Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, Kew Gardens

From Rachel Knowles’s Regency History blog:

“Frederick, Prince of Wales, arrived in England in December 1728 having spent his childhood in Hanover. Initially he got on well with his family and spent time at Richmond and Kew. He took a lease on Kew House, which stood opposite Kew Palace, where his sisters Anne, Caroline and Amelia were living. In 1730, he commissioned the architect William Kent to extend and remodel Kew House. The finished building was rendered and whitewashed and became known as the White House.

After his estrangement from his father, King George II, Frederick lived the life of a country gentleman at Kew with his wife, Augusta, and a growing number of children: Augusta, George, Edward, Elizabeth, William, Henry, Louisa, Frederick and Caroline Matilda, who was born posthumously. They played cricket, rowed on the river, performed plays and celebrated birthdays with fun and fireworks. Frederick gave his family astronomy lessons in the attic observatory and promoted the development of the gardens, aided by Lord Bute.

After Frederick’s sudden death from pneumonia in 1751, Augusta continued to live at Kew and under her auspices, the Royal Botanic Gardens were founded in 1759.

George III inherited the White House from his mother, Augusta, on her death in 1772. George III and Queen Charlotte used the White House as their country retreat, whilst their eldest sons, George and Frederick, moved into Kew Palace.

At Kew, the King and Queen were able to live a much more informal life than in London. The princes learned about farming and played games of cricket and football, occasionally joined by their sisters, especially Princess Augusta. They visited the royal menagerie of exotic animals and took picnics in the gardens at Queen Charlotte’s Cottage.

One source records that a one-storey building was erected on the site between 1754 and 1771 in the grounds of Richmond Lodge during the development of the New Menagerie, possibly as a dwelling for the menagerie keeper. This area now forms the western part of Kew Gardens. The cottage was then given to Queen Charlotte on her marriage to George III in 1761, and she extended the building and added an upper floor.

Another source states that the earliest mention of the cottage is not until 1771, and that it was built for Queen Charlotte as a cottage orné – a picturesque building made to look like a rustic cottage with aged window frames, poor quality bricks and a thatched roof. It may have been designed to remind Queen Charlotte of the farmhouses from her home in Mecklenburg.

Downstairs, the Queen displayed her collection of Hogarth prints on the walls of the print room, whilst upstairs was the tea or picnic room, with its beautifully floral and bamboo decorations which were painted by the Queen’s third daughter, Princess Elizabeth. Although externally the cottage is simple, inside it boasts elegant staircases and a geometric stone floor. However, the rooms are small as the cottage was never intended for the royal family to live in.

Queen Charlotte’s Cottage and grounds were given to the public by Queen Victoria in 1898. The cottage is now in the care of Historic Royal Palaces.

The King was frequently visited by the botanist Joseph Banks who fascinated him with tales of his travels, brought new seeds and plants for the gardens and in 1774, introduced him to the Tahitian warrior Omai.

After 1776, George III developed a preference for Windsor and spent less time at Kew, until 1788, when a long visit was forced upon him…”

The Brentford Gate of Kew Gardens

From: thehistoryoflondon.co.uk:

“For many centuries, possibly as far back as the Romans, a ferry crossed the Thames between Brentford and Kew, part of an important commercial link between London and the West Country. From 1659 it was managed by the Tunstall family. By the early 18th century two ferries were being operated by Robert Tunstall, a Brentford citizen of some consequence, one for pedestrians and the other for carriages. Traffic increased significantly from 1731 when, shortly after arriving in England, Frederick, Prince of Wales and his wife Augusta leased a house at Kew from the Capel family as their country home. William Kent was employed to enlarge and embellish it. From 1750 the couple began extensive works in the grounds, including a great pagoda. (In later times the estate became part of the Royal Botanical Gardens).

