Violet Lydia Thompson, better known by her stage name of Violet Cameron, was an English actress and singer who gained fame in Robert Planquette's operettas Les cloches de Corneville and Rip Van Winkle, Francis Chassaigne's opéra bouffe Falka, notoriety for her affair with Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale. Cameron was born in London in 1862 to Mary Josephine and William Melfington Thompson, a linen merchant, her "aunt" was dancer Lydia Thompson. She made her stage début in 1871 at the age of 9 in the part of Karl in Boucicault's Faust and Marguerite, she appeared as a child in the Drury Lane Theatre's Christmas pantomimes. She played at the Adelphi Theatre and the Globe. In 1876 she created the role of Joconde at the Criterion Theatre in H. B. Farnie's burlesque Piff soon played Perdita in A Winter's Tale in Liverpool. In the year, she was engaged at the Folly Theatre, where she appeared in burlesque and opéra bouffe productions, including Polly in Farnie's burlesque of Robinson Crusoe, Pearlina in an adaptation of Charles Lecocq called Sea Nymphs, Antoinette in Farnie and Robert Reece's adaptation of Jacques Offenbach's La créole.
Her greatest success at the Folly came in 1878 as Germaine in the long-running British premiere of Robert Planquette's Les cloches de Corneville. Cameron moved to the Strand Theatre, where she appeared in Farnie's burlesque and played Suzanne in his translation of Offenbach's Madame Favart. In 1881, she moved to Alexander Henderson's Comedy Theatre, where she sang the title role in Edmond Audran's The Mascot and had another great success in 1882 as Gretchen in Planquette's Rip Van Winkle. In 1883, she sang the title roles in Chassaigne's Falka; this was followed by other light operas at the Comedy. In 1885, she was engaged at the Avenue Theatre, where she played the lead in Bad Boys, an adaptation of the French piece Clara Soleil, created the role of Dudley in Reece and Farnie's Kenilworth; the following year, she created the title role in Farnie's burlesque of Lurline. In September 1884 she married the Moroccan tea taster David de Bensaude with. In 1886 Cameron and Bensaude were befriended by Hugh Lowther, the Earl of Lonsdale, who offered to fund their plan to take their theatre company to the United States.
Bensaude soon became jealous, Cameron filed for a legal separation, on grounds of cruelty, while Bensaude counter-filed for divorce on grounds of adultery. The affair became a sensation and scandal in the press, including the American press during the 1886 American tour. In 1887 Cameron give birth to Lonsdale's child, the two had a second daughter. In 1893, Cameron played Ethel Sportington in the musical comedy Morocco Bound. Cameron continued to perform until 1903, her last role was the Mother Superior in the Edwardian musical comedy The School Girl. After a short illness she died in Worthing in Sussex on 25 October 1919 and is buried at Broadwater cemetery, Worthing. Photos of Cameron at the National Portrait Gallery Obituary in The New York Times 1882 profile of Cameron by Clement Scott
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, although British reinforcements reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms; the war under-prepared. The Boers were well armed and struck first, besieging Ladysmith and Mahikeng in early 1900, winning important battles at Colenso and Stormberg. Staggered, the British fought back. General Redvers Buller was replaced by Lord Kitchener, they relieved the three besieged cities, invaded the two Boer republics in late 1900. The onward marches of the British Army, well over 400,000 men, were so overwhelming that the Boers did not fight staged battles in defense of their homeland; the British seized control of all of the Orange Free State and Transvaal, as the civilian leadership went into hiding or exile.
