This website uses cookies to provide a rich user experience. Please consult our Cookie Policy to learn about what cookies this website uses, or to control the cookies you receive. You need do nothing if you are happy to receive cookies.
Look and Learn History Picture Library License images from £2.99

Archive for July, 2013

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.

Thomas Holloway – the bamboozler who championed the education of women

Posted in Education, Historical articles, History, Institutions, London, Medicine, Philanthropy on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about Thomas Holloway originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 354 published on 26 October 1968.

Holloway's remedies, picture, image, illustration

Thomas Holloway used advertising brilliantly when promoting his impressively named medicines

When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the practice of medicine was not in a very advanced state. Some doctors, through ignorance or carelessness, killed as many people as they cured. Besides, working people often couldn’t afford doctors (there was no free medical service then). Instead, they bought simple remedies from “quack”* doctors and patent medicine pedlars.

Many of these remedies, based upon old and proved formulas inherited from herbalists, did little harm and often some good. Some “cures” did no good, but no harm either. Others were positively dangerous to health.

The pills and ointments made by Thomas Holloway were known throughout Britain and many countries beyond. “Holloway’s Pills” were advertised in newspapers and magazines and from huge hoardings, for Holloway was a great showman, an enterprising and perhaps rather artful man. He once put up a hoarding advertising his pills on Egypt’s Great Pyramid!

By such bold and unorthodox advertising methods, Holloway made a vast fortune. The things he said about his pills and potions would never be allowed today, but in those days an advertiser could make almost any claim he liked for his products.

Thomas Holloway was born on 22nd September, 1800, at Devonport, near Plymouth. He had virtually no education and at the age of 28 was living in Cornwall, at Penzance, helping his mother and brother in the baker’s shop which his father, a soldier in a militia regiment, had left them when he died.

Then Thomas left Cornwall to seek his fortune in London – and found it in an unexpected and spectacular way. Regular work was hard to get, and he became friendly with Felix Albinolo, an Italian leech-seller from Turin. At that time doctors “bled” patients for almost any complaint and often used leeches for the purpose.

Felix is a Latin word meaning “happy”, but Felix Albinolo was to prove far from happy. He began making and peddling an ointment with the high-sounding title of “Albinolo’s or the St. Come and St. Damien Ointment”, got into debt, and was flung into prison. Holloway, who had learned the business from Albinolo, then started making his own medicines, giving them impressive names such as “Pillules Holloway” and “Onguent Holloway”. He called himself “Professor” and wrote pamphlets to accompany his remedies, suggesting that they could cure almost everything.

These pamphlets were almost works of genius in the way they bamboozled the public. Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health, was shown in her flowing robes on a step engraved with the words “Holloway’s Pills” and, to impress the buyer still further, Professor Holloway offered to supply directions in 20 different languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Gozzerattee!

Read the rest of this article »

King Alfred the Great was also Alfred the Confessor

Posted in Historical articles, History, Religion, Royalty, Saints on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about the Church Year originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 354 published on 26 October 1968.

Alfred the Great, picture, image, illustration

King Alfred the Great

Passing through the town of Wantage, in Berkshire, recently, I was impressed by the statue of King Alfred in the market square.

It is a pity that so many people know nothing of this great Christian king, except the legend about his burning the cakes. In an age of violence and ignorance, Alfred set a splendid example of good government and encouragement to learning in Wessex (the little kingdom of the West Saxons) over which he reigned from A.D. 871 to 899.

Despite the fact that so much of his time had to be spent in fighting off Danish invaders, Alfred devoted himself to the re-founding of monasteries, which were the only centres of education and culture in his day. To them he invited scholars from the Continent, and had many learned books translated by them into the Saxon language. He also drew up new laws for his kingdom. At the head of these he set the words of the Ten Commandments, from the Old Testament.

It is scarcely surprising that Alfred should have been honoured by the people of Wantage, where he was born in A.D. 849. It is pleasing to know also that the Church of England recognises him as a “confessor” (like Edward the Confessor); that is, as a champion of the Christian Faith. The church remembers him with gratitude on 26th October.

For other saints of the week we have to turn to France, or Gaul, as it was known in the 3rd century A.D. There, one day, twin brothers named Crispin and Crispinian arrived from Rome. Under the leadership of Denys (later St. Denys, one of France’s patron saints) they had come as missionaries to what was still largely a heathen country.

