Andrew Boorde physician to Henry VIII decried the consumption of bread in his ‘Dyetary of Helth’ (sic) of 1542): ‘Bread made of wheat maketh man fat, especially when the bread is made of new wheat. Evil bakers will put wheat and barley together…
Bread made of these aforesaid corns may fill the gut, but shall never do good to man, no more than bread made of beans and pease will do. Hot bread is unwholesome to any man, for it doth lie in the stomach like a sponge…. old or stale bread doth dry up the blood…and is evil and tardy of digestion; wherefore is no surfeit so evil as the surfeit of eating naughty bread’.
Bread was still an issue in wartime when Today in 1942 the Burton Observer, in the midst of rationing and control of the national diet said, ‘the compulsory changeover from white to wheatmeal bread recalls local memories for in 1906 or 1907, Sir Oswald Mosley sought to popularise old-fashioned meal farmhouse bread as a substitute for white’.
The constituents of the loaf have always been important as Edward I in a law reflecting the dislike of brown bread said, ‘no bread shall be coated with bran or made of bran’.
In the 20thc none was more associated with this than the 4th Baronet, Sir Oswald Mosley of Rolleston, near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, who said that wholemeal bread was eaten when he was a boy and in order to popularise the standard loaf he rebuilt a bakery in the village.
In his pamphlet ’Bread’, Sir Oswald expressed the belief that the fashion of eating white bread was causing physical degeneracy and pointed out that the stone flour mills of his boyhood left the valuable seed germ of the wheat to be baked and though the loaf was brownish, he believed it was the best the nation ate.
The subject apart from being taken up by the local and national papers, was mentioned in Parliament and the Standard Bread movement was developed. A local mill, Greensmith’s produced flour for the bread and championed it on their invoices: ‘as recommended by Sir Oswald Mosley’.
One of the newspapers who took up Mosley’s message was Northcliffe’s Daily Mail in 1911 who said he wanted an article on Bread everyday of that year. The problem was consumers preferred a white loaf to wholemeal which was associated with poverty.
One of the complaints against modern white bread is that about 80% consumed today is made by the 1961 Chorleywood Process, which by using more yeast and the enzyme Amylase, enables a cheaper wheat to be used, but makes a softer and longer lasting loaf.
(1) Oswald 4th Bart was father to the Blackshirt another Oswald.
MetroPressLtd(GB) The sale-room.com/Pic of advert.
Daily Mail is you bread making you ill? Alex Renton 28.7.2014/Pics.
burton-on-trent.org/ Local History.
The 1890.s in Britain was the decade of Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley’s risque art, society scandal and the rise of the ‘new girl’: ‘The Naughty Nineties’.
It was also the decade which saw the rise of a new British musical theatre composer in Lionel Monckton ((1861-1924) and a new style of ‘frothy’ comedic, entertainment with female dancers, The Gaiety Girls with many having the ‘Girl’ theme: Gaiety Girl (1893) the first hit musical, Shop Girl (1894) followed by My Girl and Circus Girl (1896) and Runaway Girl of 1898.
People looked for something new in the ‘Belle Epoque’ and by the time of Gilbert & Sullivan’s (G&S) 1893 ‘Utopia’, a new breed of managers such as George Edwardes at the Gaiety Theatre had arrived, having worked under D’Oyley Carte running the Savoy Operas of G&S.(1)
Then Geisha Girl (1896) was to effectively close the era of that previously dominated by Gilbert’s lyrics and the music of Arthur Sullivan, whose successes in the likes of HMS Pinafore (1878) and The Mikado (1885), had ended with the flops of the last two productions, Utopia Ltd (1893) and The Grand Duke 1896.
Post card for The Arcadians which ran for 809 performances the 3rd longest then for the musical theatre.
The ‘Girl’ Theme continued in the 1899 Floradora with the hit, ‘Tell me Pretty Maiden’. (2)
The Edwardian Age saw the old Gaiety Theatre demolished in 1903 for the Aldwych road widening with a new Gaiety opening nearby with ‘The Orchid’ (1903).
Then came Monckton’s ‘Quaker Girl’ and ‘Our Miss Gibbs’ 1909, the same year that saw his ‘Arcadians’ open Today at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, with its memorable song, ‘The Merry, Merry Pipes of Pan’, with an idealistic rustic theme worthy of G&S’s ‘Iolanthe’.
However popular musical taste was to change again this time to the American syncopated dance rhythms and ragtime and ‘other noisy numbers’, which was to dominate the post-war world.
However the notable songs of Monckton were to become part of the British musical heritage well into the 1960.s, and in truth, for melodic tone, will hardly be bettered.
(1) Operetta: music is supported by the spoken word, as opposed to opera where even the recitative is accompanied by music which is the main component.
(2) Michael Balfe had led the way in 1843 with his Bohemian Girl with the song ‘I dreamt I dwelt in Marble Halls’ which ran for 100 performances at Drury Lane.
Today in 1737 (in Old Style Dating), Edward Gibbon was born, later noted for his monumental history The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, inspired by his visiting Rome when he was 27.
