‘I have always been guided by the Lord,’ she told me. ‘Look at my Wigan Work.’*

*from Jeanette Winterson’s “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” (1985).

From Wikipedia:

“The Local Government Act 1888 constituted all municipal boroughs with a population of 50,000 or more as “county boroughs”, exercising both borough and county powers. Wigan accordingly became a county borough on 1 April 1889, giving it independence from Lancashire County Council. Ward boundaries were altered, and the county borough was divided into ten wards, each electing one alderman and three councillors. The former area of Pemberton Urban District was annexed to the County Borough of Wigan in 1904, adding four extra wards to the borough. In 1974 the County Borough of Wigan was abolished and its former area became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan.”

From: The Changing Scene (1937), by Arthur Calder-Marshall:

“…in many families the husband’s or the wife’s parents, drawing the old age pension, are given their board and lodging in return for their 10s. a week. They pass their old age, if not in comfort, at any rate with a certain sense of security, living among the people of their own blood.

But as soon as such a family comes under the Means Test, they are regarded as ‘lodgers,’ in rather the way that the piano is regarded as a luxury. Their children’s dole is reduced accordingly, and they become an intolerable burden, instead of pleasant members of the family. In his Road to Wigan Pier, Chapter I, George Orwell describes a lodging house over a tripe shop in the North…”

(Wikipedia): “Colin Frederick George Wills (17 January 1906 – 1965) was an Australian journalist, poet, broadcaster, war correspondent, scriptwriter and travel writer. Wills left Australia in 1939, to work as a journalist and broadcaster in Europe.”

From a BBC Overseas Service broadcast, YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: WIGAN PIER, with Colin Wills, 2 December 1943:

“COLIN WILLS: …I am going to try some more of these trick questions on somebody else in another programme. And now we’ve got time for just one more question, asked by Sergeant Salt and Signalman McGrath serving in India. They say: ‘How long is the Wigan Pier and what is the Wigan Pier?’ Well, if anybody ought to know, it should be George Orwell who wrote a book called The Road to Wigan Pier. And here’s what he’s got to say on the subject.

GEORGE ORWELL: Well, I am afraid I must tell you that Wigan Pier doesn’t exist. I made a journey specially to see it in 1936, and I couldn’t find it. It did exist once, however, and to judge from the photographs it must have been about twenty feet long.

Wigan is in the middle of the mining areas, and though it’s a very pleasant place in some ways its scenery is not its strong point. The landscape is mostly slag-heaps, looking like the mountains of the moon, and mud and soot and so forth. For some reason, though it’s not worse than fifty other places, Wigan has always been picked on as a symbol of the ugliness of the industrial areas. At one time on one of the little muddy canals that run round the town, there used to be a tumble-down wooden jetty; and by way of a joke someone nicknamed this Wigan Pier. The joke caught on locally, and then the music-hall comedians get hold of it, and they are the ones who have succeeded in keeping Wigan Pier alive as a by-word, long after the place itself had been demolished.

WILLS: And so Signalman Salt and Sergeant McGrath, if you meant to floor the experts with a question about Wigan Pier, you’ll have to try again with something else! Now our time’s up for this week but we’ll be back again on the air at the same time next week to answer some more of your questions.”

Charles Graham reported for Wigan Today on 21st September 2020:

“The revival of a long closed Wigan theatre has landed a share of a £1.25m Government boost.

It is one of two High Street Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) in Wigan and Tyldesley become a reality as part of a Heritage England scheme.

For its King Street HAZ plans – which includes bringing back to life of the Royal Court Theatre – Wigan Council is providing match funding which, along with private sector and other sources, will see investment of around £2.5m.

Coun Terry Halliwell, heritage champion at Wigan Council, said: “This project will help us retain the character of our town centre, conserving buildings and putting them at the heart of our regeneration and growth plans.

“We’re delighted that the funding has now been confirmed for these exciting proposals to make King Street the go-to place for cultural and leisure activities.”

