Tag Archive: Pears Road


Frank Hampson

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Hampson was born at 488 Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw, near to Manchester (now Tameside), and was educated at King George V School, a grammar school in Southport.
His brother Eric was killed in a naval action during the Second World War.
In 1949, in collaboration with Christian vicar Rev. Marcus Morris, he devised a new children’s magazine, the Eagle, which Morris took to the Hulton Press.
In April the following year, a revised version of the Eagle hit the bookstalls.
Its most popular strip was Hampson’s Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future.
Like Alex Raymond and Milton Caniff in the U.S., Hampson instigated a studio system where, from his home in Epsom, Surrey, as many as four artists might work on two pages of the strip at any one time. When Hulton Press was bought up in 1959, and the Eagle moved to a new publisher, Hampson’s studio system was disbanded due to its cost.
He drew The Road of Courage, a carefully researched and meticulously crafted telling of the life of Jesus, with the help of his longtime assistant, Joan Porter, which concluded at Easter 1961.
Hampson then began to devise seven other strip cartoon ideas, which he intended to offer to the Eagle. Partly through his own mismanagement (he told no-one what he was doing) Longacre Press accused him of breach of contract.
He was forced to resign, his new strips were impounded by the legal department, and he rarely drew for comics again.
The remainder of Hampson’s life was spent working as a freelance commercial artist for various publications.
Hampson was voted Prestigioso Maestro at an international convention of strip cartoon and animated film artists held at Lucca in Tuscany in 1975.
A jury of his peers gave him a Yellow Kid Award and declared him to be the best writer and artist of strip cartoons since the end of the Second World War.
In 1978 he graduated from the Open University
He celebrated by drawing a Dan Dare strip for the University’s internal magazine. The punch line of the script involved the University getting an application from Dare’s nemesis The Mekon.
In ailing health, Hampson died from a stroke and the lingering effects of throat cancer in July 1985, in Surrey, England.

EXCERPT FROM ‘SO LONG AGO – SO CLEAR‘ – Peter’s Biography


THE FUTURE BREAKS IN – THE EAGLE

Friday, the fourteenth of April, 1950, when Peter was five years old, was one of the most important days in that young boy’s life.
That was the day that the first copy of the Eagle comic appeared, and was dropped, along with the Middlesex Chronicle, through the letter-box of fifty-five Pears Road, by the paper boy.
Undoubtedly Peter was a bit young for a comic like the Eagle, but his adoptive parents presumably thought it would be good for him, and would probably help Peter with his reading – or more precisely his lack of reading, because at that time Peter could read very little.
In the 1950s the Eagle was a completely new kind of boy’s comic.
The Eagle was the brainchild of the Reverend John Marcus Morris.
Morris was a rather unconventional, Anglican minister, who had started a parish magazine called ‘The Anvil’.
Morris was unconventional in the sense that as a young man he took to canoeing down the Danube with a young friend in the nude; had a forty a day cigarette habit; and was rather over fond of alcohol. In addition, in later life, when he became successful, he regularly indulged in exaggeratedly long business lunches at the best London hotels, and despite being married with children, appeared to see nothing wrong in getting involved with a string of mistresses.
Before succumbing to such temptations, however, Morris developed high hopes for the Anvil, intending it to become a national magazine with the purpose of promoting Christian values in post-war Britain. Unfortunately for post-war Britain, but probably fortunately for a whole generation of boys, the magazine was a complete flop.
Undeterred, Morris turned his moralizing zeal to the question of children’s reading material.
At the time the news-stands were awash with what were generally known as ‘Horror Comics’.
These were essentially imports from the USA, which typically featured stories involving violence, brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gun play, physical agony, and gory and gruesome crime. Not surprisingly they were popular with many children, but were a considerable cause of concern to many adults.
Eventually a press campaign was mounted against these publications, and there was even an episode of Britain’s most popular BBC television ‘soap’, the ‘Grove Family’, which featured the families’ youngest child suffering nightmares after reading such a comic.
Eventually Parliament acted, and such publications were banned by law, but not before the
Rev Morris had started work on his new style of comic, which was intended to undo any damage to young minds for which the dreaded ‘horror comics’ may have been responsible.
As a failed independent magazine publisher it was obvious that Morris needed professional help if he was to make a success of his new boy’s comic, and eventually, with the genius of Frank Hampson, the Eagle was published by the Hulton Press.
Now Dan Dare preoccupied our Peter right up until 1959
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Dan Dare, the space hero of the ‘Eagle’ comic, continued to preoccupy and fascinate Peter,


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and for the Christmas of 1954 he had managed to nag Jane and John into buying him a ‘Space Station Communications Centre’, which was one of the most elaborate and expensive of the Dan Dare spin-offs that were then flooding the toy shops.

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Peter’s Dan Dare Planet Gun



In many ways, although the Dan Dare serial was set in the then distant future, – the year 2000 – Dan Dare was very much a child of its times.

The central character, of course, who had been invented by Frank Hampson, the comic’s artistic director, was Colonel Dan McGregor Dare.
Originally Colonel Dare was to have been a ‘space padre’, in deference to the Rev Morris.
It soon became clear, even before the first publication, that this was not only an impractical character to be the mainstay of the comic, but it was also highly unlikely that boys, to whom the comic was aimed, would be able to identify with such an improbable character.
Colonel Dare, now minus the ‘dog-collar’, was supposedly born in Manchester in 1967, and he attended Rossal School, eventually becoming School Captain, (as our Peter did), and later went to Trinity College Cambridge.
His hobbies were listed as cricket, fencing, riding, painting and model making.
In the 1950s, of course, any boy or man worth his salt was expected to have a number of worthwhile and improving hobbies.
His side-kick was a very different individual.
Albert Fitzwilliam Digby was short and fat, unlike the tall, athletic Dan.
Digby was Dan’s ‘bat-man’.
He was born in Wigan in 1960, and had been brought up by his aunt Anastasia.
Unlike the other characters, Digby was married with four children, Frances, Albert, Mary and Anna.
He was only described as having two hobbies; football and sleeping, but then Digby was a stereo-typical working-class northerner.
Dan’s boss was Sir Hubert Guest, (modelled, in appearance, on Frank Hampson’s father, ‘Pop’), and was the ‘upper class’ commander of the Space Fleet, who was supposedly born in 1943.
Grey haired and distinguished, with a neatly clipped RAF style moustache, Sir Hubert was undoubtedly Dan’s father figure.
There was only one female in the Dan Dare series, and that was Professor Jocelyn Peabody, (who was based on Greta Tomlinson – one of Hampson’s artists).
Miss Peabody was young, slim and very attractive, as well as being very intellectual – well she was a professor and a qualified space pilot !
Strangely, none of the men, Dan, Hank – an American, Pierre – a Frenchman, or Lex O’Mally – an Irish naval commander, took the slightest romantic interest in her, and always treated her a just ‘one of the boys’.
And speaking of boys, there was one boy in the team – Christopher Philip Spry.
Christopher Spry was born in Middlesex, but no date was ever given. In the stories he appears to be about thirteen or fourteen.
Christopher; always known as ‘Flamer’,  first appeared in the ‘Eagle’ on 28th May, 1954, when our Peter was about eight years old.
Of course, Hampson was quite clever in introducing a character into the stories who was relatively close to the readers’ own age, & with whom the reader could easily identify.
‘Flamer’ himself was based on Hampson’s son, Peter – another coincidence of names which take us back to Barrie’s eponymous hero – (editor’s note – this is a reference to Peter Pan).
Just as Hampson thought of himself as Dare, and thought of his father ‘Pops’ as Sir Hubert, so Peter Hampson became the inspiration and literally the model – in the sense of artist’s model – for ‘Flamer’ Spry.
Now there were some strange similarities between Flamer Spry, our Peter and the other Peter  – (that is Peter Pan), – but we will need to supply some background information for those readers who are not familiar with the Dan Dare stories, in order to make these similarities clearer.
‘Flamer’ firs t appears in the Eagle in a story called ‘Lost in Space’, when he accidentally launches a spaceship containing himself, another, slightly older boy called Steve Valiant, (both are cadets at the Astral College) , and an old mechanic called ‘Groupie’.

