Board Game Tour of Britain (11)

The board game at Bournemouth Pier (square 9).

Square #9 Bournemouth. We have a mission: to follow the route of an old 1940s board game around Great Britain, sticking to the instructions as closely as we possibly can. Along the way we will look at the history of the places we visit, with a particular focus on how things have changed since the tour was created around 70 years ago.

The ninth square on the board was Bournemouth, so we had a week in neighbouring Christchurch as our base of operations, staying at a holiday park with plenty of entertainment for the kids. We also took the opportunity to have a day trip to Dorchester, where we found some interesting little museums, including a dinosaur museum for our son and a teddy bear museum for our daughter. OK, I’ll be honest. We found a dinosaur museum for me and a teddy bear museum for my wife.

Bournemouth Pier photographed from the ferris wheel.

The game contained no special instructions for Bournemouth (other than to “miss a turn and take a sea trip around the Isle of Wight, which we will be doing as a separate holiday) so we enjoyed some beach trips and went to the obvious focal point: the pier. The structure as it appears today was built in the late 1870s and opened in 1880, although previous simpler structures existed on the site since 1856. The pier was extended in 1894 and 1909, and like many piers much of it was demolished during the Second World War as a precaution against invasion. It was then repaired and reopened in 1946, which brings us very close to the creation of the board game we are following. There have been considerable changes since then, with the theatre in particular post-dating the board game. In fact, the whole area looked considerably different to us than it would have done to a visitor in the late 1940s. We enjoyed a visit to a very good aquarium beside the pier, which opened in 1998, and also experienced an aerial view of the pier from the ferris wheel.

The next leg on the board game tour will be the Isle of Wight. Please follow Windows into History to be kept aware of future instalments!

To read the previous posts, please click on the Board Game Tour link on the menu bar above, under the “explore more” dropdown. There is also a Contents page, which also contains links to each post in order, although that page relies on manual updating so might not always show the latest. If you want to be kept informed about new posts on Windows into History please hit the follow button on the right of the screen.

The photos that accompany this post were taken during our visit. Please do not reuse them without permission.

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The Elopement

or How the Cowboy Baronet acquired a nickname

1 The Cowboy BaronetGuest Post 16.  How often have you picked up an old book particularly an autobiography, long out of print, and been so taken with the story that you have thought “why has this book never been re-printed”?

That thought would certainly pass through the mind of anyone lucky enough to come across a very rare copy of “From Cowboy to Pulpit”, the autobiography of the splendidly named Sir Genille Cave-Brown-Cave published in 1926 by Herbert Jenkins. What an exciting life of adventure this man enjoyed, until he returned to England to become the vicar of the peaceful Yorkshire town of Londesborough!

Here we can only tell just one of his many adventures, but what an adventure!

Genille was born in 1869, heir to the eleventh baronet, Sir Mylles Cave-Brown-Cave. His youthful adventures caused the family many problems. Keen to go to sea, his father sent him to a training ship of the Royal Naval Reserve, but after six months his father was told to “take the little devil home”. Father then apprenticed him to the sailing ships going to Australia. Still causing trouble he left that life. Being a strong looking lad for his age, at 16 ½ he joined the 13th Hussars claiming to be 18. An exceptional horseman from boyhood he was transferred to the 21st Hussars and was on an expedition to the Khyber Pass until his real age was discovered. Gold mining in Mysore, followed by time with military police in Burma, back to more time at sea and then… well you will have to read his book. He eventually found his niche as a cowboy and then ranch foreman in America at a time when the west was not completely tamed. His adventures followed each other in quick succession. Here is just one of them. To start with he was always known as “English” but this is the story of how he acquired his final nickname, which stuck to him in the States, even after he had inherited the baronetcy in 1907 on the death of his father.

The season’s work being over, I was putting in some time helping a ranch owner that I knew and who lived a few miles away. He was a widower with an only daughter, a buxom girl, who kept house for the old man, and who was the apple of his eye. One night we were all sitting round the heater, smoking and yarning, when she burst into the bunkhouse in a state of annoyance mixed with excitement. It appeared that a useless sort of hand in a neighbouring town had for a long time been pestering her with his attentions, and they had culminated that evening with a proposal that they should elope the following evening after dark. She said that, in order to get rid of him, she had agreed, and she now wanted him properly put in his place.

