We recently visited Harvey House in the grounds of King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco. This very interesting museum covers the history of medicine in WA from colonial times. In 1916, Harvey House became Perth’s first public hospital for women, so the first room in the museum shows a typical end of 18th century bedroom birth scene with a midwife who probably had little training. In same room is a labour ward from the period when the hospital first opened.
Among the interesting publications on display in the museum is this one titled “Our Babies” which looks like May Gibbs may have done the illustrations for the front cover.
Across the road from Second Hand Books (see previous post) is the New Edition bookshop – probably Perth’s best independent bookstore. It is in a beautiful building from 1895 and in a great location in the centre of Fremantle’s historic High St.
The Second Hand Books store in the High St in Fremantle is worth stopping by just to admire the window display. A few weeks ago there was a terrific display of books by Virginia Woolf and other Bloomsbury group authors such as Lytton Strachey.
This week, perhaps because it is school holidays, there is an amazing collection of folktales from around the world.
The Bacon family had a country estate on the outskirts of St Albans, Hertfordshire. The Tudor era house there, built by the father of Francis Bacon and known as Gorhambury, is now a ruin. But there is a monument to Francis Bacon (see previous post) in the nearby church of St Michael.
St Michael’s is an interesting church, with a history going back to Anglo-Saxon times, as well as having a 12th century Norman window and 13th century Early English lancet windows.
After reading Daphne du Maurier’s biography of Anthony Bacon we moved on to her biography of Francis Bacon, the more famous of the two brothers. Called “The Winding Stair: Francis Bacon His Rise and Fall”, this book is another interesting take on the Elizabethan era and the reign of James I that followed it.
Du Maurier does tend to skip over Bacon’s scientific achievements and only devotes a couple of sentences to his possible membership of the Rosicrucians. When last in London we visited Canonbury Tower in Islington, which was leased by Francis Bacon from 1616 to 1625, and as some believe, provided a secret meeting place for the Rosicrucian Order.
The Linton and Kay Gallery in St George’s Terrace in Perth city centre is currently holding an exhibition by Hayley Welsh. Hayley’s art often includes books and we featured her wall mural at Curtin University in a previous blog.
The current exhibition is titled “Torn” and several of the art works are based on a page from an old book. Hayley’s art also often features a fantastical rabbit-like animal which is kind of appropriate for the Easter season.
The exhibition continues until 23 April.
Samuel Pepys’s wife Elizabeth was only 29 years old when she died of typhoid fever. Pepys had a monument made for her which is still on a wall inside St Olave. When he died in 1703, he was buried next to his wife in the nave of the church.
The 17th century diarist, Samuel Pepys, lived close to St Olave Hart St, and worked at the Royal Naval office which was also nearby. He was such a regular worshiper at the church, that he had a gallery built on the south wall and added a staircase so that he could get from his office to the church without getting rained on. The memorial to Pepys in the church is located where the door to the stairway used to be.
A City of London church that escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666, St Olave Hart St has quite a few literary connections. Anthony Bacon, the subject of a Daphne du Maurier’s biography (see previous blog post) was buried in the church in 1601. As Secretary of State for the Earl of Essex, Bacon’s duties included controlling a network of spies in Scotland, Spain and Italy.
Interestingly, Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster, lived in a house next to the church. And du Maurier did a lot of detective work herself, to discover that St Olave was the final resting place of Anthony Bacon.
The Royal Western Australian Historical Society had a book sale on the weekend at the society’s headquarters in Broadway, Nedlands, where we purchased a biography by Daphne du Maurier called “Golden Lads”. Published in 1975, this book describes the life of Anthony Bacon, the less famous brother of Elizabethan era philosopher and courtier, Francis Bacon.
Anthony Bacon was secretary to Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex, and sometime favourite of Elizabeth 1. The book has interesting insights into life and politics in the Tudor period and the cultural life of London at that time, including the theatrical world of William Shakespeare.