The brothers settled in the town of Soissons, and to support themselves while they were preaching the Christian faith, they carried on their old craft of shoe-making. We are told that, although they charged well-off people a fair price, they made and mended shoes for the very poor free of charge. For this reason they have long been regarded as the patron saints of shoe-makers.

In A.D. 288, this happy state of affairs in Soissons changed. News reached the town that no less a person than the Roman Emperor himself, the great Maximian, would shortly be coming on a visit. Realising that the Emperor hated Christians, and had ordered many of them to be tortured and killed, the Governor of Soissons thought it wise to make an anti-Christian gesture, and he arranged for the twin brothers to be beheaded during the Emperor’s stay in the town.

But the citizens of Soissons did not forget the good shoemaker brothers. In the 6th century they built a magnificent church in their honour.

In spite of their strong French connections, Crispin and Crispinian are remembered in the English Church on 25th October. There is also a curious tradition that they are buried at Faversham, in Kent, and Shakespeare mentions their Feast-day in connection with the Battle of Agincourt (Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3).

Serious mutinies disabled the Royal Navy as maltreated sailors rebelled

Posted in Historical articles, History, Ships on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about the Royal Navy originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 353 published on 19 October 1968.

Press gang, picture, image, illustration

A Press gang encounters spirited resistance by Gerry Embleton

In April, 1797, shortly after the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, a mutiny occurred among the sailors of the Royal Navy stationed at Spithead. In May of the same year, a further mutiny began among sailors stationed at the Nore, and for more than a month, the movements of the fleet were held up.

It cannot be said that the seamen were without excuse. These salts, who had fought and continued to fight so bravely for their country, were often abominably treated by their officers. In addition to being badly fed and poorly paid, they were subjected to severe and erratic discipline, such as flogging, for the most petty offences. If to all this one adds the fact that most of the sailors were men who had been “pressed” into the service by the press-gang, and were serving against their will, one has no difficulty in understanding the causes of the mutinies.

At Spithead, nothing outrageous was done by the mutineers. The crews simply declined to proceed to sea until they had received an assurance that their complaints would be considered. Occasionally, the mutineers went ashore and marched about in procession, but when Lord Bridport, the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet, promised a redress of all their complaints, they promptly returned to their duties.

The sailors at the Nore, however, gave serious trouble when they mutinied. Their ringleader was a scoundrel of somewhat unusual attainments by the name of Richard Parker who committed any number of excesses. Officers were flogged and many were half-drowned in a most cruel manner. Parker succeeded in corrupting all the crews of the ships at the Nore and led them in making fresh demands on the Admiralty. Active steps were, however, taken to suppress the mutiny, and, as public feeling was very much against the sailors, they gradually began returning to their ships. Ultimately, they handed Parker and other ringleaders over to the authorities as prisoners, and these were eventually tried, sentenced to death, and hanged.

Traditional Russian dancers are as skilled as Bolshoi ballerinas

Posted in Customs, Dance, Music on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about traditional Russian dance originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 353 published on 19 October 1968.

Gopak, picture, image, illustration

Russian dancers performing the Gopak by Robert Brook

Russian folk dancers have to be hardy. Not only are the dances they perform entertaining; they are also designed to test a man’s physical stamina.

Most Russian folk dances go back many centuries and were evolved by country people who performed them purely for their own entertainment.

A lot of the movements were based on the everyday things the people did themselves. For example, many of the famous Cossack dances are based on horse-riding. The Cossacks had a saying: “A true horse, a fine sword and a brave heart are a man’s best friends.”

At first, all Russian folk dances may seem rather similar, with men in fur hats, floppy skirts and high boots throwing themselves about and doing acrobatic leaps, while girls in peasant costume clap an accompaniment or perform complicated figures. In fact there are scores of different dances, which, like the costumes of the performers, may vary from village to village.

Some dances are amusing parodies of people. There is a dance called the “Chumak,” which is a take-off of a swaggering merchant. No doubt long ago the village people were amused by the airs and graces which prosperous merchants gave themselves, and this was preserved in the steps of this dance. There are also dances which are based on butchers, cobblers, shepherds and so on.

