Login   Register     FAQ    Members

View unanswered posts   View active topics


Board index .:|:. Slogging at Lessons :: Books .:|:. Special Sixth
It is currently 08 Jul 2020, 05:19

Forum rules


Please ensure that all posts are kept impersonal. Any posts involving an ad hominem attack will be edited or deleted. Please feel free to express your views, but expect that others may disagree with them. Please limit the use of the :oops: smiley as far as possible. Please do not PM another user to argue with them; if this happens, please can the recipient contact a mod. Language of gentlemen, chaps!



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 38 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 02:43 
Offline
Overawed by Miss Moore's sharp tongue
Overawed by Miss Moore's sharp tongue

Joined: 02 Jul 2005, 07:56
Posts: 1233
Location: Humphrey's Corner
Sorry this is late.

EBD started writing at a time when the British Empire was in its heyday. Large parts of the map of the world were coloured pink, and the sun never set on the Empire. She writes about the colonies in several of the CS books, and in some of the non CS books.

Canada is home to Judy, the Guide and Miss Moore, and is the subject of one of the Geography readers. It is also where Jem and Madge go for a big medical conference and where Joey and Jack later join them. The Robin ends up joining a convent in Canada. If EBD is to be believed, the climate in Toronto is very dry and bracing, and so it is a healthy place for Margot and Josette to regain strength from childhood illnesses, and for Robin to live without fear of contracting TB. EBD also seems to think Toronto is full of French speakers.

Peggy Bettany and Giles Winterton start their married life in the West Indies, since Giles is posted there with the Navy.

Mollie Bettany's niece, Pat and her new husband are going to set up home in Kenya. It is also where Jo Scott has been living before she comes to the School, and her parents have to leave it after the Mau Mau uprising. Kenya was the setting for another Geography reader.

India (which then included what are now Pakistan and Bangladesh) was where all three Bettanys were born, although all returned to England for school in the case of Dick and Madge, and earlier in Joey's case. Subsequently Dick works in India and marries his boss's daughter. Their children are all born there, although the four elder ones are sent to live with their Auntie Madge at a very young age because of the climate. Second Twins have to remain in India until they're eight or nine because of the Second World War, but neither of them seem to suffer from any ill effects due to the climate. The Carrick family had been living in India, although Captain Carrick seems to have made himself unpopular with the Anglo-English community there. Erica Standish is another girl whose parents lived in India until they died. Neither Juliet nor Erica seemed to have suffered because of the climate, although both lived there until their early teens.

Singapore is where Jock Mackenzie had a job. He felt the need to go and check it out before returning to marry Con Stewart and take her out there with him. Katt Gordon spent her early years in Singapore with her parents.

Later the MacKenzies move to Australia and live near Sydney in New South Wales. This results in Emerence Hope being sent to the CS. Queensland in Australia is the subject of another Geography reader. Queensland is also where Stephen Venables took his wife and family, with fatal consequences for several of them. Apparently the terrible Queensland climate wasn't good for the health of Margot's sons. Madge and Jem go to Australia for a medical conference and take Sybil and Josette with them. Both girls end up married to Australians, and are going to stay there.

New Zealand is the subject of the last of the Geography readers. It is also where Mollie Maynard made her home after she married, and where Deira O'Hagen, and later Grizel Cochrane, lived and worked. Roddy Richardson met a sheep farmer from New Zealand at his school, and expressed a desire to make his career as a sheep farmer there.

The Ozanne family move from Guernsey to the South Seas, with the result that Vanna and Nella leave school to join them there.

EBD never traveled further than Western Europe, so all her writings about the colonies must have been from other people's accounts. Do you think she painted an accurate picture of life in the colonies? If you live(d) in, or have visited, any of the places EBD mentioned can you give any insights into how well EBD portrayed them? If EBD were writing today, do you think she would describe the places differently?

Please feel free to discuss any aspects of the geography of the colonies.

_________________
A schoolgirl answered the question 'In what countries are elephants found?'
'Elephants are very large and intelligent animals, and are seldom lost.'


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 08:58 
Offline
Buying your school uniform
User avatar

Joined: 09 Sep 2010, 21:45
Posts: 18
I don't know much about these countries so can't really comment although I do wonder at the number of places that are deemed "unsuitable for children" on health grounds. Were health reasons an excuse for removing children from a dangerous situation?

I think that if they were written nowadays then we would hear more about the native peoples of the countries whereas they seem to be populated by white anglo-saxons unless there's an uprising or a faithful servant. That's just how it was then though.

I did enjoy the touching on history in Kenya and it has led me to read up more about it.