In conventional terms, the war was over. The British annexed the two countries in 1900. Back home, Britain's Conservative government wanted to capitalize on this success and use it to maneuver an early general election, dubbed a "khaki election" to give the government another six years of power in London. British military efforts were aided by Cape Colony, the Colony of Natal and some native African allies, further supported by volunteers from the British Empire, including Southern Africa, the Australian colonies, Canada and New Zealand. All other nations were neutral, but public opinion was hostile to the British. Inside the UK and its Empire there was significant opposition to the Second Boer War; the Boers refused to surrender. They reverted to guerrilla warfare under new generals Louis Botha, Jan Smuts, Christiaan de Wet and Koos de la Rey. Two years of surprise attacks and quick escapes followed; as guerrillas without uniforms, the Boer fighters blended into the farmlands, which provided hiding places and horses.
The UK's response to guerilla warfare was to set up complex nets of block houses, strong points, barbed wire fences, partitioning off the entire conquered territory. In addition, civilian farms and live stock were destroyed in the scorched earth strategy. Survivors were forced into concentration camps. Large proportions of these civilians died of hunger and disease the children. British mounted infantry units systematically tracked down the mobile Boer guerrilla units; the battles at this stage were small operations. Few died during combat, though many of disease; the war ended in surrender and British terms with the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. Both former republics were incorporated into the Union of South Africa in 1910, as part of the British Empire; the conflict is referred to as the Boer War, since the First Boer War was a much smaller conflict. "Boer" is the common term for Afrikaans-speaking white South Africans descended from the Dutch East India Company's original settlers at the Cape of Good Hope.
It is known as the Anglo-Boer War among some South Africans. In Afrikaans it may be called the Anglo-Boereoorlog, Tweede Boereoorlog, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog or Engelse oorlog. In South Africa it is called the South African War; the complex origins of the war resulted from more than a century of conflict between the Boers and Britain, but of particular immediate importance was the question as to who would control and benefit most from the lucrative Witwatersrand gold mines. The first European settlement in South Africa was founded at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, thereafter administered as part of the Dutch Cape Colony; the Cape was governed by the Dutch East India Company until its bankruptcy in the late 1700s, thereafter directly by the Netherlands. The British occupied the Cape three times during the Napoleonic Wars as a result of political turmoil in the Netherlands, the occupation became permanent after British forces defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806. At the time, the colony was home to about 26,000 colonists settled under Dutch rule.
A relative majority still represented old Dutch families brought to the Cape during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Cleavages were likelier to occur along socio-economic rather than ethnic lines and broadly speaking the colonists included a number of distinct subgroups, namely the Boers; the Boers were itinerant farmers who lived on the colony's frontiers, seeking better pastures for their livestock. Many Boers who were dissatisfied with aspects of British administration, in particular with Britain's abolition of slavery on 1 December 1834, elected to migrate away from British rule in what became known as the Great Trek. Around 15,000 trekking Boers followed the eastern coast towards Natal. After Britain annexed Natal in 1843, they journeyed further northwards into South Africa's vast eastern interior. There they established two independent Boer republics: the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. Britain recognised the two Boer republics in 1852 and 1854, but attempted British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 led to the First Boer War in 1880–81
Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale
Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale was a British nobleman and Conservative politician. Lowther was born on 27 March 1818, he was the eldest son of Lady Lucy Sherard. His paternal grandfather was William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and his maternal grandfather was Philip Sherard, 5th Earl of Harborough. In 1868, he succeeded his uncle William in his Lord Lieutenancies, in 1872 as Earl of Lonsdale, he was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge and in 1841 he joined the 1st Life Guards. From 1847 until his elevation to the peerage and ascension to the House of Lords in 1872, Lowther served as a Member of Parliament for West Cumberland, he succeeded Samuel Irton. While in Parliament, he served alongside Edward Stanley, Samuel Irton, Sir Henry Wyndham, Percy Scawen Wyndham. Lord Lonsdale was succeeded by The Lord Muncaster. In 1870, he became Master of the Cottesmore Hunt. On 31 July 1852, he married Emily Susan Caulfeild, the daughter of Mr. St George Caulfield of Donoman Castle of Roscommon, Ireland.
