Friday, 23 January 2015

The Clavicytherium....

« originally from the David Munrow Forum

I used to know someone called Alan Whear in Windsor. He used to have an instrument workshop behind the  barracks.  People, as they passed his place of business could see him working away on either creating a new instrument, or repairing old ones. He was brilliant craftsman But it was clear to me he was not really business minded, or else he could have gone far.

I remember once visiting him, and like myself had a weakness for early music. He even suggested to me that perhaps in the future I would have a consort just like David Munrow. However, my interests were more towards philosophy, mathematics, metaphysics, psychical research, mysticism, et cetera....These have since absorbed me since those early days but I still love early music and it still has impact on my life.

Anyway, I noticed in the local paper an article on Alan Whear whose pic was published holding his new creation.... a clavicytherium. Unfortunately, I cannot recall how long ago this was but it was claimed that he was the first person to have produced this instrument which is essentially a portable "primitive" upright "harpsichord". In a way it reminded me of the portable Medieval organ except that strings could be seen vertically, and the keys would strike them when played.

Another revelation was the seeming fact that Alan had actually constructed the piano for the Piano film. Though he had sold it to the film company, he still felt that it was somehow a part of him. Thus, when filming he tried to find out how"his" piano was being used, or indeed  misused on location.

To return to the clavicytherium  I went over to Alans workshop, and he gave me a musical demonstration of it, and he notably played the Volta for me. If I recall correctly David Munrow gives reference to this instrument in his book.................


Meeting Keith Bosley

Often, or not  when I was in Slough High Street I would "bump" into Keith Bosley. I have known him for a long while. I used to have long talks with him on literature, and classical music at his home. He is an interesting man, and his Finnish wife Satu is a professional harpist of note (so to speak!).

Keith is a notable local. One of his sons wrote a brief entry on him for Wikipedia.(See below photo, and link caption)

 Keith Bosley and Ambassador HuhtaniemiAmbassador Huhtaniemi and Keith Bosley
Ref link to photo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Keith Bosley (born 1937) is a British poet and language expert.
Bosley was born in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, grew up in Maidenhead, Berkshire. He was educated at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow (1949 – 1956) and the Universities of Paris, Caen, and Reading (1956 – 1960), where he read French.
In 1961 he began working for the BBC, mainly as an announcer on the World Service, but the work for which he perhaps best known is as a poet and translator. In 1978 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translators. In 1980 he became a Corresponding Member of the Finnish Literature Society, and a year later he undertook a Middle East lecture tour for the BBC and the British Council. Other accolades include first prizes in the British Comparative Literature Association's translation competition in 1982 and, in the same year, in the English Goethe Society's translation competition. In 1991 he was made a Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland.
Bosley retired from the BBC in 1993 and lives in Berkshire. In 2001 he was awarded a pension from the Royal Literary Fund, and continues in his role as organist at St Laurence's Church, Upton-cum-Chalvey. He is married to harpist Satu Salo and has three sons, Ben, Sebastian and Gabriel.


  • The Possibility of Angels (1969)
  • And I Dance: for children (1972)
  • Dark Summer (1976)
  • Stations (1979)
  • A Chiltern Hundred (1987)
  • An Upton Hymnal (1999)
  • Russia's Other Poets (1968)
  • An Idiom of Night: Pierre Jean Jouve (1968)
  • The War Wife: Vietnamese poetry (1972)
  • The Song of Songs (1976)
  • Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic (1977)
  • Mallarmé: The Poems (1977)
  • A Round O: André Frénaud (1977)
  • The Last Temptations: opera by Joonas Kokkonen (1977)
  • Whitsongs: Eino Leino (1978)
  • The Elek Book of Oriental Verse (1979)
  • A Reading of Ashes: Jerzy Ficowski (1981)
  • From the Theorems of Master Jean de La Ceppède (1983)
  • The Kalevala (1989)
  • Luís de Camões: Epic and Lyric (1990)
  • The Kanteletar: selection (1992)
  • The Great Bear: Finno-Ugrian oral poetry (1993)
  • Odes: Aleksis Kivi (1994)
  • A Centenary Pessoa (1995)
  • Rome the Sorceress: André Frénaud (1995)
  • Eve Blossom Has Wheels: German love poetry (1997)
  • Skating on the Sea: poetry from Finland (1997)
  • The Kalevala (2013) – an audio recording of the 1989 translation
Other works include contributions to numerous journals in the UK, France, Finland and the USA, and authorship of hundreds of radio scripts including The Poetry of Europe (nine 30-min programmes, 1981), and The Kalevala (fifteen 15-min programmes, 1992).

