Category Archives: Talks

5th Nov 2018 Toujours amis, Toujour unis. The story of the links between Sheffield. Bapaume and Serre by Sylvia Dunkley

This was an appro­pri­ate topic for the cen­ten­ary of the end of the First World War (WW1).

Before the WW1 Bapaume and the nearby hamlet of Serre were pros­per­ous towns and had good schools for edu­ca­tion.

When the war star­ted the town was a stra­tegic object­ive for the German army so they cap­tured it and were still occupy­ing the town in 1917.  The Germans then left and des­troyed all the infra­struc­ture of the area.  They returned later and set up camp in the Town Hall which was still stand­ing and used it for a while.  The Germans booby-trapped the build­ing before leav­ing once more and it was blown up, killing 30 people.

The town hall was rebuilt:

British shelling also con­trib­uted to the dev­ast­a­tion of the town.

Soldiers from the Sheffield Pals were dis­patched to France and their object­ive was to defeat the Germans at Serre.  There was a heavy bom­bard­ment which did not prove effect­ive so the Pals were ordered to “go over the top”.  Of the 600 Pals, 248 were killed, 200 wounded and 18 listed as miss­ing.  British tanks were aban­doned and all the inhab­it­ants of Bapaume left, some later to return living in cel­lars and bombed out houses.

After the war, in the 1920’s, the British League of Help for Devastation of France encour­aged British towns to adopt the bombed towns and Sheffield adop­ted Serre and Bapaume.

Notable Sheffield dig­nat­or­ies, such as Alderman Wardley, took on the task of set­ting up the French aid appeal.  Letters in the Sheffield Telegraph stated that Sheffield shells had des­troyed Bapaume so money-raising pro­jects were star­ted and  £4,800 (£250,000 in today’s money) was raised.  Money was set aside for a crèche and the build­ing of twelve cot­tages for dis­abled cit­izens.

A memorial was erec­ted on the road to Serre vil­lage.  This was in the form of a park and memorial shel­ter.  The shel­ter no longer exists.

Robert Hatfield donated a teak casket con­tain­ing a roll of honour naming 4890 Sheffield men lost in the con­flict.

George Lawrence, a Sheffield busi­ness­man who owned a razor blade fact­ory, provided money for the cause (loc­ally, he built the open-air pools at Hathersage and Longley Park).  He provided money for the crèche and, in July 1939, a party from Sheffield went to open it.  A plaque on the build­ing, com­mem­or­at­ing the con­nec­tion of Sheffield and Bapaume, is still there.

The mayor of Bapaume, Abel Gueidet, thanked the people of Sheffield for their help and presen­ted them with a large Sevres vase which is still in the council’s pos­ses­sion.  The teak casket, donated to Bapaume, was saved from destruc­tion by the wife of a care­taker who took it off a bon­fire and stored it in her attic.

Jackie Drayton, a Sheffield coun­cil­lor, went to Bapaume in 2006, found the memorial park and arranged to ren­ov­ate it.  In 2016 many Sheffield dig­nat­or­ies went to Bapaume to com­mem­or­ate the Battle of the Somme and viewed the refur­bished memorial.

Finally, in March 2018, the Mayor of Bapaume came to Sheffield to thank Sheffield cit­izens for their kind help in help­ing to restore the town, and viewed the large Sevres vase which had been donated by the pre­vi­ous mayor.

The talk was very inter­est­ing and mem­bers asked many ques­tions and some had dis­tant rel­at­ives who had been  in the “War to End All Wars”.

What a shame that wasn’t so, and still after WW2 many lives are still being lost and fam­il­ies made home­less by numer­ous con­flicts all over the world.

Stan Hirst

 

Carbon Dioxide as a commodity and not a problem waste by Professor Peter Styring 29th October 2018

Peter Styring became Prof. of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Sheffield in 2007.  He gradu­ated at Sheffield then worked at Hull and New York State uni­ver­sit­ies.  He is an expert in Carbon Capture & Utilisation (CCU).  He is the author of “Carbon Capture and Utilisation in the Green Economy” and is Chair of the CO2Chem Network.

