BAZALGETTE THE WHALE

As a mild diversion on this festive season I bring you Bazalgette the Whale……

It is just possible that you have come across references on the web to a sculpture in Yachats, Oregon which bears this name. Well, I finally got round to asking why it was so named.

See: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMHQR3_Bazalgette_sculpture_Yachats_Oregon

Here is the reply I received.

“Greetings Charles,
Thanks for your inquiry – oddly the first I’ve ever had (in 18 years) about the name of the whale tail sculpture.
The sculptor Jim Adler says that he named the sculpture “after a crazy French artist friend” of his named Leon Bazalgette Russell. Leon Bazalgette Russell was an avid painter of nature. He was named after Leon Bazalgette of France, who was a biographer and literary critic who wrote about the great thinkers of his time, including Whitman and Thoreau…
So – the whale sculpture was named after some interesting cousin of yours!
Here are some additional pieces of information from Jim Adler…
Long timers in Yachats remember Leon Bazalgette as “the old dude who terrorized the town on his bicycle and occasionally left $100 tips at the Adobe causing fistfights in the kitchen.”
And importantly, Leon Bazalgette Russell’s father was Marsden Hartley.
All the best,
Beverly Wilson”

The statement: “Leon Bazalgette Russell’s father was Marsden Hartley” doesn’t sound right unless that was a pen name of Charles Phillips Russell, who appears to have been Leon’s actual father. Charles was a friend of Leon Bazalgette so this is why L.B.R. was so named.  Leon Bazalgette was descended from Louis Bazalgette’s elder brother Georges.

A Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year!

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TIZZIE

Tizzie-1873

My great-great-aunt, Theresa Philo Bazalgette (11 August 1850-25 April 1922), who was known in the family as “Tizzie”, was the eldest daughter of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the civil engineer, and his wife Maria (née Kough).  The studio photograph above was taken in 1873, so she was 23 at the time.  I think she was hauntingly beautiful and and at the risk of being branded a male chauvinist I will remark that I always wondered why she never married, because she surely cannot have had a shortage of suitors.   It is a face full of character and wisdom, and she had a quirky humour and love of fun as the photograph below shows.  Her brother Charles Norman Bazalgette Q.C., (my great-grandfather) was called to the bar on 30 January 1874, and Tizzie must have accompanied him to the photographic studios of Elliott & Fry at 55, Baker Street, where a photograph was taken of him in his wig and robes.  They then had this charming picture taken of them wearing the other’s coat and headgear.

Tizzie-norman-xdress

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A PIONEERING LADY MOTORIST

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Women have taken driving a car for granted for many years but it is easy to forget that in the early days of motoring in Great Britain it was regarded as a hazardous undertaking, not suitable for a woman.  As with having the right to vote and other male preserves.
The background to this story is that Louis Bazalgette had two elder sons, Joseph William (who sired my branch of the family) and John.  Most of John’s sons entered the army, the exception being George, who joined the Royal Marines Light Infantry.  There is a lot about George at this website http://www.royalengineers.ca/Bazalgette.html though there are some inaccuracies to be found there.   George is best known for commanding the British garrison on San Juan Island during its rather friendly dual occupation known as The Pig War.
In June 1870 George married Louise Seville, a lady 16 years his junior.  George died in 1885 and Louise outlived him by 23 years.  She must have been very fond of old George, though, because before her death, finding his burial plot too small for both of them, she had him dug up and moved to a larger plot, in which she finally joined him in 1918.
As a widow she may have found time on her hands, and her interest turned to the new sport of ‘automobilism’.  She was enough of a novelty that there were frequent articles in motoring magazines starting in 1899 about her intrepid journeys from London to far-flung places such as Essex.  She was also one of the few female entrants to the Automobile Club’s 1,000 Mile Trial in 1900.
An article in The Motor-Car Journal in September 1899 describes one such journey.

“LADIES AND MOTORING
Mrs. Bazalgette, with a lady friend, has just concluded a pleasant trip on her Benz motor-car through Essex.  They were accompanied by a lad to clean and look after the car; but the outing fully demonstrated the capacity of ladies to go a-motoring and thoroughly enjoy it.  Leaving her house in Portman Square one day half an hour after noon Mrs. Bazalgette reached Chelmsford at 6.30 p.m., via Hatfield, through mile after mile of lovely lanes, and crossing two small rivers ere they reached Bishop Stortford on the way to their destination.  The only hindrances were the great harvest wagons that occupied most of the narrow lanes and necessitated stoppages here and there.  Among the other trips recently enjoyed by this expert lady-motorist have been runs to Henley, to Brighton, and to Oxford.  Most probably she will motor to Dover next week. These trips cannot fail to do much to popularise automobilism among the fair sex, who are being rapidly won to the seat of the motor car.”

