A celebration of those members of our extended family with creative, artistic and performing talents
Artistic genes have emerged in the extended family in a number of ways. We have a page dedicated to Arthur Junaluska - actor, director, designer and choreographer. (left: his backdrop for the Rose Moon Dance in his Native American Ballet The Dance of the Twelve Moons.) But there are a number of other artistic talents threaded throughout our extended family - musicians, writers, artists and photographers. The talents of some were well recorded in the family to the advantage of posterity. William Edwards, whose family worked in the cotton mills and iron foundries in Lancashire , took up photography and painting in oils, and did well as a portrait painter. An example of his work and a photo of the painter are in the Heard photo gallery. Others are a mystery - Cousin George Turner 1840-1886, son of a bricklayer, described himself as a teacher of drawing and painting in Chelsea in 1871, and as an Art Master in Kendal in 1881. Walter Hattin, b. 1880, from 4 generations of shoemakers, in 1901 census is found lodging at 5 Beaumont Terrace, Paignton, Devon, described as a "Painter's Artist". Walter's artworks have so far eluded me, but other family members' talents are described here. Arthur Junaluska is not the only family member involved with the performing arts. We have musical talents and circus arts represented.
Charles, son of Charles Causley and Laura Bartlett, was born in Launceston, Cornwall on 24 August 1917. His father never recovered from the effects of his time in the trenches and died in 1924, when Charles was seven. His mother had to do menial work to support them; but there were books in the house and he never felt any sense of deprivation.
He was educated at the local elementary school, and then at Launceston College, for which he gained a scholarship. As a youngster he had enjoyed reading and writing poetry. He began a novel at the age of 9. But it was later in his teens, on a first visit to London, that he bought a copy of Siegfried Sassoon's 1919 War Poems and this led him to Robert Graves, Edmund Blunden and Wilfred Owen.
He had just taken his school certificate when his mother announced that she had got him a good job in a builder’s office and he was obliged to leave school at 15. After that he worked for an electrical company, reading all the while and experimenting with writing. His particular admirations were for Hardy and for D. H. Lawrence. At this time too he played the piano in a dance band. His first play, Runaway , was published when he was 19. His second, The Conquering Hero, in the following year.
In 1939 he joined the Navy. He was a coder in the communications department, and was promoted to ordinary coder and eventually to acting petty officer. His life and experiences in the Royal Navy inspired his career as a poet. He began writing poems about his experiences in 1943, partly as a way of withdrawing from the queasiness of seasickness and fear. His first book of poems, Farewell, Aggie Weston, was published in 1951 by Erica Marx’s Hand and Flower Press. Naval service made a deep impression, and many of his later poems are tales of comradeship, adversity and loss. He also wrote a book of sea stories, Hands to Dance and Skylark, named after an old naval order to ratings to work off their high spirits.
On demobilisation Causley trained as a teacher at Peterborough Training College. On qualifying he returned to Launceston to teach in the school where he had studied as a boy. He discovered a skill as a children’s poet that earned him as much recognition as his other writings. Many of his works were published at least from his publishers perspective with a younger readership in mind, though he might not have entirely agreed with this focus. But the publication of Farewell, Aggie Weston had established his reputation as a poet for all ages, and this reputation remained intact throughout his life.
He was to remain in Launceston for the rest of his life, leaving there only rarely. He never married. Despite his reluctance to leave Cornwall he clearly enjoyed the time he twice spent in Perth, Western Australia as a visiting Fellow at the University of Western Australia, and at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada. He wrote with relish about travel in these countries and the United States.
For three years in the mid-1950s he was literary editor of two BBC magazines, Apollo in the West and Signature, and from 1962 to 1966 he was a member of the Arts Council’s poetry panel.
In 1966, his mother suffered a stroke. He chose to nurse her at home for six years until her death. He retired from teaching, a deputy head, in 1976. He published several anthologies of his poetry with updated Collected Poems in 1992, 1997 and 2000. He was much in demand at poetry readings in the United Kingdom. He made many broadcasts and was a regular contributor to BBC Radio Cornwall. He was visiting Fellow in Poetry at Exeter University in 1973/74; in 1977 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the same university.
Causley received many honours. In 1958, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was twice awarded a travelling scholarship by the Society of Authors. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1967, and a Cholmondeley Award in 1971. He won the Ingersoll/TS Eliot Award, and was presented with the Heywood Hill Literary Prize in 2000. He was appointed CBE in 1986 and, in 2001, elected one of the 10 Companions of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature. Over a period of 50 years, he gained a reputation, not only as a major poet, but also as an editor of poetry collections, as a playwright and as a writer of prose. He also collaborated with composers to produce librettos and the setting of many poems to a musical score.