External links[edit]

The Kalevala (Unabridged)

Ref Amazon

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Longcare Scandal

Towards the very end of  the 1980s  I lived with my mater, and pater at a large house, called The Orchard in Stoke Poges. They were trying to sell the property.  The idea was suggested that to help facilitate selling The Orchard it could be sold to someone who could convert it into a care home. One potential buyer was a certain Gordon Rowe. He was already running a care home, and was invited to view our property. He, even had dinner with us. along with his lady friend called Angela. She was much younger than him. Personally, I was not particularly impressed with Rowe. He came across as a cold, and distant individual.....  Moreover, he later became involved in a serious scandal. What followed is revealed below.......

Longcare Survivors: Biography of a Care Scandal
16 August 2011

by Debbe Caulfield/Disability

Cover page of Long Care Survivors - The Biography of a Care Scandal by John Pring
Cover page of Long Care Survivors - The Biography of a Care Scandal by John Pring

In the recently published 'Longcare Survivors', his hard-hitting follow-up to 'Silent Victims' (2004), John Pring recounts a horrific instance of institutional adult abuse. It happened not in the Dark Ages or in a remote outpost, but in the 1980s and 90s at a registered home, a mere 20 miles from central London and 15 minutes from the M4. Pring tells it like it was and, in many ways, still is. While the survivors continue to suffer from their ordeal, the factors that made possible this episode remain largely intact. As cuts in social care bite deep, hate crime increases, and self-advocacy groups are decimated, the question is: ‘Could it happen again?’
In August 1994 the Slough Observer received a leaked copy of a report into abuse at Stoke Place, a residential home for people with learning difficulties. Appalled by its contents and the prospect of a cover-up, the then editor, Janice Raycroft, decided to go public. She sent her junior reporter, John Pring, to investigate. Seventeen years later Pring is still investigating. A freelance journalist, ex-deputy editor of Disability Now, and proprietor of Disability News Service, he can’t leave the story alone. He told me he felt he owed it to the survivors to do it justice, to tell their untold stories. He said: ‘It was clear they had been deprived of their voices, silenced. I hated that.’
When ex-Broadmoor officer Gordon Rowe arrived in Buckinghamshire, he was known to have been investigated, by Somerset police, for sexually abusing people with learning difficulties. Despite strong evidence, the case was shelved due to lack of corroboration. In November 1983 Buckinghamshire County Council approved registration and Stoke Place opened its doors for business.
The closure of long-stay hospitals, together with a shortage of provision, ensured a steady flow of referrals - and fees - into Stoke Place. Its owner, Gordon Rowe created a living hell for the residents, subjecting them to years of neglect, fraud, physical violence and sexual abuse. Add to this a series of systemic failures, bureaucratic blunders and poor professional practice, and here is a story which, if told as fiction, would be considered so far-fetched as to be the product of a sick imagination. Over and over, the book screams: How? Why didn’t someone - anyone - stop it?
That it took ten years to come to light is both shocking and baffling. People had their suspicions, it seems, but suppressed them. Warning signs were missed or dismissed; bruises and blood explained away; relatives self-censored, silenced by deference and incredulity. Residents’ cries were stifled through bribery, threat and punishment. The place was bugged with listening devices, and Rowe groomed some of the residents as spies and informants. Other factors included inadequate inspection by Buckingham County Council and the failure by local authorities to keep in touch with those they had ‘placed’ there.
Eventually word got out and, despite initial sluggishness by the police, the case went to court. Collusive staff were imprisoned but Gordon Rowe was never called to account for his crimes; he killed himself the day before he was due to be arrested. In his search for answers, Pring looks beyond the individual, Gordon Rowe, asking: ‘How was it that society could allow scores of adults with learning difficulties to endure years of brutality and deprivation, in a place the authorities would call their home.’
In a dry but highly readable style, Pring delves into English history, examining the different ways that people with learning difficulties have been treated down the centuries, from almshouse to workhouse, and from ‘idiot asylum’ to ‘ordinary life’. He reveals centuries of negativity and segregation on the basis of impairment. From his own research and that of others’, there emerges a picture of a class of people routinely denied their basic human rights.
Rather than a crazy one-off, Stoke Place was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Moreover, the toxic mix of factors that made it possible still exists to a large extent, despite new legislation and changes in the registration and inspection system. To underline the point, examples of crimes against disabled people preface many of the book’s chapters. We learn that where abuse is uncovered, large numbers of cases are never heard because testimonies are deemed unreliable by people who simply, but inexcusably, don’t know how to communicate with people with learning difficulties.
As many questions as it answers, Pring’s book raises a great many more. We must keep asking them - and demanding answers. A kind of justice will have been done if this book finds its way onto the reading list for every health and social care course, in every class, college and university. It’s not an easy or pleasant read, but an essential one for all practitioners, managers, commissioners, parents, advocates and carers.
It would be great to see a version in clear/easy words and pictures freely available for people with learning difficulties and their organisations.

