Country Life Every Week - - Contents - Com­piled by Oc­tavia Pol­lock

Oc­tavia Pol­lock se­lects some of the most re­mark­able sto­ries and pho­to­graphs from 120 years of the Coun­try

Life archives

Where it all be­gan

THE first is­sue set the eclec­tic tone. There was an as­sess­ment of Knight of Rhodes, a six-year-old cham­pion hur­dler, hunt­ing with the Devon & Som­er­set Staghounds and the Prince of Wales’s Bor­zoi, plus football, golf and Cecil Rhodes’s zoo at Cape Town. The first coun­try house was Bad­des­ley Clin­ton, War­wick­shire (Jan­uary 8, 1897).

Play­ing it down

AN ed­i­to­rial on the ‘hys­ter­i­cal ju­bi­la­tion’ that greeted the High­landers’ gal­lant ac­tion in the Bat­tle at Dar­gai in the Boer War read: ‘At one time, there was a dis­po­si­tion to take un­duly lit­tle no­tice of the many brave deeds done by the sailors and sol­diers of the Bri­tish Navy and Army… But of late there has arisen a de­cided ten­dency to overdo ex­pres­sions of ap­pre­ci­a­tion, to pro­ceed to the op­po­site ex­treme to cold ne­glect and give way to gush. There is noth­ing in its line more re­pul­sive, es­pe­cially to those who are gushed over’ (Novem­ber 6, 1897).

Long live the King

QUEEN VIC­TO­RIA ‘was not a bril­liant woman in ac­com­plish­ments or on the ornamental side of life, but she had those two great­est gifts of a ruler, sagac­ity and sense of duty… [Those qual­i­ties] His Majesty King Ed­ward VII un­doubt­edly pos­sesses in al­most equal mea­sure.

‘We are heartily glad that our King shares our na­tional taste… [he is] an all-round sports­man of the first or­der… We hope he will not re­lin­quish our in­no­cent amuse­ments. He will be no worse King, but rather the bet­ter, if as such he lays the pheas­ants low and wins the Derby and hears the gun fired from the RYS Cas­tle when his white-winged yacht glides in a tri­umphant win­nerõ (Fe­bru­ary 2, 1901).

Beavers at work

THE busy crea­tures were mak­ing their pres­ence felt 120 years ago, at Leonard­slee Park, Sus­sex: ‘The size of the work is as re­mark­able and more ap­par­ent than the knowl­edge of en­gi­neer­ing prin­ci­ples that un­der­lies its struc­ture… The “sec­tion” of the dam is ex­actly that which hu­man engi­neers have adopted for dams by math­e­mat­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion and the top is kept level by daily in­spec­tion by the beavers them­selves’ (Septem­ber 18, 1897).

How to throw a boomerang

SIR RALPH PAYNE-GALLWEY re­ports: ‘The best of Aus­tralian boomerangs will now and then set­tle with such a slow but­ter­fly-like flut­ter at the end of their flight that, when spin­ning but 4yrds or 5yrds above you, there is time be­fore they reach the ground to look at your watch, count five sec­onds and put it back again in your pocket!’ (Oc­to­ber 27, 1906).

Let there be light

ON the higher cost of liv­ing dur­ing Lloyd Ge­orge’s Lib­eral gov­er­nance: ‘The most or­di­nary gen­eral ser­vant now re­quires a salary that would have been deemed suf­fi­cient by those who were highly trained not so very

long ago. And the in­ven­tions that have been brought to bear on the com­fort of the house may add to its con­ve­nience, but they cer­tainly do not make for cheap­ness. Elec­tric light, for ex­am­ple… There was a time in our own mem­ory when mod­er­ately good shoot­ing and fish­ing could be had for a tri­fling sum, but to­day it in­volves very con­sid­er­able ex­pen­di­ture’ (Au­gust 7, 1909).

A hole in one

A GOLF­ING Ar­chi­tec­ture com­pe­ti­tion was won by Yorkshire GP Al­is­ter Macken­zie with a ‘most in­ge­nious’ course. He went on to de­sign the US Masters course at Au­gusta, Ge­or­gia (Au­gust 1, 1914).

