Gretna Green, or is it Headless Cross?

Main Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1899*
Gretna Green
Gretna Green – the village famous for runaway weddings.

Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings, hosting over 5,000 weddings each year in the Gretna/Gretna Green area, and according to the BBC, one in every six Scottish weddings.  It is situated in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh.

It has been reported that Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act  became law in England. Under the Act, if a parent of a person under the age of 21 objected, they could prevent the marriage going ahead. The new law tightened up the requirements for marrying in England and Wales but did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 with or without parental consent. By the 1770s, with the construction of a toll road passing through the hitherto obscure village of Graitney (Gretna), that Gretna Green became the first easily reachable village over the Scottish border. The Old Blacksmith’s Shop, built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Shop (1710) became the focal points for the marriage trade. The Old Blacksmith’s opened to the public as a visitor attraction as early as 1887.

The local blacksmith and his anvil have become the lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings. Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages”, meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony.
To seal the marriage the blacksmith would bring down his hammer upon the anvil. The ringing sound heard throughout the village would signify that another couple had been joined in marriage.
The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests”, culminating with Richard Rennison, who performed 5,147 ceremonies.

Since 1929, both parties in Scotland have had to be at least 16 years old, but they still may marry without parental consent. In England and Wales, the age for marriage is now 16 with parental consent and 18 without.

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Map of the week – Ned Ludd did it!

Main Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1886
Anstey, Leicestershire – Home of Ned Ludd.
Map of Anstey - First Luddite

Anstey is a large village in Leicestershire, England, located north west of Leicester in the borough of Charnwood with a population was about 6,000.
Known as the Gateway to Charnwood Forest, Anstey has another claim to fame, or infamy, in the shape of one Ned Ludd.

On the 9th of October 1779 Ned Ludd, an apprentice stocking maker, reportedly angered by the threat to his livelihood (according to one version), or annoyed at his father giving him a beating, destroyed a number of stocking frames with a hammer. News of the incident spread, and later whenever frames were sabotaged in protest at the growing industrialisation of their trades, people would jokingly say “Ned Ludd did it”.

Little detail is known about the first ‘Luddite’ attack in 1779, indeed in reality the true Luddite movement did not begin until the beginning of the 19th century. The Luddites were textile workers who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the craftsmen with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.

When the Luddites first took up their hammers, 32 years after the first attack, Ned’s identity was appropriated to become the folklore character of Captain Ludd, also known as King Ludd or General Ludd, the Luddites’ alleged leader and founder and who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.

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Map of the week – A bat, ball and plenty of gas

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1875 The Oval Cricket Ground.
The Oval Kennington

The Oval is an international cricket ground in Kennington, South London. Home of Surrey County Cricket Club and a historical venue for many other sports.

In 1844, Kennington Oval was a market garden. The Oval was then (and still is) owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. In 1845, the Surry County Cricket Club signed a lease ‘to convert it into a subscription cricket ground’, for 31 years at a rent of £120 per annum plus taxes. Additional costs included 10,000 grass turfs from Tooting Common purchased for £300 to create its first ever playing surface.

By 1868 the game and the ground had grown and 20,000 spectators gathered at the Oval for the first game of the Aboriginal cricket tour of England, the first tour of England by any foreign side. Thanks to C. W. Alcock, the Secretary of Surrey from 1872 to 1907, the first ever Test match in England was played at the Oval in 1880 between England and Australia. The Oval thereby became the second ground to stage a Test, after the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Australia.

In 1882, Australia won the ‘Ashes Test’, at the Oval, by seven runs within two days. The Sporting Times printed a mock obituary notice for English cricket, leading to the creation of the Ashes trophy. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and ‘the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia’. The English media dubbed the next English tour to Australia (1882–83) as the quest to regain the Ashes.

In addition to cricket, it has hosted many other important sporting occasions and can lay claim to be the most historically important general sports ground in the world. In 1870 it staged the first ever England football international, against Scotland. In 1876 it held England v Wales and England v Scotland rugby internationals, and in 1877 rugby’s first Varsity match.

It staged the first FA Cup final in 1872 when the Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1–0. This final was notable for the Engineers’ modern footballing style of teamwork rather than individual play. The ground hosted all subsequent FA Cup finals (1873 excluded) up until 1892.