An article in Louise’s own words, presumably transcribed from an address she delivered to the Automobile  Club, was reported in the Motor Car Journal in November 1899.

“Having been asked to speak at this meeting I do so in the hope that our gathering will lead to the formation of an Automobile Club the membership of which will be open to ladies as well as gentlemen, where ideas can be exchanged – ideas which may be a source of benefit and information concerning the use of motor-cars to all those interested in the new pastime.  I use the word “pastime” advisedly, in preference to “industry,” as I myself have little experience of automobilism except as a pleasure-giving pursuit.  The time surely has passed for gentlemen to object to ladies participating in their sports.  As I have owned and driven a Benz car for some three months, I have been especially asked to speak about lady motorists, and I think I can give the results of my practical experience, and present details that may be useful and interesting to those ladies and – may I dare say ? – gentlemen who want to know something of the subject.   My experiences may not be considered to be wide, for I have only driven a Benz Ideal and a Victoria, yet there are many gentlemen as well as ladies who have not progressed so far, and it is to them more especially that I address myself.  Before one can enjoy motoring as a pastime, one must have one’s own carriage, and I should recommend the purchase of a small, nexpensive
car of a good make.  Any well-built carriage will do for the first performance of an amateur,  even although its speed may be low, for it is generally undesirable to learn to drive on a vehicle constructed for great pace.  I have studied automobiles of almost every description for some
three or four years, so I have something to say concerning them.  I have travelled a great deal on my own car, and enjoyed more of the country than I at one time thought possible.  I generally do some-ten to fourteen miles per hour, visiting such places as Southsea, Brighton, Southampton,
Bedford and Norwich, and I have run swiftly on the high roads and wandered through the lanes of Kent, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex.  It is possible to drive a car with very little knowledge of machinery, if you have a skilled mechanic with you to help in case of a breakdown; but the lady motorist is in a much more happy frame of mind during her travels if she herself possesses knowledge of the mechanism of her automobile.  It is so much more enjoyable to really study and understand everything concerning the car you take an interest in.  You must not imagine that it is possible for any lady to acquire sufficient knowledge of the working parts of the driving machinery in a few days, or even months, but they should have the opportunity of studying it.  This is one of the main objects of the club we hope to form.
Many things may happen en route that may tax even the ingenuity of the expert, for some slight adjustment may be necessary, and the trouble must be diagnosed before the operation can be performed.  The lady motorist should at least know something about “short-circuiting.” ” back-shot,” “compression ” – as the doctor knows of a defective nervous system.  She should be able to detect whether the bearings are becoming heated, or the belt is slipping, for if it does it will have to be shortened, and the process of shortening is, to my mind, not beyond the powers of a woman.  Why the pastime of motoring is so interesting is that there is always something to be learned concerning the mechanism of the car.  Some experts maintain that no lady cares to start the driving wheel.  Why not?  The operation is perfectly easy—it requires skill rather than strength.  Indeed, the machinery of a motor is so delicate in its construction that very little force is necessary.  There is no sledge-hammer work.   The blacksmith might be able to do repairs under the direction of an expert engineer, but for my part I would prefer to leave my car in its damaged condition rather than trust it in the hands of the giant of the smithy.  I have driven my car some 2,000 miles, and have been most fortunate in not having experienced any mishap.   Yet the sceptics tell us of the dangers of the automobile!  But accidents may happen to the most expert and careful driver, for there is still much jealousy and prejudice to overcome.  These, however are only temporary, for the day will come when England will follow the lead of other countries, and horseless vehicles will be seen here, there, and everywhere – and probably nothing else!  Apart from the pleasure of motoring, some little consideration should be given to the profitable utilisation of the motor-vehicle.  If ladies are engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits, and find pleasant occupation in gardening, dairy-work, fruit culture, etc., why should they not with even greater dignity drive their produce to the markets?   Metropolitan dwellers revel in the delicious produce of the country, and if the motor-vehicle cheapens the transit of heavy loads, without the cost of reloading, the lady motorist can with hope look forward to the good times that are to come – and come they surely will – when ladies once discover how much enjoyment they can obtain from driving a motor-car.  That a great impulse will shortly be given to automobilism no one doubts;  but, like the boom in connection with cycling, it will not come until ladies take up the pastime; and the new club, the formation of which we have met to suggest, will do much to attain this end.”