King Street has traditionally been a focal point for entertainment and commercial uses, but in recent times its historic character has deteriorated.

The plan aligns with the council’s cultural manifesto – The Fire Within – and Strategic Regeneration Framework for the town centre – which outline long-term ambitions for a more diverse offer for residents and visitors.

Wigan Council is leading the delivery of the King Street’s HAZ in partnership with a range of community, education, cultural partners.

The refurbishment of the Royal Court Theatre owned by Arts in the Mill CIC (known locally as The Old Courts) is seen as one of the key catalysts for the regeneration of King Street.

Rebecca Davenport, director of Arts At The Mill said: “We are delighted that King Street is getting the regeneration it deserves, it’s a place rooted in heritage and culture and we believe it can be a thriving place once again.”

The organisation has also received additional funds from Power To Change to support the regeneration of the theatre building.

Wigan Council and partners will begin a programme of community and business engagement events and activity over the next few months to explore what King Street means to residents and help shape the vision for its future.

Coun Halliwell added: “The launch of the Heritage Action Zones comes at a very opportune time for the Council as we are preparing to launch our draft Historic Environment Strategy for public consultation at the end of month.

“The Historic Environment Strategy celebrates our fantastic heritage and sets a framework for the conservation and management of our historic environment together with businesses, residents and all in our community.

“Securing funding through HAZ helps make this vision a reality.” “

The Foundling Hospital Estate

Image: (Wikipedia): “Guilford Street is a road in Bloomsbury in central London, England, designated the B502. From Russell Square it extends east-northeast to Gray’s Inn Road. Note that it is not spelt the same way as Guildford in Surrey. It is, in fact, named after Frederick North, Lord North, a former Prime Minister, who was also 2nd Earl of Guilford (sic).
The nearest tube station is Russell Square.”

Plaque shown (London House, Guilford St., WC1) is inscribed: “1854 – 1931
This library is dedicated to Sir Charles Parsons, scientist and engineer who in the XIX century invented and perfected the compound steam turbine.
The memory of the great is enshrined in books.”

From the website of the UCL BLOOMSBURY PROJECT:

“In addition to its work as an orphanage, the Foundling Hospital became, almost by accident, a major landlord in the fast-developing Bloomsbury area in the nineteenth century

The Governors of the Hospital had been forced to buy much more land (56 acres in total) than was actually needed for the orphanage itself, and by the late eighteenth century, when the Hospital faced a shortage of funds, residential development of the surplus land became its best financial option (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

The planned development met with opposition from both local residents who had hitherto enjoyed uninterrupted views, such as the residents of Queen Square and Great Ormond Street, and also from concerned citizens who worried about the adverse effect on the health of the children as the surrounding area was built up (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

The Hospital faced the further difficulty of the isolation of its site, and the surrounding estates which intervened between it and the established main traffic routes in the area; only Red Lion Street connected the estate’s land with the outside world (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

Another potential problem was posed by St George’s Burial Grounds, north of the Hospital buildings; if the estate opened up road access across this part of its land, it risked funeral processions travelling through its streets (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

Despite (or perhaps because of) these difficulties, the Governors of the Hospitalwent ahead with the development in the most careful and considered way possible, aided by their architect and surveyor, Samuel Pepys Cockerell, who submitted his plans to them in 1790 (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

The plans included a variety of residential housing of different classes, with the two grand squares of Brunswick Square and Mecklenburgh Square at the heart of the estate, flanking the Hospital buildings (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

Development began almost immediately, thanks largely to James Burton, who took building leases on large parts of the estate from the 1790s onwards, and who became its major builder (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

Difficulties in executing the plans, including complications caused by insufficiently-supervised subcontractors and the (unjustified) allegations of rival surveyors about the poor quality of his work, led Cockerell to be edged out by 1808 and replaced by Joseph Kay (Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952) 

