Cheered Up By Sunset

Today began unpromisingly dull and wet. I scanned the last few colour slides from

Abney Park Cemetery in May 2008. The second image and

the two which follow have been converted to black and white. The first of these shows a typically decorated capital. The second is the Pesman family grave. According to Frederic Adolphus senior, originally an artificial flower maker, lived for 81 years. His wives, Agnes Susan née Peak, daughter of a builder; Mary Ann, née Bulford; and some of his children were not so fortunate. The last name on the stone, obscured by ivy is probably the son of Frederick and Agnes who, along with two sisters, did not survive early infancy. Two of their daughters did survive, one to be 90.

Before lunch we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop and bought a Christmas tree, the needles of which

attempted to spear me on the way home.

The weather gradually improved this afternoon when we drove into the forest.

Barrows Lane is becoming soggy. Jackie parked on the verge while I photographed the landscape including two field horses in bright red and blue rugs.

By sunset over Hatchet Pond the skies had really cheered up.

When I came to draft this post I was hard put to distinguish between Jackie’s and my shots. The second gallery images are, I believe, those of the able Assistant Photographer, who,

driving home, metamorphosed into my Chauffeuse, and parked at East Boldre while I photographed

the remnants of the sunset reflected in a Winterbourne pool

and providing a backcloth for skeletal trees.

For dinner this evening Jackie provided lamb jalfrezi, mushroom rice topped with slices of boiled egg, and vegetable samosas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Coonawarra.

The Menagerist

In her Foreword to her ‘The Proud Tower’, Barbara W. Tuchman states that ‘this book is an attempt to discover the quality of the world from which the Great War came’. First published in 1966, this is largely a collection of previously published writings gathered together. The first, entitled, ‘The Patricians – England: 1895-1902’, describes the powerful ruling classes whose complacency, based on the assumed right to govern accumulated over centuries of inherited position, wealth, and advantaged education, was unassailed at that time. According to the writer their status as leaders was seen to be natural and unquestioned, and would always be rewarded with success. The setbacks of the Boer War came as a great shock.

On a drizzle-miserable day I finished reading this chapter.

Later I scanned a few colour slides from Abney Park Cemetery produced in March 2009.

The last three of this set are of the multi-denominational chapel which has been graffiti-desecrated at the rear, bricked and boarded up. When making these images I was told that the building is intact inside. I do hope some renovation has been undertaken in the years since then.

I have converted those in this gallery to black and white.

The last two, bearing the sculpture of a docile lion, are of the tomb, shared with his wife, Susannah, of Frank Charles Bostock who ‘was part of the Bostock and Wombwell dynasty, famed for the presentation of travelling Menageries throughout the nineteenth century and the first third of the 20th century. George Wombwell commenced this tradition by exhibiting exotic animals from around 1804. This fascination for exhibition informed the emerging trends of entertainment throughout the Victorian period, with all manner of beasts, curiosities and displays of human endeavour on regular display in fixed and floating locations.

Wombwell took to presenting a travelling animal show from around 1805, competing with many other Menagerists of the time. He had a fierce drive to become the most famous animal showman in the country, and his partnership with the Bostock family established Bostock and Wombwell as the country’s leading operation.

The Bostock family were land-owning farmers in Staffordshire. In 1832 James Bostock turned his back on his farming destiny and worked as a waggoner with Wombwell’s Menagerie. His marriage to Emma Wombwell in 1852 saw the start of the Bostock and Wombwell dynasty, all capable and willing animal handlers and showmen. The core axis of this dynasty was the three sons of James and Emma (there were other children also): Edward Henry (EH) Bostock became the successor to running the main show, James William Bostock managed separate Menageries and presented ‘Anita the Living Doll’, whilst Frank Charles Bostock set off on his own direction by touring Europe and America.

Frank Bostock was equally as ambitious as his Menagerie-founding grandfather. In his memoirs he talks about how he introduced the ‘big cage’ to England in 1908 and how he discovered that big cats were wary of the underside of a chair. His time in America possibly led him to doing things differently, with contact at the vibrant Coney Island, and the tradition of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ pioneered by PT Barnum.

Frank C Bostock arrived in the United States in the summer of 1893 at twenty seven years of age. He set up near 5th and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn. It is said that Frank and his family lived in one wagon and had another two wagons housing four monkeys, five parrots, three lions, a sheep and a boxing kangaroo.

It could be said that the arrival of Frank Bostock and the Ferari brothers in 1893-94 (Francis and Joseph Ferari were his partners at the time, they were the sons of Italian-born English showman James Ferari) was the beginning of the touring carnival business in America. The wild animal shows they brought became the nucleus around which many of the early street-fair showmen built their midways.

The elaborate carved fronts of the wild animal shows Frank Bostock brought from England, some of them made by the Burton-upon-Trent company Orton and Spooner, served as the prototype for wagon-mounted show fronts on American carnivals for the next half century’. (

This evening we dined on smoked haddock; Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potato; firm carrots and peas with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Nivei white Rioja 2018.

