Thursday, 27 October 2016

the chindwin and Lambert Vandenberg

I found an interesting piece on the internet about live and times in Burma and the trip with the Chindwin.

This is how it starts.

Lambert Vandenberg
 I found letters that Lambert wrote to his parents as a teenager while working in Burma.
1 The letters not only provide a great travel adventure but a window into Lambert's personality. They genuinely reflect the man Lambert would become. 
Lambert Vandenberg was a big man whose presence and hearty good nature filled the room. He was one of those rare people whose buoyant self-confidence didn't grate on the less enthusiastic mortals around him. 
One consistent quality was that he truly loved his job. 
Lambert worked for 38 years as a mechanic and foreman for the Standard Oil Company of California. 
Like many middle-class children of his time, Lambert did not graduate from high school.
He got ahead by other means. In his letters, he sang the praises of his correspondence courses even finding "square and cube roots interesting." 
The fact that Lambert's parents agreed to such a risky venture—going to Burma—shows how much they trusted their son to make his own way. 
Indeed, he was able at age 17 to pass himself off as a 20-year-old. (Lambert's passport says he was born in 1895, but his true birth date is 1898.) 
His mother Jane signed off that she has known her son for 20 years. (Apparently, lying about one's age at the time was not that uncommon.)
 Lambert's self-confidence and large physique for the time (almost 5' 11" and weighing over 200 lb) made the subterfuge doable. 
Lambert had a productive and comfortable "give and take" relationship with his parents. Lambert was sending money home each month, and his parents were apparently sending him magazines, letters, pictures, tools, and encouragement. 
Dutch immigrants of the working class expected their children to contribute to the family economically. 
Lambert's letters reflect this expectation.
 While Lambert spent money on diversions (e.g., a piano), he felt obliged to send money to his folks.

more on the Chindwin

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

C.P Vlieland on the Chindwin in 1923

First name(s):C P 
Last name:VLIELAND 
Birth year:1886 
Departure year:1923 
Departure day:21 
Departure month:9 
Departure port:LIVERPOOL 
Destination port:RANGOON 
Destination country:BURMA 
Ship name:CHINDWIN 
Ship official number:129521 
Ship master's last name:ESSLEMONT 
Shipping line:P HENDERSON & CO 
Ship destination port:RANGOON 
Ship destination country:BURMA 
Ship registered tonnage:4071 
Number of passengers:98

more information on the Chindwin 

Monday, 24 October 2016

C.P Vlieland on the Ranchi 1932

SS Ranchi

First name(s) :C P
Last name :VLIELAND
Occupation :GOVERNMENT
Departure year :1932
Departure day :22
Departure month:7
Departure port :LONDON
Destination port :SINGAPORE
Destination country:SINGAPORE
Ship name:RANCHI

Ship official number:148130
Ship master's first name:C
Ship master's last name :BROOKS
Ship destination port:YOKOHAMA
Ship destination country:JAPAN
Ship registered tonnage:8849.75
Number of passengers:505

More on the Ranchi 
More on C.P Vlieland

Sunday, 23 October 2016

bomschuit Maria Elisabeth

.Kapitein Mooijekind van Londen naar Amsterdam
1816.Volgens een brief van Noordwijk aan Zee van den 11 Januarij, was aldaar dien namiddag circa ten 2 uuren lek op strand geraakt, het Bomschip Maria Elisabeth, Kapt. J. of T. Mooijenkind, met Manufacturen en Zaad, van Londen naar Amsterdam, men dagt nog dien avonden den Lading te bergen.

1816 According to a letter from Noordwijk aan zee of 11 January,that afternoon around two o'clock the bomship Maria Elisabeth was leak on the beach.
Master J or T Mooijekind was on its way from London to Amsterdam with dry goods and seeds.
They hoped to salvage the cargo that evening..

The date of building of the Maria Elisabeth is not found.
If Hendrik Westerbaan Czn was the first owner could not be established,but is very likely
The bom has sailed under French flag before 1813.

Chronicles 1813
On 24th of December 1813 there is request for clearance certificate for The Maria Elisabeth docked at Maassluis by Hendrik Westerbaan for captain Jan Vlieland.