Longcare Survivors: Biography of a Care Scandal by John Pring with a foreword by Fiona McTaggert MP, shadow minister for equalities is published by Disability News Service, 2011, and is available to purchase direct from the publisher, priced £12.50 +p&p.
The Longcare Scandal and Silent Victims: The Continuing Failure to Protect Society's Most Vulnerable by John Pring is published by Gibson Square Books, 2004.

The Windsor Fire.

In late 1992 Windsor Castle suffered a fire. I remember working in a garden in Wraysbury when I was told by the employer about it. She had heard it on the news, and a trail of smoke could just be seen afar. After I completed my chores,, I went through Datchet, and "posted" myself with some tourists on Datchet Bridge where we had a good view of the Windsor Fire. It was quite impressive in the darkness, and seemed a lot worse than it really was. The reason being was that the Fire reflected itself on the surrounding walls of the Castle, and gave a false impression of being far bigger than it really was. I gave a "potted" history of Windsor Castle to the tourists for some reason, or other. When I returned home to Slough  the Fire was the first item on the news. On the following day I  was opposite where it happened, and I went into a newsagents, and there saw the mainly aerial pics of Windsor Castle splashed across the newspapers. It was quite surreal.....


The Following is from The Mirror Newspaper commerating the Windsor Fire.


20 years to the day more than 200 firefighters battled for 12 hours to save Queen's home

20th November 1992 and fire engulfs Windsor Castle

She may not seem like the daredevil-type, but 20 years ago today Queen Elizabeth II was helping to rescue precious paintings from a horrendous fire at Windsor Castle.
The heat of a single spotlight left too close to a curtain in the monarch’s private chapel was all it took to bring the iconic fortress to its knees.
More than 200 firefighters battled for 12 hours to fight the flames on the afternoon of November 20, 1992 - incidentally the Queen’s 45th wedding anniversary,
Despite soaking the crumbling structure in 4,500 tons of water, nine rooms were completely gutted and nearly 100 suffered significant damage, by what remains the worst blaze in the castle’s 900-year history.
Members of the Royal Family, including the Queen and Prince Andrew, were reported to have joined a ‘human chain’ tasked with saving great works of art from the wreckage.

