Friday 27 April 2012

The Royal Residences of Queen Victoria - Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle from the Thames River,
GWW Photochrom print, Circa 1890-1900.
Click on link above for more information on the Photochrom Process
[From my own collection]

During Queen Victoria's long reign she made use a number of royal residences, primarily Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Buckingham Palace in London,  Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, Holyrood House in Edinburgh, and Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands.

This series primarily features 'behind the scenes' pre1901 images from Queen Victoria's Private Apartments which will attempt to portray something of Her Majesty's secluded world away from the public gaze. Actual original extant photographs of Queen Victoria when resident at each Royal residence are also featured. The quality of all images varies considerably. My first blog in this series features images taken in the Private Apartments and Semi-State Apartments at Windsor Castle, having been designed by Wyattville for King George IV after his coronation in 1820.

"[King] George persuaded Parliament to vote him £300,000 for restoration (£245 million in 2008 terms). ... the architect Jeffry Wyattville was selected, and work commenced in 1824. Wyattville's own preference ran to Gothic architecture, but George, who had led the reintroduction of the French Rococo style to England at Carlton House, preferred a blend of periods and styles, and applied this taste to Windsor."

These views mainly follow a route from the Private Dining Room adjoining the State Apartments at the end of the North Terrace, then along the East Wing of the Upper Ward, and round to the George IV Gate in the South Wing. Not all the private apartments are pictured.

When King Edward VII ascended the throne in 1901 he immediately set about re-modernising Windsor Castle with "enthusiasm and zest". Many of the rooms in the Upper Ward were de-cluttered and redecorated for the first time in many years.

"peering into cabinets; ransacking drawers; clearing rooms formerly used by the Prince Consort and not touched since his death; dispatching case-loads of relics and ornaments to a special room in the Round Tower ... destroying statues and busts of John Brown... throwing out hundreds of 'rubbishy old coloured photographs' ... [and] rearranging pictures".

Admittedly many of the rooms were overladen with decoration and Victorian era clutter and benefitted from a general clean up. Queen Mary also left her mark on most of the Royal residences with one of her favourite past-times being "redecorating and re-arranging rooms" - much to the despair of her staff. As a connoisseur of the arts she did in fact take a keen interest in the Royal collection of furniture and art, both restoring and adding to it.

The Royal Library

The Royal Library is located in what was once Queen Elizabeth the First's Gallery at the North West end of the State Apartments. The carved stone chimneypiece at right was installed in 1583.

The Billiard Room, Taken 21 Nov 1893

The Billiard Room is rather inconveniently situated on the Ground Floor of the State Apartments facing the North Terrace and directly under the west end of the Throne Room in the State Apartments above. The billiard table itself is made from wood salvaged from HMS Royal George, which sank at Spithead in 1782 with the loss of 800 lives, being raised in 1841. It was at the time considered by some to be inappropriate and in bad taste to have a billiard table made of wood from the wreck. But despite the wood then being ordered to be used in a new Royal Chapel instead it appears that this directive was in the end inexplicably not carried out.

The Gothic Private Dining Room, 1848.
A Chromolithograph by Joseph Nash

The Gothic design Private Dining Room is located in the Prince of Wales's Tower at the North East end of the State Apartments and is the work of A.C. Pugin and his son Augustus Welby Pugin.

The Private Chapel, 1848
A Chromolithograph by Joseph Nash

The Private Chapel is located between St George's Hall to the west and The Crimson Drawing Room to the east to which it shares a dividing wall. 

Queen Victoria preferred short and simple religious services and despite being Head of the Church of England she personally considered herself more aligned with the Presbyterian Church of Scotland than the Episcopalian [Anglican] Church of England. She also supported the 'Protestant intentions' of the Public Worship Bill of 1874 which had the intent of purging the Church of England of High Church practices which made its liturgies resemble those of the Roman Catholic Church. Her decision to worship at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral Castle initially caused a scandal, particularly when it was discovered that she had taken Communion there in November 1873. Victoria strongly asserted that as Queen of Scotland, she was also entitled to worship in a Scottish [Presbyterian] church, and furthermore, Crathie Kirk was the closest church to Balmoral Castle.

The Crimson Drawing Room looking south, 1848

The Crimson Drawing Room, being a semi-state room, is located in the East Wing next to the Private Dining Room. The Private Chapel is behind the wall on the right. The walls are hung with crimson coloured damask.