Read the rest of this article »

Minor poets and mediocrities take up the Royal laureateship

Posted in Actors, English Literature, Historical articles, History, Royalty, Theatre on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about English literature originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 353 published on 19 October 1968.

Colley Cibber, picture, image, illustration

Colley Cibber, from the plaster bust by Louis F Roubillac

Today’s Poet Laureate writes his verses when he likes and on any subject which appeals to him, but when William III came to the throne, the situation was very different. John Dryden lost his post as Laureate because he would not swear allegiance to the new King.

Dryden’s successor, however, Thomas Shadwell, was happy to toe the Royal line and accept the fact that politics and flattery of the crown must come first, poetry second.

Like many of the Court poets who came after him, Shadwell was really a man of the theatre. His comedies give a vivid picture of the life of his day.

Shadwell was the last man to hold the posts of Poet Laureate and Historiographer Royal at the same time. He also wrote the first of a long line of New Year Odes.

When Shadwell died, in 1692, the Laureateship passed to an Irishman born in Dublin, Nahum Tate. Tate was a writer of many parts. “King Lear” – he gave the play a happy ending – ousted Shakespeare’s original work from the stage for over a century; with a collaborator, he brought out a new version of the Psalms which was an immediate success; and his carol “While Shepherds watched their flocks by night,” is still sung at Christmas-time.

Nahum Tate was Poet Laureate for twenty-three years. He outlived William and Mary, the sovereigns under whom he had been appointed, was Laureate to Queen Anne, and wrote the first birthday Ode of the Hanoverian monarchy.

The next Poet Laureate, Nicholas Rowe, who was appointed in 1715, was required to furnish, annually, a New Year Ode and a Birthday Ode, which were set to music and performed before the King. Rowe was successful as both a poet and a playwright. He produced the first “edited” edition of Shakespeare, and also wrote the first biography of the great dramatist. His tenure of office was short. He died in 1718, and is buried in Westminster Abbey “over against Chaucer”.

Rowe’s death on 6th December left the new Poet Laureate, Laurence Eusden, two weeks in which to produce his first New Year Ode. Eusden contented himself with composing the two traditional Odes each year, and became Rector of Coningsby, in Lincolnshire.

In 1730, the “laurel crown” was conferred upon Colley Cibber. Cibber was a celebrated actor, author and theatre manager. With Robert Wilks and Thomas Doggett he formed the famous “triumvirate” of actor-managers under which the theatre prospered as never before.

For twenty-seven years (until his death in 1757 at the age of eighty-six) Colley Cibber produced annual New Year and Birthday Odes. Their gross flattery was in keeping with the fashion of his day and, though he was well aware how bad his poetry was, he met ridicule with unshakeable good humour.

When Cibber took over from Eusden, the post of Poet Laureate had become something of a joke, and it did not occur to Cibber to improve it. He said, “I wrote more to be fed than to be famous.”

The Ford Foundation is a benevolent legacy of the inventor, Henry Ford

Posted in America, Cars, Engineering, Famous Inventors, Historical articles, History, Industry, Philanthropy, Transport, Travel on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about Henry Ford originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 353 published on 19 October 1968.

Henry Ford, picture, image, illustration

Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, photographed in the first Ford car

When young Henry Ford was working on his father’s farm near Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., he often wondered whether life had to be so hard.

It was not that he was frightened of hard work. It was just that, as he rattled and bumped his way over acres of wheat fields in the clumsy horse-drawn reaper he thought: surely there’s a better way of doing this? Couldn’t a machine do it?

Henry Ford, who before he died was to put the world on wheels, was born at Greenfield, Michigan, on 30th July, 1863, and had always shown himself fascinated by anything mechanical. At the age of eleven, he saw his first mechanically-propelled vehicle – a steam engine and boiler mounted on wheels and trailing behind it a water cart and a coal cart.

It was a clumsy, smelly and noisy contraption, but it could saw wood and thresh corn quicker than men could. And that set Henry thinking.

