Coming of age
Coming of age is a young person's transition from being a child to being an adult. It continues through the teenage years of life; the certain age at which this transition takes place changes in society, as does the nature of the change. It can be a simple legal convention or can be part of a ritual or spiritual event, as practiced by many societies. In the past, in some societies today, such a change is associated with the age of sexual maturity menarche and spermarche. In others, it is associated with an age of religious responsibility. In western societies, modern legal conventions which stipulate points in late adolescence or early adulthood are the focus of the transition. In either case, many cultures retain ceremonies to confirm the coming of age, stories that are told in film are called coming-of-age films, and there are coming-of-age comics. Turning 15, the "age of maturity," as the Baha'i faith terms it, is a time when a child is considered spiritually mature. Declared Baha'is that have reached the age of maturity are expected to begin observing certain Baha'i laws, such as obligatory prayer and fasting.
Theravada boys just under the age of 20 years, undergo a Shinbyu ceremony, where they are initiated into the Temple as Novice Monks. They will stay in the monastery for between 3 days and 3 years, most for one 3-month "rainy season retreat", held annually from late July to early October. During this period the boys experience the rigors of an orthodox Buddhist monastic lifestyle – a lifestyle that involves celibacy, formal voluntary poverty, absolute nonviolence, daily fasting between noon and the following day's sunrise. Depending on how long they stay, the boys will learn various chants and recitations in the canonical language – the Buddha's more famous discourses and verses – as well as Buddhist ethics and higher monastic discipline. If they stay long enough and conditions permit, they may be tutored in the meditative practices that are at the heart of Buddhism's program for the self-development of alert tranquillity and divine mental states. After living the novitiate monastic life for some time, the boy, now considered to have "come of age," will either take higher ordination as a ordained monk or will return to lay life.
In Southeast Asian countries, where most pracitioners of Theravada Buddhism reside, women will refuse to marry a man who has not ordained temporarily as a Samanera in this way at some point in his life. Men who have completed this Samanera ordination and have returned to lay life are considered primed for adult married life and are described in the Thai language and the Khmer language by terms which translate as "cooked," "finished," or "cooled off" in English, as in meal preparation/consumption. Thus, one's monastic training is seen to have prepared one properly for familial and civic duty and/or one's passions and unruliness of the boy are seen to have "cooled down" enough for him to be of use to a woman as a proper man. According to the Grand Historian, Zhou Gongdan or the Duke of Zhou wrote the Rite of Zhou in about 3000 years ago, which documented fundamental ceremonies in ancient China, the Coming of Age rite was included. Confucius and his students wrote the Book of Rites, which introduced and further explained important ceremonies in Confucianism.
When a man turned 20, his parents would hold a Guan Li. These rites were considered the representatives of a person being mature and was prepared to get married and start a family; the main dates and procedures may differ in different historical periods or geology. During this rite of passage, the young person receives his/her style name. In many Western Christian churches, a young person celebrates his/her Coming of Age with the Sacrament of Confirmation; this is done by the Bishop laying his hands upon the foreheads of the young person, marking them with the seal of the Holy Spirit. In some denominations during this sacrament, the child adopts a confirmation name, added onto their Christian name. In Christian denominations that practice Believer's Baptism, the ritual can be carried out after the age of accountability has arrived; some traditions withhold the rite of Holy Communion from those not yet at the age of accountability, on the grounds that children do not understand what the sacrament means.