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WHENCE WILLOUGHBY?

 

NesbitWilloughby

Nesbit Josiah Willoughby.

A name prevalent in the Bazalgette family is Willoughby. In fact it is one of my middle names. I received it in honour of my uncle, Ian Willoughby Bazalgette, RAF VC DFC. The first Bazalgette to bear the name was my great-great uncle, Willoughby Bazalgette (1857-1900) who was one of the sons of my great-great-grandfather Sir Joseph William Bazalgette (1819-1891) the civil engineer.

I have two quite separate theories on how the name entered the family. The first, and to my mind the most likely, is this: Sir Joseph’s father, also Joseph William, served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars. The colourful Sir Nesbit Josiah Willoughby, the ‘Hero of Mauritius’ also did so, with distinction (coupled with controversy). Naval records show that they never simultaneously served on the same ships, although they were both granted pensions on the same day – 2 December 1815 – and both at times served under Sir Josias Rowley. However, as the war progressed there were increasingly larger numbers of officers who fervently embraced Christianity, probably as a result of their war experiences. Their evangelism was sneered at by many and they were given the slightly derogatory name of ‘Blue Lights’. Prominent amongst them was Admiral James ‘Dismal Jimmy’ Gambier. Joseph William was an admirer of Gambier and they were members of the same benevolent societies. These were (amongst others) the Naval and Military Bible Society, of which Joseph was appointed an honorary secretary, the Sailors’ Home Society, the British and Foreign Sailors’ Society (of which Elizabeth Fry was a founder member), the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews, the Seaman’s Floating Church, the Royal Naval Female School and the Association for the Suppression of Duelling. Newspaper reports show that Admiral Willoughby and Joseph both attended a same meeting of this last society. So Joseph knew and esteemed, and was apparently esteemed by, many of the most senior naval officers of the time. Willoughby had also embraced evangelism and produced at his own expense a religious tract (Extracts from Holy Writ, and various authors, intended as helps to meditation and prayer: by Sir N.J. Willoughby).

So here we have Joseph and Willoughby sharing common beliefs and moving in the same circles. What is significant is that Joseph believed in honouring those he admired by naming his children after them. Joseph named his next son, born on the 7th April 1829, Henry Gambier Bazalgette, after Admiral Gambier. The child was christened at Marylebone Church on the 18th July. The boy died before he was two, and was buried in Paddington Church Cemetery on January 25th, 1830. Joseph had no further surviving sons but it is quite likely that he wanted to honour Willoughby in the same way. Perhaps it was his dying wish that his son Joseph would name one of his sons after the great man. That is one theory.

The other is a possible family connection between my family and the Willoughbys. I remember my grandmother saying that is was an Irish name – it is not, since they are a Nottinghamshire family, but the supposed relationship comes from the line of my great-great-grandmother Maria Kough, wife of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who was herself Irish. Her line can be traced back to Goff and Whalley, two of the ‘regicides’ responsible for the signing of Charles I’s death warrant, who were cousins of Oliver Cromwell. Henry Whalley is supposed to have married in c.1439 Dorothy, the daughter of Sir Hugh Willoughby and his second wife Margaret Freville. Another source, which looks more reliable, says that Dorothy married Thomas Thurland.  The Visitations of the County of Nottingham do however show a family connection between the Lords of Willoughby and the Whalley family.

Whether my great great grandmother Maria was aware of possible Willoughby ancestors is not clear but it seems a little tenuous to suppose that she named one of her sons Willoughby on that basis. Of course it may have been on a whim – who knows?

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THE CHINESE DAGGER

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[Wikimedia]

I can’t remember where I got this story, but families are like that.  There can be a thread of consciousness or myth which gets handed down, almost floating through the ether I suppose.  One of these stories is that my gggggfr Louis Bazalgette travelled to America  with Lafayette, fought at the battle of Brandywine, established a string of fur-trading posts, married the daughter of a fur merchant in New York and then moved to London.  Oh yes, and he found the time to be a privateer as well.   I have made it very clear in my book that this is impossible, but there are still members of my family who believe this story.

Another story – and this is the one I am focusing on here – was that ‘someone’ was viewing the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle and came across a sword which had been presented to the king by a Mr. Bazalgette ‘to a great traveller from a great traveller’.  I have been pursuing this story for over twenty years, though not full-time I hasten to add.  I asked the Royal Archives some years ago but they said they could find nothing about it.