In London arrived capt. Swart van Harlingen, G. Klein, capt. Hennevanger, K. Vink, C. Dubbelaar, V. Plug, capt. Netscher, C. van der Zwet, J. Vlieland, A. Schaap, T. Fierman, capt. Ouwehand Smit, en M. Anderson, all 13 from Rotterdam The last one damaged.

27th July 1814 Request Hendrik Westerbaan living in Katwijk Binnen a Clearance certificate for Captain Thomas Mooijekind .

arrived at Maassluis T Mooijekind from London.
Arrived from Gravesend T.Mooiekind (notice Maria Elisabeth)1814 

1816 in he newspaper :
For sale in cash the extra large bomship named Maria Elisabeth with all its rigging and gear.ropes, sails ,and more, aground in Noordwijk.
For information notary den Hummel Katwijk aan de Rijn.

After that nothing is heard of this ship so it must be demolished.

Een bouwjaar van de MARIA ELISABETH is niet gevonden. Of Hendrik Westerbaan Czn de eerste eigenaar is geweest kon niet worden vastgesteld, maar is vrij waarschijnlijk. De bom is gefranciseerd geweest en heeft dus vóór 1813 enige tijd onder Franse vlag gevaren.

Op 24-12-1813 wordt voor de MARIA ELISABETH, liggende te Maassluis, door Hendrik Westerbaan Czn uit Katwijk Binnen een zeebrief aangevraagd voor kapt. Jan Vlieland

OHC 220114Te Londen aangekomen: kapt. Swart van Harlingen, G. Klein, kapt. Hennevanger, K. Vink, C. Dubbelaar, V. Plug, kapt. Netscher, C. van der Zwet, J. Vlieland, A. Schaap, T. Fierman, de kapt. Ouwehand Smit, en M. Anderson, alle 13 van Rotterdam, de laatste met schade.

Op 27-07-1814 wordt voor de MARIA ELISABETH door Hendrik Westerbaan Czn, wonende te Katwijk Binnen een zeebrief aangevraagd voor kapt. Thomas Mooijekind

OHC 200715
Te Maassluis is binnengekomen T. Mooijekind van Londen.LCO 271015
Arrivementen: te Gravesend T. Mooijekind (opm: MARIA ELISABETH)

RC 160116
Volgens een brief van Noordwijk aan Zee, van den 11 januari, was aldaar, des namiddags circa 2 uren,
lek op strand geraakt, het bomschip MARIA ELISABETH, kapitein J. of T. Mooijekind, (opm: bouwjaar onbekend; kapt. Thomas Mooijekind; Jan Mooijekind is kapitein op de bom JONGE WILLEM ZONNEVELD VAN NOORT)
met manufacturen en zaad, van Londen naar Amsterdam; men dacht nog dien avond de lading te bergen.
LCO 080416

Advertentie. Men presenteert uit de hand te koop, om contant geld, een extra groot bomschip, genaamd MARIA ELISABETH, met deszelfs staande en lopend wand, ankers, touwen, zeilen; enz. gestrand te Noordwijk. Te bevragen ten kantore van den notaris Hummel te Katwijk aan den Rijn.

Hierna worden er geen berichten meer gevonden, zodat mag worden aangenomen, dat het schip op het strand is gesloopt.

Year registered 1813
Number in register 18130075
Built provence/country
Date agenda 1813-12-24
Passport requested by Westerbaan Czn, Hendrik
City Katwijk Binnen
Master at time of request Vlieland, Jan
Harbour Rotterdam
Other Remarks
Gefranciseerd geweest - enig eigenaar
View all Certificates of Registry
Ship History Data
Date/Name Ship 1813-12-24 MARIA ELIZABETH
Manager: Hendrik Westerbaan Cz, Katwijk aan de Rijn, Netherlands (part of French Empire 1810-1813)
Owner: Hendrik Westerbaan Cz, Katwijk aan de Rijn, Netherlands (part of French Empire 1810-1813):
Homeport / Flag: Katwijk aan de Rijn / Netherlands (part of French Empire 1810-1813)
Additional info:
Ship Events Data
Type: Condemned
Final Fate: Op 11 januari 1816 verdaagt de in lekke toestand verkerende MARIA ELISABETH, kapt. T. Mooijekind, op het strand van Noordwijk aan Zee en is daar waarschijnlijk afgekeurd.
Ship Masters Data
Date from: 1813
Captain: Vlieland, Jan
Other information: 1813-12-24
Date from: 1814
Captain: Mooijekind, Thomas
Other information:
Images There are no photos yet.
Year: 1813-00-00
Source: Diverse Bronnen
Description: N.A. Den Haag, toegang nummer Zeebrieven verbalen, diverse bestanddelen
LCO = Leydsche Courant
OHC = Opregte Haarlemsche Courant
RC = Rotterdamsche Courant
General information regarding this ship

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Jan Vlieland P.O.W.

