Wednesday, April 13, 2011

London and History

Dear Family and Friends,
I just finished reading a book called The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. Ken read it as well. It was loaned to us by Sharon Hintze, the director of our FH Centre, and is the true story of a cholera epidemic in England in the 1850’s. The story is centered in Soho in Victorian London, northeast of where we live in Chelsea. England had been having cholera epidemics every few years beginning in the 1830’s. By 1854, London was the largest city in the world and the unsanitary conditions in the city caused there to be a stench that most people thought caused the disease. One man, Doctor John Snow, was convinced that cholera was a water borne disease and was eventually able to construct a map that showed the deaths in a neighborhood where 10% of the population died in a weeks’ time. At the center of the map was the Broad Street pump, where people would come to draw their water. Snow used bars to represent the deaths and it became obvious that there were many more deaths closer to the pump.
Dr. Snow, along with a clergyman, Henry Whitehead, finally convinced the authorities to shut down the pump, thus saving many lives. The book was fascinating as it gave a view into the London of Victorian times. Many of the buildings that were standing then are still here today. It’s hard to walk down the street in London and not be aware of the history of the place.
Saturday, on our P-day we went to Hampton Court Palace with John and Marilyn Crandall, another FH missionary couple. He is a retired dentist and she, a retired kindergarten teacher. They are from Phoenix and this is their second mission. Their first was in northern England. Another interesting connection- Crandall's daughter Joyce and our daughter-in-law, Amy, were missionary companions in Paraguay.
Hampton Court is about an hour and a half tube and bus ride west along the Thames. It was the palace of Henry the VIII and assorted wives and later King William of Orange and his wife Queen Mary II. It is half Tudor from the 1500's and baroque from the 1700's. The gardens are beautiful. We took a ride around them in a horse drawn wagon and then ate fish and chips in one of the cafes on the grounds. The courtyard of the palace was filled with medieval objects that were being boxed up. One of the guides told us they had just finished filming a movie starring Ewan McGregor called Jack the Giant Killer. Apparently they do a lot filming at Hampton Court. The things being boxed were from the staging of the movie. The palace kitchens were huge and could feed 1000 people a day.
 Henry the VIII was quite a guy. He’s going to have a lot of explaining to do.The ghost of Henry’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, is said to haunt the gallery leading from the chapel in the castle. I'm trying to figure out all the English monarchs so I attached a poster on the wall in our flat showing the royal lines and I'm collecting post cards of their portraits. After reading an English history book, I was disappointed because I can't really see that there were very many good guys. I do like Sir Thomas More and have his picture on the wall.
I had a very interesting experience in the centre on Friday. A lady came in for the second time. Ken and I had helped her earlier in the week. She wanted me to make scans (photos) of microfishe which is hardly ever used any more. Anyway while I was doing it, I asked her name and she said Lady ------- and that she was 87 years old. She was a titled lady. She explained to me that there are 2 ways people are titled. Either it is hereditary and passed down in a family or in her case her husband was knighted. She said he was a British ambassador in the 1970's to 2 different countries. She was a very nice lady and it was a pleasure to help her. I can't believe the wide range of patrons we have- cockneys to upper classes. There are several professional genealogists who come every day. We are getting to know many of our patrons and really enjoy them.
Congratulations to three of our sweet granddaughters, Emily, Elizabeth and April for being on TV news with their Chinese immersion class! 我們愛你!
Our best to all of you!
Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom  and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog. Thanks for sending me the address.