In the 20th century, Roman Catholic children began to be admitted to communion some years before confirmation, with an annual First Communion service - a practice, extended to some paedobaptist Protestant groups - but since the Second Vatican Council, the withholding of confirmation to a age, e.g. mid-teens in the United States, early teens in Ireland and Britain, has in some areas been abandoned in favour of restoring the traditional order of the three sacraments of initiation. In some denominations, full membership in the Church, if not bestowed at birth must wait until the age of accountability and is granted only after a period of preparation k
Prince John of the United Kingdom
Prince John of the United Kingdom was the fifth son and youngest of the six children born to King George V and his wife, Queen Mary. At the time of John's birth, his father was the Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, King Edward VII. In 1910, George succeeded to the throne upon Edward's death and John became fifth in the line of succession to the British throne. In 1909, John was discovered to have epilepsy; as his condition deteriorated, he was sent to live at Sandringham House and was kept away from the public eye. There, he was cared for by his governess, "Lala" Bill, befriended local children whom his mother had gathered to be his playmates. Prince John died at Sandringham in 1919, following a severe seizure, was buried at nearby St Mary Magdalene Church, his illness was disclosed to the wider public only after his death. Prince John's alleged seclusion has subsequently been brought forward as evidence for the inhumanity of the royal family. However, records show that the Prince was in some ways given favourable treatment by his parents, in comparison with his siblings, contrary to the belief that he was hidden from the public from an early age, John for most of his life was a "fully-fledged member of the family", appearing in public until after his eleventh birthday.
His long acknowledged learning disability and a possible intellectual disability have both been linked to his severe epilepsy. Prince John was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate on 12 July 1905, at 3:05 a.m. He was the youngest child and fifth son of George Frederick, Prince of Wales and Mary, Princess of Wales, he was named John despite that name's unlucky associations for the royal family, but was informally known as "Johnnie". At the time of his birth, he was sixth in the line of succession to the throne, behind his father and four older brothers; as a grandchild of the reigning British monarch in the male line, a son of the Prince of Wales, he was formally styled His Royal Highness Prince John of Wales from birth. John was christened on 3 August in the Church of St Mary Magdalene at Sandringham, the Reverend Canon John Neale Dalton officiating, his godparents were King Carlos I of Portugal, the Duke of Sparta, Prince Carl of Denmark, Prince John of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, the Duchess of Sparta, Princess Alexander of Teck.
Much of John's early life was spent at Sandringham with his siblings—Prince Edward, Prince Albert, Princess Mary, Prince Henry and Prince George—under the care of their nanny Charlotte "Lala" Bill. Though a strict disciplinarian, the Prince of Wales was nonetheless affectionate toward his children. In 1909, John's great-aunt, the Dowager Empress of Russia wrote to her son, Emperor Nicholas II, that "George's children are nice... The little ones and Johnny are both charming and amusing..."Princess Alexander of Teck described John as "very quaint and one evening when Uncle George returned from stalking he bent over Aunt May and kissed her, they heard Johnny soliloquize,'She kissed Papa, ugly old man!'" George once said to U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt that "all children obedient, except John"—apparently because John alone, among George's children, escaped punishment from their father. Though a "large and handsome" baby, by his fourth birthday John had become "winsome" and "painfully slow".
That same year he suffered his first epileptic seizure and showed signs of a disability autism. When his father succeeded as George V upon Edward VII's death in 1910, John was awarded the title "His Royal Highness The Prince John". John did not attend his parents' coronation on 22 June 1911, as this was considered too risky for his health. Although John was deemed not "presentable to the outside world," George nonetheless showed an interest in him, offering him "kindness and affection". During his time at Sandringham, John exhibited some repetitive behaviours as well as regular misbehaviours and insubordination: "he didn't understand he needed to." Nonetheless there was hope his seizures might lessen with time. Contrary to the belief that he was hidden from the public from an early age, John for most of his life was a "fully-fledged member of the family", appearing in public until after his eleventh birthday. In 1912 Prince George, nearest in age to John and his closest sibling, began St. Peter's Court Preparatory School at Broadstairs.