What is a geography reader? I imagine it as a story to use when teaching geography but could be more of a textbook.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 09:25 
Offline
Playing up in prep
Playing up in prep
User avatar

Joined: 03 Aug 2008, 23:10
Posts: 165
Location: New Zealand
Lottie wrote:
New Zealand is the subject of the last of the Geography readers. It is also where Mollie Maynard made her home after she married, and where Deira O'Hagen, and later Grizel Cochrane, lived and worked. Roddy Richardson met a sheep farmer from New Zealand at his school, and expressed a desire to make his career as a sheep farmer there.


For some reason the New Zealand stories are of particular interest to me :roll: :lol: . EBD never really goes into much detail about New Zealand at the CS, and I haven't read the geography reader, but I really loved some of Jesanne's portrayal in The Lost Staircase, especially the idea that Jesanne was unused to and uncomfortable with the British class system. NZ isn't exactly class-free (as much as we like to think of ourselves as such) but the rigid formalities of her grandfather's way of life would have been completely alien to her.

Ultimately, of course, Jesanne comes to accept her grandfather's ideas about her role as his heir, and I admit to being a little saddened by that - I would have liked her to have made some changes and bring in a little informality, but it wasn't really that kind of book, and that is probably a pretty contemporary viewpoint anyway. But I'd have to assume that EBD had at least met some "colonials" - she seems to have had a firm grip on Jesanne's difficulties in coming to England.

And I have to add that I fully appreciate Jesanne's problems from a CS-reader perspective - there are so many indications of class in the CS books that I never would have noticed or understood if not for CBB members discussing them!

_________________
"I wish I had more to do. All I do is read books all day," said no librarian ever.
fanfic, available in shades of Lord Peter Wimsey, Chalet School, Doctor Who, Swallows and Amazons and more!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 11:21 
Offline
Donating it to the Childrens' Ward
Donating it to the Childrens' Ward
User avatar

Joined: 13 Nov 2005, 11:17
Posts: 1051
Location: Cumbria
JennyWren wrote:
Were health reasons an excuse for removing children from a dangerous situation?


Not at all. India was genuinely considered to be a very unhealthy climate for British children and it was the norm for families to send children back to the UK after which their parents would only see them every couple of years. It would have been seen as unusual not to do so. Rudyard Kipling was sent back to England when he was 5 and his sister 3, and they lived with a family who made a living from taking in the children of British people living in India. There were also schools that catered for these children with nowhere to go in the holidays. The writer MM Kaye writes in her autobiography that her brother returned to England at a young age but the advent of WW1 kept her and her sister in India for longer.

JennyWren wrote:
What is a geography reader? I imagine it as a story to use when teaching geography but could be more of a textbook.


EBD's readers are quite short books with a story that tells us about the country. I've read the A Quintette in Queensland where some children go to stay with their cousins whose home is there. The cousins teach the newcomers about the area through a story.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 12:21 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 08 Feb 2006, 20:27
Posts: 127
Location: London
Lottie, what a brilliant summary! I was giggling away all the way through it. Starting with this:

Quote:
EBD also seems to think Toronto is full of French speakers.


through to this,

Quote:
Apparently the terrible Queensland climate wasn't good for the health of Margot's sons.


seeing as it was peppered so heavily with EBDs tales of woe about bad climates

Though as JB says, 'climate' was a real, and probably legitimate concern at the time (I reckon a lot of that was the risk of malaria and other tropical diseases, rather than it simply being hot and humid), it does rather make the colonies sound like terrifying, dangerous places. Which I suppose they were to many people.

Still, it is interesting that many people from, e.g. India, didn't suffer from the effects of the climate. Though as India is a very big country, and was even bigger then, I guess we can allow EBd the benefit of the doubt and say maybe they were living in the hills, or the foothills of the himalayas, or something :wink:

JennyWren wrote:
I think that if they were written nowadays then we would hear more about the native peoples of the countries whereas they seem to be populated by white anglo-saxons unless there's an uprising or a faithful servant. That's just how it was then though.


Yes, I think so too. Jo Scott would be a Kenyan, rather than a British ex-pat (which is what I thought would be the case before I bought the book - I was so disappointed!). Lilimani was the only CS character from a colony to not be a European immigrant, wasn't she?

Because almost all the characters hailing from the colonies are defacto Brits, they are far less exotic than the continental characters and it is very easy to forget they have been further afield than the home counties. I'd have liked at least one of them to have gone a bit native, kipling- or little princess-style.

I haven't read any of the geography readers, but - fundamental errors aside - how does EBD portray local/indigenous people and history in them (if at all)?

