Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Australian Titanic Heroine

Evelyn James, nee Marsden was a true Australian heroine.  A stewardess on the Titanic, she played a large part in helping the passengers on Lifeboat 16 stay safe.

Born in South Australia in 1883, Evelyn was brought up in the remote town of Hoyleton.  When she was a teenager, she stayed with a farming family at Murray Bridge where she learned to row and joined the rowing club. She even learned to row against the tide, a difficult feat which would prove useful. 

The country girl, ambitious to have a career, worked as a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.  She then decided to travel, an unusual desire for a single woman in those days.  She travelled to England and fell in love with the ship’s doctor, Dr James, on the voyage.  She joined the White Star Line to be with her young and handsome boyfriend. However, just before the voyage of the Titanic, Dr James was transferred, and Evelyn sailed alone.

The 28 year-old shared a cabin with Miss May Sloan, and worked as a stewardess.  She also did some nursing work for the First Class passengers.  Shocked by the collision, the women accepted soothing glasses of whiskey and water from the ship’s doctor.  After this, Evelyn hurried up to the deck where she helped as many people as she could into lifeboats, not thinking of her own safety.  She was one of the last to get into Lifeboat 16.

The nurse helped row the passengers to safety, even though she had to hold a baby.  Her great-nurse said that her hands were rubbed raw from rowing.  Evelyn was so thankful that she had learned to row, she returned to the farm to thank the family for teaching her.

When the news that Evelyn had been saved by the Carpathia, and that she was safely in New York, legend has it that her father ran through the town shouting, “Evelyn’s alive. Evelyn’s alive”.

Julian Fellowes told Channel 7 that: 'Of course, if the doctor hadn't been taken off the Titanic, he woul've died because the highest death rate was among second-class men, almost all of whom died, and the doctor would have been travelling in second class'.

Dr William James and Evelyn rushed to the altar, marrying in July in Southampton.  They returned to South Australia.  Sadly, they didn’t have any children, but Evelyn’s relatives are very proud of their Titanic heroine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Site of the Week. Stalking the Belle Epoque

Joseph Crisalli is in search of beauty, elegance and grace, qualities which are difficult to find in this crass modern era.  This Punch and Judy man, who lives with his cute terrier, Bertram Wooster, and his puppet, Mr Punch, has made it his mission to share something beautiful from past eras every day on his wonderful blog.

Today he has a post about the beautiful Queen Alexandra's Faberge knife. This is a fine example of his posts, which always transport one to elegant past eras.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Douglas Tompkins, A Jungian Psychotherapist in New York

Jungian psychotherapy is designed to help people who are feeling stuck or suffering. If you are experiencing stress or difficulties, such as burnout or overwhelming grief, Jungian therapy may help you.  Douglas Tompkins, M.Div., L.P., NCPsyA, is a psychotherapist in New York who specializes in Jungian therapy. If you live in New York, he may be able to assist you.

Douglas Tompkins provides an initial consultation to see whether a positive relationship is possible.  It is very important in Jungian analysis to have a positive relationship with the client.  After this consultation, visits are usually scheduled once a week.  These consultations assist people to come to terms with their inner truths.  This is often achieved partly by exploring the meaning of the clients' dreams.  Jungian therapy helps people to heal their divided souls so that they can think in a clear way and fight life's battles with healthy minds in a resilient way.

Why not ring Douglas Tompkins, a Jungian psychoanalyst in New York, today?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another Great Survivor, Violet Jessop

Violet Jessup was another great survivor.  She survived TB as a child as well as two shipwrecks, including the Titanic! She also lived to a ‘ripe old age’.  Strangely, Jessop’s story has been somewhat ignored in movies about the great ship.

Born in 1887 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jessop was the oldest of five brothers and sisters.  Her parents were Irish.  Her mother came from a wealthy Dublin family who lived in smart Merrion Street.  Her father was a sheep farmer.

The family moved to England when Jessop was quite young and she went to a convent school.  However, after her father died and her mother became ill, the young girl realised that she’d have to go to work.  She decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and work as a stewardess.  This was the start of a long career on board ships.

Jessop was only 21 and her attractiveness was often regarded as a potential problem because it might attract unwanted attention from passengers.  Petite with grey-blue eyes and auburn hair, Jessop had to dress in drab clothes and wear no makeup when she went to one job interview.  She got the position.

Her first job was on the Orinoco in 1908.  In 1910 she moved to the Majestic.  She had to work 17 hour days for low wages on this ship.  She was on the Olympic when it collided with HMS Hawke.  Luckily, both ships were able to limp back to port.

