Saturday, August 22, 2009

What's in a Name? The Case of George Robbins Gliddon

Have you noticed that on the Internet the name George Robbins Gliddon (the Egyptologist) is frequently misspelt as George "Robins" Gliddon? I cannot explain why, but I can provide amble evidence as to the correct spelling, and this will be the subject of this posting.

The first names “George Robbins” (here spelt correctly), were names exclusively belonging to the progeny of William Gliddon (b.1754) and, his wife, Joanna (née Jones). George Robbins Gliddon, the Egyptologist (1809-1857) was a grandson of William and Joanna.

To elaborate further, William and Joanna had 4 sons:
1) Their eldest, William, born in 1781, died in 1800, unmarried.
2) The next son, John Gliddon, was born in 1785; he named his eldest son George Robbins Gliddon. And it is this George that was the well known Egyptologist.
3) Thomas Gliddon, was the next son. He was born in 1787. He, like John, his brother, named his eldest son, George Robbins Gliddon ( born in 1825). This George, who went to Australia, fathered another George Robbins Gliddon.
4) William and Joanna’s youngest son, born in 1793, was, in fact the first of the Gliddon family to be named George Robbins Gliddon. And true to the tradition established by his older brothers, he too called his first son, born in 1830, George Robbins Gliddon. This youngster earned the nicknamed “Long George” . There was reputedly a “Short George” too, but it is not known which of the Georges was referred to in this manner.

None of William and Joanna’s daughters had children of this name.

How did the name become associated with William and Joanna Gliddon’s family?

On 12 May , 1787 William Gliddon’s oldest sister, Mary,( b. 1742), married a Mr. George Robbins, at St. Thomas, Exeter. Robbins was a well-to-do builder and carpenter who owned property. The couple had no children. Mary was 45 years old when they married.

The Robbinses lived opposite William and Joanna Gliddon in the parish of St. Thomas Exeter. This close association could explain why the name “George Robbins” achieved a life after George Robbins death. But naming sons and grandsons after old Mr. George Robbins was unlikely to have been intended to honour the gentleman himself – as he was not well respected in the family. Anne Gliddon writes in her Family Record that Robbins was reputed to have been a “coarse old Hunk”, and adds “I do not think he could have been a peasant husband.” She also records that he ill-treated his wife’s niece - also named Mary Gliddon. This Mary was born in 1772 and had gone to live with the Robbinses after the death of her father, John Gliddon (b.1751), and the remarriage of her mother Eleanor to a Mr. Hellyer . As a result of her ill treatment in her foster home she was taken to live with another Uncle and Aunt – Arthur Gliddon, (b. 1749) and his wife Anne (née Beavan) , in London.

Several decades after these events had occurred, a letter written by Anne Gliddon, dated 5 February 1864, provides a better explanation as to why so many Gliddon males were given the first names “George Robbins” in the early part of the 19th century. She wrote the letter in reply to her cousin, Clara Joanna Gliddon’s enquiry about the chances of her brother George Robbins Gliddon, (b. 1825), being able to claim the Robbins inheritance.

As this letter is a long one and only part of it deals with the question of nomenclature, I am only quoting the relevant section here. Anne starts her letter with some general news and pleasantries, and then writes as follows:

“And now for your brother’s enquiries [1]. In one word then, his “great expectations” are quite a fallacy, I will tell you why. In the first place George has no claim whatever to the property, which I fancy from all I hear is far less valuable in itself than G. fancies. The last business letter dear Uncle [2] ever wrote, was in answer to a letter from your brother on that very subject. If he received that, he could hardly continue to have any hopes. I do not positively know, nor Jane[3] either , of what the property consists, but believe it to be small cottages for which, in our childhood, dear grandmother [4] used to talk of gathering the rents for her son , Uncle George [5]. They were left to him by old Mr. Robbins and to his son [6] (he being named George Robbins). If Uncle George had had no son, then the son of his brothers in succession (being also named G. Robbins) would have had a claim – in that way there was a remote chance for my husband [7]. But Uncle George having a son G. Robbins (6) to succeed him in the property, it rests with him, & he has it out & out – there being no further provision as to any beyond Uncle George’s son George Robbins. Not any other George Robbins has a shadow of a claim. The worth of the property must be grossly exaggerated – Uncle G.[5] would hardly else have been glad to accept a very inferior appointment to help out his income, and his wife let lodgings during his life time! If it had been as valuable as G.[1]supposes, would G.R.G.[6] (Uncle G’s son) have gone to sea as a Captain’s clerk? I am sorry to say that this said G.R.G. [6] has turned out far from reputably. He was dismissed from service on account of some misbehavior, of what kind is not known. Kindly received by Kate [8] and her family when he returned home under, to say the least of it, doubtful circumstances, he went off in the most scandalous manner from his lodgings in debt, taking with him valuable books lent him by Thornton[9] & has not since been heard of – yes, once – when his brother Frederic [10] mentioned that Long John (so dear Aunt [11] named him in distinction from his namesakes) had entered the Madras Artillery. Walter [12] heard this from Frederic in a casual meeting. In consequence, it is supposed, of his brother’s disgraceful conduct, Frederic has ceased to hold intercourse with our family, though before he had been on very intimate terms & was liked by all. Their Mother lives upon a small property of her own. The probability is that Long George [6] has already mortgaged or sold the property, as he could do as he wished with it. All this explanation is gleaned from my recollections of what I have heard, & Jane’s – dear Uncle(2) being the chief authority. I am sorry to have to give such details of a Gliddon – but Alas! they are true and not overcharged statements. I regret also the extinguishment of your brother’s [1]hopes. But better lose them than waste time upon false ones.

[1] “your brother” is Clara’s brother, George Robbins Gliddon, born 1825, son of Thomas Gliddon
[2 “Dear Uncle” is Arthur Gliddon (b.1788) – profiled in the first posting of this blog
[3]”Jane” is Jane Gliddon (1810-1867), Anne’s sister,
[4]”dear grandmother” is Joanna (née Jones) Gliddon
[5]”her son, Uncle George” is George Robbins Gliddon, born 1792, son of William and Joanna (née) Gliddon
[6]” his son” is George Robbins Gliddon, born 1830. Nicknamed “Long George”
[7]”my husband” is George Robbins Gliddon, Egyptologist, (1809-1857), Anne’s husband.
[8]”Kate” is Katherine (née Gliddon) Leigh Hunt, Anne’s sister
[9]”Thornton” is Thornton Leigh Hunt, husband of “Kate”
[10] “Frederick” is Frederick Edward Gliddon, christened at Moreton Hampstead in 1833[11]“dear Aunt” is Alistatia Gliddon (1790), wife of Arthur Gliddon – profiled in the first posting of this Blog.
[12]”Walter” is Walter Leigh Hunt, oldest son of Kate and Thornton Leigh Hunt, and Anne’s nephew.

[Special thanks to RHE Russell CVO for providing this transcript and annotations]

Returning to the matter of nomenclature, on 21 August 2009, I checked the “Wikipedia” site, the “ Online Encyclopedia”, the site “Famous Americans” and the “1911 Encyclopedia” on the Internet. All spell the Egyptologist’s name - George "Robins" Gliddon. However, given the reason for his name, I hardly think his father would have been so careless as to misspell “Robbins”, which would have negated any chance that he could ever claim the Robbins inheritance. I have no doubt too, that Anne Gliddon, who spelt her husband’s name – George Robbins Gliddon - knew how to spell her husband’s name correctly .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reasons for Writing about "The Gliddons in London"

