Friday, 29 August 2014

Peasant Arts Walk, 13th September 2014

I've been wanting to do a sketch of the area of the walk that is taking place in conjunction with Arts and Crafts Month in Haslemere on the 13th September.   However I haven't drawn any pictures for a few decades.  I have done the below as a rough sketch of the buildings and their positions, which isn't true to scale or likeness in many respects (in line with the teachings of Godfrey Blount!)

Details and how to book is here at the Haslemere Visitor Information Centre webpage.

Haslemere's Peasant Arts Buildings

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 7 - Joseph King on the eve of WW1

Whilst Maude Egerton King in her editorial for The Vineyard (September 1914) stated that they did not express political views, it is interesting to see what her husband, Joseph King, MP said on the subject of the forthcoming outbreak of war in Parliament, as recorded in Hansard (3rd August 1914).  

Newspaper headline, 5th August 1914

These speeches took place after 9pm on the 3rd August.  The next day Britain declared war on Germany.  After some preceding exchanges where King was accused by other honourable members of making “a wicked suggestion!” and another exclaiming “it is scandalous!”. King makes a significant speech (see here for the full exchange).  It is worth bearing in mind that The Congregationalist (March 23, 1911) records King as spending the summer term of 1885 “at Geissen University, where ….he translated some of his (Dr Harnack’s) works into English.  From Geissen he proceeded to Berlin, but his stay there was cut short through the death of his mother”:

Mr King “I say without any hesitation that the House and the country has not sufficiently realised that if we are going into this war, it is a war against German civilisation, and the German people who are our friends, and the German Government is not.  The bureaucracy and the military caste that mismanaged, and I believe grossly mismanaged, the affairs of Germany, are the enemies of the peace of Europe, and it is that caste and those men that we have to stand out against.  Old man as I am, if I were asked to take up arms and fight myself against those men, I would be glad to do it.  But the misery and tragedy of the position is this: We cannot fight against those masters of tyranny, and against those men who misgovern, without fighting at the same time against the German people. That is what puts many of us in the gravest difficulty.  That is what makes this matter to me personally a question of intense pain and trial, I have many dear personal friends in Germany whom I value and respect and love as much as any men on earth, and to think that from this time forward, not only for a few years but perhaps for the rest of my life, I am to be estranged from the influence of those men by a tragedy of this sort is something which I cannot contemplate in silence or light-heartedly say that it must come, and it is not something I can allow to come to pass without uttering one more warning, and if it be not too late a plea for reconsideration of this question.  When we are going into a war like this, we cannot say we are fighting for the small independent State of Belgium.  I admit that is a noble object on which to shed blood and money.  We cannot even say that we are fighting for the integrity and independence of a great Power like France.  We must look upon this question as a whole, and remember that we are fighting for Russia when we fighting against Germany, and that if Germany stands for tyrannical Government, Russia stands for atrocious tyrannical Government. "

Sir J. D. Rees “Is the hon. Member in order in accusing a friendly Power of atrocious tyrannical government?  I believe it has been ruled that an hon. Member is not in order in using such language in regard to this particular Power.”

Mr. Deputy-Speaker “I do not think the hon.Member was going quite so far as the hon. Baronet has indicated.  I may perhaps again suggest that it does not add to the strength of the hon. Member’s case to use language of that kind.”

Joseph King, MP
reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

Mr. King “I shall be glad to withdraw anything I have said which is inappropriate or objectionable, but I cannot put aside this plain fact, that in Russia at the present moment you have 100,00 people in prison without a trial.  You have three executions a day, or over 1,000 a year, of men who are executed under martial law without even a semblance of a trial at all.  You have, moreover, this fact, that a few weeks ago, just before the time of mobilisation on Russia, you had uprisings, strikes, and threats of civil war, such as have not been known there for half a dozen years.  As one who has tried to understand the affairs of Russia, I believe that this diabolical mobilisation of the forces of Russia was largely occasioned by her own internal difficulties.  In order to save the position, the emoluments and the prerogatives of men in power in that land, they have mobilised their Army, and thrown the whole of Europe into a conflagration of war.  They have done that not from any patriotic motives, not because they really want to preserve any great ideal, but because their own position, power, and place are in ganger.  Remember – I remember it and I cannot forget it, and  as far as it is in my power I will make others remember it – that if we are fighting against Germany we are fighting for Russia, and if we are fighting for Russia at the present time we are fighting for an amount of tyranny and injustice and cruelty which it is quite impossible to think of without the deepest indignation.  We must not ook merely at the question of the neutrality of Belgium, and the freedom of attack of the Northern ports of France – after all, these ports are only small spots in the great field of war.  Let us least least carefully consider the whole question, and let us realise something more of the great issues involved. 