MPS unite in war

A S soon as it was clear that a time had come for united and strong ac­tion, petty dif­fer­ences sank into the back­ground. The House of Com­mons never pre­sented a more united or a more de­ter­mined ap­pear­ance than it did when Sir Ed­ward Grey made his fa­mous speech… The Colonies, each of which is now a self-gov­ern­ing body, master of its own af­fairs, have shown that in the words of one of their great men “when Great Bri­tain is at war, we are at war”’ (Au­gust 8, 1914).

To Rus­sia with love

A RUS­SIAN num­ber in­cludes a let­ter ‘To Our Rus­sian Read­ers’ printed in Cyril­lic. The trans­la­tion ex­plained: ‘To the staff of COUN­TRY LIFE it has been a labour of love to pre­pare an edi­tion of this jour­nal devoted to Rus­sia. The labour was dig­ni­fied by a great ob­ject. This is to pro­mote and im­prove the good re­la­tions now es­tab­lished be­tween Bri­tain and her great Ally...

‘Rus­sia, above all else, is a land of dreams and ideas’ (Oc­to­ber 14, 1916).

White horse needs groom

A COR­RE­SPON­DENT com­pares the ap­pear­ance of the Uff­in­g­ton White Horse with that of 1864: ‘He is but a shadow of his for­mer self. In the draw­ing I en­close, the white is the present horse and the black those ar­eas that have be­come over­grown… Poor old horse! He is sched­uled as an an­cient mon­u­ment by Act of Par­lia­ment, but the Act does not ap­pear to pro­vide for the groom­ing of him’ (Septem­ber 12, 1908).

Beatrix Pot­ter com­plains

HYDROPLANES in the Lake District spurred the au­thor to write in: ‘Our peace­ful lake [Win­der­mere] is dis­turbed by the pres­ence of a hy­droplane. [It] flies up and down in the trough of the hills. Horses upon land may pos­si­bly be­come ac­cus­tomed to it, but if they back while on the water, there will be an ac­ci­dent.

‘We are some­times told that Eng­land is be­ing left be­hind by other na­tions in the race for the con­quest of the air. But, surely, the proper place for test­ing hydroplanes is over the sea, rather than over an in­land lake? A more in­ap­pro­pri­ate place could scarcely be cho­sen. The noise is con­fined by the hills, “echoes/re­dou­bled and re­dou­bled; con­course wild”’ (Jan­uary 13, 1912).

Wartime ex­hor­ta­tions

T HIS an­nounce­ment ap­peared reg­u­larly: ‘We ap­peal to our read­ers to send their copies of re­cent is­sues of COUN­TRY LIFE to the troops at the front. This can be done by simply hand­ing them over the counter of any Post Of­fice. No la­bel, wrap­per or ad­dress is needed and no postage need be paid. The War Of­fice no­ti­fies that all pa­pers posted to any neu­tral Euro­pean coun­try will be stopped, ex­cept those sent by pub­lish­ers and newsagents who have ob­tained spe­cial per­mis­sions from the War Of­fice. Such per­mis­sion has been granted to COUN­TRY LIFE.’

Armistice at last

O PIN­ION, as far as can be gath­ered, does not dif­fer in re­gard to the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the armistice terms ex­acted from Ger­many. In con­sid­er­ing them we must keep in mind first, that the armistice terms are not peace terms and, se­condly, that the ob­ject of the armistice was to pre­vent Ger­many from re­new­ing the war’ (Novem­ber 16, 1918).

Our 25th birth­day

W E live by ad­mi­ra­tion, ac­cord­ing to a fa­mous say­ing of Wordsworth, and the spirit of COUN­TRY LIFE might prob­a­bly be de­fined as teach­ing what to ad­mire.’

COUN­TRY LIFE ‘started with a ti­tle that falls like mu­sic on the ear, ours be­ing an is­land race whereof even the town dweller is a coun­try­man at heart. Let him be ever so deep in af­fairs, he will find time to steal away and seek re­fresh­ment on the river, in the coun­try­side or on the seashore’ (Jan­uary 7, 1922).

New Labour

T HE mag­a­zine greeted the ar­rival of a new po­lit­i­cal party with mis­giv­ings, call­ing it ‘The So­cial­ist Men­ace’: ‘It is of very great im­por­tance that the pub­lic should clearly un­der­stand what would be meant by the ad­vent of the Labour Party to of­fice. They will not learn this piece of in­tel­li­gence from the leader. Mr Ram­say Macdon­ald is a prom­i­nent So­cial­ist whose ideal is “an in­dus­trial com­mon­wealth founded upon the So­cial­i­sa­tion of land and cap­i­tal”’ (Jan­uary 19, 1924).