The following summer, The Times reported that John would not attend Broadstairs the following term, that George and Mary had not decided whether to send John to school at all. After the outbreak of World War I, John saw his parents, who were away on official duties, his siblings, who were either at boarding school or in the military. John disappeared from the public eye and no official portraits of him were commissioned after 1913. In spite of his physical and mental decl
Colonel-in-Chief is a ceremonial position in a military regiment. It is in common use in several Commonwealth armies, where it is held by the regiment's patron a member of the royal family; the position was used in the armies of several European monarchies. A Colonel-in-Chief has a purely ceremonial role in their regiment; the Norwegian Army has taken a more whimsical approach to the position, appointing the penguin Sir Nils Olav as a Colonel-in-Chief. A Colonel-in-Chief was the ceremonial head of a regiment a member of a European country's royal family; the practice extends at least back to 1740 in Prussia when Frederick II held that position in the newly created Garde du Corps, an elite heavy cavalry regiment. By the late 19th Century the designation could be given to the children of royalty; the German Kaiser Wilhelm II carried the title to an extreme, holding it in dozens of German and Austro-Hungarian, British and Portuguese regiments. In addition, his mother, wife and daughters were full or deputy Colonels-in-Chief of various units.
In modern usage, the Colonel-in-Chief of a regiment is its patron, who has a ceremonial role in the life of the regiment. They do not have an operational role, or the right to issue orders, but are kept informed of all important activities of the regiment and pay occasional visits to its units; the chief purpose of the Colonel-in-Chief is to maintain a direct link between the regiment and the royal family. Some artillery regiments have a Captain-General instead of a Colonel-in-Chief, but the posts are the same; the position of Colonel-in-Chief is distinct from the other ceremonial regimental posts of Colonel of the Regiment and Honorary Colonel, which are retired military officers or public figures with ties to the regiment. Colonels-in-Chief are appointed at the invitation of the regiment. While it is traditional for a royal personage to hold the position, it is at the discretion of the regiment or corps whom they invite; as of 2015, most Colonels-in-Chief in the British Army are members of the British royal family.
However, two foreign monarchs hold the position: The King of Jordan - The Light Dragoons The Queen of Denmark - The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment In the past non-royal persons have held, or been invited to hold, the post of Colonel-in-Chief. The Duke of Wellington was Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment that bore his name, whilst Winston Churchill was Honorary Colonel of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, the regiment he served in before entering politics; the Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson was invited to be Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, while the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps decided to ask the Governor-General of Australia to serve as its Colonel-in-Chief. These exceptions, however, do not change the raison d'être of the post, to serve as a personal link between regiment and Monarch; the role has spread to other armies in the Commonwealth of Nations, at least in countries which have royal families. Royal Australian Armoured Corps - The Prince of Wales Royal Australian Infantry Corps - The Queen Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery - The Queen Corps of Royal Australian Engineers - The Queen Royal Australian Corps of Signals - The Princess Royal Royal Australian Corps of Transport - The Princess Royal Royal Australian Army Medical Corps - The Governor-General of Australia Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps - The Queen Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps - The Queen Corps of Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers - The Duke of Edinburgh Royal Australian Army Educational Corps - The Duchess of Gloucester Royal Australian Corps of Military Police - The Duchess of Cornwall The Royal Bermuda Regiment - The Duchess of Gloucester The Royal Canadian Dragoons - The Prince of Wales Lord Strathcona's Horse - The Prince of Wales The Governor General's Horse Guards - The Queen 8th Canadian Hussars - The Princess Royal The Queen's York Rangers - The Duke of York The Prince Edward Island Regiment - The Earl of Wessex South Alberta Light Horse - The Countess of Wessex The Saskatchewan Dragoons - The Earl of Wessex The King's Own Calgary Regiment - The Queen The Royal Canadian Regiment - The Duke of Edinburgh Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry - The Rt Hon Adrienne Clarkson Royal 22e Régiment - The Queen Governor General's Foot Guards - The Queen The Canadian Grenadier Guards - The Queen The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada - The Duchess of Cornwall The Black Watch of Canada - The Prince of Wales The Royal Regiment of Canada - The Prince of Wales The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry - The Duke of Edinburgh The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment - The Earl of Wessex The Lincoln and Welland Regiment - The Countess of Wessex The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada - The Duke of York The Grey and Simcoe Foresters - The Princess Royal The Lorne Scots - The Duke of Kent Stormont and Glengarry Highlanders - The Queen Le Régiment de la Chaudière - The Queen The Princess Louise Fusiliers - The Duke of York The Royal New Brunswick Regiment - The Queen The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa - The Duke of Edinburgh The Royal Winnipeg Rifles - The Prince of Wales The Essex and Kent Scottish - Prince Michael of Kent 48th Highlanders of Canada - The Queen The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada - The Queen The Royal Regina Rifles - The Princess Royal The Rocky Mountain Rangers - The Queen The Loyal Ed
Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, thus making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Australia's second-largest city. Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south,New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, South Australia to the west; the area, now known as Victoria is the home of many Aboriginal people groups, including the Boon wurrung, the Bratauolung, the Djadjawurrung, the Gunai/Kurnai, the Gunditjmara, the Taungurong, the Wathaurong, the Wurundjeri, the Yorta Yorta. There were more than 30 Aboriginal languages spoken in the area prior to the European settlement of Australia; the Kulin nation is an alliance of five Aboriginal nations which makes up much of the central part of the state. With Great Britain having claimed the half of the Australian continent, east of the 135th meridian east in 1788, Victoria formed part of the wider colony of New South Wales.