Today we make a start with the familymembers and their story as a prisoner of war during the Napoleonic war.
The first is Jan Vlieland.
His first  name is written as Ian and Jean.
He was seaman first on the Samson and 4 years late on the Elisabeth, and he claimed to be from Vlarinque which is Vlaardingen.

First name(s) :Ian
Last name :Vlieland
Age :21
Birth year :1791
Year :1812
Birth place :Vlaringue
Service number :
Ship name
Name of ship or camp received from :Samson
Prison camp or ship
Country of imprisonment
Conflict :Napoleonic Wars
Archive :The National Archives
Archive reference :ADM 103/218
Document details :"Kron Prinds" (ship). Various nationalities, 1811-1813.
Record set :Prisoners of War 1715-1945
Category :Military, armed forces & conflict
Subcategory :Regimental & service records
Collections from :Great Britain
This is just the index of the prisoners.

The papers that tell us about the other crew , the reason for arrest and so on are not opened yet.
These papers are still kept at the National Archives in Brittain.

Just like the papers of Hendrik Vlieland and his ship ,We managed to get those out and had them photocopied but these are still sealed and not read 
But this archive and everything it refers to

First name(s) :Jean
Last name :Vlieland
Age :25
Nationality :French
Birth place :Vlaringue
Service number
Rank :Seaman
Rank as transcribed :Seaman
Ship or corps :L'Elisabeth
Ship name :L'Elisabeth
Prison camp or ship :Chatham
Country of imprisonment
Conflict :Napoleonic Wars
Archive :The National Archives
Archive reference :ADM 103/547
Document details :General alphabetical list of prisoners of war, c1755-c1831.
Record set :Prisoners of War 1715-1945
Category :Military, armed forces & conflict
Subcategory :Regimental & service records
Collections from :Great Britain

We find him with a different ship The Maria Elisabeth .


Jaargang 1813,,

… schipper Pieter van der Waard - Naar Londen het Hollands bomscheepje MARIA ELIZABETH schipper Jan Vlieland - Naar Hull voor enig vlas en zaad om ui terlijk den 21 december te vertrekken op …

Jaargang 1814,,

… Schepen; de VROUW ANNA Kie n Alberts Bos; de GOEDE VERWACHTING Jan Kemp; MARIA ELISABETH  Jan Vlieland OHC 190514 In den Briel zijn binnengekomen A Poort (opm: MARIA) A de Vos (opm: …

Friday, 21 October 2016

Clive Marshall Vlieland-Boddy

It is with great sadness we have to inform you what we read in the Telegraph today.


Clive Marshall died suddenly on 16th October in Spain aged 64.

Much loved father of Alex and Nick, son of Anne.

Family funeral to be held in Spain.

Memorial Service in London to be arranged

We have been in contact with Clive Marshall Vlieland-Boddy years ago .
He informed us then that the Vlieland part in his name came from his mothers side of the family.

Dear family and friends,
We are missing Clive along with you. With heartfelt sympathy and love at this sad time.


Prisoner of war.

During the Napoleontic war it was difficult to avoid the clashes when you were out at sea .
Between 1793 and 1815 approximately one-quarter of a million prisonersof war were held in Britain.
At Chatham between 1803 and 1814 there were approximately 90,000
Though officers were treated with greater consideration, the majority of men were held in prisons, mostly in major ports that also contained the chief naval bases and royal dockyards, like Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Chatham. 