Fortunately, several items had been temporarily removed just before the flames took hold, but nonetheless several treasured pieces, most notably an equestrian portrait of George III and some very expensive chandeliers, were destroyed.
The Duke of York, who was in the castle when the fire started, said the Queen was “devastated” by the tragedy. She later famously declared 1992 her “Annus Horribilus”.
A whopping £40 million was spent on the castle’s five-year restoration project.
Funds were predominantly raised by opening the royal building to the public at a cost of £3 per ticket, following a heated debate over whether taxpayers’ cash should be used to foot the bill for the state-owned castle.
Five years later on November 20, 1997, Her Majesty and Prince Philip held a ball at the revamped castle to mark their Golden Wedding Anniversary, and proceeded to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

The following is from Wikipedia

The 1992 Windsor Castle fire occurred on Friday, 20 November 1992 in Windsor Castle, west of London, the largest inhabited castle in the world and one of the official residences of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The castle suffered severe damage in a fire, and was fully repaired within the next few years at a cost of £36.5 million. The question of how the funds required should be found raised important issues about the financing of the monarchy, and led to Buckingham Palace being opened to the public for the first time to help to pay for the restoration.

Progress of the fire[edit]

The fire began in the Queen's Private Chapel at 11:33 am on Friday 20 November 1992, when a spotlight ignited a curtain.[1] The alarm went off in the watch-room of the Castle fire brigade, manned by Chief Fire Office Marshall Smith. The site of the fire was shown by a light on a large grid map of the whole castle. Initially the Brunswick Tower alone was indicated, but lights soon lit up indicating that the fire had quickly spread to several neighbouring rooms. The major part of the State Apartments was soon ablaze.
Patrolling firemen were paged by an automatic system, and at 11:37 am Mr Smith pressed the switch to alert the Control Room at Reading. He then activated the public fire alarm, known as an ER7 alert (a continuous high pitch tone), and telephoned the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service on a direct line.
Mr Smith proceeded to the Brunswick Tower to assess the situation, and to begin the salvage operations which, together with fire precautions, had been the main responsibility of the castle brigade since the county force took over responsibility for fire-fighting at Windsor Castle in September 1991.
The Castle still had its own 20-strong force, of whom six were full-time. Equipped with a Land Rover and pump tender, they were based in the Royal Mews, stables south of the castle.
The first appliances of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the castle between 11:44 am and 11:45 am, some 7–8 minutes after the alert was given. By 11:48 am 10 pumping appliances had been ordered to the fire and the principal officer on duty within the brigade the Deputy Chief Officer David Harper had been informed.
By 12:12 pm there were 20 engines, and by 12:20 pm there were 35, with over 200 firemen from London, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, and Oxfordshire, as well as from Berkshire.
The Fire Incident Commander was David Harper, Deputy Chief Fire and Rescue Officer of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. The Chief Officer Garth Scotford was out of the country, on holiday.
By 12:20 pm the fire had spread to St George's Hall, the largest of the State Apartments, and further reinforcements were called. The fire-fighting forces by then totalled 39 appliances (including two hydraulic platforms) and 225 fire-fighters. As an indication of the scale of the fire, there had been only one 30-appliance fire in the whole of Greater London since 1973.
By 1:30 pm firebreaks had been erected by tradesmen at the southern wall of the Green Drawing Room (at the end of St George's Hall on the east side of the Quadrangle), and at the north-west corner at Chester Tower, where that tower joins the Grand Corridor. The fire-fighters had by this time begun to bring the fire under control (though the roof of the State Apartments had begun to collapse).
At 3:30 pm the fire was surrounded, and the floors of the Brunswick Tower collapsed, concentrating the fire there. Firemen had to temporarily withdraw to locate three men who were briefly lost in the smoke, and on a second occasion withdrew when men were temporarily unaccounted for when a roof fell in.
At 4:15 pm the fire had revived in the Brunswick Tower. As night fell the fire was concentrated in the Brunswick Tower, which by 6:30 pm was engulfed in flames 50 feet (15 m) high, which could be seen for many miles. At 7 pm the fire broke through the roof of the tower, and later the roof of St George's Hall finally collapsed into the conflagration.
By 8 pm the fire was finally under control, having burnt for nine hours, although it continued to burn for a further three hours. By 11 pm, however, the main fire was extinguished, and by 2:30 am the last secondary fires were put out. Pockets of fire remained alive until early Saturday, some 15 hours later. Sixty firemen with eight appliances remained on duty for several more days. The fire had spread rapidly due to lack of fire stopping in cavities and roof voids.[2] Over one million gallons (4,500 cubic metres) of water from Castle mains and from the River Thames had been used in fighting the fire.[citation needed]

