Martinalia

Welcome to Martinalia. An academic career generates material which for one reason or another does not get into print. There are public lectures and keynote addresses. Some are never intended for publication. Others are commissioned for projects which never get off the ground. There is material prepared for teaching, which may be useful to colleagues and students involved in similar courses. Some projects seem worth sharing with interested readers even though they remain unfinished, lacking the final polish needed for conventional academic publication. Since 2014 I have used Martinalia to publish essays and research reports. 

The term “Martinalia” was coined by my friend Jim Sturgis.  

Havering History Cameos: Exploring Essex

During my eight years as the volunteer contributor to the Romford Recorder's Heritage column, I wrote a number of columns – mainly for August issues – describing places across the border with Essex that were worth a visit. Although Havering ceased to be part of the county for administrative purposes in 1965, links remain strong, for instance through cricket. It's worth emphasising the message that Havering still "belongs" to Essex – and vice-versa.

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From Little Ilford to Botany Bay: Frances Davis, cross-dressing First Fleeter

Frances Davis was a convict sent to New South Wales on Australia's First Fleet in 1787. Identified as "late of the parish of Little Ilford in the co[unty] of Essex Spinster", she was about twenty years of age. Her record showed that she was guilty of a major crime by breaking into the house of Agnes Bennett, widow, on 2 September 1785, and stealing cash and bills of exchange worth over £800 from John Wigglesworth.

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James Smith, eccentric tourist on Australia's First Fleet: a tentative identification

A paying passenger somehow joined the fleet of convict ships sent to colonise New South Wales in 1787-88. This note tentatively traces James Smith to the Essex village of Messing. Historians of Essex and of Australia are invited to test the hypothesis.

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'Our Lady of the Snows': the Canadian context and reactions to Kipling's poem of 1897

In April 1897, Rudyard Kipling published 'Our Lady of the Snows', a poem of six verses, written over a weekend in response to the announcement by the Canadian government of a reduction in tariffs on imports from Britain.[1] Although dating from almost the same time as his most enduring poems, 'If' and 'Recessional', 'Our Lady of the Snows' did not secure the same enduring place in popular esteem, not least because Canadians disliked the clichéd association of their country with winter. However, Kipling was a great phrase-maker, and this poem became memorable if only for his influential summary of Canada's relationship with Britain: "Daughter am I in my mother's house / But mistress in my own."

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Why we say West HAM, and not West'um

This article was contributed to the Newham Recorder in July 2020. It argues that the pronunciation of West HAM (not West'um) reflects the continuing influence of an Anglo-Saxon four-letter word. 

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Havering History Cameos: Fourth Series

The fiurth and final series of Havering History Cameos, based on columns published on the Heritage page of the Romford Recorder between December 2017 and January 2021.

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A virtual stroll around an Irish village: Clashmore, County Waterford

At the time of writing, January 2021, there seems little prospect of holiday travel in the near future. This webpage suggests a virtual visit to the pleasant Irish village of Clashmore, in the under-valued county of Waterford.

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Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: Louisa Duffy, bedmaker and linguist

Louisa Duffy was a bedmaker at Magdalene College Cambridge in the late Victorian period. Her challenging life and her unusual talents and achievements deserve to be remembered.

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Street-surfing in Victorian and Edwardian Havering

This note is based on two Heritage columns published by the Romford Recorder on 14 and 21 August 2020. As part of the general call for holidays-at-home during the Covid-19 crisis, it outlines ways of exploring Havering's past through its architectural legacy.

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The Cambridge fever: the closure of Cambridge University during the Easter Term of 1815

During the Easter Term (April and May) 1815, the University of Cambridge effectively closed down as an undergraduate institution, in response to a local epidemic, loosely referred to as the "Cambridge fever". This essay explores the course of the outbreak, and examines the decision-making processes through which the University determined its responses. Reference is made to later health crises, such as the outbreak of typhoid at Gonville and Caius College in 1873. Some parallels are suggested with the challenge of 2020.

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