In­side a mol­lusc’s mind

F ROM a se­ries en­ti­tled ‘The Mind of An­i­mals’ by Prof J. Arthur Thom­son: ‘Can an oys­ter have a mind? Can a slug learn? Can even an oc­to­pus put two and two to­gether? It is dif­fi­cult to start an en­quiry into the psy­chol­ogy of mol­luscs with­out the lurk­ing sus­pi­cion that there is not any. But this is all sci­en­tific prej­u­dice. Of bi­valves, in­deed, we must not ex­pect much, for the whole head re­gion is de­gen­er­ate in cockle and mus­sel, oys­ter and clam. They have re­lapsed into a more or less seden­tary and slug­gish mode of life. They are “stick-in-the-muds” and the old tech­ni­cal term “acephalous” (head­less) is no li­bel’ (May 13, 1922).

Build­ing Cen­tre Court

A T Wim­ble­don: ‘We picked our way gin­gerly through the mud to the vast Ro­man theatre—of ferro-con­crete—which is the grand­stand. Al­ready, one be­gins to feel sorry for the cham­pi­ons who have to fight out their bat­tles, frowned down upon by that great cir­cle of seats that rises heav­en­ward tier upon tier. What in­signif­i­cant mid­gets they will feel!’ (March 4, 1922).

Curse of the car

T HE free­dom of move­ment af­forded by mo­tor ve­hi­cles leads to the coun­try­side be­com­ing clut­tered and ugly: ‘The mo­tor­cy­cle and the car bring their own ter­rors: first, the glar­ing road­side ad­ver­tise­ments [bill­boards] and, worst of all, the brightly coloured, flim­sily built week­end bun­ga­lows. The ad­ver­tise­ments are the least se­ri­ous be­cause they are the most eas­ily mended. A few spir­ited in­hab­i­tants, like cer­tain Cam­bridge un­der­grad­u­ates, could lay them low in a night’ (July 31, 1926).

The Ger­man Men­ace

A DREAD­FUL fore­bod­ing: ‘[We had] found our­selves on com­par­a­tively friendly terms with what we thought to be a new Ger­many, chas­tened by the ter­ri­ble penal­ties of de­feat, and ready to take her part in the peace­ful re­build­ing of Europe. But in a night, as it were, that “Euro­pean” Ger­many has van­ished.

‘We find our­selves fac­ing in­stead a na­tion which, by a mix­ture of tom-tom beat­ing and co­er­cion, is be­ing con­tin­u­ally incited to show its “proud scorn” of the rest of the world, to root out the “alien weeds” that dis­fig­ure the fair Ger­man gar­den, to de­velop once more that fine “pas­sion­ate ha­tred” of all things non-ger­man. This de­lib­er­ate xeno­pho­bia can only lead to war’ (May 20, 1933).

Sil­ver Ju­bilee

C ELEBRATING 25 years of Ge­orge V’s reign: ‘The King to­day is es­sen­tially the peo­ple’s King; not so much sov­er­eign or sym­bol as the Head of the Fam­ily. It is a won­der­ful, a unique, con­cep­tion this mys­tic yet so hu­man uniting of many mil­lions in one in­di­vid­ual… It is his great achieve­ment that in sac­ri­fic­ing his in­di­vid­u­al­ity he has in a true sense be­come a part of ev­ery in­di­vid­ual in the most far-flung con­fed­er­acy that the world has seen: at once the “plain man” and the em­bod­i­ment of na­tion and em­pire’ (May 4, 1935).

A low point

O N the Ab­di­ca­tion: ‘Ev­ery­one with a spark of imag­i­na­tion must have re­alised some­thing at least of the agony which the king suf­fered. He was torn be­tween his heart’s de­sire and the path of duty. Many who have led drab and undis­tin­guished lives have suf­fered the same tor­ture of doubt and have cho­sen the stonier way. Some never re­cov­ered, and some­thing went out of their lives for­ever, but they marched on with heads erect. And so, though we may gen­uinely un­der­stand, we can­not help be­ing frus­trated. We had hoped for so much from one gifted with so many fine and win­ning qual­i­ties’ (De­cem­ber 19, 1936).