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The trio are captured by the Mekon, (Dan’s arch-enemy), but eventually all turns out well, as it inevitably must.
What is strange is that, although Sir Hubert Guest is distraught at the thought of the two cadets being ‘lost in space’, no mention is made of any actions to contact the boys’ parents or relatives.
As already stated, everything turns out fine in the end, and in subsequent stories Steve Valiant disappears from the scene.

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In ‘The Man from Nowhere’, Flamer appears in the opening scenes, wherehe is atte nding a gala reception at the Venusian Embassy in London, along with Steve Valiant, Dan, Digby and Sir Hubert.
He then disappears, during the initial flap, when an alien spaceship suddenly appears in earth orbit.After the spaceship crashes into the Pacific, Flamer, on the insistence of Commander Lex O’Mally, accompanies Dan and Digby on an underwater rescue mission in the Tuscarora Deep. He then disappears from the story again while the alien survivors, the Crypts led by Lero, who have come to Earth seeking help in their fight against the Phants, are rescued.
The story then continues as the ‘Terra Nova’ trilogy, which is the point where Frank Hampson, and Flamer leave the Dan Dare saga.
Now granting that Flamer Spry is just an imaginary character in a boys’ comic, there are still aspects about this young man that impinge on Peter’s story.
Firstly, like Peter, Flamer’s origins are completely unknown.
He is given no date of birth, unlike all the other characters, and all we know is that Flamer was born in Middlesex, which strangely enough is where Peter lived.
Equally, we do not know if Flamer had any brothers or sisters, or even who his parents were.
Was he an orphan, like Peter ? – certainly there were no parents worried and grieving when Flamer is captured by the evil Mekon, or any parents to raise any objections when Sir Hubert decided to allow the boy to go off on a long and dangerous missions out into the unknown, – or parents to consult when Dan decided to take the boy on a holiday to Venus.
Names are strange things, and are often involved in inexplicable co-incidences. Flamer’s first name was Christopher, and as we shall see there was, later on, a very important person called Christopher in Peter’s life. But also Flamer was based on Peter Hampson, Frank Hampson’s young son, and so he shared a name with our Peter, and, looking further back, with Peter Pan.

And like Peter Pan, Flamer never grew up.
When Flamer first appeared in the Eagle, in ‘Prisoners of Space’, he was about thirteen or fourteen, and that was in 1954.
In 1960, at the end of ‘Terra Nova’, when he should have been twenty, he was still thirteen or fourteen !

And of course, Flamer is still a teenager now –
and always will be –
still fourteen,
and following his hero, Dan, through the endless reaches of outer space to the glittering stars, –
so Pan lives on in yet another boy –
and another story !

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MARCUS  MORRIS’  ACCOUNT  OF  THE  CREATION  OF  THE  EAGLE  COMIC

Eagle was the result of a glider accident and of my own strong interest in the problem of communicating with the general public.

I had long felt that parish magazines (the parson’ s main written method
of presenting himself to his followers) were dreary and ineffective.
My appointment as vicar of St James’s, Birkdale, Lancashire gave me my first chance to do something about it.
I gradually converted a four-page leaflet into a magazine called The Anvil, in which ‘issues’ could be ‘hammered out’. I had always been interested in journalism and had a great desire to ‘edit’ something.
At Oxford I had read philosophy, ancient history and theology, not immediately identifiable with journalism, and Anvil liberated those pent-up editorial urges. I didn’t see why a magazine aimed at conveying an intelligent view of Christianity should not try to be as professional as any other magazine.
I based Anvil roughly on Lilliput, the pocket magazine created by that brilliant editor Stefan Lorant who also started Picture Post, and I managed to get some useful contributors ranging from C. S. Lewis, C. E. M. Joad to Harold Macmillan.
I also got seriously into debt; the spirit was willing but the sales were weak. There was no money to promote the magazine, and though it spread from being a parish magazine to become a town, then a county, and finally a national magazine, it still lost money.
My patient and loyal, if slightly incredulous, parishioners gave me lmmensely generous and practical as well as financial support, contributing I funds and running bazaars to raise money. But I sank deeper into debt, though not into despair.
Anvil had attracted attention and was described by one critic as ‘a Christian magazine alongside the best secular publications’. And apart from the eminent contributors I had a special windfall: I discovered at the local art school a young artist, Frank Hampson, who became chief illustrator and cartoonist and designed the covers.
It was about this time that, with the help of a journalist, Norman Price, I wrote an article for the Sunday Dispatch. It was headed ‘Comics that bring Horror into the Nursery’, caused quite a stir and earned me twenty guineas. Anvil’s debts were then about three thousand pounds.
But at least it was a start.
The phenomenal rise and rule of the comic in America, plus a study of the papers and publications that children were reading in this country, seemed to point an obvious moral-and hence came the idea of Eagle.
Many American comics were most skilfully and vividly drawn, but often their content was deplorable, nastily over-violent and obscene, often with undue emphasis on the supernatural and magical as a way of solving problems.
But it was clear to me that the strip cartoon was capable of development in a way not yet seen in England except in one or two of the daily and Sunday newspapers and that it was a new and important medium of communication, with its own laws and limitations.
Here, surely, was a form which could be used to convey to the child the right kind of standards, values and attitudes, combined with the necessary amount of excitement and adventure. And so to the problems of Anvil I added those of Eagle. There may have been fears for my sanity; certainly there were prophecies of doom.
Before starting on Eagle I had the idea of an exemplary character, Lex Christian, whose exploits were to be told exclusively in strip-cartoon form.
Hampson was most enthusiastic about this project.
I thought we might sell the idea to a Sunday newspaper and very soon we had the interest of the editor of the Sunday Empire News, Terence Horsley. But not for long: he was tragically killed in a gliding accident.
This proved to be a turning point. I still recall a late-night visit to Hampson’s house when I told him that we should pack up the idea of doing a single strip for any paper, and that we should be bold and resolute and concentrate our energies on producing an entirely new, original children’s paper of our own. He agreed immediately.
This decision increased my hopes and determination to succeed. And naturally, it increased the debts too. I found it absolutely essential to ensure some regular salary for Hampson and so I paid him £10 a week – later to go up to £14.
There was a growing sense of urgency and it became clear that an addition to the team was imperative. Harold Johns was another gifted artist who came from the same art school as Hampson, and he went on to the pay roll.
Before long I was paying out in total more than I was earning myself.
Apart from the regular staff, there were contributors to be taken into account.
In the Anvil/Eagle period, they included a vicar who was editing the Blackburn Diocesan Magazine for the Bishop of Blackburn. This was Chad Varah, who was to found the Samaritans. And there was Walkden Fisher, a designer for a local toy firm who did the first ‘exploded’ drawings for Eagle’s centre spread; Spencer Croft, who appeared as the scientist, ‘Professor Brittain’, and another promising young art student from Liverpool called Norman Thelwell.
Eagle, like Dan Dare, its star attraction, was not born overnight. We were hard at it from the beginning of 1949 to April 1950.
The title ‘Eagle’ did not emerge for a considerable time.
Then Lex Christian, who began life as a tough, fighting parson in the slums of the East End of London, became airborne, a flying padre, the Parson of the Fighting Seventh. Dan Dare was on the way.
And throughout this time I tramped Fleet Street with the Eagle dummy tucked underneath my arm.
I became a regular on the Sunday midnight train from Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston after taking three services, a baptism or two, maybe a wedding, and dealing with the general affairs of the parish. All the time I was trying to sell Eagle, back at Birkdale the work pressed on, days and nights of trial and error, chopping and changing in the search for perfection.
At one stage I had been in touch with Hulton Press (publishers of Picture Post and Lilliput) and a young man from that firm suggested that I should go to see John Myers, then Publicity Manager for J. Arthur Rank. Myers passed me on to Montague Haydon, director of the children’s publications at Amalgamated Press (now IPC). Haydon’s reaction was perhaps predictable.
I had a feeling that he thought I was an impostor, even a mild kind of lunatic. Amalgamated Press did not want Eagle. But they got it in the end, about eleven years later.
Sir Neville Pearson of Newnes was next. I rang him from a phone box (my London office in those days). He asked me round and saw me with one of his chief executives. They were very courteous and expressed considerable interest. But in the end they said that Eagle was ‘not an economic proposition’.
I had a brief, fruitless meeting with Boardman’s, American publishers of books and comics and then- for the life of me I can’t think why – secured the interest of the editor of the Sporting Record. His name was Mike Wardell, he wore a black eye patch and he was a great Fleet Street character. But in the end he couldn’t help me. I began climbing higher.
I saw John Walter, General Manager of The Times, and Lord Camrose, proprietor of the Daily Telegraph. Beautiful manners again, but two more blanks.
I never did see Lord Kemsley of the Sunday Times. I saw his very polite and handsome personal assistant, whose name was Denis Hamilton. He thought I was asking for a donation to some charity and pointed out that ‘his lordship has many calls upon his purse’.
Then back home in Birkdale, in the autumn of 1949, I had a telegram: ‘Definitely interested do not approach any other publisher’.
It was Hulton Press, publishers of Lilliput and Picture Post, who finally took on Eagle and brought me and my family to London.
Hampson came too, together with fellow artists Harold Johns, Eric Eden, Bruce Cornwell and Joan Porter.
Also crucial in the development of Eagle was the eminent typographer, Ruari McLean, who became a close friend and worked intensively with me on the design and layout.
The title ‘Eagle’ came in the end from Frank Hampson ‘s wife, and the lettering for it from Berthold Wolpe of Faber& Faber. 

