Category Archives: Leisure

Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1843

Search the library for more like this

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. “A man might achieve great legislative results, do great deeds, and be a most useful member of society, but unless he possessed the gift of personality he would be to the general public as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”  Henry Keppel undoubtedly possessed that gift.

Below is the fifth installment in our series of a selection of his memoirs, others will follow over the coming weeks.

CHAPTER V – Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel

In bitter cold, hazy weather in midwinter the ‘Dido’ arrived at Spithead, and Keppel was looking forward to joining his wife, whom he had not seen for four years, at her father’s house, only fourteen miles off, when he got orders to proceed immediately to Sheerness.  This was more than human nature could endure, and so his resourceful imagination came to his help for a way out of the difficulty.

To his dismay, the Admiral at Portsmouth, with whom he was dining, said he would send him aboard on his tender, and then the reckless audacity of the man asserted itself.

He found the Master of the ‘Dido’ who was about his size and build, made him put on his cocked hat, sword and epaulettes, while he donned the Master’s oilskin and pea-jacket, accompanied him aboard in the tender, touched his hat to him, and was landed by a waterman at Gosport, while the Master in disguise took the Dido’ to Sheerness.

Such a daring bit of foolhardiness makes one shiver, even after the lapse of more than half a century.  It is not difficult on reading of these scrapes to understand the saying of a somewhat severe old admiral, who said, speaking of Harry: ‘The bravest man that ever lived, who ought to have been turned out of the Service years ago.’

The following morning Keppel and his wife started off to post to Sheerness, where he changed clothes with the Master, and all was well.  The Dido’ was paid off, the men receiving 4,000l in prize money.

His old fondness for the racecourse took him, of course, to Goodwood.  His wife was not so much at home in racing circles as he was, and, seeing Lord Albemarle in deep conversation with a lightweight in a blue coat, brass buttons, yellow leathers, and mahogany tops, she inquired whether that was her father-in-law’s jockey.  ‘No,’ said Lady Albemarle, ‘that is the Duke of Bedford.’

Newmarket succeeded Goodwood, and he attended the races in good sporting company.  His natural taste for the Turf was fostered by Sir Joseph Hawley, ‘the lucky baronet,’ who had married one of the Miss Crosbies and become Harry’s brother-in-law.  He was only five years younger than Harry, and after a short career in the Army and as a yachtsman had devoted his time and money to the Turf, where he achieved enormous successes with Teddington, Beadsman, Musjid, Blue Gown, Aphrodite, Mendicant, and Caractacus. Whenever Harry was ashore in the racing season he paid a visit to his kinsman till his death in [1875].

Before that he took a great interest in the training of Sir Joseph’s fine stud and in their performances.  Admiral Rous, who was his senior by some nine years, had left the Navy in [1836], and was considered one of the finest handicappers in the world.  It is easy to imagine what fun those race meetings must have been, when the sailor fresh ‘from war’s alarms,’ who had been absent for years, came amongst his old friends again at Goodwood or Newmarket.

Excerpt from Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West – 1905

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia

Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1838

Search the library for more like this

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. “A man might achieve great legislative results, do great deeds, and be a most useful member of society, but unless he possessed the gift of personality he would be to the general public as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”  Henry Keppel undoubtedly possessed that gift.

Below is the fourth installment in our series of a selection of his memoirs, others will follow over the coming weeks.

CHAPTER IV – Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1838

In June [1838] Keppel, sound in health and spirits, had just returned to England from the West Coast of Africa, and was taking part in all the riotous proceedings of the jeunesse doree of those days: Epsom, Ascot, and Goodwood, dinners at Knightsbridge Barracks, suppers at Limmer’s, and rows with watchmen in the streets, as was then the fashion.

These last amusements made him acquainted with the cells of a police court, and drew from him fines which he could ill afford to pay.  But this was the shady side of his life; on the other, he attended balls at Prince Esterhazy’s and at Buckingham Palace, and was present at the Coronation of Queen Victoria on June 28, when Mr. Coke, who had married his sister, was made Earl of Leicester.  

Many were the people of note that Keppel came across during his stay in London.  At Lady Lansdowne’s ball to the Foreign Ambassadors who had come over to take part in the Coronation ceremonies he saw Marshal Soult, who was now the idol of the public, and the Duke of Wellington talking together.  

And on another night he was in attendance on the Duke of Sussex at a magnificent ball given by Marshal Soult.   All this dissipation was brought to a happy conclusion at St. George’s, Hanover Square, where he was married, on February 25, [1839], to Miss Kate Crosbie.  

His elder brother Lord Albemarle was present at Buckingham Palace during the birth of the Princess Royal on November 21, [1840], and shortly afterwards Harry accompanied him to Buckingham Palace, where he partook of cake and caudle, as was then the fashion.