Charles died on 4 November 2003, aged 86. He is buried in Launceston, next to his mother.
The Marvellous Corrick Family of Entertainers were a household name in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1900s. Indeed they toured the world, and references can be found to their appearances in Asia and in the UK (for example at the Athenaeum in Llanelli).
Albert Corrick was born in Street, Somerset, in 1849, the son of John, a shoemaker, and Eliza Corrick, who both worked for Clarks, the already well-established shoe manufacturer. Albert emigrated to New Zealand on the Mermaid, in 1862. He began a career as a music teacher, church organist, composer and performer. He met and married Sarah, nee Calvert, an emigrant from Durham, who taught piano. They opened a music school in Christchurch, and imported sheet music. When the children started to arrive, Albert was determined that they would become musicians, and all were taught instruments. The family started what was to have been a short concert tour during school holidays. It proved so successful that it was extended to all capitals in Australasia; then to the East, and in 1907 to Europe. The line-up comprised "Professor" Albert Corrick (organist, violinist, conductor and teacher), Madam Corrick (contralto, cello), and their children Alice (soprano, piano), Gertrude (piano, cello), Amy (flute, piccolo), Leonard (clarinet and saxophone player, singer of comic songs,and the family projectionist and cinematographer), Ethel (singer, violin), Jessie (singer and violin), Elsie (singer, violin, piano) and Ruby (cornet and French horn). The family were also hand-bell ringers of some note. Alice seems to have been the star, and had already won acclaim with her voice at the age of 17. During a European tour she visited Paris where she received voice coaching under Mme. Machesi.
This extract from a review of their season at the Mechanics Institute that appeared in the Launceston Examiner, 27th May 1902 gives a flavour of their appeal.
"A programme of 16 items was submitted, ...[which] was considerably augmented by encores. The entertainment was not confined exclusively to musical numbers, and occasional variety was afforded by exhibitions of fancy dancing, and the display of a series of interesting biograph pictures. The first number was an overture, "Bohemian Girl" by the company, the instruments consisting of flute, cornet, violins, piano and clarionet. ...The music was of high class quality. Miss Alice Corrick sang the grand scena and aria from "Der Freischutz", and received quite an ovation. For an encore, [she] sang "Soldiers in the Park", and her second number on the programme was "Tell me, my heart". This latter item was well received, and in response to a double encore, Miss Corrick sang "Comin' thro' the Rye" and "The Cows are in the Corn". Madame Corrick, who is possessed of a sympathetic contralto voice, sang "Alone on the Raft" which was illustrated with limelight views... Various selections were played on the hand bells by the company and some excellent music was produced, each item being encored. Miss Ethel Corrick was recalled for her singing of the humorous song "Keep on the Sunny Side" and Professor Corrick sang with good effect "Lads in Navy" which was illustrated with 50 views, descriptive of the words. A clarionet solo, orchestral selections and a number of biograph pictures contributed largely to the success of the entertainment. "
John Boydell (1719-1804) displayed his artistic genes not only in his own work as an engraver, but in his creative approach to engraving, printselling and public taste that was to change the fortunes and roles of engraver and publisher beyond recognition.
The son of a Land Surveyor in Dorrington, Shropshire, at the age of twenty John was fascinated by an engraving by W. H. Toms in Baddeley’s Views of Country Seats, which depicted a neighbouring estate. It prompted him to give up his career and go to London, where he managed to apprentice himself to Toms for seven years. Each day he worked about fourteen hours for Toms and then attended drawing classes at night at the St. Martin’s Lane Academy, and taught himself French and perspective. He bought himself out of his apprenticeship with a year to go, and started his own business. Around 1747, Boydell published his first major work, The Bridge Book, for which he drew and cut each print himself. It cost one shilling and contained six landscapes each of which, featured a bridge, not surprisingly.
He persuaded a number shops to sell his book, and met with such success that very soon he could afford larger plates and was able to make engravings, generally of views in or near London, which he could price at one shilling each.
By 1751 he had completed 152 views in England and Wales, which he sold in collections priced at five guineas each. He had also engraved numerous plates after Old Masters, especially Berghem. Though many of his own engravings, and especially his large shipping scenes on the Thames, are attractive works with strength and merit in design and execution, he thought little of them. When he published A Collection of Views in England and Wales, he remarked in his Preface that he had learnt the art too late to arrive at great perfection. Also in 1751, when he became a member of the Stationers' Company, he started buying other artists' plates and publishing them in addition to his own. He started a small printselling business which did well and in 1752 he moved to Cheapside, where he stayed until his death. As both artist and print dealer, if his own works did not sell well, he could supplement his earnings by trading in the prints of other artists.