Stan­ley, I pre­sume

A PHOTO is sent in by R. Dykes of Chief Ebaki of Apoto in the Up­per Congo, ‘wear­ing his in­signia of chief­tain­ship, the neck­lace of leop­ards’ teeth. He is 76 years old. As a young man, he went out to in­ter­cept Stan­ley when he was sighted com­ing down the River Congo from Stan­leyville in 1879. He re­mem­bers speak­ing to Stan­ley and re­ceiv­ing presents from him. The old chief’s youngest daugh­ter is only seven

years old. Though he is a Chris­tian in ev­ery way, he still holds to polygamy and the mis­sions will not bap­tize him’ (March 10, 1928).

The prop­erty game

S OME things never change—a reader sent in this poem about the game of choos­ing a dream prop­erty: ‘That this week’s pa­per? Good! Then draw your chair Up close to mine be­side the fire. Switch on the light and pull the blind. We’ll have a game With COUN­TRY Life—just you and I. You choose a cot­tage to your mind, I’ll do the same. While we must live in town we can pre­tend A per­fect set­ting for life’s end… ‘My turn again! Just one thing seems all wrong. Sus­sex and Glouces­ter­shire are far apart. How could you see my hills or I Your oaken beams, your views of sea and sky? We’ll choose again, moun­tains or downs or sea, An or­chard, a paved walk, a rosery. All these I’d love if you would share them, too. They’d be but husks of joy for lack of you’ (April 28, 1928)

For the love of horses

D OROTHY BROOKE, whose char­ity The Brooke is still go­ing, ap­peals from Egypt for read­ers to help horses aban­doned af­ter mil­i­tary ser­vice: ‘This is a bad time for beg­gars, which we fully re­alise, but these old horses of ours have waited so long. They beg for rest from their crease­less labours, for a kind word, a de­cent feed, and peace at last. There are many old hunters among those that come to our buy­ing yard. May their silent prayer for help be borne over the seas to Eng­land and the green fields they used to know and love and which they will never see again. Will any­one who ever loved a horse and who can spare some­thing, how­ever small, help us to save them from their cruel servi­tude?’ (March 5, 1932)

The lo­custs de­scend

T HE Gard­ner fam­ily of Uruguay write in about their bat­tle to pro­tect their trees against rav­en­ous young lo­custs: ‘We have tried ev­ery other English pa­per that we re­ceive, but COUN­TRY LIFE is the only one that is a per­fect pro­tec­tion. The cause I can­not tell you, we can only imag­ine that it has some pe­cu­liar glaze. Lo­custs that at­tempt to cross the pa­per slip back. If you keep your pa­per well tacked to the tree, none ever gets over. Two years ago, our trees were com­pletely stripped, but last year and this, thanks en­tirely to COUN­TRY LIFE, we have not have a tree dam­aged’ (March 2, 1935).

Hitler’s ru­ral side

I N this note­wor­thy, if now sham­ing ar­ti­cle, one Ig­natius Phayre praises ‘Hitler as a Coun­try­man’: ‘Let me say at once that Herr Hitler has keenly artis­tic tastes. He paints in wa­ter­colour [and his] colos­sal best­seller Mein Kampf sold 3,000,000 copies. It was from the roy­al­ties on this work that this shy, re­tir­ing man was en­abled to ex­tend and de­velop his ideal Bavar­ian home.

‘Here he is of­ten abroad, clad in plus fours, and with dogs at his heels. One of these will be car­ry­ing on his back a lit­tle ham­per con­tain­ing tomato sand­wiches and fruit… He is never so con­tent as when proudly con­duct­ing his guests through the quiet vil­lage streets—per­haps to en­ter a cot­tage and pet the chil­dren or in­struct their mother in the food-val­ues of veg­e­tar­ian dishes!õ (March 28, 1936).

The wise old In­dian

G REY OWL, trap­per, guide, fire­fighter, blood brother of the Ojib­ways, son of an Apache squaw and friend of beavers, fea­tured fre­quently from 1929. His book

The Men of the Last Fron­tier was pub­lished by COUN­TRY LIFE at 10s 6d—it turned out that he had ac­tu­ally been born Archibald Be­laney in Hast­ings, East Sus­sex.