The estate was originally planned as being entirely residential, and requests to build shops or convert houses into shops were not permitted in Compton Street or Great Coram Street, although some were allowed in Kenton and Upper Marchmont Streets, which later became shopping streets sanctioned as such by the estate (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984) 

Despite its proximity to the Bedford estate and the high standard of much of its housing, similarly aimed at the well-to-do middle classes, the Foundling Hospital estate faced quite different problems from the Bedford estate during its first century of residential development 

One perennial problem in the area was prostitution: in 1827, 34 inhabitants of Hunter Street petitioned the estate paving commissioners saying the street “has become the common walk of the lowest prostitutes”, and in 1845 the same problem was reported in Brunswick and Mecklenburgh Squares (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984) 

Another problem was the development of slums on the estate, particularly in its mews, which turned out not to be needed by many of the residents of the estate (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984); the Foundling Hospital estate appears to have been much less successful in this respect than the Bedford estate

Instead of being used for stabling, the Foundling Hospital’s designated mews were increasingly occupied by poor families, often criminal…in Compton Place, according to complaints made by residents of Compton Street in 1823…

Compton Place was one of the two main slum areas which developed on the estate; it was continually altered, pulled down, and re-erected, only for the same problems to recur, and complaints were still being made in 1858 (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

The other problem area was on the western edge of the estate, between Tavistock Placeand Bernard Street (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

“In January 1857 the medical officer of St Pancras suggested a permanent solution: the purchase of all the leasehold interests, followed by the demolition of the buildings. On their site could rise model lodging houses, the great new enthusiasm of the Victorian philanthropist” (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

Despite statistics showing the alarmingly high death rates in the slum areas, it was to be more than a decade later that such drastic measures were finally approved on the Foundling estate, in comparison to the building of model lodging houses on the Bedford estate as early as 1849–1850 (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

“The 1870s finally saw the beginning of a vigorous program of demolition and redevelopment, but the initiative came from outside the Foundling Hospital. In the summer of 1872 the St Giles’s Board of Works obtained a legal order for the demolition of the whole of Russell Place and Coram Place. Later that summer the Peabody Trustees applied to purchase the freehold of CoramRussellMarchmont, and Chapel places, together with a portion of Little Coram Street. After some hesitation the governors agreed to sell the property for £5400” (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

The vestry of St Pancras condemned property in the Colonnade and in Poplar and Compton Places in 1884, buying up the leasehold interests and surrendering them to the Foundling Hospital, although nothing was built on the cleared sites in Compton Place until the late 1890s, and there were still 18 houses whose leases did not expire until 1907 (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

Like the Bedford estate, the Foundling Hospital estate had insulated itself by a gate at the end of Heathcote Street and by having few streets going across the estate’s northern boundary (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

Boarding houses or let apartments were not allowed in the two showpiece squares until 1892 (Brunswick Square) and 1909 (Mecklenburgh Square) (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)

The rental income of the Foundling Hospital estate was over £18,930 by 1897; the entire estate was eventually sold for £1.65 million in 1926 (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984), after an unsuccessful attempt in the early 1920s by the University of London to acquire the site and turn it into a “University Quarter” (The Times, 26 May 1920, 1 October 1920, 7 October 1920) 

Another large local institution, Great Ormond Street Hospital, made an equally unsuccessful attempt to take over the site when it was sold.”

Peabody Estate, Herbrand Street, London WC1

From: Peabody.org.uk:

“Herbrand Street estate in Bloomsbury opened in February 1885…Four pairs of blocks were built round a central courtyard, and originally they contained 205 dwellings, with a total of 450 rooms. Some dwellings consisted of a single room, and before 1900 the average wage of tenants in these single rooms was less than £1 per week….Early records show that in the 1880s most tenants worked within walking distance of their homes. Department stores on Tottenham Court Road, the British Museum, Crosse and Blackwell’s in Soho Square and the Meux Brewery all employed several residents from the estate.”