“One of you boys must dress up and go instead of me,” she said. Then, turning to me, she continued, “English, you are thin, and not too tall and clean shaved – will you do it?”

I can still hear the yell of delight that went up from around the heater. Everybody agreed that it was up to me, and pointed out that I couldn’t refuse, so I had to consent, but I did so only on the understanding that they were to remove all bullets from cartridges that they put into their guns that evening, for I guessed that there was going to be a row.

The next night arrayed in some of the girl’s clothes – and they did not fit me badly – and wearing a large sunbonnet that nearly hid my face, I slipped out of the ranch house in answer to a low whistle, and ran over to where I knew the love-sick critter would be.

There he was, carrying a small bag, and I had just time to grab his arm and steer him towards a bit of barbed wire fence that I knew of, when a yell went up that would have done credit to any Indian jamboree, and guns began to go off all around. The devil of it was, as I realised instantly, they had omitted to draw the bullets from their ammunition, although, for the moment, they were firing high.

By this time we were right into the wire, and he was gone – how he got through the fence I never knew. I left most of the girl’s clothing hanging to it in ribbons, as I tried to get through and away, for the bullets were now singing in every direction.

A moment afterwards I heard the mad gallop of a horse and the bang, crash, of the wheels of a buggy. He was trying to make his escape!

In an instant a dozen cowboys had swung into their saddles – for they had them tied up at the back of the bunk house all ready for the fray – and they were off down the road shooting and yelling like men possessed. It was not long before they had roped him and his horse; the buggy they smashed to smithereens. Then they took the amorous swain to a neighbouring creek, gave him a good ducking, and let him loose, to the rattle of more guns. As for me, I was in the bunk house repairing the wire cuts to my hands when the part came back.

“What about the damned lead you were slinging round?” I shouted.

“Sure, we never gave it a thought, Miss Kitty,” said somebody.

“Miss Kitty, be damned,” I roared. But it was no good – they roared, too, and the name stuck to me always after that.

If it is ever my good fortune to set foot on the Western trail again, and I meet any of the old boys there, I am sure that their first greeting will be to “Kitty” – the only name by which most of them knew me.

Not only did the Cowboy Baronet inherit the title from his father, he also inherited massive debts, which he was determined to pay off. It may be thought that it is only in recent years that famous people have earned money by endorsing commercial products. But it is not so. Even well over a century ago it can be seen from the advertisement shown here that the Cowboy Baronet was earning additional income by appearing in newspapers around Britain endorsing Zam-Buk for easing his aches and pains.

3 19090204 Zam Buk Lincoln Echo

(The photograph of him is from advertising postcards sold when he returned the England after he succeeded to the baronetcy and when he ran and featured in “Wild West” shows.)


The guest post article above has been kindly contributed by Geoffrey A. Pocock, author of The Frontiers of Truth, Outrider of Empire: The Life and Adventures of Roger Pocock (University of Alberta Press) and One Hundred Years of the Legion of Frontiersmen (currently out of print).  You can visit his blog and website here.

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Halloween Superstitions

Source: photoclub.canadiangeographic.ca.

Creepy History 65.  Happy Halloween, and I hope you have enjoyed another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History.  Our last Halloween themed quote for now is from the Dundee Courier, 3rd November 1902:

The ghostly spells of Hallowe’en are not confined to Scotland.

Some people say that even in Scotland, home of superstition and captivating folklore, the good old Hallowe’en customs are dying out, but last Friday’s frolics among the young folks seem to give that statement an emphatic denial. To say that Scotland is specially identified with Hallowe’en observances strikes some observers as not quite fair or fitting, for the English country places have had many very quaint observances. The weaver lasses of Lancashire have had the spell of the “five earthen balls.” The lass takes five small slips of paper. On three she writes—or used write—the names three favourite swains—a modest number, surely. On one of the others she writes “stranger,” on the fifth “death.” Each is rolled into a ball, covered with moistened earth, and placed in a dish cold water. The water, of course, soon dissolves the earth and releases the slips of paper. Whichever rises first to the surface indicates the maiden’s fate. If there is a name thereon, that is the name of her future husband. If “stranger” comes she will wed one so far unknown; if “death” – alack, it is too sad to contemplate.