The Green Drawing Room looking north, circa 1900

Next lies the Green Drawing Room with interconnecting doors through to the Crimson Drawing Room on the North side and the smaller White Drawing Room on the South side. All are semi-state rooms. The Green Drawing Room had originally been built as a library with low bookcases around the walls, being converted to a formal Drawing Room at some time during the mid 19th century. The walls are hung with green damask with gilding on the decorative plasterwork.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at breakfast or luncheon in
The White Drawing Room, looking north.

In early years, both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert took breakfast, and sometimes luncheon, in the White Drawing Room. In later years the Oak Room was used for this purpose, especially after the death of Prince Albert in 1861

The Grand Corridor looking south.
Note the row of statues on plinths.

The Grand Corridor connects the Private and Guest Apartments which lie in the East and South Wings of the Castle. The Grand Corridor had never existed prior to Wyattville's rebuilding of the Castle from the late 1820's.  

The East Wing of Windsor Castle and showing
 the formal East Terrace Garden.
A Photochrome image, circa 1890's

The Private Dining Room lies in the Prince of Wales's Tower at far right, then (moving left), the Crimson Drawing Room (two small and one large window in the middle), The Green Drawing Room (two small and one medium sized window in the middle) in the smaller Chester Tower, the White Drawing Room (one medium sized window), then the Prince Consort's apartment's through to Queen Victoria's apartments which lie from the King's [Victoria] Tower at far left, leading along the South Wing . The decorated Private Apartments, featuring a "distinctive gilt and gorgeousness style", were the work of the Decorators "Morel and Seddon". King George IV moved into these apartments in December 1828, even before other State Rooms within the Castle were finished.

The Last Moments of Prince Albert, The Prince Consort,
as depicted in the Blue Room, 1861

Prince Albert's rooms were located from the south wall of The White Drawing Room through to the King's (Victoria) Tower at the South East corner of the Castle.

The Blue Room itself adjoined the White Drawing Room, the walls being hung with blue damask with matching curtains. On the express orders of Queen Victoria the room was to remain as it was when Prince Albert died here in 1861. Fresh flowers, clothes and hot water continued to be carefully laid out each day and the sheets changed. In the latter years of the 19th century the curtaining had became faded, frayed and rotten and desperately needed to be replaced. It was 'fearfully' replaced with new silk faded down to the original. This fact was carefully kept from Queen Victoria who thankfully never noticed the change due to her increasingly bad eyesight. After the accession to the throne of Kind Edward VII he had this room totally redecorated to serve as his Study (it serves this purpose today).

The Blue Room after the death of Prince Albert. 

The Blue Room, from a watercolour, 1865

The ceiling was painted with angels and stars after Prince Albert's death but otherwise everything remained as it had been in his lifetime.

Prince Albert's Bedroom - The Blue Room, circa 1880's -1890's

Prince Albert's Sitting Room (later the Queen's Closet), 1861

Queen Victoria and members of her family mourning the Prince
Consort. [Left to Right] Victoria [Empress Frederick of Prussia],
 Princess Alice, Queen Victoria & Prince Alfred.
Taken by William Baimbridge, March 1862

The Queen's Closet (previously Prince Albert's Sitting Room)

Queen Victoria's Bedroom

It is recorded that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert shared a bedroom at Windsor Castle until his last illness where he died in The Blue Room shown above. Queen Victoria's Bedroom, Sitting Room and Boudoir (Dressing Room) were all located within The King's [Victoria] Tower in the South East corner of the castle.

Queen Victoria at her desk.
Taken at Windsor Castle, 1891

Queen Victoria undertook her state work, reading and writing at a desk set up in her Private Sitting Room.

Queen Victoria's Dressing Room, 1850's

Queen Victoria's Dressing Room, 1850's

This is the same image as shown above but is reversed. As to which image is the correct way round is unknown. The bottom image however is less distinct and may have been photographed from the original then the glass plate negative inadvertently reversed when the printing block was created.

Queen Victoria's Private Sitting Room by Joseph Nash,
 as shown in the mid 19th Century

The Queen's Sitting Room, 1868
[Source : The Royal Collection]

Queen Victoria's Private Sitting Room, 1890's

Queen Victoria's Private Sitting Room.
 Queen Victoria knits while Princess Beatrice reads to her.
Photographed by Mary Steen in 1895.

Queen Victoria's Sitting Room lay within the King's Tower at the South East corner of the Castle with the main window facing south with a view of Windsor Great Park and The Long Walk. Directly above her were the Royal nurseries. By the end of the 19th century her Private Sitting Room had become full of ornaments, photographs and mementoes, "the orderly confusion of beautiful bric-a-brac".