Dear Blog Readers,
I published “The Gliddons in London” (which also includes my transcript of Anne Gliddon’s “ A Family Record”),at the request of the late Keith Borrow of Adelaide, South Australia.
Mr. Borrow, a local historian of the early pioneers of South Australia, was descended from a pioneering family himself; and he had, as had his father before him, an extensive knowledge and interest in the family histories of the early South Australians.
After meeting Mr. Borrow for the first time in 1997, I kept in regular contact with him until his death. He came to know of my long time interest, and search for knowledge about members of my branch of the Gliddon family. It was also clear to him that I knew very little about those in the family that immigrated to Australia in the nineteenth century. Though, my own family will always remember, with lasting appreciation, the generous gifts of food parcels that arrived during and after World War II from an Aunt Clara Ida Gliddon – whom we knew to be a distant cousin living in Adelaide. She happened also to be a close friend of Keith.
In 1998, Keith made the suggestion that I publish a manuscript which he had in his possession, and which I discovered was Anne Gliddon’s “A Family Record”, as copied by Anne’s cousin, Clara Joanna Gliddon in 1872. This manuscript is the only copy known to exist.
Even before I transcribed the Record, there was knowledge of it existence, but not any clear detail about its content. Consequently there was a great deal of interest within the family as to exactly what it would contain.
When I did transcribe the manuscript I soon realized that both Anne’s and Clara’s intentions in writing and copying the Record, was to preserve the knowledge of the history of their family for future members who might be interested.
I believe that Mr. Borrow, who had no pecuniary interest in the document, and who, in fact, financially supported the publication of my work, was honouring the intentions of, both Anne and Clara Gliddon.
Equally I have always felt under an obligation to pass on the knowledge that was given freely to me, by imparting the same, as freely as I am able. However, publishing “ The Gliddon’s in London” which included my transcript,did required an outlay of money which was then necessary for me to recoup. Since then, however, the Internet has become a marvelous vehicle for the free transmission of information and under these circumstances I believe I too can honour the intentions of the author and her scribe.
Even so, I do not intend to digitize the book itself, as the title and its contents are still under copyright and available to purchase. Furthermore there have been many individuals who contributed to the book, who did so on the understanding that it was to be a limited edition.
At present, there are several people continuing to research, myself included. This blog gives me the opportunity to record and preserve any additional information that comes to light. I welcome contributions from other family researchers.
There are the guidelines I have set myself: :
1) I have a responsibility to protect the privacy of members of the extended family living today. For this reason any personal histories on this Blog will not extend beyond 1878, the year of Anne’s death.
2) I will only write personal histories about individuals that were closely related to Anne, except in the case of certain events or persons who merit special attention for social or political historical reasons.
3) The main aim of the Blog is to provide information that is not only of interest to family members, but also is seen to address issues of social history.
I would welcome any further suggestions or comments regarding what content should or should not be posted on this blog.

Wendy Norman

Monday, June 15, 2009

George R. Gliddon (1809-1957)

This posting looks at the career of George Robbins Gliddon (1809-1857), the husband of Anne Gliddon.

The generalisation that "The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones" might be applied in the case of George R. Gliddon.

He is remembered one hundred and fifty years after his death as one of the chief protagonists of the theory of polygenesis - the theory that different races were different species, and so denying a common humanity. Among the inequalities said to exist between races was brain size, and by implication intellectual capacity.

My blog is not designed to deal with the debates concerning the history of ideas and theories which relate to the origins of mankind. But I will note here that ideas and theories are developed within a cultural context. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that the United States, in the 19th century, was fertile ground for theories that supported the notion of the superiority of "Whites" over "Blacks". This was particularly so in the first half of the century when slavery was an important aspect of American economic life. Stephen J. Gould, (1981) in his book The Mismeasure of Man provides ample evidence of the ways science has aided, and in some cases abetted, social and racial prejudice. He includes in his book the work of the craniologist Dr. Samuel Morton, [Samuel Morton, 1790-1851] - a close friend and colleague of Gliddon, who was the first to attempt to scientifically measure racial differences in brain size.