The British Newspaper Archive has been turning up some little gems recently in response to my searches.  Imagine my surprise to find this snippet in the Nottingham Evening Post for Wednesday 11 July 1900:
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QUEEN’ S CHINESE RELICS.
Her Majesty has at Windsor a small collection of curios, reminiscent of former Chinese wars. There a suit of Chinese armour, comprising cuirass of lacquered steel, a half-mask with gilt teeth, and metal coverings for the arms with gilt ornaments. There is also ancient knife, the ivory handle of which is carved into the figure of a Chinaman, and a one-edged dagger, with an engraved wooden scabbard. Greater immediate interest attaches to a similar dagger of damascened steel, with the horn handle weighted with lead. This was  wrested from a Chinaman in a murderous struggle by Mr. Bazalgette, who presented it to George III in 1807. There is a group comprising javelin, a matchsocket, a specimen of a matchlock with tripod gun, a campanular wall piece, archaic iron cannon, and a brass rocket-tube, all of which were taken from the Chinese at Szkee in 1842.
————————————————————————————————————–
The obvious family member who qualifies is Louis’ grandson George, who was a Royal Marine and commanded the British garrison during the Pig War.  The problem with George is that he wasn’t born until 1829 and didn’t serve in the Chinese wars until 1857.

Could the ‘murderous’ Chinaman have been in England and the struggler have been Louis the tailor?  He is the only member of the family who would have been sufficiently adult at the time.  And unless George III was somehow involved why would the dagger have been presented to him?  Why do we have no more information about this murderous struggle?

This looks like a job for Lucy Worsley!

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Louis Bazalgette’s Coffin Plate

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Louis was buried in the crypt of Marylebone Church.  In the 1980’s the crypt was cleared to make way for a healing centre and all of the remains were removed and re-interred in a mass grave at Brookwood Cemetery.  The coffin plate shown above (I must find out how to merge the two pictures into one) was collected and put into the keeping of the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at Reading University.  The hand engraving of these plates was of superb quality and was therefore of considerable interest to them.  

On 5 December 1996, we went to Reading University and met with Bryony Newhouse, who had written a dissertation on the plates, and her Head of Department, Michael Twyman.  They presented us with the Bazalgette coffin plates.  There were ten plates altogether: four brass plates from the coffins of Louis, his wife Frances and two of their children, Augustus and Caroline, two medium-sized lead breast plates (for Frances and Caroline) and four small blacked lead foot-plates, which had been attached to the outer coffins. 

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My great-grandfather and his dog

My great-grandfather, Charles Norman Bazalgette, Q.C., had, it appears, a Chinese terrier and it tended to get loose.  The following rather amusing story was published in the Wandsworth And Battersea District Times, on October 30, 1886.   Note the typical barrister’s trick that Norman tried in order to throw a spanner (or should that be a spaniel?) in the works.

Mr. Norman Bazalgette, barrister, residing at Sunnyside, Wimbledon, was summoned for allowing a dog to be at large not under control.   The defendant said he wished to hear the evidence of the police.   Police-constable 235 V deposed that on the 30th ult. he saw a Chinese terrier in the Ridgeway-road.    He was unable to seize the dog, but he followed it to the defendant’s house.   He saw the defendant, who said it was a troublesome dog to keep in.   The dog which was about 100 yards from the house was not muzzled nor led.   In answer to questions the constable said he was especially employed to look after dogs.   He was sure it was the defendant’s dog.  There were other Chinese terriers in the same road.   The defendant said he had three dogs in the court, and he wished the constable to pick out the one belonging to  him (the defendant).   At the request of the magistrate the three dogs were brought into the court.   Mr. Bazalgette had in the meantime withdrawn to prevent his own dog recognising him.   All the dogs were muzzled and held together.   The constable picked out the centre dog, and the other two were then removed from the court.    Mr. Bazalgette returned and said the constable had picked out the right dog.   He then stated that the three dogs were so like one another that he thought it might be a case of suspicion.    When the order was made it was dead letter in Wimbledon, as the police did not enforce it for six weeks.   Suddenly an order came to enforce it, and the police very fairly gave a caution.   He procured a muzzle, and gave instructions to his servants to use it.   He referred to the third section of the Act which stated that any person in contravention of the order was liable.   It could not be said that he had contravened the order when he had done everything to carry it out.   Mr. Bennett said the dog was out, and there was a contravention of the order.   There were many cases in which the owners were blameless and a small fine was only imposed. — Fined 2s. with 2s. costs.

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Charles Norman

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