The model for the Eagle symbol was the top of a large brass inkwell I bought at the White Elephant stall at the vicarage garden party.

At that time in England the number of skilful strip-cartoon artists was limited, and the best of them were already in work. Eventually some of them came to work for Eagle (and later its sister papers) but meanwhile I had to find new ‘untried’ artists to do the job I wanted.
I am sure that the success of Eagle (a sell-out of 900,000 copies of its first issue) was due to the insistance on quality.

Where Eagle was concerned, the quality of the paper, printing, artwork and writing set a new standard. There were bright colours, well-drawn pictures and exciting stories.
Technically, the Eagle strips marked an advance on the standards of that time (standards that had stood still for years) when most strips were not true strips but merely pictures with captions underneath. We tried to tell the stories mainly through the dramatic sequence of the pictures, with the help of balloons not too many issuing from the characters’ mouths and heads.
Eagle was to win the support of parents, schoolmasters, educationalists and clergy.
Dr James Hemming, the well-known educationalist, writer and broadcaster, writes: ‘I came in on Eagle originally because Johnny Metcalfe of Colman, Prentis & Varley rang me up to know if I was interested in the project.
I was drawn in to taking the original dummy around to show the teacher and head teacher organisations. We met first around then. The launch complete, you asked me to stay linked as your consultant. So there we, very pleasantly, were.
As for those early days, there was the sheer miracle of Eagle appearing regularly as, for mlonths, perforce, we had no time in hand.
Then there was the solid identification and teamwork that somehow got the work done week by week.
I seem to recall that the dummy got lost on one occasion at least . . . And it always interested me the way the characters of Eagle were really alive for the readers.
One one occasion, a boy asked me if Digby (in Dan Dare) would be willing to sign autographs. And there was that curious man who turned up and said he had an invention for Dan Dare to use.’
Chad Varah became one of the first and best scriptwriters for Eagle and a tower of strength in other activities associated with the paper.
It was in November 1949 that Hulton Press accepted.