Forces involved in fighting the fire[edit]

Apart from the several hundred firemen directly involved in fighting the fire,[3] staff and tradesmen helped the Castle fire brigade and volunteer salvage corps members. They removed furniture and works of art from the endangered apartments, including a 150-foot (46 m) long table, and a 120-foot (37 m) long carpet from the Waterloo Chamber, to the safety of the castle Riding School. Also removed, in an enormous logistics exercise, were 300 clocks, a collection of miniatures, many thousands of valuable books and manuscripts, and old Master drawings from the Royal Library. On fire officers' instructions heavy chests and tables were left behind. All items were placed on giant sheets of plastic on the North Terrace and in the Quadrangle, and the police called in dozens of removal vans from a large part of the Home Counties to carry items to other parts of the Castle.[citation needed]
Offers of help were received from neighboring fire services which, at times, overwhelmed the Berkshire fire control room. Members of the public also reported the fire for hours after ignition, many of these passing motorists who were not aware if the emergency services had been alerted. [4]
Others of the Castle staff involved included Major Barry Eastwood, Castle Superintendent (head of administration), and the Governor of the Castle, General Sir Patrick Palmer. The staff of St. George's Chapel and Estate workers also assisted in various ways.[citation needed]
Members of the Royal Household helped, including the Lord Chamberlain the Earl of Airlie. The Royal Collection Department were especially active, including the Director Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue, the Surveyor of Pictures Christopher Lloyd, the Deputy Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art Hugh Roberts, the Curator of Print Room the Hon Mrs Roberts, and Librarian Oliver Everett.
The Household Cavalry arrived from Combermere Barracks, St Leonard's Road, Windsor. Some 100 officers and men of the Life Guards proved invaluable for moving bulky items. Officers of the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department, led by Chief Inspector K R Miller, were also present.
Elizabeth II had been advised of the fire by a mobile phone call from Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The Duke had been in the mews across the Quadrangle from the State Apartments, doing research work for his course at the Staff College, Camberley when the fire broke out.
The Queen arrived at 3 pm and stayed at the castle for an hour, returning again the following morning. The Prince of Wales visited in the evening and The Duke of York briefed the press at 3 pm.

Extent of damage to the Castle[edit]

There had been no serious injuries, and no deaths. Dean Lansdale (aged 21), a decorator in the Private Chapel, was burnt while removing pictures (of which he had rescued three). He was moved to the royal surgery, and then to hospital. Christopher Lloyd, the Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures, suffered a suspected heart attack, while five firemen were taken to hospital, two with hypothermia, three with minor burns and dust in their eyes.
The major loss was to the fabric of the Castle. The false roof above St George's Hall and the void beneath the floors for coal trucks had allowed the fire to spread. It burnt as far as the Chester Tower. Several ceilings collapsed. Apartments burnt included the Crimson Drawing Room (which was completely gutted), the Green Drawing Room (badly damaged, though only partially destroyed, by smoke and water), and The Queen's Private Chapel (including the double-sided nineteenth century Henry Willis organ in the gallery between St George's Hall and Private Chapel, oak panelling, glass, and the altar).
St George's Hall partially survived, with the wall largely intact, but with the ceiling collapsed. The State Dining Room (in the Prince of Wales Tower; which was badly damaged, as was the fabric of the tower), and the Grand Reception Room (80% severely damaged, though 20% of the ceiling was eventually saved) were also devastated.
Smaller apartments damaged or destroyed (and over 100 rooms were involved in the fire) included the Star Chamber, Octagon Room, Brunswick Tower, Cornwall Tower, Prince of Wales Tower (badly damaged), Chester Tower (badly damaged), Holbein Room, and the Great Kitchen (which lost its plaster cove, and most of its mediæval timber).
The external wall above the bay window of the Crimson Drawing Room (between the Prince of Wales and Chester Towers) was seriously calcified.
The Waterloo Chamber was undamaged, as were the Grand Vestibule, Rubens Room, Ante-Throne Room, Throne Room, Ball Room, Serving Room, and China Closet (which was not affected although it was surrounded by the fire). Overall some 80% of the area of the staterooms was undamaged.
The seven most seriously damaged rooms had largely been emptied the previous day for rewiring. The Castle had just completed an 18-month phase of rewiring in most of the rooms destroyed.
Items from the Royal Collection lost included the Sir William Beechey equestrian portrait George III at a Review, which was too large to remove from its frame; a large late 1820s sideboard by Morel and Seddon (18 feet long); several pieces of porcelain; several chandeliers; as well as the Willis organ; and the 1851 Great Exhibition Axminster carpet partly burnt.
Tourists were allowed into the precincts within three days. The Queen was in residence a fortnight later. The Gallery and Queen Mary's Dolls' House reopened in December.[1] The State Apartments reopened early 1993 after rewiring was completed, with all major rooms open by Easter, when only St George's Hall and the Grand Reception Room remained closed. Thus 11 of 15 principal rooms of the State Apartments were open, with two still undergoing long-term restoration, and two more destroyed.