From the website of the UCL Bloomsbury Project:

Little Coram Street: Also known as Herbrand Street. It was on the western edge of the Foundling estate, bordering the Bedford estate, and ran south from Tavistock Place to Great Coram Street. It was developed in the early nineteenth century; it does not appear on Horwood’s map of 1799, but it is shown fully developed on his map of 1807. On the OS map of 1867–1870, the only egress shown from the north end of the street into Tavistock Place is through an archway by a pub.

By the late nineteenth century, it had become a slum: “Little Coram-street, at the side of the [Russell] institution, has greatly degenerated since the time when probably its shops were patronised by some of the inhabitants of the ‘squares’ (Frederick Miller, Saint Pancras – Past and Present, 1874). Its east side and the adjacent slums were not cleared by the Metropolitan Board of Works until 1884, and the whole area was bought from the Foundling estate by the Peabody Trustees, who built model housing, Peabody Buildings, on the site (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984).

The Peabody Trustees hold documents relating to their redevelopment of this site; an agreement between the Trustee and the Foundling Hospital of 1875 shows the area to be sold, encompassing the east side of Little Coram Street, Chapel Place, Marchmont Place, Russell Place and Coram Place, with the houses on Russell Place and Coram Place having already been cleared. (Conveyance and Assignment, 6 October 1875, Peabody Trustees)

In 1897 the remaining leases fell in and the following year the street was sold to the LCC, along with Little Guilford Street (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984). The LCC proceeded to build more model housing on the west side of the street in 1898. It was incorporated into the new Herbrand Street in 1901.”

“ “The 1870s finally saw the beginning of a vigorous program of demolition and redevelopment, but the initiative came from outside the Foundling Hospital. In the summer of 1872 the St Giles’s Board of Works obtained a legal order for the demolition of the whole of Russell Place and Coram Place. Later that summer the Peabody Trustees applied to purchase the freehold of Coram, Russell, Marchmont, and Chapel places, together with a portion of Little Coram Street. After some hesitation the governors agreed to sell the property for £5400” (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984).

Despite statistics showing the alarmingly high death rates in the slum areas, it was to be more than a decade later that such drastic measures were finally approved on the Foundling estate, in comparison to the building of model lodging houses on the Bedford estate as early as 1849–1850 (Donald Olsen, Town Planning in London, 2nd edn, 1984)”

From: Housing the Workers – Early London County Council Housing 1889-1914, by Martin Stilwell (August 2015):

“…The Herbrand St site formed part of a larger MBW clearance scheme (called the Little Coram Street scheme) on land owned by the Duke of Bedford and from which the MBW was able to sell much of the cleared site to the Peabody Trust in 1884. The Duke, to his credit, re-housed those displaced on other parts of his estate at his cost. The resulting Peabody Buildings are opposite the Council’s buildings across Herbrand Street…”

“…is it possible to eat healthily while homeless?”

From: Harmonisation of Definitions of Homelessness for UK Official Statistics: A Feasibility Report (February 2019):

“Homelessness affects a wide range of people, covering not just people sleeping rough, but also those in temporary accommodation, sleeping temporarily at friends houses, living in unfit dwellings and those threatened with homelessness. Statutory homelessness and rough sleeping are the two main concepts of homelessness discussed in this report, however, other types of homelessness were explored as part of this research.”

Carinya Sharples wrote at thepavement.org.uk on May 04 2015:

“In its report ‘Food, Nutrition and Homelessness’, the Queen’s Nursing Institute noted: “When the issue of food is addressed by key workers, a ‘broad brush’ approach may be adopted (such as whether the individual is eating or has access to food) rather than identifying the nutrient quality of a homeless person’s diet. While this may be a realistic approach, it can result in further malnourishment for the individual concerned.”

In other words: eating endless sandwiches may fill a hole, but it won’t necessarily give your body what it needs to stay healthy.

The statistics illustrate the point. Some 70 per cent of long-term homeless people show medical symptoms of malnutrition, according to Shelter Scotland. In its health audit ‘The Unhealthy State of Homelessness’, Homeless Link reported a third of clients do not eat any fruit and vegetables and the same amount regularly eat less than two meals a day.