His talk began with provid­ing evid­ence that it is CO2 that is the major con­trib­utor to global warm­ing by show­ing a series of “hockey stick” graphs show­ing the global effects of vari­ous sus­pec­ted con­trib­ut­ors.  Deforestation has noth­ing like the effect that it is com­monly thought have and simply plant­ing more trees will not in itself solve the prob­lem. Similarly, the Ozone layer has only a small effect and aer­o­sols have a neg­li­gible effect.

He then moved on to how CO2 is a “green­house gas” and a cli­mate change accel­er­ator.  A prob­lem is that fossil fuels take mil­lions of years to create and seconds to des­troy.  He is con­vinced that the gen­er­a­tion of fossil fuel use for our elec­tri­city, heat­ing, indus­trial pro­duc­tion and trans­port is det­ri­mental.  To mit­ig­ate against this requires: Government policy; life cycle aware­ness & sus­tain­ab­il­ity; cre­ation of new chem­ic­als, pro­cesses and indus­tries.

 

Peter intro­duced the Linsink Waste Hierarchy concept:-

Waste hier­archy is a tool used in the eval­u­ation of pro­cesses that pro­tect the envir­on­ment along­side resource and energy con­sump­tion to most favour­able to least favour­able actions

The top of the pyr­amid is to use no new fossil fuels and the lowest level is to bury the prob­lem.

At the IPCC con­fer­ence in Korea we received a dire warn­ing “to reduce the rate of global warm­ing to a max­imum of 1.5 0C per annum and we have only 10 years to save the planet”.

Peter is con­vinced that legis­la­tion alone is not the answer and solu­tions that create a “profit” are a prac­tical approach.  Taking inspir­a­tion from Sir Fraser Stoddard, he believes in using CO2 to make things.  Peter Medawar speaks of “some­thing to be clever about” to create a world where there is no sur­plus CO2.  Peter covered many aspects of CO2 util­isa­tion and in par­tic­u­lar, vari­ous forms of trans­port.  He thinks there is a big future for the mass pro­duc­tion of Dimethyl Ether.  This liquid is a sub­sti­tute for diesel and is already used for some goods vehicles in Canada and the US.  For a small cost, diesel engines can be con­ver­ted to use DME with no emis­sion pol­lut­ants.  This is a much better method of cap­tur­ing CO2 and prob­ably much less costly than stor­ing it under the North Sea.

This was a spell bind­ing talk given by an inter­na­tional expert that cuts through some of the mis-information that is around today.

An Indian Wildlife Journey                  by Malcom Walpole 22nd Oct 2018

Malcolm showed a present­a­tion with hun­dreds of pho­to­graphs of anim­als that he saw on his jour­ney.

India’s wild­life is totally dif­fer­ent from African wild­life and although India draws tour­ists to see the cul­ture, Taj Mahal etc. the wild­life is also well worth seeing.

At the first National Park on his travels he pho­to­graphed Asiatic lions.  These are dif­fer­ent from African lions, although the females do the killing and the males turn up to eat the prey.  There are only about 250 indi­vidu­als in the park.  They hunt in dark­ness and prey on Samba deer, which are also hunted by tigers.  These deer were seen feed­ing whilst stand­ing in metre-deep water, pre­sum­ably to stay safe from pred­at­ors.

He also saw Spotted deer, which are more common.  They seem to have a sym­bi­otic rela­tion­ship with Langur mon­keys, because when the deer give warn­ing of danger the mon­keys climb trees to safety then throw down foliage for the deer to eat.

There were pho­to­graphs of many birds: Red-wattled lap­wings, Plum-headed para­keets and Kingfishers (which were identical to the ones seen in England).  There were also Blue peafowl, which are common in India, but Malcolm said they seemed much quieter than the ones we might see in zoos or stately home parks here.