Today the theory of polygenesis has become an obsolete relic of the past. Although these arguments may have fallen silent, the victims of the injustices that were perpetrated in its name have had to deal with a bitter and sad legacy. However I am not writing this to apportion blame nor to give praise, but to provide, as much as I am able, an accurate account of an unusual man with an extraordinary life history. To do this I have chosen to print a transcript of George Gliddon's Obituary, published in the New York Herald shortly after his death. Despite the fact that it reads more like an eulogy, and avoids being critical in any way, I believe that it is, generally. a fairly accurate account of the events of his life, and I will comment further at the end.

From of the New York Herald's Obituary Column, 30th Nov., 1857:


Science and the World has suffered a severe loss in the death of George R. Gliddon, the well known Egyptian scholar and author, who died suddenly at Panama, of pulmonary congestion, on the 16th Inst., aged about 50 years. Mr. Gliddon was born in England, but went early to Egypt, where his father was consul of the United States, which office was afterwards held by Mr. Gliddon himself. As Consul he was most attentive to American interests, and untiring in his kindnesses to American travellers. In 1836, when Mohemet Ali indicated his plans for the material improvement of Egypt by the introduction of machinery, Mr Gliddon succeeded in impressing him with the skill of American mechanics in this department, and was sent by the Pasha to the United States to contract for rice, sugar and other mills, which were subsequently put into successful operation. Up to this time Mr. Gliddon was known chiefly as an active business man; but an eager, acquisitive mind like his could not fail to be arrested by the monuments of ancient civilization around him, and he early took a deep interest in the researches of Bonomi, [Joseph Bonomi, 1796-1878]; Salt, [Henry Salt, 1780-1827]; Vyse, [Richard Henry Howard Vyse, 1813-1872]; and other Egyptian scholars and explorers to whose labors the rapid and brilliant discoveries of Champollion, [Jean Francois Champollion, 1790-1832] had given augmented force and true distinction. He became an efficient member of the Egyptian society, composed of all the savants of Cairo and Alexandria, and rapidly acquired a thorough knowledge of all the results which had been reached in the various departments of Egyptian research. It was this knowledge, equally with his genial spirits and brilliant intelligence, that made him the welcome friend and correspondent of Dr. Morton, and other distinguished scientific men in America. But it was with Dr. Morton that he became most intimately connected, undertaking to supply that eminent craniologist and philosopher, with the materials for carrying forward his inquiries into the origins and relations of the various families of men from the New to the Old World, and from the Valley of the Mississippi to that of the Nile. With great difficulty and expense, and at no inconsiderable personal risk, Mr. Gliddon collected some hundreds of crania from the ancient tombs and sepulchral caverns of Egypt, embracing numerous specimens from every part of the valley of the Nile, from Upper and Lower Egypt and from the Delta to the Falls of Merve. These were sent to Dr. Morton of Philadelphia who directed upon them those eminent powers of analysis which had won so high renown for his great work. "Crania Americana". The result was an
elaborte work dedicated to Mr. Gliddon and published bythe Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, entitled "Crania Egyptiaca", which has set at rest, once and forever, the leading questions so long in dispute as to the race and physical type of the ancient Egyptian.

