Use our images
Download images for
personal or educational
use for £2.99/US$5 each
All of these articles and images are available for licensing: click on an image to see further details and licensing options; contact us about licensing textual content.
Posted in Customs, Geography, Historical articles, History, Politics on Thursday, 16 May 2013
This edited article about Andorra originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 257 published on 17 December 1966.
Traditional dancing during a festival in Andorra
Andorra is a tiny principality in the Pyrenees. Spain and France are its neighbours. It is a little group of valleys with about 6,000 inhabitants, surrounded by high mountains.
The people of Andorra are wedded to the land. Tobacco is the main crop, and there is plentiful pasturage for sheep and cattle during the summer months. Lack of winter fodder is a serious problem, and so are the capricious weather conditions. At the highest levels, drought is a serious hazard; in the lower regions, excessive rainfall leaves the land derelict of cultivation.
Andorra has a growing tourist trade, and smuggling thrives. Along the main street of Andorra la Vieja, the capital, shops are full of goods from all over the world at tax-reduced prices.
Andorra is believed to have gained its independence from the Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, in the ninth century. He freed it from the clutches of Saracen aggressors. It has kept its status as a principality and in many ways is still the feudal state it was 700 years ago. But it is ruled in a very unusual way by the joint authority of the French state and the Bishop of Urgel in Spain.
Two powerful lords, the Count of Foix, in France, and the Bishop of Urgel, agreed in 1278 to defend the Andorra valleys in return for feudal service. The rights of the Count of Foix passed by marriage and inheritance to King Henry IV of France, so the joint overlordship of Andorra moved to Paris. It stayed with whatever chief of state France has had since – King, Emperor or President.
Annual dues are still received from the principality. France receives 960 francs, and the bishop 460 pesetas. Every two years the current bishop of Urgel receives his feudal dues – money, cheeses, hams and game.
Andorra is governed by a Council General of 24 men chosen by the heads of the families in the six parishes of Andorra. Justice is executed by two civil judges and by two magistrates, chosen by France and the Bishop. The two magistrates are resident in the capital where the Council General also meets, in its tiny, unimposing Parliament House. Both Spanish and French currency are in general use.
The medieval arrangement to rule Andorra in this way really came about because neither lord could enforce his supremacy over the other. The division of the lordship between two such ‘princes’ has made it possible for Andorra to survive.
Posted in Customs, Farming, Historical articles, History, Nature, Religion on Thursday, 9 May 2013
This edited article about the Church of England originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 247 published on 8 October 1966.
There will be very few churches or chapels throughout the country which have not kept a ‘Harvest Thanksgiving’ or ‘Harvest Festival’ during the past few weeks. This occasion is one of the most popular features of the Christian year, and attracts people who rarely come at any other time.
In its present form, the Harvest Thanksgiving dates back little more than a century, and is a very English custom. There were, of course, religious ceremonies connected with the gathering of crops in Old Testament times, and even in other religions of the ancient world. Partly to avoid some of the riotous drunkenness which often accompanied pagan feasts, the early Christians refused to take part in such celebrations.
In the Middle Ages, the custom gradually arose of offering a loaf of bread baked from the first ears of the year’s wheat crop at a Service on August 1st. The day was called ‘Lammas’ Day – a word probably meaning ‘loaf-mass’. After the Reformation, even this day was no longer observed in the Church of England, although it is now being revived here and there.
Instead, harvest celebrations became entirely a non-church matter. Every farmer held a ‘harvest home’ on his own farm. To celebrate a successful harvest (or perhaps to drown the memory of a poor one) a hearty feast was held in the farm kitchen. Much ale was drunk, and there was a good deal of horseplay, which occasionally led to quarrels. So the ‘harvest-home’ gained as bad a reputation as some of the pagan harvest festivals.
In the 1840′s, a number of country clergymen began to feel that it would be better to make ‘harvest home’ into a religious occasion, to keep it from getting out of hand.