On the way to the second National Park Malcolm was fas­cin­ated by the vari­ety of dif­fer­ent modes of trans­port, par­tic­u­larly the bul­lock carts, which have been used in India for cen­tur­ies.

This National Park was cre­ated to pro­tect the Black-backed ante­lope.  There are no lions, tigers or leo­pards in this park.  The main pred­at­ors are a few grey wolves but the ante­lopes are much too fast for them.  There are also jungle cats, but they prey on smal­ler anim­als as they are only the size of our domestic cats.  Here again was a healthy bird pop­u­la­tion: Montague har­ri­ers, common kestrels, Black-shouldered kites and eagles.

The next stop was at a salt desert to see the Indian wild ass.  This salt desert bor­ders Pakistan.  The asses manage to eke out a living from the salt scrub.

The local people drill down to the water table and salt water rises up to the sur­face, where it is dir­ec­ted into shal­low ponds.  Here the water evap­or­ates in the sun to leave salt.  This is a thriv­ing local industry.  There are also some fresh-water lakes which are home to many bird spe­cies: Storks, Eurasian spoon­bills, pel­ic­ans, night­jars, rock pigeons and Sarus cranes.

Next he went to a for­ti­fied town (Kishen?) where a man was spread­ing sacks and sacks of grain out on the ground.  Soon there was a huge flight of hun­dreds and hun­dreds of Demsol cranes head­ing towards the town and coming in to land.  Lots of pigeons also landed and began to eat the grain but moved away when the cranes came.  The ground became covered in cranes, so closely bunched that there was no spaces between them.  As soon as all the grain was eaten all the cranes flew away.  The grain was sup­plied by local res­id­ents and the ‘hap­pen­ing’ is a famous tour­ist attrac­tion.

Malcolm trav­elled to see the Taj Mahal, then on to the Ganges river basin where he cruised along­side the banks to look at the wild­life.  There was the Galiah? cro­codile, which is the largest in the world.  It can grow to 6 metres in length and weigh over 1 ton.

It is so heavy that it cannot raise its body off the ground so it slides along on its belly when it is on land.  It feeds on fish.  Here again Malcolm saw and pho­to­graphed other cro­codiles and turtles and many, many birds.

He moved on to tiger coun­try where he went out with park staff on elephant-back to see tigers lying in the shade of the forest.  He saw a male tiger being ‘herded’ by an ele­phant and riders.  It was fol­lowed by many tour­ists in jeeps and was obvi­ously annoyed.

However, 15 minutes later it came strolling back, having dodged the ele­phant and the crowds, and Malcolm got his pho­to­graphs.

He ended his trip in Assam where he saw water buf­falo, which can weigh up to 1200kg and have the largest horns of any bovine, and the Indian one-horned rhino­ceros, which is a pro­tec­ted spe­cies.  There are now only about 1000 rhino left and they are still tar­geted by poach­ers for their horns, which are sup­posed to be an aph­ro­dis­iac.

(He also saw lots of birds!)

It was a very well organ­ised present­a­tion, with beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphy.

The Peak District in the Mid-1900s By Tim Knebel 15th October 2018

Tim is a volun­teer local arch­iv­ist for ‘’Peak in the Past’’ which is a com­munity her­it­age group com­pris­ing a small col­lect­ive of indi­vidu­als with a shared pas­sion for the Derbyshire Peak District and its past. Teaming up with his High Peak Journalist sister Holly, Tim has, from humble begin­nings in 2014, obtained fin­an­cial sup­port to enable the group to work with school­chil­dren, inspir­ing and enga­ging them in their local his­tory, through to eld­erly res­id­ents in res­id­en­tial care homes, gath­er­ing remin­is­cences. With gen­eral his­tory from ori­ginal archive sources, the group gives talks & has made films to reflect & con­trib­ute towards the import­ant sense of regional belong­ing, pride & iden­tity, to help strengthen & enrich com­munity cohe­sion.