As a printseller he resented the fact that when purchasing prints of French engravers they thought so little of English work that he had to pay cash, instead of exchanging prints with them. He determined to change this. He hired William Woollett, the foremost engraver in England, to engrave Richard Wilson’s Destruction of the Children of Niobe. Boydell paid him approximately £100 for the Niobe engraving, an extraordinary fee compared with the going rate for such commissions. The print was hugely successful: Boydell actually sold more than £2,000 worth, but more importantly, the French accepted it as payment in kind. In fact, it was the first British print actively desired on the Continent. Urged on by Boydell, Woollett followed the Niobe with more engravings and in 1776 he had his greatest success when he engraved Benjamin West’s Death of General Wolfe. Though John Boydell held only a third share in the profits from this work until Woollett’s death in 1785, it earned him no less than £15,000 in its first fifteen years.
His creative instinct was undimmed. In 1786 he conceived his crowning achievement. He announced his Shakespeare project, a massive, indeed grandiose undertaking. He determined to commission two series of Shakespearean oil paintings, one large and one small, from all the principal artists of the day; to build a gallery for their permanent exhibition; to publish, without the text, an Imperial Folio collection of engravings after the larger paintings and to publish a Folio edition of Shakespeare’s Dramatic Works with the highest calibre of typographic excellence, illustrated with engravings from the smaller pictures.
My Mother Saw a Dancing Bear
My mother saw a dancing bear
By the schoolyard, a day in June.
The keeper stood with chain and bar
And whistle-pipe, and played a tune.
And bruin lifted up its head
And lifted up its dusty feet,
And all the children laughed to see
It caper in the summer heat.
They watched as for the Queen it died.
They watched it march. They watched it halt.
They heard the keeper as he cried,
“Now, roly-poly!” “Somersault!”
And then, my mother said, there came
The keeper with a begging-cup,
The bear with burning coat of fur,
Shaming the laughter to a stop.
They paid a penny for the dance,
But what they saw was not the show;
Only, in bruin’s aching eyes,
Far-distant forests, and the snow.
Download our family history of Cornish poet Charles Causley
In Australia as well as the cities they would tour the goldfields and the outback to great acclaim. The daughters were famous for their glamorous stage gowns, often embroidered with Indian silver thread, and made in Paris.
After 1900 they began to introduce a biograph show into their act (magic lantern slides) which very soon was supplemented with moving films. Son Leonard took responsibility for this part of the act, and became skilled in film-making, for the Corricks included films they had made themselves, as well as showing commercially acquired short films. In the 1970s the Corrick Collection of over 100 early films, including their own, was presented to the Australian National Film and Sound Archive. For some time, also, the family provided the musical accompaniment to the silent films in the Princess Theatre in Launceston, Tasmania. Albert died in Launceston in 1914. The family settled there after his death and performed occasionally for charity. They last appeared together in 1932. Sarah died in Launceston in 1935. Alice's son was to marry our Crocker descendant, Elsie Jackson.
These two very different poems were both written by George Donald, 1800-1851.
George Donald, about 1840
Published in Songs for the Nursery, in Whistle-Binkie,
pub. Robertson & Co., Glasgow, 1840
(and the source for much of the information on George)
CHEETIE! cheetie pussie!
Slippin’ thro' the housie,
Watchin' frighted mousie—
Makin' little din;
Or by fireside currin',
Sang contented purrin',
Come awa' to Mirren,
Wi’ your velvet skin!
Bonny baudrons ! grup it !
Straik it weel an' clap it!
See the milk, it's lappit,
Ilka drap yestreen;
Hear to hungry cheetie!
Mewlin' for its meatie,
Pussie, what a pity
Ye shou'd want a frien'!
Throw the cat a piecie,
Like a kindly lassie,
Ne'er be proud and saucy,
Hard an' thrawn like Jean;
Doggie wants a share o't,
If ye've ony mair o't,
Just a wee bit spare o't,
An' you're mither's queen!
Cheetie! cheetie pussie !
"Watchin’ frighted mousie,—
Slippin' thro' the housie
Wi your glancin' een;
Or by fireside currin',
Sang contented purrin',
Come awa' to Mirren,
Tell her whare you've been!
SONGS FOR THE PEOPLE No V
George Donald, 1840
Published in The Chartist Circular, January 11th 1840
What is a Chartist – is he one
Whose creed is anarchy and spoil?