Why does it matter? Because food affects everything: your health, mood, self-esteem, fitness. In its good food guide, Cyrenians points out healthy eating can prevent obesity, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancer, gallstones, bowel disease, tooth decay, lack of energy, constipation and piles, and depression.

So is it possible to eat healthily while homeless? Yes, say the guests at Notre Dame (5, Leicester Place, London WC2), but it’s not easy. “I always make sure I have carbohydrates, vegetables, protein and fresh fruit. There are a few places where after the meal they give out fresh fruit and yogurt,” says Katie. “But if you stay in one place you don’t get as much variety.”

At Amurt’s Thursday night street café on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, it’s not sandwiches but soups and stews that are on the menu – made with vegetables from the wholesale market and served with a box of pitta bread from a Greek baker. They also hand out whatever fruit they can get, usually a box of bananas or apples.

Even for those who have somewhere to cook, it’s still hard. Working out how to spend what small money you have is one of the skills taught on the nine-week and four-week food courses run in Scotland as part of the Cyrenians Good Food programme. “It’s about drip-feeding the healthy food information, the budgeting information – not about overwhelming them in the first week,” says cookery tutor Sue.

“We try to think of strategies for each individual: we’ve had some people who only have a microwave to cook with.”

By the end of the course, participants have learned how to plan their meals for the week ahead and do everything from make soup to cook a three-course meal in the microwave. “It’s just about making those small changes that will hopefully add up to a big change in people’s health.” “

Mmm…ribonucleotides

From: The Changing Scene (1937), by Arthur Calder-Marshall:

“Orwell draws the comparison of the two budgets.

“…And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food….When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored and miserable, you don’t want to eat wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty.’ There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you. Let’s have three penn’orth of chips! Run out and buy us a twopenny ice-cream! Put the kettle on and we’ll all have a nice cup of tea! That is how your mind works when you are at P.A.C. (Public Assistance Committee) level. White bread-and-marg. and sugared tea don’t nourish you to any extent, but they are nicer (at least most people think so) than brown bread-and-dripping and cold water. Unemployment is an endless misery that has got to be constantly palliated, and especially with tea, the Englishman’s opium. A cup of tea or even an aspirin is much better as a temporary stimulant than a crust of brown bread.”

Thus Orwell describes the equation between nourishment and ‘tastiness,’ the non-scientific element that has to be taken into account in all human affairs…”

Amy Fleming reported in The Guardian of 9 Apr 2013:

“…Umami has been variously translated from Japanese as yummy, deliciousness or a pleasant savoury taste, and was coined in 1908 by a chemist at Tokyo University called Kikunae Ikeda. He had noticed this particular taste in asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat, but it was strongest in dashi – that rich stock made from kombu (kelp) which is widely used as a flavour base in Japanese cooking. So he homed in on kombu, eventually pinpointing glutamate, an amino acid, as the source of savoury wonder. He then learned how to produce it in industrial quantities and patented the notorious flavour enhancer MSG.

…So why is bolognese sauce with cheese on top, or a cheeseburger with ketchup so finger-licking good? Because, says Laura Santtini, creator of the umami condiment Taste No 5 Umami Paste, when it comes to savoury, “1+1=8”. In the simplest terms, umami actually comes from glutamates and a group of chemicals called ribonucleotides, which also occur naturally in many foods. When you combine ingredients containing these different umami-giving compounds, they enhance one another so the dish packs more flavour points than the sum of its parts. This is why the cooked beef, tomato and cheese in the above examples form a ménage à trois made in heaven. And why ham and peas is a gastronomic no-brainer. And, oh dear, why it’s hard to stop popping Smoky Bacon Pringles…”

From: h2g2 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition:

“…celery is nutritious, containing a variety of vitamins and minerals, so is worth eating. In particular it contains phthalides, which are compounds that reduce stress hormones and relax arteries in the body, so was used traditionally as a medicine to treat high blood pressure. Celery is also a diuretic and laxative…The phthalides also make celery good as a flavour enhancer when used in small amounts in recipes such as spaghetti bolognese, chicken soup and many more.”