The excel­lent illus­trated talk focused on local his­tory and com­munity events, rooted in the real lives of hard work­ing, some­times impov­er­ished rural folk, where the chances to travel away, were not as they are today.

Some past vil­lage cel­eb­ra­tions that occurred in the mid 1900s, high­lighted in the talk, were :-

  • Empire Day on 24th May, which was Queen Victorias’ birth­day and sub­sequently became Commonwealth Day on Queen Elizabeth IIs’ birth­day.
  • May Day, which is dying out
  • The Wakes e.g. on the dates of the Patron Saints of the local Churches
  • Well Dressings, still pop­u­lar
  • Festivals, Fetes, Carnivals, Garland Days, some now gone
  • Bakewell Show, star­ted in 1819, and Bakewell Carnival.
  • The choos­ing of Miss Village from the local beau­ties.

Schools held a more prom­in­ent role in the smal­ler com­munit­ies. Corporal pun­ish­ment was meted out at school & the chil­dren were sub­jec­ted to some­times tough regimes.

The churches were more at the centres of com­munity life with Sunday schools, choirs, girl guides, scouts, womens’ groups, fest­ivals, and sports teams of cricket, foot­ball, tennis, and tug-o-war.

In the smal­ler com­munit­ies enter­tain­ment was avail­able in the form of cinemas, Whist Drives, and theatre, in par­tic­u­lar the legendary Great Hucklow Village Players (1927–71) foun­ded by Dr. Du Guard Peach, which had a world­wide repu­ta­tion.

Pubs, Clubs and Institutes played a major part in vil­lage life, with Ex-Servicemens clubs, and the Mechanical Institute of Eyam prom­in­ent. There was a vil­lage police­man sup­por­ted by Special Constables from volun­teers in the vil­lage, and local emer­gency fire and ambu­lance ser­vices with cot­tage hos­pit­als in nearby larger towns.

WW2 brought evacu­ees to the area, and the Nightingale Institute for Guernsey evacu­ees at Great Hucklow was foun­ded. POW camps were set up in Stoney Middleton and the quarry was bombed to try to stop pro­duc­tion, even though some of the work­ers were POWs. Bombs were also stored at Stoney Middleton.

There was the inev­it­able loss of life amongst those who joined up for both world wars, remembered with prom­in­ent monu­ments and reg­u­lar memorial ser­vices.

Transport devel­op­ments changed hori­zons, with the Railway, cars, & sub­sequent road improve­ments. Winnats Pass was sur­faced in the 1930s & the AA man with his motor­bike and side­car appeared. The horse and cart deliv­ery meth­ods were dying out.

Attitudes were chan­ging and the Kinder Trespass took place in 1932. More leis­ure time was being taken which lead to Caving, Rambling, Climbing, and the first National Park in 1951.

Employment was centred around mining, espe­cially for lead and fluor­spar. Farming and agri­cul­ture and the mills at Bamford (closed 1965), Litton (1960), and Cressbrook (1971) were big employ­ers. The Hope Cement Works since 1945 is still a big pro­du­cer and employer.

There is a time­less splend­our to the Peak District, even with the pres­sures on it, like the flood­ing of Ashopton in the Derwent valley, to con­struct the dams, but the talk show­cased how an import­ant cul­tural her­it­age role is help­ing to pre­serve the past in the Peak District, which is integ­ral to its endur­ing appeal, its con­tin­ued envir­on­mental pro­tec­tion and its long-term sur­vival.

We’re very lucky to have volun­teers like Tim doing this work. More power to your elbow!

A most enjoy­able morn­ing.

For more inform­a­tion (and a few phrases cribbed from it) go to :-

www.peakinthepast.co.uk      e-mail for con­tact  info@peakinthepast.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picasso and Revenge — Sally Darley — 8th October  2018

Sally was subtly intro­duced by Jacko, who pro­fessed not to know one end of a paint­brush from the other, yet some­how seemed fully aware of Picasso during his “Blazer Period”. No-one else knew this until he rolled up his trouser legs to expose Picasso’s “Sock Period”!