Meantime, Mr. Gliddon was actively occupied with the overland route to India, and after various experiments at his own cost, submitted a memorial on the subject to the British government. which not only attracted the attention of Lord Palmerston, but led to his being called to London with a view to the practical realization of his suggestion. A sudden change in the ministry, however, prevented any action at that moment and Mr. Gliddon returned to Egypt where he published an "Essay on the production of Cotton in the Valley of the Nile"; and an "Appeal to Europe" against the wholesale destruction of the Egyptian monuments by Mohemet Ali, who spared none of the venerable relics of the past in his new born utilitarian zeal. About this time the financial and commercial establishments with which Mr. Gliddon was connected met with reverses, which induced him to abandon Egypt and essay his fortune in the United States. Here his Egyptian knowledge and experience led to his being invited to lecture on Egypt and its monuments, by a great number of literary and scientific societies. He accordingly delivered a course of lectures on these interesting subjects before the Lowell Institute, which met with great success. It was repeated twice in Philadelpia, and in rapid succession, in all the principal cities of the Union. A stenographic report was published which met with an unprecedented sale, and it was not long before Egyptian studies and their results became more widely known and thoroughly popularized in the United States than in any country of Europe. Personally known to the leading savants, and in correspondence with them, Mr. Gliddon was always able to present the latest and freshest of their discoveries, and without pretending to originality of research, he was probably better acquainted with the results of Egyptian science than any other man of the age. His success as a lecturer interested him more and more in his subject, and led him, almost imperceptibly to himself, to adopt lecturing as a profession. In accumulating his facts and illustrations, he paid several visits to Europe, and resided at various periods, in Berlin, Paris and London where he was received with ardent welcome by all the leading oriental students, such as Lepsius, [Karl Richard Lepsius, 1810-1884]; Lazci, [partiaulars unknown]; Rawlinson, [Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1810-1895]; Jornard, [possibly the French hydrographer]; Longperrion,[particulars unknown]; Birch, [Samuel Birch, 1813-1885]; Maury, [Louis Ferdinand Alfred Maury , 1817-1892]; Layard, [Austen Henry Layard,1817-1894]; and Wilkinson, [Sir JohnGardner Wilkinson, 1797-1875]. They all looked upon him as their most efficient auxiliary in making known and popularizing as a consistent whole, the detached results attained by each in his special field of inquiry.

Mr. Gliddon's Egyptian studies naturally led him into the cognate researches, and he became deeply interested in those anthropological subjects which have of late secured so large a degree of attention amongst students, especially as connected with the question of human origins, and the diversity and permanence of race. Upon these questions, Dr. Morton, previous to his death had begun to concentrate the light of his clear, calm intelligence. As a disciple ofMorton, and in connection with his friend and colleague, Dr. J C. Nott [Josiah Clark Nott, 1804-1873] of Mobile, Mr Gliddon conceived the plan of an elaborate work, which would embrace the unpublished papers of Morton and combine the mature ideas and conclusions of the most distinguished scholars of America on the various questions above indicated; the whole to be dedicated "To the Memory of Morton". This work was published in 1854, under the title of "Types of Mankind", &c., and has been widely read and produced a profounder impression on the educated mind of this country, and Europe than any similar work hitherto published. It contained papers by Agassiz, [Louis Agassiz, 1804-1873] and other distinguished writers, which at once stamped it as a standard work among the scholars, and put it beyond the reach of those invidious attacks and disparagements by which previous works on similar subjects have been assailed and put down. The success of this work, of which no less than ten thousand copies were sold, encouraged Mr. Gliddon, again in conjunction with Dr. Nott to undertake another similar work, entitled "Indigenous Races of the Earth", &c.,which issued from the press in the spring of this present year.[1857]. This work may be regarded as a supplement to the first, and is consequently without its novelty. It could not be expected, therefore, to produce so marked an impression, but still it has been warmly welcomed among students, and containing as it does, mature papers from Dr. Nott, Alfred Maury and Francis Pulszky, [Ferencz Aurelius Pulszky, 1814-1897] must take a high stand as book of reference. [The figure on the R, is a copy of a Pulszky Lithograph that belonged to Gliddon. It is headed "Pulszky Lithograph 13th Dynasty, Plate VII"]

Before the publication of this last work, Mr. Gliddon wearied of sedentary life, and longing for the excitement of change and physical activity, in which his early life was passed, accepted the post (tendered to him, by his old friend and colleague, Mr. E.G. Squiers, [Ephraim George Squiers, 1821-1888]) of Deputy Agent of the Honduras Inter-Oceanic Railway in Honduras, Central America. The ability and energy which he had displayed in opening the Suez or Overland route to India made the appointment especially acceptable to the English directors of that company, and on the 15th April last Mr. Gliddon and his staff, in company with the engineers of the company, sailed for Honduras, where he at once exhibited those qualities of activity, zeal and personal disregard of dangers, which had distinguished him in the East. He was on his return to the United States, on leave of absence, when he was overtaken by the isthmus fever, and died as stated above in Panama.