The idea proved amazingly popular, even among people who kept few or none of the other festivals of the church’s year. Before the end of the 19th century, the decoration of churches and chapels with harvest produce was a well-established custom, and in addition to the Sunday services there was often another in mid-week, followed by a harvest supper on church premises. By contrast, the rollicking ‘harvest home’ of the farm kitchen almost died out.
Most of the popular hymns which are still sung on this day were written in the mid-19th century. Even in cities, the festival became well established, not least, perhaps, because it brought a welcome touch of the country into drab industrial areas.
And it is no doubt good that, in town or country, we should all remember with gratitude that, as one harvest hymn puts it,
‘All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above’
Posted in Architecture, Customs, Historical articles, History, Religion, Royalty, Saints on Monday, 29 April 2013
This edited article about St Swithin originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 235 published on 16 July 1966.
If we remember St. Swithin at all, it is on July 15, for according to the old rhyme: -
Saint Swithin’s day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
Saint Swithin’s day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ’twill rain no mair.
But Saint Swithin was more than just a rainy saint of legend. He was a great church administrator.
Born towards the close of the eighth century, he entered Winchester monastery as a monk and eventually became Abbot and Bishop of Winchester.
While he was Bishop of Winchester, St. Swithin persuaded the king to pass a law transferring to the church a tithe or tenth of the produce of the royal estates. Gradually, the payment of tithes became compulsory on all estates throughout the kingdom.
According to legend, St. Swithin’s association with wet weather dates from the rebuilding of Winchester cathedral by William the Conqueror.
When St. Swithin died in 862 he had been buried at his own wish in a humble grave outside the cathedral walls. William the Conqueror decided, however, that the saint should be reburied in a magnificent tomb inside the cathedral.
On July 15, 1077, the work of reburial began. Hardly had a spade been stuck into the soil of the old grave than a blinding rainstorm caused all to run for shelter.
The rain continued for forty days, and the reburial had to be abandoned. The rain was taken as a sign that St. Swithin did not want the fine tomb built for him. So the Saint was left in his humble grave, and a chapel was erected over it.
Posted in Customs, Historical articles, History, Interesting Words, Language, Law on Monday, 29 April 2013
This edited article about crime and punishment originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 233 published on 2 July 1966.
We sometimes say that a person held up to ridicule has been “pilloried”. That expression had a very real meaning in England until June 30, 1837, when the punishment of standing in the pillory was abolished by Act of Parliament.
The pillory consisted of a wooden post surmounted by a wooden frame with holes through which the head and hands of the culprit were thrust. The frame was in two parts, an upper and lower, which were closed over the neck and wrists and then locked.
First used to punish a variety of petty crime, a law of 1266, called the Statute of Pillory, laid down that it was to be the punishment for perjury, forgery and for shopkeepers who gave short weight.
A pillory was usually set up in some public place, like a market square, and the crowd were at liberty to pelt the victim with rotten eggs, and decayed vegetables.
Under the Stuart Kings, the pillory became the usual punishment for anyone who criticised the king or the government. Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, was, in 1703, sentenced to stand for an hour in the pillory in Cheapside for writing a pamphlet pleading for religious toleration. The public were in sympathy with his ideas, and threw flowers and garlands.
The last person to be pilloried in London was Peter Bossey, who stood outside the Old Bailey for an hour on June 22, 1830, for perjury. The pillory continued to be used in some country districts until it was abolished altogether in 1837.
Posted in Customs, Historical articles, History, Music, Politics, Religion, Royalty on Monday, 29 April 2013
This edited article about traditional British songs originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 233 published on 2 July 1966.