The first European settlement in the area occurred in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, much of what is now Victoria was included in 1836 in the Port Phillip District, an administrative division of New South Wales. Named in honour of Queen Victoria, who signed the division's separation from New South Wales, the colony was established in 1851 and achieved self government in 1855; the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and 1860s increased both the population and wealth of the colony, by the time of the Federation of Australia in 1901, Melbourne had become the largest city and leading financial centre in Australasia. Melbourne served as federal capital of Australia until the construction of Canberra in 1927, with the Federal Parliament meeting in Melbourne's Parliament House and all principal offices of the federal government being based in Melbourne. Politically, Victoria has 37 seats in the Australian House of Representatives and 12 seats in the Australian Senate. At state level, the Parliament of Victoria consists of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.
The Labor Party led Daniel Andrews as premier has governed Victoria since 2014. The personal representative of the Queen of Australia in the state is the Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau. Victoria is divided into 79 municipal districts, including 33 cities, although a number of unincorporated areas still exist, which the state administers directly; the economy of Victoria is diversified, with service sectors including financial and property services, education, retail and manufacturing constitute the majority of employment. Victoria's total gross state product ranks second in Australia, although Victoria ranks fourth in terms of GSP per capita because of its limited mining activity. Culturally, Melbourne hosts a number of museums, art galleries, theatres, is described as the world's sporting capital; the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the largest stadium in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The ground is considered the "spiritual home" of Australian cricket and Australian rules football, hosts the grand final of the Australian Football League each year, drawing crowds of 100,000.
Nearby Melbourne Park has hosted the Australian Open, one of tennis' four Grand Slam events, annually since 1988. Victoria has eight public universities, with the oldest, the University of Melbourne, dating from 1853. Victoria, like Queensland, was named after Queen Victoria, on the British throne for 14 years when the colony was established in 1851. After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788, Australia was divided into an eastern half named New South Wales and a western half named New Holland, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney; the first British settlement in the area known as Victoria was established in October 1803 under Lieutenant-Governor David Collins at Sullivan Bay on Port Phillip. It consisted of 402 people, they had been sent from England in HMS Calcutta under the command of Captain Daniel Woodriff, principally out of fear that the French, exploring the area, might establish their own settlement and thereby challenge British rights to the continent.
