chlorine a bleaching agent.

(3) Tooth decay infection increase is due to plaque of bacteria streptococcus mutans and lactobacillus, which produce acids when carbohydrates especially sugar is eaten. When acid is below pH of 5.5 it dissolves carbonated hydroxyapatite, the main component of enamel.

(4) The earliest identifiable reference to the toothbrush, is in the autobiography of Anthony Wood in 1690, which would have been of bone with boar or badger bristles.

Ref: Lt. Godfrey Buxton. 6th Batt. Duke of Wellington’s Reg. (Forgotten Voices of the Great War, Max Arthur In Association with Imperial War Musuem.

Ref: advertising archives.co.uk. Cycling Corps of the South Midlands with recruiting office at South Victoria Street, Bristol.

Ref: ‘Soldiers’ Defective Teeth’ quoted in Hansard, HC Debate 23 Sept 1909. vol II, cc 618-9.

Ref: nature.com. 2007. British Dentist Assoc. Museum/Pic.

13th July 1590. The Infamous Tracts.

Archbishop Whitgift’s actions against the Puritans and vigorous enforcement of the Subscription Test were carried out in the name Queen Elizabeth’s policy of religious uniformity.

In 1583 with Whitgift on the scene, there was a significant drive against the Presbyterians and a period of censorship came in. Three years later came the Edict of the Star Chamber which empowered the Archbishop to license and control printing apparatus.

It was Whitgift who drew up the Articles aimed at non-conformity in church ministers and obtained increased powers for The Court of High Commission (Supreme Ecclesiastical Court in England). (1)

It was as a result of Whitgift’s actions which gave rise to the illegal, seven and anonymous, Martin Marprelate Tracts which circulated in England (1588-9) to which bishops and clergy, of the nascent Church of England, were strongly opposed unsurprisingly, as the focus of attack was on the Episcopacy, and resulted in printing of Tracts being punished.

Three people were under suspicion one of which was John Udall (Udal) or Uvedale who said Archbishops‘ ordination were non-scriptural and Canon Law was, ‘filthie’ and ‘monstrous’, and wrote the satirical ‘Diotrephes’.

Udall was to be imprisoned at the Westminster Abbey, Gatehouse Prison, before being examined again Today on 13th July 1590.


Whitgift at Elizabeth’s death bed. Date of Whitgift’s death was dated in the Old Style Calendar as opposed to 1604. New Style.

On 24th July 1590 Udall was put on trial at Croydon Assizes on a charge of ‘wicked, scandalous and seditious libel’, and found guilty was imprisoned at the White Lion Prison, Southwark, having previously been imprisoned at the Gatehouse at Westminster.

By refusing to recant he was given the death sentence. However he was supported by Raleigh and Robert Devereux 2nd Earl of Essex and Alexander Nowell, Dean of St. Paul’s, was allowed with his chaplain Lancelot Andrewes to see him in prison.

Udall was later pardoned by Elizabeth, after which The Turkey (Levant) Company was persuaded to send him to Syria as a chaplain, but illness and death supervened.

Another who was suspected of being involved in the Marprelate Tracts was the pamphleteer, Job Throckmorton a nephew of Sir Nicholas.

One who did suffer the death sentence was John Penry, the most famous Welsh martyr who was convicted of sedition at the Queen’s Bench on 21st May 1593 and hanged on 29th, at the unusual time of 4 pm, with Whitgift’s signature heading the list.

So by Whitgift’s vigilance, printers of the Tracts were disciplined and and punished and to prevent publication of such opinions  he had the Act Against Sedition Sectaries passed in 1593 making Puritanism an offence.

Whitgift survived to crown James I (VI) and to be present at the 1604 Hampton Court Conference before dying soon after: Puritanism survived in England before becoming the religion of the founding fathers of America.

(1) In 1586 Whitgift became a Privy Councillor.



Act against Puritanism 1593. 35 Elix. Cap I.


12th July 1933. Art-Deco Epitomized.

The Midland, Morcambe in its heyday.

Today a Wednesday in 1933 the new art-deco Midland Hotel designed by Oliver Hill with designs by Eric Gill, was opened at Morecambe in Lancashire. Then owned by the London Midland Scottish Railway (LMSR), it was opened by the Chairman Lord Stamp.