Although Jessop received several proposals from passengers, she only had one romance.  This was with a warm-hearted, but opinionated Australian engineer called Ned.  Unfortunately, he didn’t want to get married until he was promoted.  This was a long way away and the pretty young stewardess didn’t want to wait.
Jessop liked serving on the Olympic but friends persuaded her to join the Titanic even though she was concerned about the rough seas and wild weather.  She dressed in a smart, ankle-length brown suit to join the ship.

The 24-year old stewardess, a devout Catholic, was reading a Hebrew prayer when the iceberg hit.  She was ordered up on deck and helped the passengers in her charge to go up to the deck.  She was told to get into a lifeboat.  A bundle – a tiny baby –  was suddenly dropped into her lap.  Eight hours later, she was picked up by the Carpathia.  She felt the baby being snatched from her arms and she was very upset that she was never thanked by the baby’s mother.

Jessop then became a Red Cross nurse on the Britannic.  When this ship started sinking after being hit by a German mine, Jessop had to jump to safety.  She was sucked under the keel which struck her head and she then found herself surrounded by severed corpses and badly injured men.  She suffered headaches for years and learned later that she had had a fractured skull.  Jessop thanked her thick reddish-gold hair for saving her life!

The pretty stewardess did marry. Senan Moloney writes  in his article, Violet's Barren White Star Wedding, that she married a fellow steward, John James Lewis, at 36 in London.  The marriage lasted a very short time.  One of her nieces thought that she never stopped carrying a candle for her handsome Australian.

Surprisingly, Jessop continued to serve as a stewardess on ships until she was over 60.  She then retired to a thatched cottage in Suffolk  where she loved to garden.  She died in 1971 aged 84.

An Interesting Interview with Jessop's Niece

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Richest Man on the Titanic

John Jacob Astor IV chose to go to a watery grave in order to save his beautiful and pregnant young wife.  Although he was regarded as ruthless and tough, this act of bravery made Americans see him in a different light.

Born in 1864, Astor was the grandson of America’s first multi-millionaire and so rich that he didn’t regard having one million dollars as being wealthy! This was an enormous amount in those days.  He was the wealthiest man on the Titanic.

Educated at Harvard, he founded the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in partnership with his cousin, William. He was an unusual businessman, however, because he loved to invent.  He invented a bicycle brake, a self-stabilizing steamship chair, and a pneumatic road improver.  He also raised and equipped a battery with smokeless powder guns which was used in the Spanish-American War.  Astor served in the war and became a colonel.

Astor also liked to write and had a science-fiction novel published.  Called A Journey in Other Worlds, it concerned straightening the earth’s axis to create a perpetual springtime.  He was certainly a man of many parts!

The wealthy businessman married Ava Willing and had a son, William Vincent, and a daughter, Ava.  The marriage which was heavily promoted by his parents lasted for 18 years.  However, it grew increasingly bitter and acrimonious and there were accusations of infidelity on both sides.  The couple eventually divorced.

Scandal erupted when Astor, who was over 40, fell in love with an attractive young woman who was a year younger than his son!  He and Madeline Talmadge Force had great difficulty finding a clergyman to marry them.  Eventually they succeeded but the marriage took place at The Beachwood, an old Astor estate, instead of a church.  Madeline also chose not to wear white.

The couple escaped overseas to get away from the rumours and gossip which surrounded them.  They travelled to Egypt and Paris but when they discovered that Madeline was pregnant they decided to return home.  They wanted the child to be an American. The couple booked a first-class voyage on the Titanic.

Legend has it that Astor wanted a place in the lifeboat with his wife but he showed good grace when he was turned away.  However, the crew member said that Astor asked what the number of the lifeboat was.  He may have intended to complain later.  According to other passengers and crew, after his wife got into the lifeboat Astor put as many women as he could into lifeboats and even tried to save the dogs on board.

Astor’s son was so upset about his father’s death that he wanted the wreckage of the ship raised so that he could find his father’s body. John Jacob Astor's second son was born in August, 1912.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Douglas Tompkins, A Specialist Jungian Psychoanalyst in New York

Douglas Tompkins specializes in Jungian psychotherapy in New York City.  He trained as a Jungian analyst in Zurich and New York and he is a licensed psychotherapist in New York State.  He also belongs to many professional organizations.

Jungian analysis offers a way for people to integrate their souls so that they can repair their damaged psyches and become whole people.  Jung's teachings often focused on the subconscious and dreams.  He felt that studying these helped the therapist understand the patient's difficulties and complexities.

