Gilbert and Sullivan Archive
YEOMEN OF THE GUARD DISCUSSION
ALSO HAPPENED IN 1888
DAVID DUFFEY: Many incidental facts are known about London
in the year of The Yeomen Of The Guard:
- Jack the Ripper committed a double murder four days before the First Night, and
"theatre crowds were thrilled and horrified by pavement artists
who illustrated the scenes in all their horrific detail".
The days between these two murders and the laying of the victims
in paupers' graves (October 6th) were "similarly fog-bound,
and the metropolis crept about in fear".
- There was a prolonged dock-strike involving the ports of London
and Liverpool. The Marquess of Salisbury was Prime Minister of
Great Britain, Sir John MacDonald of Canada and Grover Cleveland
was President of the US.
- Wilhelm I dies, succeeded by "Dear Vikky's" husband,
who dies of cancer of the throat and is in his turn succeeded
by his son, Queen Victoria's grandson, Kaiser Bill, who so famously
polished Sullivan's knocker, then went on to do other things,
or rather failed to prevent them.
- Matthew Arnold and Theodor Storm died.
- T S Eliot and Eugene O'Neill were born, as was Maurice Chevalier
and Irving Berlin. So was that very strange fellow T E Lawrence.
- Van Gogh painted "The Yellow Chair". Toulouse-Lautrec
was enjoying the occasional absinthe.
- Westinghouse produced an electric motor, Dunlop invented pneumatic
tyres, Hertz and Lodge (independently) identified radio waves.
- James Bryce wrote "The American Commonwealth".
- Lobengula, King of Matabele, accepts British "protection",
thus allowing the other half of his subjects to die slowly from
malnutrition and overwork rather than merely being massacred as
the first half had been. Sarawak, by contrast, offered no opposition,
indeed paid a large tribute to the Crown in recognition of the
honour of becoming a British protectorate.
- Dr Barnardo was active politically and beginning to be recognised
for his charitable work. Today, of course, he would have been
investigated thrice over on suspicion of child abuse and misappropriation
of public funds.
- The County Councils Act of 1888 will in due time generate Mr Blushington.
- The Education Act 1888 made elementary education for all free
at the point of delivery. Had Gilbert lived in the provinces
then, he may have objected to the County Rate levied to pay for
this, preferring to make a greater contribution voluntarily as
charity. The funding for non-church education within London came
from central government at this time. Of course Gilbert would
have taken a keen interest in these matters, having once been
a civil servant in the Education Department of the Privy Council.
- On the matter of Education, Oscar Wilde made a second unsuccessful
application to become one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools.
Page created 8 June 1997