In addition to land-based prisons, these ports had prison ships or hulks moored in their harbours, since the supply of prisoners always outstripped available accommodation. 
More mysteriously, six Frenchmen, held at Chatham and taken on a French prize to HMS Dido in Danish territorial waters, asked to be sent to Denmark when their release was requested by the Danish minister in London in October 1793. 
They were put aboard a British warship bound for Denmark, though in the course of the investigation one man was found to be Welsh. 
William Price was kept to be tried for serving on an enemy privateer, the punishment for which was death. 
Sometimes mistakes occurred and individuals suffered. 
Thirteen Hanoverians, allies of Britain, were still being held at Chatham over a year after capture on a whaler.11. Great Britain, Public Record Office (PRO), Admiralty (ADM) 103/56-79/81, Registers of Prisoners of War held at Chatham, 1803-1814; ADM 103/41 -42/409-419, Registers of Prisoners of War held at Bristol/Stapleton, 1793-1814; AD M 103/221-224, Registers of Prisoners of War held at Liverpool, 1793-1801; ADM 103/455-465, Registers of Prisoners of War held at Yarmouth, 1793- 1801 ; ADM 103/315-380, Registers of Prisoners of War held at Portsmouth, 1793-1814; ADM 103/ 268-314, Registers of Prisoners of War held at Plymouth, 1793-1814. 
These are cumulative, estimated figures based upon a preliminary survey of the registers.
As yet I cannot provide figures for prisoners held in depots and in hulks, but further research will clarify this point.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Prisoners of war during the Napoleontic wars