Other events to be held at the Oval include Hockey, Australian Rules and a was even used as a training ground for a visiting American Football team.

The famous gas holders just outside the Oval’s wall are actually newer than the ground by several years, having been built around 1853. Now disused, there has been much speculation of late as to whether they should be demolished; however, many believe they are an integral part of the Oval’s landscape and therefore their future looks secure.
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Cassini’s map of week – Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace 1878 – Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2,500

buckinghampalace2

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today’s palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years.

It was acquired by George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, and known as “The Queen’s House”. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard.

Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; the Queen’s Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.

buckinghampalace-todayThe Palace at the time of the above map had a facade of soft French stone that became blackened over the years due to pollution. The familiar white Portland stone facade of the Palace that we see today wasn’t added until 1913 by Architect Sir Aston Webb.

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Lions, Vesuvius and a parachuting monkey

Map: Cassini Maps – Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1875
Surrey Zoological Gardens

Royal Surrey Gardens – Surrey Zoological Gardens and the Surrey Music Hall

Royal Surrey Gardens were pleasure gardens in Kennington, London opened in 1832, comprising of the Surrey Zoological Gardens and later the Surrey Music Hall. The gardens occupied 15 acres to the east side of Kennington Park Road, including a lake of about 3 acres. The land, originally the grounds of the manor house of Walworth, was acquired by impresario Edward Cross as the location of his new Surrey Zoological Gardens with the aim of competing with the new London Zoo in Regent’s Park.

A large circular domed glass conservatory was built, 300 feet in circumference with more than 6,000 square feet of glass, to contain separate cages for the animals including lions, tigers, a rhinoceros, giraffes and in a female gorilla. At that time it was the largest building of its kind in England. The gardens were also dotted with picturesque pavilions, heavily planted with native and exotic trees and alongside the broad walk Parrots, Maccaws, and Cockatoos sat on perches in the open air.

Other attractions included the leading balloonist in Britain at the time, Charles Green. As balloon flights became more commonplace, the accompanying attractions became more bizarre. Two of Green’s ascents from the Surrey Zoological Gardens on May 26 1835 included him being “ … accompanied by the Celebrated Monkey Jacopo who will Descend in a Parachute!”. Jacopo was credited as “… the Monkey who has seen the World”

From 1837 the gardens were used for large public entertainments such as re-enactments of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the Great Fire of London, The Siege of Gibraltar and Napoleon’s passage over the Alps, using large painted sets up to 80 feet (24 m) high, and spectacular firework displays.

By 1856, following the death of Edward Cross and with the intense competition from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, the animals were sold off and the money used to build Surrey Music Hall, a building capable of holding 12,000 seated spectators, making it the largest venue in London.

Apart from the nightly musical entertainments, religious services were held at the Music Hall at weekends by the famous Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who at just 25, had established himself as the “most wonderful preacher” in England. The first service was held on the evening of Sunday 19 October 1856 with an audience, estimated at 14,000, crammed inside with many thousands more outside. It was, however, to end in tragedy when someone shouted fire and panic ensued. Seven of the congregation were killed in the crush, and many more injured. Not daunted, Spurgeon returned a few weeks later and the services continued to attract audiences of over 10,000.

Charles Spurgeon moved to new premises in 1859 but the music hall continued until it was destroyed by fire in 1861. The gardens finally closed to the public in 1862.

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SS Great Western & Bristol Docks

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1886
SS Great Western
SS Great Western – the largest vessel in the world.

19th July 1837 – Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s 236 ft steamship, the Great Western, was launched at Bristol. She was the largest vessel in the world. On the same day in 1843, his ‘Great Britain’, the first Atlantic liner built of iron, was launched at Wapping Dock.The Great Western was an iron-strapped, wooden, side-wheel paddle steamer, with four masts to hoist the auxiliary sails. The sails were not just to provide auxiliary propulsion, but also were used in rough seas to keep the ship on an even keel and ensure that both paddle wheels remained in the water, driving the ship in a straight line. The first steamship purpose-built for crossing the Atlantic, and the initial unit of the Great Western Steamship Company. She was the largest passenger ship in the world from 1837 to 1839.

