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Tuesday 5 September 2017

Lady Lamington, usefully employed

At the moment I am working​—​amiably and (I hope) usefully​—​on a conservation management plan for the former Lady Lam­ing­ton Nurses’ Home, part of the Brisbane General Hos­pital Precinct. Whenever I pass the front entrance I get to enjoy the memorial stone placed there in 1896 by Lady Lam­ing­ton, wife of the then Governor of Queensland.

In the presence of a large and representative gathering, Lady Lamington on Monday afternoon placed in position the memorial stone of the new quarters for the nurses of the Brisbane Hospital. The building, to which our youthful vice-reine has given her name, stands on the highest part of the hospital hill. The contractors, Messrs Crawford and Cameron, who are carrying out the design of the architects, Messrs Hall and Dods, have during the last couple of months made good progress with their work. The walls and framework of the building are practically completed, and it is now possible to obtain an idea of what the Lady Lam­ing­ton Home for Nurses will be like when it is ready for oc­cu­pa­tion, and of its general arrangements. On entering the ground floor by the main entrance, there is a waiting room for visitors on one side of the hall. On the other side is the head nurse’s suite of rooms. In the front wing there is a general sitting-room and a dormitory, containing cubicles for 10 nurses. In the side wing is another dormitory with cubicles for 12 nurses; also private bedrooms and sitting-rooms for charge nurses. On the first floor the front wing contains another general sitting-room, 10 more cubicles, and three charge nurses’ bedrooms. In the side wing, on the first floor, carefully screened from noise or possible in­ter­rup­tion, are 16 cubicles for night nurses, who will, of course, be sleeping there during the day. For the present it is intended to use the old dining room. When sufficient funds are forthcoming to provide steam cooking the nurses will be enabled to take their meals in the Lady Lamington Home. In view of the prominent position of the building the architects decided to avoid the prevailing iron roof. The home will be covered with red tiles, which, besides adding colour to the landscape, will increase the coolness of the quarters.
        About 400 persons were present at the ceremony on Monday afternoon. Ladies attended in strong force, and the gentlemen who were there represented every section of the community. Among the assemblage were many former nurses of the hospital.
        Lady Lamington arrived at the appointed hour, 4 o’clock, accompanied by Miss Rod and Mr and Mrs Pascoe Stuart. Her ladyship was presented with a basket of choice flowers, which were handed to her by Miss Jackson, the eldest daughter of the medical superintendent.
        As many of the visitors as could secured places on the ground floor veranda, on which the ceremony took place, and which was excessively crowded. A few ventured on the upper veranda, but a large number had to be content with such view as they could get from the ground in front of the building.
        Mr James Stodart, MLA, chairman of the committee, in opening the proceedings, said that when Lady Lamington kindly consented to perform the ceremony of placing the memorial stone in position, it was arranged that the quarters should be called the Lady Lamington Home for Nurses of the Brisbane Hospital. This had been done, with her ladyship’s approval, and he was sure that the action of the committee would meet with the endorsement of sub­scribers generally.
        Mr H J Oxley, Honorary Treasurer, said that sub­scribers would be pleased to know that whereas the nurses’ quarters at the Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, cost £17,000, and provided accommodation for 46 nurses, the building of which the memorial stone was now about to be laid, though costing only about £5,000, would provide accommodation for over 50 nurses. (Applause.)
        The stone was then hoisted and placed in the recess which had been left for its reception, on the right of the main entrance. When it was in position Lady Lamington tapped it in the usual way. The applause which followed showed that the spectators considered that the ceremony had been “well and truly” performed. The tablet is a block of Oamaru stone, and the inscription on it is as follows: “This stone was placed in position September 14, 1896, by May, Lady Lamington, to commemorate the building of the Lady Lamington Home for Nurses of the Brisbane Hospital. F B Hall, R S Dods, architects.” Mr Dods and Mr Cameron supervised the setting of the stone.
        Hon Horace Tozer, Home Secretary, said it had fallen to him to propose a most pleasant motion, and that was that they should accord their hearty thanks to Lady Lam­ing­ton for the function which she had performed. Always amiable, Lady Lam­ing­ton was never more amiably or more usefully employed than she was in the work which she had performed on this occasion. (Applause.)
        Hon D H Dalrymple, Minister for Works, in seconding the motion, said he was sure all present would be delighted to tender to Lady Lamington the thanks which she had so well earned. Since their arrival in Queensland, Lord and Lady Lamington had been foremost in all works of this description. They could depend on her showing on all sim­ilar occasions the same interest and sympathy which led her to come there that day and leave her name in a solid tablet not only on the wall of the building which bore her name, but also in the hearts of those who were present. (Applause.)
        The motion was carried with three hearty cheers.
        After the ceremony the visitors were entertained at afternoon tea under the spreading fig tree in front of the medical superintendent’s residence. The refreshments were supplied by Eschenhagen. Music was provided by Signor Truda’s string quartette. Before leaving many of the guests visited the wards, which were open for inspection, and which by their bright and trim order, and their clean and wholesome condition, gained the praise of all who went through them. The amount of the contributions received at the ceremony was £47 16s 9d in addition to which several promises of subscriptions were made.