a picture of a prisoner of war ship at Dartmoor.
Between 1793 and 1815 approximately one-quarter of a million prisonersof war were held in Britain.
At Chatham between 1803 and 1814 there were approximately 90,000;at Plymouth between 1793 and 1814, about 175,000; and at Portsmouth for the same period, approximately 360,000. At any one time there were thousands of prisoners confined in these areas and many more at other ports. Yarmouth held approximately 38,000, and Bristol and Liverpool about 40,000 each
Systems for the humane treatment and exchange of prisoners had evolved during earlier eighteenth-century wars. 
Prisoners were to be fed, on an agreed food allowance, by their own country; an agent was appointed by each combatant nation to oversee the treatment of their nationals in enemy prisons, markets were open to them to check local prices, and they were allowed to visit prisons and hear complaints. 
Regularexchanges were to take place, prisoners being selected by the agents and a table, stating equivalents in numbers of men exchanged for officers, was drawn up.
A new depot at Norman Cross, near Huntingdon, was opened in 1797 to contain 7000 prisoners, but an imperfect exchange system limped along through the 1790s, although the peace of Amiens in 1802, when all prisoners were returned, temporarily solved the problem. 
But it was only after 1810 that the exchange system collapsed irrevocably and new prisons, representing a large capital outlay, were built on green field sites. 
The numbers in these new depots illustrate the extent of the problem: Dartmoor, opened in 1809 to hold 6000 prisoners; Perth, opened in 1812 to house 7000; Greenlaw and Valleyfield near Penicuik in Scotland housed approximately 1500 and 7500, respectively, between 1810 and 1814.6 
The threat of an uprising in 1812, led by officers who planned to march on the large camps, free the prisoners and occupy the ports preparatory to a French invasion, forced government to disperse prisoners to more distant locales. 
Even then the depots in the major ports remained, and for most of the war these ports were unwilling hosts to thousands of French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, American, Russian, Greek, Croat, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Polish prisoners — all, in the eyes of the authorities, capable of mass escapes and of seducing British subjects with revolutionary ideas.
For many prisoners, the ports at which they disembarked were not their first sight
of Britain. Many had been captured as crews of ships seized under embargoes, like those against the French in 1793, the Dutch and Spanish in 1795 and 1796, or the Americansin 1812. Others were taken while sheltering from bad weather or from neutral ships searched for contraband by British warships; some men had even been discharged from captured warships for refusing to serve against their native land, although these men were paid their wages up to that point and also the prize money due them.14 Others were taken by privateers which swarmed from Liverpool, Bristol and other western ports to prey on hapless merchantmen from the West and East Indies, in happy ignorance of the outbreak of war, or had been captured by British frigates snapping up prizes in the western approaches or the Channel.
Some prisoners were soldiers, captured while being moved from one front to another or, more often, making up crew numbers on enemy warships.
But it was not until after 1803, and particularly after the outbreak of the Peninsular War in 1808, that large numbers of soldiers appear in the registers.
The seamen prisoners on average were in their early to mid-twenties, although
officers, masters, mates and skilled men were approximately ten to fifteen years older.
French seamen came chiefly from Brittany, Normandy and the western ports; Spanish
seamen from the northern and Basque provinces, as well as Spain's colonial ports, such as Vera Cruz and Havana; and Dutch and German prisoners equally from their main ports and the North Sea coast. It was rare for men to come from more than about twenty to Prisoners of War and British Port Communities 21 thirty miles inland. The captives were held for varying periods: at the beginning of the
war, often for only weeks or months, but later, sometimes for years. Many neutrals were also captured, although they were usually released at the request of their consuls in Britain, provided they had not been apprehended on board an enemy warship or had not engaged to navigate an enemy merchantman knowing war to have been declared. 
But although in these circumstances they were not considered prisoners of war, they were frequently held, sometimes for months, while their cases were investigated.15 If they were taken in enemy warships or merchantmen knowing war to exist, they lost their neutral status and became prisoners, classified by the flag under which they had been serving.
A shortage of seamen provided an opportunity for some men to escape prison by
volunteering for the Royal Navy. French (later Dutch and Spanish) seamen were refused, even if they were royalists, as four French volunteers from Portsmouth declared themselves.
Although the lives of prisoners of war may have been monotonous, their presence
was felt in port communities. Government's first consideration was security, but the
presence of thousands of even the most docile prisoners being fed and clothed by the
authorities while contributing little to the local economy (and in some cases actually harming it), caused tensions. 
Contractors supplying food and clothes were appointed by the Transport Board on the basis of the lowest tender and were usually national firms,based in London, that could handle the large numbers involved, rather than local businesses. 
In 1812 the Victualling Office at Plymouth, which supplied the prison there
and at Dartmoor, advertised for 500 sacks of flour and 1000 quarters of wheat per week, and in May 1814, 21,000 prisoners at Portsmouth were consuming 100 head of cattle per week. Such large numbers affected local food supplies. In periods of scarcity, such as 1795-1796, 1799-1801 and 1810-1812, when food prices soared and trade slumped, a prisoner-of-war depot in the neighbourhood could result in disturbances.21 
A riot inTavistock, about fifteen miles from Plymouth, in the autumn of 1812 was blamed on the high price of bread (corn was fifteen to sixteen shilling per bushel) caused by the great quantities of corn sent to Plymouth and Dartmoor, where there were 11,000 prisoners of war. An estimated 2000 bushels were being consumed by prisoners and there were fears that the county was being drained of grain. The rioters demanded either that the prisoners be sent home at once or that foreign corn be bought to feed them. The reporter of thisincident to the local MP warned of the serious consequences if government ignored the complaints. The "daily passage of waggons full of corn to the French prison and Plymouth naturally incite them [the poor] to murmurs and even threats of seizure," particularly when they lived on the "hard fare of tea and half a bellyful of barley bread,and that grain has also increased to 8/- a bushel and beef exceeds last year's price."22
The prison diet was monotonous and dietetically unbalanced, but it compared
favourably with that of civil prisoners in British jails and not unfavourably with the fare of British seamen. Prisoners had a quart (two pints) of beer, one and one-half pounds of bread and one-third of an ounce of salt daily; three-quarters of a pound of fresh beef on six days; half a pint of dried peas on four days; four ounces of butter or six ounces of cheese on Friday; but no fresh fruit or vegetables or wine except to the sick. 
British sailors had a pound of biscuit per day; and four pounds of beef, two pounds of pork, two pounds of peas, one and one-half pounds of oatmeal, six ounces each of sugar and butter,and twelve ounces of cheese per week, plus a gallon of beer and half a pint of rum per day. Prisoners, however, were not always passive consumers. Attempts to bolster the Cornish herring fishery in 1807 by instituting two fish days at Bristol failed when prisoners refused to eat the fish and 63,000 pounds had to be sold.2 3 
Hunger was an incitement to violence on both sides. In September 1814 a group of American prisoners from Halifax were landed at Plymouth and marched to Dartmoor. On route, being very hungry, they fell on a cartload of turnips, telling the farmer that "the King pays for all."
Such actions were unlikely to endear prisoners to the local populace.
Dutch prisoners were generally well regarded for their cleanliness and orderly behaviour
The prime contact between the local population and prisoners was most common
at the weekly market at prison depots where prisoners could sell the articles they were permitted to make. These were of bone, wood or straw, and included toys, models, boxes and pictures, which earned some men large sums and which, according to one observer at Liverpool, made the poor envious.29 These markets also gave prisoners the opportunity to buy fresh food to supplement their diet and made possible early contacts over escape plans and the smuggling of tobacco and liquor, both forbidden.
Although prisoners were forbidden to disrupt local trades, they sometimes did so.
In 1808 there were complaints about the sale of obscene snuff boxes and toys at the Bristol depot. William Wilberforce, to whom the complaints were addressed, asked the secretary for the local Society for the Suppression of Vice to investigate. The complaints were upheld and the prison market was suppressed until the culprits were betrayed by their fellow prisoners, whereupon they were sent to the hulks.
All this we learn from the book 
Prisoners of War and British Port Communities, 1793-1815 Patricia K. Crimmint
The box 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The box