They had six children: Lady Sibyl Emily Lowther, who married Major General George Williams Knox CB on 30 April 1886 St George Henry Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale Hon Charles Edwin Lowther, who married Kate Fink on 12 June 1878 Lady Verena Maud Lowther, who married Victor Spencer, 1st Viscount Churchill on 1 January 1887, divorced 1927 Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale Lord Lonsdale died after an attack of pneumonia on 15 August 1876 at the age of 58 and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, St George Henry Lowther, who became the 4th Earl of Lonsdale at age 23. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Lonsdale
Blue Cross (animal charity)
Blue Cross is a registered animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom, founded in 1897 as Our Dumb Friends League. The charity provides support for pet owners who cannot afford private veterinary treatment, helps to find homes for unwanted animals, educates the public in the responsibilities of animal ownership; the charity works with a number of other organizations to help the animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. The organisation was founded on 10 May 1897 in London as Our Dumb Friends League, to care for working horses on the streets of the British capital, it opened its first animal hospital, in Victoria, London, on 15 May 1906. In 1912, the league launched The Blue Cross Fund to care for horses during the Balkan War. On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, it was reopened again. By the armistice in 1918, the Blue Cross Fund had raised nearly £170,000 – the equivalent of £6.5 million today – to care for the animals of conflict. Over 50,000 horses were treated in Blue Cross hospitals in France, the charity had sent vital veterinary supplies to 3,500 units of the British Army.
Donations to the Fund enabled the charity to care for more than 350,000 animals during the Second World War, many of who were wounded during the Blitz. The name of the appeal fund became more known than the official charity title and the league changed its name to "The Blue Cross" in 1950. In 2011 the charity dropped "The" from its name and is now known as "Blue Cross." Sally de la Bedoyere became the charity’s CEO in November 2014. Blue Cross operates a number of services throughout the United Kingdom, its major services are: rehoming unwanted animals, providing veterinary services to pet owners who cannot afford the private fees charged by private veterinary surgeons, promoting animal welfare through education, operating the Pet Bereavement Support Service, a free and confidential support line for those who have lost a pet. They operate a horse ambulance service, including at large equestrian events. Blue Cross operates four animal hospitals, three of which are in London, at Victoria and Hammersmith, a fourth in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, as well as running mobile clinics throughout the country.
In 2014 it opened a pet care clinic in Derby. Blue Cross carried out over 97,000 treatments and diagnostic investigations in 2010. Blue Cross is heavily involved in animal adoption, arranging adoption for companion animals such as cats, dogs and small rodents, as well as larger species such as horses. In 2015, the charity's rehoming team helped 9,160 animals and its veterinary team helped 29,549 animals; the organisation works to improve the lives of animals through promotion to pet owners and work in animal behaviour therapy. Every pet owner that rehomes a pet through the charity can benefit from free behaviour advice for the pet’s lifetime; the Pet Bereavement Support Service is a free and confidential telephone and email helpline and is available 365 days a year to help people who are struggling to cope with the loss of a pet. On 26 January 2010, Blue Cross announced the proposed closure of the two animal adoption centres, both of, in existence for over 50 years. Final decisions on both sites were announced on 4 May 2010.
After an extensive publicity campaign by locals, it was announced that plans to close the Felixstowe centre had been dropped. The Felixstowe centre was relocated to a brand new purpose-built site near Ipswich, Suffolk, in 2016 and can now care for double the number of pets as the previous site was able to care for. Blue Cross opened a new animal adoption centre in Newport, south Wales, in 2016; the Irish Blue Cross is a related party of Blue Cross. Medals have been awarded by Blue Cross to animals and people who have demonstrated bravery or heroism. While the first medals were awarded to people who helped to rescue animals, medals were awarded in 1918 to honour a number of horses which had served in the First World War. Medals were given out between 1940 and 1951 to a number of dogs, including Juliana who extinguished an incendiary bomb by urinating on it. In 2006 Jake, a police explosives dog, was given the honour after helping to clear out the London Underground after the 7 July 2005 London bombings.
