Saturday, July 1, 2017

HONG KONG | 20 Years After the British Departed

Chris Patten, the Last Governor of Hong Kong,
20 years ago.
July 1, 2017—On this day in 1997, Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prince Charles, plus Chinese President Jiang Zemin and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The 28th British Governor presided over the taking down of the Union Jack at midnight. He was Chris Patten, now Lord Patten of Barnes and Chancellor of Oxford University.

The original unfurling of the British flag was not peaceful. In 1839, Britain invaded China and occupied Hong Kong, then a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. Two years later, China ceded the island to the British in the Convention of Chuenpi. The year after that, the Treaty of Nanking ended the First Opium War.

Lord Patten of Barnes.
Britain’s new colony flourished as an East-West trading center and as the commercial gateway and distribution center for southern China. In 1898, Britain was granted an additional 99 years of rule over Hong Kong under the Second Convention of Peking.

In September 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and the Chinese signed a formal agreement approving the 1997 turnover of the island in exchange for a Chinese pledge to preserve Hong Kong’s capitalist system.

On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was peaceably handed over to China in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese, British, and international dignitaries. The chief executive under the new Hong Kong government, Tung Chee Hwa, announced a policy based on the concept of “one country, two systems,” to preserve Hong Kong’s role as a capitalist center in Asia.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

VIEWS: 220K. Top 10 Most-Read Posts


Keep calm and read my blog.

Thank you for reading my Oxford blog. 

As of June 25, 2017 it has had more than 220,000 page views (two million views for all my blogs).


More than 10% of the Oxford blog views were directed at one post, which seeks answers to the question: "Why Didn't Hitler Bomb Oxford?"

The subjects of the other nine posts were: boat races, heraldry, biographies/obits and Oxford colleges in fiction. Please keep reading and send comments to john@cityeconomist.com.


HITLER: Why Didn't He Bomb Oxford? (23K Views, Jun...
Jun 8, 2013, 3 comments
OXFORD IN FICTION: Top Six Fictional Colleges (Upd...
Jul 2, 2016
SUMMER EIGHTS: May 19-27, 2017
Jan 31, 2017
HERALDRY: Oxford Stars (Updated Feb. 24, 2017)
Nov 21, 2014, 2 comments
BOAT RACE: Dinners 2015
Mar 1, 2015
THERESA MAY: Time at Oxford (Updated Oct. 29, 2016...
Jul 27, 2016
R.I.P.: July 11–Oxonian John Brademas, NYU Preside...
Jul 25, 2016
BRITISH PMs: Universities Attended (Updated Aug. 1...
Jul 14, 2016
HERALDRY: Douglas, Moray, de Vere (Updated Mar 24,...
Nov 23, 2014, 2 comments
10 R.I.P.: Geoffrey Hill, Oxford Poet
Jul 2, 2016

Thursday, May 11, 2017

ARMS: Jesus College, Oxford

Jesus College Coat of Arms
Blazon: Vert three stags trippant argent attired or. The JCR website has the arms displayed correctly according to this blazon, except for one thing. "Attired" refers to the antlers only. The golden hooves are not in the blazon, which for that should include the words "and unguled" (hooved) before the last word, or.

Nominee. The coat of arms, in some form, belongs to Bishop Thomas Rotherham. It matches the arms in Rotherham's dining-hall portrait in neighboring Lincoln College, which he is credited with founding.  The Lincoln College coat of arms includes the three stags in the sinister section of its tripartite-in-pale shield. In the absence of evidence that Rotherham founded Jesus College, Oxford, the puzzle is: What are Rotherham's three attired stags doing up there adorning Jesus College?

Founder. Jesus College was in fact founded in 1571 by Elizabeth I, who issued a royal charter to that effect. It was the first Protestant college founded at Oxford, and the only one dating  from Elizabeth's reign. Its full name is: "Jesus College in the University of Oxford of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation."

Origin of the Jesus Arms.  The earliest depiction of the Jesus arms is believed to be about 1590, in a document held by the College of Arms, referring to the stags as having a blue (azure) field, but Peter Donoghue, Bluemantle Pursuivant, reports the arms were more likely added 90 years later, on John Speed’s 1605 Map of Oxfordshire, with a blue field. The green field first appeared in 1619 in an armorial quarry painted by one of the Van Linge brothers, and was generally used by 1730, although horizontal hatchings (indicating azure) were still used on college bookplates as late as 1761. Here are the theories:
  • It has been claimed that Jesus "stole" the three stags from Lincoln, much as a series of Trinity men from the Eldon family have feasted on deer from the Magdalen College deer park. The counter-argument is that the origins of the two Rotherham arms are distinct. Former Lincoln College Rector Paul Langford has suggested that Jesus College continued the arms adopted by a theological college founded by Rotherham in his home town – Jesus College, Rotherham – which had been suppressed in the time of Edward VI. This does not explain what Rotherham contributed to the founding of Jesus College, Oxford other than leasing out a building to the College for a fee. 
  • Another theory is that the stags derive from the arms of Maud Green, Lady Parr, mother of Catherine Parr, last of the six wives of Henry VIII and stepmother to Elizabeth I, the Founder. 
  • The most likely story is that the arms of the College are indeed those of Bishop Rotherham, and were assigned to Jesus College by mistake, when John Speed prepared his famed map of Oxford. Speed must have seen the arms on Lawrence Hall, Ship Street, which was given to Rotherham in 1476 and was leased to Jesus College in 1572. Speed must have taken the landlord's arms to be those of the College when drawing his map in 1605, a quarter-century after the arms of Lincoln College were confirmed by Lee, Portcullis Pursuivant.
Anecdotes. Lincoln and Jesus are neighbors on Turl Street ("the Turl"), of which the joke is often told: "Q. How is the Church of England like the Turl?" "A. It runs from the High to the Broad and it has Jesus." An American tourist is said to have entered Jesus College after the Civil War and asked the porter: "Say, is this Lincoln?" To which the porter replied: "You aren't the first person, sir, to confuse Lincoln with Jesus."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SUMMER VIIIS: Oxford College Boat Club Dinners