On a personal note, I have been a tourist in India (Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Paradesh and Ladakh), Kenya (also Tanzania, Rwanda and South Africa), Australia (NSW and Tasmania). I have spent a day in Singapore, en route to Sydney. Other colonial places I have worked in extensively are Cyprus and Malta. In all these places, as a Brit, I have become used to accepting, with wry smile and good grace, a lot of stick for the way the British behaved as colonists. I have to be extra careful when working in Cyprus and Malta to not be bossy for the same reasons (this can be difficult for me :) ), as memories of colonial high-handedness are long.

It doesn't occur to most of the people pointing out 'my' reponsibilities as a representative of a colonial power, that my ancestors were being firmly crushed under the heel of the same ruling powers, but in slums or failing farms in Ireland, Scotland and London. But ho hum! I guess my current affluence is reaping the rewards of that 'crushing heel', and so the average Bengali, for example, might have a reason to be a bit angry at not seeing similar trickle-down.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 19:40 
Offline
Buying your school uniform
User avatar

Joined: 30 Oct 2010, 17:15
Posts: 11
There's probably some medical truth to the climate-health link. British immigrants with dark skins often suffer from vitamin D deficiency as they can't get as much from the sun as pale-skinned people. Perhaps people native to India or Australia are more able to cope with the extremes? (Although Australians from all backgrounds seem to thrive from my experiences watching sports!)

I believe that EBD was simply following the established literary convenience of getting rid of unwanted characters to distant outposts of Empire. Think of Dickens and the Micawbers, Agatha Christie E Nesbit EJO etc - either characters return having won their fortune or are sent there because of some scandal. Nice and far away in the days before internet and mobile phones!

Slightly OT I'm reading Wrong at present and I love the fact that Joey is far far away and she doesn't appear at all apart from 1 letter!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 20:29 
Offline
Going to tea at Freudesheim
Going to tea at Freudesheim
User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2010, 10:52
Posts: 134
Location: Wales
I remember reading in Daughters of Britannia (a book about the wives of British diplomats posted abroad) about one unfortunate diplomatic wife in the mid 19th century whose husband was posted to Persia, where their children sickened and died one after another, attributed to the climate. In desperation they sent their youngest child back home to Scotland, a long and difficult journey, and comforted themselves with the thought that she at least would grow up healthy and strong, even if she wasn't with them...only for that child and the aunt they'd left her with to both die of scarlet fever, and with the time the post took to travel around the world, the little girl had already been dead for months before her parents found out. :(

Stories like that do lend support to the philosophy of sending children away from difficult climates - although also demonstrate that there are no guarantees no matter where you live! It was a century before EBD was writing, though.

_________________
The Life and Times of Me
"Real life is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one" ~ Albert Einstein


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 27 Nov 2010, 10:57 
Offline
Receiving support from the form
Receiving support from the form
User avatar

Joined: 19 Jan 2004, 21:52
Posts: 640
Location: South Wales
With malaria though a people who are carriers of sickle cell
(who are more likely to be dark skinned origins) are immune to malaria as children so are more likely to survive if you think about it


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 27 Nov 2010, 15:50 
Offline
Arguing with your guardian

Joined: 27 Nov 2010, 15:45
Posts: 2
As an Indian living in India it always annoyed me when they went on about how India was so unhealthy to live in. Especially considering that the British were ruling India then, they would have had a much better quality of life there than the native Indians!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 17:21 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 08 Feb 2006, 20:27
Posts: 127
Location: London
Quote:
only for that child and the aunt they'd left her with to both die of scarlet fever, and with the time the post took to travel around the world, the little girl had already been dead for months before her parents found out.


Oh that is so sad!

Quote:
As an Indian living in India it always annoyed me when they went on about how India was so unhealthy to live in


I can imagine! - But to be fair to EBD, she was similarly biased against: the New Forest, Montreaux and basically anywhere not mountainous/in the vicinity of the 'great doctors' Jem and Jack.

I'm interested in the whole notion of 'climate' in a early 20th century health context - any history of science/medicine enthusiasts on the board who could comment? It seems that hot and humid seems to be 'bad', and I wonder if this is linked with older ideas about bad air/smells carrying disease and even things like the four humours....? You can see the potential correlates, e.g. tropical diseases, with these sort of climates, which could have given rise to such beliefs.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 17:33 
Offline
Learning all about Matey!

Joined: 25 Jul 2010, 19:35
Posts: 50
claire wrote:
With malaria though a people who are carriers of sickle cell
(who are more likely to be dark skinned origins) are immune to malaria as children so are more likely to survive if you think about it


Which is why Sickle Cell Disease prevailed in African populations and not Caucasian populations. The benefit of being a carrier kept the gene in the population, despite the fact that actually having Sickle Cell Disease was deadly. Since there was no benefit to being a carrier in areas that didn't have malaria, the mutated gene died off. It is kind of fascinating to see why deadly diseases are maintained in a population.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 17:37 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 8315
Location: Manchester
The idea of India as "the graveyard of the British" was common at the time, as was sending British children away from India to live with relatives in Britain. It's interesting that little Joey seemed to be fine in India but suffered from ill health in England, though :lol: . EBD seems to've been rather obsessed generally with climates and their effect on health, not always very accurately so :roll: . & we never hear of either Maurice or Maeve being ill.