When Henry was sixteen, his mother died, and he ran away from home to work in the machinery department of an electrical factory for the equivalent of 7s. 6d. a week. Later he worked for a watch repairer, and worked out a way of making the parts and assembling them so that a watch need cost only 1s. 6¬Ωd. to make and could be sold for 2s. 1d. He had thought of mass production, of arranging all the tasks necessary in their proper order, seeing that materials of the right kind and quantity were to hand at every stage, or speeding and simplifying production. He was on the point of starting a watch factory when his father was taken ill and he had to go home to help on the farm again.

There Henry met Clara Bryant and married her at the age of twenty-four. Mr. Ford senior gave the couple forty acres of land as a wedding present, and Henry built his home there to settle down. They wrote a book on dancing, which both of them liked.

But soon Henry was back in Detroit, tinkering with machines.

The first one he made was a horseless farm vehicle which generated steam by means of a paraffin boiler which was far from safe. He decided that the internal combustion engine was the only answer.

While working as an experimental engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit in 1892, he started making his own mechanically-propelled vehicle in a shed behind his house in Bagley Avenue, Detroit. Unfortunately, by the time he had finished it, it proved too big for him to get it out; to the laughter of onlookers, he had to knock bricks away.

Then the buggy lurched forward, its two-cylinder engine coughing and spluttering, belching out clouds of black smoke. It was chain-driven and its planks were mounted on four bicycle wheels with extra heavy tyres. The noise was deafening, but Henry Ford was smiling with happiness. It worked!

Read the rest of this article »

The natural disguises of stick and leaf insects

Posted in Insects, Nature, Plants, Wildlife on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about insects originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 353 published on 19 October 1968.

Leaf insects, picture, image, illustration

Some leaf insects

Many insects protect themselves by camouflage, their shape and colour merging into that of their background so that they are almost invisible.

Stick-insects and leaf-insects (order Phasmida) are past-masters of this art.

Stick-insects have long, slender bodies which resemble twigs of the plants on which they feed. The colour of the twigs is exactly imitated, and such objects as thorns and other excrescences are faithfully reproduced. Even the insects’ eggs often resemble the seeds of the host plant.

Many stick-insects are without wings, but some have leathery fore-wings which conceal the hind-wings that are used in flight. The hind-wings may be brightly coloured.

Leaf-insects have flattened bodies, and their legs and antennae bear leaf-like expansions so that the insect merges with the foliage of the plant. The pattern of leaf-veins is exactly reproduced on the wings and body of the insect, which may have clear areas, resembling holes in a leaf made by fungi, and even splashes of white to imitate bird-droppings!

Stick- and leaf-insects remain motionless during the day, relying on their camouflage to protect them. They move about and feed at night.

Saint Luke – the physician who became an Evangelist

Posted in Bible, Religion, Saints on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about Saints originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 353 published on 19 October 1968.

Saint Luke, picture, image, illustration

Saint Luke the Evangelist

Can you name a doctor who is mentioned in the Bible? In his Epistle to the Colossians (chapter 4, verse 14), St. Paul refers to his friend Luke as “the beloved physician.” This explains why St. Luke has for centuries been regarded as the patron saint of the medical profession and why many hospitals are named after him.

We know a great deal about St. Luke and everything we learn suggests that he was one of the nicest people of New Testament times. An ancient tradition claims that he was a portrait painter, and in a few churches of the Near East there are pictures he is said to have painted. Whether or not this is so, he was certainly an artist in words, for not only the Gospel which bears his name, but also the book called the Acts of the Apostles were written by him.

The style of both these is similar, for they contain a great deal of importance about the early Christian believers. It is to St. Luke that we owe our knowledge of the birth of Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem. He alone recounts the famous story of the Good Samaritan and the even greater one about the Prodigal Son. St. Luke, too, records one of the best-loved Easter stories, that of the meeting of Jesus with his friends on the road to Emmaus.

* * *

The Book of Acts is of special interest because it appears to include extracts from an actual diary of St. Luke’s travels. In various places (e.g. chapter 16, verses 10-17) instead of saying they did this or that, St. Luke writes we, giving an eye-witness account of the adventures of the earliest Christian missionaries.