In The Line Of Duty

Back in March Nick Hayter was scheduled to decorate our kitchen and sitting room. The first coronavirus lockdown put paid to that. He rebooked this for tomorrow. We are going into another full lockdown on Thursday. We don’t know how much Nick will be able to do in the available time, but, ever optimistic, we spent much of the morning removing nick-knacks from the sitting room.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of colour slides from

Abney Park cemetery produced in

November 2008

and March 2009. John Turpin, writer of “The Magnificent Seven”, is walking down the path in the third picture of the above gallery.

The Victorian fascination with Egyptology is reflected in the iconography of the capitals to the entrance gates and of various lodge lintels.

Selected memorials are these of 18th century hymn writer Isaac Watts; the Rogers Family Tomb; and the policeman, William Frederick Tyler, killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately the black and white image in the book of this third monument incorrectly attributes the memorial to a different gentleman, a member of the fire service.

The story of constable Tyler’s death is told in

as follows:

‘One winter Saturday morning two armed Russian/Latvian anarchists, Paul Hefeld and Jacob Lepidus, attempted to seize the wages’ cash (£80) being delivered to the Schnurmann Rubber Factory in Chesnut Road, Tottenham.  The sound of bullets was heard at the (extremely) nearby police station and officers ran to the site.  The robbers ran away down Chesnut Road, firing at the pursuing policemen; some on foot, some in a car.  Follow the chase on the map at Tottenham-Summerhill Road. At Mitchley Road Hefeld stopped to reload his gun.  One of the pursuing drivers tried to run over the gunmen but only succeeding in crashing the car and injuring those inside.  Ralph Joscelyne, 10 years old, was caught in the cross-fire and killed.  One of the police borrowed a gun from a member of the crowd that had gathered but failed to hit either of the robbers who ran on towards Tottenham Marshes.  Constables Tyler and Newman attempted to cut them off by running behind a tall fence.  Tyler met them at the end of the fence and shouted “Come on, give in, the game’s up.”  But Hefeld shot him in the head.  Constable Newman stayed with the dying Tyler while the gunmen ran on, reaching and crossing the River Lea.  The chase carried on, along the south side of the Banbury Reservoir to Chingford Road where they hijacked a tram.  The police commandeered another tram and 40 officers boarded.  A horse-drawn carriage driven by another officer crashed when Hefeld shot the horse.  Being told there was a police station coming up the gunmen jumped tram and took over a milk cart, by shooting its driver.  They drove this until they crashed it, when they hijacked another horse cart.  They had a crowd of followers led by a motor car carrying armed police who were exchanging fire. Others were on horseback, on bicycles, on foot; some wielding cutlasses, others brandished truncheons. A woman throw a potato. The followers included footballers, labourers, duckshooters and gypsies. Hefeld and Lepidus crashed again at Fulbourne Road and Wadham Road (where the North Circular now is).  They ran towards the River Ching and Lepidus climbed a tall fence.  Hefeld failed to get over and attempted to shot himself but survived (but was not able to continue running, you’ll be relieved to hear).  Lepidus ran on into Hale End Road and into the end house, Oak Cottage, where lived the Rolstone family.  They got out as the house was surrounded by police and a gun battle ensued during which Lepidus successfully shot himself.  This was near the Royal Oak pub where none of the buildings of that date remain. We have read that the pub itself was built on the site of Oak Cottage.

The above is, mainly, a condensed version of the story told at History by the Yard and the detailed description given by Wikipedia who summarise with: “The incident lasted more than two hours, covered a distance of six miles with an estimated 400 rounds fired by Helfeld and Lepidus. Twenty-five casualties were reported, two fatal and several serious.“  The two deaths were Constable Tyler and the little boy, Ralph.  Lepidus died at the scene and Hefeld (or ‘Helfeld’) died in hospital on 12 February, both at their own hands.

5 minute Youtube with photos of many of the buildings involved.  12 minute film with recreation of the event.’

Readers clicking on the Youtube link will be warned that it may not be still available. It is.

Ralph Joscelyne is also buried in Abney Park, but I did not see his grave – the Youtube film shows why.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken, bacon, and vegetable stoup; fresh bread and butter; and savoury sausage rolls, with which I finished the Corbieres and the Culinary Queen abstained.


“Unplug It”

This post this morning

on the acclaimed novel

prompted my thoughts to return to my own copy – a first edition from 1993. I concur with Vibha Lohani’ s assessment of the novel and suspect that her comparison of it with the TV series, although I haven’t watched it, is accurate.

I am rather proud of the author’s complimentary letter appraising my Crossword puzzle featured in “Hoisted By My Own Petard”

Another earlier post of mine features “The Magnificent Seven”, a book about London’s Victorian landscaped cemeteries on which I collaborated with author John Turpin.

On yet another mournful monochrome morning it seemed incumbent on me to tackle my scanner problems. Following the highly technical advice of Sherry from port4u who suggested I should “unplug it’, I managed to achieve the correct settings for colour slides and was therefore able to begin a project featuring.

photographs which did not make it to the book. Rather fortuitously, these images were produced in November 2018.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s vegetable and egg packed savoury rice with a rack of pork ribs and prawns – some tempura and some spicy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Corbieres.