From: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – World Heritage Site Management Plan 2019-2025:

“Brentford Gate – opened to the public in 1847, was initially intended to serve ferry passengers, as was the Isleworth Ferry Gate (opened in 1872). However, visitor numbers to the Brentford Gate fell dramatically when the toll on Kew Bridge was abolished in 1873, with visitors instead preferring to enter by the Main Gates on Kew Green. Whereas the Isleworth Ferry Gate was eventually closed, the Brentford Ferry Gate has remained open, serving a riverside car park for visitors. Views into and out of RBG Kew from the car park and the Brentford Ferry Gate are very limited, due to the strong boundary tree planting in this area. The car park itself is very open to the river and to Brentford across the river, viewed through the trees planted on the aits.”

From Brentford TW8.com (September 2016):

“A crossing between Brentford and Kew Gardens is not a new idea. A foot passenger ferry used to run between Ferry Lane on the north bank, and Brentford Gate in Kew Gardens, but this service stopped during the Second World War. Subsequent attempts to revive it have been unsuccessful.

The Thames Landscape Strategy, an important ongoing study and strategic plan for the ‘Arcadian Thames’ between Hampton and Kew, envisages a revival of this crossing either by ferry or bridge.  Kew Gardens Landscape Master Plan in 2010 also envisaged an elegant footbridge, possibly a ‘Living Bridge’.

This proposal started life in 2013 as a demonstration project. Acanthus Architects LW were invited by Transport for London to submit a theoretical design for a bridge or similar transport infrastructure project, the subject and location being at our discretion.

NB: On the 21 May 2019 rail infrastructure specialist Acanthus Architects LW will trade under the Scott Brownrigg brand.

From Spacehive Crowdfunding for Local Projects webpage:

“Help us build a dramatic new bridge linking historic Brentford to Kew.

This historic stretch of the Thames is where Caesar forded the Thames, the Grand Union Canal starts, and where Brunel built his London depot for the Great Western Railway. It also has the word heritage site at Kew.

Linking other green spaces and parks – Syon Park, Boston Manor, Osterley House, Waterman’s Park, Kew Gardens and Richmond Park – it will improve access and use, encouraging fitness and wellbeing.

It will provide a much needed boost for the local economy by connecting commerce and culture – Kew Gardens and Richmond town centre with Waterman’s Art Centre, London Museum of Water and Steam, local businesses and Brentford FC.

The bridge will provide a dramatic new open space and iconic landmark. It will link with Brentford’s traditional roots to the Thames, the Grand Union Canal, its boatyards and the new Brentford Marina – making Brentford more of a cultural/historic destination.

Brentford’s heritage sites include Syon, Boston Manor and Osterley houses and grounds, and has new projects such as the new Waterman’s Arts Centre.

Linking Kew to Brentford’s industrial past – and future (home to many high tech companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Sky Broadcasting) affords a unique opportunity to bring these communities together.

Sorry this project was unsuccessful, we did not reach our fundraising goal: £8,696 pledged of £166,088.”

The Oxenhouse Gate of Kew Gardens

From Greater London Authority planning report D&P/3169/01 17 July 2013:

The proposal

Restoration of the Temperate House including the upgrading of services, creation of a central activity space, an extension between the centre block and the North Octogan, plus the provision of w.c’s, ramps and associated landscaping. Restoration of Evolution House to accommodate a new Engagement Centre. Partial demolition of the existing energy centre to provide a new biomass boiler and the construction of a temporary decant structure (1,200 sq.m plus 66 sq.m service plant) to accommodate the displaced plant collection for the duration of the works. Temporary dismantling and re-instatement of the stone plinths and railings of vehicular entrance from A307 Kew Road.”