Keep calm and carry on

E VEN seen through a gas­mask Eng­land is still Eng­land and none of us need, hap­pily, wear his gas­mask all the time… In the last war COUN­TRY LIFE car­ried on and, it in­tends, so long as it may be phys­i­cally pos­si­ble, to carry on now. It is our pur­pose to con­tinue to pro­duce a pa­per that shall still re­flect the spirit and the sub­stance of the Eng­land that ex­ists in moor and down­land, in man­sion and ham­let, in the ploughed field and the swiftrun­ning beck… for in so do­ing we be­lieve it will pro­vide a wel­come so­lace for “the tongue­less vigil and all the pain”’ (Septem­ber 16, 1939).

They gave their to­days

A FTER the Bat­tle of Bri­tain: ‘The Royal Air Force has filled our hearts with pride and con­fi­dence in their young heroes. Their morale is su­perb. They fly straight at their op­po­nent, know­ing that he will turn. We do not un­der­rate the power or the spirit of the Luft­waffe, nor the dis­ci­pline and in­tense se­ri­ous­ness of the RAF. But the dif­fer­ent spirit of the two corps is the dif­fer­ence be­tween fa­nati­cism and sport; be­tween dy­ing for a Führer and liv­ing for vic­tory’ (Au­gust 24, 1940).

How will Santa cope?

A REL­A­TIVELY cheer­ful prob­lem for the time: ‘Most of us may be won­der­ing not what we are go­ing to do about Christ­mas, but what is Santa Claus go­ing to do? Even in his ex­pe­ri­ence there has surely never been a Christ­mas such as this prom­ises to be. For the first time, he will sally forth in a black-out. The first ques­tion we must ask our­selves is whether he will wear a gas-mask. If “yes”, will he wear his beard in­side it?’ (Novem­ber 25, 1939).

The best medicine

E NID BLY­TON writes to fur­ther her cam­paign to en­cour­age school­child­ren to pick wild plants for medicine: ‘Many years ago, from ev­ery coun­try vil­lage and ham­let, the women and chil­dren went out to seek for many rare and com­mon weeds. Ele­cam­pane and fever­few, for marsh­mal­low and mead­owsweet, for the deadly night­shade and its poi­sonous neigh­bours… But we no longer gather these herbs our­selves, for not one in 10,000 of us knows which herbs to gather, nor to what use they may be put. All this wise coun­try-lore has been lost to our gen­er­a­tion’ (Septem­ber 14, 1940).

Aus­ter­ity mea­sures

R EACTION to Lord Woolton’s ad­vice not to tear rolls or pile but­ter on the side of a plate: ‘This is clearly a good “aus­ter­ity” plan… Some may suf­fer se­verely, and in par­tic­u­lar he who has been de­fined as a gen­tle­man be­cause he al­ways uses the but­terknife even when alone. A painful al­ter­na­tive is now be­fore him; he must ei­ther spread his but­ter with the but­ter-knife or cut the but­ter with his or­di­nary one’ (June 19, 1942).

Do­ing the right thing

T HE mag­a­zine shows a will­ing­ness to prac­tise what it preaches, in the first of a se­ries of ar­ti­cles on the COUN­TRY LIFE es­tate, 1,000 acres in Berk­shire. It later be­came a Catholic nun­nery and is now lux­ury houses. ‘Last Oc­to­ber, we stated our in­ten­tion of ac­quir­ing a small es­tate as a con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the main­te­nance of a pro­gres­sive agri­cul­ture af­ter the war. Our aim would be to con­duct such an es­tate in ac­cor­dance with the best mod­ern prac­tice... Good­ings lies in a fold of the Berk­shire Downs; it is high, windy, brac­ing coun­try, with big coloured fields laid as neatly as car­pets on the op­po­site hill­side’ (July 9, 1943).

Fish­ing eti­quette

A GUIDE to pis­ca­to­rial man­ners: ‘Do not ar­rive at the water with your wife, chil­dren, dog or camp fol­low­ers with­out ask­ing if they can come. Some are well trained and suit­ably clothed, oth­ers are not… Do not cut in. You will be as un­pop­u­lar as on a golf course… If there is a lady fish­ing, give her prece­dence, though she will be cer­tain to ob­ject… Do not re­count your ex­pe­ri­ences at length to oth­ers un­less they ask. Oth­er­wise you will be­come a bore; and it is well to re­mem­ber that the haunt of such crea­tures is not only the best arm­chair at the club’ (Septem­ber 27, 1946).