St. Luke accompanied that great traveller St. Paul on many of his journeys. This cannot always have been easy, for St. Paul was tireless and not always very patient. We know that he quarrelled with some of the others who had shared his early journeys (Acts 15, verse 39). Although we are not sure at what point St. Luke became his companion, we do know that towards the end of his life, while he was in prison at Rome and deserted by his other friends, Paul still had Luke at his side (2 Timothy chapter 4, verse 11). This must have been of special comfort to Paul, who was far from well, and who had suffered all his life from a mysterious complaint which he called a “stake” or “thorn” in the flesh. We may suppose that Luke’s skill as a doctor helped him to endure this.

Perhaps the most human thing about St. Luke was a touch of pride in his profession. Writing about a sick woman, St. Mark said that “she had suffered much at the hands of many doctors, had spent all her money and, far from being better, got worse.” St. Luke could not believe this. In his own Gospel, he only said that “they could not make her better.” As a doctor himself, he could not admit that doctors had made her worse.

St. Luke’s day is 18th October, and is often the beginning of a spell of mild weather traditionally known as “St. Luke’s little Summer”.

Commodore Nelson established his reputation at the Battle of Cape St Vincent

Posted in Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Ships, War on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about Horatio Nelson originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 352 published on 12 October 1968.

Battle off  Cape St Vincent, picture, image, illustration

The battle fought just off Cape St Vincent in which headstrong young Nelson distinguished himself

In 1797, when Britain was again at war with France and Spain, the British Admiralty despatched a fleet of 15 ships-of-the-line and several frigates, under the command of Admiral Sir John Jervis, to keep a watch on the movements of the Spanish fleet at Cadiz. This led to a battle between the two fleets off Cape St. Vincent, and it was in this battle that Horatio Nelson, then a commodore aboard H.M.S. Captain, made a bid for fame and achieved it.

Admiral Sir John Jervis was unaware of the strength of the Spanish fleet until the morning of 14th February, when a masthead look-out reported to him on the quarterdeck of his flagship, H.M.S. Victory, that there were 27 ships-of-the-line in the Spanish fleet. The two fleets approached each other on opposite tacks, and the battle commenced at twelve noon, when H.M.S. Culloden opened fire at the foremost of the enemy’s ships. The British fleet was in a close, well-ordered line-of-battle formation, while the Spanish fleet was in a loose formation of two groups. Jervis signalled his fleet to steer for the wide gap between the two groups, calculating that he would be able to tack and engage the Spanish weather group, while the ships to leeward would not be able to come to their assistance. Contrary to his expectations, the Spanish lee division did make an attempt, which was unsuccessful, to break the British line and assist the weather group.

Nelson, whose ship, H.M.S. Captain, was in the rear of the British line, observed that the leading ships of the Spanish weather division were bearing up before the wind with the intention of joining their separated ships or else of getting off without an engagement. To prevent either of these schemes, he deliberately disobeyed a signal from Jervis, broke from his place in the British line, and dashed into the Spanish van. His ship was the smallest 74-gun ship in the British fleet, but he ranged her alongside the mighty four-decker Spanish flagship, the 136-gun Santissima Trinidada, and fought her with the rarest audacity.

Had it not been for this disobedience by Nelson, which was condoned by Jervis, the bulk of the Spanish fleet might have succeeded in joining the French fleet at Brest and, between them, gained full command of the English Channel.

In the Balinese Ketjak dancing demons triumph over the monkeys

Posted in Anthropology, Customs, Dance, Music on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This edited article about traditional Balinese dance originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 352 published on 12 October 1968.

Balinese ketjak, picture, image, illustration

The Monkey Men of Bali by Robert Brook

One of the strangest and most impressive of the world’s dances is the Balinese Ketjak. It goes back for so many centuries that its origins are lost, yet its power remains and it is now one of the most popular of all spectacles with visitors to Bali.

There are 150 performers in this dance, and they spend most of the time crouching close to the ground. The most important aspect is their finger movements, and at one stage they pretend to change into monkeys.

Ketjak takes place at night. The dancers are illuminated by the reddish glare of a large branched torch which looks like a primitive candelabra. The torch is placed in the centre of a temple courtyard.

In the weirdly flickering light, the dancers quietly enter the courtyard and form five or six circles, one inside the other. The dancers are all male and they wear loin-cloths, garlands of brilliantly coloured flowers and fantastically woven hats.

For some moments there is a dramatic silence. Then from the throats of the performers there comes a powerful rhythmic chant, so deep that it is almost a growl.

Read the rest of this article »