Sally is an art gradu­ate who act­ively avoided and hated Picasso until recently, when her curi­os­ity was aroused by read­ing on the sub­ject.

Sally gave her talk without slides, so your blog­ger had to resort to cun­ning, snap­ping the pages of her Picasso book each time it came round the room to enable him to define exactly what cubism was all about.

Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881, the son of Don José Ruiz Blasco (a rather good artist) and Maria Picasso. He was con­sidered a prodigy at art school, train­ing clas­sic­ally, and exhib­it­ing The First Communion (Fig 1) in Barcelona in1896 aged 15. How things changed for him from then on.

Fig 1 The First Communion 1896

As a young pro­fes­sional artist, his style was rad­ic­ally influ­enced by mod­ern­ist and impres­sion­ist con­tem­por­ar­ies gath­er­ing in the Els Quatre Gats tavern in Barcelona. He moved to Paris with his friend Casagemas whose sui­cide led to Picasso’s “Blue Period” (1901–4). His first solo exhib­i­tion was not a com­mer­cial suc­cess but the crit­ics were enthu­si­astic. A fla­vour of the time can be found in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” which fea­tures Picasso. He settled per­man­ently in Paris in his “Pink Period” in 1904, living a Bohemian life­style, and in the com­pany of many of the French Impressionists. He was par­tic­u­larly attrac­ted to Cezanne’s style. By 1907 he shocked the estab­lish­ment with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, a 2-D por­trayal of pros­ti­tutes, and influ­enced by his interest in African art (Fig 2, top right).

Fig 2 Les Demoiselles d’Avignon 1907

This paint­ing was the sem­inal fore­run­ner of Cubism and Modern Art. His Pink Period is dom­in­ated by sexual over­tones, circus and theatre. Form was cru­cial; sub­jects were depic­ted geo­met­ric­ally in cones, tubes or cubes, and from chan­ging angles, thereby allow­ing, for instance, a face to be shown sim­ul­tan­eously in pro­file and face-on. Other artists e.g. George Braque, who teamed up with him, fol­lowed suit and Picasso’s repu­ta­tion grew.

He had a good busi­ness brain and was a fast worker, some­times pro­du­cing up to three paint­ings a day, and was more than fin­an­cially stable by the start of WW1. Sally’s view was that his fame allowed him to trade more and more on his sig­na­ture and that, like some other suc­cess­ful latter-day artists, “sold his life to the god of art”.

In WW1, Picasso wasn’t called up to fight as he was Spanish. He designed sets and cos­tumes for Cocteau’s exper­i­mental “Parade” per­formed by the Ballet Russe, com­bin­ing his cubism with vibrant real­ism. Here he met the dancer Olga Kockhelova and mar­ried her in 1918. He painted her more in a clas­sical style, but leav­ing the back­ground unfin­ished.

Fig 3 Olga in an Armchair 1918

Living in high-society Paris, they had a son in 1921. The male line remains intact today. Not abandon­ing cubism com­pletely, he varied his style accord­ing to the sub­ject often drift­ing to more roun­ded but exag­ger­ated pro­por­tions, in a neo-classical style (Fig 4)

Fig 4 Mother and Child 1921

In 1935, Olga and he sep­ar­ated. There were affairs with young beau­ti­ful women and some ille­git­im­ate chil­dren. His sur­real­ist “Monster Period” fol­low­ing the sep­ar­a­tion, was a form of art “express­ing the sub­con­scious, dreams and hidden memor­ies”. Everyday objects and scenes with hidden mean­ing were his trade­mark (we all saw the bit of wood remind­ing us of a cro­codile fig 5)

Fig 5 A random piece of wood found at Fountains Abbey

He painted bulls and bull­fight­ers, and por­trayed humans as dis­tor­ted and viol­ent, pos­sibly reflect­ing his chaotic private life (Fig 6). Imagery from the bull­ring fea­tured in Guernica, which was badly bombed in the Spanish civil war (Fig 7),

 