A gen­er­ous do­na­tion

T HE 50th-an­niver­sary edi­tion re­vealed that an ap­peal for char­i­ta­ble funds had prompted an ‘English­man in South Amer­ica’ to send with ‘a gen­er­ous sub­scrip­tion some mem­o­rable words: “I am not a wealthy man and I work very hard for ev­ery £1,000 I earn, but I want to help de­cent things to be done in Eng­land.” Coun­try Life likes to think that it has helped some de­cent things to be done in Eng­land’ (Jan­uary 3, 1947).

War stops hunt­ing

S PORTING artist Lionel Ed­wards de­scribes an in­ter­rupted morn­ing’s cub­hunt­ing: ‘Reluc­tantly, I got up, for we had all been late to bed, a Jerry hav­ing crashed in flames in the mid­dle of our dairy herd the pre­vi­ous evening. Strange to re­late, in spite of ex­plod­ing car­tridges and roar­ing flames, they didn’t seem much alarmed.’ Later on, ‘as hounds work, speak­ing rather half-heart­edly, a siren sounds an air-raid warn­ing and shortly af­ter a Jerry bomber comes Zoom zoo zooma zoom zoom over­head. “Oh buzz off Jerry! ‘Ow can I ’unt ’ounds with you boom­ing around?” ex­claims the ex­as­per­ated hunts­man, more in sor­row than in anger’ (Oc­to­ber 26, 1940).

Our man in the Abbey

T HE mag­a­zine’s Ge­of­frey Grig­son wrote of the Corona­tion: ‘Cold toes, cold fin­gers. The stands are packed. A tea man shouts “Luvverly Corona­tion tea, all hot, all boil­ing”. This wet, cold morn­ing we are a city, we are a peo­ple, we are even a world. Span­ish is spo­ken be­hind me, French in front, Ger­man to the left, Chi­nese to the right. Im­mense os­trich plumes wave over a cof­fee face.’

From the rel­a­tive com­fort of West­min­ster Abbey, Christo­pher Hussey, wrote: ‘She is look­ing ra­di­antly young and beau­ti­ful. She is mov­ing ever so slowly yet with per­fect, sup­ple poise. I can feel the tremour as thou­sands catch their breath’ (June 6, 1953).

His master’s dog

E . M. BARRAUD tells the tale of Nip­per, the HMV ter­rier [be­low]: ‘Nip­per was not a thor­ough­bred. If you look at the pic­ture, you can see the streak of bull-ter­rier in the broad chest, and if Nip­per got hold of an ad­ver­sary, it was very dif­fi­cult to make him let go…

‘The truth of [the ad­ver­tise­ment] is that Nip­per re­ally did sit and lis­ten to Fran­cis’s [my great-un­cle] old phono­graph, and it of­ten struck Fran­cis that the dog had hopes that it might in­deed be his lost master’s voice’ (June 20, 1950).

An un­wel­come tax

V EHICLE tax up­sets mo­tor­ing colum­nist John Ea­son Gib­son: ‘From the ear­li­est days the mo­tor-car has been re­garded by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments as a lux­u­ri­ous al­ter­na­tive to the horse, and car own­ers, as a class, have been bru­tally taxed… There may have been grounds for re­gard­ing mo­tor­ing as a rich man’s hobby in the early days, but there can be no doubt that the present ex­ces­sive tax­a­tion pre­cludes any chance of the peo­ple’s car be­com­ing a prac­ti­cal pos­si­bil­ity’ (Jan­uary 3, 1947).

What to wear shoot­ing

T HE em­i­nent Vic­to­rian sports­man who de­vised a shoot­ing hat made out of a dead hedge­hog made, I sup­pose, the most mem­o­rable at­tempt to re­solve a prob­lem which has baf­fled coun­try­men since the in­ven­tion of gun­pow­der… My own im­pres­sion of a shoot­ing party in­cludes:

‘The Crack Shot—gum boots and plus fours worn un­der­neath oil­skin over trouser. A sort of bat­tle­dress coat and a fish­er­man’s hat.