In his death, we repeat, science and the world have sustained a most severe loss, and the intelligence of this mournful event will carry sorrow to the hearts of thousands of personal friends throughout the United States and Europe. Mr. Gliddon was an extraordinary man, of versatile talents, varied information, and large experience. The races and the civilizations of both continents were familiar to him. He had been a guest of the Arab and Turk, had traversed the great deserts, wandering over Palestine and Mesopotamia, had been a resident in Greece, was familiar with every country in Europe and was a cosmopolitan in America. In language a polyglot, an encyclopedia of information, he was at once the most entertaining and instructive of companions. But it was in respect of the noble qualities of friendship and uncomplaining fortitude, of honor and honesty of purpose that those who knew him best loved and esteemed him most. In his attachments and dislikes he was equally fervent, but his enemies, if such remain, now that his gallant spirit has gone from us, will not fail to recognise his sincerity and truth, and forgetful of errors and mistaken judgments, join his friends in a tribute of sorrow over his untimely grave . It will be a consolation to Mr. Gliddon's friends to know that his last hours were soothed and cheered by the presence of his friend H.S. Sandford, Esq.,[1823-1891] late U.S. Charge d'Affairs in France.


Gliddon's obituary here is hard to reconcile with the picture of Gliddon that has emerged since. Probably the most scathing comments can be found in William Stanton's (1960), The Leopard's Spot: Scientific Attitudes towards Race in America. In this book Gliddon is portrayed not only as a racist, but as "a name dropper, a sponger, a swinger on the shirt-tails of the great, a braggart, pretender and scatologist". Written 100 years after Gliddon's death and at a time when America was in an intense ideological battle for the civil rights of Black Americans, it is understandable his image was likely to take a battering.

The problem in providing some sort of a biography is to try to see "the man" rather than "the image". Both the New York Herald and The Leopard's Spot offer the reader an image, while "the man" himself lives only in the past, and cannot be ressurected. If the story of Gliddon's life is to be told as accurately as possible, he needs to be undersood in the context of his own time.

A future posting may attempt to take up the challenge.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Arthur & Alistatia Gliddon & their Cigar Divan

This month my post focuses on an episode in the life of Arthur Gliddon and his wife Alistatia after Arthur had been pensioned off by the Victualling Office where he had worked for sometime. First he set up business as a Tobacconist at 30 Tavistock Street. Later he moved his Tobacco shop to King Street, Covent Garden, where he opened up a Cigar Divan at the back of the premises. Anne Gliddon's account of these events can be found in The Gliddons in London, p22.
The Cigar Divan was a coffee house. This type of Coffee House first appeared in London in the early 19th century. It was designed to cater for tobacco smokers. (For more information on 17th, 18th, and 19th century coffee houses in London, see Bryant Lillywhite's (1963) reference book London Coffee Houses).

Anne Gliddon (seen right) claims in her Family Record, that it was her Uncle and Aunt - Arthur (b.1788) and Alistatia (b.1790) who opened the first Cigar Divan in London. The idea for this venture had been suggested to them by Alistatia's brother - George Gliddon (b.1793), who had lived in the East for some years.

The day before the Divan's opening, the Gliddons had a party for family and friends to mark the ocassion. Anne, who was eighteen at the time, was also there helping her Aunt with refreshments. Among the guests were the musician, Vincent Novello and his wife Sabilla, and the poet and essayist, Leigh Hunt.

A miniature of Arthur and Alistatia Gliddon,
drawn by Anne Gliddon.
The Gliddon's Divan coffee house turned out to be so successful that it was necessary to hire staff to help run the family business. Then misfortune struck. Arthur and his brother, John Gliddon, (b.1784) - Anne's father - lost their banked savings. This disaster was followed by the death of both Anne's parents a few months later. Arthur at that point, assumed responsibility for his nine nephews and nieces, who were orphaned as a result.