A new family heirloom has arrived.
My birthdaypresent was a 200 hundred years old box .
Made by a prisoner of war during the Napoleontic war .
A time often referred to in this blog .
And also the start of  Jerome Nicholas Vlieland's saga.
Trying to find out more about this 40 cm long box turns out to be difficult .
Many were made  and all were different.
The prisoners made them and then sold them to earn some money .
This way the prisoners  were kept occupied and could afford some extra food.
The straw they used was from the beds .
Mostley they used a pattern of a building near their prison.
The building on this box is not recognized so far .
Dutch prisoners of war were kept in Chatham in moored  boats or in Norman Cross,but the building on the front does not indicate those places .



building on the front of the box

Peterborough and straw Marquetterie 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Christopher Philip Vleland

First name(s):Christopher Philip

Last name:Vleland

Birth year:1924

Birth date:1924

Baptism year:1924

Baptism date:1933

Place:Moulmein,St Matthew


Father's first name(s):-

Father's last name:Vleland

Mother's first name(s):-

Mother's last name:-

Archive reference:N-1-564



Catalogue descriptions
Parish register transcripts from the Presidency of Bengal
Record set
British India Office births & baptisms
Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
Births & baptisms
Collections from Great Britain

could this be a son of Cornelis Pieter Vlieland married in 1924 to lucy Forbes ?

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Peterborough and straw marqueterie