“…As the application site is within the larger Kew Gardens boundary, the application site can be accessed publicly from the formal site entrances at the Main Gate, Kew Green, the Victoria and Lion Gate and the Brentford Gate on Ferry Lane. Security-controlled vehicular access is possible from the A307 Kew Road via the Oxenhouse Gate located on southern boundary of the gardens, however, this is for the purpose of the Kew Garden’s estate maintenance team, servicing and emergency vehicles. The site is served by bus route 65, with the closest bus stop located adjacent to the site entrance on Kew Road. Consequently, the site has a public transport accessibility level (PTAL) of 2 on a scale of 1 to 6, where 6(b) is the most accessible…”

From the website of London Welsh Rugby:

“CONTINUED CONSTRUCTION WORKS AT OLD DEER PARK – LIONS GATE ENTRANCE.

29 NOVEMBER 2018

There will be no vehicle access or parking near to the Lions Gate entrance (the far gate on the Kew Road) This is due to continuing construction works along the path and surrounding area.

The programme of works for this project and the site boundary is being undertaken by Kew Gardens.

The repair works will mean that the Oxen House Lane has and will continue to have restricted access. The lane will not be accessible between mid-day and 20:00hrs each day.

There will be no parking on Oxen House Lane for the full period of these works.

These works will be operational until at least mid to late December – Please pass it on!”

“But they said it really loud, they said it on the air”*

*line from “On the Radio” by American singer/songwriter Donna Summer, “Queen of Disco”, written for the soundtrack to the film Foxes (1980).

From: Chapter XI – June, One Summer – America 1927 (2013), by Bill Bryson:

“…It takes some effort of imagination to appreciate how novel radio was in the 1920s. It was the wonder of the age. By the time of Lindbergh’s flight, one third of all the money America spent on furniture was spent on radios. Stations sprouted everywhere…

…on the whole people were enchanted. The ability to sit in one’s own living room and listen to a live event in some distant place was approximately as miraculous as teleportation. When an advertiser wrote, “Radio Leaps the Barriers of Time and Distance!” it was as much an expression of wonder as of fact…”

Vincent Canby (1924-2000) was an enthusiastic supporter of only specific styles of filmmakers; notably Stanley Kubrick, Spike Lee, Jane Campion, Mike Leigh, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, James Ivory and Woody Allen, who credited Canby’s rave review of “Take the Money and Run” as a crucial point in his career. Canby wrote in his New York Times film review of 30.1.87:

“RADIOS once came in two basic models of wooden cabinets. The table-top, sheathed in oak or mahogany veneer, looked like a small, peak-roofed sentry box, with Romanesque or Gothic arches in front of the sometimes gold-flecked fabric masking the speaker.

The table-top radio added a certain tone to any suite of living-room furniture, though certainly not as much as the majestic console, the big, heavy floor-model that was a prized piece of furniture in its own right.

For most of us who were born before World War II – or even during the war’s early days – it’s sometimes difficult to realize that these extraordinary objects are now antiques, and that the material that poured from their speakers constituted a singular, if short-lived, popular art. We didn’t have to look at the radio – though we always did – to be swept up by the voice of the unknown diva on ”The Major Bowes Amateur Hour,” the awful dooms facing ”Little Orphan Annie,” the arcane knowledge possessed by contestants on ”Name That Tune,” the adventures of ”The Lone Ranger,” or the gaiety of the annual New Year’s Eve festivities at the Roosevelt Hotel, presided over by Guy Lombardo. We didn’t see a wooden cabinet, often scratched and scuffed, its speaker-fabric punctured by children who’d wanted to discover what was going on inside.

Instead we saw a limitless universe, created entirely out of voices, music and sound effects that liberated each mind in direct relation to the quality of its imagination. When Uncle Bob (or Ted or Ray) promised to send a shooting star over the house to mark a young listener’s birthday, the young listener, who had hung out the window for an hour without seeing the star, questioned not Uncle Bob (or Ted or Ray), but his own eyesight.

What’s sometimes referred to as the golden age of radio – roughly from the mid-30’s through the mid-40’s – holds a privileged position in the memories of most of us who grew up with it. Radio wasn’t outside our lives. It coincided with – and helped to shape – our childhood and adolescence. As we slogged toward maturity, it also grew up and turned into television, leaving behind, like dead skin, transistorized talk-radio and nonstop music shows.