In 1838 after sailing to London, where she was fitted with two side-lever steam engines. the Great Western set sail for Avonmouth to start her maiden voyage to New York. The ship hadn’t gone far when a fire broke out in the engine room. During the confusion Brunel fell 20 feet, and was injured. The fire was extinguished, and the damages to the ship were minimal, but Brunel had to be put ashore at Canvey Island. As a result of the accident, more than 50 passengers cancelled their bookings for the Bristol-New York voyage and when the Great Western finally departed Avonmouth, only 7 passengers were aboard.

The Great western’s first voyage in April 1838 was set to be a race with the British and American Steam Navigation Company’s rival ship the SS Sirius but the fire delayed the Great western’s start. Even with a four-day head start, Sirius only narrowly beat Great Western, arriving in New York on 22 April. When coal ran low, the crew of the Sirius burned 5 drums of resin. The Great Western arrived the following day, with 200 tons of coal still on board. Sirius is often credited as the first winner of the Blue Riband (even though the term Blue Riband was not coined until years later) at 8.03 knots. However, Sirius only held the record for a day because Great Western’s voyage was faster at 8.66 knots.

Still capable of making record Blue Riband voyages as late as 1843. Great Western worked to New York for 8 years until her owners went out of business. She was sold to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and was scrapped in 1856 after serving as a troop ship during the Crimean War.

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Map of the week – The Agricultural Hall, Islington

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2,500 – 1877
Business Design Centre

The Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington (now the Business Design Centre).This Grade II listed building was opened in 1862 and was one of the world’s largest exhibition halls of its time. It was built to provide a home to the Smithfield’s Club annual exhibitions of agricultural produce and livestock (later known as the Royal Smithfield Show).However, it has been put to many uses over time and has hosted Crufts and the Royal Tournament as well as acting a temporary Parcels Sorting Depot during WW2.

The hall fell into disrepair after the war and was not used again until 1986 when it was converted to house the Business Design Centre.

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IAAA-logoThis summer sees the Business Design Centre host the 3-day
It’s all about Art” event and workshops run by the SAA, society for all artists.

The show runs from 25th to 27th July and is an ideal opportunity to give painting a try. Whether just starting out or been painting for years, It’s all about Art will inform, encourage and inspire you to get painting and enjoy this rewarding and relaxing past time. Plus, there’s lots to see and learn whatever your ability, and you’ll have a fantastic day out with friends too.

AASThere’s something for everyone at this three day event and it is a great chance for you to come along and meet with celebrity TV artists, take part in hands-on workshops (with all materials included), watch demonstrations, learn handy hints and top techniques, get your hands on all the latest products and be inspired to try something new.

Tickets are just £12 each and Cassini Map customers can receive a special discounted ticket price of ‘Buy one ticket and get the second for half price’.
Just click here and enter the code CASSINI or call 0800 980 1123 and quote CASSINI when ordering. Why not order some tickets today as they make a great Father’s day gift too.

Newton, an apple and a space shuttle

Ordnance Survey 1:2500 County Series 1888 – Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire
Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 20 March 1727) was born in Woolsthorpe Manor and here he made many of his most important discoveries about gravity after returning from Trinity College Cambridge which had temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague 1666-7.

In the garden of Woolsthorpe Manor grows the most famous apple tree in science. Popular mythology has it that an apple fell from the tree, hitting Newton on the head and inspiring the great man to discover his theory of Gravity. Like all good stories it elaborates on the truth.

The story of the falling apple does appear to have some foundation. William Stukeley recorded in his Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life, in April 1726, that Newton, told him of his thoughts when seeing an apple fall to the ground  “… why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground…why should it not go sideways, or upwards? but constantly to the earth’s centre?

He is often regarded as the most influential scientist in history and is most famous for discovering the Laws of Gravity, and the Laws of Planetary motion, although rather than his ideas on Gravity sprouting fully formed from that single seed, he acknowledged his debt to those great mathematicians that had gone before him, most famously in his quote “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. A quote which is now to be found imprinted into the edge of the British £2 coin. A fitting tribute to Newton who also went on to become Master of the Royal Mint.

According to the National Trust, the original apple tree fell over in 1820, but then rooted happily and is still growing today, making it nearly 400 years of age. This observation is not universally accepted. The King’s School in nearby Grantham, stake their own claim that the tree was purchased by the school, uprooted and transported to the headmaster’s garden after Newton’s death.