Jungian psychoanalysis is designed to assist patients to heal so that they can form better realtionships and enjoy more success in their professional careers.  An initial consultation is required so that the psychoanalyst and the patient can see if they can form a positive relationship. Why not see Douglas Tompkins today?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Escaping from the Titanic in High Heels

Edith Russell, a reporter for Women's Wear Daily, was dressed in the height of fashion when the Titanic hit an iceberg.  The hobble skirt of her white satiu evening dress and her backless, high-heeled, apricot satin pumps didn't help her to hurry up on deck when she felt a nasty jolt and saw an iceberg gliding past her window!

The 33 year old, who came from a wealthy Jewish family in Cincinnati,  had completed a series of articles about Paris fashions and decided to travel back to New York on the great ship.  She wrote to a friend that the ship was wonderful with every luxury which she could ever want but she had a 'feeling of depression and a premonition of trouble'.  She neglected to insure her many trunks of fashions and other belongings, however, because she was told that the ship was 'unsinkable'.

Always practical, when Edith felt a slight jolt and a second one which was nastier she did decide to put a warm cape on.  She also decided to ask the steward to fetch her her furry toy pig.  She regarded this toy pig, which played a tune called a 'maxixe', as her lucky pig.  It had been given to her after she survived a dreadful car crash in France.  She credited the pig with saving her life.

Edith was one of the last women to be saved but she was almost too scared to jump into a lifeboat.  When a steward threw her beloved toy pig into the lifeboat, the intrepid journalist decided to make the leap.  She had to go after her pet pig!

Titanic Survivors

Edith Russell's Life After The Titanic

Edith continued her reporting career after she survived.  She became a war correspondent in Word War One, even reporting from the trenches.

She also survived many other disasters.  These even included another shipwreck as well as a hurricane!  Edith remarked that: 'I've had every disaster but bubonic plague and a husband!'

Edith Russell died at 98 in London in 1975 10 days before the 63rd anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sir Cosmo's and Lady Duff Gordon's Reputations Are Restored At Last

Dotblock, An Excellent Web Host

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Why not try this web host today?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic Memorial

Titanic Memorial, Southampton

Arthur Gordon McCrae, Australian Titanic Victim

Arthur Gordon McCrae's Grave

The handsome, smartly dressed man looked forward to his trip on the great ship, Titanic.  Arthur Gordon McCrae, a young engineer, wanted to meet his friends in Canada.

He was only 32 but he'd led an interesting life which had taken him a long way from home.  McCrae was the grandson of Georgiana McCrae, a talented author and artist who emigrated to Australia with her husband, Andrew.  She was also the illegitimate daughter of the 5th Duke of Gordon.  (NB: I read her journal recently which I enjoyed very much). 

Born in Adelaide, McCrae attended Sydney Grammar School and graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Sydney.  After graduating the young man decided to go in search of adventure.  He worked at a gold-mine in West Africa.  After this he travelled to Siberia where he became the assistant manager of the Spasky copper mine in Akmolinsk, Siberia.  He became engaged to the daughter of the mine manager.

Sadly, McCrae's voyage would be his last.  He was one of the over 1000 passengers who died on that fateful voyage.  Arthur Gordon McCrae is buried in Fairview Cemetary, Halifax, Nova Scotia under a large Celtic cross, a long way from home.


Steven Rafter has written a novel about Arthur Gordon McCrae.  Read about it here: 209: A Story

Monday, April 9, 2012



Would you like to go on a Titanic Memorial Voyage?  I think that I'd find it a bit creepy, but I also think that it's a lovely way in which to pay tribute to those who died on the great ship.

The Balmoral has set off on her memorial voyage with people from over 28 countries aboard, including about 300 Australians.  Many of the 1309 passengers are descendants of the passengers on the Titanic.  (The Titanic also had 1309 passengers).

The passengers, including a few happy children, set off excitedly.  Many of them dressed in Edwardian costume for the occasion, including one who looked extremely smart in a replica of Kate Winslett's beautiful 'boarding dress' in the 1997 film.

A candlelit dinner and a memorial service will be held when the ship sails over the exact spot in the Atlantic where the great ship sank.

Read more here: Titanic Memorial Voyage

Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Posts Soon

I'm sorry for the long absence.  I've been OS and I've come back with lots of ideas!

I hope to start my new posts this week.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Universal Providers

Does the ghost of Samuel Hordern visit the World Square Building in Sydney?  I wonder what he thinks, if he does.  He would probably be extremely sad to see that his great store, Anthony Hordern & Sons, has been demolished and a rather soulless apartment building on the site.  He might be pleased to see that there are still shops there, but I'd have to send him to David Jones to see a grand old department store.