In 1826, Colonel Stewart, Captain Samuel Wright, Lieutenant Burchell were sent in HMS Fly and the brigs Dragon and Amity, took a number of convicts and a small force composed of detachments of the 3rd and 93rd regiments. The expedition landed at Settlement Point, on the eastern side of Western Port Bay, the headquarters until the abandonment of Western Port at the insistence of Governor Darling about 12 months afterwards. Victoria's next settlement was on the south west coast of what is now Victoria. Edward Henty settled Portland Bay in 1834. Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman, who set up a base in Indented Head, John Pascoe Fawkner. From settlement, the region around Melbourne was known as the Port Phillip District, a separately administered part of New South Wales. Shortly after, the site now known as Geelong was surveyed by Assistant Surveyor W. H. Smythe, three weeks after Melbourne, and in 1838, Geelong was declared a town, despite earlier European settlements dating back to 1826
Apollo University Lodge
Apollo University Lodge No 357 is a Masonic Lodge based at the University of Oxford aimed at past and present members of the university. It was consecrated in 1819, its members have met continuously since then. Membership of the lodge is restricted to those who have matriculated as members of the University of Oxford; the Lodge's historic records, from its foundation until 2005, are housed in the university's Bodleian Library. The lodge is a part of university social life, but is involved in other areas of university life through projects such as the Apollo Bursary, administered by the university, through which lodge members provide financial support to certain students. Due to its association with the university it has had famous members such as Cecil Rhodes, Oscar Wilde, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. To celebrate the bicentenary of the Lodge in 2019, a comprehensive history book has been prepared, it will be published in February 2019 by the Bodleian Oxford. Entitled "Oxford Freemasons: A Social History of the Apollo University Lodge", the book has been co-authored by Professor Joe Mordaunt Crook, C.
B. E. F. B. A. A celebrated architectural historian, former Slade Professor and Waynflete Lecturer at the University Oxford, former Public Orator and Professor of Architectural History at the University of London, Dr James Daniel, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the Lodge for over fifty years, is a former Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England; the Lodge has traditionally enjoyed certain privileges, including the right to initiate matriculated members of the University regardless of their age, the right to initiate candidates in large groups. In 2005 the Universities Scheme was established, inspired by the long success of Apollo University Lodge and Isaac Newton University Lodge, now brings similar privileges to more than seventy university masonic lodges in universities across England and Wales. Apollo University Lodge is the principal masonic lodge for members of the University of Oxford. Other University lodges include Churchill Lodge No 478 for senior members of the university, St Mary Magdalen Lodge No 1523 for members of Magdalen College and Aedes Christi Lodge No 9304 for members of Christ Church, Oxford.
The Oxford and Cambridge Lodge No 1118 is a London-based lodge for members of both universities. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales Jonathan Baker Henry Barnes, 2nd Baron Gorell William Wither Beach Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Earl of Lathom Ulick de Burgh, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde Peter Butler Charles Canning, 1st Earl Canning Esmé Chinnery John Stanhope Collings-Wells VC George Bernard Cronshaw William Ellison-Macartney Godfrey Elton George Finch Frederick Halsey Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon Samuel Reynolds Hole Osbert Lancaster Lambert Blackwell Larking Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany Richard Lewis Walter Long, 1st Viscount Long Roger Lumley, 11th Earl of Scarbrough Charles Lyell Duncan Mackinnon Schomberg Kerr McDonnell Tony Marchington Roger Makins Nevil Story Maskelyne Charles Thomas Mills Eric Archibald McNair VC John Norwood VC Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland Arthur Porritt, Baron Porritt Cecil Rhodes Matthew White Ridley, 2nd Viscount Ridley Oliver Russell, 2nd Baron Ampthill Daniel Sandford Ernest Hamilton Sharp Lord Alexander Thynne Henry Tizard Hugh Trevor-Roper Henry Baker Tristram Henry de Vere Vane, 9th Baron Barnard Oscar Wilde Watkin Williams
Cannes is a city located on the French Riviera. It is a commune located in the Alpes-Maritimes department, host city of the annual Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity; the city is known for its association with the rich and famous, its luxury hotels and restaurants, for several conferences. On 3 November 2011 it played host to the G20 organisation of industrialised nations. By the 2nd century BC, the Ligurian Oxybii established a settlement here known as Aegitna. Historians are unsure; the area was a fishing village used as a port of call between the Lérins Islands. In 69 AD, it became the scene of violent conflict between the troops of Vitellius. In the 10th century, the town was known as Canua; the name may derive from "canna," a reed. Canua was the site of a small Ligurian port, a Roman outpost on Le Suquet hill, suggested by Roman tombs discovered here. Le Suquet housed an 11th-century tower which overlooked swamps. Most of the ancient activity protection, was on the Lérins Islands and the history of Cannes is tied to the history of the islands.