Is blood the basis of his plan,
And does he ply the impostor’s guile?
He dares the authors of his ills
From word or action to infer
That these compose his principles-
That this is like his character.
He, with indignant sorrow hears
The prayer of want and wail of woe
Fall heedless on the tyrant’s ears,
And swears that such shall not be so.
Along the city’s crowded streets,
And in the once contented cot,
The willing sons of toil he meets,
Now unemployed, and weeps their lot.
By foul corruption’s lavish waste –
By faction’s lust for power and place,
He sees his land to ruin haste,
And strives to save it from disgrace.
He knows that men are equals born,
But sees the many by the few
Are of their birthright basely shorn,
And holds the robbery up to view.
He says that all should have the choice
Of those for them that legislate;
For well he knows the people’s voice
Their wrongs alone can terminate
He says – and wealth at this may storm-
That there is many a wealthy fool;
And rank and riches should not form
The right of any one to rule.
Oppression in its every guise,
Against the body or the mind,
He hates, and fain would exercise
Good will and peace to all mankind.
This is a Chartist – who will say
His claims are wicked and unjust?
Keep patriot, then, your conquering way,
Till opposition bites the dust.
Soon happiness and liberty
Shall crown the battle you have fought,
And Whig and Tory only be
Remembered by the wrongs they wrought.
Be steadfast in your glorious cause,
Tho’ here and there some victims fall,
Till equal rights and equal laws
Shall be secured to one and all
George Donald, was born in Calton of Glasgow, in 1800. His ancestors were from the Western Highlands. His father was a tenter (mechanic) in one of the power loom factories in Calton. At the age of 8 George worked with his father for 14 hours a day, 6 days a week with an hour and a half for meals. Because he exhibited a passion for reading he was allowed to attend school for two hours a day by the factory manager. This mean education was enough to inspire his writing, and to nurture the independent mind that prompted his radicalism.
There had been rebellion and unrest in Scotland in the late 18th century, and the rumblings of rebellion flared up again in 1820, with a widely supported general strike. At Paisley 300 armed radicals closed the mills. George was inspired by and participated in this radical rebellion. The family believe that George had to leave Scotland for some time as a result of his part in this uprising. There is no evidence of this. But in 1826 the Thornliebank factory closed as a result of the economic depression, and George lost his job. He went to Ireland with the family, where he was employed as a manager, but could not settle and returned to Scotland.
George settled the family in Glasgow again. He had become became an ardent advocate for religious and civil liberty,was an enthusiastic Chartist, and was writing poems for the many political journals in circulation. In turn his literary efforts opened the door to a radical social circle, and he became well known to the liberal political leaders of Glasgow. Unfortunately the social habits of this group were as enthusiastic as their political beliefs, and George entered too willingly into the drinking habits of the set. Eventually although he threw himself into his writing, he similarly embraced his drinking, and he began to neglect his family. His wife Mary left with the children. Son George was later to write of this separation from his father.
George's eldest son, George Donald Jnr. could not forgive the privations that his father's lifestyle had imposed on the family. He was obliged to begin work in the calico printfield at the age of 12 as a calico print colourist apprentice. But he had inherited his father's poetic gift, and whilst working at a succession of jobs he attended the Glasgow School of Arts in the evenings and submitted poems and articles to newspapers and journals. At the evening school he was latterly appointed a monitor- teaching for one hour, and receiving free instruction during the next. Eventually he was to serve for 11 years as a journalist for the Glasgow Examiner. But he was also the proprietor of a Temperance Hotel, and for 23 years the Assistant Inspector and Inspector for the administration of the Poor Law for the Govan Parochial Board. The family story is that this George too became an alcoholic. His last recorded job in the 1891 census was as a clerk. He died in 1893 at the age of 66. George's son married g-g-great aunt Elizabeth Berry's granddaughter.
In the course of his life, as well as poetry, George Donald Jnr published prose sketches, tales, literary reviews, etc., in newspapers, periodicals, and magazines. He taught himself French, and published translations of French verse. In 1865 he published a collection of his work in Poems Reflective, Descriptive and Miscellaneous, including some very personal poems, some Scottish poems, and some of his translations. It received mixed reviews.
The following poems are the work of son George Donald, 1826-1893
Published in Scottish Modern Poets, Volume 2,
Our Ain Green Shaw
They tell me o’ a land where the sky is ever clear,
Where rivers row ower gowden sands, and flowers unfading blaw.
But, O, nae joys o’ Nature to me are half sae dear
As the flowrets bloomin’ wild in our ain green shaw.