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-comfort-food-recipes

“Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life”

Pamela Druckerman’s article in The Atlantic of May 29, 2018, continues:

“…Despite some biological claims, the midlife crisis was mainly viewed as a middle- and upper-class affliction. Classic sufferers were white, professional, and male, with the leisure time to ruminate on their personal development and the means to afford sports cars and mistresses. People who were working-class or black weren’t supposed to self-actualize. Women were assumed to be on a separate schedule set by marriage, menopause, and when their children left home.

But women soon realized that the midlife crisis contained a kind of liberation story, in tune with the nascent women’s movement: If you hated your life, you could change it. This idea found a perfect messenger in the journalist Gail Sheehy. Sheehy was the daughter of a Westchester advertising executive. She had obediently studied home economics, married a doctor, and had a baby. But that life didn’t suit her. By the early 1970s, she was divorced and working as a journalist.

In January 1972, Sheehy was on an assignment in Northern Ireland when the young Catholic protester she was interviewing got shot in the face. The shock of this experience soon combined with the shock of entering her mid-30s. “Some intruder shook me by the psyche and shouted: Take stock! Half your life has been spent.”

Researchers she spoke to explained that panicking at 35 is normal, since adults go through developmental periods just like children do. Sheehy traveled around America interviewing educated middle-class men and women, ages 18 to 55, about their lives. In the summer of 1976 she published a nearly 400-page book called Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life. By that August, it was the New York Times’ number one nonfiction bestseller, and it remained in the top 10 for over a year.

Sheehy had gone hunting for midlife crises in America, and she’d found them. “A sense of stagnation, disequilibrium, and depression is predictable as we enter the passage to midlife,” she writes in Passages. People can expect to feel “sometimes momentous changes of perspective, often mysterious dissatisfactions with the course they had been pursuing with enthusiasm only a few years before.” Ages 37 to 42 are “peak years of anxiety for practically everyone.” She said these crises happen to women, too.

With Sheehy’s book, an idea that had been gathering force for a decade simply became a fact of life. Soon there were midlife crisis mugs, T-shirts, and a board game that challenged players—Can You Survive Your Mid-Life Crisis Without Cracking Up, Breaking Up, or Going Broke?…”

«Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita/mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,/ché la diritta via era smarrita.»*

Pamela Druckerman’s article in The Atlantic of May 29, 2018 begins:

“The midlife crisis was invented in London in 1957. That’s when a 40-year-old Canadian named Elliott Jaques stood before a meeting of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and read aloud from a paper he’d written.

Addressing about a hundred attendees, Jaques claimed that people in their mid-30s typically experience a depressive period lasting several years. Jaques (pronounced “Jacks”)—a physician and psychoanalyst—said he’d identified this phenomenon by studying the lives of great artists, in whom it takes an extreme form. In ordinary people symptoms could include religious awakenings, promiscuity, a sudden inability to enjoy life, “hypochondriacal concern over health and appearance,” and “compulsive attempts” to remain young.

This period is sparked by the realization that their lives are halfway over, and that death isn’t just something that happens to someone else: It will happen to them, too.

He described a depressed 36-year-old patient who told his therapist, “Up till now, life has seemed an endless upward slope, with nothing but the distant horizon in view. Now suddenly I seem to have reached the crest of the hill, and there stretching ahead is the downward slope with the end of the road in sight—far enough away, it’s true—but there is death observably present at the end.”

Jaques didn’t claim to be the first to detect this midlife change. He pointed out that, in the 14th century, Dante Alighieri’s protagonist in The Divine Comedy—who scholars say is 35—famously declares at the beginning of the book, “*Midway upon the journey of our life / I found myself within a forest dark / For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”

But Jaques offered a modern, clinical explanation, and—crucially—he gave the experience a name: the “mid life crisis.”

