Thursday, 27 February 2014
An article appeared in the Western Morning News of Tuesday 5th April 1949 under the headline, 'Dickiemoor Lane gets Plymouth Council blessing.'
'Mr J. Folley, Works Committee chairman, told Plymouth City Council yesterday that Dickiemoor Lane, Honicknowle, was so named to perpetuate the memory of a man in that neighbourhood who bred donkeys.
He added, amid laughter, 'Rumour has it that some of them have found their way to the City Council.'
'In 1945,' retorted a Conservative member.
In seeking Council approval for the name, the Works Committee also recommended that the lane leading off Dickiemoor Lane be called Horsham Lane.
Dickiemoor Lane lay off Butt Park Road, leading up to Honicknowle Brick Works, said Mr Folley, and was not a new street.
Mr H.G. Damerell moved disapproval of the minute in an amendment which was lost by 29 votes to 27.
He said: 'I have never heard a more inappropriate name than Dickiemoor. Why not call streets after some of the good old Westcountry names?'
He wondered who arrived at some of the street names, commenting that there was a good Scottish accent in the naming of some of the new streets.
The Lord Mayor (Ald. H. J. Perry) interposed: 'Dickiemoor is a Westcountry name.'
Mr Folley said the policy of his committee in selecting street names was, whenever possible, to retain old names and associations.'
The photo shows another strangely-named street in Honicknowle, Butt Park Road.
Thursday, 20 February 2014
The Battle of Mons was the first major battle of the First World War undertaken by the British Expeditionary Force. The British Army attempted to hold the Mons-Condé Canal against the advancing German Army. Many troops who were either from Plymouth or had passed through the port would have fought at Mons.
One of the most enduring tales of the time features the legend of a group of angels who supposedly protected the British Army as they fought. Many soldiers were reported to have seen angels over the battlefield and the tale greatly boosted recruitment. Even today, the story is still taken to be true but was, in fact, a work of fiction and although many people retold the story, not one British soldier who was at the battle actually saw anything.
A couple of months later, Machen was asked by priests if the story could be reprinted in local parish magazines. One priest proposed to write a preface to the story and asked Machen for sources of the event for which he replied that none could be given as the story was a work of fiction. The priest replied that Machen must be mistaken as the 'facts' of the story were true, and that Machen must have based his story on a true account. Machen said later:
'It seemed that my light fiction had been accepted by the congregation of this particular church as the solidest of facts; and it was then that it began to dawn on me that if I had failed in the art of letters, I had succeeded, unwittingly, in the art of deceit. This happened, I should think, some time in April, and the snowball of rumour that was then set rolling has been rolling ever since, growing bigger and bigger, till it is now swollen to a monstrous size.'
The story re-emerged in the 1980s. No witness accounts existed although it was said that some soldiers had seen visions of phantom cavalry as they retreated. However, these hallucinations were put down to the exhaustion of troops who had not slept properly for days.
In 2001, an article published in the Sunday Times claimed that a diary of a soldier named William Doidge had been found which proved the existence of the angels. This was accompanied by film and photographic evidence. However, this later turned out to be a hoax.
No doubt as stories emerge during the centenary of the commencement of the First World War this year, the story of the Angels of Mons will be re-told over and over and, even one hundred years later will still be taken, by some, as fact.
Saturday, 15 February 2014
I bought this interesting postcard on ebay (for £1.99!). The caption reads: 'Officers' Course of Gunnery, Citadel, Plymouth, February 1916.' The photographer is J.W. Barter of Plymouth. Written on the back in ink is: 'Yours sincerely, Frank H Bullock. 29th March 1916.'
It's a lovely picture, let's hope that most of them managed to survive the war.
Friday, 14 February 2014
This latest rare photograph from the newspaper archives comes from the Evening Telegraph and Post of Wednesday 30th August 1911. It shows the German Officer, Max Schultz, in court in Plymouth. He was arrested on a charge of attempting to procure a local solititor to commit an offence under the Official Secrets Act. Schultz had been obtaining information about the British Navy and dockyard and was passing it back to Germany.
In December 1911, Max Schultz and his accomplices were sentenced, as reported in the newspapers of the time, to 'staggering sentences' that even shocked the British public.
This photo and many others can be found on my online gallery at www.flickr.com/photos/derektaitold photos
Monday, 3 February 2014
Friday, 10 January 2014
I'll try to keep you up to date with any progress on this blog, so please check back.
Sunday, 5 January 2014
Back in July 2013, the artist Charles Newington contacted me after reading my blog post about Gog and Magog. Charles was behind the Folkestone White Horse which stands above the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in Kent. Charles told me of his idea to put the huge chalk drawings back on the Hoe and asked if I could help. After taking photos and measurements (the land in front of the Citadel is 67 feet!), Charles prepared some preliminary drawings, which can be seen here. I suggested that Charles contacted Chris Robinson and that set the ball rolling. The idea was approved at a meeting of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership in September 2013 and then Chris arranged a meeting with the council on 6th December which was attended by Tudor Evans, David Draffan, Charles Newington, Malcolm Beskin (Charles' associate) and Chris Robinson. The whole idea was welcomed and agreed to and is going ahead and should be in place, if all goes well, by September 2014.
I'm confused by the council's secrecy about what is a fantastic project which should become famous worldwide. The press, or other media, haven't been told and it's all been kept hush-hush. However, I think that the people of Plymouth will want to get behind the idea so I'm publishing it here for the first time. Now all I've got to rely on is that people actually read my blog...