British Heritage: February 1998 Letters

HOVINGHAM HALL

Hovingham is an attractive, unspoiled 18th-century village in North Yorkshire, England, where the Duchess of Kent was born and brought up. It is certainly familiar to a number of Americans, many of whom visit nearby Castle Howard where Brideshead Revisited was filmed.

The Hovingham Village Hall Refurbishment Scheme aims to raise £100,000 to refurbish the Hall and since April, when fund raising began, our total has reached £33,000–nearly all of it from local sources. Because Hovingham has a population of only 300 adults we now need to widen our appeal, and I therefore write to ask if any of your readers have ancestral (or other) connections with Hovingham and would like to make a donation to this worthwhile cause? Benefactors’ names will be permanently displayed in the Village Hall when refurbishment has been completed.

Anyone wishing to make a donation (made out to Hovingham Village Hall Refurbishment Scheme, of which I am treasurer) should send it to me at: Westwood Cottage, Hovingham, York YO6 4JZ, England. Similarly, anyone visiting this area who would like to see the Village Hall and hear our plans for it is also welcome to contact me by phone or fax on 01653 628443.

Keith Graham
Hovingham, York

 

A STORM TROOPER OF PROTEST

In your article about Mount Stewart (October/November 1997, page 38), I find thoroughly reprehensible your matter-of-fact, non-judgmental reporting of the Seventh Marquess’ hobnobbing with Nazis. You may say that your publication is non-political. This, however, goes beyond politics.

So long as a china model of a Nazi stormtrooper, given by Hitler via von Ribbentrop, is displayed along with mementoes of British royalty, this house should be boycotted!

Julie May
Los Angeles, California

Editor’s note: I am reminded of the criticism Sir Anthony Hopkins received following a portrayal of Adolf Hitler that some people felt was too ‘sympathetic’. It was hardly necessary, Sir Anthony responded, for him to make a villain out of Hitler; the dictator’s actions spoke for themselves. However, meetings between the Secretary of State and Hitler’s foreign minister need hardly be considered in the same light, or characterized as sinister, even if accompanied by diplomatic niceties such as an exchange of gifts. On such a basis, we would also need to boycott Chartwell, because Churchill negotiated with Josef Stalin, another ruthless dictator. And the Imperial War Museum would be off-limits for displaying the Munich Agreement, by which Britain allowed Hitler to annex much of Czechoslovakia. Clearly this would be inappropriate. Such relics are put on public view because of their historic significance, not to promote Nazi ideology.

REUNIONS UPDATE

In January 1996 BRITISH HERITAGE published a letter describing our organization, called Reunions. We are a mother and daughter team who finds and reunites families that have been separated for many years. Most of our clients are adoptees looking for their birth parents.

We have been at a new address for more than a year, but at the moment we still receive mail that has been redirected from the previous address. This is fortunate, because we continue to receive many enquiries from your readers. Please let your readers know our new address, as this will ensure that their letters reach us, and hopefully enable us to reunite more families. The new address is: Reunions, 62 Church Street, High Road, Essendon, Hertfordshire AL9 6AR, UK.

Margaret and Georgina Spender
Essendon, Hertfordshire

 

MISPLACED PRINCESS

I know this may seem to be a small error, but all your reading public in New York City will pick this up. The photo of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa (December/January 1997/1998, page 37) was taken at the mission in the Bronx, not Brooklyn, as stated. It’s a small matter but I thought you would like to know because of your many readers in the New York area.

Mary Parsons
Tappan, New York

A WHITBY ‘MUST’

In the article ‘The Literary World of Bram Stoker’ (October/November 1997, page 37), you give the names of two restaurants in Whitby–The Magpie and the Fleece Pub. I wondered why you did not list Trencher’s. This restaurant far surpasses either of the two you did mention in menu quality, price, and atmosphere. Trencher’s is a must when visiting Whitby. I go to Whitby every year and always look forward to eating at Trencher’s. The locals as well as tourists patronize it. The fish and chips are second to none; other items on the menu are also superb.

Winn Marsh
Wewahitchka, Florida

 

JUMPING TO A CONCLUSION?

It was with nostalgic delight that I read the article on Borthwick Castle (October/November 1997, page 42). My wife and I had a memorable stay at the castle some years ago when we were privileged to occupy Mary, Queen of Scots’, bedchamber.

However, I take issue with the statement in the article that suggests that the queen ‘jumped out of the window’ of the Great Hall. Had she done so, she would most certainly have broken her royal neck, or suffered some other disastrous consequence, since the windows of that first-floor room loom far above ground level. We were told that she was lowered by bed linens fashioned into a rope, which is much more likely the case.

Ernest R. Tuf
Vacaville, California

 

WARTIME RECOLLECTIONS

In 1940 or 1941, my mother, sister, and I were evacuated to North Wales to escape the heavy bombing of Birmingham. We lodged in Rhyl and Llandudno. I attended five different schools in the 18 months we were away. My father stayed behind in Birmingham and contributed to the war effort by working as a voluntary fireman in Solihull. He always regretted never having the opportunity to put out any ‘good fires’. On the only occasion when there was a major air raid over Solihull, he was at home, ill.

I have precious memories of listening to radio adaptations of classic novels on the BBC during these years, such as Alexandre Dumas’s The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers, and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. These were broadcast on a weekly drama series which I believe was known simply as Drama Night. As a child with a vivid imagination, I was enthralled by the magic and mystery of The Secret Garden on Children’s Hour, which was broadcast every evening of the week around 4 or 5 o’clock. Drama Night usually ended ‘late’, around 9.30 pm. When the clock struck 9, my mother would insist I go to bed, which meant missing the end of the show. She was worried that I would be too tired for school the next day. Sometimes I would win the battle; sometimes she would.

I am interested in hearing from readers who would like to share their memories of the years before and during the war–also from anyone who used to enjoy the above-mentioned radio programs.

R. Naidia Mosher
San Francisco, California

 

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