Straw Marqueterie

There was a market held in the prison yard, and people used to attend there, and purchase from the prisoners the exquisite straw marqueterie work, so-called, for which they were responsible. It was not strictly marqueterie, because, although pieces of straw, dyed in very clever fashion in many colours, formed exquisite designs, the straw-work was only attached to the wood and not inlaid as, strictly speaking, marqueterie should be ; but the result was delightful, and in this museum there are work-boxes and cabinets, desks, tea-caddies, dressing-cases, patchboxes, holders for needles, pins and knitting needles, hand fire-screens, snuff-boxes and watchstands, holders for silk, picture frames, cases for telescopes and domino boxes, and all kinds of pieces of joinery work, decorated in amazing fashion by these French prisoners, with the coloured straw which they arranged so cleverly.
In some instances, the purchasers themselves supplied the wood, or even the box or cabinet, and the straw-work was done by the prisoners, but the names of only six men out of the six thousand have been handed down. Fortunately, we know the name of the man who was responsible for the best of the marqueterie pictures, amongst which the view of Peterborough Cathedral itself stands out supreme, and is by far the finest example of straw-work in the museum. That was done by a man named Jean de la Porte, and five other pieces are signed by Grieg, Ribout, Corn, Godfrow and Jacques Courny.
It is said that sometimes at the market as much as two hundred pounds changed hands, so eager were the prisoners to sell and the people round about to buy, and so delightful was the work. The money, of course, was divided amongst the men who had done the work, and, in some instances, hoarded until the hoped-for day of release should come ; but very frequently it was sent over for safe keeping to France by accredited agents, and put away by the prisoner, hoping that it might be useful for his family or himself when he came back to his native country. Contemporary letters speak often of this market, especially in 1818, and sometimes it was held on a Sunday.
It will be remembered, of course, that the prisoners had large quantities of straw at their disposal, because their beds were made entirely of that material, and no doubt they could obtain finer straw by arrangement with their warders. How they got their dyes no one quite knows. The popular idea that the browns were stained with tea and coffee falls to the ground when we know from the records that neither of these beverages were served out to them. Probably there were bottles of dyes to be obtained, and perhaps some of the colours were made by the prisoners themselves from vegetables. At one time the prisoners also did a great deal of straw plait work, but eventually that was forbidden, because straw plait was taxed in 1802, and their work would have entered into competition with that of the plait-makers of Bedfordshire. Nevertheless, they did continue to do straw-plait work, and even to make hats and bonnets, but these had to be smuggled out, and there was quite a trade in this smuggling.
They were expressly forbidden to undersell the people round about, and hence, perhaps, the origin of this straw marqueterie work, which was not otherwise made in the neighbourhood, and consequently entered into no competition with local trade. The men used to make slippers and shoes, and were permitted to use list, but forbidden leather, for the same sort of reason.
We know very much what the prison was like, because in Paris, in Les Invalides, there is a wonderful model of it, made by one of the prisoners and there are various plans of it still remaining, not only in Peterborough, but in other places. A part of its wall still stands, but on the site it occupied there is now an important memorial to all the prisoners who died in this gaol, both French and Dutch, and the number was, unfortunately, a very large percentage. There were other similar prison-houses-one in Surrey, another in Falmouth, and others in various parts of the country-and in most of them straw marqueterie work seems to have been done, probably the result of the transfer of prisoners from one jail to another, when the details concerning such labour were carried on to other prisoners; and we, a hundred years after the prisoners and their prison have vanished from Norman Cross, can only marvel at the skill and patient perseverance which accomplished such exquisite work under such very difficult conditions. It was, of course, only a proportion of the prisoners who actually did the work, but it has been stated that sometimes there were several hundreds fitting together the pieces of this wonderful straw-work, and by far the largest proportion of the pieces of straw marqueterie came from this particular prison at Norman Cross, the number of pieces executed at the other provincial prisons being negligible, in comparison with that made near Peterborough.
Nowadays examples of French prisoners' straw marqueterie are precious; boxes, cabinets and pictures, whenever they come into the market, fetch substantial sums; but there are surely many persons in Huntingdonshire, Rutland, and thereabouts, who still have examples of this graceful work, to which, perchance, they have attached little importance. The Peterborough museum is the place in which to study it, but there are several collectors who are eager to acquire examples of the work, especially of the pictures, one of which is illustrated in Dr. Walker's important book on the prison, to which all who collect straw marqueterie have to go for information. He also illustrates a charming workbox and two fire-screens, objects of considerable beauty, and it is well to draw attention to a very distinctive kind of decoration, highly appreciated by collectors and, perhaps, not hitherto sufficiently well known.

One of the prisoners invented a method of splitting the straw, and devised a little wheel-like tool, with a spiked centre and four tiny knives, by which the straw was split up neatly and accurately into the sizes required. I have a distinct remembrance, as a child, of finding one of these straw splitters in the drawer of a cabinet decorated at Norman Cross, and testing it, with great admiration of its ingenuity. These same tools were made with two, three and even five and six knives. I have examples of them all, but there was a wooden tool resembling a clock case which had various sets of knives in it, and I have never yet been able to obtain one of these although I remember seeing it in use half a century ago.

norman cross

Monday, 10 October 2016

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Norfolk News 11 July 1846

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Monsieur Vlieland and Vernon,Lambton and Mr Boileau

Bury and Norwich Post 24 November 1847

Norfolk News 27 November 1847

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Mrs Vlieland dies at 84

Bury and Norwich Post 24 March 1841

Monday, 3 October 2016

Sunday, 2 October 2016

J.N.Vlieland rank of Associate

Norwich Mercury 17 June 1848

Norfolk Chronicle 17 June 1848

Friday, 30 September 2016

Ann Samworth death

St James's Gazette 29 October 1883

Percy Jerome Parker baptism 1875

Norfolk baptisms Norwich, St Peter Parmentergate, Norfolk, England

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