Friday, August 1, 2014

Alexandra Rose Day - 100 years ago ...

I'm two weeks late with this - but I didn't know about this photo, then.  The placard tells us that this was July 11th 1914.  The First World War was just around the corner, and indeed, life was about to change - but these young women didn't know it.  At the head of the donkey is my maternal grandmother - Doris Jaggar, as she then was - and two of her four sisters are also present.  They're selling artificial wild roses in aid of Dewsbury General Infirmary.  This was the third Alexandra Rose Day (Princess Alexandra Day, it seemed still to be called), when these artificial roses, made by the disabled, were sold to gain money for charity.  Princess Alexandra was married in 1863 - she arrived in England in 1862 - and she didn't want a big procession and so on to celebrate the golden jubilee of her arrival: she opted for this instead.

I hope that Dewsbury Infirmary benefited from this.  Another one of the sisters - not there; she was studying medicine at the Sorbonne! - was to open its Physical Therapy department, later on.  But that was after she'd had to abandon her medical training and go off and nurse: she tended the wounded in Salonika.

One thing that's so prominent in the UK, compared with the US - and, given dates, this makes all the sense in the world - is the omnipresent commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

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