They speak o’ gilded palaces, o’lords and leddies fair,
And scenes that charm the weary heart in cities far awa’,
But nane o’ a’ their gaudy shows and pleasures can compare
Wi’ the happiness that dwells in our ain green shaw.
O weel I lo’e when Summer comes wi’ sunny days and glee,
And brings to gladden ilka heart her rural pleasures a’,
When on the thorn the mavis sings, and gowans deck the lea,-
O there’s nae spot then sae bonnie as our ain green shaw.
While heaven supplies my simple wants, and leave me still my cot,
I’ll bear through life a cheerfu’ heart whatever may befa’,
Nor ency ithers’ joys, but aye be canty wi’ my lot
When wanderin’ in the e’en through our ain green shaw.
LIGHT of my soul! O, turn on me
To A—— W-——.
[presumably his wife-to-be Agnes Wilson]
|In March 1877 it was announced in the Essex Standard, West Suffolk Gazette, and Eastern Counties' Advertiser that student Octavius Ralling had been successful in the Freehand and Model Drawing Night Art Classes of the Colchester Literary Institution. My Uncle Bob's grandfather, I've not been able to discover much about the life of Octavius, or even too much about his professional work. But there are plenty of surviving examples of his draughtsmanship for us to admire the skill that won acclaim for the 19 year-old student - albeit in what was effectively the family newspaper! The eighth son of Thomas Ralling, a journalist and newspaper proprietor, Octavius was born in Colchester in 1858. His father had started his working life in a print works, before becoming a journalist and then gaining part ownership of the paper. However, the Rallings were no more than modestly well off. And the family suffered several tragedies. His father died when Octavius was 11. Suffering from TB, he cut his throat, thus hastening his death from the disease according to the coroner. Octavius's mother died when he was 16. And two weeks after Octavius's success in freehand drawing was being praised by his journalist brother in the newspaper, his eldest sister Rosa hanged herself in the family home. By the time of the 1881 census and Octavius and his younger brother Ernest were living with their eldest brother Thomas and his family in Colchester. Aged 22, Octavius was described as an Architect's Assistant.|
||His elder brother James had gone to Exeter in around 1880 to manage an iron monger's shop, accompanied by his sister Emmeline. James and Emmeline lived at first at 110 Bath Road. In the same house was a retired tailor George Spratt, with his daughters and granddaughters, all teachers. By 1884 Octavius was also settled in Exeter. We read of him and brother James actively participating in an Exeter Parliamentary Debating Society. He was employed first by Exeter Architect R. Medley Fulford in cathedral yard. In 1888 Octavius married one of the teacher granddaughters from James's early lodgings, Ellen Brown. At about the time of his marriage Octavius was in practice alone, working at 17 Castle Street, but by the time of the 1891 census he was in partnership with Lewis Tonar in an architect's practice in Bedford Circus, Exeter.
The surviving records give testament to Octavius's civic, ecclesiastical and commercial work. He may have done much private work, but there is scant surviving evidence for that. An early success with his civic work was for the Public Rooms in Bodmin. In January 1891 it was announced that Ralling and Tonar's joint design had won the competition against 16 others for the new civic building. Its style has been described as free Gothic.
Their work for commercial clients met with local approval, for example in 1891 and 1893 the local paper, Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, praised the design work of Tonar and Ralling for Exeter shops in the High Street (chemist Wynne Tighe's shop) and in Fore Street Hill (to be occupied by Lipton's ). The partnership undertook much work for local churches, including, for example, restoring the nave and east window of St John the Baptist at Withycombe Raleigh in 1925-1928.
In 1892 Ralling and Tonar won a high profile contract in Exeter when they were appointed as architects for the city's Tepid Swimming Baths. There was much made of this project in the local Press, general opinion being that public swimming baths for Exeter were long overdue and that they would be a real asset for the city. The baths were opened in September 1893, with a pool of 75 ft x30ft, 7ft deep end with diving board, 3ft 3ins shallow end, a gallery for 500 spectators, hot and cold douche and slipper baths, 42 changing rooms, meeting rooms, and laundry facilities. They were located centrally, behind the High Street, more or less where the car park of the central library now stands. Despite the publicity that attended the baths' arrival they were never a huge commercial success and never made any money for their shareholders. The City Council acquired them in 1911, and they were destroyed by bombs in the Exeter blitz of May 1942.