It’s this brief and, in hindsight, enchanted period that Woody Allen remembers in his most buoyant, comic and poignantly expressed of memoirs, titled, with his unflagging, poetic exactitude, ”Radio Days.”…”

John Templeton (1802–1886)

From Wikipedia:

“John Templeton was a British opera singer. A tenor, he sang at the first English productions of Mozart’s operas Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute.

He was born at Riccarton, near Kilmarnock, the son of Robert Templeton. He was the youngest of three brothers, all of whom had musical talent. His elder brother James was a distinguished music teacher in Edinburgh, and his other brother Robert was a precentor, in the Laigh Kirk, Kilmarnock. John had a fine voice as a boy and from the age of 14 until his voice broke when he was 17, took part in concerts in Edinburgh with his brother James. In 1822 he became precentor to the Rose Street Secession church. Then, intending to become a professional singer, he went to London and studied under Jonathan Blewitt, Thomas Welsh, De Pinna, and Tom Cooke.

Templeton made his stage debut at Worthing in 1828, appearing as Dermot in The Poor Soldier. After some time in the provinces he made a successful London debut in October 1831 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. In 1832 he appeared as Raimbaut in the first British performance of Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable. In 1833 he took the role of Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at five days’ notice.

In 1833 Maria Malibran chose him as her tenor for Bellini’s La sonnambula, at Covent Garden, and he continued as her leading tenor until her death in 1836.

He visited Paris in 1842 before embarking on provincial tours, giving lecture recitals on Scottish, English, and Irish folk-songs. In 1845–6 he went on a tour of the United States.

Templeton had a repertoire of thirty-five operas, in many of which he created the chief parts.

Templeton retired at the age of 50 and lived at what is now called Templeton Lodge at 114 High Street, Hampton Hill, Middlesex (see picture above).

He died at his home in Hampton on 2 July 1886. A monument to his memory stands on Calton Hill, Edinburgh.”

From http://www.stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk/content/pages/documents/1526051327.pdf

“The book, Birth and Growth of Hampton Hill, tells us “We learn from the SURREY COMET, September 4th, 1901, that the first owner of Templeton Lodge was one John Templeton, ‘one of the finest tenors of the early part of the last century’. He retired to New Hampton and is described as ‘one of the earliest to make his abode there’. John Templeton was a British opera singer. A tenor, he sang at the first English productions of Mozart’s operas Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute and was acknowledged to be the greatest musical artist of his time.

The magazine of August 1886 had this Memoriam: “At the age of nearly eighty-four there has passed away one who was known to many of us as a quiet and retiring old gentleman, but who, for many years was the popular tenor of our country, and throughout America too. He retired into private life about thirty years ago, and unheeded by the busy world has spent his declining years in his pleasant little home in our village. In a full old age, respected by those who knew him, he has passed to his rest and is buried in the same grave as his wife in our Churchyard.” “

“Damian Lewis broke my door knob”

Laura Davis wrote in the Liverpool Echo of 24.3.14:

“Would you open your home to 60 strangers who rearrange all your furniture, take over your bedroom and run up and down your garden to the sound of gunshots?

Ingrid Spiegl has, several times.

Not all of the invaders were entirely unknown to her, however. A few faces she knew very well off the telly.

There was Damian Lewis, who came to her Princes Park home to film The Forsyte Saga back in 2001, and, just a few weeks ago, Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks from Foyle’s War.

It was the more recent film crew that was responsible for the excitement in the garden.

“It’s quite exciting to be sitting in the kitchen and hearing gunshots,” says Ingrid, who was married to the late musician, broadcaster and Scouse Press founder Fritz Spiegl.

I just sat in there with the cats. They were terrified, except one who kept walking through when they were doing a shoot.”