Two seahorses by Gill.

Neptune and Triton Medallion by Gill.









Originally the hotel was called the North Western, after the 1848 railway which was designated the ‘little’ to distinguish it from the bigger London North Western Railway (LNWR).

The ‘little’ North Western was taken over by the Midland Railway in 1871, which was to use part of the line for its London, Scotland-Settle to Carlisle main line, when the Morcambe hotel was renamed the Midland.

Four years after the Morcambe hotel, the Queens was opened in Torquay in 1937, again in the art deco style for its external design and having communal bathrooms on its four floors.(1)

The inter-war art-deco style featured in many a seaside hotel as at Bournemouth’s, Cumberland, and the Palace Court (now the Bournemouth Hilton), with the wrap-round, curved ‘suntrap’ balconies.

The cost then for the well-heeled was 5 guineas a week, with Bridge organised by the society hostess, and dancing; black tie, de-regeur, to the resident band, along with cocktails, ice rink, two cinemas, costumier and hairstylist.

A 1939 guide described the hotels as. ‘in the ‘heart of the colourful life of Bournemouth’. hardly a description today, now the wealth and glory have departed. (2)

All this in the golden age of these hotels as vividly portrayed in Agatha Christie’s ‘Body in the Library’, indeed the Midland in Morcambe featured in a 1989, BBC ‘Poirot’ programme.


Palace Court, Bournemouth of white concrete linear style with wrap-round ‘suntrap’ balconies.

Cumberland, Bournemouth like an Aztec temple, (stepped pyramid) in true art-deco style.








Railways built hotels in the 19thc particularly in the developing seaside towns to cater for the rising middle classes who could now afford to get away from the industrial towns.

The Felix Hotel at Felixstowe, a grand Victorian structure, was built by the Great Eastern Railway to develop the town and railway which prospered pari-passu.

Inland the railways built their hotels adjacent to the major stations, one thinks of the Midland at Derby and that at St. Pancras in London, by the Midland Railway, and the Great Western’s Paddington had its Royal Hotel designed in 2nd Empire style by Philip Charles Hardwick and built by Cubitt.

The old LMS routes spawned many Midland Hotels where ‘reps’ would gather ready to make onslaught on the towns; the author’s home town of Burton-on-Trent, had one until trendily re-named. 

(1) on Saturday 7th August 1937.

(2) Bournemouth featured as Sandbourne in Hardy’s, Tess of d’Durbervilles

Ref: On Holiday. Paul Atterbury. AA Publishing. 2008.

Ref: midlandhotel.org. History of the Midland Hotel.

Ref: seasidehistory.co.uk/Pics.

Ref: Chequered History of The Midland, Morecambe.

Ref: Midland Hotel, Derby.Discovering Derby & Peak District.

Ref: wikipedia.org.


11th July 1344. ‘Lay Not your Treasure up on Earth…’

For much of the 14thc the Papacy was under the control of the Kings of France at a time when schismatic popes had forsaken Rome for Avignon in the south of France. However the close association with the Church with our number one enemy had the effect of an increased anti-clericalism in England.

Popes since Innocent III had seen their political power decline, and when under threat there is a tendency to over-react and fight back, as a consequence subsequent popes tightened control over ecclesiastical administration in England and elsewhere.

They increasingly saw themselves as universal ordinaries able to collate all vacant benefices (livings), but most immediately was expressed in centralisation and fiscal control which tended to transform relations from c1200.

Direct provisions by the popes on Apostolic authority had been established practice for over a century when Clement IV (1265-8) published decretal licet ecclesiarum in 1265 which explicated for the first time previously theoretical measures.of direct provisions in full, and claimed popes’ exclusive authority to reserved benefices.

Every pope of the Avignonese succession made his own contribution to the development of the theory of provision and reservations by modifying canon law regulations. The papacy was tightening its avaricious grip at the time of the Great Schism.

There was a secret vault underground in the monumental castle of Avignon, where all the tribute of Europe was stored for the use of the rapacious papacy, which included the sale of Papal Indulgences, which ‘eased the penalties of sin in this world and the next’, a practice not abolished until 1567, after the Council of Trent reforms on December 3rd, 1545.