The architecture of the Tepid Baths was clearly not thought to have affected their commercial success, for in May 1897 the foundation stone was laid for Exeter's Turkish Baths, in Northernhay Street. which were also to be constructed to the designs of Ralling and Tonar. (In Pollards Official Guide to Exeter of 1894, Tonar and Ralling are actually described as "designers of swimming baths". These baths opened in May 1898. The exterior had an "arcaded front" to the first floor; the interior had cooling rooms, plunge baths with douche and spraying equipment, and two hot rooms. On the first floor were private cubicles, and an open piazza surrounded by bays. On the top floor were bedrooms which were to be rented by the Rougemont Hotel which stood alongside the baths - these bedrooms could be accessed directly from the hotel. The interior was decorated with mosaics, and white glazed bricks with blue banding.
|At about the same time that they were working on plans for the Turkish baths Ralling and Tonar were completing the design of the new Oddfellows Hall, in Catherine Street, Exeter, just a stone's throw from their Bedford Circus offices. They commissioned the builder, Brealy. The foundation stone was laid in June 1896 by Brother P.G. Mansfield, who had been presented with a mallet and silver trowel by Octavius to perform the task. The inaugural meeting was held in the Hall in September 1896.
|A major commission for Ralling and Tonar, and one that was probably dear to Octavius's heart was the restoration of St Nicholas Priory, Exeter. The Benedictine Priory was dedicated in 1087, and the small community of monks there played an active part in city life until the Priory was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536. Some of the buildings were demolished and a remnant became the home for a wealthy Elizabethan family. It remained a family home until the nineteenth century when it was converted into five dwellings. The building deteriorated over time, and by the early twentieth century what were effectively tenements had become more and more dilapidated. In 1913 the Corporation purchased the building: Ralling and Tonar were given the job of restoration. Octavius had been interested in the building long before getting the contract for the restoration as he had made several sketches of the Priory in the 1890s. The project took from 1913 to 1916. Ralling and Tonar were assisted by Harold Brakspear who was a medieval architectural historian. Octavius maintained a hands-on involvement with the work throughout the restoration. When it was completed the Corporation opened the Priory as a museum. Still a museum, further restoration has been carried out in the 21st Century, and the interior is now furnished and decorated to represent an Elizabethan town house.||
|Sketch of St Nicholas Priory by Ralling from 1890s and plans for the 1913-1916 restoration. Source: Westcountry Studies Library (Devon Library Services)|
|Above: A courtyard in Cathedral Close. Source: Westcountry Studies Library (Devon Library Services)||Above left: house in North Street, Exeter and above right: St Nicholas Priory, crypt. Source: Westcountry Studies Library (Devon Library Services)|
|It is evident that as well as professional plans and drawings Octavius enjoyed sketching, particularly old buildings, and seized opportunities to indulge his pastime. He certainly sold his sketches for book and magazine illustrations. And in the 1896 Xmas edition of the Exeter Flying Post, Mr. T. Upward of Queen Street was advertising "private Xmas cards, including the new Exeter Card (sketch of the city by Octavius Ralling)" At the following Xmas the same gentleman was advertising cards with " a variety of charming Exeter views sketched by Mr. Octavius Ralling."
In 1910 the Exeter Pictorial Record Society was established to collect pictorial representations of the most interesting features of Exeter. The collection contains paintings, prints, drawings, maps as well as photographs. Octavius contributed sketches to this record of the city.
|Octavius was also greatly interested in politics. From his early appearance in Exeter in 1884 in the Parliamentary Debating Society, of which he was a leading member, he became an active Conservative - his name often appearing as a seconder or assentor of candidates for national and municipal elections. He was prominent in the affairs of the Working Men's Society, which despite its name was a Conservative group; he was for years the Hon. Secretary of an Exeter branch of the Primrose League - an organisation established to promote Conservative politics; he was vice-president of the St John's Ward Conservative Association. Indeed he may have allowed his political life to stray into his professional life, as in 1890 he was the architect for the new Thorverton and Cadbury Conservative Club building, which was later to become Thorverton Memorial Hall.
It may be that Octavius's involvement in politics was owed in part to the social aspects of his activities. When he was still in Colchester in his 20s the newspaper carried reports of his performances in local amateur dramatic performances. Just like his love of sketching, his interest in treading the boards never left him, for the Exeter newspapers reported his participation in plays, sketches and concert parties over the years, some of them organised by Octavius himself, and often in connection with his political activities. On occasions he was joined by his wife, and by his eldest daughter, a singer and pianist, who appeared to share his love of the limelight. In 1893 Mr. and Mrs. Ralling were in a concert party at Ide. The following reports a concert for the Working Men's Society in Exeter in the same year. (Trewman's Exeter Flying post 16 Dec. 1893).
