15 November 2017

Victoria

Around Britain and the British Commonwealth of nations, there are many statues of Queen Victoria. This one stands in our local park. It was commissioned by Sheffield City Council soon after her death in 1901 and was unveiled with much pomp and ceremony outside the town hall in 1905. However, it was only there for twenty five years.  Victoria was shifted to Endcliffe Park in 1930.

And ever since she has stood near the park entrance in all weathers and all seasons. She sees the early morning joggers, later young mothers with pushchairs and dog walkers too. Later still she watches the lunchtime sandwich eaters and when night comes she sees young lovers and cider drinkers, teenagers on bicycles and the traffic still circling Hunter's Bar roundabout.

She watches it all. She was The Empress of India and Queen of England for sixty four years. It was a reign that saw incredible change and massive historical steps towards the world we know today. She saw it all and her name is synonymous with that energetic age of industry, commerce, exploration and culture.

She was small of stature - just under five feet tall - but gave birth to nine children, including her successor - King Edward VII. She died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, leaving several rather odd requests for her funeral arrangements. She asked that a plaster-cast of her late husband's hand should be placed in the coffin beside her as well as one of his dressing gowns and she also asked for a lock of John Brown's hair and his mother's wedding ring too. Brown was a member of her Scottish staff with whom she enjoyed a special bond over many years. 

And now the autumn leaves frame Victoria in Endcliffe Park. Soon another winter will arrive. I hope she is wearing her thermal underwear.

16 comments:

  1. She always looks so stern. As my Dave would say, "A handsome woman."

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    1. The death of Prince Albert permanently changed her demeanour.

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  2. This made me hum a chorus of the Kink's "Victoria". I've always liked the line: I was born, lucky me, in the land that I love.

    Here in the US of A we have a number of pop songs that list the names of American cities -- Route 66 and Dancing in the Street comes to mind. I've always wondered if there is a similar song in the UK, and all I can come up with is that last verse of "Victoria", and it's just a short list of Victoria's empire: Canada, India, Australia, Cornwall, Singapore, Hong Kong. Jeeze. Where is the great British road song?

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    1. I know what you mean. There are many popular songs that refer to American roads or places but such songs are quite rare in Great Britain. However, off the top of my head I think of another song by The Kinks - "Waterloo Sunset", also "Penny Lane" by The Beatles and "Letter from America" by The Proclaimers.

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  3. That was interesting about what was buried with her.

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    1. What would you like burying with you?

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  4. Those autumn leaves are beautiful. Rather sweet that she wanted one of her husband's dressing gowns in her coffin.

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    1. It can be cold in heaven and after using the shower cubicles most angels are not immodest.

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  5. She was not only a child of her time, she WAS her time, in more ways than one.

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    1. Of course her family had very strong connections with Germany.

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    2. Kaiser Wilhelm was her favourite grandson, I have read somewhere.

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  6. Replies
    1. By all accounts, when she was young she was considered to be very pretty.

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  7. I'm presently in the throes of watching the TV series "Victoria" (poetic license on display - but the certain fictionalisations make it enjoyable)...so far I've only gotten around to watching two episodes of the eight-episode series.

    Queen Victoria was a formidable woman - a woman of fortitude, one ahead of her time, in my opinion.

    Whether one is a Royalist or not, she had many admirable traits...again, in my opinion.

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    Replies
    1. Your opinions happen to coincide with my own.

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