William III at the Battle of the Boyne by Kronheim
Many of you will have sung a song at school called The Vicar of Bray. It was written in about 1720 by someone who evidently knew the way in which the loyalties of clergymen had been severely tried during the previous half-century. Yet any clergyman who wanted to keep his job between the years when the Commonwealth rule ended in 1660 and Queen Anne came to the throne in 1702 must have had to change his views almost as often and as completely as did his forefathers between the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The ‘Vicar of Bray’, whether real or imaginary, was just such a person, for the chorus states
‘That whatsoever king shall reign,
I’ll still be the Vicar of Bray, sir.’
Charles II revived a belief strongly held by his father and grandfather; ‘Kings were by God appointed’ as the Vicar of Bray dutifully taught his flock. In his reign laws were passed which made it very difficult for anyone to worship except in accordance with the ways of the Church of England. The ‘Five Mile Act’ for instance, passed in 1665, forbade any clergyman to come within five miles of any city or large town unless he had taken an oath not to try to alter the government of either Church or State. This law was enforced with equal severity on Roman Catholics and Non-Conformists, as the Puritans were often called.
James II, who succeeded Charles II in 1685, was a Roman Catholic, and naturally tried to make things easier for his fellow-believers. He produced a ‘Declaration of Liberty of Conscience’ which he ordered to be read in all churches. (This is mentioned in verse two of our song.) But the leaders of the Church of England opposed this, and joined with politicians who were planning to replace James by William of Orange, a Dutch Protestant prince. The final battle between their forces was fought in Northern Ireland where the rivalry between Catholics and Protestants (still known there as Orangemen) remains strong, even in modern times, and comes to a head every twelfth of July, the anniversary of James II’s defeat in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne. According to our song, the Vicar of Bray abandoned loyalty to James II and kept his position by swearing allegiance to William! Doubtless many like him would have said
‘With this new wind about I steered’.
From that time onward the Established Church of England seemed secure; it could keep both Roman Catholics and Non-Conformists at a disadvantage by barring them from many privileges, such as entry to the Universities or becoming Members of Parliament. Its own fortunes were increasingly tied to the political parties of the day; to gain advancement in the church it was essential to support the party in power. So we find the Vicar of Bray was a Tory in Queen Anne’s reign and a Whig under George I, quite content to say:
‘And George my lawful King shall be
Until the times do alter’.
Posted in Customs, Historical articles, History, Politics on Friday, 12 April 2013
This edited article about John Lubbock originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 224 published on 30 April 1966.
When John Lubbock, who was born on April 30, 1834, went to work in his father’s London bank, he was struck by the fact that his fellow clerks, like most wage-earners of those days, worked one hundred hours a week with only Sundays off. He determined that one day he would do something to give working people more time off.
Since its foundation in the seventeenth century, the Bank of England had closed on certain Saints’ days and anniversaries (about thirty-five in all), while at the beginning of the nineteenth century most government offices gave their employees a holiday on a few Saints’ days. In 1834 these holidays were reduced to four a year: Good Friday, Christmas Day, May 1 (St. James’s day) and November 1 (All Saints Day). Most firms, however, worked every weekday in the year except Christmas Day.
In 1865, John Lubbock was elected to Parliament and after considerable opposition from commercial interests brought in his Bank Holiday Bill. By this Act, which became law in 1875, it was laid down that certain days should be public or bank holidays in England and Ireland.
The Act also provided for Bank Holidays in Scotland.
John Lubbock’s Act made him one of the most popular men in Britain and earned him the title of “St. Lubbock.” Lubbock earned still more gratitude in 1886 when he got Parliament to pass an Act reducing the hours of shop assistants from ninety to seventy-six hours a week.
Besides inventing Bank Holidays, Lubbock was a great nature lover and passed through Parliament the first Wild Birds’ Protection Act. He was also an expert archaeologist, biologist and historian. He died on May 28, 1912.
Posted in Customs, Historical articles, History, London, Sport on Wednesday, 10 April 2013
This sporting print was engraved as an illustration for a popular book by the prolific journalist and sports writer, Pierce Egan: Anecdotes (original and selected) of the turf, the chase, the ring, and the stage :the whole forming a complete panorama of the sporting world, uniting with it a book of reference and entertaining companion to the lovers of British sport.