“I shall only touch upon one more aspect which seems to me not without deep significance.  Only five weeks ago we heard of the assassination of the Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, and we all know that is was the assassination that has led by a strange, swift series of events to the present terrible state of affairs.  When, on Tuesday the 30th June, the Prime Minister came down to the House and proposed a Resolution which was accepted in solemn silence, and with the deepest feeling and approval, I believe that by the whole House, absolutely irrespective of parties or personalities, he moved an address of sympathy not only with His Imperial and Royal Majesty the Emperor of Austria and the King of Hungary on the part of this House, but their sympathy also with the peoples of the Dual Monarchy.  He spoke in words which impressed the House deeply at the time, and said we felt “a tender respect for the great family of nations of which the Austrian Emperor is the head, and our hearts go out to them in affectionate sympathy.”  It is affectionate sympathy five weeks ago for the men and the peoples of the nations that we are going to wage war against perhaps to-morrow!   That seems to me a tragic, and I would go further and say a bitter and cynical fact.  Is our foreign policy so shifting and changing, so liable to sudden emotions and rapid evolutions, that the people to whom we express with absolute unanimity one day our affectionate sympathy we declare to be our foes the next?  Whatever this House decides to do, whatever may be the line taken by the Government, I may add perhaps, and add seriously, that whatever mistakes of taste or language I have made here to-night, I am not afraid and I am not ashamed to have stood up here and said that this is not a simple question of the neutrality of Belgium, nor a simple question of whether the Northern ports of France shall be shelled and bombarded.  It is a question we must consider in all its bearings, and I believe, from all I have heard and all I can think and judge of this question, that the policy of the Government has been too precipitate and that they have not sufficiently realised that though they may fight for the right, honour and just cause in one part of Europe, they on this occasion will be fighting for tyranny, injustice, and reaction in others parts of Europe.”

Friday, 22 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 6 - Prayer in War-Time, Sept 1914

from Blount, Godfrey, Arbor Vitae,
Fifield, 1910, 3rd edition
The last page of the last ever publication of The Vineyard (September 1914), the journal published by the Peasant Arts movement to popularise their beliefs and lifestyle, is headed 'Prayer in War-Time'.  This prayer is not accredited to anyone, I think that it is written by Godfrey Blount who wrote numerous other prayers in The Vineyard (let me know if you know otherwise).

I can imagine Godfrey Blount leading the congregation with this prayer at The Country Church, Kings Road (demolished and now St George's Flats).

"O Father who hast given us our lives on one condition only, that we throw them not away recklessly, but spend them in true sacrifice of right labour, in making Thy Kingdom more greatly known: guide us in these days of severe trials and distracting difficulties, when the world has forgotten the laws of Life and, in its madness, plunged into unspeakable war.  And because the magnitude and horror of this war leaves us aghast and too bewildered to understand what motives can have inspired so incredible a disaster, prevent us from being swept away either by fear or exultancy; either from being lost in the excitement that the news of battles brings, or deterred by cowardice from facing, with brave hearts, what hardships we may be called upon to bear in our duty to our country and our God.

The Country Church, Kings Road, Haslemere
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum
"Help us to ignore our own hardships in remembering on whom the penalties and privations of war fall with the deadliest effect, and the lot of those who are close to the scene of war and who must consequently suffer so much more than ourselves.

"Let this Church and our prayers here, fill us with that sublime peace that cannot be shaken by any mortal strife and help to educate us in the things that pertain to real life in this world and in the next, so that we may be continually inspired with the knowledge that whatever nations and kings the world chooses to distinguish, there is for us only one Nation, the people who put their trust in Thee and Thy laws, and only one King, Thine own unutterable Majesty; and that whatever wars the world in its blindness may decree, there is only one war which Thou dost not visit with vengeance, the war we must always wage as Thy soldiers in Thine Army against everything that resists Thy Sovereignty.

The Country Church, Kings Road, Haslemere
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

"O Father, enlist us, feeble recruits as we are, once again into Thy battalions, for only so can we help to restore any peace to the world, actual or spiritual.

"Teach us Thy truth, O Father, King, Conqueror, that whatever happens to us we may be at real peace in our own hearts and under the mighty and impregnable shield of Thy wings.  Amen."

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 5 - the Hell into Wealth

The editorial of the final publication of the journal The Vineyard (September 1914), edited by Maude Egerton King in Sandhouse, Witley, Surrey ends on a spiritual note:

The Vineyard
September 1914

"One last word, and not the least.  Soon we shall have broken men, English and foreign, coming on our charity for home or hospital, and just now all hearts are eager for the service.  Let not even this sacred and instant duty make us, the writer and readers of the Vineyard, forget another that is surely entrusted to those who uphold ideals like ours.  Out of the whirling fury, into which one nation after the other is being swept, will be cast shattered bodies indeed, but shattered spirits too.  All the strengths which the Governments of all lands have trusted in to make life good for the people - industrial wealth, territorial expansion, unfettered scientific invention, all purely non-spiritual progress - have failed of their end already, and landed them in universal anarchy.