Soon after these events the Divan was taken over by a Mr. Kilpack
By Anne's account it seems that the Gliddons' involvement with the coffee house was short lived. She does not record exactly when or where the Divan opened. Nor is she specific about when the business passed to Mr Kilpack. However, Anne does say that the family was forced through straitened circumstances, to move home in 1827, from Great Queen Street to "compress ourselves into a very small tenement in Crescent Place, Burton Crescent".
Some of the details missing from Anne's account are, however, recorded elsewhere. In "London Coffee Houses" (p.158), Lillywhite reports the existence of a trade-card in the Guildhall Library - which is headed "Tobacco without coffee is like meat without salt". The Card announces the opening of Mr. Gliddon's Cigar Divan, at no.42, King Street, on February 8th, 1825. It also advertises that opening hours were from 10am to 12 midnight, and the annual subscription 30s. Lillywhite notes that MacMichael's History of Charing Cross (1906) makes no mention of the Gliddons running a cigar divan at no. 42, King Street, at that time. Lillywhite concludes that MacMichael could not have been aware of the existence of the trade-card. He adds that Gliddon's Divan was the first of its kind in England, and that it was situated next door to Evans's Hotel, at no. 43,King Street, on the west side.

These details are backed up by further evidence to be found in William Hone's "The Everyday Book & Table Book", (1841), Volume 3, pp 674-680. In an article entitled "Mr. Gliddon's Cigar Divan", Hone records his visit to the Divan when it was first opened there. He also locates the Divan next door to Evans's Hotel.

Hone's article includes an illustration of the Divan's interior, together with a description. He judges "Mr. Gliddon's shop" to be "a very respectable one, no one would look for the saloon beyond it. It seems in good oriental keeping, and a proper sesame, when touching a door in the wall, you find yourself in a room like an eastern tent, the drapery festooned around you, and views exhibited on all sides of mosques, minarets, and palaces rising out of the water."

In his essay Coffee Houses and Smoking, Leigh Hunt writes about his friend's coffee house and concludes that "the principal visitors of the divan to be theatre-goers, officers who have learnt to have a cigar on service, men of letters, and men of fortune who have a taste for letters, and can whirl themselves from their own firesides to these. If you are in the city, on business, go for a steak to Dolly's; if midway between City and West End, go to the first clean-looking larder you come to; if a man of fashion, and you must dine in your altitudes, go to the "Clarendon"; but after any of these, man of fashion or not, go if you can, and get your cigar and your cup of coffee at Gliddon's. It is finishing with a grace and a repose."

In piecing together the history of the Divan-type coffee house in England, Anne's personal memories help to make sense of the fragmentary evidence relating to its origins.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Gliddons in London

In 2000, I published “The Gliddons in London - 1760-1850” The book’s central core is an account written 150 years ago, by Anne Gliddon (1807-1878) about members of her extended family. She called her notebook “A family Record”, and described its contents as being reminiscences and gleanings which she had heard and remembered about her family history.
The Gliddon Family were part of a wider family circle that included the families of Leigh Hunt - the poet and essayist, Samuel Laurence - the artist, Sir John Morphett - the South Australian Pioneer, and George Gliddon - Egyptologist.
During her life time, Anne drew numerous portraits and miniatures of her close relatives. Some of these drawings have been included in the book to supplement Anne’s text.
Anne was an accomplished artist – having been a pupil of the artist Thomas Charles Wageman (1787-1863). He later was to become the Portrait Painter to the King of Holland. Anne’s best known drawing is one of GH Lewes as a young man, before he acquired fame as the partner of George Eliot. This particular drawing is housed in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
In addition to Anne’s written accounts and her drawings I also have included chapters based on my own research into the Gliddon family in London. This research is ongoing – and as additional facts become known it is intended to post them on this blog on a monthly basis.
“The Gliddons in London”, which is 68 pages long. is available for purchase direct from the Author for NZ$29.95 with an additional charge to cover packaging and postage.
About the Author
Wendy Norman’s email is . Enquiries welcome