The hopping match on Clapham Common, London; Jackson the runner exhibiting his agility
The book was published in 1836 and was a tremendous success with the public who had greatly enjoyed his earlier monthly journal, Life in London, which ran from 1821 to 1826, and introduced to the world the first comical partnership of two rascally characters called Tom and Jerry. The illustrations were drawn by Theodore Lane, an artist whose technique and satirical style show the influence of Robert Cruikshank, brother of the more famous George Cruikshank, illustrator of Dickens. The print depicts Champion boxer, John Jackson competing against brewer, George Inglestone, in one of England’s lost traditional sports.
Egan was a journalist and this book originally produced in serial form in 1825-6 contains a mixture of sporting stories, racing, boxing, sailing, rowing, fishing, interspersed with theatrical news and gossip and obituaries.Usually very irrevernt they were extremely popular for their view on early eighteenth-century society.
Posted in America, Customs, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Music, War on Tuesday, 19 March 2013
This edited article about national songs originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 203 published on 4 December 1965.
In 1856 John Brown intercepted a body of pro slavery men, captured their leader, and forced him to carry a black woman and her child to safety, by Andrew Howat
John Brown was only nine years old when he saw a negro slave beaten to death in the yard behind his parents’ home in Connecticut, U.S.A. The boy never really recovered from the shock of this cruel sight!
“When I grow up I will do something to help the poor slaves. I want to set them free,” he vowed, and this was exactly what he set out to do.
Slavery was the rule. Slaves could be bought in the open market, and sold again as their masters wished. Husbands and wives could be parted, and mothers and children. The slave had no redress. The young boy hated it, and argued about it.
“Johnny’s mad,” his people said.
They were a hard people and could not understand why the boy resented the fact that there always had been slaves and always would be.
When John grew up he was unsuccessful in business, moving from job to job and never able to settle down. He went in for cattle trading, land speculation and worked as a clerk. Wherever he went, the strong feeling of injustice was always in his mind.
In 1856 he got himself further involved. Once again he saw a slave being beaten to death, and rushed in to rescue the man. Others helped him, and in the fight which ensued five men died. John escaped justice this time, mainly because when in court he gave an impassioned speech for his own defence, declaring that he was the chosen man born to set all slaves free. The Judge was a kindly man, who – like many others – thought John Brown was mad.
“Let him go free,” he said.
Naturally all the slaves adored him. They put their faith in him, believing that he was a leader who would truly set them free. Until now they hardly dared believe this was possible.
Stimulated and encouraged, John carried off slaves to the safety of Canada, where a man could live without bondage. The news of this travelled far, and his personal success stirred him to do more. By this time he was supported by a very small band of people who truly believed that he was inspired, and sent into this world to do this particular job.
But he left too much to chance, believing that “he would be led.” Many of those who supported him financially did not realize the extent of his fanaticism, especially in the final plan.
This was to attack the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in an attempt to free and arm the slaves. Brown had only 18 men with him, but he easily captured the arsenal and a number of citizens to be used as hostages.
But a force of U.S. marines under the famous Colonel Robert E. Lee arrived. A fierce battle ensued and Brown was wounded and captured. He was put on trial, convicted of “treason and conspiring with slaves and other rebels, and murder in the first degree” and hanged.
The slaves mourned him, believing him to be a saint. They began to sing the song which has preserved his name for ever, and which announces at the end triumphantly that “his soul goes marching on.”
It is one of the most famous marching songs to the memory of man, and its stirring music made it a great favourite of Sir Winston Churchill, at whose funeral it was sung.
Posted in Customs, Historical articles, History, Music on Tuesday, 19 March 2013
This edited article about national song originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 202 published on 27 November 1965.