"For those whom this failure and betrayal - for such it is, for victor and victim alike - will leave bewildered, hopeless of any sane and happy future for the race, we must be ready and keep open house.  We have an unshakable Faith that God has a greater destiny for His men than this they have sought: we have a passionate Hope, that the hell into wealth, this progress, this science, have driven them blindfold, will open their eyes to their madness as alone such experience can.  Our Faith must be constantly replenished at its Source, our Hope bravely and consistently uttered, if our Charity would have ready the hospitality most desperately needed by the human soul in that hour.

The Editorial Committee of the Vineyard"

Monday, 18 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 4 - Industrialism destroying peace

The editorial of The Vineyard (September 1914) continues.  It is interesting that the foreign friends of The Vineyard and the Haslemere Peasant Arts movement are referred to.  I wonder what communications they had after September 1914?

Editorial page
The Vineyard, September 1914
"Our industrialism has been at work destroying peace ever since the system's meanest beginnings.  It has made for the destruction of man's right in his own hand, of his need in his own religion.  To-day, as the ultimate outcome of the century-long denial of the individual man's and woman's rights, the nations are fiercely denying God and destroying one another.

"To us of our faith this looks at first sight like the death of our hopes.  Had we not been working for the closer union of the nations, all of which are in such deep sympathy in all that concerns the only essential and universal work.  Our labours in this direction had been more fruitful than our readers can possibly know.  But now, for a while, but only for a while, we must reluctantly bid good-bye to sympathetic writers and readers too.  With special regret do we part from our foreign friends, whose genius has given us so much joy, and has so strengthened a sense of kinship in spite of language, frontier, and diplomacy - the close kinship, above all, of the land-workers, the bread-growers, the roots of every race.  Not does this break in our intercourse mean ultimate spiritual sundering - whatever else may hold us apart, this will still unite us, our common faith in and devotion to the land and its folk.  And so let us not bid good-bye, after all, to these - to Peter Rosegger, dearly loved and deeply honoured friend of peasants, Selma Lagerlof, Anatole le Braz, Arvid Jarnefelt, Lucia Gargini, Gaston Servette, but rather auf weidersehen, a rivederci, au revoir!".  

Friday, 15 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 3 - Idle hands find work in destruction

Following on from the previous post, the editorial of The Vineyard (September 1914) referring to the expected outbreak of the First World War continues:

from The Vineyard
September 1914

"All that the Vineyard has lived and worked for has been the very foundations of Peace.  For Peace is Home.  Above the home first rose the star that heralded a new victory over the law justifying bloodshed in the interests of the strong.  Peace began in the home, where each must serve each with creative hand and sacrificing heart.  It throve and widened its habitation.  It bound together many homes in the mutual service of various crafts and trades, in the healthy rivalry of manifold tastes and arts.  It was of old but peace that kept town and country-side united in the exchange of produce and manufactures: whereby he who buys and he who sells, he who labours and he who pays wage, are equally gainers in every transaction.

"It can be only in like obedience to such principles that we find possibility of friendship and peace between the nations.  Greed and lust and jealousy are the beginnings of domestic discord as soon as hand-service and heart-service fail in filling the life of the home.  Isolation and antagonism between house and house as surely arrive when the daily necessaries, ceasing to be personal exchanges, are supplied by distant factories, set up, not primarily in the interest of human needs, but in the interest of unnecessary wealth.  Yet even more plainly arising from lack of reverence for the essentials of life and the ideal of peace, is come the antagonism and contempt of town and village towards one another, of class against class, of sex against sex.  Lastly, when nations arm to the teeth and preach that commercial prosperity is to be sustained only by the sword, the inevitable hatred ends in bloodshed: hearts and hands made idle by factories find work in destruction."

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 2 - If ever a test for commercial triumphs

The Editorial in The Vineyard's September 1914 edition explains the viewpoint of the Haslemere Peasant Arts movement to the probable outbreak of war.  As Maude Egerton King was the editor of The Vineyard, this view is presumably most closely aligned with Maude.

Entitled "For a While", this reflects that the The Vineyard had expected to be publishing again in 1915, a postponement in publishing of only 2 or 3 months:

"On the very point of bringing to a happy issue the plans for our new volume that was to begin in October, we are met by an unassailable interdict.  Our fifth year was to introduce the Vineyard in an enlarged form and with several new features.  While holding in no sort of abatement those principles which from its first appearance have been the inspiration of its pages, we had hoped - and do still hope - to strengthen its message by allocating certain of its pages every month to the more practical bearings of the country gospel.