What is known for sure is that cuttings from the original tree have been planted at some of the worlds greatest universities, including one outside the rooms in which Newton lived and studied at Trinity Cambridge. Other universities known to have cuttings of the famous tree are MIT Cambridge (USA), Monash University Australia, York University Canada and Manchester University.

In 2010, a piece of the famous apple tree from Woolsthorpe Manor was launched into space on the Space Shuttle Atlantis, nearly 350 years after Newton wrote his influential work. An act of defying gravity only made possible by the genius of Sir Isaac Newton.

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Map of the week – Dracula, Mercury, Gold, and a Fat Duck

Bray Studios

Map: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 County Series from 1875 – Bray, Berkshire.

Down Place country house (1750) and Oakley Court, a castellated and turreted Gothic mansion (1857) were built on the banks of the River Thames between the towns of Bray and Windsor and went on to find fame and fortune as Bray Studios.
In 1951 Hammer Film Productions settled on the derelict Down Place as a way of avoiding the need to build sets and the large grounds were ideal for location work for their budget horror films. The following year Hammer decided to build a full studio in the grounds of Down Place, and name it Bray Studios, after the local town. Oakley Court was acquired in the 1960’s and became an ideal setting for many Bray productions.
Films included the 1950’s films The Quatermass Xperiment, The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy. The 1960’s saw The Brides of Dracula, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, The Curse of the Werewolf, and many, many more. The last Hammer production made at Bray was The Mummy’s Shroud, which wrapped on 21 October 1966.
Bray went on to produce many other films including the St Trinians series and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as special effects and model work for TV and film. including Doctor Who, Space 1999, Alien, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Terry Gilliam’s 2009 film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Due to the size of its sound stages and it’s relative remoteness, Bray Studios also became a popular rehearsal studio where many artists fine-tuned their performances before going on tour. From Led Zeppelin in the 1970’s to The Kings of Leon in 2008, by way of Queen’s Freddy Mercury tribute concert, Cream, George Harrison, Radiohead and Amy Winehouse, the studios became home to many of the worlds top bands.

On the opposite side of the Thames lies Eton Dorney, the scene of rowing triumphs in the 2012 Olympic rowing events, where Team GB won four gold medals, two silver and three bronze.

The town of Bray is also famed for its culinary delights, boasting two of the four restaurants in the United Kingdom to have three Michelin stars, The Waterside Inn founded by the Roux brothers, and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant.
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Mad Jack, a bear and a frozen lake

Map of the week – Mad Jack, a bear and a frozen lake
Halston HallMap: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 County Series from 1874

John “Mad Jack” Mytton (30 September 1796 – 29 March 1834) was born to a family of squires and  became notorious as a notable British eccentric and Regency rake.

Jack, on entry to Cambridge University, took with him 2,000 bottles of port to sustain himself during his education. After his studies he embarked on The Grand Tour of Europe followed by a spell of Military Service before inheriting the family seat at Halston Hall, Whittington (near Oswestry in Shropshire) along with an annual income of £20,000 (close to £800,000 in today’s money), which he proceeded to spend at an unsustainable rate and with an increasingly eccentric behaviour.

At Halston, on a freezing winters day, he would lead his small army of stable lads on rat hunts, each stable boy equipped with ice skates.

He arrived at one particular dinner party at Halston Hall riding a bear and when he tried to make it go faster the beast bit deep into his calf. Despite being bitten, Mad Jack kept the bear Nell as a pet.

He would reportedly get out of bed in the middle of the night, take off his nightshirt and set off completely naked  carrying his favourite gun across the frozen fields towards his lake. Here he would ambush the ducks, fire a few shots and return to bed apparently none the worse for his ordeal. His most extraordinary day’s shooting came when he got fed up waiting for the birds to come within range, stripped naked, sat on the ice and slowly shuffled forward on the slippery surface until he was within range.

A fan of horse riding and hunting, Mad Jack set out to test if a horse pulling a carriage could jump over a tollgate. As many would have predicted it couldn’t.

In 1831 he fled to France to avoid his creditors, prison and court. After a couple of years he decided to return to England and ended up in the King’s Bench debtor’s prison in Southwark, London, where he died there in 1834 a ’round shouldered, tottering old-young man bloated by drink. Worn out by too much foolishness, too much wretchedness and too much brandy’.

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