It was while standing in the ruined Forum and seeing in his imagination the ghosts of Scipio, Caesar and Pompey and other heroes of the Republic, that later in a melancholy mood he wondered how the great empire had been reduced to rubble and phantasms, and decided to dedicate his life to what became his great masterpiece.(1)
For two centuries of Empire from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius was the principle civilizing force when its invincible legions united the Mediterranean in Pax Romana defending its frontiers, whilst a wise and moderate government established laws, protected commerce and encouraged the arts.
Gibbons was to argue that the collapse was attributable to the corrosive effect of Christianity on the institutions and character of Rome, with the Christian ethic aimed at the well-being of the individual not the community, discouraging obligatory military service through its pacifism, the family by preaching virginity, industry by preaching poverty, kindness by fanaticism, reason by faith.
Monasteries for many became the refuge from life developing an asceticism for a later glory, ‘based on a ridiculous fairy-tale, whilst all the time tribes beyond the Rhine grew larger, stronger and more ferocious, temples were shut and schools of philosophy were closed; the light of reason to be vanquished for a 1000 years’.
The Empire rested on the Roman character of the agrarian life, venerating the old gods, respecting law not man and when the state called they answered under a ruthless and farseeing aristocracy.
‘However the public virtues were gradually lost, the people fell into debt as grain of empire flooded into Italy causing a move to the city with its bread and circuses, and the once proud citizens of the Republic became the proles of Empire’.
Military service now voluntary saw the Empire increasingly relying on the mercenaries of the conquered barbarians, the aristocracy once swept away by the autocracy of the Caesars and the Praetorian Guard, the final bulwark, was destroyed itself by ecstatic mystic cults, above all by Christianity.
The dam broke in 406 CE when barbarian tribes stormed across the Danube. In the west, the hollowed-out, little more than name empire, fell in 476.
In the east the feeble Byzantine Empire awaited destruction at the hands of Islam. The Dark Ages awaited, the Glory Departed, in Britain as elsewhere.
(1) New Style Dating 6th May 1737. Gibbon (1737-1794).
partiallyexaminedlife.com.philosophy of history.edward gibbon.
Raptis Rare Books/Pic.
Tobias Smollett in the ‘Expedition of Humphrey Clinker’ (1771): ‘The bread I eat in London is a deleterious paste of mixed chalk, alum and bone ashes, insipid to taste and destructive to the constitution’.
It appears that people preferred the look of white bread, with its chalk, to ‘wholesome bread’, thus sacrificing health to appearance.(1)
In the 1851 first edition of The Lancet founded by Thomas Wakley, he issued a report of those he described as ‘genuine traders’ in food.
Those responsible for adulteration were exposed in Today’s second edition, in a campaign which led to the first Adulteration Act of 1860 and later legislation.
Thomas Wakley was a physician and radical MP and responsible for the founding of the Lancet Analytical & Sanitary Commission with physician and microscopsist Arthur Hill Hassall as the first analyst of solids and fluids. (2)
He found beer adulterated with Strychnine to improve flavour and reduce hop content.
With samples of coffee 31 out of 34 were found to be adulterated, the exceptions being the higher priced.
Chicory, peas and beans were used in coffee and much was waste grounds from local hotels.
He followed with reports on sugar, pepper, bread (Alum was used in flour), tobacco, and tea, where sloe, ash and elder leaves were found.
One of the first investigations was into children’s coloured sweets, adulterated with Gamboge Yellow Gum, a violent purgative, and mercury, lead and copper were used to increase colour. Even the wrappers contained poisonous salts.
Areas in London such as Shoreditch, Seven Dials and Saffron Hill were poverty stricken and ideal places for the sale of cheap adulterated food. (3)
Milk was adulterated and contaminated coming from London cow-sheds, the source and spread of typhoid, diptheria and scarletina.
The first systematic study of ice cream in 1895 by MacFadyein and Colwell using microscopic analysis found bacteria resulting from infection from many sources including bed bugs, fleas, straw, hair both human and animal, coal dust, wool and linen fibres, tobacco, epithelial scales and muscular tissue.
Today the quality of much of our food and drink is the result of pioneering work by many experts keen to improve what we consume, but we still need to be on the qui vive for modern adulteration in all its manifestations.
(1) Smollet would be interested in that chalk (calcium carbonate) which was once banned but now used along with iron, thiamine (B1), nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. (Bread and Flour Regulations 1998).
(2) Wakley: 11.7.1795-16.5.1862.
(3) In 1877 Thomson and Smith ‘Street Life in London’ describe Saffron Hill, where Oliver Twist was taken to Fagin’s Den, as full of ‘little villainous-looking and dirty shops’.
An enormous business was transacted in the sale of milk for the manufacture of penny licks, mainly of water, and containing much adulterated colours and flavouring.
Ref: Health Society Library Blog.wordpress.com.Pic.
Ref: Real Bread Campaign Site.
Ref House of Commons Debate 17.6.1953. vol. 516. cc 965-6.
Ref: History of Food Additive Legislation UK.