Fig 6 Figures at the sea­side 1931

Fig 7 Guernica 1937

The Weeping Woman (1937) was his last Guernica paint­ing of the griev­ing Dora Maar, a close friend, in the cubist style and highly col­oured to rep­res­ent her out­ward per­son­al­ity. The con­trast­ing white areas of tears reflect death and destruc­tion in Guernica (fig 8)

Fig 8 The Weeping Woman 1937

In WW2 he was labelled by the Nazis as a “degen­er­ate Bolshevik” but was oth­er­wise left alone. After the war, he and Françoise Gilot moved to Provence and had two chil­dren. Here he dis­covered ceram­ics and sculp­ture, line draw­ing, pho­to­graphy, litho­graphs, lino cuts and etch­ing, but never stick­ing to any par­tic­u­lar medium, and always exper­i­ment­ing. In 1953 they sep­ar­ated and he mar­ried Jacqueline Roque in 1961. He con­tin­ued to exhibit until 1971 and died in 1973.

Picasso was pro­lific, pro­du­cing over 20000 works of art. He was the father of Modern Art

 

Andrew Shorthouse

The curious world of old-time punishments — 1 October 2018 by Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan has given a number of talks to the Club.  His pas­sion is his­tory.  He has pub­lished books on his­tor­ical and crime sub­jects, made many appear­ances on local radio and is a guide for some English Heritage prop­er­ties.

His talk star­ted with the earli­est laws still in use.  Until recently the 1266 Assize of Bread and Ale was the oldest but it was updated due to met­ric­a­tion.  The oldest is now the 1267 Assize of Distress.  This meant that a person suf­fer­ing dis­tress from another should take the matter to the Crown Court and not just take their own revenge.

Until the 1840’s there was not a police force as we think of one.  Local people would pay into a Felon Society to cover the costs of main­tain­ing a con­stable.  A form of pro­tec­tion was the “hue and cry” and parish­ion­ers must help to detain a felon if not the parish may have to pay com­pens­a­tion to the victim.  At this time pris­ons were essen­tially to hold people before their trial.  The pun­ish­ment for approx­im­ately 285 crimes was hanging or quite likely trans­port­a­tion to the colon­ies.

None cap­ital pun­ish­ments were flog­ging, birch­ing, pil­lory, stocks, duck­ing stool, scold’s bridle or branks.  It was only later that hard labour and tread­mill type pun­ish­ments were used when crim­in­als and debt­ors were incar­cer­ated for long peri­ods.  Branding 1.5 “ high let­ters onto crim­in­als was common to sig­nify the type of crime com­mit­ted.

Birching on a birch­ing stool was com­monly 12 lashes and was stopped in England in 1948 but con­tin­ued in Jersey until 1955.  Public flog­ging with a cat ‘o nine tails was abol­ished in 1830’s although it con­tin­ued in pris­ons and died out in 1930’s.

A pil­lory and or stocks were common in many vil­lages and all towns.  One could be pil­lor­ied for many offences and might be ser­i­ously injured or killed by the pun­ish­ment.  Prisoners would be kept in the stocks for sev­eral hours or even days and might be tor­tured as well has have all manner evil sub­stances thrown or poured over them.  There were even finger and thumb stocks that were some­times used in schools and by employ­ers sus­pect­ing petty theft.

Ducking stools were fre­quently used on women for such things as vin­dict­ive gos­sip­ing and pros­ti­tu­tion and entailed the com­plete immer­sion of the person in water sev­eral times.  This was some­times fatal.  Another pun­ish­ment for nag­ging and gos­sip­ing was the scolds bridle.  In 1799 a man was placed in a bridle for 3 days and then was hanged.

Ian’s talk con­tin­ued to cover cap­ital, prison and less obvi­ous pun­ish­ments.  The talk is crammed full of really inter­est­ing detail and makes one real­ised how atti­tudes have changed over the past cen­tury.  The last public behead­ing was in 1747 and the last removal of a head after hanging was in 1817 in Derby.