'After a drawing by William Blake'
The Vineyard, September 1914

"Thus the October number was to introduce a series of notes and brief articles on all work actually in progress at home and abroad relating to the welfare of the peasant and his crafts, his home and his land. At the same time we were still determined to keep free of party politics.  However necessary legislation may be before the countryman can enjoy better conditions, without which no restoration of his rights, religious and educational, creative and festal, are possible, politics are not our province.  We had secured promises of regular news on all subjects concerning the revivifying and re-clothing of peasant life from distinguished writers in France and Italy, Bavaria and Sweden.  As regards work at home, we had arranged for our readers being kept in touch with every aspect of the land question, and hoped to secure articles on the economics of hand-work both on the land and regarding the other hand-crafts, so as to secure a joint comparison between these and machine - production.  We were determined to make it better understood that our advocacy of a return to those crafts and arts that have been the privilege and glory of the home - ever since man and woman first built them a hearth, until the beginnings of those evil days of progress - is emphatically not a sentimental outcome of a pious artisticism, but rather the result of a truer understanding of God and man than is possible to those who, dependent upon factory-made things, consider industrialism as final and unassailable.

"But to our dismay we are faced by a prohibition not to be withstood.  We are compelled to postpone our plans and the issue of the Vineyard until our beloved country can again set its house in order.  Then more than ever will our work be called for.  We assure those of our readers who have grown to love the Vineyard, and to whom we are deeply grateful for much strength and food in our uphill work, that, beyond such temporary difficulties as are inseparable from the common financial stress, it is not from lack of material resources that we feel ourselves compelled to postpone our issues for perhaps two or three months but that the time is in every way inopportune for a new departure such as we had been contemplating.

"If ever test could be devised for the commercial triumphs, the industrial systems, the fierce competitions, which lie at the very root of our civilisation, that test, surely as a fiery furnace, we are now to pass through.  God have mercy upon us all, alike in our victories and our disasters!…."

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 1 - Troubles will be over by 1915

With the current focus on the 100 year anniversary since the beginning of World War 1, I thought it would be interesting to see what was happening in Haslemere at that time.

The September 1914 issue of The Vineyard contained an inserted notice in red type:

"The Editorial Committee of the Vineyard regret that, owing to the instability of the condition of the country, they are compelled temporarily to suspend the publication of the Magazine.  They have, however, every hope of resuming the work in a considerably enlarged and improved form and with a wider appeal, with the beginning of next year.  This matter is dealt with more fully in the Editorial of the present issue.

Those whose subscriptions do not expire with this number are invited to let the fulfilment of our obligation to them stand over till the next time.  On the other hand, should they prefer to have the remainder of their subscriptions returned to them, they should apply to the Editor of the Vineyard, Sandhouse, Witley, Godalming."

Sadly, this was the last issue of The Vineyard that was ever published.

Notice from The Vineyard, September 1914

The Vineyard,  September 1914

Friday, 1 August 2014

Arts and Crafts Month in Haslemere - Save the dates

Haslemere Visitor and Local Information Centre are running a number of events celebrating Haslemere's Arts and Crafts heritage during September 2014.  I'm delighted to be taking part in two of these events.  It would be great to see some of my 'followers' there if you can make it.

  • Saturday 6th September, 11am - I'm giving a talk on the Haslemere Peasant Arts movement at the Haslemere Educational Museum's Lecture Hall.  Tickets £2 each from Haslemere Museum
  • Saturday 13th September, 2.30pm - I'm giving a guided tour of the (outside!) of the Haslemere Peasant Arts buildings: Kings Road, Foundry Lane and Longdene Road - starting from Haslemere Station
The Weaving House, Kings Road, Haslemere c.1902
The Craftsman, January 1902
The press release also on this also says: 
"Make sure  you see the exhibition of contemporary craftwork in Haslemere Museum’s Waverley Room from 6 – 27th September, open Tuesday – Saturday from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. Exhibitors reflect the original peasant crafts  and will be selling their work.  Why not take this opportunity to buy some quality and original gifts?
Sarah Adam from the Haslemere Visitor & Local Information Centre says “You will be fascinated to learn more about this aspect of Haslemere’s  local history. This is a great opportunity to see and learn more about the unique link Haslemere has with the arts & crafts movement. In fact, the Museum’s Waverley Room was where the original European Peasant Art Collection was displayed from the mid-1920’s to the late 1940's so it is wonderful to have this contemporary exhibition in the very same room.”"
It says for more information visit the Haslemere Visitor Information Centre website here

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