Welcome one and all to my beach hut

Grab a deck chair, Tea or coffee and help yourself to a buiscuit but you'd better mind the seaguls or they'll grab them first. Just look at that view and doesn't the sea look inviting.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

And The Band Played On -By Christopher Ward

You would be mistaken if you thought that this book is another book just about the sinking of the Titanic. Yes it does play an important part of the book but only during the opening chapters. Christopher Ward started the project of researching the family tree of his Grandfather Jock Hume who was a member of the Orchestra playing on the Titanic the night it sunk. Christopher’s intention was to compile a family tree to pass on to his children but during his research he uncovered remarkable story that revealed how the sinking of the titanic and the loss of Jocks life affected his ancestors right down to the present day. It was only after completion of is research that friends convinced him that the story of love, hate, deception and courage should be made into a book. Jock was a remarkable violinist who quite possibly made a career for himself had he not died on the Titanic that fateful night. The story tells of how Jock turned to playing on cruise ships to escape is spiteful Father and how he met and fell in love with Mary Costin. The voyage on the Titanic would have probably have been is last because Jock found out that Mary was going to have his child just before he sailed and how he planned to Mary her on his return. The opening chapters describe the fateful full night and the recovery of the bodies after the sinking of the Titanic. It compares the life and death of the passengers and crew and shows how class still played a major part even after death. Like at home was not a happy childhood, his mother was ill and is father was both cruel and a compulsive liar who was against Jocks relationship with Mary because he felt she was only from a working background and has such he would be marrying below his status.

This part of the story of Andrew Hume disowning Jock and Mary and his own grandchild kind of mirrored my own story and so had a personal feel about it. My Great Great Grandfather had disowned my great grandmother for a similar reason. He was a wealthy industrialist who had done well during the Nottingham lace making of the 19th Century and his wife was from a working canal family. My grt grandmother met a railwayman who was lodging across the street. To understand why Enoch was against my grt grandfather Samuel you need to understand that the railways had put the Canal families out of business and Enoch was also a high church man and Samuel was a chapel person and a non conformist of the day. So when Samuel and Harriet married Enoch disowned them both and has my research shows made a considerable difference to the social life of my ancestors.

The story recounts how the brave bandsman’s death was commemorated in his home town of Dumfries  and how the deceitful action Jocks father denied his granddaughter even the a chance to get money from a trust fund set up to care for unfortunate families. It shows how his deceitfulness later ruined Andrews’s life and how he rebuilt it with even more deceit. Andrew was a wicked and some feel a somewhat mad person who was cruel to both is wife and children and how as soon as his wife died he married an equally cruel woman. The story shows how this cruelty to one of his children led to another scandal that rocked the Hume household and had a lasting effect on individuals.

I really enjoyed this book because it not only gave an insight into the final hours of the Titanic and what happened afterwards but gave many clues to how different society lived in those days when news travelled a lot slower and what class you belonged to mattered more than what kind of a person you were. I recommend this book to all who have undertaken family research or who enjoy reading about the past, it is well written and moves at a steady pace.

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