​—​“Lady Lamington Home: Brisbane Hospital: Nurses’ New Quarters,” The Week, 15 September 1896.

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Tuesday 29 August 2017

Specifying colours exactly

The postman delivered a new book today, The anatomy of colour: the story of heritage paints and pigments by Patrick Baty. I have just had time for a quick flip through​—​enough to see that it is full of wonderful detail, as I have come to expect from reading the author’s blog.

Baty opens a chapter on colour systems and standards with this quote from a 1907 book by A S Jennings:

If half-a-dozen practical painters, experienced in colour mixing, were asked seperately to mix a given colour; say a sea green, it is almost certain that when the six colours were compared there would be no two alike.

Baty goes on to discuss the colour system developed by Albert Munsell and set out in his important book A color notation, published in 1905:

Munsell began his book with a lengthy quotation from Robert Louis Stevenson that perfectly summed up the kind of dilemma that anyone working with colour might still encounter. Writing from Samoa on 8 October 1892 to Sidney Colvin in London, Stevenson proposed:

“Perhaps in the same way it might amuse you to send us any pattern of wall paper that might strike you as cheap, pretty and suitable for a room in a hot and extremely bright climate. It should be borne in mind that our climate can be extremely dark, too. Our sitting room is to be var­nished in wood. The room I have particularly in mind is a sort of bed and sitting room, pretty large, lit on three sides, and the colour in favour of its proprietor at present is a topazy yellow. But then with what colour to relieve it? For a little workroom of my own at the back, I should rather like to see some patterns of unglossy​—​well, I’ll be hanged if I can describe this red​—​it’s not Turkish and it’s not Roman and it’s not Indian, but it seems to partake of the two last, and yet it can’t be either of them because it ought to be able to go with vermilion. Ah what a tangled web we weave​—​anyway, with what brains you have left, choose me and send me some​—​many​—​patterns of this exact shade.”

This diagram shows the three variables that are measured in the Munsell colour system​—​hue, value, and chroma. It shows neutral (grey) values in steps of 1 from 0 to 10, a circle of 10 hues at value 5 and chroma 6, chromas of purple-blue in steps of 2 from 0 to 12, at value 5. [This image © 2007 Jacob Rus, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 licence]

I have been a fan of the Munsell colour notation since I started using it to record and analyse evidence of paint colours on his­toric buildings back in 1982. The system is perfectly precise. But it lacks the poetry of some other, less exact, ways of nam­ing colours​—​I am thinking of that lovely name eau-de-nil (‘water of the Nile’), so amorphous and indefinite. That name could em­brace a thousand subtle shades and hues.






The Munsell notation for this colour is 7.5GY 7/4. This, according to British Standard 381c 1964 (‘Colours for specific purposes’), is what eau-de-nil is meant to be, exactly.

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Friday 21 July 2017

New technology and the wrecking trade

It used to be, along some hazardous sea coasts, that people could make good money by helping themselves to valuable goods and materials from wrecked ships. But in the nineteenth century the supply of ship­wrecks dried up, as more lighthouses were built and lighthouse technology improved.

This disrupted the wrecking trade and put people out of work. Alexander Gordon (1802-1868) described what happened to the trade after a cast iron lighthouse was built in 1846 at Gibbs Hill, Bermuda:

Wreckers were numerous at Bermuda before my lighthouse was put there; since its establishment and good main­te­nance the wreckers have been compelled to change their occupation. They now are engaged principally in cul­ti­vat­ing oranges.

—​Alexander Gordon, Circular relating to lighthouses, lightships, buoys, and beacons (London, 1862).

1856 contract drawing for the lighthouse at Cape Northumberland, South Australia, showing the lantern designed by Alexander Gordon. Around 1882 this lighthouse was demolished and replaced by a new tower further back from the eroding shore. The lantern was moved to a new lighthouse at Cape Banks, South Australia, where it is still in service. [National Archives of Australia, item barcode 4957152].

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Sunday 25 June 2017

Contents of my library

Thanks to LibraryThing for revealing how my library stacks up against others of similar size. A new LibraryThing function can automatically classify my books using the Dewey Decimal System and produce a web infographic at the click of a mouse.

The results are interesting, but not surprising:

The top-level score​—​my library is strong in technology (600s), arts (700s), and biography and history (900s); but weak in philosophy (100s), religion (200s), and literature (800s). The full report has much more detail.

Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under Collecting + The web + Words

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