In 2017, Staffordshire bull terrier Romeo received the Blue Cross Medal for being a therapy dog for stroke victims and dementia sufferers and donating blood. Official website Charity Commission. Blue Cross, registered charity no. 224392
Oakham is the county town of Rutland in the East Midlands of England, 25 miles east of Leicester, 28 miles south-east of Nottingham and 23 miles west of Peterborough. Oakham has a population of 10,922, as of the 2011 census. Oakham lies to the west of one of the largest man-made lakes in Europe, it is in the Vale of Catmose and is built on an incline, varying from 325 ft to 400 ft above sea level. It is twinned with Barmstedt and Dodgeville, United States. Local governance for Oakham is provided for by the single-tier unitary Rutland County Council, of which Oakham is the headquarters. Lying within the historic county boundaries of Rutland from a early time, from 1974 until 1997 Oakham lay within the non-metropolitan county of Leicestershire. Oakham, along with Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, the rest of Rutland, has been represented at Westminster by the Conservative Member of Parliament Alan Duncan since 1992. Women in the Oakham South East ward had the fifth highest life expectancy at birth, 95.7 years, of any ward in England and Wales in 2016.
Tourist attractions in Oakham include Oakham Castle. Another popular and historic feature is the open-air market held in the town's market square every Wednesday and Saturday; the impressive spire of Oakham parish church, built during the 14th century, dominates distant views of the town for several miles in all directions. Restored in 1857–58 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the church is a Grade I listed building. Only the great hall of the Norman castle is still standing, surrounded by steep earthworks marking the inner bailey; the hall dates from c. 1180–90 and according to Nikolaus Pevsner: It is the earliest hall of any English castle surviving so and it is doubly interesting in that it belonged not to a castle speaking, but rather to a fortified manor house. The building is attractively ornamented with Romanesque architectural details, including six carvings of musicians, it is a Grade I listed building. The hall was in use as an assize court until 1970 and is still used as a coroner's court or Crown Court.
It is licensed for weddings. The outer bailey of the castle, still surrounded by low earthworks, lies to the north of the castle. Known as Cutts Close, it is now a park with a bandstand, skateboard area and children's play area; some deep hollows in the park are the remnants of the castle's dried-up stew ponds. A Castle class corvette named HMS Oakham Castle was launched in July 1944. Traditionally, members of royalty and peers of the realm who visited or passed through the town had to pay a forfeit in the form of a horseshoe; this unique custom has been enforced for over 500 years, but nowadays it only happens on special occasions, when an outsize ceremonial horseshoe, specially made and decorated, is hung in the great hall of the castle. There are now over 200 of these commemorative shoes on its walls. Not all are dated and some of the earliest may not have survived; the earliest datable one is an outsize example commemorating a visit by King Edward IV in about 1470. The horseshoes hang with the ends pointing down.
The horseshoe motif appears on the local Ruddles beer labels. Recent horseshoes commemorate visits by Prince Charles and Princess Alexandra; the museum is located in the old Riding School of the Rutland Fencible Cavalry, built in 1794–95. The museum houses a collection of objects relating to local rural and agricultural life, social history and archaeology; the Birmingham–Peterborough line runs through the town, providing links to Birmingham, Peterborough and Stansted Airport. Oakham railway station is positioned halfway between Peterborough railway station and Leicester railway station, at both of which passengers can board a train to London – either from Leicester to London St Pancras or from Peterborough to London King's Cross. There are two direct services to London St Pancras, one evening return service from London St Pancras, each weekday. There are good road links to: Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Corby, Stamford; the main route for travellers to Leicester by road is first south to Uppingham and westward along the A47.