 The scene stealer is black cat Darius Milhaud (named after the French composer but pronounced “Miaow”). Ingrid, like her other cat Claude Depussy, was more reticent about approaching the actors for an autograph or photo…

“I saw Mr Kitchen, he doffed his hat at me a couple of times, which was nice. And we’ve had Damian Lewis in this house – he’s gone on to greater things. I did tell him he looked like Wee Willie Winkie when he ran down the stairs so that’s probably not a good move.”

The Forsyte Saga used almost the whole house – and a lot of other Liverpool locations – arriving en masse with a big wagon where the cast and crew ate their meals, and staying for several months.

At the time the Spiegls were having their three-storey home rewired so the wallpaper was peeled back and there were channels running up the walls. The production team took out all the furniture and redecorated.

 “They said ‘we’ll restore it to how it is’ – I said ‘no!’,” says Ingrid, whose house’s high ceilings and period features make it the perfect choice for location scouts.

She did eventually redecorate but traces of the Forsyte Saga remain. They left behind a couple of rolls of blue patterned wallpaper, which she used to paper a small corridor on the first floor.

There is also another reminder.

“Damian Lewis broke my door knob,” says Ingrid.

“He was rattling it. It was a china one and it broke. My late husband glued it back together again with a piece of paper ‘saying Damian Lewis broke this door knob’ because we think that’s a thing to be proud of.”…

“The only thing I was a bit bothered about were the books being taken off the shelves because I’d put some of them into alphabetical order and they’re not any more.”…

“I watched the Forsyte Saga so many times,” she says.

“We videoed each episode and sat there with our tongues hanging out recognising lots of Liverpool – our friends’ houses, Gambier Terrace, Falkner Square…”

And she’d be happy to do it all again…”

George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. (1895-1948)

From: Chapter VIII – June, One Summer – America 1927 (2013), by Bill Bryson:

“As it turned out, (Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston) couldn’t have come into baseball ownership at a worse time. One bad thing after another befell Major League Baseball in the following years. First, competition from the Federal League clobbered revenues. Attendance in American and National League parks dropped by a quarter during the two years of the Federal League’s existence. Then America’s entry into the First World War depressed attendance further. That was followed by the great Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which killed millions across the world and left most people severely disinclined to gather in public places. At the same time, President Woodrow Wilson announced that the 1918 major league season would be reduced to 130 games as a gesture towards the war effort. Total attendance that year fell to just three million – a decline of 50 per cent from ten years earlier. Finally, in 1919, Congress brought in the Volstead Act, which declared that Prohibition would begin in January 1920. That would remove beer sales from ballparks, eliminating a crucial source of revenue…

…unnoticed by history was the timing of the Ruth deal. It is not at all a coincidence that the New York Yankees purchased Babe Ruth in the same month that Prohibition came into effect. Jacob Ruppert at the time of the Ruth sale was three weeks away from losing his brewery business. He urgently needed an alternative source of income. Now he was going to find out if it was actually possible to get rich from owning a baseball team, and he was going to do it by staking nearly everything on the most brilliant, headstrong, undisciplined, lovable, thrillingly original, ornery son of a bitch that ever put on a baseball uniform.

It would be quite a ride.”

Chapter XII:

“The act was named after Andrew J. Volstead, a Minnesotan like Lindbergh…His name became attached to the legislation simply because he was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee…Wayne Wheeler always claimed that he really designed and wrote the legislation, an assertion heatedly disputed by Volstead, though why either would want credit for the act is a reasonable question because it proved to be a strikingly ill-constructed Bill.”

River House, Strand on the Green

From: Who Was Who on Strand on the Green by Kathleen Judges and Christopher Knight, and panoramaofthethames.com:

52 Strand on the Green: The Browns were living in a house on this site when Nos 50 & 51 were built. Daniel Brown, citizen and stationer of London, built a high garden wall between his garden and the two new houses and made a careful will in 1726 to ensure that his wife, Susan, his son and his two daughters would have the use of the house and garden for the rest of their lives. 