Soon after this he went with his young wife to Baden-Baden, where he met an unknown man in the Kursaal, who insisted on shaking hands with him, saying he looked so like one of the family.  This unknown man turned out to be his eldest brother, Lord Bury, whom he had not seen for twelve years.

Excerpt from Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West – 1905

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia

Memoirs of Henry Keppel -1832

Search the library for more like this

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. “A man might achieve great legislative results, do great deeds, and be a most useful member of society, but unless he possessed the gift of personality he would be to the general public as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”  Henry Keppel undoubtedly possessed that gift.

Below is the third installment in our series of a selection of his memoirs, others will follow over the coming weeks.

CHAPTER III – Memoirs of Henry Keppel -1832

The MagicienneWhile still in the ‘Magicienne’ Keppel was sent on a little blockading expedition to the Moowar River, where he was to assist the Rajah, who was a loyal adherent of the English.  The Rajah provided him with elephant and alligator shooting.  So struck was he with Keppel that he offered him his daughter in marriage on condition that he should become heir to his throne of Moowar.  This offer was not sufficiently tempting.  Had he accepted it he would have avoided a nasty tossing from a buffalo and a bad fall out hunting at Barrackpur.  Such accidents, however, were the rule rather than the exception in his career, and in after-years he often remarked, with a laugh, ‘There is not a bone of my body that has not been broken,’ adding, and some of them have never been set!’.  

At Madras the mail brought him news of his promotion to the rank of commander, and he immediately returned home in a trading vessel, which reached England in [1833].  On arrival he found an invitation awaiting him to dine with the King at the Pavilion at Brighton.  The Duke of Sussex, who was staying there, took Keppel to Holkham, which he was delighted to revisit, though later he returned to Brighton.  At that time Almack’s balls took place at the Pavilion, where the King and Queen held their Court from October to February.  One morning the King’s carriage came round to the door with the coachman evidently drunk.  The King indulged in strong naval language, and, evidently thinking he was still on board ship, told the coachman he would report him to the master-at-arms!

Here Keppel made acquaintance with the dandies of the day, with whom Lord Lamington ‘Childers’has made us all so familiar; but in the middle of these amusements he was appointed to the brig ‘Childers’ for service in the Mediterranean, and was presented at Court by Sir James Graham, then First Lord of the Admiralty.

He was advised by his brother-in-law, through whose instrumentality he had obtained his nomination, not to show himself at the Admiralty, where the Board might think his appearance too young and small to justify his appointment; so he went straight down to Portsmouth, where bills were soon posted, ‘Wanted, petty officers and able seamen for H.M.S. “Childers,” Commander Keppel; none but the right sort need apply.’  And the right sort did apply.

Excerpt from Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West – 1905

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia

Thomas Cook & Son Explain – 1903

Excerpt from the New Outlook Magazine – Saturday 11th April 1903 – The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – regarding  a trip to the Crimea aboard the ship Prinzessin organised through The Cook Company – Thomas Cook as we know them today. This is Thomas Cooks reply to a travellers letter published in the New Outlook on 14th February 1903.

Thomas Cook & Son Explain

To The Editors of The Outlook – Saturday 11th April 1903:

In the very interesting article entitled “The Impressions of a Careless Traveler,”  which appeared in your issue of February 14, a statement is made which has given a somewhat widespread impression that we are quite sure the writer never intended, and, as it is calculated to injure our business, we shall be glad of an opportunity to print a word of explanation giving our side of the incident.

The writer of the article says that but very little was seen of Cook’s representative in connection with the contretemps at Yalta.  We submitted the article to our conductor who had charge of the party, and he replies: “The statement of  ‘L.A.’ is correct so far as the details are concerned.  While the party was en route from Sevastopol to Yalta a letter was sent to me by the first officer of the steamship Prinzessin Luise stating that the passengers could not embark as per programme, and this letter was sent by a lady journalist, who, being a German, immediately advised all her fellow-countrymen who were in the party.  There were fifty-two carriages, and I naturally stayed at Sevastopol until all had left, and consequently arrived at Yalta somewhat behind the party.   Immediately the letter came into my possession I stood up in one of the carriages and, by reading it aloud, did my best to let everybody know the situation, and it was doubtless owing to there being so many carriages bunched together, and the attendant bustle and noise, that ‘L.A.’ failed to get the news correctly, and it was that which led to his going to the unsatisfactory hotel he describes in his article instead of a much better one, the Hotel de Russie, which I recommended, and to which, in company with many of the party, I subsequently went.”