It's interesting just how many of the British mistresses from the early years end up moving to "the colonies", either temporarily or permanently. I know that emigration rates were high between the wars, but even so there seem to be an awful lot of them.

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 17:40 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 08 Feb 2006, 20:27
Posts: 127
Location: London
Quote:
It's interesting just how many of the British mistresses from the early years end up moving to "the colonies", either temporarily or permanently


And I don't think any of them send their children back to the UK (or the Alps :wink: ) for schooling, do they?


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 17:45 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 08 Feb 2006, 20:27
Posts: 127
Location: London
wasn't Taverton also relaxing...? Or just damp in the winter? Not as good as the life-giving air of the mountains, anyway!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 19:02 
Offline
Meeting the escort mistress
User avatar

Joined: 09 Oct 2010, 20:41
Posts: 28
Location: Ireland/England
They were at the time great believers in air as a cure or a cause of disease. Malaria after all means "bad air", suspected to be the miasma from swamps (rather than the mozzies around them). Cholera and other sicknesses were also blamed. Seaside and mountain air (or just countryside) were considered much better to live in.

In India too, the British (Isles) women and children were often moved to the hills where it was cooler. Overall, sickness was more common, because the English British were unaccustomed to the climate and the illnesses that they weren't exposed to so much at home. Same with Singapore or other outposts of the British Empire, especially inland/hot/humid or non-mountainy regions (the blokes were expected to put up with it, of course :P )


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 08:29 
Offline
Being told to stand on your own two feet
Being told to stand on your own two feet
User avatar

Joined: 20 Jan 2004, 07:58
Posts: 147
Location: india
IIRC, EBD also places the cities of India in wrong areas. I will have to read again to pinpoint correctly but Coorg was one .


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 11:40 
Samaris wrote:
They were at the time great believers in air as a cure or a cause of disease.


Some of the belief in the 'change of air' stuff in Victorian times - a patient being sent to the seaside or mountains in the belief the air was particularly beneficial - seems to have worked to the extent it did because of unknown home environmental problems like the amount of poisonous lead content in domestic paint in under-ventilated rooms. The sick person improved simply because they were no longer in a compromised environment - and of course got ill again when they returned home. But I don't know how beliefs would have changed by EBD's day. Certainly there was a definite fresh air movement in the early 20thc, and EBD definitely represents her pet characters as being very pro-fresh air, and comic or nasty British characters like the Stuffer and Maria preferring stuffy environments.

As regards India, I have to admit that I found the heat on the plains hard to deal with, and revived completely when I got up to the tea plantations in the hills. It made me a feel a bit Memsahib-ish and wimpy!


Top | End
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 22:28 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 8315
Location: Manchester
When I was growing up in the 1980s everyone still used to say that getting away from the polluted air of the city and going to the seaside did you good. There was this idea that there was a lot of ozone in the air in Blackpool and that it did you good :D .

I think that the obsession with fresh air was closely linked to the idea that TB spread in enclosed/stuffy environments.

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 22:39 
Offline
Fifth Form!
Fifth Form!
User avatar

Joined: 09 Nov 2009, 14:53
Posts: 1215
Location: Cheshire
I lived for 11 years in Madrid, which is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. As you drive into the city on a clear day, you can actually see a cloud of polluted dust hovering over it. :shock:

Because of this there is a recognised medical condition which is jokingly called an allergy to the city. About half the population suffer from it to one degree or another. And if you do suffer from it, believe me, it's no joke. I was fortunate in that I didn't. Some of my friends did.

_________________
''He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Geography: The Colonies
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2010, 06:05 
Offline
Annoying a Sixth Former
Annoying a Sixth Former
User avatar

Joined: 31 Aug 2004, 04:38
Posts: 611
Location: Newcastle, NSW
Samaris wrote:
They were at the time great believers in air as a cure or a cause of disease.


I was chatting with a work colleague today and she said her husband was sent away (from London I think) to the Isle of Wright for two years as a child because the air was better for his dermatitis. This would have been late 60s/early 70s.

_________________
If sparkly vampires are impaled on a wooden stake do they bleed glitter?


Top | End
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 38 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

Board index .:|:. Slogging at Lessons :: Books .:|:. Special Sixth
It is currently 08 Jul 2020, 05:19

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group