The Love of Lads and Lasses.

In Ireland there have been, and still are, some quaint, some fanciful, and some poetically mysterious observances. The night of 31st October (which has a musical Irish name impossible to render properly in Roman characters) is weird and witching in Irish folk-tales, but that is a long study, bearing us far from the material world. Burns’ poem of “Hallowe’en” is doubtless responsible for the Scottish flavour of the occasion, if one may so express it, in the British consciousness. Needless to say, the most interesting of the observances and customs relate to love, its longings, wishes, and devices. The humblest are also the most general – the burning of the nuts, for instance, which, trite as it looks, has animated country firesides for ages. Two nuts, representing a lad and lass, are lodged side by side in the fire or on the grate bars. If they burn cosily and placidly together happy marriage awaits the lad and lass in question; if they hiss and fly apart separation and sorrow are the decree of fate. That is all very silly to philosophers, but lads and lasses are – well, lads and lasses.

Again, if you are young and unattached and adventurous (and in Scotland) at Hallowe’en you can steal out in the deep and ghostly night, seek a south-running spring where three lairds’ lands meet, dip your left shirt sleeve into the water, run home and hang the sleeve by the flickering firelight, lie awake till midnight, when the destined sweetheart will glide into the room, come down the chimney, and turn the sleeve as if to dry the other side. Try this spell if you have philosophic doubts on the subject. It is exercise, at any rate, which has a touch of the weird.


If you found this interesting, please consider sharing on Facebook or Twitter, to help other people find and enjoy Windows into History. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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The Harbinger

GhostCreepy History 64.  Happy Halloween, and welcome to another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History.  The following quote is from Strange Pages from Family Papers by T. F. Thistleton-Dyer, published in 1895:

In some cases, families have been apprised of an approaching death by some strange spectre, either male or female, a remarkable instance of which occurs in the MS. memoirs of Lady Fanshaw, and is to this effect: “Her husband, Sir Richard, and she, chanced, during their abode in Ireland, to visit a friend, who resided in his ancient baronial castle surrounded with a moat. At midnight she was awakened by a ghastly and supernatural scream, and, looking out of bed, beheld by the moonlight a female face and part of the form hovering at the window. The face was that of a young and rather handsome woman, but pale; and the hair, which was reddish, was loose and dishevelled. This apparition continued to exhibit itself for some time, and then vanished with two shrieks, similar to that which had at first excited Lady Fanshaw’s attention. In the morning, with infinite terror, she communicated to her host what had happened, and found him prepared not only to credit, but to account for, what had happened.

“A near relation of mine,” said he, “expired last night in the castle. Before such an event happens in this family and castle, the female spectre whom you have seen is always visible. She is believed to be the spirit of a woman of inferior rank, whom one of my ancestors degraded himself by marrying, and whom afterwards, to expiate the dishonour done his family, he caused to be drowned in the castle moat.”


If you found this interesting, please consider sharing on Facebook or Twitter, to help other people find and enjoy Windows into History. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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The Kingdom Underground

An engraving of Rushen Castle by William Miller, 1845.

Creepy History 63.  Happy Halloween, and welcome to another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History.  The following quote is from Strange Pages from Family Papers by T. F. Thistleton-Dyer, published in 1895:

At Rushen Castle, Isle of Man, there is said to be a room which has never been opened in the memory of man. Various explanations have been assigned to account for this circumstance, one being that the old place was once inhabited by giants, who were dislodged by Merlin, and such as were not driven away remain spellbound beneath the castle. Waldron, in his “Description of the Isle of Man,” has given a curious tradition respecting this strange room, in which the supernatural element holds a prominent place, and which is a good sample of other stories of the same kind: “They say there are a great many fine apartments underground, exceeding in magnificence any of the upper rooms. Several men, of more than ordinary courage have, in former times, ventured down to explore the secrets of this subterranean dwelling-place, but as none of them ever returned to give an account of what they saw, the passages to it were kept continually shut that no more might suffer by their temerity. But about fifty years since, a person of uncommon courage obtained permission to explore the dark abode. He went down, and returned by the help of a clue of packthread, and made this report: ‘That after having passed through a great number of vaults he came into a long narrow place, along which having travelled, as far as he could guess, for the space of a mile, he saw a little gleam of light. Reaching at last the end of this lane of darkness, he perceived a very large and magnificent house, illuminated with a great many candles, whence proceeded the light just mentioned. After knocking at the door three times, it was opened by a servant, who asked him what he wanted. “I would go as far as I can,” he replied; “be so kind as to direct me, for I see no passage but the dark cavern through which I came hither.” The servant directed him to go through the house, and led him through a long entrance passage and out at the back door. After walking a considerable distance, he saw another house, more magnificent than the former, where he saw through the open windows lamps burning in every room. He was about to knock, but looking in at the window of a low parlour, he saw in the middle of the room a large table of black marble, on which lay extended a monster of at least fourteen feet long, and ten round the body, with a sword beside him. He therefore deemed it prudent to make his way back to the first house where the servant reconducted him, and informed him that if he had knocked at the second door he never would have returned. He then took his leave, and once more ascended to the light of the sun.’”

An engraving of Rushen Castle by William Miller, 1845.


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Music of the Dead

“Power of Music” by Louis Gallait, c. 1852.

Creepy History 62.  Happy Halloween, and welcome to another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History.  The following quote is from Strange Pages from Family Papers by T. F. Thistleton-Dyer, published in 1895:

But, in modern days, one of the most unnatural tragedies on record was the murder of Sir John Goodere, Foote’s maternal uncle, by his brother Captain Goodere, a naval officer. In the year 1740, the two brothers dined at a friend’s house near Bristol. For a long time they had been on bad terms, owing to certain money transactions, but at the dinner table a reconciliation was, to all appearance, made between them. But it was a most terrible piece of underhand treachery, for on leaving that dinner table, Sir John was waylaid on his return home by some men from his brother’s vessel – acting by his brother’s authority – carried on board, and deliberately strangled; Captain Goodere not only unconcernedly looking on, but actually furnishing the rope with which this fearful crime was committed. One of the strangest parts of this terrible tale, Foote used to relate, was the fact that on the night the murder was committed he arrived at his father’s house in Truro, and was kept awake for some time by the softest and sweetest strains of music he had ever heard. At first he fancied it might be a serenade got up by some of the family to welcome him home, but not being able to discover any trace of the musicians, he came to the conclusion that he was deceived by his own imagination. Shortly afterwards, however, he learnt that the murder had been committed at the same hour of the same night as he had been haunted by the mysterious sounds. In after days, he often spoke of this curious occurrence, regarding it as a supernatural warning, a conviction which he retained till his death.


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The Doppelganger Ghost

GhostCreepy History 61.  Happy Halloween, and welcome to another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History.  The following quote is from the Lakes Herald, 15th March 1895, and references a book by Thomas Thistleton-Dyer, which we will be looking at in more detail over the next couple of weeks:

Some curious stories have been unearthed by T. F. Thistleton-Dyer and incorporated in his “Strange Pages from Family Papers.” In his chapter on apparitions he tells what is called a true story of an apparition which appeared to Robert Percival, son of the Right Hon. Sir John Percival, when reading for the law in his chambers in Lincoln’s Inn. We are told in the sequel that the young man was found dead, but how he died was a secret never divulged. “The clock had just struck the hour of midnight, when, on looking up from his book, he was astonished to see a figure standing between himself and the door, completely muffled up in a long cloak so as to defy recognition. ‘Who are you?’ But the figure made no answer. ‘What do you want?’ No reply. The figure stood motionless. Thinking it made a low hollow laugh, the young student struck at the intruder with his sword, but the weapon met with no resistance and not a single drop of blood stained it. This was amazing, and still no answer. Determined to solve the mystery of this strange being, he cast aside its cloak, when lo! he saw his own apparition, bloody and ghostly, whereat he was so astonished that he immediately swooned away, but, recovering, he saw the spectre depart.”


If you found this interesting, please consider sharing on Facebook or Twitter, to help other people find and enjoy Windows into History. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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