AN  EAGLE  DIARY


Eagle and I moved into their premises in Shoe Lane, EC4. I think they must have had some faith in me as an editor but, initially, not as a clergyman – after one of my early visits they rushed to check my credentials in Crockford’s Clerical Directory. I have always been told that it was Tom Hopkinson, Editor of Picture Post, who was called down by management, shown the dummy and asked his opinion. Apparently he replied: ‘You should publish this and take on whoever brought it here.’
My first office in Shoe Lane was not very grand in fact it was a kind of anteroom to the office of the chairman, Edward (later Sir Edward) Hulton. It was rather a comic situation. He did his best to take no notice of me on his way in and out. He could hardly have been unaware of my existence, but I had the feeling that he might be uncertain of my identity and none too sure of what I was doing there. In the end, I suppose, someone told him.
Right up to the publication of the first issue on 14 April 1950, the situation was chaotic. I was head cook and bottle-washer.
Before publication there was barely a trickle of staff but a huge and constant flood of writers and artists and agents with a great variety of materialsome good, some promising and some quite useless; in fact, the typical chaotic prelude to all new publications. There were many stages to negotiate before the germ of an idea attained its final form on the page. The frequent conferences with the scriptwriter before a final version was agreed were succeeded by even more lengthy (and more complicated) sessions with the artist who was often required to submit many ‘rough’ visuals before the finished artwork. This in turn required the work of a lettering artist to fill in the balloons, and the typesetting of any text matter (brief explanations, continuities, etc.) to make the strip-cartoon story fully comprehensive. Even material set entirely in type (fiction, non-fiction, the Editor’s letter and news of various activities) almost always required illustration by way of drawings and photographs, in all shapes and sizes. Always the visual impact was vital in order to project a look of liveliness and enticement on every page. And naturally the pages did not fall haphazardly into place. The most careful attention had to be paid to the overall design and layout of each issue.
It was those artists and writers, examples of whose work appear in The Best of Eagle, who gave Eagle its distinctive style and stamp.
Best of all perhaps is the artist who is also the writer, and if not, is never a slave to the writer: he is always thinking visually, and it is here that Frank Hampson was supreme. Hampson, like his creation Dan Dare, was the corner-stone of Eagle. He shared my vision and had prodigious inventiveness and energy. In the beginning he drew Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future; the Great Adventurer (the story of St Paul); and Tommy Walls, our ice-cream advertising strip.
In the end he drew The Road of Courage (a life of Christ).
In between he was involved in working for the numerolls annuals and books that came out of Eagle, and lending his name and ability to many of the toys and games produced by our merchandising department. He was a great stylist and a very demanding one.
The eventual success of Eagle led to the acquisition of a fairly big staff. But we were a bit thin on the ground in the beginning and I was glad to appoint Rosemary Garland (editorial) and Michael Gibson (art department).
A few years later, as the organisation grew, Rosemary Garland became Assistant Editor of Robin and Michael Gibson became responsible for books and annuals. In addition we had to appoint full-time assistants for lettering and the many illustrations and diagrams that could be done only in the office.
Jack Daniel and then Frank Humphris drew Riders of the Range, based on another highly successful radio serial, this time by Charles Chilton, who is still a leading writer and producer with the BBC. One of the most successful early stunts was to send Charles Chilton to Tombstone, Arizona where he was made sheriff and where he met real cowboys and filed his impressions for Eagle readers. Martin Aitchison drew the exotic Luck of the Legion (a home-grown product) with script by Geoffrey Bond.
In the humourous vein three artists were outstanding. One was known long before Eagle and is still going strong. He is David Langdon, who created Professor Puff and his dog Wuff. Then John Ryan, the art master from Harrow who invented Captain Pugwash and Harris Tweed, Extra Special Agent. And finally, Norman Thelwell, who first created Chicko before he found his true comic niche with girls and ponies that refuse fences. There were of course many more artists who contributed to Eagle, but I cannot mention them all; and those who contributed primarily to the other papers of the group (Girl, Robin and Swift) have, of course, no place in this anthology.
As for the Eagle writers, their work, though invaluable, was of necessity overshadowed by the artists. This includes even Chad Varah, who was with me from the first and who brought his considerable powers of mind and invention to write not only the scripts for our Bible stories but also to take on the scripting of Dan Dare at a moment’s notice. In a traditional form, the writing of school stories, Peter Ling deserves notice.
And there was that distinguished journalist of his day (he is still distinguished) Macdonald Hastings, whose series Eagle Special Investigator may still be read as first-class documentaries of the period. Apart from the Editor’s letter I wrote a great deal myself, in that fiddling, improving and revising way that most editors have. But again, like most editors, the bulk of my writing consisted of answering questions and making demands of management, accountants, printers etc. The letters from our readers were so numerous that after a few weeks’ publication we were obliged to hire a staff to cope with the flood.
The Eagle Club was another instant success, with applications from 60,000 readers after our first two issues. Two noble ladies were in charge of this department: Mrs Stark and Miss Mincher.
Hulton Press had achieved considerable success with Picture Post, Lilliput, Housewife and Farmer’s Weekly. When they took on Eagle the firm spared no expense to make it a winner from the start. Gradually, while we amended, altered, revised and got together the first issue, the pattern emerged and launching plans were formulated. Copies were to be mailed direct, with a covering letter, to several hundred thousand people concerned with children and youth work – teachers, clergy, educationalists, club leaders, doctors and so on. The reaction was encouraging to a degree we had not dared to hope for. The other important plan for the launch was the ‘Hunt the Eagle’ schedule.
Huge golden eagles, 4ft l0in. high, 4ft 6in. from beak to tail, with a wing span of 4ft, were mounted on cars and driven round towns and villages up and down the country. Loudspeakers were fitted to the cars and Hulton Press representatives handed out 3d tokens that could be exchanged at a newsagent for a free copy of Eagle. Another hugely successful idea.
There were other, wilder, notions, ranging from the Editor’s descent by parachute into Hyde Park, and the release of 200,000 Eagle balloons throughout the country. These were abandoned, but a great amount of advertising space was booked in the national dailies and weeklies.
The two miracles that attended the first issue of Eagle were: getting the material to the printer in the first place; and his printing it the second.
The printing of Eagle is a story in itself a supreme example of craftsmanship and engineering skill overcoming apparently insuperable difficulties.
The late Eric Bemrose of Eric Bemrose Limited of Aintree, faced with the problem of printing one million copies of Eagle for its first issue, designed, built and worked a new ten-unit photogravure rotary machine. With flair and improvisation he created the plant in twelve weeks from start to finish and trained a team to work it.
On publication day there were long queues outside the newsagents. Eagle was a success and a sell-out, almost one million copies.
We had tried to start a paper which would be the natural choice of the child, but, at the same time, would have the enthusiastic approval of the parent and the teacher; in this we succeeded. It was a great moment at the end of the first day when the telegrams from our reps came pouring in with the good news. Eagle was off to a roaring start with Dan Dare, ‘Cosmic Knight Errant’-a phrase of Maurice Richardson’s – ‘racing to the rescue of Rocket Ship No. 1 trapped by the silicon mass on the fringe of the Flame Lands’. And waiting in the wings of an unknown, hostile universe was the Mekon.
Eagle had a fairly short life, from 1950 to 1970, by which time it had been merged with Lion. Rut its most successful life was even shorter, from 1950 to about 1962.
In 1960 Hulton Press was taken over by Odhams and renamed Longacre Press. Soon after that I left to join the National Magazine Company.
I was succeeded by my deputy, Clifford Makins.
The following year Odhams was taken over by the Daily Mirror Group (now IPC ) and then Makins left. Eagle died slowly and, it seemed to me, painfully, and so my choice of The Best of Eagle is confined to the years 1950 to 1962.
Those were exciting times hard work but fun.

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A new chapter has been added to ‘The Lord of the Harvest’

part of the blog ‘Through My Eyes’


PLEASE NOTE – THE BLOGS ‘GREAT ART’ & ‘OTTO LOHMULLER’ HAVE BEEN DELETED BY WORDPRESS

WE ARE DOING ARE BEST TO HAVE THESE BLOGS RE-INSTATED

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OTHER  BLOGS  BY  PETER  CRAWFORD


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محمد علي باشا

Mohammed  Ali  Pasha

portrait in oils by Auguste Couder

 

Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas’ud ibn Agha – (Mehmet Ali Pasha in Albanian; Kavalalı Mehmet Ali Paşa in Turkish) – (4 March 1769 – 2 August 1849) was an Ottoman Turk, of Albanian origin, who became an Ottoman Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan.Though not a modern nationalist, he is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt because of the dramatic reforms in the military, economic and cultural spheres that he instituted.He also ruled Levantine territories outside Egypt.The dynasty that he established would rule Egypt and Sudan until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.Muhammad Ali was born in Kavala, in the Ottoman province of Macedonia (now a part of modern Greece) to Albanian parents.According to the many French, English and other western journalists who interviewed him, and according to people who knew him, the only language he knew fluently was Albanian. He was also competent in Turkish.The son of a tobacco and shipping merchant named Ibrahim Agha, his mother Zainab Agha was his uncle Husain Agha’s daughter. Muhammad Ali was the nephew of the “Ayan of Kavalla” (Çorbaci) Husain Agha.When his father died at a young age, Muhammad was taken and raised by his uncle with his cousins.As a reward for Muhammad Ali’s hard work, his uncle Çorbaci gave him the rank of “Bolukbashi” for the collection of taxes in the town of Kavala.After his promising success in collecting taxes, he gained Second Commander rank under his cousin Sarechesme Halil Agha in the Kavala Volunteer Contingent that was sent to re-occupy Egypt following Napoleon’s withdrawal.He married Ali Agha’s daughter, Emine Nosratli, a wealthy widow of Ali Bey.In 1801, his unit was sent, as part of a larger Ottoman force, to re-occupy Egypt following a brief French occupation. The expedition landed at Aboukir in the spring of 1801.The French withdrawal left a power vacuum in the Ottoman province. Mamluk power had been weakened, but not destroyed, and Ottoman forces clashed with the Mamluks for power.During this period of anarchy Muhammad Ali used his loyal Albanian troops to play both sides, gaining power and prestige for himself.As the conflict drew on, the local populace grew weary of the power struggle.Led by the ulema, a group of prominent Egyptians demanded that the Wāli (governor), Ahmad Khurshid Pasha, step down and Muhammad Ali be installed as the new Wāli in 1805.The Ottoman Sultan, Selim III, was not in a position to oppose Muhammad Ali’s ascension, thereby allowing Muhammad Ali to set about consolidating his position. During the infighting between the Ottomans and Mamluks between 1801 and 1805, Muhammad Ali had carefully acted to gain the support of the general public.By appearing as the champion of the people Muhammad Ali was able to forestall popular opposition until he had consolidated power.The Mamluks still posed the greatest threat to Muhammad Ali.They had controlled Egypt for more than 600 years, and over that time they had extended their rule extensively throughout Egypt.Muhammad Ali’s approach was to eliminate the Mamluk leadership, then move against the rank and file.In 1811, Muhammad Ali invited the Mamluk leaders to a celebration held at the Cairo Citadel in honor of his son, Tusun, who was being appointed to lead a military expedition into Arabia. When the Mamluks arrived, they were trapped and killed.After the leaders were killed, Muhammad Ali dispatched his army throughout Egypt to rout the remainder of the Mamluk forces.Muhammad Ali transformed Egypt into a regional power which he saw as the natural successor to the decaying Ottoman Empire. He summed up his vision for Egypt as follows:
“I am well aware that the (Ottoman) Empire is heading by the day toward destruction…On her ruins I will build a vast kingdom… up to the Euphrates and the Tigris.”

 

 

 

Order  of  Mohammed  Ali  – (Nishan  al-Muhammad  ‘Ali)

 

The Order of Muhammad ‘Ali : founded by Sultan Husain Kamil on 14th April 1915.
Awarded in a supreme class (Grand Cordon with Collar), two ordinary classes (1. Grand Cordon and 2. Commander) and two medals (gold and silver).
The supreme class being restricted to Heads of State and members of the Egyptian and foreign Royal houses.
The Grand Cordon was restricted to fifteen recipients at any one time.
They enjoyed the title of Pasha with the style of His Excellency (Hazrat Sahib al-Ma’ali), and were entitled to military salutes when wearing their insignia.
The medals were awarded for acts of military gallantry, regardless of rank. Obsolete 1954.

 

 

 

 

Interior  of  the  Mohammed Ali  Mosque

(The Citadel – Cairo – Egypt)

مسجد محمد علي

The  Mohammed Ali  Mosque

(The Citadel – Cairo – Egypt)

مسجد محمد علي

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arms of the Sultan of Egypt

 

 

 

Prince Toussoun – Son of Muhammad Ali – as a Boy

 

 

 

Ibrahim Pasha – from a miniture painted in Paris

 

 

Muhammad Said Pascha  –  (1822–1863)

سعيد باشا

Photo by Nadar

Sa’id of Egypt (1822–1863) was the Wāli of Egypt and Sudan from 1854 until 1863, officially owing fealty to the Ottoman Sultan but in practice exercising virtual independence.
He was the fourth son of Muhammad Ali Pasha. Sa’id was a Francophone, educated in Paris.
Under Sa’id’s rule there were several law, land and tax reforms. Some modernization of Egyptian and Sudanese infrastructure also occurred using western loans.
In 1854 the first act of concession of land for the Suez Canal was granted, to a French businessman Ferdinand de Lesseps. The British opposed a Frenchman building the canal and persuaded the Ottoman Empire to deny its permission for two years.
Sudan had been conquered by his father in 1821 and incorporated into his Egyptian realm, mainly in order to seize slaves for his army.
Slave raids (the annual ‘razzia’) also ventured beyond Sudan into Kordofan and Ethiopia.
Facing European pressure to abolish official Egyptian slave raids in the Sudan, Sa’id issued a decree banning raids. Freelance slave traders ignored his decree.
Under Sa’id’s rule the influence of sheikhs was curbed and many Bedouin reverted to nomadic raiding.
In 1854 he established the Bank of Egypt.
Sa’id died in January 1863 and was succeeded by his nephew Ismail.

 

 

 

 

إسماعيل باشا

Khedive Ismail Pasha

 

Isma’il Pasha (İsmail Paşa in Turkish), known as Ismail the Magnificent December 31, 1830 – March 2, 1895), was a Wāliand and subsequently Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1863 until he was removed at the behest of the British in 1879.
While in power he greatly modernized Egypt and Sudan, but also put the country heavily in debt.
His philosophy can be glimpsed in a statement he made in 1879: “My country (Egypt) is no longer in Africa; we are now part of Europe. It is therefore natural for us to abandon our former ways and to adopt a new system adapted to our social conditions.”
In 1867, Isma’il succeeded in persuading the Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz to grant a firman finally recognizing him as Khedive in exchange for an increase in the tribute.
Another firman changed the law of succession to direct descent from father to son rather than brother to brother, and a further decree in 1873 confirmed the virtual independence of the Khedivate of Egypt from the Porte (Ottoman Government).

 


 

Crown of the Khedive of Egypt

 

The term Khedive (Turkish: Hıdiv) is a title largely equivalent to the English word viceroy.
It was first used, without official recognition, by Muhammad Ali Pasha, the Wāli of Egypt and Sudan, and technical vassal of the Ottoman Empire.
The initially self-declared title was officially recognized by the Ottoman government in 1867, and used subsequently by Ismail Pasha, and his dynastic successors until 1914.

 

 

 

إسماعيل باشا

Khedive Ismail Pasha

 

 

 

Khedive Ismail Pasha – in old age – after he was deposed

إسماعيل باشا


 

 

 

 

HH  Khedive  Muhammed  Tewfik  Pasha – (1852-1892)

محمد توفيق باشا


HH Muhammed Tewfik Pasha (Tawfiq of Egypt) (30 April or 15 November 1852 – 7 January 1892) was Khedive of Egypt and Sudan between 1879 and 1892, and the sixth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty.
In private life he was courteous and amiable.
He had no desire to keep up the unapproachable state of an oriental ruler. Indeed, in many ways his manners and habits were less oriental than European.
He married in 1873 his kinswoman, Amina Hanem, with whom he lived very happily.
She was his only wife and Tewfik was a strong advocate of monogamy.
He died on 7 January 1892, at the Helwan Palace near Cairo, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Abbas II.