The story of Anthony Hordern & Sons began when Anne and Anthony Hordern arrived in Sydney, Australia with their three children in 1825.  They were free passengers and ambitious business people.  Anthony started a coach workshop and Anne opened a drapery store. 

Eventually two of their sons opened a larger drapery store on George Street.  The emblem of the new store was an oak tree and the motto was 'While I live, I grow'.  Eventually, this partnership ended and Samuel launched a huge new department store in the Haymarket with his son, Samuel.  This grand store was advertised as 'The Universal Provider'. The Horderns could supply almost anything that people wanted. According to Anthony Horderns, Historic Houses Trust:  'The 1914 general catalogue, which extended to over 1500 pages, illustrated the opening of a fine art gallery in Hordern's Brickfield Hill store and featured marble statuary, French bronzes, the finest hand cut crystal glass and ceramics by Royal Doulton, Wedgwood and Royal Copenhagen'. The Horderns soon had six outlets in the city and  employed 3,500 people.

A terrible fire burned the store down in 1901 but another huge store was built, called the Palace Emporium.  This opened in 1905.  The main entrance was filled with Italian marble and no expense was spared on the fittings.  These included iron castings and embossed steel ceilings.  The marble was imported but many of the other features were made in the Hordern factories.

Oak tree seedlings were given when the store celebrated its centenary in 1938.  Many of the oak trees still dot the city.

The store was sold by the Horderns in 1926. Unfortunately, the store came to be regarded as old-fashioned and began to decline in the 1950's.  The building was demolished in 1987.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Under the Arches

Walter Sickert painted there; Kipling could see it from his window; Ada Reeve reminesced about it and many great stars appeared there.  Gatti's at Charing Cross was one of the most popular London music-halls.

Variously called 'The Hungerford', 'Gatti's in the Arches' and simply 'Gatti's', the theatre was originally a restaurant.  Carlo Gatti launched it as a music-hall in 1867.  It was built into a 250-foot arch underneath the South-Eastern railway station near Charing Cross.  The old theatre, which was one of the most vulgar music-halls of the day, could hold 600 people when it was filled to capacity.

Ada Reeve and Katie Lawrence were just some of the many stars who appeared here in the late 1800'
s.  They scandalised audiences by dressing up in men's outfits and singing risque songs.

I learned about Gatti's because I recently saw Sickert's painting, Katie Lawrence at Gatti's, in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Ada Reeve Talks About Gatti's

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Douglas Tompkins, A Respected Psychoanalyst

Douglas Tompkins is an esteemed psychoanalyst, with many qualifications, who practises in New York.  He specializes in Jungian psychotherapy.

Jungian analysis focuses on healing people by helping them understand the inner psyche.  It also helps them understand and come to terms with their complexes so that they can successfully integrate their inner selves.  The interpretation of dreams and reflections on daily life play a large role in this type of analysis. Jung believed that dreams were a good indication of the state of a person’s psyche.  They often reveal hidden problems and fears.  However, if you can’t remember your dreams, Jungian analysis can still help you by dealing with the troubles and dilemmas of your life and the way in which you deal with it.

If you are interested  in improving your life by undergoing Jungian analysis it is a good idea to visit Douglas Tompkins.  Make an appointment for an initial consultation to see whether you think that you can develop a positive and healing relationship.  After this, consultations are usually once a week. 

Douglas Tompkins also holds events and classes for those interested in Jung's ideas.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Prowlina Pry and the Empire Theatre

Laura Ormiston Chant was horrified.  A writer of hymns and the editor of the National Vigilance Association magazine, she had been told about the painted ladies who paraded along the promenade of the Empire music-hall.  Even the outfits of the ballet dancers who performed there revealed too much.  Two American visitors warned her and she decided to prevent the ‘horrid slavery’ of these poor women.

Nicknamed ‘Prowlina Pry’, Chant said that she was no prude and she wasn’t against music-halls.  However, she disagreed with Walter McQueen Pope.  He wrote that these women were ‘caged tigresses’ who ‘never importuned’ and ‘made good wives and mothers’.

Chant fought against the renewal of the Empire’s licence and it was closed down by the London County Council in 1894.  It was soon reopened with canvas screens placed between the promenade and the auditorium.  This infuriated the audience who rushed on the ‘barricades’ and tore them down.  

Winston Churchill took the opportunity to make a speech.  “You have seen us tear down these barricades tonight.  See that you pull down those who are responsible for them at the coming election,” he said.  The promenade remained at the theatre.