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Making History
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Listen to the latest editionTuesday 3.00-3.30 p.m
Vanessa Collingridge and the team answer listener’s historical queries and celebrate the way in which we all ‘make’ history.
Programme 4
22 April 2008
Vanessa Collingridge and the team discuss listeners' historical queries and celebrate the many ways in which we all 'make' history.

Listen to this programme in full

The Execution of 'Valerie Givanne'

A Making History listener in Bodmin, Cornwall has tried to research the story behind a name on a poster found in local pubs and the town museum. The name is Valerie Givanne and 'she' is listed as a sailor who was executed in Bodmin in 1901 for crimes at sea. However, there is nothing in the local archives which describes the execution of a woman sailor!

Making History’s regular maritime researcher, Hannah Cunliffe, looked into the story and with the help of the Cornish Studies Library discovered that 'Valerie' was actually 'Valeri' an Italian, male sailor who had admitted stabbing a colleague to death on a Liverpool sailing barque called the Lorton en-route to Falmouth.

Hannah explained that merchant shipping law in those days gave power to the ship's captain to deal with such incidents and that serious offences were always tried in a British court. However, the only evidence about a case would be that written down in the captain’s log. In this instance, Valeri had admitted the charges and was therefore sentenced to death by hanging.

Useful links

Hannah Cunliffe

Cornish Studies Library

National Maritime Museum at Greenwich

Copies of Lloyd's List are held in various locations around the UK, for the nearest one to you go to the Lloyd's List website.
Burrow Mump

Listener Katherine Croucher wondered whether Burrow Mump near Bridgewater in Somerset could have been used as a signalling beacon in Anglo Saxon times.

The former editor of the Victoria County History for Somerset, Robert Dunning, describes the Mump and other local hillocks as 'lighthouses'. But, this is only a theory because there is no archaeological or written evidence that supports this.

Useful links

Take a look at the view from Burrow Mump here
European Garden Heritage Network

Somerset Historic Environment Record
Church Lads' Brigade

A listener spotted a banner in Westminster Abbey which commemorates the fallen from the Church Lads' Brigade, what was the CLB he asks?

Making History consulted the Brigade's archivist Rob Bolton who explained that the Church Lads' Brigade was formed in the late nineteenth century at an Anglican church in Fulham in response to the formation of the Boy's Brigade in Glasgow.

The idea was attract youngsters who might be starting work and had drifted away from Sunday School. It soon blossomed as a force throughout the UK and by 1908 was invited to join the Territorial Cadet force, an offer that was turned down. However, in 1914 in response to the National 'call to arms' the 16th (Service) Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps and later the 19th (Service) Battalion KRRC sponsored by the CLB, is formed entirely from serving and ex-members of the CLB, becoming known as 'The Churchmen's Battalion'.

The Battalion, trained at Denham, Bucks, was brutally decimated in 1916 on the Somme battlefield at High Wood. During the war the CNAB (Church Nursing and Ambulance Brigade, the forerunner of the Church Girls' Brigade) worked on the home front treating and comforting wounded troops returning to 'Blighty'. The Lads of the CLB, often without their officers, were involved in essential 'War Service', guarding reservoirs, collecting newspapers, blowing 'All Clear' bugles after Zeppelin air raids. The CLB Headquarters in London suffered bomb damage.

For more information on the Church Lads' Brigade go to the CLB website.

The plinth at the memorial to the Church Lads' Brigade at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and the Brigade's cap.

Church Lads' Brigade Archivist Rob Bolton beside the memorial to the Church Lads' Brigade.
    Contact  Making History
    Use this link to email Vanessa Collingridge and the team: email Making History

    Write to: Making History
    BBC Radio 4
    PO Box 3096
    BN1 1TU

    Telephone: 08700 100 400

    Making History is produced by Nick Patrick and is a Pier Production.
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    Making History

    Vanessa Collingridge
    Vanessa CollingridgeVanessa has presented science and current affairs programmes for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Discovery and has presented for BBC Radio 4 & Five Live and a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday, Scotsman and Sunday Herald. 

    Contact Making History

    Send your comments and questions for future programmes to:
    Making History
    BBC Radio 4
    PO Box 3096 Brighton
    BN1 1PL

    Or email the programme

    Or telephone the Audience Line 08700 100 400

    Making History is a Pier Production for BBC Radio 4 and is produced by Nick Patrick.

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