The Angle of the Grand Corridor, 1846

This view shows the angle in the Grand Corridor and is shown looking north. Access to the Oak Room shown below is at some point around the corner on the left.

Queen Victoria, Princess Henry of Batttenberg
[Princess Beatrice], Prince Henry of Battenberg,
& their three children at luncheon in the Oak Dining
Room as two uniformed Indian servants look on.
Queen Victoria normally took lunch and dinner in
this room if there were no state occasions.
Taken 1895.

Another view of the Oak Dining Room, published in 1897.
Over the mantelpiece hangs a portrait of the Queen, while to the
 left can be seen one of the two Gobelins tapestries hung in this
 room depicting "The Death of Meleager" (visible) and "The
Hunting of the Calydonian Boar", having been presented to
the Queen by King Louis Philippe of France.
[Image courtesy of C. Duclos, Paris] 

The Queen's Private Audience Chamber, 1867
[Source : The Royal Collection]

The Queen's Private Audience Chamber, taken 1890s

In this room in the South Range, close to her own apartments, Queen Victoria "gave audience to her Prime Ministers and other public figures". On the walls can be seen the portraits of the family of H.M. King George III painted by Thomas Gainsborough.

A Christmas display and tree set up in a room in the South Wing

Another Christmas display, as painted by James Roberts, 1850

A lithograph of Queen Victoria distributing Egyptian War Medals
 to Officers and Men of the Expeditionary Force, 21st Nov 1882

A guest room in the South Wing overlooking The Long Walk.

The Coffee Room above the George IV Gate

A Lithograph of a Garden Party in the grounds of Windsor Castle, 1870

Bibliography :

- "Life of Queen Victoria", T Nelson & Sons, London, 1897 (from my personal collection).
 - Wikipedia
- Various written and Internet sources.
- Images are only from my own personal collection where specifically indicated. These may be freely copied for non-commercial use providing a link is given back to this page.
- All other images have been "collected" over the last couple of years and I have not always recorded the source. Most appear to be in the public domain or are only low resolution 'preview' images however if copyright has been infringed please advise me so that I can remove them or provide a link.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

25th April ANZAC Day Remembrance

"Brave ANZAC's", Heddon Bush School Children,
Southland, New Zealand. Taken Apr 1917
[From my own Collection]

The 25th of April marks a rare day each year when the two sovereign nations of Australia and New Zealand both commemorate those servicemen and servicewomen who have served and also fallen in military operatons for their respective countries.

Servicemen recuperating from war injuries at the New Zealand
 Convalescent Hospital at "Grey Towers" Hornchurch,  England,
an unpublished photo taken circa late 1916 - early 1917.
A family relative, HG Simpson, appears in the group.
[From my own collection]

The date itself is significant as being the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula during "The Great War" [World War One] in 1915. This ill-fated and bloody campaign aimed to capture the Turkish Dardanelles then push onto and capture Constantinople, thus knocking the Ottoman Empire out of the war. The actions of the Australian and New Zealand troops left a powerful legacy which became known as the "ANZAC Spirit", demonstrating courage, endurance, ingenuity, mateship, egalitarianism, good humour and not infrequently irreverence in the face of authority!

Sling Military Training Camp at Bulford on the Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire,
England. New Zealand servicemen awaiting troopships home after the
war carved the Kiwi and letters "NZ" into the chalk hillside, this
 distinctive "memorial" remains to this day. Taken 1919.
[From my own collection]

The Anzac spirit was particularly popularised by Charles Bean, Australia's official war historian who encapsulated the meaning of Anzac in his publication" Anzac to Amiens" :

"Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valor in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat."

An autographed Bed Cover sent by the Heddon Bush
 Branch of the Red Cross Society for use at a
Servicemen's Convalescent Hospital, 1918.
[From a glass negative in my personal collection]

Originally instigated in New Zealand as a national day of mourning and remembrance on the 25th April 1916, ANZAC Day shows no sign of lessening of interest amongst younger generations. While not glorifying war, many attendees of dawn celebrations throughout both countries now view ANZAC Day as a day of reflection with the hope that we are never again faced with war and conflagration on such a scale as we have jointly suffered.

A close-up of the above bed cover, showing some of the
 cartoons and drawings by local Heddon Bush well-
wishers. Taken 1918.
[From my own collection]

The eloquent words of Kemal Atatürk [President of the first Turkish Republic] delivered in 1934 which epitomise the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness between former foes, but also of hope for the future, are jointly inscribed on memorials at ANZAC Beach at Gallipoli, in Canberra Australia and in Wellington New Zealand :

"Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well."