In 1793 Edward Sykes, Barrister of New Inn, Middle Temple, moved into the house as a sub-tenant, acquiring the copyhold of the big house with its garden running as far as the Ship Inn. He re-built River House on the old foundations and cellars and extended it into a terrace of five 3-storey houses, faced with unusual white Suffolk brick, with semi-basement kitchens. The interiors vary in detail and may have been completed to suit the occupants. The property was settled on his two daughters who both married barristers and moved into Nos 53 and 55 in about 1800 . The other two houses were let.

From about 1850-1929 nos 53 and 53A were occupied as one house known as The Ferns; you can still make out the name between the windows of no 53A.

Following the Anschluss in 1938, Fritz Spiegl and his sister were sent by Kindertransport to England. During his time as a music student in London, he lodged with Mrs Audrey Tower at No 52.

Julia Korner, LSIAD, Fine Art, is now based at The River House, 52 Strand on the Green.

From PC49 to Z Cars

a) No 59, OLD WILLOWS, Strand on the Green (see left of image above)

Brian REECE was born on 24 July 1913, in Wallasey, Cheshire. He served in the Royal Artillery between 1940 and 1946, and lived at Strand on the Green 1948-1953 (see “Who Was Who on Strand on the Green“).

A film and stage actor, he was probably best known as “PC49”. He starred as the eponymous policeman in the BBC radio series The Adventures of PC 49 (1947–1953), playing an untypical British police constable, Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby.

Reece appeared twice as a “castaway” on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs, first on 24 July 1953. On his second appearance, on 17 April 1961, he chose as his favourite track “Love and Music”, from Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. The book he chose was a Navigational Manual, and by way of a luxury he requested a still.

The radio series gave rise to The Adventures of PC 49, a 1949 British crime film starring Hugh Latimer. Reece starred in the sequel, A Case for PC 49, in 1951.

There were six children’s annuals full of stories of PC 49, as well as an annual reprinting of his strips in the Eagle comics.

Brian Reece died in London at the age of 48, on 12 April 1962.

b) No 52, RIVER HOUSE, Strand on the Green

From the website of the Jewish Lives Project:

“Born in Zurndorf, Austria, in 1926, Fritz Spiegl was a distant relative of Gustav Mahler. Following the Anschluss in 1938, his parents fled to Bolivia while Fritz and his sister were sent by Kindertransport to England. Spiegl spoke only German, but was taken in by politician David Margesson, later Secretary of State for War, who taught him English.

(Margesson married Frances, daughter of Francis Howard Leggett, in 1916. They had one son and two daughters but were divorced in 1940. Following his divorce, Margesson was living at the Carlton Club when it was bombed by the Luftwaffe on 14 October 1940. He was left homeless and had to sleep for a time on a makeshift bed in the underground Cabinet Annexe.When, at the end of 1940, the position of Secretary of State for War fell vacant, Margesson was promoted to it. Lord Margesson died in the Bahamas in December 1965, aged 75.)

While working in London he taught himself the flute, and in 1946 joined the Royal Academy of Music. Before completing his course he was appointed principal flautist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948, a post he held until 1963. In 1949 he founded the Liverpool Music Group, a serious ensemble but which also played comical concerts, such as the Nuts in May and April Fool Concerts, to bring younger audiences to classical music. With his wife, he arranged a traditional Liverpool skipping song as the theme tune for the television series Z Cars. In 1965 he set up the Scouse Press. He also wrote books and newspaper columns on the subject of language, and he worked on BBC radio, presenting Start the Week and Fritz on Friday.

From: Who Was Who on Strand on the Green by Kathleen Judges and Christopher Knight:

“He came to England as a child refugee and lodged with Mrs Audrey Tower at No 52 while a student at the Royal College of Music. He joined the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as their youngest principal flute and also became their lampoonist. His version of his wife’s arrangement of a folk-tune became famous as the theme from Z Cars. He gave up orchestral work in favour of composing and writing and became a regular broadcaster.”