As he addressed the meeting in London, Jaques was nervous. Many of the leading psychoanalysts of the day were sitting in the audience, including the society’s president, Donald Winnicott, renowned for his theory of transitional objects, and Jaques’ own mentor, the famed child psychologist Melanie Klein.

It was an acrimonious group, which had split into competing factions. Attendees were known to pounce on presenters during the questioning period. And Jaques wasn’t just presenting an abstract theory: He later told an interviewer that the depressed 36-year-old patient he described in the paper was himself.

When he finished reading the paper, titled “The Mid Life Crisis,” Jaques paused and waited to be attacked. Instead, after a very brief discussion, “there was dead silence,” he recalled later. “Which was very, very embarrassing, nobody got up to speak. This was new, this is absolutely rare.” The next day, Melanie Klein tried to cheer him up, saying, “If there’s one thing the Psychoanalytic Society cannot cope with, it’s the theme of death.”

Chastened, Jaques put “The Mid Life Crisis” aside. He went on to write about far less personal topics, including a theory of time and work. “I was certainly utterly convinced that the paper was a complete failure,” he recalled.

But he didn’t forget how it felt to be that troubled man standing on the crest of the hill. About six years later, he submitted the paper to The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, which published it in its October 1965 issue under the title “Death and the Mid-life Crisis.”

This time, instead of silence, there was an enormous appetite for Jaques’ theory. The midlife crisis was now aligned with the zeitgeist…”

The Hays Code

From screenonline.org.uk:

“First published in March 1930, the Motion Picture Production Code (popularly known as the Hays Code after its creator Will H.Hays) was the first attempt at introducing film censorship in the US through laying down a series of guidelines to film producers.

The Code was founded according to the concept: “if motion pictures present stories that will affect lives for the better, they can become the most powerful force for the improvement of mankind” – the clear implication being that films were signally failing to achieve these lofty aims.

The Code was based on three general principles:

  • No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.
  • Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.
  • Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.

These were developed in a series of rules grouped under the self-explanatory headings Crimes Against The Law, Sex, Vulgarity, Obscenity, Profanity, Costume, Dances (i.e. suggestive movements), Religion, Locations (i.e. the bedroom), National Feelings, Titles and “Repellent Subjects” (extremely graphic violence).

Although these guidelines were technically voluntary, in practice the major Hollywood studios used the Hays Code guidelines as a convenient means of staving off pressure groups (the British Board of Film Censors’ recommendations had been adopted by British film producers and distributors for similar reasons).

As a result, the Hays Code (and similar strictures laid down by the hugely influential Catholic Legion of Decency) directly influenced the content of almost every American film made between 1930 and 1966, when the Motion Picture Association of America introduced a ratings system along the lines of the BBFC’s classification certificates.”

Eltham’s claim to Hope

Image: Grand Entrance Hall, Eltham Palace.

Bob Hope died on 27 July 2003.

Paul Peachey reported for The Independent of 15 October 2013:

“If anybody claims to remember Bob Hope from the time he lived in Eltham, then they are almost certainly lying.

The entertainer left aged four with his family for the United States but the bond of affection he felt until his death for this often maligned corner of south-east London is still keenly felt. A plaque is attached to the wall of the three-bedroom terrace house where he was born in Craigton Road in 1903. It now lies empty after its recent sale for £195,000. “Buy yourself a piece of history,” the estate agent’s blurb about the house had urged.

It is less than a mile away in a small drab playhouse where he is most fondly remembered. In response to a call for help, he rescued the Eltham Little Theatre from closure. When its church landlords raised the rent, he raised £58,000 through a series of charity golf games.

It was renamed the Bob Hope Theatre in 1982 and he has made several trips to Eltham. Two certificates hang in the bar of the theatre bearing his name and that of the former US president Gerald Ford, proclaiming them honorary co-presidents of the place.