|He was one of the longest standing members of the Devon and Exeter Architectural Society, being for a while its hon. treasurer. He was also a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was a Freemason, but he certainly never reached the illustrious ranks of the order achieved by his brother Thomas. It is evident that despite the family tragedies that blighted his youth, Octavius was able to lead a prosperous, fulfilled and apparently happy life. He was married to Ellen for 38 years. They had six children who survived to adulthood, and the evidence suggests their marriage was a happy one. Three of Octavius's sons left England to work as planters, brokers, merchants and traders in Africa, South America and the Far East, though each of them served in France in the First War. Ellen died in 1926, and Octavius died less than three years later on 1 February 1929. They were buried together in Exeter Higher cemetery. Sadly the grave stone has now been cleared, so there is no marker for Octavius's final resting place. But he left his mark on the architectural heritage of Devon and Cornwall, and thankfully, despite Hitler and later developers, some of that survives still, along with his drawings, as a legacy of his passion for his adopted county, and his talent.||
|Thanks to the Westcountry Studies Library, Plymouth Library Services, St Nicholas Priory and Exeter Memories for help with illustrations.|
Cheryl has since appeared on television in Supernatual, Hi De Hi, Sorry, Some You Win, Zigger Zagger, Our Young Mr. Wignell, The Eleventh Hour, Brookside, Midnight at the Starlight, Rich Deceiver, Live at the Liverdrone and Blue Haven. She also made guest appearances on This Morning, Classic Coronation Street, Wire TV's Soap Show, GMTV and This Is Your Life. In 1998 she took the role of vet's wife Mrs. Parker in Emmerdale but found the strain of work too hard so she was replaced by actress Lottie Ward. She played the eldest daughter of Billie Whitelaw and sister of Smiths fan Lucette Henderson in the video "Everyday Is Like Sunday" by Morrissey.
Cheryl married her first husband, surveyor, Ian Murray in 1970 but they later divorced. She married second husband management consultant Colin Jacobs and their only child Louise was born in 1981. The couple later divorced.
Evidently William's passion was one that he took seriously. He ground his own lens, and built his own cameras. And although he may have been an amateur, the commercial potential for his hobby cannot have gone unremarked, as his daughter Jane was described as a "photographic artist" in the 1861 census. William was reluctant to give up his successful thatching business, as he was recorded there as a thatcher still. The attic of his High Street house acted as darkroom-cum-observatory to foster his career and hobby. Certainly in the town he was regarded as the local photographer, whatever his occupation, and he was invited to photograph events of significance, such as the record of the Town Band, perhaps helped by his daughter: and in the early 1860s, of the laying of the foundation stone of Searle Street, a development of smart new villas and a new thoroughfare in the centre of the town (below).
By the mid 1860s the local press were describing William as "our skilful townsman" and his work as "excellent specimens of the photographic art". On 1st October 1869 there was a review of William's business in Photographic News. In the 1871 census William at his High Street premises described himself as Thatcher and Photographer
His son John was living a few doors away carrying on his business as Painter and Glazier. His son William was living with his parents, his occupation Organist. (Their neighbour was carpenter William Fey) By the early 1870s the business was well established. By 1878 not only did he have the Crediton business, but had opened at Fore Street, Okehampton. By 1881 William had given up thatching, and described himself in the census as a Photographer. His daughter Amelia is his Assistant, still at 40 High Street.
Phillip Boydell was born on 21 May 1896 in a working class terraced two-up-two-down in Tyldesley Lancashire, to Oliver Boydell (a master decorator) and Merinda.
After qualifying for his Diploma in 1922 he took a part- time job a a teacher at the Croydon School of Art, and then additional part-time teaching at Blackheath School of Art. In 1923 he married sculptor Bertha "Bill" White, in Tyldesley. Having been offered a full time job with Rowntree's of York he decided he wanted to maintain his position as part time teacher and supplement this with freelance design work, so Rowntree offered him work as a freelance design consultant. Difficulties with his agent prompted him to look for a commercial job, which he quickly found at Publicity Arts Ltd, and advertising agency in St Martin's Lane, London. He initially combined this with a year's part time work with the RCA, and continued with his teaching at Croydon, but in 1926 he was offered the position of Art Director at the London Press Exchange, Publicity Arts' parent company, for the princely sum of £975 per annum - a good salary then. He gave up his teaching and settled into the role that he was to fill one way or another for the rest of his working life. He had fallen into a career in advertising. In those days he would have been described as a commercial artist, whereas today he would be described as a graphic designer and advertising artist. But alongside that career, his hobby was landscape painting, and he followed that as passionately as he did his career.