The Red Poppy, now synonymous with
ANZAC Day and as a fundraiser for
Returned Sevicemen's Associations in
 New Zealand since 1922.
[Source : Internet] 

My 2013 Blog on ANZAC Day can be viewed HERE.

Bibliography :
- Wikipedia
- NZ History On-Line
- Unless otherwise stated all images are from my own personal collection. These may not be used for any commercial purpose without my express permission but may be freely copied provided a link is given back to this page.

Friday 13 April 2012

Bringing Down the Zeppelins - The German Bombing of England 1916

A Zeppelin Bomber in flight with a smoking (?) engine,
possibly caused by an allied attack.
[Source : History on the Net]

German Army and Navy hydrogen filled Airships began their bombing raids over Southern England with varied success on the 19th January 1915. Their bomb load consisted of both high explosive bombs and incendiaries. The incendiaries consisted of simple metal canisters filled with a mix of thermite, tar, and benzol; then being being wrapped in tarred rope and fitted with a simple fuse.

A period newspaper report of a Zeppelin raid.
[Source : World War I - Trenches on the Web]

British aerial defences had up until 1916 proved ineffectual. In February 1916 the British Army took over full control of ground defences and a variety of sub 4-inch calibre guns were converted for anti-aircraft use. Searchlights manned by Police were also introduced, initially manned by police. By mid1916 there were 271 anti-aircraft guns and 258 searchlights across England.

School Children receiving a lesson in "British Pluck"

Aerial defences against Zeppelins were haphazard, with the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS) engaging enemy airships approaching the coast and the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) taking responsibility once the enemy had crossed the coastline. Due to the lack of an interrupter gear (to enable machine guns to fire forward) in early fighter aircraft the basic technique for downing Zeppelin airships was to simply drop bombs on them. Initial trials of incendiary bullets in mid-1915 had unfortunately shown unimpressive results.

A Fire Insurance Advertisement from 1915
[Source : Arborfileld Local History Society]

New BE12 fighters now fitted with interrupter gear and Lewis machine guns firing a mix of explosive, incendiary and tracer rounds were slowly introduced from mid 1916. But the German's were also further developing their airships. Their new Q-class Zeppelin with an additional 100,000 cubic feet of gas enabled the length to be extended to 585 feet, improving both ceiling limits and bomb-load.

The remains of  SL.11, having crashed onto a tree at
Cuffley in Hertfordshire, 2nd Sept 1916

But the turning point came on  the night of the 2nd September 1916 when Lt. William Leefe Robinson, firing three drums of bullets from his Lewis gun, managed to set alight German Army Airship SL.11 commanded by Hauptmann Wilhelm Schramm. Built by Luftschiffbau Schütte-Lanz (and therefore not actually classed as a 'Zeppelin'), it carried four Maybach engines developing an impressive 960 hp capable of propelling the airship at 91.8 kph. The airship, which quickly became enveloped in flames, crashed at Cuffley in Hertfordshire. Propaganda possibly intentionally misidentified the airship as one of the already feared "Zeppelins". The crew (listed at the bottom of this page) were initially buried at Potters Bar Cemetery but in 1962 were re-interred at Cannock Chase German War Cemetery in Staffordshire.

The "Observation Car" of SL.11 on display in London

For downing the first rigid airship on British soil and for the first 'night fighter' victory Robinson received the Victoria Cross. Robinson, his health being badly affected during his time as a Prisoner of War in 1917-18, succumbed to Spanish Influenza during the Pandemic and died on the 31st December 1918.

An Engine from  SL.11 on display in London

The loss of SL.11 ended the German Army's interest in Airship warfare over England but the German Navy continued to aggressively pursue this form of aerial combat. On the night of the 23rd September three M-class airships, including L.32, attacked London. L32 was the second of the 650ft M-class "Super Zeppelins", being powered by six engines and capable of operating at 13,000 ft (with another 5,000 ft to its maximum ceiling) while carrying up to four tons of bombs.

"Examining the Debris" of L.32 at Snail's Hall Farm, Great Burstead

At 1.10am a BE2c fighter plane piloted by 2nd Lieutenent Frederick Sowrey attacked L.32. Despite fire being returned he fired three drums of explosive bullets until a fire finally took hold, possibly helped by a burning petrol tank. Flames swiftly spread throughout the airship, bursting through the outer envelope in several places. An eye-witness recalled that "The flames crept along the back of the Zeppelin, which appeared to light up in sections... until it was burning from end to end." The great airship finally crashed to the ground near Great Burstead in Essex. Again, there were no survivors, the Commander, Oberleutnant-zur-See Werner Peterson, choosing to jump rather than burn to death in the inferno. Sowrey survived the war and died in 1968.