Restoration programme[edit]

It was initially feared that it could cost £60m to restore the castle, though the final cost was £36.5m.[5] A trust for donations towards the cost of fire restoration was announced 16 February 1993 by Coutts & Co (with NatWest).
On 29 April 1993, it was announced that up to 70% of the cost of restoration was to be met by charging the public £3 for entry to the Castle precincts, and £8 for admission to Buckingham Palace for the next five years. The Queen contributed £2m.
On 7 June 1994, the details of the £40m restoration programme were announced. The architectural firm Donald Insall Associates was appointed by the Royal Household to take overall charge of the restoration with Sidell Gibson dealing with the reconstrution of St George's Hall and the design of the new Lantern Lobby and Private Chapel.
Over half the damaged and destroyed rooms, including the State and Octagon dining rooms, were to be restored as original. There were to be new designs for the St George's Hall ceiling (with steel reinforcing beams in the roof) and East Screen, also The Queen's Private Chapel, Stuart and Holbein Room. However, only The Queen's Private Chapel and several modern rooms were to be restored in a modern style.
Designs were to be submitted to a Restoration Committee, whose chairman was The Duke of Edinburgh, and Deputy Chairman The Prince of Wales. Members included the Earl of Airlie (Lord Chamberlain), Sir Hayden Phillips (Permanent Secretary of the Department of National Heritage), The Lord St John of Fawsley (Chairman of the Royal Fine Art Commission), Sir Jocelyn Stevens (Chairman of English Heritage), Frank Duffy (President of the Royal Institute of British Architects), and three senior palace officials.
New designs for St George's Hall (the principal reception room in the palace), and The Queen's Private Chapel, were approved by The Queen on 24 January 1995.
The fire, catastrophic though it was, has presented the opportunity for some major new royal architectural work. Although criticised in some circles for allegedly lacking imagination, the architects believed that given the history of the building and the surviving fabric, the new work had to be Gothic. The state dining room sideboard, which was 19 feet long and made out of rear rosewood and oak and gilded, was originally designed by Augustus Pugin (1812–1852).[6] It had to be replicated by N.E.J. Stevenson using only some photographs and some descriptions.
The new roof for St George's Hall is an example of a hammer-beam ceiling. The new chapel and adjoining cloisters were realigned to form a new processional route from the private apartments, through an octagonal vestibule, into St George's Hall.
The first, structural, stage of the restoration was completed in May 1996. Final fitting out, which was originally planned to finish by spring 1998, occurred on 17 November 1997.[7]



  • McDonald, Roxanna. Introduction to natural and man-made disasters and their effects on buildings. Elsevier, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7506-5670-2
  • Purkiss, John. Fire safety engineering : design of structures. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7506-6443-1

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′4″N 0°36′12″W / 51.48444°N 0.60333°W / 51.48444; -0.60333 (Windsor Castle)

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