Oakham is on the A606 between Melton Stamford. On 10 January 2007, the A606 bypass opened diverting traffic from the town centre; the Oakham Canal connected the town to the Melton Mowbray Navigation, the River Soar and the national waterways system between 1802 and 1847. The town is home to Oakham School, one of the major English public schools, founded, together with Uppingham School, in 1584; the original school building survives, northeast of the church. Oakham School is the current owner of Oakham's former workhouse. Built in 1836–37 by Oakham Poor Law Union, it served as a workhouse for 167 inmates, until it became Catmose Vale Hospital, it now accommodates two school houses for girls. Catmose College, founded in 1920, is a state-funded secondary school in the town. Harington School is a sixt
Harry Bensley was an English rake and adventurer, best remembered as the subject of an extraordinary wager between John Pierpont Morgan and Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale. How much of his story is based on fact is unclear. Harry Bensley was from Thetford in England. In 1904 he was sentenced to four years' penal servitude for bigamy and fraud: he had married a woman named Lily Chapman in 1903 though he was married to his first wife, Kate Green, whom he had married in 1898. By 1907 he was a businessman and investor, working in Imperial Russia and reputedly received an income of £5000 a year. According to the original tale, one evening in 1907 at the National Sporting Club in London and Lonsdale were arguing whether a man could walk around the world without being identified. Bensley, a notorious "playboy" and womaniser with a substantial private income, overheard the conversation and offered to test the proposition on their behalf; the outcome of the exchange was that Lonsdale bet Morgan the then-extravagant sum of £21,000 that Bensley would complete a pedestrian circumnavigation incognito.
According to Ken McNaught, grandson of Bensley's son Jim Beasley, this is not accurate. Bensley had gambled with the two men, put up all his fortune in a game and lost. Now destitute, he pleaded with the others to accept some way to forfeit; the two gentlemen came up with the unlikely wager. Bensley had to satisfy 15 conditions, including: Bensley was never to be identified. After that he would begin a tour of 18 countries and would have to visit them in a pre-specified order. Bensley was to finance himself, starting off with just GBP 1 and selling picture cards about himself. Bensley set off on 1 January 1908 from Trafalgar Square, with pamphlets and postcards of himself with which he intended to sell to finance his journey, he spent the next 6 and a half years on the road. Various tales tell about his journey; that he sold a postcard to Edward VII and that Edward asked for Bensley's autograph, which Bensley refused as signing his name would have revealed his identity. He received 200 marriage offers but accepted none of them.
An unnamed newspaper was told to have promised £1000 reward to someone who would reveal his identity. There is some dispute about to what extent Bensley complied with the terms of the wager. There is no documentary evidence that Bensley travelled far outside the British Isles but the legend claimed that he got as far as China and Japan. According to the original tale, on 14 August 1914, Bensley found himself in Genoa, claiming to have completed 30,000 miles of the journey and having only seven countries remaining on his itinerary; that month, World War I had begun and Bensley abandoned his journey, returning to fight for his country. One version of the tale claims that Morgan contacted him, called the bet off because of the war and gave him £4000 for consolation, which Bensley gave to charity. However, this version cannot be true, as in fact J. P. Morgan died in March 1913. Others claim that Bensley himself decided to fulfil his duty to enlist. Bensley served in the British Army in the first year of the War, was wounded and invalided out of the army in 1915.