 

 

 

 

HH  Khedive  Abbas  Helmi  II

عباس حلمي الثاني

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HH Abbas II Hilmi Bey (also known as Abbas Hilmi Pasha) (14 July 1874 – 19 December 1944) was the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan (8 January 1892 – 19 December 1914).
The establishment of a sound system of native justice, the great remission of taxation, the reconquest of Sudan, the inauguration of the substantial irrigation works at Aswan, and the increase of cheap, sound education, each received his formal approval.
He displayed more interest in agriculturethan in statecraft. His farm of cattle and horses at Qubbah, near Cairo, was a model for scientific agriculture in Egypt, and he created a similar establishment at Muntazah, near Alexandria.
He married the Princess Ikbal Hanem and had several children.
His relations with Sir Eldon Gorst, were excellent, and they co-operated in appointing the cabinets headed by Butrus Ghali in 1908 and Muhammad Sa’id in 1910 and in checking the power of the Nationalist Party.
The appointment of Kitchener to succeed Gorst in 1911 displeased Abbas, and relations between him and the British deteriorated. Kitchener often complained about “that wicked little Khedive” and wanted to depose him.
When the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in World War I, the United Kingdom declared Egypt an independent Sultanate under British protectorate on 18 December 1914 and deposed Abbas.
Abbas supported the Ottomans in the war, including leading an attack on the Suez Canal.
His uncles Hussein Kamel and then Fuad I, the British choices for their Protectorate, issued a series of restrictive orders to strip Abbas of property in Egypt and Sudan and forbade contributions to him.
These also barred Abbas from entering Egyptian territory and stripped him of the right to sue in Egyptian courts.
Abbas finally accepted the new order of things on 12 May 1931 and abdicated.
He retired to Switzerland where he died at Geneva 19 December 1944.

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Flag of the Sultanate of Egypt  –  1882

 

 

 

 

 

Sa Hautesse  Sultan  Hussein  Kamel

حسين كامل

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Sultan Hussein Kamel (21 November 1853 – 9 October 1917) was the Sultan of Egypt from 19 December 1914 to 9 October 1917, during the British protectorate over Egypt.
Hussein Kamel was the son of Khedive Isma’il Pasha, who ruled Egypt from 1863 to 1879.
Hussein Kamel was granted the title of Sultan of Egypt by the British in 1914, after they had deposed his nephew, Khedive Abbas Hilmi II.
The newly created Sultanate of Egypt was declared a Britishprotectorate.
This brought to an end the legal fiction of Ottoman sovereignty over Egypt, which had been largely nominal since Muhammad Ali’s seizure of power in 1805.
Upon Hussein Kamel’s death, his only son, Prince Kamal al-Din Husayn, declined the succession, and Hussein Kamel’s brother Ahmed Fuad ascended the throne as Fuad I.

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Order  of  Ismail    –  (Nishan al-Ismail)

The Order of Ismail (Nishan al-Ismail): founded by Sultan Husain Kamil on 14th April 1915 to reward eminent services to the state.
Awarded in four classes (1. Grand Cordon – limited to thirty recipients, 2. Grand Officer – seventy five recipients, 3. Commander – one hundred and fifty recipients, and 4. Officer – three hundred recipients). Obsolete 1954.



His Majesty Fouad I

(by the grace of God, Sultan & King of Egypt & the Sudan – Sovereign of Nubia, Kordofan, and Darfur)

فؤاد الأول


Fuad I (26 March 1868 – 28 April 1936) was the Sultan and later King of Egypt and Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, Kordofan, and Darfur. The ninth ruler of Egypt and Sudan from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, he became Sultan of Egypt and Sudan in 1917, succeeding his elder brother Sultan Hussein Kamel.
He substituted the title of King for Sultan when the United Kingdom unilaterally granted Egypt nominal independence in 1922. His name is sometimes spelled Fouad.
Prior to becoming sultan, Fuad had played a major role in the establishment of Cairo University. He became the university’s first rector in 1908, and remained in the post until his resignation in 1913.
In 1913, Fuad made unsuccessful attempts to secure for himself the throne of Albania, which had obtained its independence from the Ottoman Empire a year earlier.
Fuad also served as President of the Egyptian Geographic Society from 1915 until 1918.
Fuad ascended the throne of the Sultanate of Egypt upon the death of his brother Hussein Kamel in 1917.
On 28 February 1922, the United Kingdom ended its protectorate over Egypt and granted it nominal independence, in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution of 1919.
As a result, Fuad issued a decree on 15 March 1922 whereby he changed his title from Sultan of Egypt to King of Egypt.
In 1930, he attempted to strengthen the power of the Crown by abrogating the 1923 Constitution and replacing it with a new constitution that limited the role of parliament to advisory status only.
Large scale public dissatisfaction compelled him to restore the earlier constitution in 1935.
The 1923 Constitution granted Fuad vast powers. He made frequent use of his right to dissolve Parliament. During his reign, cabinets were dismissed at royal will, and parliaments never lasted for their full four-year term but were dissolved by decree.
As a great-grandson of Muhammad Ali Pasha, Fuad was of Albanian descent.
He married his first wife in Cairo, 30 May 1895 at the Abbasiya Palace in Cairo, 14 February 1896, H.H. Princess Shivakiar Khanum Effendi (1876–1947).
Fuad married his second wife, Nazli Sabri (1894–1978), at the Bustan Palace, Cairo, 26 May 1919.
The couple had five children, the futureFarouk I and four daughters, the Princesses Fawzia (who became Queen Consort of Iran), Faiza, Faika, and Fathiya.
Fuad died at the Qubba Palace in Cairo and was buried at the Khedival Mausoleum in the ar-Rifai Mosque in Cairo.

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The  Royal  Arms  of  the  Kingdom  of  Egypt

 

 

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Malik Fuad visits an Egyptian Village

 

 

 

 

King Fouad I of Egypt (center) at the Mahattet Masr Railway Station

(currently the Ramses Station) with King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium

 

 

 

 

 

Malik  Fuad’s  cortege  passes  through  the  streets  of  Cairo

 

 

 

 

 

His Majesty Farouk I – (1920-1965)

by the grace of God, King of Egypt and Sudan, Sovereign of  Nubia, of Kordofan, and of Darfur

فاروق الأول

 

Farouk I of Egypt (Fārūq al-Awwal) (11 February 1920 – 18 March 1965), was the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I, in 1936.
His full title was “His Majesty Farouk I, by the grace of God, King of Egypt and Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, of Kordofan, and of Darfur.”
He was overthrown in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, and was forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son Ahmed Fuad, who succeeded him as King Fuad II.
He died in exile in Italy.
His sister was Princess Fawzia Fuad, first wife and Queen Consort of the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The great-great-grandson of Muhammad Ali Pasha, Farouk was of Albanian descent as well as native Egyptian descent through his mother the Queen.
Before his father’s death, he was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, England.
Upon his coronation, the hugely popular 16-year-old King Farouk made a public radio address to the nation, the first time a sovereign of Egypt had ever spoken directly to his people in such a way:
‘And if it is God’s will to lay on my shoulders at such an early age the responsibility of kingship,
I on my part appreciate the duties that will be mine, and I am prepared for all sacrifices in the cause of my duty…
My noble people, I am proud of you and your loyalty and am confident in the future as I am in God.
Let us work together. We shall succeed and be happy.
Long live the Motherland!’