An attack by the Saracens in 891, who remained until the end of the 10th century, devastated the country around Canua. The insecurity of the Lérins islands forced the monks to settle at the Suquet. Construction of a castle in 1035 fortified the city by known as Cannes, at the end of the 11th century construction was started on two towers on the Lérins islands. One took a century to build. Around 1530, Cannes detached from the monks who had controlled the city for hundreds of years and became independent. During the 18th century, both the Spanish and British tried to gain control of the Lérins Islands but were chased away by the French; the islands were controlled by many, such as Jean-Honoré Alziary, the Bishop of Fréjus. They had many different purposes: at the end of the 19th century, one served as hospital for soldiers wounded in the Crimean War. Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux bought land at the Croix des Gardes and constructed the villa Eleonore-Louise, his work to improve living conditions attracted the English aristocracy, who built winter residences.
At the end of the 19th century, several railways were completed, which prompted the arrival of streetcars. In Cannes, projects such as the Boulevard Carnot and the rue d'Antibes were carried out. After the closure of the Casino des Fleurs, a luxury establishment was built for the rich winter clientele, the Casino Municipal next to the pier Albert-Edouard; this casino was demolished and replaced by the new Palace in 1979. In the 20th century, new luxury hotels such as the Carlton, Martinez, JW Marriott Cannes were built; the city was modernised with a sports centre, a post office, schools. There were fewer German tourists after the First World War but more Americans. Winter tourism gave way to summer tourism and the summer casino at the Palm Beach was constructed; the city council had the idea of starting an international film festival shortly before World War II. The first opened on 20 September 1946. Cannes has a Mediterranean climate and the city enjoys 11 hours of sunshine per day during summer, while in winter the weather is mild.
Both seasons see a low rainfall and most rain occurs during October and November, when 110 mm falls. Cannes summers are long and warm, with summer daytime temperatures hitting 30 °C, while average temperatures are about 25 °C. Temperatures remain high from June to the busiest time of the year. Mean temperatures drop below 10 °C for only three months of the year; the spring and autumn are warm, although more suited to those who prefer cooler weather. The area around Cannes has developed into a high-tech cluster; the technopolis of Sophia Antipolis lies in the hills beyond Cannes. The Film Festival is a major event for the industry which takes place every year during the month of May. In addition, Cannes hosts other major annual events such as the MIPIM, MIPTV, MIDEM, Cannes Lions, the NRJ Music Awards. There is an annual television festival in the last week in September; the economic environment is based on tourism, business fairs and aviation. Cannes has 6,500 companies, of which 3,000 are traders and service providers.
In 2006, 421 new companies were registered. Cannes hosts the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center, headquarters of Thales Alenia Space, the first European satellite manufacturer; the Promenade de la Croisette is the waterfront avenue with palm trees. La Croisette is known for picturesque beaches, cafés and boutiques. Le Suquet, the old town, provides a good view of La Croisette; the fortified tower and Chapel of St Anne house the Musée de la Castre. A distinctive building in Cannes is the Russian Orthodox church; the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence houses artifacts from prehistoric to present, in an 18th-century mansion. The Musée de la Castre has objects from Peruvian relics and Mayan pottery. Other venues include the Musée de la Marine, Musée de la Mer, Musée de la Photographie and Musée International de la Parfumerie. Cannes of the 19th century can still be seen in its grand villas, built to reflect the wealth and standing of their owners and inspired by anything from medieval castles to Roman villas.
They are not open to the public. Lord Brougham's Italianate Villa Eléonore Louise was built between 1835 and 1839. Known as the Quartier des Anglais, this
William Topaz McGonagall was a Scottish weaver and actor. He won notoriety as an bad poet who exhibited no recognition of, or concern for, his peers' opinions of his work, he wrote about 200 poems, including "The Tay Bridge Disaster" and "The Famous Tay Whale", which are regarded as some of the worst in English literature. Groups throughout Scotland engaged him to make recitations from his work, contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many listeners were appreciating McGonagall's skill as a comic music hall character. Collections of his verse remain popular, with several volumes available today. McGonagall has been lampooned as the worst poet in British history; the chief criticisms are that he is unable to scan correctly. His only apparent understanding of poetry was his belief. McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings are considered to generate in his work. Scholars argue that his inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most unintentionally amusing dramatic poetry in the English language.