The whole trouble arose through what maybe fairly described as “an act of God,” that is to say, it was raining, the wind was blowing hard, and it raised such a high sea that the captain and officers very properly decided that it would not be quite safe to embark the passengers until the weather moderated.  No responsible, reliable, or well-managed firm or company, except through an insurance policy, will make a contract providing against what is usually described all over the world as “an act of God,” and in all our public announcements everywhere, including the pamphlet describing the excursion from Sevastopol to Yalta, there will be found in a prominent position the following paragraph, and of course “L.A.” and everybody else on the boat were booked subject thereto:

Thomas Cook & Son are not responsible for loss of time or money consequent on the irregularity of steamship or railroad service, sickness, or any calamity or hindrance caused by circumstances over which they have no control;  and should delays or alterations occur through such causes, the passengers will have to pay any additional expenses for living and accommodation in hotels or on steamers which may be incurred beyond specified period. 

The liability of roads and railroads in the neighborhood of mountains to damage from storms and other influences beyond human control renders it necessary that we should announce that we cannot be responsible for detention or expenses incurred by deviation of routes occasioned by circumstances of this nature, nor for delays or deviation that may be caused through the railways being required for military purposes.  The most that companies will do under such circumstances is to repay the value of any ticket, or proportions of ticket not used for lines thus rendered impassable; and all claims in such cases must be sent in writing, accompanied by the unused tickets, within one month from the date for which such tickets were available.

At that season of the year the weather conditions are usually such that landings and embarkations can be freely made without difficulty, delay, or danger, and it was not an unreasonable thing to expect that the programme would be carried out in its entirety without change.  With regard to the possible refund on account of the party being unable to take the drive and a lunch on the third day, the weather conditions made this impossible, and, as that was no fault of ours and the carriages and lunch were all contracted, provided, and had to be paid for, we submit that it is not reasonable that we should be expected to lose a considerable sum of money on account of circumstances over which we could have absolutely no control. The whole arrangements for landing and embarkation in the Black Sea were entirely under the control of the captains and officers of the Prinzessin, and the boats required therefore were furnished by the owners of the vessel.

THOMAS COOK & SON,

per GEORGE EADE, Manager

Excerpt from The New Outlook Volume 73 1903 by Alfred Emanuel Smith

Memoirs of Henry Keppel – 1829

Search the library for more like this

Memoirs of Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. “A man might achieve great legislative results, do great deeds, and be a most useful member of society, but unless he possessed the gift of personality he would be to the general public as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”  Henry Keppel undoubtedly possessed that gift.

Below is the second installment of a selection of his memoirs, others will follow over the coming weeks.

Chapter II – 1829

Fancy o1

On the arrival of the ‘Tweed’ at Spithead in August [1829], Keppel found, to his joy, that he was just in time for Goodwood.  He had inherited a love for racing, and found that his father as Master of the Horse had three of the King’s horses entered for the Goodwood Cup.  He asked with which horse he should win.  ‘Win with all three,’ said His Majesty, and the orders were obeyed.  The first three horses were his: Fleur-de-Lis, 1; Zingaree, 2; Colonel, 3.  

Harry Keppel again virtually became one of the staff of the Duke of Sussex, and accompanied him in visits to various country houses.  Captain Marryat, the future author of ‘The Naval Officer,’  ‘Peter Simple,’  ‘Midshipman Easy,’  and ‘Masterman Ready,’ which have delighted so many generations of readers, was also on the Duke’s staff, and it was believed that the principal characters in his books were taken from real life.

At that time the uniform of the staff in the evening was a green coat with royal brass buttons, buff cloth waistcoat, and trousers.  

During this short stay at home Keppel was, as a great honour, introduced to the Beefsteak Club, called the ‘Sublime Society,’ which was founded in [1735] by John Eich, the famous harlequin.  It consisted of twenty-four members.

Among the rules were:

‘Beefsteaks shall be the only meat.

‘Broiling begins at two of the clock; tablecloth removed at three of the clock.

‘Any wagers lost to be paid to the treasurer.

‘Any member absenting himself three successive days of meeting, unless excused by a majority, shall be expelled.

‘A member allowed one guest.

‘The Society consists of a president, a vice-president, a bishop, a recorder, a boots.

The meetings generally broke up in time for the theatres.

The president’s chair, carved in oak, with a gridiron and motto, ‘Beef and Liberty,’ was bought at Christie’s in [1867] for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.

Among the names of the few members appeared those of Hogarth, Sandwich, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Leinster, Lord Brougham, and Mr. Whitbread, each member having his crest and motto on his chair.  Soon after Keppel’s admission to the Society his brother-in-law was presented with a silver cigar-case bearing the inscription: ‘That he may keep us in his mind who lives in our hearts this case is presented to our brother, Henry Frederick Stephenson, by the hand of his Royal brother, the Duke of Sussex, in his and our names, in grateful remembrance of his service.’