Ref: Arthur Hill Hassall. 1817-1894. Fight against Food Adulteration. Royal Society of Chemistry. Noel Coley 1.3.2005.
In 1915 if Britain had managed to break through the Turkish Dardanelles and take Constantinople it would have taken pressure off our allies Russia, thus turning the German flank and so helping to break the stalemate of the Western Front.
Today in 1915 the Lancashire Fusiliers at W Beach, Cape Helles in the Gallipoli Peninsular, won six VC.s fighting their way ashore after battling underwater wire, sea and land mines, massed rifle and machine gun fire supported by pom-pom batteries.
In the words of the Divisional Commander, General Sir Ian Hamilton: ‘It is my firm belief that no finer feat of arms has ever been achieved by the British soldier’. He also ordered that the ‘W Beach’ be renamed the Lancashire Landing’.(1)
A large force of British, Anzac and French troops was landed, as the Royal Navy tried to force the passage through the Dardanelles.
However Lord Kitchener sent forces too late and by the time the combined land and sea operation was mounted in April all hope of surprise was lost as Turkish resistance and disease doomed the attempt.
By December Britain and her Allies in the face of savage Turkish resistance abandoned the Gallipoli campaign after 250,000 casualties and the death of 50,000 men.
In the process 90,000 men, 4,500 animals, 1,700 vehicles and 200 guns were evacuated after a campaign which constituted Britain’s worst disaster in World War I.
Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who had pushed for the invasion, had been badly advised by Admiral de Robeck, and Lord Fisher, the First Sea Lord, later to flounce out of office saying he could not work with Churchill.(2)
Churchill was forced to resign in November after being excluded from Lloyd George’s War Cabinet and joined his regiment in France for six months.
A novel aspect of the Dardanelles was the second Ark-Royal described as an aeroplane ship and used by aircraft to spot for the big guns of the Turkish opposition.
(1) The Fusiliers raised 30 battalions and lost 13,642 men and won a total of 18 VC.s, more than any other regiment.
(2) Fisher was later to write to the Prime Minister denouncing Churchill and in a letter outlining six ways to win the war, one of which was to be the sacking of Churchill.
In 2000 Darcy Jones who died aged 102 was the last member of the Gallipoli association living in Britain. He had joined the Worcestershire Yeomanry (TA) at 17 and learned to ride a horse while carrying a sabre!
Also Arthur Wagstaff died at 103; he had survived four months of Gallipoli and took part in the Battle of the Somme.
In 2002 Alec Campbell died in Hobart Tasmania aged 103 and the last known survivor of 50,000 Australians to fight at Gallipoli in the attempt to seize control of the Dardanelles from Turkey in WWI.
Today in 1998, BBC Online News reported the end of Britain’s longest running industrial dispute, which had begun in August 1996.
It arose over a demand for a pay rise from employees of Magnet the joinery and kitchen manufacturer after a four year pay freeze which resulted in August 1996 in 320 being sacked at Darlington after refusing to sign a no-strike demand.
It appears that in 1996 the company only offered half the work-force a rise of 3%, resulting not surprisingly in an official strike.
Magnet was formed in 1918 by Tom Duxbury as a one-man firewood company which developed into general joinery, windows and doors.
By 1965 production was centred in Keighley, Yorkshire; ten years later it had become Magnet-Southern, forming part of the new FTSE 100 Index.
By October 1987, clouds were on the horizon for the biggest employer in Keighley, with a fraud inquiry into the computer department, and 55 lorry drivers being arrested for fraud.
They were charged for claiming for parking and accommodation, when in fact they were sleeping in their cabs.
By January 1989 there was a management buy-out by Tom Duxbury, grandson of the founder. The next month most of the drivers were convicted, with two for forging parking tickets, the drivers saying in mitigation that it was a ‘perk known to management’.
Things got worse for Magnet, with an overpriced management buy-out via loans from banks, and by October workers were on short-time, due to overstocking and a struggle with repayment of interest rates.
Two months later Chairman, Tom Duxbury resigned with huge personal loss and the banks took over and John Foulkes, formerly of ‘asset-stripper’, Hanson, was brought in at an astronomical salary and bonus.
After losses in 1990, a new parent company, Airedale Holding Plc was in business. Two years later Foulkes announced losses of £56m but happily received £1m in bonuses; Keighley now had half the previous work-force.
A new holding company Magnet Group Plc was set up after murky deals which left £700m debts with Airedale Holdings folding, allowing banks to write-off debts. All directors of Airedale joined Magnet Plc including Foulkes.
January 1994: Alan Bowker buys Magnet via ‘shell company’ Beresford International, three years later payments to directors of £2.2m would have settled the pay claim.
In 1998 most sacked workers accepted some settlement to retrain and job search.
In 2012 Magnet was owned by Nobia of Sweden.
There used to be a Magnet outlet in the Author’s home town, but disappeared in the troubles, a reminder that amidst all the high finance, talk of restructuring, ‘shell-companies’, management buy-outs, it is the ordinary worker who suffers; ‘fat-cats’ get the cream.
bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk. Friday 24.4.1998/Pics.