I received the following note from the President of the Trinity College Boat Club, as an alumnus of the college.

Other college boat clubs have dinners that night. Your college link is probably located here. What to wear to a Boat Club Dinner?

Dear All,

The Annual Boat Club Dinner is on the Saturday of Summer VIIIs, 27 May. The deadline for responses is Friday, 19 May.

If you would like to attend, please reply to the Club’s secretary, Emily Davenport (emily.davenport@trinity.ox.ac.uk). A booking form can be found here.

I very much hope to see you then.

Best wishes,

Rob Jones 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

BIRTH | May 4: Horace Mann, Advocate for Public Education

May 4, 2017—This day was born in 1796 Horace Mann, is called the father of American public education. He said:
"Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark, all is deluge." 
Born in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1796, he grew up poor, but he made full use of the local library founded by his town's namesake, Benjamin Franklin. 

Brown University accepted him as a sophomore at 20 years of age. He graduated in three years and was named  class valedictorian.

Elected to the state legislature in 1827, he was appointed secretary of the State's Board of Education when Massachusetts created it in 1837. He used the position, which had little budget attached, to inspect every school in the state and publish annual reports advocating a common school education,  i.e., a basic tax-funded education for all children. He established the concept of a "normal" state school, taking on those who believed all schools should have a religious orientation.

Elected to the U.S. Congress in 1848, after the death of John Quincy Adams, he spoke out in Congress against slavery, and wrote in a letter:
"I think the country is to experience serious times. Interference with slavery will excite civil commotion in the South. But it is best to interfere. Now is the time to see whether the Union is a rope of sand or a band of steel."
When he left politics, he moved to Ohio to become president of Antioch College. He told a graduating class, two years before his death:
"I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words. Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

WW2: Baedeker Raids Start, Apr 23, 1942

Target Handbook for
 the Baedeker Raids, 1942.
Apr 23, 2017—This day in 1942 Germans began their “Baedeker Raids” on England, bombing several medieval cities. Almost 1,000 English civilians were killed in the bombing attacks.

Unlike the earlier bombings of English cities in 1940-41, which were strategic, to kill civilians and destroy buildings to weaken  the English public's will to fight with Germany, the April-June 1942 bombings of cities were targeted at historic cities. They were a retaliation for the RAF raid on the German port of Lübeck on March 28, when 234 British bombers destroyed 2,000 buildings, killed 312 civilians and left 15,000 Lübeck residents homeless.

In reprisal, the Luftwaffe attacked English cathedral cities. The Germans called their air attacks “Baedeker Raids” for the German publisher of its famed tourist guidebooks. Exeter was the first city to be attacked. Much of the city was damaged and 70 people were killed. Baron Gustav Braun von Sturm of the Luftwaffe said: “’We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker Guide." The task was given to Luftflotte 3.

Exeter was bombed again twice in the next fortnight. Bath was attacked April 25 and 26, York on April 28 resulting in the destruction of 15th-century Guildhall, and Norwich on April 27 and 29. The RAF then launched a "1000 Bomber" raid on Cologne (Köln). The Luftwaffe responded by targeting Canterbury, which was bombed on May 31, June 2 and June 6. It was reminiscent of Mahatma Gandhi's statement: "An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind."

Despite the tit-for-tat vandalism, Oxford and Cambridge were spared. Oxford is on any three-star list in England. Dr Malcolm Graham, Head of Oxfordshire Studies at Westgate Library, in his book Oxfordshire At War, says that Oxford's escape from Baedeker raids "has never been satisfactorily explained."

Oxford had been one of the cities included in the invasion plans for 1940, which included only central Oxford, not the farther-out Morris Radiators factory on Woodstock Road or the Cowley works. A squadron of Heinkel III bombers was reportedly on its way to obliterate Morris Radiators and probably Cowley on August 30, 1940. It was attacked by RAF fighters and turned back, and no second attempt to bomb Cowley was tried.

See also: Why didn't Hitler bomb Oxford?