Not surprisingly Kings Edward I and II were increasingly at odds with the papacy, partly over the assumed right to collect taxes from the English Church, and also over its support for the king of France.

As a result no tribute was paid in 30 years pre-1330, the last being a token £1k from Edward III in 1333 in expectation of favours. Thereafter though the pope requested transmission of settlement none was forthcoming.

Cartoon of the Pope as debt collector.

Clement VI’s view on these matters of tribute did not differ from his predecessors in their right to ‘full disposal’ (Plenaria dispositio) of all churches, ecclesiastical dignitaries, benefices and offices, by direct provision or reservation, was grounded in his authority as defined by the concept of ‘plenitudo pot stasis’, (full judicial status), which was the manifestation of the assumed papal sovereign power he had as Vicar of Christ and ‘successor of Peter’, and ultimately ‘God’.

Thus Clement wasn’t in a conciliatory mood as revealed in a letter to Edward III dated Today 11th July 1344 (DGM 957), as he was cited as pastor universalis of all churches and as primatum super omnibus mundi ecclesias. Crudely, boss of all the world’s churches.

In 1365 Edward’s parliament debating the latest request for cash concluded that King John’s surrender of England’s sovereignty, (desperate for support), to the pope,, was declared invalid, since it lacked the bishops’ assent, and this was to mark the formal end of English recognition of the pope’s sovereignty. to tribute

Though the final break with Rome wasn’t to come for 200 years, along with our cessation of contributions, such as Peter’s Pence, to the papal treasury, the popes never resigned their claims, so if we were made to ‘cough-up’, it would bankrupt the country.

(1) The Statute of Provisors of Benefices otherwise known as de Provisoribus was central to a long disagreement between the King and the Roman Curia regarding the filling of ecclesiastical benefices.  25th Edward III St 4 1350/1.


historyextra.com. BBC website. BBC History Mag. Sept 23rd 2010/Pic.




10th July 1877. ‘Sphairistike’.

On 10th July 1877 the Daily News reporting on the first Wimbledon tennis tournament which began yesterday, said: ‘Ladies are known to prefer a high to a low net’, it could have added that they preferred long dresses.(1)

The diarist the Rev. Kilvert in July 1874 described playing ‘sphairistike’ or lawn tennis, which he said was, ‘a capital game, but rather too hot for a summer’s day’.(2)

The amateur game of lawn tennis was devised by a cavalry officer Major Walter Clopton Wingfield. Patented in 1874 it was called Sphairistike, and taken up by the croquet club at Wimbledon as the interest in croquet was declining.

The ‘All English Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’ was founded in 1868 as the ‘All English Croquet Club’. In the spring 1877 the Club was re-titled: ‘The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club’ which instituted its first Championships, with a new code of laws replacing those administered by the Marylebone Cricket Club.

Royal Tennis had been around since Tudor times, so when the All England Croquet Club decided in 1877 to hold the first lawn tennis championship to pay for the repairs to their roller, it had little idea of what they were starting.

The original courts were at the bottom of the hill on land between the railway and Worple Road, and as croquet declined one of its lawns was set aside for tennis.

In the early days tennis kit boxes showed a court pinched in the middle where the net goes and this was the shape of early courts. It was also the time when rubber balls were to be introduced.

Shape of original courts.







In 1877 the only event was the Gentlemen’s Singles which was won by Spencer Gore an Old Harrovian Rackets player from a field of 22 and watched by 200 paying one shilling for the Final.

By 1882 the club was exclusively confined to tennis and ‘croquet’ dropped. However in 1889 the title was renamed yet again as ‘The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’.

Golf and tennis were expensive and were seen as the most ‘ladylike’ of sports and was therefore a middle class activity. Certainly athletics was not considered suitable.

In 1884 the Committee decided to stage the first ladies championships and among the 13 entries was a Maud Watson who was unbeaten for two years. In a close final with her sister Lilian she won the All England Ladies Singles Championship and became ‘The first Lady of Wimbledon’ at 18, an age of ankle-length skirts, high-necked blouses and straw boaters.

Tennis it seemed was invented for sunny, lazy afternoons where the young of both sexes could meet in suburban settings, and importantly excluded the ‘socially undesirable’.

(1) From 9th July to 19th July.

(2) 28th July 1874.


Daily Mail. 19.6.2014/Pic.