He stayed with the London Press Exchange for the rest of his life. In World War II the agency collaborated with its former competitors on government advertising and propaganda. It was during this period that Phillip created an image that was to be famous around the world. There was concern at the way the public were wasting money when it was in the nation's interests that they invested in savings bonds. Whilst off work with the flu Boydell conceived the idea of the Squander Bug (originally the Money Bug)- a nasty creature who encouraged wasteful expenditure. It was to feature on posters and in cartoons and in newspapers both in the UK, and then later in the USA, and in Australia in adapted versions.
After the war the Labour Government sought to reduce death on the roads. Boydell was art director for the campaign for road safety. The poster he conceived - the Black Widow - aroused controversy for its chilling nature and direct approach. Questions were asked in Parliament and the poster was withdrawn.
In 1950 he designed the typeface that was to be the official display type for The Festival of Britain in 1951. Festival Titling was used in all the communications for the festival. It was cut by Monotype in 1950 and was made available for general use in 1952.
In 1951 he was elected President of the Advertising Creative Circle. His work for the London Press Exchange took him to South Africa and the USA. But he and Bill loved above all other travel their visits to France and from 1947 on they had managed to visit the country for touring holidays twice every year. Whilst there he painted many landscapes. On his first trip after the war he painted the landscape of Rouen outside his hotel. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy and purchased by the JCR of Trinity College, Oxford.
In 1961 Phillip joined the Board of Directors of the London Press Exchange';s parent company. He retired shortly after.
His wife Bill suffered a long and incapacitating illness, and died in 1977. Phillip Boydell died at home in Putney in 1984.
Ray Heard 1948-2010 Singer and musician, played in a band performing traditional and modern folk. Sadly missed cousin.
William Wallace Andrew 1891-1939 William sang in the Glasgow cathedral choir, and also played the organ there. His wife Agnes sang contralto in the choir. Great grandson of poet George Donald (senior).
Gavin McLean Andrew 18796-1978. Brother of William Wallace above, Gavin was described as a musician. He died in Vancouver.
Minnie Alby née Mitchell 1868-1918 was an artist by profession, best known for her landscapes. Granddaughter of William Hector, she lived in Wisconsin USA
Victor Jack Stone 1895-1961 was for some years the lead violinist with the orchestra of the Toowoomba Philharmonic Society, Queensland, Australia.
Lewis Wills 1868-1942 sang in the Wandsworth Male Voice Choir, and the choir of Grafton Street Congregational Church
Francis Bellringer A.R.C.M. 1896-1974 was an organist and conductor in Derbyshire at Trent College.
William Edwards 1881-? was a painter from Lancashire. Our family still have some of his portraits.
William Cann 1832-1886. William lived his life in Exeter, the nephew of wrestler Abe Cann. He was described as a musician. We know no more about him.
Frank Ralph Conibear 1896-1988. Frank was a trapper in the North West Territories of Canada. As well as designing a humane trap that bears his name, he was also an author. He began writing pamphlets and books based on his keen observations of forest animals. Devil Dog was modelled after one of his lead dogs. His best-known book is The Wise One, a story about the adventurous life of a black beaver, co-authored with J.L. Blundell and published in 1949. He sold the rights of one book he wrote to Walt Disney.
William Coverly Mitchell 1834-1908. William married Jane Hector, daughter of William, the photographer. He too was a successful photographer. He also described himself as an artist in his early life.
Rosetta Bland 1825-1875. Wife of Thomas Ralling was a music teacher, and gave performances on the piano.
Anna Airy 1882-1964 was a very distant cousin to our Helmores, and possibly to our Linscotts too. She was an oil painter, pastel artist and etcher, working in Britain. She was born in Greenwich, London, daughter of engineer Wilfrid Airy and Anna née Listing, and granddaughter of Astronomer Royal Sir George Biddell Airy. She attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where she was taught by Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer. She was one of the first women officially commissioned as a war artist. In June 1918 the Munitions Committee of the Imperial War Museum commissioned four paintings by Airy representing typical scenes in four munitions factories. These include A Shell Forge at a National Projectile Factory, Hackney Marshes, London (below), featured in the Museum's 2011-2012 exhibition Women War Artists.
Rather than a creator, here is the subject of creativity - perhaps. The traditional Devonshire song, Widecombe Fair, collected by Sabine -Gould, tells of the doomed journey of Old Uncle Tom Cobley and his friends to Widecombe Fair. Many believe that the original Tom Cobley died in Spreyton, in 1794. My research has identified a Spreyton Tom Cobley of this date of death who was married to a Mary Heard, not a direct ancestor of ours: but that Tom was an ancestor of one of our Linscott family and like them had connections with Colebrooke.