Bensley lost his fortune in the Bolshevik revolution when his investments in Russia became worthless and he was left destitute. After the war Bensley moved to live in Wivenhoe, with his wife Kate, he worked in low-status jobs like cinema doorman, a YMCA warden and was twice elected local councillor for the Labour Party. According to one report, during the Second World War Bensley was a bomb checker at an ammunition factory. Harry Bensley died in a bed-sitting room in Brighton, England on 21 May 1956. BBC article Ken McNaught research compendium site Alleyne R.. "Iron mask wager'was a fib'". The Telegraph. Rennell T.. "What IS the truth about the Man In The Iron Mask?". Daily Mail. BBC Radio 4: The Saturday Play: Mr Bensley's Pram, audio via archive.org
Order of the Garter
The Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348 and regarded as the most prestigious British order of chivalry in England and the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to the image and arms of England's patron saint. Appointments are made at the Sovereign's sole discretion. Membership of the Order is limited to the Sovereign, the Prince of Wales, no more than 24 living members, or Companions; the order includes supernumerary knights and ladies. New appointments to the Order of the Garter are announced on St George's Day, as Saint George is the order's patron saint; the order's emblem is a garter with the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense in gold lettering. Members of the order wear it on ceremonial occasions. King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter around the time of his claim to the French throne; the traditional year of foundation is given as 1348. However, the Complete Peerage, under "The Founders of the Order of the Garter", states the order was first instituted on 23 April 1344, listing each founding member as knighted in 1344.
The list includes Sir Sanchet D'Abrichecourt, who died on 20 October 1345. Other dates from 1344 to 1351 have been proposed; the King's wardrobe account shows Garter habits first issued in the autumn of 1348. Its original statutes required that each member of the Order be a knight and some of the initial members listed were only knighted that year; the foundation is to have been inspired by the Spanish Order of the Band, established in about 1330. The earliest written mention of the Order is found in Tirant lo Blanch, a chivalric romance written in Catalan by Valencian Joanot Martorell, it was first published in 1490. This book devotes a chapter to the description of the origin of the Order of the Garter. At the time of its foundation, the Order consisted of King Edward III, together with 25 Founder Knights, listed in ascending order of stall number in St George's Chapel: King Edward III Edward, the Black Prince, Prince of Wales Henry of Grosmont, Earl of Lancaster Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick Jean III de Grailly, Captal de Buch Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford William de Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March John de Lisle, 2nd Baron Lisle Bartholomew de Burghersh, 2nd Baron Burghersh John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp John de Mohun, 2nd Baron Mohun Sir Hugh de Courtenay Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent John de Grey, 1st Baron Grey de Rotherfield Sir Richard Fitz-Simon Sir Miles Stapleton Sir Thomas Wale Sir Hugh Wrottesley Sir Nele Loring Sir John Chandos Sir James Audley Sir Otho Holand Sir Henry Eam Sir Sanchet D'Abrichecourt Sir Walter Paveley They are all depicted in individual portraits in the Bruges Garter Book made c.
1431, now in the British Library. Various legends account for the origin of the Order; the most popular involves the "Countess of Salisbury", whose garter is said to have slipped from her leg while she was dancing at a court ball at Calais. When the surrounding courtiers sniggered, the king picked it up and returned it to her, exclaiming, "Honi soit qui mal y pense!", the phrase that has become the motto of the Order. However, the earliest written version of this story dates from the 1460s, it seems to have been conceived as a retrospective explanation for the adoption of what was seen as an item of female underclothing as the symbol of a band of knights. In fact, at the time of the Order's establishment in the mid-14th century, the garter was predominantly an item of male attire. According to another legend, King Richard I was inspired in the 12th century by St George the Martyr while fighting in the Crusades to tie garters around the legs of his knights, who subsequently won the battle. King Edward recalled the event in the 14th century when he founded the Order.
This story is recounted in a letter to the Annual Register in 1774: In Rastel's Chronicle, I. vi. under the life of Edward III is the following curious passage: "About the 19 yere of this kinge, he made a solempne feest at Wyndesore, a greate justes and turnament, where he devysed, perfyted substanegally, the order of the knyghtes of the garter. And afterwarde they were called the knyghtes of the blew thonge." I am obliged for this passage to Esq.. Hence some affirm, that the origin of the garter is to be dated from Richard I* and that it owes its pomp and splendor to Edward III. *Winstanley, in his Life of Edward III says that the original book of the institution deduces the invention from King Richard the First. The motto in fact refers to Edward's claim to the French throne, the Order of the Garter was created to help pursue this claim; the use of the garter as an emblem may have derived from straps used t