Martin Anderson: “Spiegl’s music-making first enjoyed a national ambit when, having discovered a Liverpool-Irish skipping tune, “Johnny Todd”, he suggested it to his first wife, the composer and harpsichordist Bridget Fry: she had a commission to write the signature tune for a new police television-drama series, Z Cars. Launched in 1962, Z Cars attracted almost 14 million viewers in its first season; Spiegl’s recording of the theme tune, complete with Ulster pipe band, entered the Top Ten when it sold 200,000 copies in its first week on the market.”

From Wikipedia:

“(The title “Z Cars” comes from the radio call signs allocated by Lancashire Constabulary. Lancashire police divisions were lettered from north to the south: “A” Division (based in Ulverston) was the detached part of Lancashire at the time around Barrow-in-Furness, “B” Division was Lancaster, and so on. The TV series took the non-existent signs Z-Victor 1 and Z-Victor 2. The title does not, as sometimes suggested, come from the cars used, Ford Zephyr and Ford Zodiac. The Zephyr was the standard traffic patrol car used by Lancashire and other police forces, while the Zodiac was only used for specialist tasks such as traffic duty.)

The Z Cars theme was based on the traditional folk song “Johnny Todd”, which was in a collection by Frank Kidson dated 1891 called Traditional Tunes: A Collection of Ballad Airs. Kidson’s notes for this song say: “Johnny Todd is a child’s rhyme and game, heard and seen played by Liverpool children. The air is somewhat pleasing, and the words appear old, though some blanks caused by the reciter’s memory have had to be filled up.” The song appears in the book Songs of Belfast edited by David Hammond, who heard it from a Mrs. Walker of Salisbury Avenue, Belfast, who claimed it dates from around 1900.

Spiegl also composed the original theme for the Z Cars spin-off series Softly, Softly (the song was also released as a single on Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate record label in 1966). His BBC Radio 4 UK Theme, in which national songs from each of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom are combined, was heard on Radio 4 at the beginning of each morning’s broadcasting from November 1978 until April 2006.

Spiegl’s first marriage, to Bridget Fry (1952-1969), produced three daughters. In 1976, he married Ingrid Romnes. Fritz Spiegl died suddenly during a lunch in Liverpool with his wife Ingrid and some friends, on Sunday 23 March 2003.”

Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

From Wikipedia:

“Kit Kat is a chocolate-covered wafer bar confection created by Rowntree’s of York, United Kingdom, and is now produced globally by Nestlé, which acquired Rowntree in 1988…The standard bars consist of two or four pieces…Each finger can be snapped from the bar separately.

The original four-finger version of the bar was developed after a worker at Rowntree’s York factory put a suggestion in the recommendation box for ‘a chocolate bar that a man could take to work in his pack up’. It was launched in September 1935 in the UK as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp, and the later two-finger version was launched in 1936. It was renamed Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp in 1937, and just Kit Kat after World War II. Since 1957, the slogan for the Kit Kat in the UK and elsewhere has been “Have a break… have a Kit Kat”.

“Use of the name Kit Kat or Kit Cat for a type of food goes back to the 18th century, when mutton pies known as a Kit Kat were served at meetings of the political Kit-Cat Club in London owned by pastry chef Christopher Catling.”

From the website of the National Portrait Gallery (London):

“The Kit-cat Club portraits: paintings by Sir Godfrey Kneller, circa 1697-1721

43 Portraits in set

These portraits are of a group of influential men pledged to uphold the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and the Protestant succession. Founded by Somers, the Lord Chancellor and the publisher Tonson, the club began meeting in Christopher Cat’s tavern near Temple Bar, and took its name from his mutton pies known as Kit-cats. Members included Whig MPs and landowners as well as writers. The artist, Kneller, adopted a standard ‘kit-cat’ format of 36 x 28 inches instead of the standard 30 x 25 inches for the portraits. In the 1730s they hung in a special room which Tonson junior had built at his house at Barn Elms.”