Berwyn Valley, Llangollen, Wales
Evan James was a master weaver of Pontypridd, deeply devoted to his son James James, who worked at the weaving with him. It was on the basis of this fond affection between father and son that the words of Land of my Fathers were written. Both felt that tie with their country which all good Welshmen feel.
These two men went for a walk in the valley one Sunday afternoon in January, 1856. They talked with mutual affection of this land in which they had been born and bred, of its music which was part of Wales, and the fact that both of them wished to make some dedication to their country.
They discussed an old Welsh air which both of them loved, known as Glan Rhondda.
“It is a pity words could not be put to it,” the younger man said.
“We will write those words together,” his father suggested, “and we will call it Land of my Fathers.”
The fading light forced them to return home still talking of it, and that evening they wrote the words.
For a while they sang the song only amongst themselves, but others heard it and started to sing it. Although father and son had little idea of the greatness of their work (for truly their song had caught the echoes and set them ringing), it was to become the patriotic song of Wales.
Its reputation travelled far.
One day a bard who had connections with the famous Llangollen Eisteddfod visited Pontypridd and heard the song being sung. He was enraptured by it, so much so that its memory stayed with him, and he mentioned it when plans were being made for the Eisteddfod in the year 1858. There it was first sung in public.
It caused an immediate stir.
Oswain Alaw published it in 1860, in his book Gems of Welsh Melody. Dr. Percy Scholes described it as “the most noble national anthem possessed by any nation” and went on to explain that it was the work of father and son together, mutually attached to the land in which they lived.
On August 1, 1858, the Morning Herald published the new song in its columns. Wales was delighted, and the editions ran out, for people wished to obtain copies of the song which expressed their own feelings so well.
It is an interesting fact that it is also sung as the National Anthem of Brittany, in a Breton translation by Taldir and is possibly the only case where two countries use the same tune. A hundred years ago England used God Save the King, and Germany used Heil dir in Seigerkranz, to the same tune as their national anthem. At the beginning of the 1914 War the Germans ceased to use theirs, changing over to Deutschland uber Alles.
The land of my fathers, how fair is thy fame;
Entwin’d are proud mem’ries about thy dear name.
The lays of thy minstrels, thy warriors’ renown,
Give honour and grace to thy crown.
Wales, Wales, sweet are thy hills and thy vales.
Thy speech, thy song, to thee belong;
O may they live ever in Wales!
Posted in Australia, Customs, Historical articles, History, Music, War on Monday, 18 March 2013
This edited article about popular song originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 201 published on 20 November 1965.
Queen Anne was on the throne when Marlborough led his men to war, and the Kentish men sang a song as they marched through the streets of Rochester, known as The Bold Fusilier.
A gay Fusilier was marching down through Rochester,
Bound for the war in the Low Countree.
And he cried as he tramped through the dear streets of Rochester,
Who’d be a sol’jer for Marlboro’ with me?
Who’d be a so’jer, who’d be a so’jer, who’d be a so’jer for Marlboro’ with me?
And he cried as he tramped through the dear streets of Rochester
Who’d be a so’jer for Marlboro’ with me?
The Bold Fusilier slipped out of memory and years went by until one afternoon in 1894, at Dagooth Central, in Queensland, the melody was revived, never to die again.
There had been a homely party and a fine spread with good meat pies, kangaroo soup, jellies and home-made cakes. Afterwards the guests were all sitting round in the bright sunshine in the garden. It was then that Christine Macpherson, the daughter of the house, brought out her autoharp, and began to sing.
She wanted her friends to hear a tune she had just heard at Victoria races. It was catchy, it was fun. Later this was identified as the army march known as Craigielea, arranged from an old Scottish ballad, The Bonnie Wood of Craigielea and adapted from The Bold Fusilier, the song that Marlborough’s soldiers had sung when marching off to war.
Andrew Paterson – pet name “Bob” – was enchanted by the melody. He wanted to make it truly Australian, and put his own words to it.
Read the rest of this article »