"The Great Bulk of Girders" of L.32 at Snail's Hall Farm

The same night L.33, despite being at 13,000 feet, was hit by anti-aircraft fire, thereafter being forced to the ground, landing near Little Wigborough. The crew set the Zeppelin alight but sufficient of the wreckage remained to be of valuable use to the British in their own rigid airship research.

"The (Airship) Control & A Maxim Gun" from L.32

There were a total of 23 Zeppelin raids in 1916 in which 125 tons of ordnance were dropped, killing 293 people and injuring 691. British anti-aircraft defences were becoming tougher but still new Zeppelins were introduced with an increased operating altitude of 16,500 feet and a maximum ceiling of 21,000 feet. Airships raids continued to be feared and to do great damage. It was only by 1918 that Zeppelin raids markedly decreased, primarily as a result of supply issues and the allied bombing of Zeppelin production lines and sheds in Germany.

"A Propellor" from L.32

"The Lower Structure" of L.32

"Assorted Fragments" of L.32

"A Side Propeller" from L.32

"The Havoc" - The Remains of L.32

The Zeppelin attacks had a profound psychological impact on the Allies. In total there were 159 Zeppelin attacks against England during World War I which resulted in the deaths of 557 people, mainly civilians. Under the Treaty of Versailles Germany was ordered to hand over all their airships, but as with their Navy, the crews attempted to destroy as many of them as they could.

The damage caused by a bomb dropped on Baytree Road, Brixton
from Zeppelin L.31 on the night of the 23 Sept 1916.
[Source : Ideal Homes]

The Zeppelin's greatest achievements were undoubtedly to tie up numerous squadrons in home defence and for their psychological value but as an effective weapon of war they proved themselves unsatisfactory and were ultimately not a military success. Of the 115 Zeppelin Airships employed by the Germans, 53 were destroyed and a further 24 were too badly damaged to effectively carry out their missions. The Airship crews suffered a 40% loss rate. Additionally, the cost of constructing those 115 Zeppelins Airships was approximately five times the cost of the actual damage they inflicted.

The crew of both SL.11 and L.32 (listed below) are now buried at Cannock Chase German War Cemetery in Staffordshire, England.

The Crew of SL.11

Wilhelm SCHRAMM Hauptmann
Jakob BAUMANN Obermaschinist
Hans GEITEL Leutnant
Rudolf GOLTZ Vizefeldwebel
Karl HASSENMULLER Feldwebel-Leutnant
Bernhard JEZIORSKI Gefreiter
Fritz JOURDAN Untermaschinist
Karl KACHELE Untermaschinist
Fritz KOPISCHKE Obersteuermann
Friedrich MODINGER Obermaschinist
Reinhold PORATH Obermaschinist
Rudolf SENDZICK Obersteuermann
Heinrich SCHLICHTING Unteroffizier
Anton TRISTRAM Unteroffizier
Wilhelm VOHDIN Oberleutnant
Hans WINKLER Untermaschinist

The Crew of L.32

Werner PETERSON Oberleutnant Zur See
Adolf BLEY Obersignalmaat
Albin BOCKSCH Obermaschinistmaat
Karl BORTSCHELLER Funkentelegrafieobermaat
Wilhelm BROCKHAUS Oberheizer
Karl BRODRUCK Leutnant Zur See
Paul DORFMULLER Maschinistenmaat
Richard FANKHANEL Obermaschinistenmaat
Georg HAGEDORN Obermaschinistenmaat
Friedrich HEIDER Oberbootsmannsmaat
Robert KLISCH Funkentelegrafieobergast
Herman MAEGDLFRAU Obermaschinistenmaat
Bernhard MOHR Obersegelmachersgast
August MULLER Matrose
Friedrich PASCHE Bootsmannsmaat
Karl PAUST Obermaschinistenmaat
Ewald PICARD Obersignalmaat
Walter PRUSS Maschinistenmaat
Paul SCHIERING Obermatrose
Bernhard SCHREIBMULLER Steuermann
Karl VOLKER Obermaschinistenmaat
Alfred ZOPEL Oberbootsmannsmaat

Bibliography :

- "The Graphic" 1916 (from my own collection)
- Wikipedia
The Great War Forum 
- First World - A Multimedia History of World War One
- Unless otherwise stated all images are from my own collection but may be freely copied for non-commercial use provided a link is given back to this page.