A bust of Bob Hope created by a blind sculptor has pride of place alongside many other pieces of memorabilia. Such are his good works here that he even eclipses Frankie Howerd as Eltham’s most famous son.

The first bouquet – from the local newspaper – appeared yesterday on the doorsteps of the theatre. “Thanks for the memories,” it said.

David Smith, chairman of the theatre during the 1980s when it was saved by the comic, said that Eltham had a lot to thank him for. “He was the salvation of the theatre. We have a permanent home for live entertainment in Eltham, which we wouldn’t have had had it not been for his generosity.

“He has always taken a keen interest particularly in the youth group here. He was an exceptional personality and is the best thing that has ever happened in this theatre’s history.”

Jim Shepherd, honorary secretary, last saw him in 2000 when he was frail, but Hope still had his sense of humour. “He was a very warm person, very down to earth and not Hollywood at all. If fans wanted an autograph all they had to do was approach him in the street, or just write to him and he would always oblige.” “

Liminality

From Wikipedia:

“Bing Crosby (1903-77), who was then one of The Rhythm Boys vocal group, had a chance meeting with Mack Sennett at the Lakeside Golf Club of Hollywood in the fall of 1930. Sennett was looking for a singer for his short films which had until recently been ‘silents’.

Having seen Crosby and The Rhythm Boys perform at the Cocoanut Grove, he invited both Crosby and Donald Novis to audition for him. Sennett decided to take on the former and subsequently, in May 1931, Crosby signed a contract on behalf of the Rhythm Boys for a series of two-reel comedies. The Rhythm Boys were to be paid $1000 a week while engaged in the filming. Within days, however, the Rhythm Boys walked out of their contact at the Cocoanut Grove and the three men decided to go their separate ways. Sennett renegotiated the contract amending the price to $600 for Crosby instead of $1000 for the trio. Six shorts were made by Crosby for Sennett, of which were four filmed in a three-month period in 1931 and two in 1932.

Crosby’s records were selling very well when Sennett signed him and the first film under the contract – “I Surrender Dear” – wisely included three of his big hits.

After filming the first four shorts in 1931, Crosby went to New York and enjoyed great success on the radio and through live appearances at the Paramount Theatre. He was soon signed to make a film called The Big Broadcast and he returned to Hollywood on June 12, 1932. Introductory sequence to the film (signature tunes) includes “Where the Blue of the Night” (sung by Bing Crosby].

First of all, he had to fulfil his contract with Sennett and on June 17, he started filming “Sing, Bing, Sing” (original title The Girl in the Transom) on June 17.

Then on July 2, 1932, filming started on “Blue of the Night” (original title “Honey Crooners”). Blue of the Night is a 1933 Mack Sennett Star Comedy (No. S3628) directed by Leslie Pearce and starring Bing Crosby. It was the last of the six short films Crosby made for Mack Sennett and which helped launch his career as a solo performer. Crosby had adopted “Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)” as his theme song for his radio show (recorded in November 1931 with Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra) and it had enjoyed chart success reaching No. 4 in the charts of the day.

The song was originally “When the Gold of the Day Meets the Blue of the Night”, but the title was changed before recording. Because Crosby contributed to the lyrics of the song, writers Roy Turk and Fred E. Ahlert included him in the songwriting credit. Although the song was popular and successful, Crosby did not take special pride in having written it, saying much later, “I really think I’d trade anything I’ve ever done if I could have written just one hit song.” The Bing Crosby composition “At Your Command” was, however, number one for three weeks on the U.S. pop singles chart in 1931 and “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You“, which he also co-wrote, is one of the most recorded pop and jazz standards of the 1930s.”

The Big Broadcast of 1938 is a Paramount Pictures musical comedy film starring W. C. Fields and featuring Bob Hope (1903-2003). Directed by Mitchell Leisen, the film is the last in a series of Big Broadcast movies that were variety show anthologies. This film featured the debut of Hope’s signature song (here with Shirley Ross), “Thanks for the Memory” by Ralph Rainger.”