His work is in a long tradition of narrative ballads and verse written and published about great events and tragedies, circulated among the local population as handbills. In an age before radio and television, their voice was one way of communicating important news to an avid public. William McGonagall's parents and Margaret, were Irish. Throughout his adult life he claimed to have been born in Edinburgh, giving his year of birth variously as 1825 or 1830, but his entry in the 1841 Census gives his place of birth, like his parents', as "Ireland". Biographer Norman Watson suggests that McGonagall may have falsified his place of birth, as a native-born Scotsman would be better treated under the Poor Law of 1845 than one born in Ireland. By looking at census and death records, David Phillips identifies 1825 as the more birth date; the McGonagall family moved several times in search of work spending time in Glasgow and on South Ronaldsay before settling in Dundee around 1840. Here, William was apprenticed to follow his father's trade as a handloom weaver, putting an end to whatever formal education he may have had.
Having learned his trade, McGonagall proceeded to educate himself, taking "great delight in reading books," cheap editions of Shakespeare's plays. On 11 July 1846, he married a fellow mill worker from Stirling. Together they would have two daughters. Despite the industrial revolution making weavers obsolete, McGonagall appeared to prosper, as there was still need for skilled workers to perform tasks of great complexity. Whilst working at the loom, McGonagall would entertain his shopmates with recitations from Shakespeare. On one occasion they paid a local theatre owner to allow him to appear in the title role in a production of Macbeth. Convinced that the actor playing Macduff was jealous of him, McGonagall refused to die in the final act. For this performance, the Book of Heroic Failures awards him the title of the "worst Macbeth" as well as "worst British poet." The turning point in McGonagall's life came in June 1877. Work as a weaver was more difficult to find, his oldest daughter had shamed the family by giving birth to an illegitimate child,:vi, when he was seized with a new inspiration: I seemed to feel as it were a strange kind of feeling stealing over me, remained so for about five minutes.
A flame, as Lord Byron has said, seemed to kindle up my entire frame, along with a strong desire to write poetry. It was so strong, I imagined that a pen was in my right hand, a voice crying, "Write! Write!" He wrote his first poem, "An Address to the Rev. George Gilfillan", displaying the hallmarks that would characterise his work. Gilfillan, himself an untrained and poorly-reviewed polemic Christian preacher who dabbled in poetry, commented admiringly "Shakespeare never wrote anything like this." McGonagall realised if he were to succeed as a poet, he required a patron and wrote to Queen Victoria. He received a letter of rejection, written by a royal functionary, thanking him for his interest.:vii McGonagall took this as praise for his work. During a trip to Dunfermline in 1879, he was mocked by the Chief Templar at the International Organisation of Good Templars, of which McGonagall was a member, who told him his poetry was bad. McGonagall told the man that "it was so bad that Her Majesty had thanked McGonagall for what the Chief Templar had condemned.":viiiThe letter gave McGonagall confidence in his "poetic abilities", he felt his reputation could be enhanced further if he were to give a live performance before the Queen.
In July 1878, he walked from Dundee to Balmoral, a distance of about 60 miles over mountainous terrain and through a violent thunderstorm to perform for Queen Victoria. When he arrived, he announced himself as "The Queen's Poet"; the guards informed him "You're not the Queen's poet! Tennyson is the Queen's poet!". McGonagall presented the letter but had to return home. Undeterred, his poetry writing continued, he reported events to the newspapers, earning some minor recognition.:viiThroughout his life McGonagall campaigned against excessive drinking, appearing in pubs and bars to give edifying poems and speeches. These were popular, the people of Dundee recognising that McGonagall was "so giftedly bad he backed unwittingly in