Excerpt from Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West – 1905

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia

The Force of Steam – 1839

The Force of Steam – 1839

SS Maurantania – First Modern Liner

To the British almost more than any other nation it was important to find a way in which this great new force of steam could be used at sea as well as on land. Small beginnings were made quite early in the nineteenth century, when a steam tugboat was run on the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Then an American engineer put steamboats on the Hudson River, and in [1819] one of them managed to cross the Atlantic.  But it was twenty years after that when people made up their minds that steamers should go regularly to and fro between Great Britain and America. These vessels had paddle-wheels which were turned by their engines, and it took them about fifteen days to get from Liverpool to New York.  By the middle of the century, however, steamers had been much improved through the invention of the screw to take the place of the paddles, and then the length of the voyage to America was gradually reduced to seven days.  Our newest liners of to-day can do it in four or five.

It was certain that as soon as people knew that they could cross the ocean in a steamship, there would practically be an end of their either travelling themselves or sending their letters by sailing vessel.  Business men always insist on getting mails carried as quickly as possible; and as for passengers, a sea voyage was so dreadfully uncomfortable until the quite modern days of  luxurious liners that hardly any one would face more of it than he could help.

So in the middle and later years of the nineteenth century a large number of steamship companies were formed to carry on a regular service to all parts of the world.  Amongst the oldest and best known of these are the Cunard Company, by whose ships very many people still go to America, and the Peninsular and Oriental Company, usually called the P. and O., which will take you to India, China, or Australia.

These are only two out of a great many important lines, and any one who looks in the “Mail and Shipping Intelligence” of a big daily newspaper will find the names of plenty more.

Excerpt from Landmarks of British History  by Lucy Dale – 1910

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

The SS Mauretania – History

P&O Heritage

 

The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – 1903

Search the library for more like this

Excerpt from the New Outlook Magazine – Saturday 14th February 1903 – The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – regarding  a trip to the Crimea aboard the ship Prinzessin organised through The Cook Company – Thomas Cook as we know them today.

The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – 1903

The next morning the problem how we were to get on board our steamer presented itself.  The wind, rattling the shutters and blowing open the French windows of our room, gave us no hope of a quiet sea, and I was not surprised to see the yacht moving up and down – in more ways than one – a half-mile or more from the shore.  I succeeded by signs in getting from the landlord of the lodging house a glass of tea and some bread and butter for the ladies, and then started out to reconnoiter. 

At seven o’clock I was at the chief hotel, but no one knew what was to be done, and every new passenger I met had a new rumor to repeat or a new plan to propose.  We must ride back to Sevastopol; the horses were exhausted and the drivers would not take us; we must wait here until the sea goes down; we are going to be taken to the steamer in launches, etc., etc.  At length it began to be reported, though still no official notice was given, that there was a Russian local steamer inside the breakwater, that we were all to go on board of her, that she was to take us back to Sevastopol, and that we were to embark on the Prinzessin in the harbor there.  This arrangement was in fact made, I believe by the captain of our steamer through the intermediary of the first officer.  We had nothing to pay on the steamer, except for luncheon if we chose to take it. 

So far as I know, not till all the arrangements were consummated and most of the passengers had gotten word and were on board, or preparing to go on board, did the agents of the Cook Company appear again.  Whether they kept out of sight because they did not know what to do, or because they wanted to avoid for Cook all responsibility for the predicament in which we were placed, I do not know. 

Generalisations from a single experience or a brief series of experiences are not very safe; but the results of our experiences on this trip confirmed Mr.–‘s advice to me; before I left New York he said: “Buy your circular tickets of Cook; occasionally you can use him to advantage in especial carriage trips-but avoid the personally conducted tour.”   In fact, we paid a good price at Sevastopol in order to have all care taken off, and when the crisis came it all tumbled back on us again; we paid for a third day’s excursion-to the garden of the Czar-which we never had, and had not only to pay our bills at Yalta, to which I do not especially object, but had to shift for ourselves under circumstances of no little perplexity, while our personal conductors disappeared from the scene, not to appear again until all the trouble and perplexity were passed. 

To our surprise, the Russian steamer, though primarily for freight, had very comfortable provision for passengers, and we, with unexpected steadiness, steamed back over the water which we had looked down upon the day before, our “yacht” accompanying us all the way.  Although we lost our promised view of the palaces and the splendours they contain, we gained a new view of the marvellous cliffs along which we had driven.  We are now at home again on the Prinzessin.  Our time on the yacht is growing short, and we begin to wonder whether after the exchange to land traveling we shall be as comfortable.  But there is a pleasant thought in the idea of longer time in our stopping places and larger space for manipulating our luggage to compensate for the luxuries we shall leave. 

L.A.

Excerpt from the New Outlook Magazine – Saturday 14th February 1903 – The Impressions of a Careless Traveler.  Coming soon – read the response to this article from Thomas Cook & Son.