 

 

 

Star  of  the  Imperial  and  Royal  House  of  Faruk  of  Egypt

 

 

 

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His Majesty Farouk I – (1920-1965)

 

 

 

His Majesty Farouk I – (1920-1965)

at the Abdin Palace – Cairo – Egypt

 

 

 


His Majesty Farouk I – (1920-1965)

at reception in the Abdin Palace – Cairo – Egypt

in full dress naval uniform

 

 

 

His Majesty Farouk I – (1920-1965)

with his dogs at the Qubba Palace


 

 

 

Prince  Ahmed  Fuad  –  1952

 

 

 

 

 

The  Tomb  of  King  Farouk  of  Egypt

مسجد الرفاعى

Al-Rifa’i Mosque  –  Cairo

 

The mosque is the resting place of Khushyar Hanim and her son Isma’il Pasha, as well as numerous other members of Egypt’s royal family, including King Farouk, Egypt’s last reigning king, whose body was interred here after his death in Rome in 1965. The mosque served briefly as the resting place of Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran, who died in exile in South Africa in 1944, and was returned to Iran after World War II. Part of the burial chamber is currently occupied by Reza Shah’s son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who died in Cairo in 1980.

 

 

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Princess Djananair Hanem Effendi

 

 

 

 

 

Princess  Hadija  –  Daughter  of  the  Younger  Muhammad  Ali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Khediva  Emina  –  Wife  of  Khedive  Tewfik

 

Emine Ibrahim Hanımsultan (Istanbul, 24 May 1858 – Bebek, Bosphorus, 19 June 1931), daughter of HE Damad Ibrahim Ilhami Pasha Beyefend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Princess  Nimetallah

 

 

 

 

 

Princess Nimetallah being greeted by Palace Chamberlains

 

 

 

 

 

 


Princess  Iffet  Hassan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Princess  Chivekiar

 

 

 

 

 

Princess  Iffet  Hassan  in  Pharonic  Dress  –  1911

 

 

 

 

 

 

الأميرة فوزية

Princess  Fawzia  –  Cairo –  1940s

 

Her Royal Highness the Princess Fawzia of Egypt & the Sudan (born 5 November 1921) is an Egyptian princess who became Queen of Iran as the first wife of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

She is currently Fawzia Shirin, having remarried in 1949 and having lost her royal titles after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, although she is referred to as princess out of courtesy. She is the most senior member of the deposed Muhammad Ali Dynasty residing in Egypt. Her nephew, Fuad, who was proclaimed King Fuad II of Egypt and Sudan after the Revolution, resides in Switzerland.


 

 

الأميرة فوزية

Princess  Fawzia  –  Cairo –  1940s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STOP  PRESS

His Majesty King Ahmed Fuad II

King of Egypt & the Sudan

فؤاد الثاني

 

“In the name of Allah the benevolent and the merciful.


We Ahmed Fouad II of Egypt, deeply saddened by the tragic events experienced by our beloved country, wish wholeheartedly for a swift solution to the present crisis.

“Our prayers accompany families who have suffered losses of dear ones.

“Our best wishes for a prompt recovery are extended to those who have been injured.

“We hope most sincerely that these unfortunate victims will be truly the last and that there will be no more bloodshed.

“Let us hope that the whole Nation and its people will recover peace and well being and take the path of democracy. Social and economic development can only come through peaceful dialogue.

“May Allah protect my beloved Egypt and the Egyptian people.”


The new monarch of Egypt ?

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi



PLEASE NOTE : This blog is still under construction – check back for more developments


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for more information about Egypt see:

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http://www.scribd.com/doc/27406343/Thebes-of-the-1000-Gates


and

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http://www.scribd.com/doc/18746429/So-Long-Ago-So-Clear


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A new chapter has been added to ‘The Lord of the Harvest’

part of the blog ‘Through My Eyes’

PLEASE NOTE – THE BLOGS ‘GREAT ART’ & ‘OTTO LOHMULLER’ HAVE BEEN DELETED BY WORDPRESS

WE ARE DOING ARE BEST TO HAVE THESE BLOGS RE-INSTATED

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OTHER  BLOGS  BY  PETER  CRAWFORD


SO LONG AGO – SO CLEAR


GREAT  ART

Google Blogspot

 

FRANK  HAMPSON


LORD OF THE HARVEST


 

CONTEMPORARY
DESIGN


 

OTTO  LOHMÜLLER

 

TOM  DALEY

 

 


So Long Ago – So Clear

 

 

 