‘The Dandy—skin-tight tweed knick­ers, white spats and por­poise-hide boots. Nor­folk jacket with flaps on all pock­ets. Green snap-brimmed slouch hat.

‘The Fel­low Who Bor­rows One of Your Guns—cor­duroy slacks, open-necked shirt, twill coat and town shoes.

‘If you want to raise a laugh about clothes at a shoot­ing lunch, the only safe bet is to de­scribe the ridicu­lous ap­pear­ance of Con­ti­nen­tal sports­men, who are said to have tas­sels on their car­tridge bags, or Amer­i­cans, who wear red peaked caps and dress up for shoot­ing like base­ball play­ers. But they haven’t our cli­mate to con­tend with’ (Novem­ber 3, 1950).

Meet­ing of minds

J OHN BETJEMAN re­views Christo­pher Hussey’s four vol­umes on Lu­tyens: ‘There are thought and dis­tinc­tion in ev­ery­thing he de­signed. The won­der­ful en­clos­ing of space, the in­ge­nious light­ing and ven­ti­la­tion of it, the re­la­tion of one shape to an­other, of curves and parts of curves to up­rights and an­gles, the in­ge­nious hous­ing of peo­ple in fam­i­lies or as­sem­bling of them in mul­ti­tudes. One has the im­pres­sion that he kept peo­ple at bay with bad­i­nage and puns so as to give him­self space and leisure to go on with the con­stant math­e­mat­i­cal prob­lems in his mind’ (Fe­bru­ary 2, 1951).

P. LLOYD GREAME writes from Kenya about solv­ing an al­ter­ca­tion over a bone with her pet lioness Mshumba: ‘My eyes fell on the soda-water siphon, a won­der­ful weapon and a harm­less one. I squirted the soda water into her face: never have I seen such sur­prise on a lion’s coun­te­nance. Mshumba was de­feated and it was good for her. I was drip­ping blood, though lion wounds, be­ing deep, sel­dom bleed pro­fusely. Hardly was I in the bath­room when she ap­peared, with no re­sent­ment and a sweet face full of in­no­cence. She rubbed against my legs and we made it up there and then. Un­like many hu­man be­ings, lions are not given to sulk­ing’ (Au­gust 9, 1956).

The ‘his­toric re­mains of Stone­henge’ came up for sale as part of Ames­bury Abbey, Wilt­shire (Septem­ber 18, 1915)

Events at the Bi­cy­cle Gymkhana, Peover Hall, Cheshire, in­cluded a Gretna Green race, Si­amese-twin race, tor­toise race and mu­si­cal ride. We leave it to your imag­i­na­tion to de­cide which of these this pho­to­graph de­picts (Oc­to­ber 9, 1897)

An un­usual Fron­tispiece: this pen­guin por­trait was taken by Her­bert Ponting, of­fi­cial pho­tog­ra­pher on Ernest Shack­le­ton's ex­pe­di­tions to the Antarc­tic

St Donat’s Cas­tle was ad­ver­tised on March 21, 1925. On see­ing it, Amer­i­can bil­lion­aire Wil­liam Randolph Hearst ca­bled he would buy it—and did so, un­seen

When Chief Ebaki of Apoto was a young man, he went out to in­ter­cept Stan­ley in 1879

A sur­pris­ing let­ter from E. W. R.: ‘Have you ever seen a pic­ture of an al­li­ga­tor car­riage be­fore? Here is the lit­tle daugh­ter of a Cal­i­for­nian farmer driv­ing her al­li­ga­tor. He is as tame and quiet as any pony, and has, as you see, a most agree­able ex­pres­sion of coun­te­nance’ (March 7, 1931)

Grey Owl turned out to have been born Archibald Be­laney in Hast­ings

Princess Mar­garet tri­umphed in the cross­word com­pe­ti­tion on May 27, 1954

Not just girls in pearls: dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, COUN­TRY LIFE showed that ev­ery­one was do­ing their bit

Why should we worry about a crashed Ger­man air­craft when even the cows don’t move?: sport­ing artist Lionel Ed­wards cap­tured a lo­cal scene in Oc­to­ber 1940

Nip­per, the HMV ter­rier, re­ally did sit and lis­ten to the phono­graph

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