This is where we begin – before the beginning ! –

And it all starts in 1950


‘Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come…

Wordsworth


Well, what else could we call this first part ?
How our Peter began, or exactly where he came from for most people is a now a mystery.
As Kahlil Gibran, a poet often quoted by those who wish to sound profound when saying nothing, says, ‘Vague and nebulous is the beginning of all things – Life, and all that lives is conceived in the mist and not in the crystal !’.
Well in Peter’s case this is undoubtedly true, and like some mythic hero he springs into the world fully formed, with no conception or gestation; no father or mother. John Stokes, of course, knew where Peter really came from, but he would never tell.  And now he is dead.
There was probably a time when some people could have explained what had happened, but by now all those people are certainly dead.
Perhaps there are some yellowing pieces of paper in some file tucked away in some cabinet in some archive – but that’s unlikely.
From the present perspective it seems that Peter just appeared.There was a birth certificate, but this was issued in 1950, and Peter was born in 1946.
This certificate was issued at Brentford Magistrates Court, gave the name of the child as Peter Crawford, the son of John Stokes Crawford and Jane Crawford, who was born on the 31st December 1946.
And  what are the first memories to which Peter will admit ?
They are of huge, silent, empty, white rooms, and a big white rocking horse – beautifully painted, which only Peter used.
Now this could be described as a ‘false memory’, but that may not be so. It is a memory that Peter had from his earliest days, and Peter sometimes wondered if it was a real memory of if perhaps the real memories were blocked out.
If we are prepared to believe in the existence of the soul, then there is the possibility that it comes into being at conception or birth. It is also possible, however, that if the soul in fact exists, then it may have some pre-existence. To quote Longfellow, ‘we come trailing clouds of glory’. Perhaps these large, white empty rooms are all that a child’s mind can make of that other place, ‘before the beginning’ – a place to which we may also return ?And there is one other memory that Peter is prepared to recount. It is not a cold, empty memory, like that of the white rooms, but a joyful memory.
It is on a hill, covered in grass and purple heather, and there is a beautiful red sunrise, or sunset, and Peter is with a group of other children – the ‘lost boys’ perhaps ? The children are all happy and beautiful, and very young, and they are walking purposefully toward the brow of the hill, and toward the glowing, red and purple clouds.
And then a journey by train, with two people that Peter didn’t know, which ends up in a ‘living-room’ in a strange house, and a nice meal.
Peter’s adoption, as far as we can ascertain, took place in 1949, so Peter’s childhood took place in the nineteen fifties, in a London suburb called Hounslow, near Heathrow Airport, (which was at that time just emerging form its wartime guise, to become an international airport), and Peter was adopted by a couple called Mr & Mrs Crawford.
Jane and John Crawford were lucky – they had survived the War, despite John Crawford spending his war service in the Middle East, and Jane Crawford having to cope with the bombing in both Hounslow, Newcastle and central London.
Their wartime experiences undoubtedly caused them some significant emotional scarring, but in nineteen fifty, like so many relatively young people who had survived the war, they were hoping to start a new life in, what was for them, a safe and peaceful, post-war world.
But the world, that to our Peter seemed perfectly normal, was a world that had been traumatized by years of war, and almost all the adults in that world had been equally traumatized.
‘Nine eleven’ may have traumatized many people, both in New York, and in many other parts of the world, but what we must imagine was a ‘nine-eleven’ almost every day for years on end, culminating in the London Blitz , the fire storms of Dresden and Berlin, and the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
And on a lesser scale it was a world, for many years after that war, haunted by rationing, ‘make-do-and-mend’, and bomb-sites.So the people who had decided to look after Peter, even although they had survived the war, were not like the adults of today. They had seen things and done things that most of us now would find hard to imagine, and hard to ‘stomach’, and had been forced to go through years of privation, danger and seemingly endless waiting.
So the peace was, to those people, very precious. Something that they had been barely able to hope for.They were, for the most part, committed to make a better world for their children, but they would always be somehow disconnected and remote from those young people. Their experiences, about which they found it almost impossible to talk, would always separate them from those who grew up with no direct experience of the horrors and anxiety of war.
But who were these people – Jane and John Crawford ?
Of Peter’s grandparents he only knew one. This was ‘Granddad’; his adoptive mother’s father.
‘Granddad’s’ real name was Richard Walker, a master plumber & foreman of a small private company. Strictly speaking he was a Victorian, having been born in 1876 in Edinburgh.
His work was one of the high technologies of the Victorian era, & his background could be found in the milieu which spawned many of those technologies; namely Scottish Presbyterianism.
Although fond of his whisky, he was, moreover, committed to hard work & the pursuit of a respectable & good living which would grant him independence & the respect of his peers.
For him, as for most people during the Victorian & Edwardian eras, with the exception of the upper classes, leisure was a rare commodity taken, mainly for the children’s sake, at Christmas, Easter & Bank Holiday. It was a precept of the Protestant Work Ethic that ‘work, & success through work, were justified means for salvation – that Satan made work for idle hands & that to work hard, bring up your family & leave them with a skill, a trade or a business so that they could follow in your footsteps, was a man’s privilege & duty’. The concept of working to finance periods of leisure & ‘having fun’ was totally alien to ‘Granddad’s’ generation.
Although rather simply stated here, this attitude & philosophy was dominant among the lower classes during the decades around the turn of the century. When, inevitably,  the Great War came, it undoubtedly shook the foundations of these working class values, although not to the extent that it effected political, intellectual & aesthetic endeavours.
Returning soldiers demanded ‘Homes fit for Heroes’, & there was even a General Strike in 1926, but still, as a result of education, the influence of the  churches &, in many cases their own convictions, the majority of workers & small entrepreneurs continued to live by the values of the previous generation.
‘Granddad’s’ wife, ‘our Peter’s’ adoptive ‘grandmother’, Jane, was Roman Catholic, so their marriage, for that time, was unusual to say the least.As was the custom, the children of the marriage were brought up as Catholics, which put an unfortunate barrier between Richard and his children.
When Richard Walker died, in the nineteen sixties, he converted to Catholicism on his deathbed, although as he was convinced during his final illness that he had won the Football Pools, and had taken to reading the newspaper upside down, this decision seems to have more to do with his rabidly Catholic daughter Mary, who was nursing him, rather than any rational deliberations or spiritual awakening on his part.
‘Our Peter’s’ adoptive mother was born in Jarrow, in 1914, the youngest of a family of five.
The eldest child of Richard and Jane Walker was Margaret, always known as Maggie. The next was Richard, the only son. Then came Mary, and finally ‘our Peter’s’ adoptive mother, Jane.Two years after little Jane was born her mother, Jane – the mother – died, and it was left to Maggie to bring up the family.
Richard never re-married, and the children undoubtedly missed the love and care that a mother could provide. Peter’s adoptive mother, being the youngest, and needing most care, was regularly farmed out to relatives, and most often to her great aunt, Sarah, who lived in a huge Victorian apartment in Princes street, close to John Knox’s house, in Edinburgh.Holidays were usually spent at the local coastal resorts of Cramond, Leith, Musselburgh or Port Seton, and on other occasions there were trips to Holyrood, the Castle and Arthur’s Seat, and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Interestingly, ‘our Peter’ met Great Aunt Sarah, his only Great Aunt, when he was a little boy, probably about six years old. Of course, Peter had no idea of who she was, and strangely nobody told him.
Jane, Peter’s adoptive mother, deep down, thought of herself as being essentially Scottish, and in later life, after a few sherries, or whiskies at Hogmanay, she would become maudlin, and start singing sentimental Scottish ballads in between reminiscences of those far off days. Undoubtedly the most secure and stable times in her life were spent in the cultured air and tranquillity of Scotland’s noble capital.
Peter’s adoptive father was born in Gateshead, on the twenty-seventh of January 1906.
Oddly he shared his birthday with the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II.
Although he boasted a Scottish surname of the finest pedigree, his links with Scotland were far more tenuous than Jane’s.
His father’s name was Joseph Crawford, and his mother was called Jane.
The family was Protestant; Church of England, and this was to cause problems later on when he decided to marry.Joe, as he was always called, died while John was very young.
Jane, (yes, another Jane), Joe’s wife, had five children.
The eldest was Richard, then came Ralph, then Winney, then Molly and finally John.
Unable to support such a large brood, Jane quickly remarried.He second husband was always referred to by John as Mr Wilkes. It said much about the relationship between son and stepfather that no Christian name was ever revealed.
Mr Wilkes died after a few years & Jane was once again on her own. By then, however, the children were growing up, and the boys left school at fourteen and got whatever jobs were available.John went to work for a butcher; started as a delivery boy but was soon preparing joints, and attending to the customers in the shop.Eventually, however, with the coming of the recession, they all found themselves out of work.
The boys, in order not to be any burden on their mother, moved out each Summer, and camped at Frenchman’s Bay, and it was there that John Crawford met Jane Walker.
In nineteen-thirty-seven Jane and John were married in Felling, near Gateshead.
They then travelled south, and settled in Barrack Road in Hounslow, Middlesex, as John was stationed at the headquarters of the Army Southern Command in Hounslow barracks.

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A new chapter has been added to ‘The Lord of the Harvest’

part of the blog ‘Through My Eyes’

PLEASE NOTE – THE BLOGS ‘GREAT ART’ & ‘OTTO LOHMULLER’ HAVE BEEN DELETED BY WORDPRESS

WE ARE DOING ARE BEST TO HAVE THESE BLOGS RE-INSTATED

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OTHER  BLOGS  BY  PETER  CRAWFORD


CONTEMPORARY
DESIGN


GREAT  ART

 

FRANK  HAMPSON


LORD OF THE HARVEST

 

ROYAL EGYPT


OTTO  LOHMÜLLER

 

TOM  DALEY